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Retail Tech: ShipBob, Venmo Deepen Amazon Ties, Impact Analytics Nabs $10M

The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.

Fulfillment

ShipBob/Amazon

ShipBob has launched features and enhanced offerings designed to optimize e-commerce business owners’ experience with Amazon fulfillment. The omnichannel fulfillment platform’s new Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) prep automation in the U.S. is designed to streamline the process of preparing and sending ShipBob merchants’ FBA inventory to Amazon.

The partnership aims for faster inventory placement and for merchants to use ShipBob as their centralized inventory hub. In addition, ShipBob has rolled out the capability to offer Fulfilled By Merchant (FBM) in its nine major e-commerce markets of U.S., Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Poland.

Merchants can connect ShipBob with their Amazon storefronts, products, inventory and orders via automatic, bulk or manual syncs from the ShipBob App Store, along with 40+ integrations like Shopify, BigCommerce, Walmart and others.

Through integration enhancements, merchants now have increased visibility from hourly syncing between the ShipBob and Amazon platforms. Behind Shopify, ShipBob is the second platform to integrate directly with Amazon to sync inventory quantities every 15 minutes.

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The company’s new Automated FBA Prep solution is a designed to offer brands that outsource fulfillment to ShipBob various benefits, including simplified FBA prep for increased efficiency, quick inventory placement and the ability to bypass Amazon workflows.

ShipBob’s integration with Amazon automates the FBA prep process from order creation to fulfillment by syncing order and shipping label information between the two platforms to save merchants time. Retailers can prep orders directly from ShipBob’s dashboard and can choose between a ShipBob or Amazon prepaid shipping label. As a result, new orders won’t go on hold, speeding up processing time by up to two days.

The automated FBA prep service can streamline the process of getting inventory to Amazon from ShipBob’s fulfillment centers in the U.S. This new workflow should result in faster fulfillment and is designed to lessen the risk of delays associated with manual FBA prep.

With ShipBob’s new API, merchants get a more error-proof way to send inventory to Amazon, while maintaining 100 percent compliance, the company says. All a seller has to do is select the product, lot (if applicable) and quantity. Box dimensions, package weight and other information is not required for sellers to complete within ShipBob.

Mio/PTC

Mio, a Swedish retail chain for furniture and home furnishings, has selected and implemented the FlexPLM solution from PTC.

Prior to selecting PTC, Mio surveyed the global PLM market and conducted an evaluation seeking out not just a PLM platform, but a particular kind of technology partner, according to Mio’s head of assortment, Erik Törnqvist.

“We wanted to work with a PLM provider who had a proven track record of supporting large and medium-sized multi-category retailers with increasing private brand market penetration to drive higher margins and revenue,” Törnqvist said. “It was also essential that we found a vendor whose software and services were easy to use, highly secure and could also scale to manage the volume and complexity of products that we develop. Scalability, along with a modern, visual, and intuitive UI/UX was a top priority for our business and our users, and FlexPLM was the outright choice.”

The deployment of FlexPLM will help Mio develop and launch products more quickly, streamlining go-to-market processes across several categories and lines of business including: sofas and armchairs, beds and mattresses, dining tables and chairs, lighting, textiles, carpets, bath and shower and outdoor furniture.

By moving from disparate, disconnected spreadsheets, email and other legacy systems to an enterprise PLM application, Mio can better critical product data, providing its internal teams with better visibility of all development and sourcing activities.

The PLM platform enables more seamless and secure communication and collaboration with supply chain partners, and will help Mio as it grows its e-commerce presence on top of its more than 70 physical stores in Sweden.

Supply chain management

Tecsys

Tecsys Inc., a supply chain management software company, has launched a new rapid implementation methodology for its cloud-native order management system Omni OMS.

The six-week implementation methodology aims to take advantage of out-of-the-box integrations and operational accelerators including education, training and templated customer/vendor collaboration.

Tecsys’ Omni OMS is a SaaS offering enabling unified commerce by empowering omnichannel order orchestration and fulfillment capabilities such as in-store and curbside pickup, ship-from-store and ship-to-home, among other fulfillment channels.

