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Retail Tech Roundup: BigCommerce May File IPO, RetailNext Helps Consumers ShopSafe

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

CRM

Jesta I.S.

Jesta I.S. Inc., a provider of integrated ERP and unified commerce solutions for wholesalers and omnichannel retailers, has launched the latest version of its Vision CRM platform. Building on the inaugural January launch of Vision CRM powered by Snowflake and Tableau, the platform is designed to enable retailers to create, edit and refine advanced, cross-channel, business-specific customer segments.

The extended Vision CRM can deliver visual analytics via multiple UI/UX-optimized dashboards. The pre-built dashboards come with several pre-crunched customer segments based on criteria like how recently and frequently a consumer has shopped. Filters can be selected for deeper individual shopper insights and invaluable metrics, including channels frequented, total number of orders, products ordered/returned, average order value, average price point and top categories shopped.

The segments are visible across all of Jesta’s unified commerce solutions including Vision POS Store and can be pushed to other point-of-sale-enabled systems for the creation of personalized data-driven promotions that boost customer engagement and reengagement. Segments can also be imported into a business’s preferred marketing automation platform.

Vision CRM features color-coded snapshots that can communicate which sites, departments and products are generating the most sales at any given time. Histograms that display enterprise-wide customer retention and acquisition metrics also are included.

E-Commerce

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is planning on filing for an initial public offering (IPO) this year that could value the company at approximately $1 billion, according to a Bloomberg report. The e-commerce software platform provider has reportedly hired Morgan Stanley as part of the process, though the IPO plans aren’t final and could change.

Alongside the IPO report, BigCommerce officially released Page Builder, a drag-and-drop visual design tool that empowers merchants to build differentiated shopping experiences across their online storefronts.

Now natively available to BigCommerce merchants across all payment plans, Page Builder simplifies a brand’s ability to build new pages and edit existing ones with drag-and-drop blocks of content called widgets—including individual products, carousels, text blocks, branded images and video, promotional banners, buy buttons, blocks of custom HTML and more.

With Page Builder, advanced and non-technical users alike can quickly design the custom storefront without entering a single line of code. Additionally, users can personalize their online storefront by changing the look and feel of every page—including the homepage, product and category pages, as well as content and cart pages.

The company also named Searchspring as a new BigCommerce Certified Technology Partner. This enables Searchspring to open access to its search, merchandising, and analytics platform for more than 60,000 BigCommerce customers. BigCommerce store merchandisers can now access Searchspring directly through the BigCommerce App Marketplace.

The platform is built so that a single merchandiser can build and optimize sophisticated merchandising campaigns and is designed to match a brand’s unique website style and experience on launch.

With Searchspring’s search and merchandising platform, BigCommerce customers can make in-the-moment merchandising decisions by configuring product listing displays across search, category, and landing pages.

Additionally, they can fine-tune product results with automated rules and specific drag-and-drop positioning, all without sacrificing relevancy, and increase conversions through a shopper journey with on-site banner ads and visual merchandising cues.

Searchspring provides machine-assisted search and product recommendations as well as spell correct designed to help shoppers find the right product. The platform also identifies opportunities to improve conversion and increase online revenue with actionable reporting and merchandising analytics, and enables users to control the presentation of their brand without the need for costly development resources.

Payments

Laybuy

U.K.-based fashion retailers PrettyLittleThing and Hype will both soon offer Laybuy as a payment option across their e-commerce sites, allowing customers to spread the cost of purchases over six equal weekly payments.

Laybuy’s payment option, which is due to go live online with both retailers later this month, is designed to provide customers with a more flexible and responsible way of paying, without having to resort to credit cards with expensive interest rates. Paying with Laybuy is always interest-free.

Laybuy says that since it launched the platform three years ago, its retail partners have seen order values rise by 60 percent, online and in-store conversion rates increase by 50 percent and new customer acquisition rise by 30 percent. In total, the platform provider has partnered with 7,000 retail merchants globally.

Retailers receive a full payment up-front once a shopper makes a purchase, while Laybuy carries the credit risk. Laybuy ensures responsible credit limits are set by partnering with Experian to conduct robust credit checks for all customers.

Qolo

Qolo, a B2B payments hub, has launched an all-in-one payments solution designed to support today’s complex payments world, which includes gig worker payouts, associated prepaid/debit cards and international marketplaces. Qolo does this through modern functionality such as advanced card processing, cross-border/foreign exchange capabilities and a rules-based, flexible account structure.

Using fraud detection systems, Qolo’s patent-pending qoloCrypt technology secures data at the field level in the database and is designed to ensure business data stays safe. QoloCrypt adheres to all GDPR and U.S. regulations on data security. Qolo offers real-time processing, SmartFX, SmartWire, multi-stage support and a good-funds, multi-currency model.

Mobile

Zebra Technologies

Zebra Technologies has introduced a series of enterprise-class mobile devices designed to improve front-line worker productivity and effectiveness across retail, logistics and transportation, field mobility and warehouse environments. The five mobile computers—TC21, TC26, TC52x, TC57x and MC3300x—run on the Android 10 operating system.

