Ankur Sharda is busy developing Tuggle, an online retail discovery service. He is based out of Perth but wanders SE Asia developing the service from a variety of coworking spaces and coffee shops, doing the tech nomad thing. We got an update on where he’s going with it.
//SN: How’s Tuggle been going since we last saw it?
Tuggle is now moving to the next stage. It’s a new service called Instore that connects e-commerce platforms to POS systems. It makes it easy to embed a widget into the retailer’s website, that will show the closest stores to a shopper and show the stock quantities available for each product.
Currently existing solutions require a unique identifier that is common within the POS system and e-commerce platform, and hence most companies can’t make this happen. Our solution does this using a statistical method and so there’s no need to have a common identifier.
//SN: Why the pivot?
However getting real-time inventory data into shoppers hands and making it easy, was always the key ingredient that made this something more than just another shopping aggregator.
//SN: How are you planning on reaching this new market?
Most of the POS and ecommerce vendors have existing app/addon/plugin marketplaces so initially it will be available through those.
Then we will start approaching the retail media. Since it brings something previously only available to mega-retailers we’re counting on it being considered quite newsworthy. Ideally this will build inbound traction.
If it’s not working we’ll figure it out.
//SN: What’s the value proposition for them?
It’s useful for the shoppers. We used to have a ‘stock check’ button on the site which I would then manually call up the shop to check stock. People were willing to give their email and phone number and wait up to 24 hrs to get this info. So I figure they’d be happy to get it within a few seconds. I know I’ve spent afternoons calling and driving around from store to store to find a particular pharmacy item or a pair of shoes in my size. No one should have to live like that 😉
Speaking to retailers about this, their main limitation is technology. Besides the very biggest ones most don’t know how to make this happen at a reasonable cost. Otherwise it would have been a lot more common by now.
Secondly depending on how it’s implemented on the e-commerce site it can help with local SEO – drawing in users who are searching for products but with some location data added.
It also has a more generic SEO benefit. The longer people stay on your page and the more they click around the more Google thinks you’ve got something worth pushing up the rankings. So having this encourages more engagement and “dwell time”. At the low price point we’re planning it will be well worth it.
//SN: How are you funding it?
Tuggle earns revenue each month via ads and then there’s a thing called the R&D Tax Incentive, which I’ve used this year to some extent. So between the two it will be just enough for the time being. However raising external funding will be important to get it to escape velocity and for Tuggle to be “all that it can”.
//SN: How’s the tech nomad thing going these days?
Couldn’t be better. It gets better every month. In the past I’ve done things in a more adventurous but tougher way. This time around I’ve just focussed on being comfortable and productive, particularly for health reasons. So I’ve got a great little apartment with a pool and gym, nice tub, nice kitchen etc. It’s less exciting but right now that’s perfectly ok with me.
Chiang Mai is rated #1 on the nomadlist.com for a reason. It’s just got a bit of everything, it’s very safe, the food is great and plenty of fun activities in the mountains, waterfalls to swim in, mountain biking, rafting etc. but at the moment I’m more keen to keep moving this forward, so all that can wait.
//SN: What’s next for Tuggle?
Well we need to keep building these integrations and making the platform usable. At the moment it’s in an alpha (or earlier) stage.
Then finalise the team and raise funding to do this in a more scalable way.
//SN: How can the Perth community help with it?
If you know anyone involved in retail or retail technology, please do let me know. I’m especially keen to get feedback on the design of the workflow, which systems to integrate and pricing.
Alternatively if anyone is interested in being involved with Tuggle directly either now or into the future, they can get in contact by using the form at tuggle.com/instore and I’ll get in touch.
//SN: Thanks Ankur, best of luck with the pivot, and we look forward to seeing the next instalment of the Tuggle Journey!