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Retail Tech: Gap Deploys Oracle Merchandising, Telfar Taps Klarna

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

Merchandising

Oracle

Oracle says that new clients including Gap, Inc., South African value fashion retailer Mr Price Group, U.S. grocery chain Giant Eagle and U.K.-based discount retailer Poundland are using its Oracle Retail Merchandising Cloud Service.

Running on Oracle Cloud infrastructure, Oracle Merchandising Cloud Service offers retailers a unified foundation to manage and control critical merchandising activities, such as purchasing and distributing goods, fulfilling orders, and processing and closing out invoices to help ensure accurate financial data.

“The new developments in the Oracle Retail Merchandising SaaS solution inspired us to reconsider the cloud for our transformational journey,” Kim Sim, chief information officer, Mr Price Group, said in a statement. “Merchandising provides a sustainable, stable foundation for our high-volume processes. And in the future, the cloud provides us the flexibility to add additional modules as the business needs arise.”

Gap, Inc. is running on a single, high-performance instance of Oracle Retail Merchandising Cloud Service in North America for its Gap, Old Navy, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix and Hill City brands.

Oracle was also recently named a leader in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Retail Merchandise Operations Management Solutions 2020-2021 Vendor Assessment. The report highlighted Oracle’s strength in supporting retail merchandising scale and complexity, as well as expansion of embedded artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities that are driving toward automated merchandising.

“Modern merchandise operations management solutions are purpose built for the analytical and experiential requirements of today and have the flexibility to expand on and enhance those capabilities in the future,” says Jon Duke, vice president of research for IDC Retail Insights. “And there is clear differentiation among vendors’ ability to meet the challenging demands of retailers.”

Payments

Famous Footwear/Alliance Data

Famous Footwear is introducing a private label credit card program to its 22 million Famously You rewards program members. The program is powered by Alliance Data Systems Corporation, a provider of data-driven marketing, loyalty and payment solutions.

Famous Footwear’s customized credit card value proposition seeks to enhance the value of its existing Famously You Rewards program through accelerated earning of rewards, first purchase discount and exclusive cardmember promotions.

Within the program, Alliance Data will provide its full Enhanced Digital Suite, a collection of marketing and credit application features designed to increase customer engagement and adoption of payment options.

By promoting payments earlier in the shopping experience, Enhanced Digital Suite looks to empower customers to make informed and confident choices when shopping and allow them to easily apply for and use the Famously You Rewards Credit Card to fund their purchase at checkout.

Mike Edwards, president of Famous Footwear, said the Alliance Data furthers the company’s ability to strengthen customer relations and make shoe shopping easy.

Traceability

Retraced

Retraced GmbH, a sustainable supply chain management platform for fashion, raised 1 million euros ($1.2 million) in seed funding from European venture capitalist firm Samaipata.

The funds will be used to bolster the cloud-based solutions’ suite of features, and to fuel the tech company’s continued expansion in an apparel industry focused on sustainability, transparency and impact management.

The funding comes at a time when fabric traceability, government regulations mandating the social welfare of workers in the supply chain, and the environmental impact of textile manufacturing processes are all coming to the forefront of apparel’s concerns.

Retraced focuses on partnering with clients to aid them through the challenges of organizing and managing their impact and CSR efforts efficiently through one single platform.

The blockchain-based platform is built to help fashion brands to collect information from their supply chain with regards to suppliers, working conditions, materials, certifications, and environmental impacts, and to share this with their customers. With the platform, fashion brands can better monitor their impact on their supply chains, become more transparent in their operations and enable their customers to make informed purchasing decisions.

Since the pandemic hit, Retraced has onboarded 40 new brands in the E.U. and the U.S.,

Buy now, pay layer 

Telfar/Klarna

Unisex fashion label Telfar, best known for iconic bags and accessories, has partnered with Klarna.

With the “buy now, pay later” platform, Telfar consumers can pay for bags, apparel and accessories in four equal, interest-free payments. Telfar Clemens, founder and designer of Telfar, says that Klarna helps make the brands designs “even more accessible.”

