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Retail Tech: DoorDash Pilots Package Returns, Walmart Adds Delivery Partner, Ganni Taps NewStore

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

Delivery

DoorDash

DoorDash is testing a new feature known as “Return a Package” that is designed to allow customers to return packages to the nearest post office, UPS or FedEx location.

A DoorDash rep confirmed the feature’s launch to Sourcing Journal.

Participating customers first select the option to return a package in the DoorDash app. They’ll need to have their package already fully sealed with the prepaid shipping label attached. A DoorDash delivery person will then arrive to pick up the package and deliver it to the nearest physical store or post office. They won’t drop off the packages at standalone drop boxes.

The feature is part of a small beta test and is not yet widely available, according to the company. DoorDash hasn’t shared which markets, or how many, are offering the option.

A screenshot provided by DoorDash shows that courier tracking may be different for this delivery option.

With this new feature, DoorDash says it wants to help customers avoid the hassle of taking a package to a post office in order to fulfill a return. The dasher will send the user an update once the package has been dropped off at the requested location.

DoorDash requires that all packages submitted through this method weigh under 30 pounds and are less than $100 in value.

Walmart GoLocal/Delivery Solutions

Walmart GoLocal, the retailer’s white-label delivery as a service business, is joining the Delivery Solutions platform as a last-mile delivery service provider.

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The collaboration will enable Delivery Solutions customers to deploy an omnichannel shopping experience with express, same-day and next-day delivery.

Since its inception in 2018, Delivery Solutions has offered an end-to-end white-label solution designed to provide third-party aggregation and orchestration software for last-mile delivery and fulfillment. Additionally, the company aims to bring e-commerce delivery intelligence to the consumer throughout the purchase and post-purchase processes.

“We’re thrilled to join the Delivery Solutions platform as a reliable delivery service provider and share our expertise in local delivery with businesses of all sizes,” said Harsit Patel, general manager of Walmart GoLocal. “Due to our coverage, cost and extensive delivery capabilities, we know that Delivery Solutions customers will find the fulfillment options that best fits their needs through Walmart GoLocal, including delivery in as little as 30 minutes.”

Walmart GoLocal was built to empower businesses to grow using Walmart’s delivery capabilities and nationwide coverage at competitive pricing. This includes delivery on a range of assortments, including those with size and complex requirements, as well as the flexibility to meet varying timelines.

The white-label service is a major part of Walmart’s strategy to diversify revenue streams and profit pools with initiatives like Walmart Connect and Walmart Fulfillment Services.

Product information management

Akeneo

Akeneo, a product experience management (PXM) and product information management (PIM) platform, has secured $135 million in Series D financing. The funding round is being led by global growth equity investor Summit Partners, which also led the company’s Series C financing in 2019.

Existing investors Alven and Partech are also participating in the latest round, bringing Akeneo’s total investment to $196 million.

The new capital will be used to drive continued momentum through an accelerated product development roadmap, key executive hires and expansion of Akeneo’s strategic partnerships. In particular, the round will enable Akeneo to develop its PXM Studio platform further, with a goal to bring to market new offerings that consolidate this more dynamic and complete picture of product information alongside analytics and insights.

Akeneo wants to help brands create engaging product experiences needed to turn first-look browsers into repeat shoppers and loyal customers into lifelong brand advocates, the company says.

Akeneo’s PXM solution is designed to help these companies reimagine their operations by making PIM a cornerstone of commercial success, helping influence new growth opportunities and driving revenue across their operations and sales channels. The studio is built to improve product data quality and accuracy, centralize this product information, simplify catalog management, and accelerate the sharing of product information across channels and locales.

With these capabilities in tow, brands can leverage Akeneo to help increase sales, reduce time to market and boost productivity through a solution that combines real-time product availability and inventory, dynamic pricing, order management, competitive product insights, merchandising information and user-generated content.

The company serves more than 600 customers across 40 countries, with Akeneo’s open-source platform having been downloaded more than 80,000 times and installations growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 170 percent over the past seven years.

