What is a Tuple and What Does it Have to Do with Microservices?


In mathematics, an n-Tuple – pronounced Toople – is an ordered set with n elements. At Nextuple, a tuple is an ordered set of microservices. Each tuple is a set of microservices or building blocks that can be used individually or together to quickly craft business functionality for fulfillment. Why is this important?

Consumer Expectations are Off the Chart

With the rise of ecommerce, giants like Amazon created a new set of customer expectations, such as one- and two-day delivery, with “prime” options like free shipping. As technology advanced and COVID continued, so did the expansion of omnichannel sales through mobile apps, social media, and other distribution options. The pandemic required retailers to push innovation further with new must-have capabilities, such as curbside pick-up.

Over the last few years, the world of fulfillment turned upside down as pandemic-restricted shoppers rushed to the internet. With global ecommerce sales expected to more than double pre-pandemic levels by 2025, the scale of ecommerce will continue to test retailers.

Today, research shows the importance of servicing all digital touchpoints:

  1. Social commerce sales will reach $45.74 billion in 2022. 
  2. By 2025, 44 percent of all ecommerce sales are expected to be completed through mobile devices.
  3. By early 2021, 50 percent or more of retail chains offered curbside pick-up, up from nearly seven percent at the end of 2019.


These statistics aren’t just a blip in the retail landscape. A recent report shows that 85 percent of consumers plan to maintain the shopping behaviors they adopted during the pandemic. Retailers are developing omnichannel fulfillment models where the primary goal is getting purchases to shoppers as quickly and conveniently as possible while delivering a consistent experience across all channels. The ability to satisfy customers is a complex challenge as consumer habits continue to shift. Retailers must continue adapting their fulfillment operations to remain relevant and successful.

Rigid Monolithic Architectures Blocks Omnichannel Success

It’s never been harder to satisfy continuously evolving customer demands. But just as poorly-run fulfillment operations can cause frustration and lower the bottom line, a well-executed system can be a major competitive advantage.

Historically, retailers have used one giant, backend monolithic system, making introducing new features and services difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. This lack of agility is a significant roadblock to meeting customer expectations and keeping pace with the competition.

Fortunately, microservices can help retailers create robust, flexible fulfillment models for all elements of omnichannel, including inventory management, order orchestration, sourcing, store fulfillment, and returns processing. The secret lies in jettisoning monolith systems and using a microservice architecture.

Tuples: Microservices on Steroids for Agile Fulfillment

A microservice architecture allows retailers to meet omnichannel challenges better. The primary advantages of microservices are the agility, speed, and precision gained by bringing new functionality to meet customer needs faster than ever before. Because each microservice is run autonomously, it’s quick and easier to add, remove, update, and scale individual microservices independently.

The Nextuple Fulfillment Studio integrates groups of related microservices into three larger elements called Tuples. These building blocks can work independently or together to create flexible fulfillment solutions. For example, its Promise tuple comprises four microservices: Promising, Sourcing, Inventory, and Capacity. The Orchestrate Tuple offers four composable microservices: Order state engine, Order store, Manage Order APIs, and Order Management. The OMNI Fulfillment Tuple offers five composable microservices for flexible store-based fulfillment: digital order queue, picking, staging operations, packing/shipping, and dispensing.

Why Nextuple? How Nextuple Got its Name

Now that you know about tuples, let’s hear from founder and CEO, Darpan Seth on how his team chose the Nextuple name.

The name came about after hours and days of brainstorming. Our new baby had to have a name that is new, catchy, meaningful, and relevant to our business. Of course, the domain name had to be available too :)

We took inspiration from all around us –successful brands, catchy internet startups, heck, even Game of Thrones for its creativity and impact. e.g. (The Winture Group – Winture is coming…you get the drift.)

Our name finally came about as two words were smushed together.

The first is n-Tuple.
noun: n-tuple; plural noun: n-tuples. An ordered set with n elements.

So think of a n-tuple as a team with N members. A team that brings together N times the initiative. N times the drive. N ideas. N … possibilities. Well …you get the idea.

Every organization needs to be a high-performing team. Every team member needs to be able to bring something unique to the group, be it in complementary skills or experiences.

Every person on the team should excel at something and, above all be excellent at working hard. And when you form N such teams – you have an organization that is willing to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

Nextuple is THAT team of teams. We are thinkers, dreamers, and Doers. This is the like-minded alliance of empathetic difference-makers who are the true secrets to our transformative successes. We’re here to add value not just to ourselves but also to our partners, clients, and those around us in our lives.

The second part of our name is another mathematical symbol e ^ x (e to the power of x).
This is the most commonly encountered exponential function where the base is the transcendental number e, which is equal to approximately 2.71828. It signifies Exponential growth or growth that increases by a constant proportion.

So when you put the two together n-tuple & ex you get n-ex–tuple or Nextuple – a company that brings together n talented teams to drive exponential growth and value.

As a company, we are experts in the post-purchase experience space, and we want our clients to Experience...The difference. With Nextuple.

Preparing for the Future of Fulfillment

Omnichannel fulfillment is getting more complex every day, and customer expectations keep growing. If your monolithic legacy system is letting you down, it’s time to look into how microservices and Nextuple can help you transform your fulfillment model.

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