Interview: Archana Gulia, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, ODN (Open Doors Now)

Archana Gulia

An exclusive interview with Archana Gulia, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, ODN (Open Doors Now), pioneers in Shop-Now Content™

Welcome to an insightful interview with Archana Gulia, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, ODN (Open Doors Now), pioneers in Shop-Now Content™. With a visionary approach, she has spearheaded ODN’s journey to redefine the retail experience, seamlessly integrating content and commerce.

Archana’s expertise lies in leveraging cutting-edge technology and design principles to create immersive shopping experiences that captivate and engage consumers. Her insights and leadership have positioned ODN as pioneers in revolutionizing how brands connect with their audience.

Can you share the journey of how ODN (Open Doors Now) came into existence and what inspired you to co-found the company?

Archana Gulia: Following my tenure at Adidas, I ventured into independent brand building, working both for clients and myself. After four successful years with, I embarked on my new venture called Aana, inspired by historical currency unit facilitating transactions of valuable goods.

Despite three years of dedicated effort, I eventually decided to close Aana due to high content production and e-commerce logistics costs.

Recognizing a need in the e-commerce industry, I co-founded ODN in 2008 with two partners, leveraging our experience in fashion and retail to assist brand and product owners with launching and optimizing sales, allowing them to focus on their core offerings.

ODN is known for pioneering Shop-Now Content™. Could you elaborate on what this concept entails and how it sets ODN apart in the e-commerce landscape?

Archana Gulia: We at ODN have carved a niche in the e-commerce world with our unique precise offering. Shop-Now Content™, strategising, designing, and delivering content that brings impact in sales, CTRs and ROAS. It is effective, top-notch content designed to excel across various channels. This content surpasses basic product descriptions and images.

Our Focus on Strategic Content Placement: We aim to simplify the intricate landscape of e-commerce by strategically crafting content. Our method involves thorough research, understanding, and alignment with our client’s brand values, goals, vision, guidelines, marketplace standards, competitive analysis, and crucially, addressing consumer pain points.

Crafting and Delivering Conversion-Oriented Content: We produce content that not only aligns with the brand’s identity but also optimally suits the platform it’s presented on. This proficiency stems from over 60 years of combined experience studying marketplace traffic behaviour and platform guidelines. It resonates with the target audience, driving conversions, sales, and Return on Ad Spend (RoAS). Whether it’s through captivating product descriptions, catalogue images, videos, reels, engaging social media content, or enriched content, our objective is to yield tangible results.

Shop-Now Content™ or Content for Conversion stands out as a game changer which is pioneered by ODN hence setting it apart from the industry players.

Data-Driven Approach: ODN utilizes data and e-commerce analytics to comprehend trends and consumer behaviour, enabling us to craft content tailored for optimal impact.

Expertise and Experience: With comprehensive knowledge spanning over 80 product categories, ODN develops content that directly addresses the specific needs and interests of target audiences.

Efficiency and Scale: Leveraging a sizable team of creative professionals, multiple studios, and proprietary technology, ODN consistently delivers high-volume, tech-enabled content efficiently for the past 8 years.

Commerce Excellence: With a cumulative expertise of over 100 years within the team, covering 80 categories across 50+ marketplaces in India, APAC, and the US, and having completed more than 1500 projects for 500+ clients, ODN has established credibility and industry leadership in Commerce Content creation.

In essence, Shop-Now Content™ transcends mere product showcasing by narrating a captivating story that motivates viewers to click the “buy now” button. This emphasis on conversion distinguishes ODN and empowers its clients to excel in the fiercely competitive e-commerce realm.

With a portfolio boasting 500+ brands including industry giants like Amazon, Flipkart, and Reliance Brands, what strategies has ODN employed to establish and maintain such extensive partnerships?

Archana Gulia: ODN’s strategic approach centers on fostering trust and delivering value, prioritizing the establishment of credibility and offering beneficial solutions to its customers.

The impressive array of 500+ brands under ODN’s wing, including industry giants like Amazon, Flipkart, and Reliance Brands, speaks volumes about their adeptness in fostering partnerships. Below are key strategies ODN employs to cultivate and uphold these robust relationships:

Research & Strategy Implementation: Content creation for any brand is a nuanced process, involving thorough research and strategic planning encompassing the brand, product, competitors, channels, and brand aspirations. This meticulous approach ensures the creation of content that consistently resonates in marketplaces.

Data-Driven Success: ODN substantiates their achievements with other brands through data and metrics, showcasing transparently the efficacy of its methods. This data-driven transparency instils trust and confidence in their approach.

Customization and Adaptability: ODN tailors their Shop-Now Content™ approach to meet the unique needs and preferences of each brand’s target audience. This customization ensures that the content aligns seamlessly with the brand’s identity and product offerings.

Long-Term Partnership Focus: ODN prioritizes cultivating enduring partnerships over short-term transactions. This involves ongoing communication, performance evaluations, and a willingness to adapt strategies based on partner feedback. With an impressive Net Promoter Score (NPS) exceeding 80, ODN strives to foster enduring relationships.

Industry Proficiency: By assembling a team with comprehensive expertise across diverse product categories, ODN can effectively communicate and collaborate with their brand partners, fostering mutual trust and understanding.

