Karthik Chidambaram is the Founder & CEO of DCKAP. He bootstrapped the company in 2005 from his small apartment in Chicago, Illinois. DCKAP was once his dream, became his passion. The company started off with a set of desks, a couple of computers, and two enthusiastic people that have gone on to expand into global team with corporate headquarters in Fremont, California and operations in Europe and India. Karthik Chidambaram speaks to DATAQUEST on his entrepreneurial journey. Excerpts.
If you reflect back, can you talk about the genesis of your company and why did you opt for the e-commerce space?
We have come a long way from our first office in my Chicago apartment in 2005. Today, we’ve got a presence on three different continents (North America, Europe & Asia). A couple of key moves we made were shifting our headquarters to Fremont, CA in 2007 and in 2008 we expanded our technology infrastructure in Chennai. We were bootstrapped and did not take any external investments for the expansions.
As a company we have always looked to the future. By 2009, we were already working with Open Source technologies like Magento, Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. We also entered the mobile apps market during its early stages.
By 2014, we had turned our focus to Commerce; Content & Consulting. We have always been passionate about retail commerce. We saw this as a great opportunity for us to take things to the next level. We have seen the growth of the Commerce industry from close quarters. This experience has helped us develop unique expertise which we’ve used to work with various technologies and platforms related to Commerce.
If you say that DCKAP delivers disruptive eCommerce solutions enabling clients to efficiently provide a best in class customer experiences- can you expand more on this and how different are you from existing other solution providers in the market?
We are focused on mid-large merchants. The platform on which we build the e-Commerce solution is Magento, one of the most powerful and popular open source e-Commerce solutions in the world.
Our eCommerce solutions are disruptive because
- Our solutions are integrated with platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc. This enables the merchant to market their products on social media and divert more traffic to heir site.
- They are SEO-friendly and this helps to improve the site rankings and analyze the web traffic.
- They are responsive, meaning they offer a seamless shopping experience across multiple devices (Desktop, Tablet, Smart Phone) anywhere, anytime. The merchant does not have to build separate sites for different devices. This helps the merchants target a larger customer base.
- The merchants can integrate with other marketplaces like Amazon and eBay to increase their visibility and sales.
- The Magento stores are open source, feature-rich, have attractive designs, provide delightful shopping experiences while scaling to handle enterprise-level traffic and orders for large and rapidly-growing merchants.
Our USP is our rich experience in flawless end-to-end implementation of eCommerce enterprise solutions spanning multiple domains. We are silver Solution partners of Magento with one of the highest number of certified developers in the world. Our motto is excellence in delivery at a competitive price. We want to provide 10 X or more value for every $ invested with us.
Providing an omni-channel retail experience has always been a challenge – how are you simplifying the scheme of things here?
It is true that Omnichannel experience has been challenging for the retailers. It is imperative for retailers to have an offline and online presence. For e.g. offline players like Future Group, Reliance Retail, Croma are investing in online platforms while online players like lenskart, Pepperfry, Freecultr are opening physical stores. It is not a question of physical or digital anymore, it is about being ‘Phygital’.
The challenge is to merge the online and offline systems. Consumers have become more sophisticated and tech-savyy and are shopping from mobile, desktops and brick-and-mortar while retailers are struggling to keep up. They are still stuck with outdated legacy systems.
This is the challenge and we simplify it by merging the online and offline systems. We help the consumers to interact with the brand in a seamless way irrespective of different touch points. We enable the retailers to adopt a uniform selling system across all their stores and their online platforms. Whether you buy a product online or offline, you would end up getting the same product at the same price and the same brand experience.
How are you leveraging India?
Among other things, we are trying to build a Magento community here. For the last 2 years, we have been conducting the ‘Magento Meet Ups’ in our Chennai office. The next one is coming up on Jan 9th.We are planning to do it on a bigger scale in the near future.
There are lakhs of small businesses that need an online presence and Magento is an ideal platform. It has a great community which is essential for technical/customer support. Our ‘Magento Meet Up’ is a small step towards popularizing the platform and building the community in India.