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Retail Tech: Genesco Elevates Sourcing, Bed Bath & Beyond Implements Relex

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

Sourcing/ERP

Genesco/Jesta I.S.

Footwear retailer and wholesaler Genesco has selected the Vision Sourcing & Demand software from Jesta I.S. to help drive its supply chain modernization strategy.

The companies are already familiar with each other: Jesta’s Vision Merchandising solution has powered Genesco’s merchandising operations for more than two decades. Additionally, Genesco has leveraged Jesta’s ERP solution to scale its head office merchandising operations and facilitate its growth.

The Journeys parent says its legacy wholesale and sourcing ERP software limits its ability to remain agile within its wholesale and licensing business. On the other hand, Jesta’s Vision Sourcing & Demand ERP solution will be leveraged by several departments within Genesco’s wholesale and licensing business to scale and standardize its end-to-end supply chain capabilities.

Genesco sells footwear and accessories in more than 1,450 stores in the U.S., Canada and Europe across the Journeys, Schuh and Johnston & Murphy labels, and also markets and distributes wholesale footwear under the licensed Dockers brand, Levi’s brand, Bass brand and others. With so much diversity, the retailer has made agility a top priority to bolster its supply chains.

“Modern, robust, scalable and agile were the performance criteria that Genesco prioritized when we sought to upgrade our sourcing technology,” said Rik Reitmaier, chief information officer at Genesco. “Jesta’s Vision Sourcing & Demand delivers real-time business updates and centralizes global data. Immediate and transparent communication will accelerate Genesco’s logistics, and firmly align our vendor partners with our head office and distribution networks.”

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The Vision Sourcing & Demand platform offers accurate demand forecasting and planning, collaborative production, brand engagement and holistic client management enabling omnichannel businesses to better respond to consumer expectations. The platform is just one component of Jesta’s Vision Suite SaaS platform.

Fulfillment

Moda Operandi/Port Logistics Group/Whiplash

Online luxury fashion and apparel marketplace Moda Operandi, has partnered on a multi-year logistics contract with Port Logistics Group/Whiplash (PLG/WL), a platform used for fulfillment and distribution by H&M. Under the contract, PLG will handle order management, fulfillment, distribution and custom packaging for Moda Operandi, backed by the proprietary Whiplash e-commerce platform.

As a retailer that allows customers to order directly from designers immediately after their runway shows, Moda Operandi sought responsiveness and innovation in a new fulfillment solution. The company says the Whiplash platform gave its team a new level of visibility to both products and their customers, which is important since the marketplace carries more than 1,000 brands and designers across fashion, fine jewelry and home.

“A major advantage for us from the outset was that Port Logistics Group/Whiplash is very experienced in working with major fashion retailers, both online and offline,” said Nikhil Soares, e-commerce supply chain and operations executive for Moda Operandi. “Their high-level understanding of the industry gave us confidence that they understood our needs and our desire to offer our clients an enhanced level of service.”

The omnichannel logistics services provider assembled an account team to coordinate Moda Operandi’s fulfillment operation at its Secaucus, N.J., location. The 312,000-square-foot facility offers access to key consumer markets in the Northeast. In total, the company operates a strategic mix of 6.5 million square feet of warehouse space backed by intelligent technology and automation.

Inventory management

Bed Bath & Beyond/Relex

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. has unveiled the latest step in its $250 million technology investment with the selection of Relex Solutions as its inventory management technology partner. With Relex Solutions, the retailer aims to modernize and drive efficiencies in its inventory management systems that support its store network and distribution centers.

The cloud-based technology platform will deliver automated forecasting, replenishment and allocation planning to improve the company’s in-stock position and inventory turnover, in an effort to enhance the customer experience while driving sales and gross margin improvements.

“We are leading with a digital-first, omni-always approach to build authority in our core markets and make it easy to feel at home. Investing in modern inventory management technologies is a critically important component of this approach,” Scott Lindblom, chief technology officer of Bed Bath & Beyond, said in a statement.

Bed Bath & Beyond has implemented various technology transformation initiatives throughout its investment, such as tapping Oracle to modernize its enterprise resource planning (ERP) and expand its use of Google Cloud’s machine learning and analytics capabilities. The company will begin to implement technologies from Relex Solutions in the spring of 2021 as part of its ERP rollout.

E-commerce

Mytheresa/Kibo

Coming out of a recent spinoff from Neiman Marcus and an ensuing IPO valuing the company at more than $2 billion, luxury fashion retailer Mytheresa has been leveraging unified commerce platform Kibo to achieve an uplift in add-to-cart rates, reduce mobile bounce rates, boost newsletter signups and improve conversion rates in China.

Since 2016, Mytheresa has leveraged Kibo’s testing and personalization capabilities to cater to different global markets.

