Unicommerce, a leading player in e-commerce enablement software for warehouse management and omni channel services, has been selected as the exclusive partner by the House of Anita Dongre for managing its warehouse and e-commerce operations across its leading brands – AND & Global Desi. With this partnership, Unicommerce will enable the fashion house to manage its products, inventories and deliveries across 12+ marketplaces. In an exclusive conversation with DipankarSikdar, DGM eCommerce, House of Anita Dongre shares more insights
Can you give a brief overview on the current state of the fashion and retail sector in India?
India is one of the most lucrative markets globally. India’s apparel industry has evolved drastically dramatically in the last couple of years for both retail and manufacturing. The Indian fashion and retail sector is estimated to reach €975 Billion in consumer spendings by the end of 2022 in total spending making it one of the world’s biggest marketplace for these industries.
Seeing the huge growth factor, retail fashion brands are working towards offering a smooth buying experience to consumers across multiple channels. In today’s time, retail brands cannot be only restricted to brick-and-mortar or online platforms, there is massive need to be present on both. Customers shop based on current trends now, with a detailed understanding of the merchandise and hope for a seamless shopping experience.
The companies have to implement various technology innovations to offer 360 degree experience, where they can get latest trends in minimum possible time. Customers are well educated about the latest trends and as a retail brand we ensure that we keep up with the pace and offer seamless experience across different platforms.
What kind of role do emerging technologies play in transforming this industry?
Technology is the most important need of every industry and as the fashion sector is growing, companies are inclined to understand consumer behaviour to further improve customer experience by using various technologies.
AI, supply chain automation, mobile commerce and IOT are the biggest requirements of retail fashion brands in today’s time. This helps in maximizing users shopping experience, improve sales system efficiency through intelligent automation, and enhance the sales processes. Technology like chatbots helps in gathering data by asking customers questions, understanding customer desires and trends, diving deeper into their purchase patterns, and suggesting related and add-on items.
We sell across 300+ brand stores, on all leading e-commerce platforms, along with on our website. With multiple online selling platforms, managing inventory and warehouse became the biggest challenge and operational nightmare. Couple of years back, we implemented a SaaS platform for our supply chain management. We partnered with Unicommerce to manage our inventory and warehouse operations and it has helped us reduce lead conversion along with seamless product distribution.
For online platforms, AI has helped us in offering better product search, and customized product suggestions. The backend technology keeps track of each customer’s interests and matches them with the right products. We are planning to implement AI in other areas as well.
Another important technology which is now being adopted by retail fashions brands is Augmented reality. It allows customers to try clothes virtually on the 3D models helping them to see the size and look of the garment, which helps them make better choice
What kind of challenges do brands in the fashion sector face?
As a retail fashion brand, planning and utilization of inventory is one of the biggest challenges. India is a huge market with diverse consumer preferences, the buying patterns in North India will be very different to Southern India or Western part of the country.
Factors like purchase cycle, style preference, festivals determine the consumer buying patterns. We have been able to address these concerns to a great extent with the adoption of SaaS platforms for driving supply chain automation and implementing “intelligent” retail platforms, it has helped us in seamless inventory management and predict future demand.
How do you keep up with the changing customer preferences and styles?
We are pioneers of the fast-fashion industry, we create trends as per our customer feedback and interests.
We have a robust mechanism of producing the latest trends in a span of less than 3 weeks. We have a policy of not repeating a particular-line, which helps us stay ahead of the curve and keep coming up with new designs and colours.
Considering you sell on multiple platforms, retail stores and ecommerce portal, how do you ensure efficiency in the process?
We are present across multiple platforms and technology has played a significant role in addressing consumer demand across all these platforms. We have partnered with Unicommerce to help us with our inventory and management operations across platforms.
The technology they provide has enabled us to drive the right level of efficiency and handle multiple demand channels all at once. We have been able to scale up to 12+ marketplaces seamlessly with the help of Unicommerce, and have been able to achieve significant growth in the last 18 months.
We have also partnered with Unicommerce to implement the AI powered omnichannel solution to enable fulfillment of customer demand from the offline store as well, and the way Unicommerce has seamlessly integrated with both our ERP and Point of Sale, has really helped us be more responsive to consumer demand, thus, enabling higher growth for us
How do you manage your inventory and warehousing?
Being present across channels, the major challenge is to keep a track of inventory and warehouse. This posed a challenge of where we should keep the inventory, whether we should keep it in the store to serve in-store customers or to keep it at the warehouse, where online orders are processed.
As we progressed, we were looking for a technology solution which would help us solve this complex problem and act as one single system for managing both inventory and warehouse. Unicommerce has evolved to be our single source of management when it comes to inventory and has also helped us scale up our fulfilment.
Now, if a product is out-of-stock at a warehouse, I can still process an order through a retail store and if a particular product is not available for in-store customer, we can get the product delivered through our warehouse. This has helped convert our 300+ stores into potential stock points and significantly improved our inventory management.
What role has Unicommerce played to help you improve your business?
Unicommerce has not only helped us provide complete visibility of our eCommerce operations to different business units but has also helped ensure that we are able to handle fulfilment across multiple demand channels with great levels of ease. So much so, that we agree to work with new ecosystem partners, only if they are able to achieve an integration with Unicommerce. The optimized utilization of inventory not only helped our business grow but also improved our customer satisfaction.
Moreover, as e-commerce evolves very fast, it is important to partner with a nimble and scalable platform like Unicommerce, to be able to meet ever changing requirements of the ecosystem, besides having a robust AI powered supply chain automation platform which intelligently allocates orders to the right stocking point and enables full inventory visibility across all demand channels ensuring that we are able to meet the real and unconstrained customer demand.
Kapil Makhija – CEO, Unicommerce also shares his views on technology deployment for AND and Global Desi.
Tell us about your technology and services, why do you think this technology will help businesses in growth?
We have built a very robust and scalable platform, which helps businesses grow their e-commerce operations across multiple marketplaces, website platforms and offline stores. In the last 8 years of our existence, we have been used by 10,000+ customers, and the platform is now being used to process almost 20% of India’s e-commerce volumes, and has now scaled to process 2 Mn orders a day.
We have essentially become an operating system for e-commerce in India, and the Unicommerce team works tirelessly to ensure that we are able to simplify e-commerce selling for all our customers. On average, our customers have seen at least 30-35% revenue growth year on year, and some of them have grown 5-10X during their association with us.