We talked to Amanda Victoria Dias on how FETTCH has made retail easy and the following is what she said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Amanda Victoria Dias: My family and loved ones, thankfully, have been doing well during this pandemic. None of my close friends or family members faced unemployment or became very ill as a result of the pandemic, so in many ways, we were quite lucky. Covid-19 has, of course, brought its own difficulties, given that it has kept my family, who are spread out across the world apart. However, given the more dire effects of the virus that have impacted much of the world, we can hardly complain and are indeed very fortunate.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded FETTCH.
Amanda Victoria Dias: My career was geared towards law before I began FETTCH. When I was completing my studies at the University of Toronto, preparing to study in England and delve into international human rights law, I first had the idea for FETTCH. My family’s background was in finance, and I had dipped my toe into the business while in school out of interest. With FETTCH, I was not prepared to take a risk, and without being absolutely certain, the solution was viable, timely, and something which people would really use.
I had noticed how people in cities need and want to shop but are immensely time-poor. Between school, work, internships and busy schedules, individuals aren’t able to spend hours in-store to buy what they want and need. People then select online shopping, which diverts business away from amazing local businesses, thereby contributing to the enormous amounts of waste incurred by online cross border delivery and the penultimate decline in physical retail. I wanted to create a way for individuals to be able to shop easily and instantly via their phones and create software for retail stores so that they would be able to excite customers and evolve alongside technology. Once I met my co-founder Vamsi, we validated our hypothesis, built FETTCH, and brought our idea to market.
How does FETTCH innovate?
Amanda Victoria Dias: Our company innovates by striving to provide our retail partners with the kind of technology that allows them to excite their customers at every turn while providing our mobile customers with the most seamless and most instant shopping experience. FETTCH is designed to provide a smarter, faster, more dynamic shopping experience. After a successful Toronto beta test, we have been working to improve our platform while collaborating with other local and global companies to incorporate new additions and features to the FETTCH app to provide a truly smart marketplace. FETTCH is committed to evolution and spearheading the future of retail tech, setting the standard in mobile commerce.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Amanda Victoria Dias: In our case, the Covid-19 pandemic created the greatest need for our solution. The consumer desire to be able to shop without having to be in store was greatly exacerbated by the pandemic where fear of shopping in-store saw more and more customers choosing to stay home and order online. While Amazon boomed, Covid-19 saw the permanent closure of many SMEs, a decline in sales for many stores, and expensive or delayed shipping times shining a light on some of the key issues endemic to physical retail. When pitching our app to our first retail partners, we received an enormous amount of interest showcasing the need for our solution. For any tech company, as a co-founder, you do your diligence and hope that the solution you’re producing solves a true problem. In our case, Covid-19 worsened and shone a greater light on the foundational issues physical retailers have which our solution initially sought to target. We pushed to ramp up the speed of our testing, increased the number of drivers on our fleet, and worked hard to make sure we made our app accessible to the local businesses who needed it most.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Amanda Victoria Dias: Difficult choices are part and parcel of starting any kind of company. We were fortunate that we had sufficient capital and had an incredible team who could build out our app and produce the technology. However, informing our core team, the fit is something we’ve had to evaluate and re-evaluate. The scope of the company’s mission and our trajectory asks all of us involved to commit and bring our best to the table. Finding the right talent and having the very best work with us has led to some difficult hiring decisions. In the process, we’ve learned what signals an invaluable player and the kind of attributes we need at our company and have recorded those in accordance.
What specific tools, software and management skills are helping you navigate the crisis?
Amanda Victoria Dias: Slack and Video conferencing have been the greatest tools in keeping our team connected. Much of our team has not even been able to meet in person, so keeping connected and keeping morale high was a source of concern for the very beginning. However, in keeping weekly meetings, keeping in constant touch via Slack, and in keeping an environment where any individual has the initiative and freedom to reach out to any member of the team for anything it is they need, we’ve been able to keep on track and not6 veer off course. The members of FETTCH are united by a single vision for this marketplace, and in enshrining that mandate, the management team need only ensure that vision is never out of sight. Our team is highly organized, and we complete tasks efficiently and effectively.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Amanda Victoria Dias: Competitors for us include Amazon, UPS, Canada Post, Doordash and other logistics or delivery platforms. FETTCH, however, is optimized for retail. With a focus on technology and truly helping local stores, we aim to offer our retailers and our customers a better product and faster delivery. In terms of how we plan on staying in the game, for FETTCH evolution is everything. We are never complacent and are constantly striving to improve our app, improve our logistics, and improve the technologies we source and develop. FETTCH will stay in the game by leading in technology and catering to a clientele who wants a cleaner experience to truly enjoy what it can mean to shop.
Your final thoughts?
Amanda Victoria Dias: My final thoughts are that while this pandemic has created incredible difficulties and uncertainties, one thing I’ve learned and witnessed is how perpetuity is only possible if companies can pivot and adapt. Like many startups and companies large and small, we have had to adapt to make working possible. In speaking to our retail partners, I’ve seen how retail stores have been able to succeed by demonstrating incredible creativity and adaptability. In spite of the collective difficulties we’ve all experienced at varying degrees, it has been incredible to see the tactics businesses across varying industries have deployed to survive, and in some cases, excel.
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