PROFILE

Yogesh Kulkarni

Chief Operating Officer, Antuit.ai

Yogesh Kulkarni is the Chief Operations Officer of the Merchandising and Marketing business unit at antuit.ai.

His core expertise is designing, developing, and implementing price optimization, promotion, and revenue management solutions for retail and consumer brands companies.

Throughout his career, Yogesh has obtained extensive experience in managing large transformational analytical programs for retailers and consumer brands in the areas of merchandising, pricing, inventory management, and marketing.

In 2007, Yogesh co-founded Prognos, a boutique retail and consumer brands focused advanced analytics firm. Prognos served large retail and consumer brands clients such as PepsiCo, MillerCoors, Nike, Adidas, and Sobeys in the areas of price optimization, demand forecasting, and personalization. In 2015, antuit.ai acquired Prognos. Yogesh assumed his current role as Executive Vice President.

Before Prognos, Yogesh held technical and product management positions at SAS Institute and spearheaded the team’s creation of SAS’ Retail industry offerings. Prior to SAS, he served as a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Octon Technologies, an Internet services company based in India, Germany, and the United States.

Yogesh holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics from Shivaji University.

For more information, visit: antuit.ai

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  • Posted on: 05/24/2021

    Do chatbots need to be more likable?

    We have to look at the chatbots and their underlying AI, particularly NLP as "work in progress." If we move forward 10 even maybe 5 years, we will be surprised where we started from. These things are getting better, understand the content and tonality, and connect seamlessly to the databases already. They aren't exactly replacing all humans but they will replace your "let me call my superior" workforce pretty rapidly. Also, they are inexpensive which means they are going to be deployed everywhere and we will have to live in a society where we talk to them and get used to them.
  • Posted on: 05/12/2021

    Are two PacSun CEOs better than one?

    If Alfred and Mike can get along, it is better for PacSun than finding that unicorn that somehow combines a creative merchant with one of the best retail specialty operators in the business. I am in the camp that thinks that this is a great move.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2021

    Why is omnichannel sales attribution still a problem?

    There are two very different problems here. One is sales attribution, which has to do with what is the contribution of each channel and incentive driving the sale. This isn't very easy and science in this space at best is very immature. To top that, now comes the issue of compensating a store associate with that sale. In a traditional world where the product discovery to sales was contained within the store channel, designing a commission structure is easy. In the omnichannel world, starting with attribution and then assigning commission is a tall order. This isn't just a small system change.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2021

    Should retailers welcome vaccine passports?

    A vaccine passport is going to create a new class distinction that will have people arguing on both sides, i.e. privacy vs. safety. But businesses are free to implement it as long as it works for them. It does make economic sense for businesses that are dependent on people being in physical proximity to each other such as theme parks, salons, pubs or restaurants, etc. This will be a hard one to implement though for retailers- they will stick to the mask mandate until the large popular demand swings the other way.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2021

    What will greater access to Amazon’s customers mean for marketplace sellers?

    This doesn't look different from a traditional retailer loyalty program in which brands are able to participate in a retailer's program by primarily funding promotions for new trials and churn. Done the right way it is a win-win. And Amazon, just like other established retailers, is never going to give up control over its customer database and the way the customer experience is managed. Brands will get enough reporting so they can invest more in the Amazon channel. If Amazon wants to plays it, it can now open up a new avenue for making additional revenues out of brands too to support running these promos.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2021

    Will stock ownership work as a loyalty program perk?

    That's a very novel concept and combines loyalty with fractional ownership. The single largest challenge for any brand is the customer churn and astronomical cost of acquisition for new customers. This unlocks the loyalty in a very different way to engage the customer as a shareholder and an advocate. It will create a positive cycle with well performing brands whose stock shows appreciation and value, but not for others that are inherently struggling to keep the stock prices attractive.
  • Posted on: 04/21/2021

    Is Athleta’s Canadian expansion a stretch for the Gap-owned chain?

    The overall athleisure market was growing well before the pandemic and continues to grow through it as well. We just heard that even Target's one-year-old athleisure brand hit a billion dollars in sales. So what's wrong with following the Lululemon playbook? There is enough growth opportunity for everyone. In fact, Lululemon's price point does leave the value market open to value competitors. Canada or not, there is tremendous expansion potential for Athleta.
  • Posted on: 04/21/2021

    Lululemon to pilot ‘Like New’ clothing test

    This idea of the sale of refurbished or secondhand merchandise actually has two advantages for major retail brands - it shows that the brand is responsible in its sustainability efforts and it creates an option for the consumer to buy a high-end brand at a reasonable price. Also, think of the additional engagement or customer touchpoint this generates for the retail brand as well. The downside risks are cannibalization of their full priced sales, but the secondhand product availability is going to be limited to pose a serious risk. Best Buy, as an example, has sold refurbished and open box merchandise in the past very successfully while growing their overall business. This program is right along the lines of what Nike, Levi's, Adidas and few other big brands are piloting in limited stores. Lululemon has also tied in its recycle program with refurbish which is also great from a sustainability standpoint.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2021

    What goes into delivering a ‘wow’ shopping experience?

    In a way, it is a surprise (while in many ways it is not) that most of our panel members think of "wow" as back to basics e.g., helpful and available store associates, find a product in stock, seamless checkout etc. And that's because many retailers have execution challenges. However, we have all talked about transforming stores into experience centers. In that world, shouldn't "wow" be that immersive frictionless experience that leads to a buy decision?
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    Great point, Gene. Most of world does think of store and store related costs as sunk costs and that's incorrect to understand the store vs. online cost structure. As retailers invest that capital heavily in their DC and fulfillment network, this question of where the capital is best invested will definitely come up.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    David, I completely agree that developing a very granular understanding of demand is going to be critical in serving that demand profitably. Retailers will be forced to understand demand not only down to location but also at fulfillment models too (in-store vs. curbside vs. ship-from-store etc.). That is the only way you can plan the inventory and labor and keep the costs down.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    Well said Andrew! The efficiencies have to come from all parts of business.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    The challenge for many retailers is that Amazon is setting the benchmark on speed of delivery and cost of returns too! But yes, they have to think about how they are going to offset the real costs of doing business.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    Venky that's absolutely right. You are seeing so many retailers scramble to open and consolidate DCs this past year, while many others converted stores to be able to support online demand. This has indeed led to unplanned cost increases.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    Jeff – great point on returns, especially when it comes to categories such as apparel, where she can order 2 sizes and return the one that doesn't fit. Returns have ballooned during pandemic and reverse logistics costs are a big challenge.

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