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Q&A, Darpan Seth, The Tech Innovation Transforming the Retail Industry

View the original citybiz article: Q&A with Darpan Seth, Co-Founder & CEO, Nextuple On the Technology Innovation Transforming the Retail Industry

Darpan Seth is the co-founder and CEO of Nextuple, a cloud-native order & inventory management firm, empowering brands, retailers, grocers, convenience store chains, and B2B businesses to optimize omni-channel fulfillment networks and deliver exceptional customer experiences. He brings over 25 years of leadership experience in optimizing omni-channel fulfillment networks to the retail and grocery industries. At Nextuple, he has led the company’s vision and strategy since 2017. Darpan previously held executive and leadership roles at Expicient, Publicis. Sapient, and Sterling Commerce (an IBM company). As the founder of Expicient, a globally recognized omni-channel services firm specializing in inventory and order management systems (OMS), Darpan’s leadership led to its acquisition by Publicis.Sapient. He played a pivotal role in helping clients achieve accelerated global growth by realizing their omni-channel business and IT vision.

In today’s interview, we spoke with Darpan about his company’s pioneer role in transforming retail and grocery operations in the area of fulfillment and the impact it has on the everyday customers served at storefronts. We also discuss the role of AI in moving the industry forward with Nextuple’s solutions and the competitive advantages gained when retails take a “composable inventory approach”, which was also the topic of a joint IDC webinar that his company recently hosted.

Q: What is Nextuple and its pioneering role in transforming retail and grocery fulfillment? 

Darpan:  Nextuple is a software company at the forefront of revolutionizing retail, B2B and grocery fulfillment through its specialized omnichannel order management software. The flagship product, Nextuple OMS Studio, is a cutting-edge suite of microservices-based, AI-powered tools tailored for retailers and grocers. These innovative products empower businesses to seamlessly manage inventory, and handle order fulfillment across diverse channels, spanning online, in-store, and various delivery methods.

Nextuple’s pivotal role in transforming retail, B2B and grocery fulfillment stems from its commitment to providing clients with a more efficient, effective, and agile approach to modernizing legacy order management systems. Through the Nextuple OMS Studio, businesses can enhance or replace components of their existing order management processes, such as Inventory & Promising, Order Orchestration, and Store Fulfillment. This modernization equips retailers and grocers with the tools they need to adapt to evolving consumer demands, optimize operations, and deliver exceptional customer experiences in today’s dynamic marketplace.

Q: How did you get started in co-founding Nextuple?

Darpan:   The last 8-10 years have seen a proliferation of selling channels e.g. retailer ecommerce sites, marketplaces, social app based selling etc.   With Covid we saw a similar explosion of possible fulfillment choices – everything from store pickup, home delivery to lockers & pickup points.   At the center typically sits a legacy order management system – one that is hard to change, and expensive to operate.   With Cloud & AI technology we saw the opportunity to reinvent this space for agility, better business & technical performance and lower costs.  That’s why we started Nextuple. To drive innovation and agility in the order management space.

Q: Retailers are looking towards what will impact 2025. Why is this a critical time for industry leaders to get ahead of trends driving market demands with predictive promising to boost customer experience? 

Darpan:  As retailers look to improve delivery accuracy to drive conversion and customer experience, a number of solutions based on AI/ML models are coming into the market.   These models do an outstanding job of looking at past node and carrier performance and predicting what delivery promise to make.  Predictive promising allows retailers to go far deeper in specific relationships between destination, carrier, item, node, time of day, performance of node and carrier,  etc. – and make an accurate estimated delivery date promises.   Predictive promising is “leapfrog” tech for many retailers who have yet to adapt basic EDD promising and are still using shipping windows.   In our opinion this technology will gain quick adoption and retailers not providing a specific EDD on their product detail pages will be a competitive disadvantage compared to where the market is now.

Q: Based on Nextuple’s work with industry leaders from sporting goods to luxury brands, chain stores, grocery and more, what future competitive advantages can result when retailers take a ‘composable inventory’ approach?

Darpan: Composable commerce is a modern approach to systems architecture, allowing organizations to build their technology stack using the best available services rather than relying on a single monolithic system. This flexibility enables innovation and scalability, as independent modules within the stack can be enhanced and scaled as needed.

As an example, when it comes to inventory management, it’s important to understand that it’s not just one big system, but rather a collection of independent microservices. There could be a supply service to track inventory organization-wide, an availability service to match supplies with demands to compute available to promise (ATP), a safety stock service to ensure enough inventory is kept on hand, and an inventory audit service to monitor changes in supply, demand, and availability. Together, these services can create a comprehensive omni-channel inventory management system.

Q: What is the most significant way in which retailers can transform their own fulfillment with the help of AI?  

Darpan:  While omni-channel retailers initially focused on using AI for consumer-facing services like product search, pricing, and personalization, we’re now seeing AI and machine learning changing how orders are fulfilled.

Firstly, AI can help predict demand patterns by analyzing signals that were previously inaccessible such as the global economy, government policies, weather and significant events. Predicting demand accurately is crucial for placing inventory in the right locations and making optimal decisions about fulfilling orders.

Some other applications of AI in fulfillment:

– Informing stores of the safety stock they should maintain to avoid running out of products

– Giving insights to help decide where to source orders from to reduce the risk of backorders

– Improving turns by prioritizing slow moving inventory for order fulfillment

– Balancing fulfillment network’s capacity

– Carrier selection use based on past performance

– Batching orders together for the best route for picking and packing

Nextuple recently unveiled a groundbreaking AI-powered predictive order promising announcement, learn more by visiting our website.