Additionally, Akeneo’s partner ecosystem expanded by 30 percent in 2021, and the company’s employee headcount grew 40 percent to more than 300 employees in nine countries within the same period.

Freight brokerage

Parade/Turvo

Parade, a carrier access and truckload capacity management platform software for freight brokers, is partnering with logistics platform Turvo and integrating with the company’s Collaboration Cloud and transportation management system (TMS).

Together, the partners bring capacity management integrated with the Turvo TMS to help freight brokers digitize their operations, ultimately with the goal of higher-margin sourcing and carrier coverage.

With the integration, a freight broker can book a load online without the need for a phone call. Leveraging the robust data, Turvo broker users can book loads in whatever way a carrier does business, be it email, their own white-label portals, or across Parade’s network of partners, carriers, freight marketplaces and load boards.

Using the TMS and capacity management systems together can help drive more digital bookings, assist in an increase in carrier re-utilization and help generate an increase in margins.

Brokers continuously aggregate capacity data on their in-network trucking companies and carriers. Automating this carrier profile building process means less time inputting data into their TMS, making the system itself more valuable.

On-demand warehousing

Olimp Freight

Olimp Freight, a technology platform that connects carriers and brokers with on-demand warehouses for cross docking, daily warehousing, pallet reworks and last-mile delivery, has launched a mobile application.

The mobile app is designed to simplify the search and booking of real-time warehouse services. Carriers, brokers and dispatchers can search Olimp’s nationwide network of warehouses based on their location and services needed. Users can compare pricing, location and reviews to determine which warehouse best fits their immediate need, and then book the location and pay online in a few clicks.

Olimp has partnerships with more than 1,400 warehouses across the U.S. and Canada. The warehouses have no minimum storage requirements and can be scheduled on-demand for as little as one day, storing loads as small as one pallet.

The company offers a variety of services including short-term warehousing, pallet rework, local delivery, cold and frozen storage, food grade storage, hazardous materials storage and bonded warehouses.

Olimp aims to help businesses that get their freight rejected or delayed, which often results in what can be time-consuming searches when looking for somewhere that can take the freight. Igor Volchenko, a co-founder of Olimp Freight, said as many as 5 to 12 percent of loads are rejected or delayed.

Fulfillment/last mile

Bazaar

Bazaar, a Pakistan-based B2B e-commerce and fintech platform, has raised $70 million in Series B financing led by Dragoneer Investment Group and Tiger Global Management.

Through its expanding footprint of digital products and last-mile infrastructure, Bazaar provides procurement, fulfillment, operating software, digital lending and supply chain products to merchants and suppliers in Pakistan. This investment, which comes six months after its $30 million Series A round, takes Bazaar’s total institutional funding to over $100 million.

With the funding round, Bazaar plans to expand into more cities across Pakistan, launch new marketplace categories, scale its lending offerings and accelerate new product development.

Bazaar’s mission is to build an operating system for traditional retail in Pakistan, which largely operates offline through an estimated 5 million SMEs across the country. This merchant base often lacks access to formal financial services in a country that hosts the world’s third largest unbanked population. At the same time, Pakistan is undergoing a massive digital penetration wave driven by widespread availability of affordable smartphones and some of the lowest mobile broadband costs in the world.

Bazaar aims to capitalize on these fundamentals by building an integrated platform of B2B offerings that can aggregate, digitize and finance the country’s fragmented retail landscape. The company’s B2B e-commerce marketplace now covers 30 percent of Pakistan’s population through more than a dozen functional fulfillment facilities.

Already serving 21 towns and cities across Pakistan, Bazaar is adding three to four new cities and towns to its last-mile network every month, putting it on course to establish the country’s largest tech-enabled last-mile footprint by the end of the year, the company says.

Through this last-mile network, Bazaar can provide hundreds of top brands and manufacturers direct access to underserved merchants and geographies across retail categories powered by real-time analytics and intel on brand performance, potentially improving their distribution capability.

