The future of retail is all about tech-driven personalization and convenience, says Amit Kriplani, CTO at ace turtle

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The future of retail is all about tech-driven personalization and convenience, says Amit Kriplani, CTO at ace turtle
The future of retail is all about tech-driven personalization and convenience, says Amit Kriplani, CTO at ace turtle

Tech revolution will make shopping faster, easier, and perfectly tailored to you.

This is an exclusive interview conducted by Santosh Vaswani, Journalist & Editor at CIO News with Amit Kriplani, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at ace turtle.

How is ace turtle changing the traditional ways of retail with its tech-first approach?

Technology has always been our secret sauce. We see ourselves as a technology-native retail company leading the retail industry’s next phase of evolution. We have a technology-native approach to solving challenges facing the retail industry. We leverage technology to ensure efficiency and boost productivity. For us, the whole business model is about driving adoption for all our brands. We are focused on getting consumer data in a secure and compliant manner and using it for the design, manufacturing, and marketing of our products, as well as engaging with consumers on a more personal level. It is very important that consumer data comes back to us, and the conventional wholesale model didn’t really work that way.

The model had to be either direct-to-consumer or direct-to-retail. We decide based on the data what assortment the customers want, and we push that assortment to the stores. Today, our business model allows us to get real-time consumer data and feed that into production and the supply chain. Based on that, either the same products or similar products are then brought to market quickly. This is what we do for about 75% of the merchandise. 25% of the merchandise is freshly designed by our designers based on the current fashion trends, keeping consumer preferences in mind.

As a company focused on scaling global brands in India, what are some of the key challenges you faced in deploying tech solutions, and how were you able to overcome them?

When it comes to scaling global brands in India, we’ve encountered several key challenges. One of the significant hurdles in the initial phase was achieving seamless integration across multiple channels. Maintaining a consistent experience for customers as they move between online and offline touchpoints required a robust technology infrastructure and data synchronization. Another critical challenge for an omnichannel business like ours was handling operational complexity, particularly concerning inventory management and order fulfillment across various channels.

What value have you been able to bring to your portfolio of brands through tech integration?

In the last financial year ending in March 2023, we marked a milestone by achieving the highest annual sales ever for both Lee and Wrangler in India, brands that have been in the market for over 25 years. Since taking over their operations in 2021, we’ve successfully balanced our business between offline and online channels, each contributing 50% to our overall sales. Also, both brands saw over 100% growth in FY23 compared to the previous fiscal year.

Our tech platform, Rubicon, integrates online and offline sales, allowing access to all inventory and streamlining processes for efficient delivery. This, along with the Connect 2.0 app in our stores, has boosted efficiency and sales. The Connect app digitizes operations, improves staff productivity, and leverages customer data to increase conversions.

What role does AI play in ace turtle’s approach to data-driven decision making in retail?

Our investment in AI/ML will surge 3–4 times in the next 1-2 years, empowering GenAI to significantly benefit our global brands. We’re focusing on three key areas:

  1. AI-powered demand forecasting
  2. Computer vision for analyzing stores and warehouses
  3. GenAI for automating product data, descriptions, and marketing materials

How has ace turtle improved customer engagement through its tech solutions? Could you give some examples?

We use smart cameras to optimize inventory and store layout for Indian consumer tastes and preferences. In-store tech like smart mirrors with real-time outfit suggestions and digital price tags creates a seamless shopping experience. “Endless Aisles” allow online ordering for pickup or delivery, while AR features and QR codes add interactive elements. Overall, the store blends technology with the physical shopping experience for a more convenient and engaging experience.

What has been your strategic approach to integrate all the retail stores through tech across tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India?

We currently have over 100 retail stores across our brand portfolio: Lee, Wrangler, Toys”R”Us and Dockers. All our retail stores are connected via the Rubicon and Connect 2.0 apps. The Connect app digitizes retail store operations. It enables seamless communication and coordination between business teams at ace turtle and retail store employees spread across the country. We’ve upgraded the Connect app to a new architecture for better performance and scalability. The digitization and automation of store operations is a key part of our technology-driven strategy to scale the business of global brands in India. Accelerating the adoption of technology solutions is critical for offering a seamless customer experience in an omnichannel world.

Can you talk about the future role of tech in the retail sector and how it will change the consumer experience?

The future of retail is all about tech-driven personalization and convenience. Imagine AI recommending clothes you’ll love, a seamless online-to-store shopping journey, and checking out without fumbling for cash. Stores will leverage data to predict what you want, while voice assistants and smart carts will streamline the process. This tech revolution will make shopping faster, easier, and perfectly tailored to you.

Also readUnveiling the Ethical Imperatives: Navigating the Intersection of AI and Cybersecurity

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