Ace Turtle is a technology-driven platform company that provides direct to consumer web commerce solutions for leading retail brands.
Its proprietary platform integrates online and offline retail channels to automate and optimize omnichannel fulfillment and provides brands with a single view of inventory and a single view of customer. It helps reduce the costs and complexity of omnichannel transformation for brands by using their existing framework and systems.
Excerpts from an interview with Kapil Bhatia, Chief Technology Officer, Ace Turtle:
BW CIO: How is Ace Turtle helping retailers in managing distributed inventory?
Kapil Bhatia: Today, the brands are typically distributing their inventory for purchase across different sales channels in order to reach out to customers who are present across all channels, This means inventory is aggregated into brand’s retail stores, own web stores and different online marketplaces. This has led to either underselling on some of the channels or overselling on other channels as there is no optimization of inventory.
Besides, due to the presence of non-agile and silo-ed IT infrastructure, brands have low levels of integrations with other players in the retail ecosystem.
Ace Turtle’s proprietary platform, Rubicon, enables a real-time consolidated view of inventory from disparate systems (WMS, POS, and ERP) into a single, enterprise view, across all selling channels. This helps to optimize inventory thereby reducing the underselling and overselling issues.
The platform also automatically allocates the orders from any channel to the most preferable stock points (available and sellable inventory) and further allocates the delivery to the preferred logistic partner. This helps brands to seamlessly integrate all components of the retail ecosystem.
BW CIO: Is the future of retail looking like 'order from anywhere, fulfil from anywhere? However, isn't this a general thought that it has been around for a long time?
Kapil Bhatia: ‘Order from anywhere, fulfil from anywhere’ is something that we believe today has become one of the critical success factors for retail brands. The idea of gratifying customers in creative ways is not new. Brands have been doing that for ages, but what customers now expect is much more: a truly omnichannel experience.
A unified and consistent experience about the brand is utterly desired on both fronts: online and in-store. It applies not just at one level, but at all stages of a buying cycle from becoming aware, taking a decision to actual buying and receiving the support.
Yes, the concept of ‘order from anywhere, fulfil from anywhere’ has been in the retail ecosystem for quite some time.
However, the technology to execute this concept was either not there or was costly or simply time-taking to implement. However, if you note the customer part of ‘Order from anywhere’ has evolved immensely with the introduction of eCommerce and availability of cheap data and devices. The ‘fulfil from anywhere’ part is the one where the retail ecosystem is pushing its focus to.
BW CIO: So far, 30 enterprise brands as partners? What are you doing to further increase this number?
Kapil Bhatia: Yes, we have more than 30 enterprise brands as partners.
We understand the success of our platform depends on how it helps to evolve the entire retail ecosystem (fulfil from anywhere). The entire ecosystem has to be glued seamlessly and intelligently to give a real omnichannel experience to the customer. If we can help evolve the entire ecosystem and scale using our platform, this will translate into further increase in this number.
Also, partnerships and collaborations play a key role in this endeavour. From our side, we have partnered with Microsoft, wherein we are using their cloud computing service – Azure to build our tech architecture and also reduce our go to market time.
BW CIO: How is your platform scalable and futuristic? Elaborate.
Kapil Bhatia: We are now transitioning to a micro-service-based platform which gives us lot of modularity, thereby, making our platform more flexible and scalable. Also, with the presence of transactional data, we are now starting to use machine learning algorithms to complement the strength of our Rubicon platform. This, in the long run, will enable us to help our customers do better in business through smart decision making.
On the execution side, we follow an agile methodology where we continuously make iterations and development into our platform very quickly. Flexibility is one of the key strength of our platform and this is what separates us from legacy systems.
BW CIO: How is business transformation at the helm of technology innovation at Ace Turtle?
Kapil Bhatia: Our business transformation depends completely on the changing needs of our customers. As brands expand the horizon to include more sales channels in order to increase stickiness with the end customer and boost sales, our platform has to adopt a mechanism to support that objective. Technology acts as the backbone to execute this mechanism as it dictates the growth of the entire ecosystem.
By the ecosystem, I mean the retailers, stores, warehouses, logistic players and marketplaces. Our platform is not only a key enabler in seamless integration of the entire ecosystem, but also ensures that each stakeholder gains significantly out of our tech implementation.
BW CIO: Finally. what are your future plans?
Kapil Bhatia: Our endeavour has consistently been to make our customers focus on their business by leveraging more and more on our platform Once an order is placed on any of the sales channel, our platform takes over the process with minimum or no intervention from our clients. To further this goal, we have recently introduced a new function within Ace Turtle called KAT support backed by a robust command centre, which pre-empts any issues predictively.
We put a lot of focus on the seamless integration of the retail ecosystem. We believe that better experience for brands and subsequently for the end customers depends largely on how the stakeholders of the ecosystem evolves rapidly for effective tech collaboration.
Moreover, machine learning is one component which will play a critical role in making our platform more futuristic. We have invested a lot in enhancing our machine learning capabilities and would further build on it to enable faster and smarter business decision for our customers.
We also anticipate cross-border commerce to be the next big thing in retail. Our cross-border platform has already on-boarded brands such as Jennifer Lopez, BCBGeneration and Jones New York helping them sell on the marketplaces of India and SE Asia like a local seller. We are continuously making iteration and modification to our platforms to match the increasing demand of brands who are looking to partner with us to enhance their cross-border business.