As e-commerce and in-person retail continues to converge, brand owners are progressively adopting an end-to-end distribution management strategy that is capable of routing complex order management combinations. Tecsys’ Omni OMS leverages industry-specific best practices so that it can now deliver this value insix weeks.

This rapid implementation methodology can be scaled according to customer requirements and resource allocation. The framework is designed to give Tecsys customers the confidence that their ecosystem can be up and running according to their business needs, taking advantage of each party’s expertise to accelerate value generation.

Omni OMS is part of Tecsys’ solution suite, a portfolio focused on supply chain execution.

Logility/Workwear Outfitters

Work apparel and footwear supplier Workwear Outfitters selected the Logility Digital Supply Chain Platform in an effort to modernize its technology stack and transform its end-to-end supply chain.

Based in Nashville, Tenn., Workwear Outfitters features brands including Red Kap, Bulwark, Horace Small, Kodiak, Terra and Walls, and is also the exclusive licensee for Dickies apparel in the B2B channel. The company says it is experiencing significant growth and change and needed a more sophisticated and connected supply chain platform to replace Excel and older versions of software to improve both efficiency and execution.

“Logility stood out to us because of their deep industry expertise and understanding of our business,” said Phil Byerly, vice president of operations, Workwear Outfitters. “Their team took the time to get to know us and our challenges in the areas of demand planning, vendor sourcing execution, quality and product testing. Leveraging the Logility platform, we look forward to improving our operations, service and profit.”

Payments

Venmo/Amazon

Amazon’s U.S. customers will soon be able to add their Venmo account as a payment method, both within the e-commerce giant’s website and mobile app.

The tech titan started the rollout to a limited group of Amazon customers Tuesday, and will make Venmo available to U.S. customers by Black Friday. Venmo says its users shop more than two times more frequently than the average shopper and are 19 percent more likely to make repeat purchases.

“We want to offer customers payment options that are convenient, easy to use, and secure—and there’s no better time for that than the busy holiday season. Whether it’s paying with cash, buying now and paying later, or now paying via Venmo, our goal is to meet the needs and preferences of every Amazon customer,” said Max Bardon, vice president of Amazon Worldwide Payments. “We’re excited to continue to offer customers even more options when it comes to how and when they want to pay for their order.”

Once available, users can set up their Venmo account first by adding it as a payment option during checkout. Users can click “Select a payment method” and then tap “Add a Venmo account.” This will open the Venmo app, where users can allow Amazon to charge Venmo for future purchases.

Next, an Amazon confirmation screen will be displayed, where users can choose to set Venmo as their default payment method for future Amazon purchases. Users can always change their preference by going to “Settings” and then clicking “Connected Businesses” in the Venmo App. 

Customers can also check out with Venmo Purchase Protection, available on eligible purchases in the case of a problem with an order, as well as Amazon’s A-to-z Guarantee.

Demand planning

Impact Analytics

Impact Analytics, a provider of SaaS AI-based solutions for strategic and unified planning for retail, CPG, and supply chain, closed a $10 million round in growth financing led by Argentum Capital Partners. This funding is in addition to Argentum’s previous led investment of $11 million in February 2021.

Along with the continued expansion of Impact Analytics’ AI-led retail solution suite, the round of funding will be used to scale the company’s customer success, and sales and marketing organizations to meet the surge of demand for its AI-led products in North and South America, Europe, EMEA and Asia.

In 2023, Impact Analytics will open offices in London and Dubai to meet burgeoning global demand. Led by product industry experts, data scientists, and customer care teams, Impact Analytics will continue to onboard talent with the funding. 

Impact Analytics’ next-generation AI-driven technology platform powers SaaS solutions aimed at optimizing forecasting, planning, merchandising, and end-to-end lifecycle pricing for retailers, DTC e-commerce and CPGs. The company’s SmartSuite and forecasting products for assortment planning, inventory optimization, markdown optimization, and promotion planning are deployed at retailers driving smarter decisions with real-time insights, including 10 of the top 25 retailers, three of the top 10 CPG companies, and five leading global manufacturers.

