PROFILE

Anil Patel

Founder & CEO, HotWax Commerce

Anil Patel is the founder and CEO of HotWax Commerce, a cloud-based Omnichannel Order Management solution that provides retailers with the best return on their inventory by facilitating omnichannel solutions such as same-day Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS), Buy Online Return In Store (BORIS), Ship From Stores, Pre-Order management and Store Fulfillment to increase conversion rates and profitability.

Anil Patel brings over 25 years of business and technology experience having led award-winning development projects for Quest Telecom, Volvo Commercial Finance, US Bank, Herman Miller, Cabi, United Airlines, and many more. As CEO of HotWax, Mr. Patel works closely with CDOs and CMOs of fashion brands to deliver a unified commerce experience and delight consumers across the globe. Outside of the corporate world, Mr. Patel is deeply engaged in his community, leading the Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) initiative in India.

To learn more, visit: hotwax.co

Anil Patel is the founder and CEO of HotWax Commerce is a cloud-based Omnichannel Order Management solution that provides retailers with the best return on their inventory by facilitating omnichannel solutions such as same-day Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS), Buy Online Return In Store (BORIS), Ship From Stores, and Pre-Order management to increase conversion rates and profitability. Anil Patel brings over 25 years of business and technology experience having led award-winning development projects for Quest Telecom, Volvo Commercial Finance, US Bank, Herman Miller, Cabi, United Airlines, and many more. As CEO of HotWax, Mr. Patel works closely with CDOs and CMOs of fashion brands to deliver a unified commerce experience and delight consumers across the globe. Outside of the corporate world, Mr. Patel is deeply engaged in his community, leading the Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) initiative in India.
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  • Posted on: 01/17/2022

    Wellness has become fashionable at Saks

    As a result of the pandemic, many customers have become more aware of what truly matters in their lives: health and wellness. This has, unsurprisingly, resulted in an increase in demand for wellness products. Retailers were undoubtedly quick to seize this opportunity, and they have tailored their offerings to meet the needs of their target segment. Additionally, retailers can provide product expert assistance to their customers while they are browsing the products in-store. This expert assistance will not only improve the shopping experience of customers but will also provide an opportunity to up-sell and cross-sell other products.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2022

    Are AI-powered customer service agents already human enough?

    Organizations are becoming more customer-centric. So, if AI-powered customer service agents add more value to the customer experience, that's what businesses will want. I believe it is critical to focus on how new technological capabilities solve customer problems and improve their experience. This can help increase customer loyalty and, as a result, stakeholder confidence in the company. There is no doubt that AI-powered customer service agents will be preferred in the near future as long as they serve the aforementioned purpose.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2022

    Has BOPIS lost its pandemic boost?

    Any strategy, no matter how good, is only as good as its execution. I believe the problem is not that the BOPIS as a strategy is ineffective. Rather, it's the implementation of the strategy that has caused the problem. Many retailers have been ignoring the actual pain points of the customers, i.e. product availability and wait time during order pick up. Studies have shown that retailers, more than one-third of the time, cannot answer if they have the accurate inventory in stock or not. Customers may visit the store to pick up orders only to find out that the product is not available in the store. Another obstacle is delayed picking and packing of BOPIS orders. Because BOPIS is a promise of speed, making customers wait will not bode well for this strategy. If you don't believe me, look at Target's most recent earnings report. Target's digital sales increased by 102 % between November and December. Same-day services such as BOPIS increased 212%, and stores fulfilled more than 95% of the retailer's Q4 sales. What did Target do differently? They are doing BOPIS the way it SHOULD be done. Target has made it highly convenient for customers to BO and PIS and its customers are continuing to love BOPIS just as much, if not more than they did during COVID.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2022

    Reality hits omnichannel retail with a hard truth

    A customer never cares enough if the customer service is handled by a bot or a human. The only thing that matters is the quality of the experience: was it unpleasant or worthwhile, and how quickly the problem was resolved. It's hard to provide seamless customer experiences through separate physical and digital processes. Customer experience is more about the whole brand experience than operational efficiency. And, in order to provide a positive brand experience, each and every team member, whether in digital or physical operations, must be onboard with brand initiatives and customer values. Brands must also keep in mind that they are giving a vision, not just an experience.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2022

    Will JD.com’s robotic shops shake up retailing in the West?

    Automation allows for predictability, and it's a lot of fun to watch robot arms pick and pack your orders. Besides that, because shopping is a social activity, the ochama store concept can provide a unique and entertaining experience for JD.com customers. Fun activities, on the other hand, are exciting because they are uncommon in our daily lives. Similarly, not all customers will want to see the picking and packing of their online orders. Most of the time, they just want to get in, pick up their order, and get out as soon as possible. This is why I believe the ochama concept is not the next-gen of retailing. For Ochama stores, the US market will be just as appealing as the Dutch market. The desire of Americans to see innovation in action, as well as demographics, will both benefit JD. com's ochama stores.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2022

    More Americans are making Target runs

    As consumers are becoming more digital savvy, they want convenience and speed in all aspects of their shopping experience. Customers also want all product-related information in their hands. This is what Target truly excels at. Their self-help digital query resolution system enables faster communication and reduces query-response time. This level of sophistication in customer interactions keeps customers coming back for more. And I believe this is one of the primary reasons for Target's success in attracting customers to their stores. Target’s journey to omnichannel is inspiring. Retailers across the industry can learn a lot to help them advance in their omnichannel journeys. We, as retail experts rely on half-baked data and analysis to draw conclusions. So I feel it wouldn’t be right to tell them how to improve their performance. If given the opportunity, I'd rather they educate retailers and retail experts on how to do our jobs better.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2022

    What tech must restaurants put on their menu of services?