“We needed a partner that would make it easy for us to deliver unique and personalized experiences for our customers around the globe. Kibo Personalization has helped us across both of these goals with excellent customer service and an intuitive platform that our marketing teams can use with ease,” Sebastian Dietzmann, chief operating officer and managing director of Mytheresa, said in a statement.

The use of the platform comes as the retailer sought a data-centric approach to drive personalization for consumers, particularly as the company offered a range of luxury fashion designers to a customer base in 133 countries and eight different languages. Designer brands sold through Mytheresa include Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Gucci, Loewe, Loro Piana, Moncler, Prada, Saint Laurent and Valentino.

In a statement, Kibo said that throughout the partnership, the platform provider has helped implement different workflows without interrupting the customer experience.

Charming Charlie/Nogin

Women’s fashion and accessories retailer Charming Charlie is getting an e-commerce revival with the help of digital commerce platform Nogin. The retailer began the process of opening its first batch of new stores since returning with an Atlanta store in September 2020, with the first of 14 new stores opening March 12 in Houston. In total, 14 stores will open across March and April.

The interior of a Charming Charlie store in Houston.
The interior of a Charming Charlie store in Houston. Charming Charlie

In 2019, the company filed for bankruptcy for the second time before closing all its stores and later selling its intellectual property to real estate investment company CJS Group LP for $1.1 million.

Charming Charlie plans launch more new stores this year.

Nogin, formerly known as Branded Online, says its solutions address digital marketing, technology and development, product and warehouse management, logistics, fulfillment and merchant services. The company’s “intelligent commerce” system has been adopted by Bebe, Lululemon, True Religion and Yeezy.

The company acquired e-commerce technology provider OneStop Commerce and design agency Zther Interactive to enhance its focus on delivering enterprise-level solution for e-commerce brands across fashion, CPG, beauty, health and wellness.

Buy now, pay later

Splitit

Installment payments technology provider Splitit unveiled new partnerships in key verticals such as luxury goods, home furnishings and outdoor, while entering a new global partnership with financial services institution Findex.

Splitit says it has differentiated itself in the crowded “buy now, pay later” space with an offering that enables shoppers to pay in installments directly on their credit card.

The company recently entered agreements with Michaels Jewelry, contemporary fashion jewelry brand APM Monaco and pre-owned luxury brand Xupes alongside global home furnishings brands including Poly and Bark, Swedish bedding and linen manufacturer Hastens, Australian home shopping network Openshop, English design brand House of Hackney and Dott.pt, one of Portugal’s largest online shopping marketplaces.

Additionally, the Boardriders brands Quiksilver, Roxy and DC Shoes are now accepting Splitit across Europe. The outdoor partnerships consist of biking brands Giant Bicycles, Echelon Fitness, Matt Bike and Super73.

As part of its Findex partnership, clients will now be able to pay their professional services fees via monthly installments using their existing credit cards via Splitit, in addition to Findex’s existing payment solutions. Findex provides financial solutions to more than 250,000 personal and business clients across Australia and New Zealand.

Splitit appointed Melanie Vala to chief commercial officer, Mariana Abdala as vice president of product and Lori Magyar as head of people. Other senior appointments include Rob Gaige as vice president of marketing, U.S. and Lyndal Newman as marketing leader for Europe. The company launched a new enterprise sales team with the addition of Toni Stinton and Maria Tatone, who will be partnering with the top 250 brands in the U.S. to expand acceptance of Splitit’s platform.

Contactless pickup

QuickCollect

QuickCollect Solutions, powered by Bell and Howell, a provider of automated pickup solutions, has debuted its newest contactless pickup solution for North American retailers, grocers and pharmacies.

QuickCollect EL is a scalable indoor/outdoor smart locker system designed for companies looking for seamless pickup workflows, a wide range of order storage capabilities and flexible deployment and configuration options.

With a wide array of double-column modules and configurable compartment size options, QuickCollect EL is a customizable solution from the look and feel, to the user experience and individual locker configuration. The locker offers on-site system reconfigurations for how and where a retailer can establish their online order pickup point.

When customers arrive at the lockers to collect their orders, they can scan a barcode at the customer portal. Once their order is confirmed, a locker door will automatically open, revealing their package.

This automated smart locker system is the latest addition to the QuickCollect Solutions product portfolio. QuickCollect Solutions provides complete project management capabilities, from installation to service, remote monitoring and advanced analytics.

Headquartered in Durham, N.C., QuickCollect Solutions operates a 24/7 customer service and technical support center, as well as a remote monitoring and diagnostic center. The company employs more than 800 field technicians.

Returns

Global Blue/ZigZag Global

Global Blue, a company that offers tax-free shopping information services, has acquired ZigZag, a SaaS technology platform that helps retailers manage worldwide e-commerce returns and exchanges.

