Crstl, a no-code electronic data integration software, offers a plethora of services such as certification services, automatic compliance testing, and onboarding amenities, which enables food and beverage brands to connect with a network of trading partners seamlessly. Dipti Desai, the founder and CEO of Crstl, has highlighted that their technical integrations with retailers such as Walmart, Target, Costco, and Wegmans assist brands in developing and growing an omnichannel sales strategy. Desai emphasized that “moving from DTC is a completely different set of mechanics in terms of selling to the customer compared to selling through retailers and distributors. It requires food and beverage companies to completely reimagine how they work with their suppliers, how to package their products, set up sales operations, set and scale up the supply chain and fulfillment, inventory, finance, etc.”
Crstl’s application facilitates compliant transactions to retailers and distributors, enabling brands to avoid the hassle of using in-house developers to customize workflow. Desai explained that “we make sure that the entire end-to-end workflow is automatically compliant and seamless,” which eradicates any guesswork and engineering from the transaction process. Additionally, Crstl automates complex processes such as shipping, where a brand receives a PO from the retailer, prints the shipping labels that include compliance details from distributors and retailers.
An important aspect of Crstl is that it is a no-code Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), which is an automated, electronic communication system for sending information such as purchase orders and invoices, typically sent via paper. Desai noted that the no-code aspect removes the coding and customization for retailers’ data connectivity. Many retailers and distributors are now requiring food and beverage companies to migrate their systems to an EDI or incentivize brands to digitize transactions, allowing payments to arrive much faster.
Desai explained that “what we’re offering from the perspective of a food and beverage company is very much a ‘must-have product.’ It’s not a discretionary or a nice-to-have product now or certainly in the future.” Many food and beverage companies are not building their own data connectivity layer required to set up transactions automatically and compliantly with retailers. Crstl’s software as a service (SaaS) application allows any company to log in without configuring connectivity, testing or onboarding work. Desai added that “all of the software and data pieces are no longer a primary focus,” and instead, Crstl builds the connectivity and onboarding for brands to do business with retailers.
Crstl’s customers range from emerging to mature brands, with Desai noting that emerging to mid-sized brands are more frequent adopters. These brands are more likely to be run by Gen Z and Millennials who are more eager to use modern tools that evolve with their business. As digitally savvy and native tech users, Millennials and Gen Z business owners expect these tools and products to help build new revenue streams in conjunction with their expanding businesses, while making the workflow easier and intuitive. Desai emphasized that “in their daily life, they’re used to using modern products, but often feel like when they’re at work they’re faced with archaic tools, which then means that their business processes can’t scale up or modernize.”
Regardless of the company’s size, Crstl is designed to adapt to a brand’s evolution. Desai explained, “it’s great that our product can help [companies] in all these different stages and graduate and evolve as their businesses evolve because primarily the network is what enables us to be relevant as they grow from one stage to the next.” While the industry has shifted to EDI, which may intimidate business owners into learning or understanding its complexities, there is no need for that. Desai adds that it’s only necessary for brands to know that Crstl supports ED