The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Luxury fashion brand Hugo Boss has partnered with creative software company Adobe to power its 3D and immersive design strategy. Applications within the Adobe Substance 3D design software have enabled the company to create new workflows that take products “from concept to streets” in new ways, the tech firm says.
For Hugo Boss, the 3D design software empowers teams to design apparel, accessories and footwear with hyper-realistic models and experiment with different fabrics and colors. It gives designers greater creative freedom and convenience during the ideation stages, with a new canvas to produce inspired work for customers. 3D assets are also used to engage suppliers and retail partners in more efficient ways, where prototyping, reviews and changes can all be conducted digitally.
“To support our vision of becoming the leading premium tech-driven fashion platform worldwide, Hugo Boss was one of the early companies to explore the potential of 3D and immersive design in fashion. Now we have over 400 employees working with these innovative tools to produce more inspiring and sustainable products, and to lead our industry in digital,” said Sebastian Berg, vice president, business operations excellence at Hugo Boss, in a statement. “With Adobe Substance 3D as part of our Adobe Creative Cloud stack, we have a powerful tool that provides hyper realistic renderings of our products. It gives us greater speed in responding to global consumer trends, while helping us experiment with new digital services to drive 3D innovation in fashion.”
3D design also gives Hugo Boss a chance to explore new customer experiences that blend the digital and physical worlds, especially as interest grows around the metaverse. Teams have been focused on areas such as digital avatars, virtual fitting rooms and NFTs, all of which require assets that feel lifelike. With Adobe Substance 3D Sampler, teams can use reference photos and AI capabilities to replicate complex fabric textures such as knits and embroidery. Other applications such as Adobe Substance 3D Painter and Adobe Substance 3D Stager help refine colors and lighting.
Investments in 3D design also support the company’s efforts around sustainable fashion. For suppliers and vendors, teams can review designs digitally, bypassing the need to create and ship samples back and forth. Any changes that need to be made for colors, fabric and shapes can also be done online. 3D cuts down on content production as well, avoiding scenarios where teams must travel to different locations around the world to photograph new collections.
Adobe also claims that virtual photoshoots can drive a 98 percent reduction in carbon emissions. To support Hugo Boss and other partner brands in these efforts, Adobe also unveiled the Adobe Substance Sustainability Calculator, which delivers data and benchmarks for sustainability initiatives tied to 3D design.
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) giant Klarna has unveiled Klarna Spotlight, a collection of product innovations including a creator platform, shoppable video, a new search tool, a donations feature and an upgraded CO2 tracker.
The new innovations come as the Swedish fintech company aims to move further out of the payments space and become more of a shopping utility for consumers and potential growth partner for retailers.
Klarna’s new intelligent search tool helps shoppers find the best price for the product they’re considering.
According to Klarna’s 2022 Holiday Report, when asked which of the following shopping services customers plan to use for their holiday shopping this year, 42 percent said price comparison tools. With the search tool, Klarna compares thousands of websites and lists the results in an overview, saying it can save consumers time and frustration often experienced on conventional search engines.
Found both within the Klarna App and on Klarna.com, the tool will show consumers both new and pre-owned options, with the ability to filter their search across stores by color, size, features, customer ratings, store availability and shipping options. Consumers can also see the price range to decide whether it’s a good time to buy.
Furthermore, the intelligence of Klarna’s search function is packed into a new panel in Klarna’s in-app browser. Whenever shoppers are browsing a product page, the panel shows consumers information that can help them make better purchasing decisions. For example, the panel will show whether other retailers are offering a better price, faster and cheaper delivery options or different sizes and colors, Klarna says. At checkout, the panel will also automatically look for and apply available coupons to ensure consumers get the best deal possible.
With over 23 million monthly active users on the Klarna App, the search and compare tool becomes a key acquisition channel for merchants, boosting their visibility, traffic, and sales with a captive audience.
On top of that, a new stream of shoppable video content in the Klarna App lets consumers watch and shop trending items directly from the video.
Klarna’s update to its shoppable video capabilities brings a stream of rich, relevant and immersive content into the Klarna App to help consumers discover and find inspiration. Found in the app under the Watch and shop widget, consumers can now watch the latest unboxings, tutorials and reviews from thousands of videos made by trusted brands and creators. Any item they like can then be shopped directly from the video.
Retailers also can share existing social content and campaigns that tell their story, create shoppable content exclusively for Klarna that inspires and converts and partner with the fintech firm to be featured in curated content and campaigns.
Haus Labs By Lady Gaga, which is already on the shoppable video platform, sees average click-through rates that are up to three times higher than other social media channels.
To fortify its shoppable video offering, which the BNPL firm first introduced after acquiring virtual shopping solution Hero in July 2021, Klarna also is launching a creator platform to help retailers source the right people to measure engagement with their target audience. The platform is designed as a one-stop shop for retailers and creators to work together to automate processes from initial outreach, to partnerships, to tracking sales and commissions.
