Ahead of the holiday season, tech players in the digital retail space are seeking to give e-commerce sellers an edge amid the anticipated rush in spending. Whether it’s attempting to maneuver a constrained supply chain, getting products to the shopper faster, alleviating merchant concerns about payments acceptance or giving small businesses a chance to operate with more cash on hand, the technology side of e-commerce is making moves to empower merchants.
Familiar faces are facilitating these changes. FedEx is integrating features from CRM giant Salesforce into its ShopRunner membership platform, while Adobe is debuting its own payments solutions with the help of PayPal. And another alternative lending platform, SellersFunding, reeled in $166.5 million in an effort to give SMBs easier access to working capital.
Top benefits for shoppers include two-day shipping, label-free returns processes and access to return-packing at FedEx locations, as well as enhanced insights into delivery dates and times on online product detail pages.
However, brands interested in the new offering will have to wait until after the holiday rush to reap the benefits. The companies say the first joint solution will become available to consumers in the spring of 2022.
With the deal, FedEx is integrating two of the customer relationship management (CRM) provider’s biggest platforms, Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Salesforce Order Management, into its ecosystem, which includes e-commerce platform and subsidiary ShopRunner.
Brands already using Salesforce will have access to millions of shoppers actively purchasing through the ShopRunner platform, giving them new opportunities to boost loyalty and lifetime value. Additionally, they will be able to access tools that can optimize transportation and fulfillment, deepen supply chain intelligence, simplify shipping and manage costs.
The partnership comes as retailers are tasked with not just managing multiple, complicated inventory management systems to fulfill orders and process returns, but also still needing to stay out in front of shoppers in a crowded e-commerce ecosystem.
“Brands and merchants have to move quicker than ever to meet their customers’ expectations,” Claude Russ, chief operating officer of FedEx Dataworks and CEO of ShopRunner, said in a statement. “With the combined power of Salesforce and FedEx, we will provide them the speed, control and economics they need to help them exceed those expectations. From optimizing their inventory management and fulfillment operations, to faster delivery and attracting new buyers, together we’re helping change the game so brands and merchants can have greater control over the links of their supply chain and increase their competitiveness.”
Bringing together Salesforce Commerce Cloud with ShopRunner and FedEx will impact areas including promotion, purchase and post-purchase, including delivery and returns.
Through this partnership, brands can leverage intelligent supply chain and fulfillment capabilities to optimize their e-commerce operations, all while unifying the customer journey under one roof to help drive new demand and increase conversion on their owned channels.
“We are in a world of commerce anytime and anywhere,” said Lidiane Jones, executive vice president and general manager, Salesforce Commerce Cloud. “Commerce Cloud and Order Management let companies sell wherever their customers shop and fulfill on any channel. Pairing that with FedEx’s logistics capabilities lets us deliver an even faster, easier and cost-efficient experience for our customers. Now, retailers can better meet shoppers’ two-day shipping expectations without accumulating extensive costs or sacrificing their time or brand.”
Adobe, which also integrated with FedEx’s ShopRunner earlier in 2021 to help brands and merchants better manage their logistics via post-purchase intelligence, is now jumping into the payments ecosystem with its own launch.
Powered by the PayPal Commerce Platform, Payment Services for Adobe Commerce can be integrated into digital storefronts so that merchants can accept credit cards and other alternative payment methods. The move comes a month after the tech giant partnered with Walmart to integrate its marketplace, online and in-store fulfillment and pickup technologies within the Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source platforms.
The partnerships with FedEx, Walmart and now PayPal appear to target Shopify, the do-it-all e-commerce giant that powers the back and front end of more than 1.7 million merchants, including trendy fashion companies like Kylie Cosmetics and Gymshark. Until now, Adobe’s e-commerce customers had to build their own payment systems, which is something Shopify customers don’t have to worry about.
“As digital commerce represents a growing share of all transactions, merchants are looking for tools that enable them to drive front-end capabilities and back-end operations of their digital storefronts. Payments is one of those key capabilities that we saw grow in importance over the past 18 months,” said Jordan Jewell, research director, digital commerce at IDC. “With payment capabilities now in its product portfolio, Adobe is better-positioned to support its merchants as a platform provider that can streamline commerce operations across the customer journey.”
Unlike the FedEx/Salesforce solution, Payment Services will be available to U.S. merchants in the fourth quarter of 2021 and accessible to merchants using Magento Open Source.
With Payment Services, Adobe merchants will be able to accept payment methods, including credit and debit cards, PayPal and Venmo, as well as PayPal “pay later” solutions, in their storefront. According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, the use of buy now, pay later (BNPL) services in the first half of 2021 grew 88 percent compared to 2019 levels.
In a statement, the company said it would leverage PayPal’s ongoing investment in innovations such as cryptocurrency transactions and localized payment methods in the future, but did not specify when it would offer those features.
All payment and transaction data will be accessible within the Adobe Commerce Admin as part of the services. Merchants won’t have to contend with multiple logins and other disjointed user experiences for their payment processing, such as exporting and importing reports from multiple systems to reconcile, analyze and verify sales information.
Adobe says that the PayPal-powered services will give merchants “convenient and competitive pricing” for transactions with tiered rates based on processing volume.
Additionally, Payment Services will offer comprehensive reporting capabilities to sellers, including details about store orders and payments, processed volume, payment balance and transaction-level reporting for financial reconciliation. These reporting capabilities are designed to help merchants spot anomalies in order placements and post-sales flows.
Merchants also will be able to see the complete order flow from when an order is placed, all the way to settlement in a single dashboard.
Adobe said it plans to expand the services into Canada, Australia and Western Europe in 2022.
SellersFunding, a global fintech solutions provider designed to help e-commerce merchants access working capital and scale their businesses, has secured $166.5 million in a combination of equity and a credit facility.
Early-stage venture capital fund Northzone led the investment round, joined by investments from additional firms Endeavor Catalyst and Fasanara.
The investment will see SellersFunding enhance its technology and payments platforms, and support its operational and international expansion. As a U.S.-headquartered company, SellersFunding will continue to expand across North America, and also the U.K., Continental Europe and Australia, to establish a presence for its growing global customer base.
In addition, the funding is geared at bolstering sales and marketing efforts and helping SellersFunding onboard more employees.
The digital platform delivers a suite of financial solutions that streamlines global commerce for thousands of marketplaces including functions such as working capital, cross-border cash management, tax solutions and business valuation. Thus far, the company reports that it has received more than 20,000 funding applications, and that its clients generate more than $4 billion in annual sales.
Beyond its primary lending service, SellersFunding leverages sales data from marketplaces and e-commerce platforms to create sales and cash flow estimates based on the credit limits given to clients. With this data, merchant owners would better understand the fees they are paying and make more informed decisions.
Merchants seeking to leverage SellersFunding must have at least six months of sales history and at least $20,000 of net sales per month for either their marketplace or e-commerce website in order to be considered for lending.
SellersFunding joins Northzone’s portfolio of tech players including Klarna, Spotify, Hopin and Trustpilot, among others. The solution provider is also a member of Endeavor Catalyst’s Endeavor Entrepreneurs Network, a global non-profit that has advised and helped scale more than 1,000 high-impact companies in 40+ growth markets around the world.
European alternative asset manager Fasanara supported SellersFunding via a $100 million funding program in January 2021, which was designed to help enhance the company’s liquidity as it expanded into new markets.