The partnership follows the subtle feature of Telfar’s small shopping bag in Klarna’s first-ever Super Bowl ad spot. Following the game, Telfar announced that the “bubblegum pink” bag featured in the spot would be restocked and available for purchase on shop.telfar.net with Klarna, and subsequently sold out “in minutes.”

Klarna will soon launch a giveaway via Instagram, gifting four winners with the pink Telfar shopping bags.

Klarna now has 90 million customers and more than 200,000 retail partners worldwide, including more than 6,000 partners in the U.S. More than 1 million U.S. customers joined Klarna each month since October, the Swedish fintech firm said, bringing its total number of users to 15 million by year-end.

Paybright

Little Burgundy, a Canadian footwear retailer, has partnered with “buy now, pay later” provider PayBright.

The Montreal-based shoe brand is now offering PayBright’s interest-free “Pay in 4” plan, which allows customers to pay in four equal, biweekly installments for their purchases. PayBright offers several plans, including Pay in 4 for smaller purchases and Pay Monthly for larger purchases.

PayBright was the first integrated installment payment solution for Little Burgundy’s e-commerce, in-app and in-store sales in Canada, the company says. PayBright says it does not require consumers to sign up for a credit card and does not charge hidden fees, retroactive interest, or revolving interest charges.

The installment payments provider, itself operating in Canada, partnerships with more than 7,500 domestic and international retailers, was acquired by buy now, pay later giant Affirm for $265.6 million in December.

RFID

Scotch & Soda/Nedap

Dutch fashion brand Scotch & Soda has selected Nedap as a strategic RFID partner for Europe and North America. Scotch & Soda will deploy Nedap’s !D Cloud inventory management platform throughout 162 stores globally with the objective to increase accuracy throughout the supply chain.

One of Scotch & Soda’s long-term objectives is to maximize customer loyalty. Rik Kok, procurement director of Scotch & Soda, said in a statement: “We have been looking into RFID for quite some time already. Now is the time for us to step in, as product availability has become vital to fulfilling the increasing demand of today’s consumers.”

With stores in the world’s biggest cities and shipping to over 70 countries and countries going in and out of lockdowns, Scotch & Soda needed a platform to optimize the view on stock levels within their supply chain. This way, the balance of stock in-store and distribution centers can be adjusted to the local pandemic-related situation.

“A single view on stock is crucial for a successful omnichannel strategy. It allows us to increase our online sellable stock, as we do not necessarily need to ship from our distribution centers anymore,” Kok said. “We can now use our stores as mini-DCs and use stock from the shop floor and back-of-house for web order fulfillment as well.”

Scotch & Soda is starting the RFID implementation in physical stores. Goods are source-labeled at the factory, leading to full traceability in the supply chain from source to consumer.

In addition to ensuring product availability for store sales, Nedap’s !D Cloud solution also provides the ability to locate web orders in the store, so time spent to prepare an e-commerce order will be reduced to a minimum.

RFID also will be implemented at Scotch & Soda’s new distribution center. As RFID provides real-time insights in stock levels throughout the entire supply chain, the safety thresholds can ideally be reduced to a minimum, enabling Scotch & Soda to fulfill consumer demand without overstocking and eventually wasting garments.

E-commerce

Avatria/SAP

Avatria, a developer of e-commerce solutions, has launched its newest software product, Avatria Engage. Designed for SAP Commerce users, Avatria Engage is aimed at driving more site traffic and boosting conversion rates by improving SEO capabilities.

Some of the SEO features within Avatria Engage include enhanced vanity URLs and canonical URLs.

Enhanced vanity URLs can allow every category and product URL to be customized on a site so that the customer can retain their old URL structure (avoiding redirects) and/or optimize the URLs for SEO.

A canonical URL is a standard representation of a URL and is provided via header on a webpage. It tells the search engines that all unique links to a product and it’s SKUs are in-fact one product and thus should have their ranking grouped for SEO purposes. Avatria automates the implementation of canonical URLs for products with multiple SKUs.

Avatria Engage has implemented Schema.org, a Microdata standard, into product, category, and content templates. The standard is designed to ensure that search engines can display attractive content listings for all relevant pages.

Underpinned by Avatria’s Convert Suite, which is the company’s first e-commerce software launched in 2019, Engage uses proprietary machine learning technology to personalize an end-consumer’s shopping experience as they browse a website.

