Suresh Chaganti

Co-Founder and Executive Partner, VectorScient

Having spent 20+ years in consulting and technology leadership roles across multiple industry verticals that encompass the entire consumer value chain — Omni-Channel Retail, E-Commerce,  Distribution, Manufacturing, Market Research — Suresh brings fresh and well thought out perspectives.

Suresh implemented multiple ERP, CRM and Warehouse Management systems, along with rolling out new sales channels in a variety of retail marketplaces such as Macy’s, Amazon Vendor Central, Amazon Seller Central, and Fulfilled by Amazon.

Suresh co-founded VectorScient, a Predictive Analytics software for Retail and Distributors.

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  • Posted on: 06/18/2021

    Will ‘less is more’ or ‘more is better’ online merchandising drive bigger sales?

    The Paradox of Choice is real. But it is also true that many brands have created browse, search, and discovery experiences that are a joy to use. The problem is for retailers who don't put in much thought and just add items to their website. Irrelevant results, poor descriptions, lack of associations with related products, lack of product photography - each one of these increases the frustration and angst when there are too many products to review.
  • Posted on: 06/18/2021

    Retailers must centralize their data to thrive

    A single view of the data is critical. But physical centralization is not the only way. The critical aspect is to assure consistency and quality of data capture. If pen and paper are used, replace them with tablets. If free text fields are used, minimize them and use drop downs or a list of values. The key is you must make the data usable before you can make it useful. One thing for the practitioners to watch out for is the "boiling the ocean" effect. Centralization projects sound good in theory, but the constraints are not just technical. Who owns the data, who has the right to update the data? Who needs to be consulted or just informed? In short, the whole data governance dictates the success of data projects.
  • Posted on: 06/17/2021

    Walgreens inks a deal with Uber Eats to expand same-day deliveries

    DoorDash also started doing regular retail deliveries. From the point of view of delivery service providers, non-restaurant deliveries are far easier to do - there is less time sensitivity (no one is hungry and angry), the food will not go cold, and there are fewer wait times in peak periods. Retailers have to give delivery options to customers to protect the revenue. Someone like Walgreens has enough analytics capability to understand the immediate impact on margins as well as the strategic impact. Smaller retailers may not have either, or the ability to increase prices to offset.
  • Posted on: 06/17/2021

    What does it take to make omnichannel marketing work?

    There are a few things marketers need to keep in mind. Marketers who obsess about accurate attribution are chasing their tails and losing the big picture. A typical user is on multiple devices; some with ad-blockers, some that do not track activity, and some users have exposure to television or out-of-home advertising. Chasing 100 percent accuracy will lead to analysis paralysis. Machine learning models can give pretty robust predictive recommendations and they should be used. Understanding the source of customers and their impact on lifetime value is most beneficial. Are the customers coming during a holiday period less valuable? Are the customers who sign up for newsletters more valuable? Is a particular affiliate providing high valued customers?
  • Posted on: 06/09/2021

    Did the pandemic fundamentally shift retailer/vendor relationships?

    It’s a business negotiation. Vendor squeeze is fairly common. The same applies on the other side as well. Plenty of vendors ask for pre-payment or advances, particularly for new customers when shipping from overseas. Even Macy’s is probably doing it to vendors that it can get away with and prioritizing certain vendors. It is Accounts Payable 101.
  • Posted on: 06/09/2021

    Is now a good time for retailers to open new stores?

    The realization for online retailers is that when looked at holistically, physical retail makes sense to balance things out - cost of customer acquisition, growth, distribution and delivery. But the new age retailers will do well by keeping in mind what caused the old model to fail - too much expansion too soon, not thinking holistically about the impact of the store lane on online sales, poor customer experience and assortments. The advantage for online brands is that they can benefit from others' experience. Hopefully they will only make new mistakes.
  • Posted on: 06/08/2021

    Will prescription med discounts help Walmart+ gain ground on Amazon Prime?

