The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Supply chain visibility
CGS, a provider of business applications, enterprise learning and outsourcing services, has expanded its BlueCherry Shop Floor Control platform to new customers in the Latin America region.
The company added three Mexican companies to its roster of brands and manufacturers in Latin America: Confetex, an international textile manufacturer and premium manufacturer of denim products for leading brands such as Levi Strauss & Co., Ariat and OGGI Jeans, headquartered in Puebla; luxury men’s wear startup Personal Brands (PB) Group; and Diltex Brands, a 70-year-old women’s fashion company, based in Naucalpan de Juárez.
“Confetex prides itself on being a technology-driven manufacturer—digitalization of our entire operation ensures we can deliver the highest-quality product in the most efficient and environmentally friendly manner possible,” Confetex CEO Fernando Galan said for in a statement. “Not only did we find BlueCherry Shop Floor Control to be the ideal solution, but once we met with their implementation and customer success teams, the decision was easy! We look forward to a long and successful relationship with the CGS BlueCherry team.”
According to a recent report by Nicole Bivens Collinson from international trade law firm Sandler, Travis and Rosenberg (ST&R), brands are looking at rebalancing their sourcing to ensure they are not “overexposed” in one geographical area. They are considering “hub and spoke” sourcing models to manufacture in geographical proximity to the target market, and often looking at vertical manufacturing locations either as an individual country or as a close geographical region of countries. Additionally, they are seeking sustainable production to meet growing consumer demands, and searching for nearshoring suppliers as they can help the firms meet several of their sourcing restructuring objectives.
“We did a deep analysis of the leading solutions in the market for production floor modernization, and we found BlueCherry Shop Floor Control and the greater CGS organization to be the best solution, along with the most dedicated, ambitious, and ethical team in the industry, both in the United States and Mexico,” said Gerardo Morera, PB Group CEO. “We are eager to implement Shop Floor Control and have high expectations for its long-lasting impact on the business.”
Exiger, a supply chain risk management, third-party risk management and compliance software provider, has acquired supply chain tracking and tracing platform Supply Dynamics for an undisclosed sum.
The integration of Supply Dynamics’ SDX, PAC and ExplorerRX products with Exiger’s Insight3PM, DDIQ, and Supply Chain Explorer aims to enable end-to-end supply chain visibility and holistic risk management via a single, secure, cloud-based enterprise platform.
Serving heavily regulated, global manufacturing companies with complex direct material supply chains that depend heavily on outsourcing, Supply Dynamics specializes in real-time visibility with part and raw material-level granularity. The combinations of these capabilities can enable Exiger to ensure operational resilience, reduce disruption and minimize adversarial and criminal exploitation of supply chains across markets and around the globe.
This helps organizations move from a reactive to a predictive posture for supply chain management. Supply Dynamics’ integration into Exiger allows it to realize the full potential of its technology with the benefit of Exiger’s deep risk management expertise and high security infrastructure. Customers will be able to access a secure, scalable, and intuitive platform that cuts through the billions of data points in a supply chain to deliver accurate risk insights with precision.
Exiger’s risk scoring, when combined with Supply Dynamics’ item-level supply chain visibility and propriety data analysis, offers a system that seeks to disrupt both the supply chain and third-party software markets. The combined solution is built to boost business resilience by eliminating the need for manual, time-intensive processes. Backed by AI-driven tools, Supply Dynamics’ targeted multi-tier data can now be automatically enriched with Exiger’s actionable risk insights to help supply chain, sourcing, procurement and compliance managers make critical decisions faster.
Exiger has already begun bringing this capability to the public sector, having introduced Supply Dynamics’ SDX, PAC and ExplorerRX into its $74.5 million U.S. General Services Administration contract.
The integrated offering is available for immediate use through the government-wide supply chain and third-party risk management contract. The acquisition will allow Exiger to extend the same efficiencies and capabilities to the corporate market, while also serving as a foundation for the next phase of operational and commercial growth.
Supply Dynamics flagship product, SDX, is a multi-tier supply chain collaboration platform designed for complex, distributed manufacturing supply chains. Its web-based multi-enterprise platform provides commercial customers with real-time visibility and control over the “material-input” requirements (metals, fasteners, plastics, electronics, etc.) that go into their products.
