5 minutes with: Vikram Saxena, CEO, BetterCommerce

We spoke to Vikram Saxena, the CEO of BetterCommerce, to learn his predictions for the future of AI, and his company’s role in this technology transition

Tell me about BetterCommerce, your role and your responsibilities

BetterCommerce is a leader in the provision of composable and headless e-commerce solutions for mid-market retailers. Our mission is to disrupt the legacy approach to delivering e-commerce solutions and show retailers and brands a path to scale and innovate at a pace and budget that suits them.

Our API-first approach offers flexibility to ambitious, omnichannel brands that refuse to be held back by the monolithic e-commerce technology of the past. By removing the dependencies that clog up their processes in these platforms between the front and back-end, retailers working with us enable rapid change, more effective integration with future tech like artificial intelligence and virtual or augmented reality, faster websites, radically improved customer journeys, and improved business performance. 

In real-world terms, that means we’re empowering retailers to focus on creating new, unique shopping experiences and great CX.

As CEO and Founder, I spotted a gap in the market in 2015, when it was becoming clear to me that most enterprise e-commerce platforms were either too expensive for many mid-market omnichannel retailers or simply inaccessible due to lack of skills and resources required.  I was, and am still, determined to fix that industry-wide challenge.   

How do you expect AI to transform the e-commerce industry?

The major area in which I see AI affecting retail is in the forecasting space. With the ever-increasing issues of trade across borders and the cost of living crisis, improving efficiencies around your purchasing choices will be of huge benefit. 

Having just enough stock availability will be the nirvana state, and retailers will do whatever they can to achieve that. Having dead stock is a retailer's worst nightmare, but also losing a sale because a product is not available is equally damaging. In the near future, AI will help to bridge this gap and provide real data and dynamic insights to inform decision making. 

I also often get asked about competitor pricing, and whether it can be tracked across online marketplaces. I believe that AI will also prove to be a useful enabler which will address this growing market requirement.

What role does BetterCommerce hope to have in this transition to AI-enabled tech?

We recently acquired an AI and personalisation engine, which we have made available to our clients and future customers. 

We want to play a major role in the adoption of AI enabled technology within the retail industry, and we are looking at building appropriate AI-enabled tech partnerships to enhance our current e-commerce platform proposition.  

Why did you decide to start the company? 

Back in 2015, and this is still going on, given the cost and complexity of most enterprise e-commerce platforms for mid-market omnichannel retailers, I was seeing these organisations acquiring new technology and trying to fit their business around the technology. That’s just the wrong way round. 

These ongoing issues were clearly adding complexity on top of complexity, sparking major issues when trying to unpack these spaghetti tech stacks and achieve what LOB managers really want - innovation and efficiency gains. 

In addition, in too many cases, the people who made these critical e-commerce business decisions had moved on and therefore the knowledge had left the business, which was creating the conditions for a problematic e-commerce ‘perfect storm’.  

Given this cost, complexity and skills challenge, I knew there was a far better way, and that was when BetterCommerce was born. 

What do you hope to achieve for the industry with BetterCommerce?

We are already filling an age-old e-commerce industry void of addressing the legacy e-commerce ecosystem, and are focused on delivering customisable e-commerce solutions to mid-market retailers and brands, which will enable them to scale and innovate at the pace and cost that suits them. 

Our industry-first proposition is a rejection of any kind of ‘rip and replace’ methodology, which many retailers are concerned about (and rightly so), but instead provides an evolutionary, LEGO-based approach. 

Our composable e-commerce architecture encourages retailers to start with the areas that need improvement most, which is often in the product information management arena, order processing or their customer data insights. We hope to achieve for the industry a far more pragmatic approach to e-commerce, an approach which focuses on the need to align with existing technology investments during migration, so nothing becomes redundant, cost is minimised and business performance improvements are realised.

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