    Walmart’s benefits are compelling for the demographic which uses prescription medications. It could be a huge segment, but it's questionable how much it intersects with Amazon Prime subscription. Walmart will gain incremental sign-ups on the strength of prescription pricing benefits, but not because of people switching over from Amazon. Amazon Prime's attraction boils downs to two key benefits - Prime Video and two-day shipping. Walmart is lagging significantly on both. Good for Walmart in creating a differentiated product and not competing head-on with Amazon Prime. I can see bundling other services that only Walmart can provide to further consolidate the benefits. When the time comes, they can as easily go aggressive with video subscription through licensing if required.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2021

    Walmart gives associates free phones and a mobile work app

    Walmart has the right to mandate the use of company-issued phones. It didn’t sound like an optional program. If it is mandatory, I think most would view it as a burden to carry an additional device, unless they make it very easy to ditch their personal plans to save money. Number porting and getting the personal data off when an employee departs are painful, but can be streamlined.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2021

    Will closing stores on Thanksgiving become the new retail tradition?

    It's not clear if the closure extends to all non-emergency, back office personnel including warehouses, logistics personnel, etc. If this is limited only to store staff, it benefits only a small portion of the workforce.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2021

    What will Etsy do with Depop?

    Depop complements Etsy. On the surface level, they both look similar in the marketplace category. But Depop is more like eBay in terms of getting buyers/sellers together, while Etsy is more like Amazon Marketplace - they have a more conventional e-commerce feel. They can cross-sell and take the best features and capabilities of each of the platforms. What both don’t have is ThredUP's kind of market maker approach. That is, you cannot sell to Etsy or Depop. ThredUP brings different competence in terms of cataloging and pricing the items. Maybe acquiring such capabilities would be the next logical step for Etsy.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2021

    Rent the Runway becoming Resell the Runway

    It may be technically a resale, but the operations vary quite significantly between a ThredUP and RTR. The key thing is, you cannot sell your items at RTR. ThredUP and other marketplaces built competencies in identifying, cataloging, and pricing second-hand products. It is a thrift market, fully automated. RTR is far from that business model. Now it is possible to apply some of the competencies of RTR to appeal to brands to sell their excess inventory. IMO, RTR has pivoted one too many times. The physical stores are totally unnecessary and were a huge drain. This is a good example where dark locations might have served just fine to support the operations. They had to back off from that and now they are making this pivot, which isn't entirely course changing. But it has the potential for distraction in terms of losing the focus on positioning.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2021

    Have flagships become obsolete?

    It is true that flagships should be seen as brand identity, and not measured based on profitability within four walls, or even holistic omnichannel measures. By the same token, the effectiveness of flagships should be compared with similar alternatives - a national brand awareness campaign, a sponsorship, or similar brand marketing initiatives. No one has precise numbers or even estimates of what flagships do on the positive side for the overall brand. The risk is these types of physical structures become vanity projects that consume precious mindshare and resources. At one level, it is understandable for physical retailers to have a flagship store. But the trend of online brands opening a flagship is questionable unless the intent is there to make substantial investments in physical retail. Even then, testing in real markets is the practical way, as opposed to opening a store in SoHo.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2021

    Stores scramble as Nike cuts wholesale accounts

    It's going to hurt in the short term. For retailers, Nike is substantial but not at a level where we'd call revenue concentration a risk. Over time, the retailers will find alternative brands like Adidas and Puma to do aggressive promotion. Brands will also pitch in to occupy the shelf space.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2021

    Best Buy puts multi-taskers to work

    The upskilled and multi-skilled workforce is great. But that is not to be confused with the idea of multi-tasking, which is what Best Buy is also promoting. Having employees deliver a package during downtime(?), or do tasks that are not central to the job definition or career goals is going to cause dissatisfaction. It takes a meaningful amount of time spent on anything to be able to get to an 80 percent mastery level. For instance, if an associate is now trained on remote support for new PC installation, it is best to have that associate in that role for at least three to six months before rotating out to other tasks.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2021

    Should Amazon or rivals be more wary if it opens brick and mortar pharmacies?

    Walgreens and CVS are way ahead of the curve here. Opening pharmacies in Whole Foods makes sense, but it is an incremental play to move pharmacy subscribers. An acquisition of one of the pharmacy companies will propel Amazon’s healthcare ambitions. Maybe they will do this after gaining some experience in operating physical pharmacies.

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