Edray, a collaborative port logistics (CPL) platform for global importers and exporters, has launched a new service, Street Turns, for U.S. exporters that leverages its visibility, volume and destination management services.
The Edray platform is designed to enable better collaboration between cargo owners, drayage companies, steamship lines and ports. This collaboration aims to improve velocity in and out of ports, increase industry capacity and reduce unnecessary emissions.
Street Turns offers a container equipment experience that benefits both its existing import customer base and new export clients.
Edray supports major importers with a managed service offering that includes Destination Management, its Drayage Marketplace, and Edray Now, a real-time visibility platform for containers from origin to destination, and back to the port empty. These services enable Edray to serve the container equipment needs of U.S. exporters by tying an importers’ unloaded empty container with an exporters’ location and equipment requirements. Exporters have traditionally struggled to secure timely empties when and where they need them, so Edray aims to fill this void.
“Agricultural exporters must have an efficient supply of container equipment in order to deliver their products dependably throughout the world, as well as to remain competitive,” said Peter Friedmann, Executive Director of AgTC (Agriculture Transportation Coalition), in a statement. “Innovative services, such as Edray’s Street Turns, which can increase availability of containers for agriculture exporters, and do so affordably, are essential. We are optimistic that as EDRAY continues to grow its import customer base, so will the exporters’ equipment options grow.”
Edray’s Drayage Marketplace, with a national network of carriers, enables the company to fully manage drayage allocation including dispatch and work orders, and drayage capacity.
Product development and procurement
Jesta I.S., a global developer of modular cloud solutions and unified enterprise resource planning (ERP) for retailers, e-tailers, wholesalers and brand manufacturers, has launched Vision Sourcing & Demand (S&D) 22.0, an upgrade to one of its foundational software pillars.
Vision S&D 22.0 includes new features, functionality and integrations to optimize product journeys from sourcing and procurement, material resource planning, product data and lifecycle management, demand forecasting and customer order management, and B2B/B2C sales and customer service.
The new product development tools include the capability to mass manage attributes for new and current products, including purchase, manufacturing, and current/future availability details, as well as the capability to assign images and extended text (fabric composition, care instructions, Amazon-specific description formatting) to multiple products for web stores. The tools can boost efficiency in a way that helps manufacturers get new catalogues and products to sales channels faster. The new catalogs can make it easier for manufacturers to include experiential product details to help consumers with purchasing decisions.
And with the new procurement tools, users can create and manage raw material purchase orders, enabling quicker turnaround of the procurement and distribution of raw materials to factories and supplier networks.
Jesta’s new global supply chain collaboration hub is another significant advancement within the platform. It is built to shift how brand manufacturers and wholesalers work with overseas and near-shore production factories by facilitating direct, real-time, bi-directional communication. The collaboration tool can boost supply chain agility and enable procurement and manufacturing to be redirected to alternate suppliers and factories when challenges arise so global delivery expectations are preserved.
Sales channel management and customer service enhancements include: rapid-order entry, which is presented as a faster way to take telephone orders featuring search capabilities and real-time information on current/future availability and volume-tier discounts; product closeout management, which enables users to mass manage end-of-life promotions and closeout pricing, and generate sales orders at the discounted price; and a more robust sales order API framework, which is designed as a more standardized way to enter B2B and B2C sales orders into the Vision ERP, ideally resulting in fewer errors and rejections.
Jesta I.S. also announced that an unnamed global distributor and multi-banner retailer of sports and outdoor wear has selected its omnichannel merchandising, point of sale, mobile store, warehouse management and analytics solutions to drive its digital and physical channel expansion.
The sporting apparel and footwear company has been in business for over 40 years. Jesta says the retailer sought to upgrade to a modern unified commerce solution with extensive mobile functionality that would allow them to scale rapidly and remain agile in today’s digital retail landscape.
Viavia, a new video-first e-commerce platform, has secured an $8 million seed round to launch a debut fashion retail destination for Gen Z.
The funding is co-led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Basis Set Ventures, with participation from Exor Seeds, Backend Ventures and Andrew Ng’s AI Fund.
The funding follows a $1.15 million pre-seed round that the company announced in February. Viavia seeks to modernize the fashion e-commerce experience by marrying creator-driven live and short-form video content with end-to-end, AI-powered tech infrastructure for the fashion supply chain.
