We all have ideas, but translating those ideas into a tangible product is what separates doers from thinkers. This innate quality of a doer is precisely what drove Darrin Levine to the retail industry, and his success story is no less interesting. During his e-commerce class in college, Levine was supposed to work on a project about figuring out how online retail could help traditional retail. Levine had an intriguing thought—if online retail is the future and conventional retail is the past, then why don’t we reverse the case? He researched the possibilities of bringing the physical store experience to online platforms such as Amazon. However, this soon proved to be highly challenging due to the gap that existed between retail tech and online tech. Levine notes that there was no system available that could bring the experience of managing a physical store to online marketplaces such as Amazon. With this, his curious mind took a new direction: “How can we bridge this gap for Fortune 500 brands such as L’Oreal and medium-size brands including Nexbelt to sell on marketplaces like Amazon without any retail intermediaries, similar to how they sell in a physical store? Why don't we provide a digital infrastructure for these brands to streamline management in the e-commerce world, and enable them to turn product data into a clear plan of action?”
An idea that was visualized in the college dorm room saw the light of the day; Levine went on to build a solution that allowed retail brands to seamlessly conduct business by introducing traditional brick-and-mortar strategies to online marketplaces. What makes his story unique is his unwavering passion and commitment that helped him engineer the perfect solution. All the while taking different jobs in e-commerce, later joining a startup, and having a big break, Levine was consistently working and molding out his perfect creation. “In 2017, I decided to go full time and founded ASDAL. It really fell on my lap, and I woke up to a new world,” says Levine, founder and CEO of ASDAL. By eliminating knock-offs and resellers from the scenario, ASDAL aims to provide trust to buyers and ensure that they get the real products every time they shop, like in a retail store. “We envisioned a marketplace built on trust, where brands are empowered to engage their customers on their own terms,” states Levine.
The real cornerstone of ASDAL lies in the industrial expertise of its founder. Whether it is spending time in a warehouse managing inventory or in an office handling accounting and developing communication strategies, Levine has worked in every facet of business operations, understanding the process and data analytics tools. This helped him recognize the real-life experiences of brands in a wide range of data points, efficiently incorporating those into the software. Further bolstering the strength of ASDAL is its distinct team of technologists, data scientists, and designers &retail specialists. “At the core, we have analytical members and product engineers holding various management positions in the company, and this very fact makes us stand out. It enables us to approach client requirements from a data and engineering perspective with customer-driven decisions,” opines Levine.
Together with the team, Levine began perfecting the operations before promoting sales. “Rather than selling half-baked solutions, we held back to ensure excellent customer experience through our software,” remarks Levine. ASDAL implemented a simple model with a hypothesis to review and test the solution with customers. “Once the hypothesis proves true, we then go back, fix the variables, and show it to brands.
We continuously did this for two years and impressed by our innovative tools, customers started approaching us. Innovation has always been at the forefront for ASDAL while serving customers,” states Levine. Currently, the company is conducting surveys along with product testing and review analysis. The software is in the open beta stage—collecting feedback for improvements and further product validation.
We envisioned a marketplace built on trust, where brands are empowered to engage their customers on their own terms
Software for a Better Future—GRIT
ASDAL offers GRIT, a disruptive retail management software that provides a robust infrastructure with automation and reporting for clients to improve their sales efficiency, customer experience, and market success. GRIT allows retail teams to manage their tedious workflows and track their day-to-day operations efficiently. It automatically alerts teams on their daily, weekly, or monthly tasks, empowering them to better understand KPIs, learn best practices, and receive a quicker ROI. “We did what no other company did in this space. Our whole system is automated, and every tool in the software has a correlated automation setting,” explains Levine. Besides, while most e-commerce solutions overcharge and under-deliver, ASDAL offers its robust software GRIT at affordable prices.`
GRIT has four central dashboards: Glide, Revenue, Insight, and Tenacity. “We realized early on that an online platform requires many tools, and it can be convoluted to manage everything in one dashboard,” remarks Levine. Each dashboard covers different departments assisted by GRIT. Glide is used by managers for project management, where every task is arranged in an optimal format, which allows them to quickly visualize and manage every operation efficiently while viewing the most critical task that needs attention. The Revenue dashboard automates sales tracking, streamlines accounting, and enables users to view KPIs essential to the sales performance of the brand’s Amazon account. While Insight dashboard helps in research, analytics, reporting, as well as provides helpful tools for building and maintaining sales and listings, the Tenacity dashboard helps with automating repeatable and long-term workflows. These dashboards make GRIT a dynamic, compartment-based tool that allows different operations teams to join and assign a person or team to each dashboard.
