Google Cloud and TD Tawadang democratize analytics and AI for Thai family shops

Before the rise of e-commerce and big retail giants in Thailand, shohuays or mom-and-pop shops were traditionally local communities’ retailers of choice for groceries and other basic necessities at affordable prices. These small shops continue to play an important role, contributing significantly to Thailand’s GDP.

However, most of these stores have now been eclipsed by rapidly expanding convenience store chains that offer lower prices due to economies of scale. At the same time, the pandemic has also led to the closure of most of these stores and the inability to cope with the new challenges posed by e-commerce. This led to 61.6% of local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) experiencing a drop in revenue.

One of the biggest challenges facing family stores is limited product visibility and the difficulty of matching supply and demand. As these stores are small, most of them don’t stock too much. Often their profit margins are eroded by perishable goods that expire before they can be sold. They also end up having unhappy customers with unmet needs when desired items are not replenished quickly enough.

At the same time, many family stores are also located in rural areas with intermittent internet connectivity. This makes it more difficult for them to adopt new technologies or take advantage of e-commerce services to meet the needs of their customers.

To keep these stores in business, they would need to transform and elevate their competitiveness. Unfortunately, most of them don’t have the funding or the skills to digitally transform or even upgrade their services.

A new hope

Tookdee store owner serving customer. (Source – Google)

Fortunately, there is still hope for the shohuays. TD Tawandang (TD), a leading retail technology company, is collaborating with Google Cloud to help traditional family stores reinvent their business operations, overcome competitive challenges and increase profitability.

Since financing is a concern, TD offers a profit-sharing partnership model, gives its stores a visual makeover and gives them access to its unified TD retail platform. The platform is built entirely on Google Cloud’s secure and scalable infrastructure, along with advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) technologies.

The platform includes an intelligent point-of-sale (POS) application connected to a comprehensive retail distribution network. TD automates inventory replenishment and financial accounting on behalf of the store. Instead of closing their stores to visit wholesalers and manually recording sales transactions, store owners can focus on other tasks such as receiving goods, printing price tags and promotional messages. from smart POS, restocking shelves and building relationships with their customers.

“At the heart of every village and province are family shops that have befriended their customers and served their communities for years, but many have struggled lately to make ends meet. We are also seeing people who lost their jobs during the pandemic returning to their hometowns and opening small retail stores to earn a basic income,” said Tientham Setthasit, Executive Director, TD Tawandang.

Setthasit explained that by leveraging Google Cloud’s industry-leading technologies and expertise, they’ve built an integrated platform that nearly 4,000 micro-retailers have used over the past three years to more than double their daily revenue. while retaining full ownership of their stores and 85% of the profits. With more than 100 micro-retailers now joining the Tookdee network every week, he added that TD will continue to work with Google Cloud to scale reliably, improve the platform and provide more value-added services.

To address the challenges, Google Cloud’s Dataplex helps facilitate data flows between point-of-sale applications and a centralized, cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. TD and store owners can track products sold and get real-time visibility into their revenue and available inventory. TD then uses Google Cloud tools to help its retail distribution teams forecast demand and schedule deliveries for just-in-time inventory replenishment.

For connectivity, TD can provide store owners with a smooth and reliable user experience in its cloud-connected applications by leveraging Google Cloud capabilities. These include point-of-sale software on in-store terminals and communication services on handheld devices. Additionally, these features allow applications to operate offline to minimize disruptions to store operations, while newly generated data is automatically synchronized between systems once connectivity is restored.

“The applications we provide to micro-retailers, while easy to use on the frontend, are supported by numerous processes on the backend. All of these also produce terabytes of data daily, which must be efficiently organized and ingested for the TD retail platform is benefiting store owners as expected,” commented Ruud Akarapanitsakul, Chief Technology Officer, TD Tawandang.

In-store innovations for mom and pop-stores

Tookdee Store POS Terminal and App (Source – Google)

With its robust architecture firmly in place, TD has accelerated its pace of innovation. With new self-service kiosks that further transform mom-and-pop stores into “virtual hypermarkets”, consumers can now access TD’s expanded catalog of fast-moving consumer goods and pre-order items that aren’t part of the in-store inventory. , before prepaying and returning to collect these items once they are delivered to the store. TD is also rolling out a LINE mini-app to help micro-retailers better engage with customers and build loyalty.

“By integrating data from the mini-app into our platform, granular insights into consumer buying behavior in each province can be derived to provide initial assortment recommendations and increase sales faster when a store joins our network, identify new items each store should carry on a regular basis, promote iconic snacks from local brands, incentivize vendor discounts due to economies of scale, and inform decisions to establish new distribution centers,” Akarapanitsakul added.

For its next phase of collaboration with Google Cloud, TD is exploring collecting data from sensors that measure air temperature and humidity outside each store or track movement to different areas of the store. workshop. These could help the TD retail platform respond to weather conditions and seasonal consumer needs, while product displays and store layouts can be optimized to attract customers’ attention and expose to more goods.

“As Thailand sets this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation agenda and leads conversations on MSME recovery across the region, TD can serve as an example of how cloud, analytics and artificial intelligence can be used to empower groups with untapped economic potential. We are proud to contribute to TD’s inclusive growth vision and look forward to supporting the expansion of the company’s retail operations and innovations to other markets in Southeast Asia,” said said April Srivikorn, Country Manager, Thailand, Google Cloud.

Lance B. Holton