Keeping Up With Colect - CTO Pim Stolk Gazes Into 2022

In this brand new interview series we’re sitting down with several members of the Colect team to discuss the latest developments in their field. We’re kicking off with CTO Pim Stolk who will enlighten us on what lies ahead for Colect on a technological level.

  • Who: Pim Stolk
  • Age: 39
  • Title: CTO at Colect
  • Since: July 2021
  • Previously: IT Lead Mobile Development at ING Bank

Halfway through 2021, Pim Stolk started as Colect’s new Chief Technology Officer after 10+ years at ING Bank. Coming from the banking world, Stolk brings his security mindset to Colect, along with his keen eye for mobile development. In this interview we’re picking his brain to learn more about Colect’s technical plans and ambitions for 2022.

In 2020 and 2021 the importance of self-service and remote sales became very prominent. What will be Colect’s focus for the new year: self-service or face to face sales interactions?

“I think Colect’s strength lies in facilitating a combination of both. We aim to service all fashion and lifestyle brands - from small local labels to global players. Different brands have different needs, sales journeys and processes. We are making sure they all benefit from the continuous innovation the platform offers through its best-practice standard. It’s important to offer solutions that on the one hand enable self-serviced processes, and on the other create an optimal hybrid form of digital and personal, such as in the Digital Showroom Experience.

Many of our clients strive to reduce their costs to serve and self-service allows them to do more for less. In 2022, Colect will work on a ‘light’ version of its platform which can be particularly interesting for smaller brands. Onboarding and using the Sales App and Brand Portal will become fully self-serviced, which will unburden back-offices and customer service centers of our clients.”

Pim Stolk

“Colect strongly believes in the omnichannel approach and has been facilitating it before it even became a trend or buzzword. Sales reps have been able to build an order in the Sales App and have their clients finish it on their own computer in the Brand Portal for a long time now. At this moment, the question arises how we can take that approach to the next level.

One of the things we’re working on is to take our integrated product suite a step further and facilitate co-browsing in a dynamic session. This way, clients and sales reps can really go through collections in the Brand Portal together while being physically apart.”

Looking at sales journeys and the way we support them right now, will something change?

“Yes, we’re working on expanding sales journeys to make them more interactive and personalized. We’re making sure the story is leading instead of the technology, which is something I strongly believe in as CTO.

We are currently putting that into practice with the Digital Showroom Experience. Its tech will closely follow the actions the sales rep initiates to create more freedom in storytelling.”

Are there any cool new features coming up in 2022 you can already tell us about?

“Definitely! For the Digital Showroom Experience we’re working on two features that I’m particularly excited about. We are going to enable 3D content which will tighten the gap between real life and digital selling even more, allowing buyers to view items from all possible angles.

Also, we’re enabling videos to be displayed across all three man-sized screens of the Digital Showroom Experience to make it even more immersive and overwhelming.”

If we zoom in on tech and Colect’s roadmap for 2022, what developments are worth sharing?

“One of the most important developments is that we’re improving our cloud infrastructure. In 2022 we’re migrating to a new VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) where we are rigging a whole new stack. With this stack comes a new API structure which will also further improve the external API’s we offer to our clients. Within the new VPC we will containerize all of our applications to continue to guarantee continuity in performance.

Another big development is authentication infrastructure. After working in banking for 11 years, I have a ‘security first’ mindset which influences the API infrastructure and cloud architecture I strive for at Colect. We periodically have white hackers penetrate our platform to be able to tackle and improve any possible weak spots.”

And zooming out: what do you personally find the most interesting technological developments at the moment?

“I’m watching the current developments around Metaverse with particular interest. Some fashion brands are already exploring new opportunities: H&M is the first to launch a store in Metaverse and Adidas is designing clothing for avatars. I like thinking outside the box and would love to explore what role Colect could play in this field in the nearby future, all in line with our omnichannel approach.”

How are you planning on turning your ambitions for Colect into reality?

“Last year we doubled our development team and in 2022 we are planning on continuing that growth. We are dynamic and keen on scaling up fast which allows me to have confidence in my ambitions.”

Do you want to learn more about the solutions Pim is working on? Download the brochure