First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Gigi J. Kizhakkechethipuzha: The pandemic did bring some unexpected changes to my life and my family’s, but I think we’ve all coped pretty well so far. Life has become very different from what it used to be. Working from home has blended my personal and professional lives, and it is surprisingly fun; most importantly, I believe it has made me more productive than ever. The post-pandemic lifestyle has become the new normal, and that goes for my professional and personal life.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Virtina
Gigi J. Kizhakkechethipuzha: I’ve spent a good two decades in the software industry, from playing the role of a developer to CIO positions. When I first started the company, we used to do everything under the sun in terms of custom software development. Later on, I realized that there are a gazillion companies out there who did the same thing. And by the end of the day, we are tech geeks and problem solvers, not salespeople. By then, I already knew that the best story to tell a decision-maker is the story of revenue, profit, and CX. Recognizing this fact made me realize that the right path for us to take is eCommerce. We already had the raw talent for the job, and with our grit coupled with innovative thinking, nothing could stop us.
How does Virtina innovate?
Gigi J. Kizhakkechethipuzha: Innovation has always been the core of Virtina. True innovation wouldn’t be possible for us if we hadn’t innovated ourselves, our clients, and our industry. The way Virtina approaches eCommerce itself is a proof for this. Our implementation of eCommerce strongly aligns with our understanding that “eCommerce is not just eCommerce”; it’s a complex Human-to-Human (H2H) system, and unless everyone in this system (including customers and site operators) are satisfied, eCommerce can never really be successful. It is through such innovative thinking that we have even managed to redefine Conversion Rate Optimization CRO – a leading practice in eCommerce for boosting conversions, to Commerce Revenue Optimization – a holistic approach to increase the total revenue of a business.
How did the coronavirus pandemic affect your business, and how are you coping?
Gigi J. Kizhakkechethipuzha: The pandemic was indeed an unprecedented event, and we did need some time to make the necessary changes to the infrastructure. However, once we were able to establish a workflow, everything was back on track again. Many businesses, if not most, have suffered a lot of damage due to the COVID-19 situation. Luckily, eCommerce was one of the very few industries that did not take a negative impact. Today, as more and more brands are shifting to eCommerce to save their business, we are doing our best to serve them.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Gigi J. Kizhakkechethipuzha: Difficult choices are inevitable when you are running a business whether or not there is a pandemic looming over our heads. The important thing is to keep your company and its employees together and keep serving our clientele as we always have, with utmost dedication and hard work.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Virtina in the future?
Gigi J. Kizhakkechethipuzha: As a company, we have overcome every obstacle we’ve ever faced through meticulous planning. When unprecedented events like the pandemic came into the picture, we adapted to the situation. In our line of work, 80-90% of eCommerce projects fail. With our holistic approach to eCommerce development, we’ve managed to turn this statistic on its head. We make this possible through our revolutionary new process that includes a 3-year eCommerce roadmap tailor-made for your unique business and more.
Who are your competitors, and how do you plan to stay in the game?
Gigi J. Kizhakkechethipuzha: Our biggest competitor is ourselves; we are constantly striving to beat ourselves in every project we undertake. Perfection may be elusive, but we believe that we can get pretty close to it with an earnest desire and hard work. Our plan is not one that was prepared overnight. We’ve used all our knowledge that we have accumulated over the years working in the eCommerce industry. Virtina has worked for almost every major industry, and every project that we have undertaken has taught us something valuable. This has made us a reliable authority to mentor eCommerce businesses to success.
What are you doing differently now that the pandemic has changed the way every business operates?
Gigi J. Kizhakkechethipuzha: We are doing everything that we used to before the pandemic hit, the only difference now being all the interactions are through digital mediums. Our employees are working from home to keep their families safe from the virus. Our productivity has never been higher, and furthermore, we have come up with strategies that can help online businesses to improve and enhance their online presence during the pandemic.
Your Final Thoughts?
Gigi J. Kizhakkechethipuzha: I believe that the current COVID-19 situation has affected us all- regardless of what industry we work in. The battle is far from over, and all businesses need to be prepared for any eventualities. It seems unlikely that what once used to be normal will return. What we can do right now in our professional and personal lives, is to adapt to this new normal. The world waits for no one but, thanks to the advancements in technology and particularly online mediums like eCommerce, businesses have an alternative way to keep functioning. As an eCommerce services company, our role is to help overcome the digital divide fast and efficiently, thus affecting many personal lives. And that is what we are truly excited about!
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