Viavia was founded out of the belief that existing e-commerce platforms are ill equipped to respond to shifts in consumer behavior. The company plans to change this paradigm by representing creators and influencers through an in-house talent team and indexing heavily on video and livestreaming to bring brand stories to life.
In addition to the e-commerce platform, Viavia will provide a modernized technology infrastructure for fashion brands and supply chains, starting with Italy. Viavia believes Italy, which is home to many luxury apparel manufacturers, presents a massive untapped opportunity for brands outside the traditional ultra-high-end fashion houses.
Viavia’s technology solution aims to increase order flow to local manufacturers, lowering costs for brands, and shortening production lead times. Andrea Pasinetti, Viavia co-founder and head of engineering, said the company is offering an AI-powered product lifecycle management (PLM) tool to efficiently connect designers and brands to manufacturers in Italy and beyond. Pasinetti believes this infrastructure will scale effectively to other manufacturing hubs across Europe and comes as record amounts of capital flow to the global e-commerce supply chain and logistics companies.
E-commerce-as-a-service platform Cart.com is expanding its fulfillment centers into four markets including Memphis, Tenn.; Columbus, Ohio; Salt Lake City, Utah; and North Texas. The expansion underscores Cart.com’s commitment to enable its nearly 6,000 brands to meet the delivery and fulfillment needs of today’s consumers.
This expansion brings Cart.com’s fulfillment network to 10 facilities in seven markets across a footprint that enables two-day shipping to 95 percent of the U.S., the company said. In total, the Cart.com expansion added 1.6 million square feet of warehouse capacity across the U.S.
Omair Tariq, CEO and Co-founder of Cart.com, said the company expects to continue expanding rapidly in both the U.S. and Europe.
Cart.com was built with the idea that the technology firm can provide the entire infrastructure brands need to sell everywhere and scale infinitely. The company’s suite of software and services aims to free brands from having to cobble together solutions from dozens of vendors, so they can focus on their product and customer relationships.
Brands can use the entire Cart.com suite of software, expert services, and infrastructure to accelerate their growth or choose from the company’s modular solutions. Thousands of brands are partnering with Cart.com to access multichannel management, fulfillment, marketing, analytics, customer engagement and other e-commerce capabilities.
Wayflyer, a platform that offers e-commerce businesses financing based on the revenue they generate, has secured $253 million in financing from Credit Suisse. The funding is split up into a $200 million debt financing facility and a $53 million mezzanine loan.
The company says it will use the debt facility to support further origination, enabling it to provide more funding to e-commerce businesses helping them fuel growth, improve cash flow, bolster operational resilience and drive sales. It will also allow Wayflyer to improve liquidity and support its ambition to offer competitive rates to its customers in the U.S. and Western Europe.
According to CEO and co-founder Aidan Corbett, the firm grew out of the fact that even profitable and cash-flow positive brands often need funding between the time they paid for their inventory and when they actually generate revenue from it. This gulf only widened since 2020 after shipping delays became the norm and brands were forced to wait for product to get to their warehouses.
Over the past 14 months, Wayflyer has been busy generating capital for its platform. Last June, the company raised $76 million in a Series A round. Then, in February 2022, the company raised $150 million in Series B venture funding co-led by DST Global and QED Ventures, valuing the firm at $1.6 billion. Wayflyer also agreed to a $300 million debt line with J.P. Morgan in May to help reduce its cost of capital.
Wayflyer specializes in providing funding to e-commerce businesses, helping them solve critical working capital problems that can constrain growth. By improving cash flow, the company says its customers can better seize new opportunities such as acquiring additional stock, hiring talent or improving the profitability and resilience of their business.
Interchange Group/Blue Yonder
Interchange Group has chosen to digitally transform its warehousing capabilities with Blue Yonder, a provider of digital supply chain and omnichannel commerce fulfillment solutions. Interchange Group will implement Blue Yonder’s SaaS-based warehouse management system (WMS), warehouse labor management (WLM) and Luminate Billing, all part of Luminate Logistics, to futureproof its warehouse and fulfillment operations.
The project will be implemented by Ascension Logistics, a Blue Yonder implementation and technology partner.
