CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Prem Bhatia, Co-Founder and CEO, GRAAS
1. What inspired you to start a technology solution provider for eCommerce, and how did you get started?
Having been associated with the Martech sector as advisors and investors for a long time, my co-founder and I have had a close view of the industry. In particular, we have seen the biggest challenges faced by eCommerce CXOs today as they attempt to scale, while being profitable. We strongly believe that data is at the heart of solving this issue. We built Graas with a simple vision – to drive growth for eCommerce businesses using advanced AI technologies, resulting in direct bottom line impact. We raised over US$50M in our Series A funding round, as part of our fast go-to-market strategy in the region, we acquired a D2C and data specialist in India and a marketplace specialist in Southeast Asia. This allowed us to make a swift entry into the market by integrating their technologies and expertise, and leveraging their client base.
2. What makes your AI-backed technology different from other solutions available in the market?
As a brand’s business scales, it is very hard to track, analyze and optimize operations manually. Building complex in house AI systems is an expensive and resource intensive process. With Graas’ Growth as a Service solution, this technology is accessible to all brands, large and small. Graas is the only AI engine that covers the entire eCommerce business, end-to-end. Graas uses machine-learning algorithms to execute data-driven recommendations for brands across storefronts (marketplaces, brand.coms), ads, inventory management, warehousing and last mile logistics. We believe this is a multi-billion dollar opportunity that integrates AI, eCommerce, adtech and fintech with the objective of helping eCommerce brands scale and protect their margins.
3. What are the biggest challenges that e-commerce businesses face today, and how does your technology help overcome them?
In the last decade or so, eCommerce has evolved significantly in India. Many new age, digital first brands have emerged on the scene, even as traditional, offline brands have taken to eCommerce. Customers today are spoilt for choice, and this poses a big challenge for brands. In order to attract and acquire customers, brands have to be visible – across all the channels that a potential customer might be exposed to, be it search, social media or marketplaces. Between marketing costs and marketplace commissions, brands’ margins are under threat. Not to forget, the input costs and supply chain costs, which have also been impacted by global macroeconomic headwinds and geopolitical tensions.
In such a scenario, leveraging data and technology to optimize operations and costs becomes critical for brands who want to stay competitive. With our plug- and-play algorithmic solution, brands can identify growth drivers and take informed decisions and act in real time.
4. How does your AI-backed technology help e-commerce businesses increase their sales and revenue?
Algorithmic eCommerce works by aggregating and consolidating data from various sources such as storefront, ads platform, inventory and logistics systems, into a single pool. It then uses AI to analyze and interpret the trends and patterns. Based on this, it can derive actionable recommendations. For example, it can monitor campaigns and make recommendations on whether budgets should be increased or lowered for a certain campaign. It not only considers historical sales for the product and seasonal/ geographical demand, but also current buying patterns as well as inventory levels. Based on the same data, it can also recommend pricing and promotion tactics. With eCommerce businesses becoming more and more complex, it would be difficult to connect the dots manually. This ability of an AI engine to correlate different dimensions and enable brands to make decisions in real time can significantly impact sales and revenue.
5. How do you ensure the security and privacy of the data that your technology collects and uses?
Data is the backbone of all businesses, and therefore we give utmost importance to data security and accuracy. Graas collects data directly from the client’s data sources using standard APIs, thus ensuring maximum precision and protection. The data is stored in a private database on the cloud. The highest standards and security protocols are followed to eliminate the risk of threats. We are ISO27001 and SOC2 certified.
6. What do you see as the future of e-commerce, and how do you envision your technology evolving to meet the changing needs of businesses?
As business becomes more complex and data explodes, the key to unlocking growth will lie in AI. The use of AI in eCommerce can massively reduce dependency brands have on other resources to get the same level of productivity. Going forward, algorithmic eCommerce will become critical for brands to thrive in this highly competitive landscape and protect their margins. At Graas, we are focused on accelerating our growth in the markets we operate in and bringing our solution to more brands, big and small.