Indium has decades of experience in providing services that helped businesses grow and stay ahead of the competition. We have structured our service offerings according to the needs of the digital economy states Satish Pala, Senior Vice President, Digital Solutions, Indium Software. Illustrating more about retail trade landscape, impact of digitalization and the company’s stance to be ahead in this competitive market all cited in this candid chat.
What are the changes you foresee changing the retail trade landscape in India?
Satish Pala: It’s no surprise that the retail industry has taken a huge hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Retail businesses that have an e-commerce set up or sell through other e-commerce platforms are trying to get back to normalcy from this unprecedented situation. Those businesses which are predominantly dependent on brick and mortar stores are finding it extremely difficult. Some are recovering wherever the lockdowns have been eased. Some retailers are finding ways to provide a shopping experience with no contact like video-shopping, virtual trials. Some are building their own quick-start e-commerce platforms or selling through existing platforms. As more and more stores go digital, coupled with already digital savvy Indians with smartphones all around, online businesses will gain momentum, and e-commerce channels will become the primary channel for selling for retailers. Having said that, Brick and Mortar stores will bounce back as well, and we need them. The average retail e-commerce revenue collected per user in India will increase to $75 USD by 2024 from being $50 USD in 2019. The 2019 holiday season only saw a 1.4% increase in brick and mortar store sales compared to 8.1% via e-commerce. With the current pandemic, this growth difference is only going to increase. The need to take on the e-commerce journey is now more than ever.
How advanced technology is aiding in the boost of the Indian economy?
Satish Pala: India has lapped up the advanced digital technologies like no other. Some of these include obvious ones like smartphone app-based shopping, in fact, app-based everything – digital payments, digital wallets. The whole payment industry was disrupted with these digital payment options. Sales through digital channels have gone up tremendously thanks to young India and cheap data rates. Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR) based apps are being developed to provide better interactive engagement with customers in retail, food tech, and ed-tech. Artificial Intelligence(AI) & Machine Learning based products, technologies like IoT and Cloud have seen very high adoption rates. Indian Industries have started utilizing these advanced digital technologies to boost their growth, competitiveness, and efficiencies.
Indium’s offering to support the digital economy?
Satish Pala: Indium has decades of experience in providing services that helped businesses grow and stay ahead of the competition. We have structured our service offerings according to the needs of the digital economy. We have a focussed set of offerings based on AI, Machine Learning, Web tech, Mobile, and Cloud tech to drive digital transformation. Some of the key ones include:
eCommerce Platform Development & Maintenance:
Our e-commerce offering enables traditional retail traders’ scale their businesses across various channels. Key services offered include:
- Consulting: We study the business landscape and provide consulting on the optimal e-commerce strategy.
- External platform Onboarding: Onboard onto Selling Platforms like Amazon, etc.
- E-commerce Portal Development: We design and develop a best-in-class e-commerce platform both on web and mobile.
- E-commerce Testing – We do functional, compatibility, security, performance testing of the e-commerce portal to ensure outstanding performance.
- E-commerce platform Maintenance: We support, enhance and maintain the e-commerce platform
With growing digitization requirements, there is a need for a product that can extract and analyze data from various types of documentation. Our product, tex.ai is an Ai-based Text Analytics Software for Text Extraction, Summarization & Classification that will help Gain insights from business’s text data that they didn’t know existed.
Advanced Analytics & Big Data:
Our Data and Analytics offering enables businesses to obtain actionable insights from the vast amount of their data sets as well available external data sets. We are equipped with expert data scientists and data engineers who leverage various data engineering technologies and advanced analytics techniques like mathematical, probabilistic, statistical modeling, and analytical modeling techniques in order to help businesses perform analysis, prediction, and automated decision making.
Low Code Platform Development: This offering helps businesses with agility and shortened time-to-market. We build complete applications with modern user interfaces, integrations, data, and logic, quickly and visually, by leveraging tools like Mendix and Alpha Software.
What is Indium’s e-commerce framework and development in this space?
Satish Pala: Indium’s e-commerce offering will meet the need of B2C and B2B e-commerce businesses with the following services:
- Website and mobile app development
- Integration with external systems like payment processing system, logistics and supplier integration with other e-commerce seller platforms
- Ecommerce integration with back-office processes and in-store operations
- Website Hosting on business preferred infrastructure – Cloud/On-prem
- Personalized customer experience and marketing using advanced data analytics
- Indium software’s strong presence in areas like Security and Performance testing ensures that these e-commerce portals are safe, secure, and performant.
How can it be a boon to small and medium-sized retailers?
Satish Pala: It is crucial for these businesses, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, to onboard to an e-commerce platform not only to sustain their core business but also to help them to dynamically scale the business models as the need arises. We can assist these small and medium-sized retailers quickly onboard onto an e-commerce platform in a few weeks with our solution. Our solution is robust, highly flexible, scalable, cost-effective, and can enable these retailers to realize the ROI in a short time.
Your R&D and future expansion plans?
Satish Pala: We have been further investing and working on optimizing our solution offering that can assist businesses to switch to contactless shopping through e-commerce within two weeks. We are working on advance AI-driven analytics models that will generate insights for real-time decision making. While we have capabilities in development of e-commerce platforms using popular ones like Shopify, Magento, we are increasing capacity in e-commerce platform development using Spree Commerce, which we have identified as a clear winner in terms of being lightweight, easy to design, build and maintain.
The COVID-19 pandemic has enabled and reinforced contactless shopping, your thoughts and solutions to empower these technologies?
Satish Pala: Like I mentioned earlier, there is no denying that COVID-19 has completely shaken and disrupted the retail business. Contactless shopping will be the main channel of sales. Retailers are finding ways to draw customers. Some of the notable changes in brick and mortar retail shops include proper entry and exit sanitization, social distancing with the shop, more shops are accepting contactless payments, digital receipts, pre-shopping video reviews, virtual trial-rooms, increased home-delivery, etc. Some of the other technical solutions that can take this further are e-commerce platforms equipped with capabilities like AR/VR of products, integration with various digital payments, intelligent chatbots, scalability & stability during peak sales, real-time recommendations, etc.
Partners ecosystem and clients you have successfully helped with your leading solutions?
Satish Pala: Indium has a robust partner ecosystem in various technologies & tools like low code application development, cloud, data & analytics solutions, quality assurance, and robotic process automation. Some notable ones are:
- Microsoft – As a Microsoft partner, we deliver customers the best-in-class cloud and analytics solutions leveraging Microsoft platforms like Azure, Machine Learning Studio, Cognitive Services, etc., both at speed and at scale.
- Mendix (Siemens) – We partner with Mendix to deliver our customers the best in class web, mobile, and smart development solutions at speed and scale.
- Striim – Indium’s strategic partnership with Striim, will accelerate data-driven solutions and thereby speed up informed decision making for our joint enterprise customers who want to have a real-time Big Data Analytics platform.
A couple of examples of Indium’s advanced solutions that helped our clients include:
- The client is an AI-powered e-commerce aggregator website that delights customers by providing them with smart buying options. It provides a better user experience by highlighting top categories upfront. While this categorization works well on retailer websites, it becomes an issue for e-commerce aggregators. The product categories are defined differently by different retailers for the same product. This creates a problem in assigning the same product from different retailers to the same categories due to which the quality of search results and user experience suffer. Indium’s Machine Learning-Powered Product categorization solution was deployed by the client and was able to increase conversion rates.
Indium’s low code solution helped a US-based digital real estate aggregator platform business grow double over a year, thanks to the efficient, robust and scalable platform that was developed using microservices architecture for different functions like agent onboarding, transactions, accounting and admin service & support functions, reports, etc.