Over the last five years, India has emerged as the ‘hotbed’ for startups. There is a burgeoning start-up and innovation culture. The country is not just becoming a startup hub, but is fueling the growth of other companies globally by adopting and offering emerging technology solutions.
CommerceIQ leverages machine learning, analytics and automations to optimize the e-commerce channel across supply chain, marketing and sales operations functions to win the consumer at the moment of purchase and drive profitable market share growth.
The technology behind CommerceIQ’s award-winning platform has been developed in India. Based in California, and with its product entirely developed out of Bengaluru, CommerceIQ support global brands such as Nestle, Kellogg’s, Nestle, Colgate Palmolive, and others in adopting algorithmic retail.
Here, Prasun Kumar, VP Engineering and Head of India Operations, CommerceIQ, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:
DQ: Talk us through the technology development journey of CommerceIQ.
Prasun Kumar: CommerceIQ started as another company originally known as Boomerang Commerce, which focused on building a dynamic pricing platform for retailers on e-commerce. The platform would apply large-scale computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to the task of managing thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of price changes every day.
With Boomerang, retailers could apply strategic, data-driven pricing to their merchandise. The platform would help make these companies grow and be competitive in e-commerce, which was quite a new market for them. In 2018, the company shifted its focus to brands, and emerged as CommerceIQ, today the leader in e-commerce decision management.
In e-commerce, the average brand must make 84,000 decisions/day. Those who don’t keep up will lose market share to tech savvy competitors. The number of new e-commerce first, technology savvy competitors has exploded and are outcompeting established brands, often with their own products. Each day millions of battles are happening between the world’s largest brands and their growing competitors for consumers’ attention and dollars. Win or lose is determined by decisions made in seconds – every minute, every hour, every day.
The company began focusing on digital shelf automation, then expanded into retail media management, digital shelf analytics and more recently into supply chain management, adding more and more support for different use cases and retailers (omnichannel) to support brands globally.
DQ: How are you using ML, analytics, and automation for e-commerce?
Prasun Kumar: CIQ helps brands drive market share, productivity and profitability by integrating sales operations, digital shelf analytics and retail media into a single decision management platform that automates millions of actions at scale. The platform creates a single source of truth and surfaces insights that translate into recommendations that drive the automations across the e-commerce operation.
DQ: How is the adoption of algorithmic retail helping companies?
Prasun Kumar: The adoption of algorithmic retail is posing significant challenges for brands, especially on e-commerce. Most decisions driven by ecommerce marketplaces whether they are inventory planning, cutting POs, pricing, promotions, search rankings are all determined by algorithms and not by vendor or category managers.
All of these decisions are now interconnected and dynamic in nature. In this new world, traditional consumer brands are still stuck with siloed functions and decisions through meetings and excel. They need to embrace exception based automated decision making; they need a different approach and this is where new AI-driven decision management platforms are coming in, automating tasks at significant scale and speed across all of the operational aspects of e-commerce to keep up where humans cannot.
DQ: Is this used only in retail, or other segments are also in pipeline?
Prasun Kumar: The main segments that are affected are consumer goods, hardlines, beauty and personal care, along with grocery, which is one of the fastest growing e-commerce segments today.
DQ: What is the way ahead for CommerceIQ?
Prasun Kumar: As we have recently completed our Series C, we will continue to invest in R&D and product development to expand the capabilities of our platform to support more aspects of the e-commerce operation and help our customers win the lion share of the market. We will expand our offerings internationally and with more retailers and assess potential partnerships that drive customer value of the CommerceIQ solution.