With ZigZag, Global Blue extends its product set, complementing its tax-free shopping and added value payment services propositions and further builds out its mission to become a more strategic omnichannel technology and payment partner for merchants.

More than 29 million international shoppers receive personalized shopping experiences via Global Blue, enabling them to claim back the value-added tax (VAT) on their eligible purchases when they shop abroad and to pay in their home currency at a guaranteed best rate. Customs and authorities in more than 40 countries leverage Global Blue to increase the attractiveness of shopping their country and ensure a secure and compliant tax-free shopping structure.

ZigZag’s technology platform digitizes the e-commerce returns process and improves the returns experience for both consumers and retailers, replacing the outdated paper-based “label in the box” solutions with an online returns portal. The portal offers a range of shipping options including post office, parcel shops, lockers and collection from home, as well as exchange alternatives.

The platform aims to reduce logistical costs via consolidation, local market resale and inbound consumer queries, as well as by allowing exchanges versus simply return of goods. With e-commerce becoming even more crucial for luxury brands, Global Blue will benefit from ZigZag’s e-commerce expertise, extending its relationships with its existing and future clients.

ZigZag already integrates with 30 merchant e-commerce software platforms via API or certified connectors including Shopify, Magento, Salesforce Commerce Cloud and BigCommerce. With the integration, retailers can access ZigZag’s reverse logistics network comprising 450+ carrier services and 220 warehouses in 130 countries.

As of December 2020, Zigzag’s technology powered approximately 100 global e-commerce retailers including Boohoo, Selfridges, Gap, Superdry and The Hut Group, with growth of more than 500 percent of its processed returns in 2020 versus 2019.

RFID

Mainetti

Mainetti, a retail solutions provider with a portfolio including packaging, branding, supply chain, and intelligent RFID-based solutions, has launched NextLevel RFID, a solution designed to simplify omnichannel processes by enhancing visibility into retail supply chains.

Mainetti’s NextLevel RFID provides unified inventory across the entire supply chain, with the aim to follow a single item in near-real time.

Through the recent acquisitions of creative branding and packaging solutions provider The Star Group and Italy-based apparel labelling and packaging solutions company Reca Group, Mainetti has developed capabilities that deliver RFID Labels to the source of manufacturing.

Additionally, Mainetti has become the largest investor in Retail Reload, an RFID-based SaaS solution designed for inventory and sales management accuracy.

Mainetti’s global network and supply chain resources provide customers with an end-to-end solution from RFID labels, software and hardware to the service and support they provide today. In 2020, the company introduced a line of health and safety products that help customers in their efforts to mitigate Covid-19 risks.

The solution provider is a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, working with organizations to accelerate the global transition to a circular economy.

Mobile messaging

Snapcommerce

Snapcommerce, a message-driven commerce platform connecting price-conscious consumers to mobile promotions, has closed an $85 million growth round to bring total capital raised to over $100 million.

The platform will use the investment to expand into new consumer verticals, executing its broader vision of improving the way people shop on their phones.

The company says it aims to eliminate the “middleman” costs associated with affiliate marketing, sourcing, recommendations, fulfillments and loyalty programs, estimated that marketing and distribution costs that are passed down to the consumer can increase the price of an item by 35 percent alone.

The AI-driven Snapcommerce platform is projected to cross more than $1 billion in total mobile sales in 2021. Over 100 million messages have been exchanged with more than 10 million customers through the Snapcommerce platform to date, the company says.

The round was co-led by Inovia Capital and Lion Capital with participation from Acrew DCF, Thayer Ventures and Full In Partners, and included existing investors Telstra Ventures and Bee Partners.

CRM

Optimove

CRM platform provider Optimove has launched new real-time segmentation capabilities as a result of the company’s acquisition and integration of Axonite’s real-time event streaming platform in February 2020.

When combining its existing AI-driven CRM journey orchestration technology with the segmentation capabilities, Optimove says it can bolster customer analysis and communication power for its client brands.

Optimove’s real-time segmentation is powered by customer attributes created through a no-code user interface, and is built to answer the needs of agile business users.

The company says that instead of creating customer attributes solely based on either real-time or batch data, it allows brands to combine the modeling and context that stems from batch processing of historical data, with the speed and relevancy of real-time data to create powerful customer segments.

Ultimately, this can bolster personalization efforts by leveraging historical and predictive data to answer the question of “who is their customer,” while using real-time data to answer, “what are they doing right now.”

The company says it seeks to eliminate the risk of “broken” CRM journeys with the segmentation capabilities. As an example, it enables e-commerce brands to combine customer lifecycle attributes such as “churned,” and predicted ones such as the “probability to reactivate,” with a “days since last order” attribute that updates with each new purchase.

Ideally, in this scenario, Optimove could then automatically remove customers who purchased today from a daily campaign targeting churned customers with a high predicted probability to reactivate.