Impact Analytics says it aims to advance forecast precision to highly reliable levels across its SmartSuite products. It offers AI/ML models and innovations that support all item types, as well as glass box visibility to rationalize how the forecast was created. The models can leverage hundreds of causal factors to develop the forecast, the company says, and enables users to work exceptionally well for new, volatile and low volume products.

As a result, Impact Analytics says its clients realize “significantly higher” forecast accuracy to fuel substantial improvements in revenue, margin, and other critical KPIs. These metrics are further leveraged across the platform to deliver AI-driven business intelligence solutions for testing, reporting and store execution. The company’s decisioning systems also are designed to enhance retailers’ sustainability efforts by helping them make merchandising and allocation decisions that are more precise, reducing waste and their carbon footprint.

E-commerce

Bolt

Checkout technology company Bolt has launched its latest product, Bolt Shopper Assistant, which helps retailers turn anonymous guest shoppers into account-holding customers. With Shopper Assistant, Bolt aims to provide a faster login for returning shoppers, and increase conversion with personalized shopping experiences.

Digital retailers often use pop-up functions prompting first-time shoppers to sign up for discounts or subscribe to newsletters. These often require shoppers to leave a retailer’s site to find a discount code in their email. Additionally, they only collect emails instead of creating accounts, so retailers can miss out on an opportunity to convert guest shoppers into account holders. Many online retailers also showcase product recommendations, past orders and order tracking. This can be valuable to returning shoppers, but the information is often in disparate locations across a retailer’s site.

For first-time shoppers, Shopper Assistant can incentivize them to create an account to receive a discount on their first order. The discount is immediately applied at checkout, so there’s no need for shoppers to leave the site and hunt through their email for a discount code when they’re ready to buy.

For returning shoppers, Shopper Assistant can create a more streamlined login experience, allowing them to sign into their accounts using Bolt’s password-less login, and increase the amount of logged-in shoppers for retailers. Once shoppers have logged in, Shopper Assistant personalizes the experience by enabling them to see their past order history, recently viewed products, product recommendations, reorders and easily track their live orders, driving higher engagement and, ultimately, higher conversion at checkout.

Athletic and lifestyle apparel retailer Tyler said Shopper Assistant drove a 16 percent increase in account registration, a 14 percent increase in the logged-in shopper rate and a 6 percent additional increase in checkout conversion, on top of the baseline improvement in checkout conversion already offered by Bolt.

“Tyler’s has been looking for a way to streamline account creation and checkout in order to increase our number of repeat shoppers, and we love that Bolt consistently innovates ahead of the market to help us stay competitive,” said Justin Dermit, director of e-commerce and marketing at Tyler’s. “We’re already seeing success in terms of increasing account registrations and logged-in shopping, and we cannot wait to see what’s next.”

Buy now, pay later

Tymit

Tymit, a platform that enables customers to buy products and services anywhere Visa is accepted and split the cost into installments, has raised 23 million pounds ($26.6 million) in Series A funding led by its partner, U.K.-based retailer Frasers Group.

The platform also enables merchants to offer an installment program under their own brand and says it applies no merchant fees.

Customers are charged zero percent interest in the first three months with charges applied to longer installments that can be paid up to three years after the point of purchase.

The startup is interest-free at the point of transaction but instead offers a line of credit to users who have already been pre-approved through its credit checks to pay for purchases in installments.

Tymit’s growth comes as other major BNPL providers tack on merchant fees, further squeezing their margins.

Tymit will use the cash to accelerate its product development and support the launch of its B2B2C installment program for merchants. The company will also continue to invest in its consumer proposition which is currently live with more than 40,000 active users and in the last 12 months processed 75 million pounds ($86.8 million) in transactions.

“This strategic investment into Tymit will allow the group the ability to continue to pioneer the retail sector and later expand into the buy now, pay later market, enhancing the consumer experience and providing flexibility across the board,” a spokesperson for Frasers Group said in a statement.