    Absolutely. Every person, be it Gen Z or a millennial or senior citizen, has reached a certain level of digital acceptance and expects digital capabilities to do basic tasks like order and pay while sitting in a restaurant. The QR code-based menu is not only easy to use but also reduces the waiting time. Moreover, with QR-based solutions, restaurant owners and staff can automate the workflow and leave the applications to do all the hard work while focussing more on things that interest their customers and help serve them better. Restaurant staff can increase their productivity and customer satisfaction by delivering superior customer engagement and reducing errors. Pay-at-table is a growing trend that needs more adoption. At present, most restaurants have waiters who arrive at the tables with QR codes for payment and bills or a credit card machine for payment. Pay-at-table will cut down this waiting time at restaurants having loud music and noise.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2022

    Are brand and product messages in conflict?

    Customers don’t align with the product much. They align with the brand’s mission statement. Conflict arises when you fail to justify the' why' behind a brand's offering and focus solely on product marketing. And Starbucks is the best example of this. We all know why Howard Schultz had to return to Starbucks after 8 long years of stepping down. Customers had stopped relating to the product due to price despite claims of the product being unbeatable. I remember Schultz saying, “Success is shallow if it doesn’t have emotional meaning,” and that’s where brand marketing came in handy. You have to have complete trust in your core reason for being. Purpose-driven positioning can play into marketing decisions only when the leadership team gets the brand's essence. You need to define 'what you stand for' and stick to it. In the Starbucks example, another reason for the downfall was that the new leader failed to get the real essence of the brand. The new leadership team needed to pick the original ideas and values that Schultz had used to start the company and gain customers’ trust. Without sticking to your original mission, it’s not possible to become a people-based brand.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2022

    New research shows strong influence of digital coupons

    Given that the vast majority of today's consumers are tech-savvy, digital coupons are surely more effective than paper coupons. However, we cannot deny the fact that a portion of our customers still prefers paper coupons. As a result, marketers must embrace digital coupons, but they must also ensure that they resonate with consumers who prefer physical coupons. Despite our society's technological advancements, making mobile payments in the United States remains tough. In my experience, American Eagle Outfitters, a brand that caters to youthful clients, refused to take mobile payments. On the other hand, mobile payments at Costco are as easy as a breeze. This, in my opinion, is the most difficult challenge for digital coupons.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2022

    What new worker challenges does the Omicron variant present?

    People have become tired of adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. During the first and second waves, people believed that they will be free to live the way they want in a matter of days. People are less willing to accept COVID-19 guidelines this time around. In my opinion, retailers can have more control over social distancing between employees and customers. Buy Online, Pick Up In Store, and Curbside Pick Up have shown to be highly efficient in ensuring a positive customer experience and safety. Early adopters of these strategies, such as Walmart and Target, have achieved excellent results. It is high time for retailers to embrace omnichannel strategies since there is no other way to compete in today's highly competitive retail environment.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2021

    Should DoorDash make all workers do deliveries?

    Making your employees experience the customer's side of the story can be a great way to improve your products and services. However, it must begin with clear communication of the goal of such activities. Employees will not be motivated to participate in these projects if they are FORCED to do so. However, if they believe in the concept and are willing to participate, the exercise can provide an advantage over the competition. Employees must believe in the effectiveness of knowing your customers' pain points, or else it will be a pointless exercise.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2021

    Will in-car ordering reinvent the drive-thru?

    The major challenge with drive-thru was space. During the busy hours, cars would pile up outside the drive-thru which is no good for either the QSR or the customer experience. Smartphone ordering was able to solve this problem to a certain extent. However, due to traffic regulations, it is not advisable to order while driving. But with in-car voice ordering, customers can utilize their commute time to finish grocery shopping or order food in advance so that it is ready just in time before you reach the QSR to pick it up.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2021

    Should customers be offered discounts to keep returns?

    Discounts are no solution to the problem of returns. They can help retailers save money on reverse logistics, but chances are that these discounts will increase customer return fraud and abuse. So if retailers give discounts then I think customers would wind up paying more for their purchases. Because retailers will not reduce their profit margins to meet the cost of these discounts. Instead, they will increase product prices. Retailers have nothing to lose in this situation because they can avoid the trouble of reverse logistics while improving customers' shopping experience and increase profits. However, I firmly disagree with such practices because there are better alternatives such as better size charts.
  • Posted on: 12/23/2021

    Do farmers markets need to be reinvented for the digital age?

    Farmers' markets are more than simply a place to buy veggies; they are a ritual. Customers like interacting with the farmers, snacking, and going back home with fresh fruits and veggies. However, there has been no substantial development in the digitization of farmers' markets. One of the major challenges in bringing farmers online is the tech snag which can be overcome by connecting farmers with marketplaces. There are various online and offline platforms that connect farmers and customers. Customers benefit from quick access to fresh agricultural products, while farmers get a bigger audience to do business with. eCommerce platforms like Shopify can also help in enabling small and medium farmers to have an online presence and market their products directly to their customers at a very minimum cost. With a good eCom presence, Farmers can also offer BOPIS (Buy Online Pick Up In Store). It is a great strategy that allows customers to explore the products online, go to the farmers' market to pick up the fresh product, delivering both immediate gratification and the joy of exploring the market.
  • Posted on: 12/23/2021

    Will localized e-commerce work for malls?

    Localized online mall marketplaces present a great opportunity, but they also come with a slew of obstacles. Legacy POS systems, inaccurate inventory, and an unwillingness to adapt are just a few of the major hurdles in this quest. Retailers have failed to overcome these issues with their own brands, therefore I'm curious how Mall of America would be able to bring together so many diverse brands on the same platform. Tenants, in my opinion, should welcome this opportunity because it has everything nice in it. They should go beyond profit margins and broaden their horizons to realize the incredible benefits of a localized online marketplace.

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