Interchange Group is a third-party logistics provider (3PL) that offers an array of warehousing, logistics and land development services to its customers. The company has more than 20 warehouses located primarily in and around Virginia serving customers on the East Coast and internationally for both cold and dry storage. The company was looking to unlock operational efficiencies and inventory traceability for its warehouses that could help scale its business, so it turned to Blue Yonder for the solution.
With Blue Yonder, Interchange Group aims to gain control over managing cost containment and revenues related to services rendered, and better scale to meet new customer requirements and business growth opportunities.
Additionally, the 3PL wants to unlock operational efficiencies and inventory traceability to better service existing customers and capture new business, and gain the ability to integrate various automation and material handling equipment now and in the future.
Interchange Group will deploy Blue Yonder’s WMS and WLM to digitalize its warehouses and gain improved inbound and outbound visibility into shipments, as well as optimize operations and resource planning to bolster accuracy, timeliness, efficiency and compliance.
AfterShip, a post-purchase and tracking platform for e-commerce businesses, announced a technology partnership with conversational commerce platform Attentive. The integration aims to support online merchants by offering personalized, automated shipment tracking solutions for their shoppers. Now, a 60-day free trial of Attentive’s SMS shipment tracking and notification services will be made available to AfterShip’s customers until Sept. 28.
By combining intuitive SMS tools with AfterShip’s robust tracking data, online merchants can now offer their shoppers a personalized post-purchase experience with automated SMS shipment tracking solutions.
AfterShip’s integration with Attentive equips online merchants with the power to increase post-purchase engagement through direct and automated SMS tools without having to navigate log-ins, emails, or apps. AfterShip’s shipment tracking APIs, as well as Attentive’s text messaging platform, can be used to provide real-time access to order receipt and shipping events for e-commerce retailers.
After receiving a customer’s name, order ID, and order tracking links from AfterShip, triggered “order in-transit” and “order delivered” shipment notification text messages can be personalized by setting up journeys on Attentive’s dashboard accordingly. Order and shipping messages can also be launched in minutes by selecting one of the eight customizable pre-built AfterShip status templates.
Uberall, a provider of hybrid customer experience (CX) solutions, has introduced a series of innovations designed to help multi-location businesses better understand the performance of each location, rank higher in local searches through enriched content and better review response rates and empower local managers and franchisees to promote their store’s online presence.
The company’s new innovations and enhancements include a localized SEO report, a sentiment analysis tool, a mobile app, a reply assistant and content collections
The Local SEO Report enables businesses to track where their locations rank in local searches for the keywords that are most important to them. Teams will be able to see the average ranking across all locations for their keyword set, or drill down into specific locations and keywords to get more detailed insights. Moreover, the Local SEO Report can allow viewers to see the impact of ranking on downstream metrics, like clicks. With this feature, both SEO managers and marketing leaders can better understand their visibility at the local level, and adjust their local SEO strategy with more precision.
Sentiment Analysis is an AI-powered review analysis tool that helps businesses hear what their customers are saying about their locations, in a scalable way—so they can make changes to improve customer satisfaction. The solution uses an advanced natural language processing model to analyze review text for sentiment towards industry-relevant topics (like service and value), then organize key insights in a flexible dashboard. With these insights, businesses can isolate what’s working and what’s not among a subset of locations or a single location. With this analysis, businesses can build out strategies around what customers like or dislike to improve customer loyalty.
Uberall’s mobile app is designed to empower local managers and franchisees to market their stores and engage with their audience, while allowing central marketers to maintain control over the brand. Local managers can view and update their opening hours, respond to reviews on their own or using templates, answer questions and post to their social channels. This means that while brands can strive to achieve greater scale, local managers can promote their businesses and drive revenue.
The company’s reviews capability gets a boost this quarter with the addition of Reply Assistant, a combination of intelligent tools that can help businesses increase their response rates for every location, across multiple platforms. The Response Library houses a brand-approved collection of response templates that can be used repeatedly when replying to customer reviews. The assistant also includes an automated responses feature, which is designed to help increase a location’s response rate overnight by automatically posting pre-approved responses.
Content Collections offers businesses a chance to enrich their listings and local pages with products, services, menu items, and more, so that their locations are more likely to rank higher and appeal to customers searching for what they offer. Information about a business’ offering is now managed through a simple interface and additions or changes can be applied to multiple locations at once.