Bazaar’s offers a merchant software product, Easy Khata, to help sellers digitize procurement, inventory management, customer engagement, accounting and lending. The app has onboarded more than 2.4 million businesses across 500 cities and towns in the country, recording over $10 billion in annualized bookkeeping transaction value.

The company also recently launched a short-term working capital financing product, Bazaar Credit, to provide liquidity to its largely unbanked merchant base. To date, Bazaar has provided thousands of digital loans, with 100 percent repayment and significant uplift in merchant buying volumes. Bazaar’s proprietary credit model incorporates customer data from both its marketplace and merchant software products, giving it a differentiated ability to lend to this underserved segment.

Existing investors, including Indus Valley Capital, Defy Partners, Acrew Capital, Wavemaker Partners, B&Y Venture Partners and Zayn Capital also participated in the round.

Omnichannel

Ganni/NewStore

Ganni is using the NewStore Omnichannel Platform to enhance the store shopping experience. By leveraging mobile point-of-sale (mPOS), order management, store fulfillment, and clienteling, the Danish brand’s stores can now cater to its community of customers, offering global omnichannel capabilities at the hands of iPhone-enabled store associates.

Ganni sells apparel and accessories in more than 600 luxury retail stores, including 24 of its own concept stores located in the U.S. and Europe. Through the NewStore platform, Ganni can more easily handle sales and returns as well as manage inventory more responsibly through two iPhone apps. Associates can also collect customer information from the palm of their hands, which has resulted in a 900 percent increase in its average customer data capture rate at the POS.

“With NewStore, Ganni now offers a truly global, modern shopping experience,” said Anders Lindberg Madsen, product owner, Unified Commerce Platform for Ganni. “The platform is not only the lightest tech stack I’ve ever seen for retail, but also the most powerful. If we want to spin up a new store, we can do it with just a box of iPhones. It’s practically unheard of.”

With its enterprise order management system, NewStore gives Ganni employees access to customer, order, and store inventory information all in a single view. The data is unified into one source and accessible via mobile, making global omnichannel operations like store fulfillment possible. On the front-end, mPOS enables associates to process in-store and endless aisle transactions anywhere on the store floor. They can also see clienteling data, including a customer’s past purchase history across channels and countries, enabling them to offer a better overall shopping experience. Associates are also able to fulfill endless aisle and buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) orders using only an iPhone. All of these capabilities are powered by NewStore’s pre-built integration with Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

KWI

KWI, an omnichannel retail solutions provider, announced its Winter Release, adding new features that help consumers sign up for in-store promotions, discover new products via mobile and access digital payments.

Top fashion brands including Oscar de la Renta, Tom Ford, Bluemercury and Hurley leverage the solution, which is designed to unify aspects of a retail operation including mobile point-of-sale (POS), merchandising/inventory management, e-commerce, CRM and more.

In implementing in-store promotion sign-ups, customers can earn rewards by scanning store and POS QR codes on their own smartphone. Brands can bring online promotions into the brick-and-mortar realm to further incentivize purchases and drive foot traffic.

With mobile product discovery, brands can now leverage QR codes that enable customers to browse online, and check new arrivals and in-store availability. By blurring the line between online and offline shopping, brands can maximize order value and improve customer experience while easing strain on employees.

The new digital payments function features pay-by-link capabilities that enable stores to send payment links to customers’ mobile devices even if they aren’t in the store, bringing previously online-only payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, and cryptocurrencies into physical retail. Customers can check out by QR code, or via a link received instantly via SMS or email.

Real-time management across both digital and in-store touch points is designed to help retailers unify their price and promotions across channels, enabling them to offer time-based deals, stackable coupons and more.

The platform will also include KWI Loyalty, a forthcoming feature designed to drive customer loyalty across all channels with full visibility into real-time customer data spanning POS, e-commerce, and loyalty memberships.

KWI already includes capabilities such as omnichannel order management, where brands can access a single dashboard to handle all orders—including sales, inventory, and fulfillment—with no need for standalone apps or complex hardware.

