We are excited and anticipating our upcoming Digital Retail and Marketing Transformation Assemblies, taking place in Dallas on August 27th-28th. In the run-up to the event, we sat down with Arish Ali, Co-founder, and CEO of Skava to gain a first-hand look and perspective on the retail industry as it is today.
What do you believe are the new priorities of retailers in the “new generation of modern commerce?”
Retailers need to be obsessed with closing customer experience gaps. Consistent experiences in-store and online, omnichannel customer support, fast loading websites and apps, products in-stock and fast and free shipping are what customers care about. These “new” priorities are of course old priorities — but many retailers still struggle to satisfy the basics.
Retailers also need to be obsessed with new customer acquisition. Customer loyalty in a world with instant access to unlimited choice and heavy competition won’t keep a retailer alive without a steady stream of new customers at all times. Continual testing and optimization of customer acquisition tactics, from SEO and paid search to co-marketing, social and influencer marketing, affiliate and content marketing is vital and must be carefully balanced against discount strategies.
Skava started in 2002 as a mobile apps company and has evolved ever since. What has been the most exciting part of the journey?
Working with our customers on their mobile commerce applications in the early 2000s, we saw that time and again customers were simplifying their requirements to meet limitations of their monolithic legacy platforms. We understood early on that by applying our architecture expertise in microservices to the commerce platform space we would have an outsized impact on our customers’ success. We spent the time and money to build the most flexible and modular commerce system on the market, Skava Commerce, and it has been a game changer for our clients.
How important is it for retailers to adapt to the modern age we live in today, especially being flexible when it comes to e-commerce?
Customers have so many options of where to shop online. What we feel will separate the winners from the losers is their ability to move rapidly to satisfy changing customers needs. The flexibility to build, test and deploy innovative features while still maintaining day-to-day store operations is at the core of what we offer at Skava – a microservices based platform that is designed to encourage evolution and experimentation to keep your store fresh and engaging.
Where do you see the retail industry heading in the next 5 years, and why?
We’re going to see some exciting things with AI and merchandising — not just through a digital storefront, but all the way up the production chain. For example, clothing retailer Myntra uses AIs to design new products, and its best selling tee is one of these designs. Many consider creative work as untouchable by AI, but in reality, it’s already happening. Think about how “fast fashion” has disrupted traditional apparel production. Fast fashion works today by humans observing social trends and engaging the customer rather than planning seasons in advance. When AIs can apply sentiment analysis and crunch zillions of data points across social networks, they will do an even better job at not only getting the product right but predicting the quantity that will sell, thus how much supply to produce to optimize profit.
We are so excited to have Skava join us for our Digital Retail Transformation Assembly in August. Can you give us a preview of we will learn from Skava?
We are very excited to be introducing the 8.0 version of our Skava Commerce platform. We are launching a host of new features to make Skava the best choice for retailers – from improved B2B functionality to the improved deployment flexibility of our microservices. Skava is continually evolving and growing to meet online commerce’s changing needs.
Arish is the CEO and co-founder of Skava, an industry leader in providing innovative modular e-commerce solutions. Prior to founding Skava, Arish worked at Brience and Microsoft. Arish received his Bachelor of Technology from Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and a Master’s from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Skava’s cloud-native commerce platform, Skava Commerce, uses microservices-based technology to help retailers and enterprise-sized companies quickly create personalized omnichannel experiences. Businesses can deploy our full platform or choose only the components they need to enhance their existing digital commerce stack. Skava’s modular architecture enables brands to continuously innovate, accelerate time to market, and delight customers with fewer resources. Category leaders and Fortune 500 companies make up Skava’s customer roster which includes Kraft Heinz, Barnes & Noble, T-Mobile, Urban Outfitters, and many more.
Headquartered in San Francisco, the company has offices in Europe and India. To learn more, please visit Skava.com.
C-Level experts from across North America’s retail industry are coming together in Dallas next August to anticipate the highly complex digital retail environment that will develop over the next few years.
Through a cutting-edge program designed by the industry, for the industry, we will provide a fresh and up-to-date insight to help move your organization to the next level of digital leadership. A series of executive education roundtables, keynote presentations, collaborative think tanks, educational workshops, and networking sessions will offer industry-specific topics and trends to ensure your company sustains its competitive advantage.