PlumSlice Labs: Addressing Missed Opportunities in Digital Commerce Realm with a Fresh Perspective

Date:   Tuesday , March 15, 2016

As ridiculous as it might sound, people nowadays utilize digital commerce to buy & sell almost everything including cow dung (true story!). This is yet another evidence to the fact that digital commerce is embraced by almost all demography across the globe and is emerging as an inevitable phenomenon for organizations of all sizes. Success in this environment comes down to being relevant; both business-to-consumer and business-to-business e-Commerce sites today must accommodate with relevant data for e-Commerce, mobile, print, stores, marketplaces, search engines, media partners, ad partners, X-sell and up sell partners among others. Also, with most companies having internal and extended teams including suppliers across the globe, the need for highly collaborative workflows related to product selection and supplier management has never been greater than now.

The sheer volume of product content as well as number of internal and external partners needed to create and manage this data has grown over tenfold in the last few years. To meet the ever-increasing expectations for a customer\'s experience, the sites need to contain relevant videos, descriptions, specifications, attributes, multiple images showing specifications, action shots, rotation, reviews, SEO info and X-up sell data. As this overwhelming volume of data and manual processes are being managed in silos via emails and spreadsheets by multiple internal & external teams, inconsistent and incorrect content get sent to various customer facing outlets, due to lack of ownership and communication issues. e-Commerce site operators know that incorrect or inconsistent customer-facing data is a major contributor to site abandonment and low conversion rates. In contrast to most existing solutions that are focused on old school siloed brick-and-mortar support around managing data and processes, PlumSlice solutions are built on a foundation of cross-functional collaborative workflow frameworks and automated data governance.

Led by Veterans

Nurtured by a team of e-Commerce and technology veterans who lived through these problems over and over again, PlumSlice is revolutionizing enterprise workflow and data management to vanquish these hardships. Being industry\'s first holistic retail product cloud offering, this San Francisco headquartered company has opened up a new space for omni-channel and e-Commerce companies with an ecosystem that fully integrates web and mobile collaboration tools with key functionality needed in today\'s evolved landscape. PlumSlice offers a framework for a distributed cloud-based workflow model to clean up, manage, and centralize access to product information and other backend processes including product selection and supplier collaboration to support commerce across sales channels and external marketplaces.

Built very recently from the ground up, this January 2016 launched ecosystem is comprised of the latest UI design trends & integration architecture, powerful yet lightweight collaboration based tools, best-in-class technology (ROR, Java, Hadoop) and solution suite built with SOA and Native Integration Points. Better yet, reflecting the evolving nature of digital commerce, the suite is being chiseled constantly with an evolving roadmap. Besides the management\'s deep domain expertise and a clear customer viewpoint, the phenomenon that sets PlumSlice far from its rivals is its elegantly configurable enterprise SaaS software with faster implementation rate that places limited demands on client\'s resources, not to mention that it is offered at a much lower cost. \"Our partnerships with several ERP and e-Commerce platforms, such as Demandware, Marketlive, Magento, Shopify, and Amazon Web Services allow nearly seamless integration and implementation,\" affirms Abnesh Raina, CEO & Founder, PlumSlice Labs.

A Fresh Cut on e-Commerce Solutions

True to its name, PlumSlice offers a fresh cut on solutions for digital commerce. Its advanced mapping tools and smart algorithms based on customer-defined processes automate or streamline tedious decisions, thus enabling organizations to focus on more important tasks. They can implement limits and rules based on their mapping, so data is consistently flaw-free and high quality. For instance, they can set parameters to limit what items can go on sale and by how much. Capturing more than just data to endow customers with useful, understandable and actionable insights, PlumSlice derives meaningful data from multiple tradeshows, vendor displays, suppliers and internal teams, so they can cull the products that their customers would hanker after and add it to their product line. With these highly scalableapplications, organizations can either stay nimble by using just the required modules or leverage true integration points by utilizing the entire PlumSlice Collaboration Suite.

PlumSlice Product Collaboration Cloud - A Holistic Ecosystem

PlumSlice\'s PIM+ Framework addresses product data workflow, governance, and distribution issues across multiple sales channels, marketplaces and other outlets. SELECT provides a highly mobile enterprise-level ability to identify, collaborate, negotiate terms and then approve for purchase specific items for the assortment. Its DEVELOP (PLM tool for SME retailers) module addressesthe communication/collaboration issues impacting enterprise productivity around Product Management. With RESEARCH, PlumSlice offers a unique analyticsmodule which leveraging big data to identify linkages between structured & unstructured data relating to products. RESEARCH module has 70+ pre-enabled widgets, facilitating organizations to track and compare products\' success & movements, follow latest trends & market search patterns and track customer sentiment information and behaviour. Optimizing inventory investments, Assortment Planning enables collaborative workflow within a module designed to create flexible assortment plans, adapting to the changing parameters influencing commerce today. PlumSlice\'s Digital Asset Management helps manage product\'s digital assets on cloud including images and videos of the products.