Associates can also benefit from the platform’s near-miss deal alerts, which are POS notifications when a customer is just under the order threshold for a given promotion. These alerts can help associates sell more products and increase average order value.

Diebold Nixdorf

Diebold Nixdorf, a provider of connected commerce solutions for the retail and banking industries, has launched the Vynamic Retail Platform. The modular, cloud-native software solution is designed to offer retailers the functionality and flexibility necessary to succeed in today’s environment of rapidly shifting customer needs.

The Vynamic Retail Platform is built to connect all components of the retail operation, including customer journeys, stores and back-office operations, into one open, flexible software environment.

The platform can be leveraged by a variety of retailers including grocery, fashion, and fuel and convenience, and offers modular microservices that include various deployment options. The services can be deployed individually or used together, giving the retailer an end-to-end management solution.

Vynamic includes a configurable checkout solution that can be used in any retail segment. To facilitate rapid implementation, there are three pre-configured checkout solutions: Vynamic GRx for Grocery, Vynamic SFx for Specialty & Fashion, and Vynamic FCx for Fuel & Convenience.

Vynamic Engage is the platform’s modular solution to provide shoppers with personalized, cross-channel experiences using real-time insights about their preferences and purchase history. There are three separate modules available: loyalty management, promotions and campaigns, and customer rewards.

The platform’s Vynamic Retail Management solution can enable retailers to run all back-office processes from the cloud including inventory management, online order fulfillment, POS configurations, reporting and more.

Diebold Nixdorf’s technology also covers compliance, which is gaining importance in the wake of impending legislation such as the New York Fashion Act and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. Vynamic CPaaS is a software module built to ensure each touch point in every store has access to the cloud repository as the single source of truth for all legal and fiscal requirements.

Vynamic CPaaS, which stands for “Country Package as a Service”, provides retailers with a constantly up-to-date repository of legal and fiscal regulations for over 60 countries.

Overall, the Vynamic Retail Platform offers a cloud-native architecture and API-first approach for its users. By building in the cloud from the start and focusing on API integration as a core capability, the platform can be more modular and more open than other software platforms. The platform is also scalable, securely configured and undergoes frequent updates with no interruptions to service, the company says.

Each module can be hosted in the cloud or run in the store through embedded edge computing technology with Vynamic-as-a-Service, which comprises the cloud infrastructure, operations and support services needed to run the software applications cost-effectively, along with guaranteed uptimes, performance and security.

The Vynamic Retail Platform is designed to carry out another step in Diebold Nixdorf’s Storevolution, a strategic program for retailers to design, enable and operate low-touch consumer journeys based on four guiding principles: consumer centricity; store digitalization; high connectivity; and store-as-a-service. When leveraged together, these principles comprise Diebold Nixdorf’s vision for the future of retail, which includes a frictionless, convenient and personalized customer experience.

Brand acquiring

Pilot Wave Holdings/Tapuya Brands

Pilot Wave Holdings has acquired Tapuya Brands, a brand aggregator that acquires third-party Amazon and Shopify businesses and helps them grow, for an undisclosed sum.

In a space with many recent entrants like Thrasio, Perch and Heyday, Tapuya aims to differentiate itself by focusing on strategic acquisitions of brands with a strong presence on the Amazon platform, but little or no direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales. It uses its own proprietary technology to create consumer-centric brands with increased value in brand equity.

“We’re thrilled to connect the highest level of data-driven business management at Pilot Wave with the Tapuya Brands team and the Amazon entrepreneurs we partner with,” said Isaac Linson, co-founder and CEO of Tapuya Brands. “With a uniformed approach in technology management and capital allocation across our businesses, we get to deliver higher returns to our Amazon selling partners.”

Tapuya Brands focuses on consumer shopping behavior and Amazon sellers who have a direct relationship with their customer base.

“Using our proprietary AI systems to deliver bespoke customer segmentation and targeting, Tapuya drives higher brand equity, cross-channel penetration, and ad performance for the businesses we choose to partner with,” said Arik Oganesian, co-founder and chief digital officer of Tapuya Brands in a statement.