With this platform, creators can directly access retailers, and also recommend hundreds of thousands of products to their social media followers, as well as shoppers in the Klarna App. Retailers on the platform can connect with a pool of more than 500,000 creators and track their performance in real time, in an effort to empower them to optimize and scale their activities while maximizing sales and ROI.
Klarna’s upgraded carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) tracker gives the company’s 150 million global consumers insights into the environmental impact of their purchases, displaying the emissions set free for over 50 million items across the product’s lifecycle, from the sourcing of raw materials to its recycling.
On top of that, Klarna is expanding its Give One initiative with a new donations feature in the Klarna App, enabling consumers to donate to vetted, high-impact organizations that strive to protect planet health. Consumers can also track the aggregate volume of donations made and learn more about the nonprofits they supported, making their collective impact tangible. Since the start of the Give One initiative, Klarna’s community has helped plant 2 million trees in the Andes and protect 10,000 hectares of wetlands in Rwanda.
Ambi Robotics has secured $32 million in funding from existing investors Tiger Global and Bow Capital, as well as new investors including strategic partner Pitney Bowes and technology and science investment firm Ahren.
The funding will fuel the deployment of hundreds of AI-powered parcel sorting systems as customer demand increases ahead of peak holiday and throughout 2023.
The round comes on the heels of a $23 million deployment expansion deal with Pitney Bowes. Ambi Robotics is completing the installation of more than 80 all-new AmbiSort A-Series parcel sorting solutions across the U.S. to empower warehouse workers with automated sorting systems amid the rise of constant commerce demand.
Ambi Robotics is deploying its next-generation AmbiSort A-Series v3, an upgraded model of the company’s flagship product, which is fully American National Safety Institute (ANSI) safety compliant.
AmbiSort systems are full-stack sorting solutions that combine robotic picking, item analysis and quality control with a proprietary “soft-touch” end effector that handles boxes, flats, polybags, and other deformable or rigid items. Each warehouse associate can work alongside three to four AmbiSort A-Series systems, increasing the average throughput-per-employee to over 1,200 items safely sorted per hour with more than 99 percent accuracy. AmbiSort systems are powered by AmbiOS, the company’s operating system that leverages simulation-to-reality (Sim2Real) AI technology to teach robots to pick and pack millions of unique items on day one of deployment.
The additional funding will help Ambi Robotics achieve several projected milestones over the next 12 months, the company says. In particular, the automation hardware company will focus on deployments and installations, expanding its product portfolio and hiring more employees across engineering, customer support, operations and the supply chain.
Nextuple, a company that aims to help retailers create and scale omnichannel fulfillment by using a microservices architecture, has unveiled the Nextuple Fulfillment Studio.
The fulfillment studio includes three “Tuples” of mix-and-match microservices that can work independently or together to create solutions for flexible fulfillment.
The Promise Tuple offers four major composable microservices for promising, sourcing, inventory and capacity. These services can enable retailers to craft a breadth of omnichannel fulfillment use cases using geolocation or service level agreement-based availability strategies and optimize based on speed, cost or custom rules.
The Order Orchestration Tuple builds upon a unified order store across all sales channels, including sales fulfillment and returns orders, giving consumers visibility across all interactions in a scalable architecture. The Order Orchestration Tuple offers four composable microservices for the order state engine, order store, manage order APIs and order management.
Finally, the Omni Fulfillment Tuple offers composable microservices for flexible store-based fulfillment, digital order queuing, picking, staging operations, packing/shipping and dispensing. These services can enable retailers to scale store fulfillment operations and meet customer expectations across all fulfillment types.
The Nextuple Fulfillment Studio is available on any public or private cloud and can be delivered as SaaS or as an owned asset. Developers can access source code, documentation and Nextuple’s engineering and product management expertise through managed services.
With Nextuple’s unique licensing model, firms can retain intellectual property (IP) rights to modify code when needed. The company says the studio is compatible with any tech stack and offers unlimited scalability. Additionally, the technology can offer new functions, add-ons and extensions without requiring new systems.
Buy online, pick up anywhere
Perry Ellis International/Via.Delivery
Perry Ellis International went live on the Via.Delivery delivery location network, enabling the apparel company to transport orders to more than 21,000 convenient and secure Buy Online, Pickup Anywhere (BOPA) locations across the U.S. ahead of the holiday season.
All six of the company’s storefronts, including Perry Ellis, An Original Penguin by Munsingwear, Rafaella, Cubavera, Callaway and GolfApparelShop.com, also integrated Via.Delivery’s order management system with another logistics and transportation company’s fulfillment services, and will support fulfillment and shipping services from each brand’s brick-and-mortar stores.
“Shoppers are more price conscious than ever right now, and our online shoppers are looking for ways to balance shipping costs with speed, convenience and security,” said Jay Nigrelli, senior vice president of ecommerce at Perry Ellis International. “With Via.Delivery, our shoppers can save on shipping by having their orders delivered to one of more than 21,000 convenient BOPA locations across the nation, including inside pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations or convenience stores.”
“Via.Delivery’s concept of delivering to commercial locations eliminates residential surcharges that are further increased during the peak holiday shipping season,” Nigrelli said.
