“Indian e-commerce market is on a high growth trajectory, and speaking about the COVID-19 situation, now a lot of us want to remain at home and this is how the situation is going to be at least for the near future. What it essentially means is that the demand has not gone, but has been shifted, so instead of customers going to a store and buying a product, they would rather buy it online,” said Sumit Karranji, Global Sales Evangelist (Reconciliations), Vinculum.
The shift in the consumers’ preference of shopping destination has pushed a lot of retailers to expand digitally. It’s important to have a strong online presence to reach out to the maximum number of customers at their convenience. Managing multiple marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra is a complex task for the retailers that include a lot of manual work and time.
Since most of the retailers are now expanding themselves digitally, the competition has also increased for the players to survive on the digital platform. Therefore, it is important to reduce the market time to make a product available for the customers and also provide the correct information. Managing multiple marketplaces manually and individually can be challenging, as every platform has its own standards of attributes and requirements.
Therefore, the use of a centralised single dashboard to manage all these activities could help the retailers to not only reduce their time to the market, but also eliminate any redundant and incorrect data to be published online. Recently, Vinculum, a software company enabling omnichannel retailing, has rolled out a solution to help retailers manage their online activities. The solution provides a centralised platform to manage orders from different marketplaces.
The Vin Lister solution by the company helps the brands and retailers to manage all these channels from a single dashboard. One of the biggest challenges encountered in managing the online activity is getting the product catalogue uploaded on these platforms. There is no standard taxonomy that these marketplaces and platforms have defined in case of the attributes and even for the picture format. Customers might have to fill 10 attributes for one marketplace, but may have to fill only four for the other.
This makes it difficult for the brands and retailers to manage the activities and remember all these specifications provided by them. Therefore, the Vin Lister solution aims to help the retailers digitise their catalogues. The sellers are required to fill an Excel sheet describing their products with attributes including price point, SKU, images, etc. Once the sheet is filled, it is validated by the company before pushing it to the marketplace that reduces the chances of rejection, market time and increasing the time for sale. The solution will then immediately update all the platforms making the product available for the customers as soon as possible, while maintaining the consistency of offerings and information.
“The solution, encapsulated with artificial intelligence (AI), helps in auto publishing of the catalogue to multiple marketplaces across the globe. It works on single input, multiple output algorithms that save a lot of time and help launch the online store quickly by reducing redundant efforts,” said Sachin Jain, Product Manager, Vinculum.
The other feature that the solution offers is transformation of images. As these marketplaces have different sets of guidelines for getting the pictures uploaded, the solution automatically transfers these images according to the guidelines so that no manual work needs to be done.
When it comes to how the platform works, it requires the users to login in to the application and upload the catalogue for which they have to download a category specific template. Each category of the product has a different template as there are different sets of attributes of each product. On these templates, the users are required to fill up the information as per the requirement. It is a user-friendly platform which is colour coded for describing the different attributes like mandatory and optional.
Once done, the sheets are uploaded into the platform. After this, the users are given an option to map the products individually to the set of marketplaces. Moreover, the customers can also revise the pricing specific to each marketplace, as each marketplace has a different set of customer base. Once done, the system automatically uploads these catalogues to the marketplace.
If any channel does not provide any kind of API integration, then in that case the retailers are given upload-ready Excel sheets which can be manually uploaded.
The solution is integrated with all the major marketplaces of different countries. In India, it is integrated with Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Paytm, Ajio and TataCliq. It has also collaborated with all the major marketplaces of countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and the USA.
The solution would allow retailers to have presence on all the major platforms while reducing the complexities of managing the operations. The process can automate the entire catalogue uploading and bring it down to 3-5 days from a month’s duration.
Cutting down the extra time involved in the manual processes would be mandatory for the retailers to increase their market time. Also, on this transformational journey from offline to online, the retailers need to continuously evolve themselves in order to compete with the competitors. Besides, the retailers and brands making their entry into the online business should look out for ways that can help them streamline their processes, so that the recovery can be quick.