These mobile computers run on Zebra’s latest platform architecture and enable the recently announced Zebra MotionWorks Proximity solution, which is designed to help protect employees’ safety while increasing their productivity in work environments.

All the products include Zebra’s Mobility DNA suite of end-user applications, development tools and utilities. The LifeGuard for Android software security solution and Zebra OneCare service are designed to maximize total customer benefits beyond the devices by simplifying management, strengthening security and reducing training and adoption time.

Store Systems

RetailNext

RetailNext has created ShopSafe—a not-for-profit enterprise focused on getting American retail businesses open again with infrastructure to deliver real-time occupancy data for shoppers to better understand precautionary measures in place. This free framework is designed to deliver transparency to crucial occupancy metrics to help guide safer experiences in physical stores.

Venues included in the ShopSafe initiative will identify as such, and consumers will have ready access to occupancy-related information for the locations they plan to visit.

The initiative features collaborations with enterprise technology companies such as Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and Intel. Several mall operators and retailers including Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio, Ulta Beauty, b8ta, Ted Baker and Neighborhood Goods are participating, as well as retail technology partners like Foursquare and LiveRamp.

The retail partners plan to deploy the technology in a variety of ways, including integrations into the retailers’ consumer-facing apps as well as other consumer apps that share store location details. A comprehensive list of members can be found at www.shop-safe.org.

ShopSafe’s real-time, consumer-facing data includes occupancy and indications of thresholds as well as average time spent inside a given venue. The data will also be made available to those looking to integrate information into consumer-facing apps so consumers can more confidently plan their shopping trips. The data can be readily used to understand real-time capacity at stores.

Launch partners include retail technology platforms Yoobic, MishiPay, and Radius8, each delivering a differentiated solution for the ShopSafe retail participants.

Kibo

Kibo, an omnichannel commerce technology provider, has released Curbside Pickup, a new fulfillment offering designed for retailers to meet growing demand for buy online, pick up curbside options resulting from COVID-19.

In order to support retailers through the uncertain future of COVID-19, in Q4 and beyond, Kibo is offering promotional discounts throughout 2020 to help retailers launch curbside pickup operations in 30 days and weave it into their long-term order fulfillment strategy.

In addition to addressing these challenges, Kibo has added in an extra layer of personalization, powered by Monetate and Certona, to create a more personalized curbside experience. Kibo’s modular, microservices offerings also enable clients to implement additional omnichannel offerings including BOPIS, ship from store (SFS) and personalized recommendations.

The feature includes a user interface designed to enable in-store associates to trigger customized, two-way communication between the retailer and customer through SMS and email during curbside fulfillment.

Customers will receive automated notifications with order status updates, prompts to schedule and inform store of pickup intent, QR codes to confirm order identification at pickup and fulfillment confirmations once the process is complete.

Store associates will receive SMS/email messages to notify of orders assigned to the store, when customers are en route or have arrived for their orders and will get detailed instructions on where to leave orders and how to identify customers.

Inventory Management

Brightpearl

Officially licensed U.S. military apparel, accessory and gift brand Armed Forces Gear has chosen Brightpearl to support the delivery of its range of officially licensed military clothing and accessories for active service members, veterans and military families across the U.S.

Selling via multiple online channels, Armed Forces Gear wanted to centralize inventory, address issues with reporting and integrate seamlessly with marketplaces and its new e-commerce platform. Brightpearl’s retail-focused digital operations platform, coupled with an open source API, real-time reporting and best-in-class integrations, improve the retailer’s visibility and control over its stock levels and real-time business insight into its sales order, financial, inventory and purchasing data.

Armed Forces Gear will leverage Brightpearl in conjunction with its prior integration of Shopify Plus.

The brand now plans to keep adding to its collection of products across its five online domains while continuing to enhance its customer experience, which it will be able to do with access to Brightpearl, enabling the military apparel businesses to make quicker, more informed decisions about the products it sells and the strategies it adopts to the benefit of its growing customer base.

Unacast launched Neighborhood Insights for retail and real estate professionals to understand COVID-19 recovery at a local neighborhood level.

Location Analytics

Unacast

Unacast, a location data and analytics firm, launched Unacast Neighborhood Insights, built for retail operations and real-estate professionals to understand COVID-19 recovery at a local neighborhood level. The tool provides hyper-local and actionable human mobility insights to inform forecasting and planning as various U.S. states and regions reopen.

Unacast Neighborhood Insights helps real estate developers, property management and retail operations professionals analyze specific census block groups across the U.S. to understand foot traffic and its recovery compared to pre-COVID levels. It also breaks down the foot traffic in a census block by dividing it into workers, residents, locals, and non-locals.

The platform provides visibility into real-world economic recovery scenarios based on localized, neighborhood mobility data and can identify how quickly or slowly certain census blocks and regions relevant to their properties are recovering.

Census blocks that have recovered—showing that metrics like foot traffic are at 100 percent levels on a year-over-year basis—are highlighted in green, and those not yet showing signs of recovery are highlighted in red. Users can define their own sets of census block groups that represent neighborhoods or trade areas of interest.

Additionally, users can obtain real-time public behavior compared to pre-COVID-19 time periods and further gauge or estimate recovery rates to plan for reopenings more accurately.

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