Transparency and Communication: Maintaining transparent communication and clear expectations throughout the partnership is paramount for ODN. They likely emphasize regular updates and open dialogue to ensure brand partners feel valued and well-informed. Assigning dedicated Account Managers to each client further enhances relationship building and management.

How does ODN ensure the seamless integration of its services with such a diverse array of e-commerce platforms?

Archana Gulia: The unique formula we’ve developed over time ensures the seamless integration of our services.  Our proprietary technology, meticulously crafted, enables us to maintain and harness this expertise and intelligence within our system.

‘ODN Connect’ serves as our in-house workflow and Digital Asset Management (DAM) tool, facilitating transparency, planning, asset storage, and real-time tracking within our system. Connect also assists them in organizing and discovering assets based on different categories, marketplaces, and more

With in-house e-commerce expertise and intelligence, we adeptly manage services across all existing e-commerce platforms. Our unparalleled understanding of e-commerce enables us to deliver top-tier content to our brands, resulting in impactful sales.

In the rapidly evolving world of e-commerce, how does ODN stay ahead of trends and adapt its services to meet the evolving needs of its clients?

Archana Gulia: Staying current with all trends, technologies, and client requirements is deeply rooted in our core values, driven by our ‘Promise Statement’ that imbues these values across our team. Our firm commitment to staying informed about industry advancements ensures that we remain at the forefront of innovation. Here’s how we strive to accomplish this:

Market Research and Trend Analysis: Managing 1 million SKUs and their data annually provides us with firsthand insights and awareness of trends. Additionally, ODN dedicates resources to ongoing market research and trend analysis.

This includes monitoring industry publications, participating in conferences, and leveraging data analytics tools to pinpoint emerging trends in consumer behaviour, technology, and e-commerce best practices.

Customer Feedback Mechanisms: Consistent customer feedback holds paramount importance for us. Our project cycle culminates only after gathering feedback from customers. With the delivery of 15,000 projects annually, we actively seek 15,000 feedback entries from our clients. Each entry scoring 8 or less undergoes daily discussion, resolution, and assurance to address client concerns promptly.

Data-Driven Content Optimization: Recognizing the significance of data in e-commerce, ODN leverages analytics to track performance across various platforms and product categories. By analyzing metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and Return on Ad Spend (RoAS), we refine our content strategy to optimize results.

Investment in Technology: Staying ahead necessitates embracing new technologies. ODN invests in AI-powered content creation tools, automation software, and data visualization tools to enhance efficiency, personalize content, and gain deeper insights from customer data.

Team Training and Development: Acknowledging the constantly changing landscape of e-commerce and the fluidity of our teams, ODN prioritizes ongoing training programs to ensure our team members are consistently updated on the latest trends, platform functionalities, and best practices in content creation.

Industry Partnerships: Collaborating with partners like Wavemaker, Channel Engine, Hogarth, Mindshare, Amazon, and others within the e-commerce ecosystem enriches our knowledge and fosters innovation. These partnerships offer new perspectives and technologies, enabling us to adapt our services effectively.

Collaboration plays a pivotal role in ODN’s success, demonstrated by our extensive brand partnerships. To aspiring entrepreneurs venturing into the e-commerce or digital marketing realms, I recommend maintaining agility, embracing innovation, and prioritizing customer-centric approaches.

For women entrepreneurs, I suggest fostering resilience, seeking mentorship, and recognizing the invaluable impact of networking and support systems.

Collaboration seems to be a key aspect of ODN’s success, given your partnerships with numerous brands. How does the company foster and maintain strong collaborative relationships?

Archana Gulia: Collaboration plays a pivotal role in ODN’s success, demonstrated by our extensive brand partnerships. What has worked out for us if our culture and process. We hire, train and nurture talent that fits into our culture definition. That’s half the job done.

Everything thereon is a matter of the SOP design and the adherence to it. Our daily schedules and calendars are built on these SOPs and we pay utmost importance to our clients. We are an organization that has grown with our clients, on the changing market needs, on the ever evolving ground of commerce. Had it not been for collaboration we wouldnt have been able to do half of what we have managed.

Constant feedback, connection, listening, meeting is the only way to know and explore the possibilities of future together, almost like marriage.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to enter the e-commerce or digital marketing sectors based on your experiences with ODN?

Archana Gulia: To aspiring entrepreneurs venturing into the e-commerce or digital marketing realms, I recommend maintaining agility, embracing innovation, and prioritizing customer-centric approaches. The market and the diaspora is constantly evolving. There is not space for staticness or heaviness. Be light, ever evolving.

What is your success tips for women entrepreneurs?

Archana Gulia: For women entrepreneurs, I suggest fostering resilience, seeking mentorship, and recognizing the invaluable impact of networking and support systems. And know the difference between ego and self-respect. There is a thin line that divides the two. Though you shouldnt take things to heart, but never give in to the temptation of being ever so pleasing that you become shaky on your ground.

It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either. If you are really passionate about carving your own path, come join the party. Just know that you need to get your hands dirty once in a while.

In the dynamic landscape of e-commerce, Archana Gulia’s leadership at ODN has been instrumental in shaping the future of retail. Her unwavering commitment to creativity, coupled with a deep understanding of consumer behavior, continues to drive ODN’s success in delivering innovative Shop-Now Content™ solutions.

As the industry evolves, Archana’s vision and expertise will undoubtedly remain pivotal in shaping the way brands interact with consumers, forging deeper connections and driving sustainable growth.

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