Based in Bengaluru, Dukaan is a DIY platform that enables merchants with zero programming skills to set up their e-commerce business via smartphones. Currently, the company powers over 3.5 million small and medium-sized businesses across the country to start, grow, market, and manage their business in over forty business categories, like cloud kitchen, t-shirt businesses, personalised gifts, organic farming and more.
Founded in 2019, Dukaan was started by Kaustub Pandey, Subhash Choudhary, and Suumit Shah. Sharing the journey with AIM, Shah said: “The way it started is, in the peak lockdown, people were not able to do business offline, and a lot of people started looking for alternatives – like how do I get back in the business – and the most obvious choice everybody had is – how do I start my eCommerce store?”
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Shah, a software engineer, started working on creating an eCommerce store on the phone and found it very cumbersome, and that’s when he, alongside other co-founders, decided to develop a platform that could help anyone and everyone set up an online store on the go. “The initial idea was pretty simple – anybody should be able to create their eCommerce store within 30 seconds,” said Shah, saying that this is not just a marketing gimmick.
More than anything, Dukaan takes great pride in its data science and analytics team, which is driving the business and enhancing customer experience multi-folds. It has a lean data science team consisting of data scientists, data analysts, data engineers and ML engineers. The company told AIM that in the coming months, it is looking to hire 10-15 data science professionals across various roles and experience levels.
Inside Dukaan’s data science team
What makes Dukaan unique is — how it uses artificial intelligence and data analytics to streamline its business. Its data analytics team focuses on deep diving into the data and uncovering business insights to seamlessly power every decision, both internal and for its customers. The analytics team also helps in shaping the product.
Besides this, its data engineering team, on the other hand, works on building robust data platforms and pipelines for their various data sources. “So, that’s mostly how we are structured,” said Damini Chandra, head of data and analytics at Dukaan. Prior to joining Dukaan, Chandra was director of analytics at Swiggy and has also led the data science and analytics team at Fractal Analytics.
Further elaborating on the kind of work Dukaan’s data science and analytics team does, Chandra said: “In terms of merchant enrichment, we have worked upon recommendation engines that run at the cart, that power recommendations of products that the buyers can add to the cart. Secondly, we have also worked upon a recommendation engine which helps our resellers understand which products they can add to their dreams.”
In terms of value added to the business, Dukaan’s data science team addresses the challenges of fraudulent orders, product returns, etc. “We were facing very high returns on posted orders, which we recently were able to predict with very high accuracy, say, which orders are likely to be returned and therefore needed to convert them into partially or fully prepaid,” explained Chandra.
“We mostly start out with an exploratory kind of discussion, where we try to understand the candidate’s experience, background, how they communicate, and what they are looking for,” said Chandra.
Once the candidate has cleared this round, Chandra said they then move to a technical interview to check for relevant skills. After this, they try to understand past projects that the candidate has worked upon. “Lastly, we also look for cultural fit, but that is really happening throughout the process,” she added.
Further, she said that the panel would look into examples, like how the candidate assesses the problem, curiosity, learning, collaboration, and teamwork are some of the qualities that Dukaan looks for in a candidate appearing for an interview.
Dos & Don’ts
“I have taken so many interviews. I think it is hard to find one or two,” said Chandra. She said that some of the commonly seen mistakes are that people generally tend to jump to conclusions without fully understanding the question or a problem. “So, understand what the interviewer is talking about,” said Chandra.
Further, she said that candidates often tend to come up with complex solutions to simple problems. “Straightforward answer would be the best,” she added.
“Lastly, be aware of the work that you have done in the past,” said Chandra.
Work culture at Dukaan
Chandra said that Dukaan is a fast-paced organisation. As things are changing rapidly, the team members are open to moving with the pace. But, at the same time, there is a tremendous learning opportunity, she added. “We have a group of highly motivated individuals trying to change the world out there, and you are a part of that group,” said Chandra.
Further, she said that collaboration is also very important as the team works across various functions and departments within the company. This includes engineers, product owners, business managers, etc. Everyone in the team has a problem-solving mindset, she added.
Chandra also believes that to fit in the team, you need to have a knack for talking to people and understanding their problems, and in most cases, even identifying them.
Why should you join Dukaan?
Dukaan believes in creating a fun, collaborative, entrepreneurial, and growth-oriented work culture. “Every decision at Dukaan is data-backed,” said Chandra, saying that everyone in the team has the freedom to make independent decisions. “So, that is something I personally find very exciting,” she added.
“It’s an early-stage company. So, you have the freedom to choose the projects you are passionate about,” said Chandra, saying that many people in this field find it difficult to make an impact. Dukaan believes that it is changing the lives of many individuals by helping them choose the path of entrepreneurship and achieve financial freedom.