Olik's journey with Decathlon Innovation Lab India

Here is a snippet of our conversation with Olik's co-founders Ashish Jain, CEO and Mohit Verma, CTO who have spend time with the Innovation Lab in India and worked to co-create a solution for the cycling workshop efficiency.

We learn about their journey, learnings and experiences building Olik as well as working with Decathlon team members.

How, when, and why did you decide to start with Olik?

When we see the consumer journey across different retail sectors, a lot has been done by the brands or retailers to improve the experience with assortment, price options and omni-channel presence. However, there is still a huge pain point with regard to wait time when the consumer goes out for shopping or seeks after-sales servicing. At Olik, we help retailers digitise business practices to provide personalised shopping and improved after sales experience to their customers. Using our solutions, retailers are able to significantly reduce the waiting time for their customers and drive customer loyalty. We started this journey with market research and extensive customer interactions in March’2019.

What's the most important thing you're working on right now, and how are you making it happen?

We are working on building products that will revolutionize the offline retail shopping and after sales servicing experience for customers. One of these products is building a complete after sales servicing solution for cycle servicing which will enable the end customer with slot booking and proactive notifications. At the back end, we provide extensive analytical insights that help the workshops improve efficiency of technicians. We are also working to develop predictive analysis capability in our product that will forecast the bookings and spare parts requirements in a workshop. This is being done through data mining and machine learning capabilities.

What do you think people will be most surprised to find out about you?

At Olik, one of our key objectives is building an efficient and profitable business. To achieve this, we have kept a high focus on maintaining a lean team from Day 1. We are super proud to have come so far with such a lean team while developing a number of Enterprise solutions. In this short duration, we have done a couple of pilots (both successful and unsuccessful) and quickly decided the future course of action. Number of products developed and pilots done across different categories in this short time with such a lean team has actually surprised many folks, including some entrepreneurs and investors. We give complete credit for these achievements to our super committed team members.

Why is now the time for Olik to exist? What impact do you want to have?

A lot of businesses are seeing a huge shift to digital. When it comes to after sales servicing, a lot of practices followed by businesses are still manual. Olik platform serves custom business requirements. “We offer bespoke development of applications catering to improvement in shopping experience or after sales servicing, which can be deployed on any of the cloud services.” There is a huge untapped opportunity in this area that we want to capture and become a global leader in this segment.

What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

Our decision to do several pilots together across different categories has invited laser sharp focus on all aspects including people, product development and sales. Every member of our team wears multiple hats and this gives a lot of internal motivation to everyone to further push their limits. When you are working with a team that operates at such a high energy, every day is like a new beginning with something to look back at the end of the day. This entire journey so far has been full of ups and downs further accelerated with COVID-19 when we had to do a major pivot quickly in our business. We believe this has only given us a lot of extra resilience to absorb much larger shocks in future.

When did you start working with Decathlon Innovation lab? What problem were you trying to solve?

Our association with Decathlon Innovation lab started in June’20 where we worked together to implement our “slot booking and traffic management solution” at one of Decathlon’s stores. With this solution, we aimed to reduce the long queues outside the stores by providing slot booking facility to the customers thereby helping them reduce wait time while ensuring social distancing.

What unseen opportunities did you see that made you decide to work with Decathlon Innovation lab? In May’20, there were strict government guidelines to ensure social distancing and number of people allowed in any retail space. As we studied the readiness of the businesses to deal with this, we identified the need for a product to know real time store traffic and ensure social distancing inside the stores. We built a product to fill these gaps and saw a great opportunity to implement this solution in large format stores. That’s when we got in touch with Decathlon Innovation lab to explore the integration with some of their stores.

What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months with Decathlon?

Our immediate focus is to implement the workshop appointment booking solution across all the Decathlon stores in India in the next 1 month. We are also building 3 custom products for Decathlon and plan to implement them in phases by the mid of next year. These products will bring in a lot of analytical insights, improve efficiency and customer experience at Decathlon’s workshops. Once these products are smoothly implemented across all the stores in India and we implement the learnings from the workshops and customer feedback in the product, we plan to implement these solutions in more countries within the Decathlon group.

How did you apply the learnings from Decathlon India to your product?

While working with the Decathlon India team, one thing that we closely observed is a high focus on thinking about the customer first and how it will improve their experience. There is also a sharp focus on maintaining the simplicity in the product to keep things intuitive for the customer. We have closely applied these approaches during the product development phase for Decathlon and also imbibed these as our philosophy for any new product development in future.

How was your journey with Innovation Lab?

It has been a great experience working with Innovation Lab. People in their team have an open mindset to try new things and they are on a constant hunt to incorporate innovative solutions as a part of their business practices. For a young startup like Olik, this is an excellent opportunity to implement and develop the product on the go while collecting insights from different stakeholders. We are truly impressed with their quick decision making and deep understanding of product backbone.

What are we (Decathlon) doing well, and where is their opportunity to grow?

One of the best things we observed with Decathlon is their quick decision making and time to implement. Innovation lab team works closely with different internal stakeholders and puts a very high focus in encouraging them to share more use cases for product development. This approach drives early adoption of the product while increasing the realised value.

As Decathlon Innovation lab works closely with startups and India is becoming a new hub for innovative startups, there is a huge opportunity for them to collaborate globally within the group and explore integrations in other countries too. This will also help in exploring more use cases during the early stage of product development and enhancement.

What did you enjoy the most about working with the Decathlon Innovation Lab India team?

While working with Decathlon India, we got a lot of inputs from their internal users that helped us cover more use cases during product development. It is a delight to see the involvement of different stakeholders right from the exploration stage that brings enormous association and ownership among them. Apart from this, we are hugely impressed to see the passion every member in Decathlon has toward some or the other sport and how as an organisation, it encourages everyone to pursue their passion.

We would love to encourage this practice at Olik as we grow into a bigger team.

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