TD Tawandang is collaborating with Google Cloud and Tangerine to democratise analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) amid plans to support mom-and-pop stores in Thailand.
In operating as a fast-growing retail specialist, the Bangkok-based business is leveraging new technologies to help boost economic efforts following a period in which local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) have been overshadowed by the rapid expansion of convenience store chains across the country.
Such expansion -- which has seen convenience store chains offer lower price points due to economies of scale -- has adversely hit the MSME space during the pandemic and led to a decline in income.
In response, TD Tawandang is offering a profit-sharing partnership model, giving stores a visual makeover and providing access to its unified TD Retail Platform.
Built on Google Cloud’s infrastructure, the platform maximises advanced analytics, AI, and machine learning technologies with each refurbished store then featuring a ‘Tookdee’ logo alongside its original name.
“TD Tawandang is not just helping mom-and-pop stores to protect and grow their livelihoods, it is also opening up more business opportunities for independent, homegrown packaged food brands, and job opportunities in grassroots communities,” said April Srivikorn, country manager of Thailand at Google Cloud.
With Thailand setting this year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation agenda and spearheading conversations on MSME recovery across the region, Srivikorn said TD Tawandang can serve as a “great example” of how cloud, analytics and AI technologies can be used to "empower groups with untapped economic potential".
“We’re proud to contribute to TD Tawandang’s vision for inclusive growth, and look forward to supporting the expansion of the company’s retail operations and innovations to other markets in Southeast Asia,” Srivikorn added.
In partnership with Tangerine -- a specialist Google Cloud partner based in Bangkok -- TD Tawandang has implemented Dataplex to facilitate data flows between point of sale (POS) applications and a centralised, cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The aim is to allow the business and store owners to track products sold while gaining “real-time visibility” over their earnings and available inventory.
Delving deeper, TD Tawandang is also rolling out Google Cloud’s predictive modelling in the form of Vertex AI, maximising business intelligence and data visualisation tools to help its retail distribution teams forecast demand and schedule deliveries for “just-in-time” stock replenishments.
Through handheld devices provided by TD Tawandang, store owners can receive delivery information beforehand and push notifications once these replenishments arrive.
“The applications we provide to micro-retailers, while easy-to-use on the frontend, are underpinned by numerous processes on the backend,” outlined Ruud Akarapanitsakul, CTO of TD Tawandang. “All of these also produce terabytes of data on a daily basis, which must be effectively organised and ingested for the TD Retail Platform to benefit store owners as intended.”
In addition, TD Tawandang is helping rural store owners with intermittent internet connectivity provide enhanced user experience levels across cloud-connected applications, taking advantage of Google Cloud’s capabilities in lightweight application development, serverless computing and low-latency data storage and retrieval.
This includes the POS software at in-store terminals and communications services on handheld devices which allow the applications to work offline to minimise disruptions to store operations.
“At the heart of every village and province lies mom-and-pop stores that have befriended their customers and served their communities for years, but many have struggled lately to make ends meet,” said Tientham Setthasit, executive director of TD Tawandang.
“We’re also seeing individuals who lost employment during the pandemic return to their hometowns and open small retail shops to earn a baseline income. TD was established to ensure that these store owners are fully equipped to grow their businesses and thrive as our economy recovers.”
As outlined by Setthasit, the business has designed an integrated platform that close to 4,000 micro-retailers have been using during the past three years to more than double their daily incomes, while retaining full ownership of their stores and 85 per cent of profits.
“With more than 100 micro-retailers now joining the Tookdee network each week, we will continue collaborating with Google Cloud to scale reliably, enhance the platform, and deliver more value-added services,” Setthasit added.