Chris Petersen & Adam Simon interview Nitin Chhabra, CEO Ace Turtle
As part of our continuing series examining a wide range of collaborative ecosystems, we are examining the transformation of the supply chain and the role of the distributor. The rising expectations of consumers are creating stress points on logistics and profitability for both retailers and brands. Fulfilment the last mile is not only a requirement of the new retail ecosystem, distributors must now emerge as innovation partners that create strategic opportunities for both retailers and brands.
As strategic collaboration evolves worldwide, new models and opportunities are emerging to adapt to the unique ecosystem needs by region. While retail has many common themes, countries like India and the APAC region pose unique challenges and opportunities. We were excited to have an opportunity to interview Nitin Chhabra, CEO of Ace Turtle. Mr. Chhabra shared his point of view on the changing role of distributors, and the innovative omnichannel approach of Ace Turtle in the APAC region.
Distributor transformation as the hub of omnichannel collaboration
Our speaker representing a distributor’s point of view at the upcoming CEO breakfast at CES, is Nitin Chhabra, CEO of Ace Turtle. Ace Turtle has pioneered new platforms and services for both brands and retailers executing omnichannel in APAC. Mr. Chhabra will share his perspectives on new roles and opportunities for distributors as collaborators, and as strategic platforms in the new retail ecosystem.
How is India both different and similar to retail in Europe and the US?
India is a country that never really had catalogue and mail order retail well established. India and much of APAC retail was built from a heritage of small local shops and physical marketplaces. As ecommerce now attracts more Indian shoppers, the physical marketplaces have literally become marketplaces online.
In today’s retail marketplace, India is not that different from any other region. Shoppers have become more omnichannel, expecting to be able to shop anytime and everywhere. That creates a challenge of now needing logistics to get the supply the last mile to the shops, and to the customer’s door. We see that as a major opportunity and differentiator for Ace Turtle.
So, how do you see your role in this new omnichannel ecosystem?
We no longer describe Ace Turtle as a “distributor”. We describe our role and services as a platform for integration of offline and online retail. Ace Turtle is the platform that connects brands with consumers. We make consumption possible at the local level efficient. Yes, we still offer warehousing, logistics and shipping services. However, all of these services are integrated within a collective platform to get products into the hands of consumers in the most efficient way possible.
So how do you collaborate strategically with brands?
India is a vast country, but with no large retail chains that cover the entire country like in Europe or the US. As a result, brands had to open their own stores. Many of these stores are franchisees. With omnichannel consumers now seeing all the products available online, they expect more from local stores. They also expect local delivery options. Consumers care about the products they want, not the formats. Therefore, brands need a partner to optimize distribution, with local fulfilment efficiency.
Ace Turtle works with brands to optimize supply across formats to most efficiently reach customers. Our platform evaluates and allocates who ships based upon more than 40 different factors, including: nature of product, size, presence in market, distribution footprint, proximity to consumers etc. Through our platform and services, we connect the brand with the purchase opportunity, then optimize supply, and ultimately create the shortest path to fulfilment.
How do you collaborate with retailers and how do they benefit?
In India today, retailers are facing rising omnichannel expectations from consumers. We use a diagram to illustrate the complexity of meeting the consumers shopping and fulfilment needs anytime and everywhere across many formats in a vast geography.
Through our cloud-based platform, we enable retailers to engage consumers across many channels, through multiple devices, and optimize supply by proximity to the consumer. We not only optimize opportunities for click and collect in store, but we help retailers efficiently fulfil locally by enabling shipment of products from their stores to the customers door.
What are your critical success factors for strategic collaboration?
The age of the distributor as the “box mover” is past. Ace Turtle believes that distributors must innovate and transform to a new role of being the hub, portal and platform that “enables brands and retailers to capitalize on omnichannel opportunities”.
All partners must collectively approach collaboration as an ecosystem that focuses on providing consumer centric, end-to-end solutions. In order to achieve that, a major success factor that enables optimized supply and fulfilment is shared data, analytics and visibility on a common platform, with joint metrics focused on results that count for all partners.
If you would like to hear more from Nitin Chhabra, he will be a keynote speaker at the ContextWorld CES CEO Breakfast, January 11, 2018
Chris Petersen and Adam Simon are collaborating on a series of blogs that explore the rise of strategic collaboration and new customer centric ecosystems. This blog series will culminate with a worldwide panel discussion at the ContextWorld CES CEO Breakfast, where a global Brand, Distributor and Retailer will share their perspectives on strategic collaboration.