How traditional retailers can thrive in the digital era

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EVER since the pandemic began, there has been a prominent shift from brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce. This shift led all retailers to acknowledge the fact that being offline would never be an option in the post-pandemic era. I talked to Anchanto co-founder and COO Abhimanyu Kashikar in an email interview on the challenges that our traditional retailers face in digital transformation.

The Manila Times (TMT): What are the unique challenges faced by traditional retailers as they develop their digital strategy?

Kashikar: The e-commerce ecosystem today is such that every system needs to work with at least two or three other systems. This makes the role of integrations and partnerships very important. And given that the Filipino e-commerce market is already very fragmented, the next challenge was integrating and partnering with the right ecosystem actors. Finally, many of the traditional retailers also struggled with the nuances of digital commerce and logistics and had to rely on outsourcing. The pandemic just acted as a catalyst and led many global actors to go “direct-to-consumer” and equip themselves with omnichannel capabilities like “click-and-collect,” and “try-and-buy.”

TMT: What are the possible scenarios in the Southeast Asian market that will stem out in the Philippines that local businesses should watch out for?

Kashikar: The pace at which e-commerce is evolving today could be tough to keep up with for new businesses just entering the ecosystem. Now with the uncertainties that have come up with the pandemic, we see today that even though online shopping has increased tremendously, offline shopping will never go away. This would give rise to what could be called “new retail,” in which both online and offline would co-exist together. As customers do not differentiate between channels, it would be imperative for retailers to make sure that they offer a unified experience across both.

TMT: How can Anchanto as a global Software as a Service (SaaS) provide solutions to traditional retailers, or emerging retailers?

Kashikar: We are pleased to be positioned perfectly in the market to answer every need of traditional retailers, having developed our products after using the insights and feedback and know-how gathered over the last 10 years across APAC. We currently have two platforms — Anchanto OMS (SelluSeller) and Anchanto WMS (Wareo).

The first platform — Anchanto OMS helps businesses to simplify and automate their eCommerce backend operations such as inventory, orders, pricing, promotions, sales data, reports, catalogs, digital assets, and much more across multiple channels on a single platform. Integrated with 100+ e-commerce marketplaces, webstores, accounting tools, last-mile carriers, and ERPs such as SAP, Anchanto OMS helps businesses to leverage the right balance of technology and integrations.

The second platform — Anchanto WMS is a full-suite Warehouse Management System for actors that manage or operate warehouses for e-commerce (B2C) or retail businesses (B2B). Given that Anchanto WMS comes pre-integrated with Anchanto OMS, actors using the OMS are able to receive, process and fulfill orders across channels directly from their warehouses.

TMT: Can you cite a case study of a traditional retailer and one starting out in an e-commerce platform?

Kashikar: I would like to share here the journey for one of our customers in the Philippines. At the beginning of 2020, Jockey was facing challenges of synchronizing their inventory across various channels. This hampered their ability to scale their operations during high-volume seasons like 9/9 and 11/11. This is when they identified the need to shake things up, review their processes, and choose a technology tool that could help them streamline their end-to-end processes. Jockey, enabled by Anchanto, now manages a centralized inventory on our platform. With access to data, Jockey analyzes performance across all sales channels in real-time. As a result, their end-to-end e-commerce operations have streamlined, their selling performance has peaked, and they are able to provide much better service to their customers. And this is precisely why they had highly successful “11.11” and “12.12” sale seasons recently.

In this example, the common trail stands — a timely shift of processes and operations to relevant technology platforms that enabled their growth.

Anchanto is a global SaaS technology company headquartered in Singapore that helps Brands, e-distributors, e-commerce enablers, retailers, third-party logistics providers, SMEs, warehouses, and postal associations, streamline and manage highly successful end-to-end e-commerce operations.