Wayne Gretzky, a Canadian professional ice hockey player, once said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” That’s the sort of foresight and ambition Anchanto has. The Singapore-based startup founded in mid-2011, which provides brick-and-mortar retailers a warehouse and logistics platform to kickstart both on web and mobile channels, just raised a six-digit seed funding from a group of investors.
Released in Oct 2012, Anchanto’s e-commerce platform, named Fast Commerce (FACO) allowed retailers to better manage their backend applications with modules like Order Management System, Inventory System, Order Verification App, GST Exports and real-time inventory view. By having logistics operations set up in Singapore with a delivery capacity of 1,200 orders per months as of June 2013, Anchanto is able to target large retailers with a presence across malls locally. These retailers typically have more than 2,000 stock keeping units (SKU).
In fact, their first offering for big retailers has already gone live with Eu Yan Sang’s myLifeInc.me. There are currently two small online businesses still in test mode. Available to businesses on a revenue-sharing basis, Anchanto takes care of backend services so the retailers can focus on issues like marketing, customer engagement and sales.
After FACO, it seems the team at Anchanto wants to skate to where the puck is, again. They will be launching their second offering, named Ship.Li, this August 8. CEO Vaibhav Dabhade joked that after living in Singapore for 10 years, he knows the importance of launching a product on an auspicious date — the number “8” sounds like the Chinese character for prosperity.
Many small and medium brick-and-mortar stores are still not on the web, citing the lack of means to market in a overly saturated market online as a reason. Ship.Li is a unique platform which helps these businesses get on the Internet without having to put aside a big amount of money or time. Vaibhav said, “[W]e have secured several specialty retail and brand partnerships till date. Anchanto’s second platform, Ship.Li, will encourage the offline retailers or SMEs to additionally push their inventory online without jeopardizing their offline presence.”
The entire registration process is enabled through its business iOS app and on the web. After verification, which might take a few hours, the retailer is then enabled to upload inventory using a a simple tool named “in-store-inventory-digitizer”. As these traditional retailers have their own shop fronts in malls to store inventory, customers can choose to buy online and ship to their doorsteps, or collect from a particular store.
Vaibhav shared that in the next six months, they are planning to extend both platforms to four to five retailers. “We are in discussions to build partnerships with few players and investors to commence our offerings in countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong. We have also partnered with BlackBerry to bring in the mobile application for this platform on their new 10-series devices.”
In this day and age of massive data consumption, enterprises are always looking to understand their consumers through analytics. FACO, the Singapore-based startup’s first offering, comes with an optional module named “Trend Analytics”.
Vaibhav said that this module combines sales transactions and viewing or browsing data to churn out meaningful trend information. He added, “Of course, it does not predict the trend six months down the line but gives great idea to marketers about what is browsing and purchasing trend now.” For example, product designers or buyers can make more informed choices when faced with product information attributing color, design and other variables.”
The second offering, Ship.Li treats analytics even more seriously. In fact, Vaibhav said that it is one of the key sticking points to retaining existing retailers. They monitor a range of business key performance indicators (KPI) and will be working to integrate drag-and-drop analytics capability for their partners.