Via personalized browse and search, Avatria Engage users can view what their customers are likely to purchase above the fold on the first page on all category, shopping list and search results pages. Companies also can deploy automated cross-and up-sell capabilities anywhere in the browsing experience of their customers.

Additionally, the actionable business intelligence feature is designed to enable users to better understand why the machine learnings technology makes the decisions it does. This could potentially help end users learn how e-commerce search accuracy fluctuates over time and how each category is performing.

The Engage platform exists as two independent modules that can be installed at companies with existing SAP Commerce solutions or companies that are implementing SAP Commerce for the first time.

Fabric

Fabric, a API-first product suite built to help global commerce brands deliver customer experiences for a cheaper cost and in less time, has secured a $43 million Series A funding round led by Norwest Venture Partners, with additional participation from Redpoint Ventures and Sierra Ventures.

The investment, just months after announcing the company’s $9.5 million in seed funding, will be used to accelerate product development of its headless commerce platform, expand the Fabric team and meet the growing demand for its commerce technology. Scott Beechuk, partner at Norwest Venture Partners, will join the company’s board of directors.

Following the successful launch of its cloud-native experience and commerce product suite in October 2020, with this latest round, Fabric is focused on expanding its product offerings, accelerating retailer onboarding and workflow, continuing to meet the ever-changing needs of retailers and eliminating the need for replatforming. The round will also go toward recruiting more talent.

Companies can use either the entire, extensive Fabric suite or incorporate specific tools into their existing system, including an Experience Manager (XM), Product Information Manager (PIM) and Order Management System (OMS).

Digital signage

Raydiant

Raydiant, a digital signage and experience platform provider, has secured $13 million in Series A financing co-led by tech investment firm 8VC and venture studio Atomic. The new capital, which brings the company’s total funding to $20 million, will be used to invest in product development and expand Raydiant’s go-to-market team.

New service offerings will focus on bridging the gap between offline and online experiences and increasing productivity.

Raydiant’s digital experience platform is designed to deliver advantages to help its customers drive sales, boost revenue and increase workplace productivity by transforming display screens, TVs and tablets into a connected interactive experience.

By plugging in a Raydiant ScreenRay into any HDMI-equipped TV, businesses can create messages for in-store customers ranging from check-in procedures, sales and promotions to live video support, photos and social media feeds. Raydiant’s customers see an average revenue increase of 12 percent along with more repeat customers and stronger brand loyalty.

The company has hit significant milestones in 2020, including more than tripling its revenue and increasing its customer base by 60 percent. The company released its proprietary LTE solution powered by T-Mobile, introduced its Kiosk offering, an interactive tool for driving customer engagement, and launched an awards series to celebrate small business resilience in the midst of Covid-19.

Most recently, Raydiant partnered with Microsoft to develop a virtual tool called SecondScreen aimed to give teams the face-to-face communication they would get in the office.

Joining the funding round is American actor and producer Mark Wahlberg, along with Delta Zulu, Gaingels and BN Capital by Lerer Hippeau.

Consumer targeting

PreciseTarget

PreciseTarget, a retail data science company, has unveiled ConsumerInsights, a cloud-based service that provides apparel and fashion brands data and knowledge about each of their customers, and their best acquisition targets.

The solution is built to allow brands and retailers to accurately identify, acquire and target the highest-value consumers for their product assortment, and ultimately discover who is most likely to respond to a specific ad campaign or product offering.

ConsumerInsights’ sharpened marketing campaigns, driven by preference scoring for each customer on products and brands, can reveal which brands and products score the highest for consumers.

PreciseTarget machine learning system has analyzed 5 billion SKU-level retail transactions and adds more than 60 million new SKUs each day. This has enabled the creation of insights profiles on 200 million U.S. shoppers, further enabling personalized experiences and offers for each customer.

ConsumerInsights gives retailers and wholesale brands cloud-based access to this data set in addition a full suite of tools to analyze, segment and activate audiences and target groups for digital marketing outreach. This data, including over 1,000 columns of preference data on every U.S. adult shopper, is an offering that was previously unavailable.

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