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Retail Tech Roundup: Revived Dressbarn Deploys Happy Returns, Aptos Lands New Fashion Client

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

Logistics

Happy Returns

Happy Returns is providing returns software and reverse logistics for Dressbarn, powering the returns portal on the 58-year-old revived women’s apparel retailer’s website and enabling shoppers to buy online and drop-off returns in person at Happy Returns’ nationwide network of physical Return Bars.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Happy Returns announced modifications to its in-person drop-off service in June, which allow retail to continue to serve customers while remaining contact-free for returns.

Dressbarn shoppers receive a QR code to enable box-, label- and contact-free returns for an immediate refund or exchange. In the first 30 days since launch, over 75 percent of Dressbarn shoppers have opted to drop off returns in person rather than returning via USPS. Dressbarn says shopper feedback on the return experience has been overwhelmingly positive, earning an average Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 90.

“Happy Returns is a natural fit for our e-commerce-first strategy,” said Dressbarn CEO, Shayan Zadeh. “Having enjoyed our physical stores for decades, our shoppers are accustomed to the convenience of in-person returns. To meet these customer expectations while also growing our online presence, Happy Returns’ network provides Dressbarn shoppers with the accessibility of a physical drop-off location while still maintaining a contactless experience.”

Happy Returns began reopening its Return Bar network in May and now counts over 500 drop-off locations in 150 metro areas nationwide. The company guarantees 10 percent savings on returns costs in the first year over use, and says retailers using its full network of solutions average 20 percent cost savings, a 94 NPS and 50 percent program adoption.

Curbside pickup

Dropit

Dropit is expanding its partnership with Brookfield Properties by making Dropit Curbside Pickup available at select Brookfield Properties locations, including Fashion Show Las Vegas. The U.K.-based digital platform helps retailers and shopping malls use stores as distribution points and meet their shared customer expectations at every touch point.

Dropit Handsfree is an app-based service that enables users to “drop as they shop” and is designed to give shoppers greater flexibility in how they spend their day and journey choices, while providing a safe, secure and affordable shopping experience. A one-day Dropit pass in the app allows shoppers to have unlimited drops in unlimited stores at partner locations, combining in one convenient and affordable delivery with minimal contact.

To access Dropit’s Curbside Pickup service at select Brookfield Properties locations, shoppers can order online or via phone from stores and will be able to coordinate a pickup without getting out of their car.

Internet of Things

NCR/Microsoft

NCR and Microsoft are teaming up to deliver Digital Connected Services (DCS) IoT management software than will run on top of Azure IoT AI technology in a combination designed to give NCR’s retail customers a services solution that proactively keeps connected devices running with greater uptime, enhancing their customers’ experiences.

The collaboration is aimed at helping users convert data into insights faster and identifying incidents within NCR’s service that could potentially impact the operating capacity of its 6 million IoT devices. When a device such as a point-of-sale or an ATM goes down, retailers won’t have to sort through service agreements to get necessary customer support.

Checkout

ShipperHQ/Adobe

ShipperHQ, a shipping rate management solution for e-commerce retailers, has announced enrollment as an Accelerate Partner in the Adobe Exchange Partner Program.

Through this partnership, ShipperHQ merchants will have access to Adobe Commerce Cloud powered by Magento Commerce to handle the pre-purchase shipping experience. Once integrated with Adobe Commerce Cloud, retailers will have control of their online checkout and will be able to tailor the shipping rates and delivery methods that appear to the precise buying scenario that is happening.

B2C and B2B merchants who use ShipperHQ with Adobe Commerce Cloud can either configure a long-term shipping strategy, or make changes instantaneously, streamline all shipping options and manage logistics providers in one place, use shipping as a marketing tool and create rules based on real-world logic and reduce friction and improve shipping margins through automation.

The ShipperHQ platform is designed to enable e-commerce merchants to align the checkout experience on their website to their own unique products and customers. Users of the platform can manage all carriers in one place with integrations from 50+ parcel and LTL freight providers.

Robotics

Alert Innovation

Alert Innovation, Inc., a manufacturer of automated fulfillment solutions, and Murata Machinery, Ltd. (Muratec) are supplying Alpen Co., Ltd., one of the largest sports retail brands in Japan, with a 3D robot warehousing system.

Alphabot is being installed at Alpen’s distribution centers to automate its storage and picking processes using robot cart technology developed by Alert Innovation, which formed a strategic partnership with Muratec in 2019. Alpen is implementing Alphabot warehousing systems featuring 130 robot carts selecting from approximately 26,000 case locations at its distribution centers.

Alpen and Muratec expect the Alphabot system to reduce logistics operations by complementing its storage capacity and reducing picking, sorting and packaging activities by approximately 60 percent. Other benefits from the introduction of the Alphabot system include expanding the range of SKUs handled, enhancing worker productivity and improving sorting and shipping efficiency.

Personalization

RichRelevance

Miinto, a European fashion marketplace, says it has tripled its business in the past three years and has experienced a surge of 500 percent in inquiries from independent retail stores since March, with the company driving 47 percent online growth for lockdown-affected independent boutiques in that time frame.

The fashion marketplace, which partners with more than 2,000 retailers to showcase more than 5,000 brands and over 500,000 active products, credits its success to its investment in RichRelevance’s digital personalization platform, which is designed to help consumers find relevant products from thousands of pages of products.

Miinto, which has generated more than 100 million Euros in sales over the past year, said it realized a 19.4 percent higher revenue with RichRelevance personalization, compared to its previous technology.

“RichRelevance has been a gamechanger for Miinto by allowing us to significantly improve our customer experience, making it personal and relevant to every single user that visits our website,” said Paloma Truong, head of customer experience at Miinto. “We’re working hand-in-hand with RichRelevance on a daily basis to use all available technologies, and even develop new ones, to constantly optimize our onsite experience and make sure that we present the right products to the right customers at the right time.”

The marketplace’s use of RichRelevance Personalization has evolved from basic site search and recommendations, to include Xen AI powered real-time decisions with customer context and dynamic inventory. Earlier this month, RichRelevance announced the next generation of product recommendations as part of its personalization cloud, DeepRecs.

Enterprise order management

Aptos

Retail technology solutions provider Aptos announced that Haber Holding has selected its Enterprise Order Management solution to accelerate omnichannel transformation across its retail enterprise.

Haber Holding can use the technology to implement buy online, pickup in-store functionality for customers.

Haber Holding is the parent company of three prominent men’s fashion brands in Mexico: Men’s Fashion, Robert’s and High Life. In total, the family-owned company operates over 170 stores, selling everything from formal and casual suit collections to men’s apparel and accessories, including shirts, jeans, ties and belts.

Already operating a large store base, the retailer plans to unify store and digital channels. “As a leader in the textile and fashion industry in Mexico for over 40 years, we believe that it is important to continuously reinvent our business to best serve our customers while staying true to our core values,” said Silvio Galimberti, CEO of Haber Holding. “With Aptos’ order management technology, we will offer shoppers a seamless experience across channels, expanded ways to engage with our brands, and new levels of convenience and fulfillment flexibility.”

By selecting Aptos’ cloud-based Enterprise Order Management solution, Haber Holding aims to manage all orders throughout their lifecycle in a more centralized manner. The solution offers core capabilities for enterprise inventory visibility, order orchestration and routing, customer service and store fulfillment.

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