PlumSlice Supplier Collaboration Cloud - Addressing Gaps in Product Visibility

Automating both the \'endless aisle\' and distributed order handling, DROPSHIP module helps to expand product offering, decrease inventory carrying costs, speed time to market, thus enabling faster revenue recognition. VENDOR PORTAL with secure real-time transaction reporting facility helps organizations to collaborate with vendors online effortlessly. Organizations tend to lose visibility to a product after it is approved for purchase. Vendor Portal replaces email, spreadsheets and notes by creating a single access point capturing quotes, orders shipments and receipts.

By leveraging the latest developments in cloud collaboration, big data and mobile business technology, PlumSlice provides a suite of web and mobile apps to help retailers make workflow and collaboration easy at all stages of product management including Product Research & Conceptualization, Product Selection & Development, Product Information & Digital Asset Management and Product Distribution. It easily unites all involved players (internal employees, vendors, content providers) as a single highly productive team. \"As Product hierarchy level rules govern data and process quality, consistent content gets disseminated to various outlets with right products being sold in right markets. Both the internal & external teams see and update the same set of information based on access levels,\" explains Bhargav Shah, Head of India Operations, PlumSlice Labs.

Driving Industry Thought Leadership

Conceptualized the need for Product Cloud back in 2010, Abnesh crafted initial designs at home working part time. Successfully completing the initial product designs after scrutinizing six focus groups conducted withindividuals from top retailers including Macys, Nike, Levis and Big 5 Sporting Goods, he started to develop the application suitewith engineering team based in India. In 2013, Abnesh didn\'t stop with hiring ROR, Java, mobile and big data engineers, but also invited Robin Robinson (VP - Customer Success), to leverage her15 years of her experience in retail industry processes and challenges.

Soon thereafter it signed up paying beta customers as well as established integration partnerships with the likes of Demandware, Magento, MarketLive, and Shopify, as PlumSlice completed its Product Development in 2014. PlumSlice started out with the game plan of building a digital commerce ecosystem application suite with four core applications. However, as the company was signing up more and more customers, it ended up adding eight point solutions to alleviate developing and critical needs across multiple clients. Though the product platform was launched in January 2016, PlumSlice signed up numerous paying pilot customers across multiple geographies, various sizes, and verticals including Container Store, Sport Chalet, Eastern Mountain Sports, BIBA, and Farmacorp to name a few. The company startedgeneratingrevenue run rate of $2.5 million in short span of time, brought aboard Don Delzell as COO to utilize his 30 years of management experience in omni-channel retail, consulting, and solution partners to retail.

Noting that PlumSlice is capable of establishing credibility by driving industry thought leadership, the company hasn\'t felt the need to hire a sales team so far. Abnesh has shared his insight in numerous conferences including Merchandising Conference, MobileCON Silicon Valley, IRF Mumbai, TiE Global Annual Conference among many others. Chosen as one of the Top 20 Most Promising Retail Solutions by SITech20 and CIO Review, the companythat spreads its valuable thoughts via its informative blog also gets its articles published on online and mainstream media. PlumSlice\'s veteran team (that has worked for Restoration Hardware, Best Buy, Neiman Marcus and Williams-Sonoma) has also penned a couple of ebooks - \'Get Clear on the Cloud\' and \'Taking The Pain Out of Peak Planning: Your Game Plan for Surviving the Ecommerce Crush\', which can be downloaded from their website.

New Mountains to Climb

The opportunity to rub shoulders with top-tier clientele, play with bleeding-edge technologies and work on-site keeps the 80+ full time retail/e-Commerce specialists at PlumSlice on their toes. Wholeheartedly striving to add value to customers, they undergo powerful cross-training sessions. PlumSlice aims to establish itself as Digital Commerce thought leader in the Industry continuing with current strategy of article publications, speaking engagements, webinars and so on. The company will continue to target mid-sized companies with revenues $50 million - $3 billion as primary customers. PlumSlice intends to continue to serve the evolving needs of industry with its three offerings namely Product Collaboration, Supplier Collaboration and Analytics. The company anticipates launching its thisFebruary.Having indomitable solutions and thought leaders akin to Abnesh at the helm, PlumSlice is creating positive ripples and displays no signs of exhaustion in future ahead.