The GRIT tools serve different segments, including inventory, accounting, sales tracking, forecasting, marketing, and loss/damage reports. The software helps logistics coordinators to manage inventory and send products to Amazon. GRIT determines the stock, turn rate, and hot seller based on the current trends, enabling the coordinator to make informed decisions. Similarly, for analytics, the software breaks down different KPIs, including conversion status and total traffic, to evaluate how it impacts sales and helps formulate an optimized plan. Furthermore, if a user experiences low sales due to resellers, GRIT can analyze the data such as buyback share and help them implement the repricer or plan further according to the insights. The software also provides the success rate of the decisions to ensure human touch at every point of automation. “Our software leverages the power of all the diverse product data to make clear action plans through automation and project management with several different tools,” cites Levine.
Further illustrating GRIT’s efficiency, Levine highlights an instance where ASDAL assisted a client with inventory management for international marketplaces.
The client, a promising company in the field of manufacturing products such as gun belts and golf belts, faced issues with managing their inventory due to the tax laws. ASDAL found out that many resellers were present between the client and the marketplace. The company showed them what they were losing due to the resellers and how this can be mitigated. The client was able to view their current traffic and conversion. These insights helped the client understand what product and KPI drive sales and how to track those. The comprehensive process and insights delivered by ASDAL enabled the client to make over a hundred thousand dollars.
We strive to maintain our customer retention by being the voice of trust for brands in the online marketplaces
Market Knowledge for Assured Success
Along with its robust solution, what sets ASDAL apart from competitors is its initiatives to empower brands with market knowledge. Levine observes that most of the consultants, today, overcharge brands for receiving credible information. ASDAL takes a different approach; they provide all the relevant information about the market at no charge. The company has two awareness initiatives—a premier resource hub with on-demand calling and a market research department. These provide tips and information on online retail to help brands understand the marketplace and be successful. With brands becoming more aware and providing feedback, it paves the way for innovation in R&D, creating an ecosystem of knowledge that correlates to increased customer retention for ASDAL. “We strive to maintain our customer retention by being the voice of trust for brands in the online marketplaces,” asserts Levine.
Creating a Great Work Culture
While offering excellent services for customers to thrive in the online marketplace, ASDAL also fosters a unique work environment internally toimprove employee experience—boasting a retention rate of about 98 percent. The company operates in a smart business model that considers organizational health as a crucial aspect of the business. “Almost two years ago, I read a book named ‘The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business,’ by Patrick Lencioni. What I took from the book is that it is not the smart objectives or milestones that organizations pursue (although important), but the people who achieve these milestones. This helped me improve my organizational structure and build a great work culture for our employees,” says Levine.
ASDAL adopts a method named ‘Circle of Knowledge’ to analyze the employees while joining. During the interview process, the candidates are asked to present a topic before discussing the company. This practice helps in engaging the potential employees and determines their talent and industry knowledge. ASDAL focuses on empowering its employees with the freedom to improve products and, at the same time, excel in their careers. “We challenge them at every step to be the better versions of themselves, and I have seen transformations happen real fast as well,” remarks Levine.
The Expedition to a Safer Marketplace
With a focus on capturing the market, ASDAL plans to expand to Dubai, the UK, Germany, and Australia in the Q4 stage. The company also plans to enhance the market research department for providing untapped information in retail to customers. “We want to be the Deloitte, the McKinsey, and Statista for the online marketplace teams,” states Levine. Further, ASDAL intends to perfect its customer success and innovation model by investing more in people and product development. By incorporating feedback from beta customers and constantly tweaking the product, ASDAL is moving ahead to be at the forefront of innovation.