Ag Talk | TV home shopping is still in its nascent stage, STAR CJ's Shin

Gone are those days when one had to frequently visit the stores. Today, E-Commerce and Home-shopping have made our lives so easy and convenient that our desirable products are just a click away. Being one of the pioneers in the home-shopping category, STAR CJ has been catering to the ever changing need and demand of the consumers. It’s extremely prominent e-commerce portal contributes 5 % of its revenues.

STAR CJ Network India Pvt. Ltd.'s, which is a joint venture of Providence and South Korea's CJ Group pan India presence, allows them to host one of the best logistics for their e-commerce website, wherein the deliveries take place as fast as any top e-commerce player in the country. They also have the Videos of their programs uploaded on their e-commerce website.

In 2010, Star CJ Network launched a 24X7 home shop channel backed by the domain leadership of CJ O Shopping. The channel called STAR CJ alive and a web-based mall www.starcj.com offers an unmatched, ultra-convenient shopping experience, making stylish and intelligent products available at the consumers' doorstep, as it entertains and informs with its unique television programming.

Kenny Shin, CEO, joined the CJO Group in the year 2002. His journey saw him through some challenging and exciting roles within the Group. In his current role as the CEO of STAR CJ India, Kenny is responsible for the company’s growth and expansion plans.He brings with him over 26 years of strategic and expertise across the home shopping sector. STAR CJ offers an unmatched, ultra-convenient shopping experience, making stylish and intelligent products available at the consumers' doorstep, as it entertains and informs with its unique television programming.

His career graph also includes stints with many reputed Korean companies like Dong-Suh Research Institute, Hansol M.com and HansoliGlobe in addition to the Rochester based Eastman Kodak Company. 

To know more Adgully caught up with Kenny Shin, CEO STAR CJ Network who shared insights about the Star CJ’s journey, strategies, plans ahead and much more.

Adgully (AG): You joined the group in 2002, Share some key high points of your journey so far?
Kenny Shin (KS)
: There have been many key high points like we started PAN India operation, when we achieved meaningful success through some of the episodes which touched 1 cr sales per episode. We launched m commerce (mobile enabled site) etc.

AG: From 2010 to now, how has STAR CJ grown and evolved over the years?
KS:
We started our business 5 & half years ago. We started our internet business back in 2011 and our mobile commerce business in June 2014. We already have 6.5 million customers and I am happy about it. Our plan is to expand our business further. We are thinking of adding one more warehouse in the eastern part of India, in the city of Kolkata to serve the eastern part of the country better. Not only this, we are also working on mobile app which will be launched soon.

AG: How has the mindset of the consumers changed from 2010 to now?
KS:
Yes, the consumer’s mindset has definitely changed. The consumer has become more comfortable in the e- commerce space. Home shopping is now a trend.

AG: When you launched what were the challenges that you faced viz-a-viz the challenges that you face now?
KS:
The primary challenge was the high level of distrust and lack of respectability among the Indian consumers for the home shopping companies. This was due to the unorganized firms who was selling and promoting of sub-standard products as well as low quality of visual presentation. We tackled this problem by starting off with category ‘A’ brands and selling them through state-of-the-art audio visual technology. Current challenges are more in terms of infrastructure as we starve to provide best service to customers in terms of delivery/ exchange and returns.

AG: How has the home shopping category grown and evolved over the years?
KS:
We are in TV home shopping’s infancy in India. Over the last 2 years Star CJ’s annual growth rate was about 40%, which is fast. In developed markets like USA, UK, South Korea and Japan, the annual growth rate for the TV home shopping sector is less than 8-9%.We can naturally assume that the home shopping market annual growth rate in the next 3years or 5 years will be somewhere around 35-40% in India, which is very fast

AG: With e-commerce space getting cluttered day by day, what are the strategies that make you stand ahead of the curve?
KS:
One of the major differentiating factors is product exclusivity. 30% of the products offered by STAR CJ are exclusive and cannot be purchased from anywhere else. We have a quality assurance policy, wherein the products are accepted by STAR CJ only after a series of thorough and strict quality checks. There is a focused effort to constantly keep improve our visual presentation, wherein, we try making the consumers as comfortable as possible with the products while broadcasting them on our channel. We are privileged to have 40-50% loyal consumers out of the total customer base and have 43% of our sales coming from repeat purchases.     

AG: How much does your portal, STAR CJ.com contributes to the entire portfolio?
KS:
Currently, 94% of our sales are generated through television shopping and the remaining 6% from the e-commerce front. However, considering the e-commerce boom in the country, we expect the share of our e-commerce front to increase to 20% in the next three years.

AG: As marketing plays a vital role, what are the marketing strategies that have worked in your favor?
KS:
We don’t believe in fancy advertisements and giving huge discounts like 90% off, for us the strategy has been doing lot of local marketing activities and direct customer interaction.

AG: How are you looking at 2015?
KS:
We are very positive and optimistic about the year 2015, we will be launching our mobile app and reaching very close to breakeven in 2015.

AG: Would we be seeing STAR CJ adopting some new policies, strategies or unique initiatives?
KS:
Yes, you will soon see something really different from STAR CJ which none of the other players are doing.

AG: What revenue did STAR CJ garner in the year gone by?
KS:
Since this is not a listed company, we wouldn’t be able to share the revenue figures.

AG: If you have to rate STAR CJ among its counterparts, where would you like to rank it?
KS:
We would say it as No. 1 because of our product portfolio, quality norms, and content and loyal customer base (40%)

AG: Which have been your key markets (nationally and internationally) and are you looking at expansion?
KS:
Key markets for STAR CJ are Mumbai & Delhi as these are our oldest and highest sales contribution market. However Secondary metros like Ludhiana, Lucknow and Bangalore are also growing rapidly.

AG: With the presence of so many e-commerce portals has your business got affected somewhere?
KS:
The e-commerce space is certainly clustered, but we have been able to retain our loyal customers. This is because of many reasons. Our unique product portfolio makes us stand different. 30% of our product offering is exclusive, which acts as our biggest USP. One of our major focuses to mature this market in India has been through setting up a state-of-the-art facility for a top quality visual presentation. An enhanced experience of the products helps the customers make a well-informed purchase decision. The shopping only gets better on getting such an experience with the least of efforts, at the comfort of your homes. Our other differentiation factor is the products which are exclusively available through STAR CJ. And ofcourse, we also have our own e-commerce front for the internet savvy shopper.
 

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