Each of the BOPA pickup locations accepts and holds packages for up to seven calendar days, with Via.Delivery CEO and co-founder Mitchell Nikitin saying that the network helps shoppers protect themselves from porch pirates via this service.
Via.Delivery wants to give more assurance to consumers who are concerned their packages will be stolen. Porch piracy impacts a lot of shoppers—64.1 percent of Americans have been victims of package theft in the last year and 53.5 percent had multiple parcels snatched during that period, according to Safewise research.
“Via.Delivery is enabling Perry Ellis to address package theft head-on,” Nigrelli added. “Not only are we giving shoppers flexible delivery options, we’re providing them secure locations to hold their packages.”
Via.Delivery has observed a recent uptick in the number of e-commerce merchants that want to add BOPA shipping options, which can help minimize shopping cart abandonment, drive sales conversions and reduce customer service needs and stolen package claims.
The location company’s API and Shopify plug-in are designed to make it possible for e-commerce merchants to get up and running with BOPA almost instantly. Via.Delivery has more than 190 pure play e-commerce merchants on its technology platform.
Japanese streetwear brand Undercover has partnered with Avery Dennison to incorporate digitally woven fabrics and high-definition embellishments from the company’s Embelex platform into its new autumn-winter 2022 collection.
Known for its unique streetwear-meets-high-fashion aesthetic, this collection from Undercover founder and designer Jun Takahashi digs into British-American filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological thrillers, and curates snippets of his iconic films to elevate everyday garments.
These suits, jackets and coats from the Undercover collection are constructed with full panels of high-definition, digitally woven fabrics, as well as detailed patches carefully created by Embelex.
“This collection is all about giving a distorted and unique perspective to everyday clothes, so that they can be extended beyond the conventional. What Embelex allows is the ability to produce incredibly high-quality embellishments, bringing my vision to life,” Takahashi said.
In April 2022, Avery Dennison launched Embelex as a full-service ecosystem for on-garment branding, supporting customization, personalization, and smart solutions in the apparel manufacturing market. The technology launch came as more fashion and sportswear brands sought to offer differentiated SKUs such as personalized prints and applications to stay relevant and competitive in today’s crowded apparel market. The company said the size of its on-product branding business doubled over the past three years due to the demand for its services post-launch.
Puma North America is rolling out Nedap‘s iD Cloud inventory visibility platform across 135 stores.
Following the success of Nedap’s three-store pre-rollout, Puma is equipping the locations with the iD Cloud to enable fast and regular stock counts, efficient replenishment, smart refill suggestions and data-driven loss prevention. The solution also helps stores ensure that the right products are available more often, and as such, to provide best-in-class omnichannel customer experiences. With better stock visibility, Puma NA can offer services such as ship-from-store and click-and-collect (BOPIS) more efficiently.
”The partnership with Nedap will ensure PUMA North America is able to further accelerate the flexibility and the service portfolio of its omnichannel business,” said Russ Kahn, senior vice president, North America retail at Puma. ”RFID technology is already creating a seamless brand experience for PUMA NA across all consumer touch points, with stock visibility a key enabler for product availability as well as circular services, which has allowed Puma NA to achieve 2 percent uplift in replenishment and 2 percent uplift in sales.”
Puma NA has rolled-out iD Cloud’s Store, with the expenses of the full deployment paid back within six months. The athleticwear and footwear brand will continue its relationship with Nedap beyond the iD Cloud. Its next step will be to implement the company’s loss prevention technology.
Retail technology solutions provider Checkpoint Systems has added to its RFID loss prevention portfolio with the launch of SFERO. The solution is a customizable, modular “RFID as EAS (electronic article surveillance)” technology for apparel that is designed to offer high-detection performance to minimize losses and protect stores in new ways.
SFERO helps retailers accommodate any store layout and design. The new modular retail security solution means store operators can combine intelligent pedestals and overhead antennas to create a sphere of protection that can be increased or decreased depending on the levels of shrinkage and the requirements of each store.
It also helps retailers move away from out-of-the-box, one-size-fits-all systems, instead tailoring the technology so that they can adapt the level of protection for each store within a portfolio, as it changes and grows.
Underlining RFID’s ability to function as an EAS technology, SFERO’s customizable feature is bolstered by a detection capability that in many cases surpasses 95 percent accuracy. This helps retailers to protect products, significantly reduce shrinkage and maximize revenues.
The SFERO debut also helps retailers capitalize on their RFID inventory control investment in stores. With a more comprehensive range of inlays, labels and hard tags, the solution offers more flexibility to choose how RFID is implemented across a product range.
The RFID solution has also been developed to integrate with customer visual merchandising. The technology helps retailers maintain elevated levels of security while preserving an open, clean point of entry up to 6.3 meters wide and 3.5 meters overhead that incurs little visual impact, thanks to highly concealed antennas. As a result, SFERO can balance the demands for immersive retail that allows shoppers to see, touch and try products before purchase, while minimizing stock losses for retailers and offering them a more cost-effective way to underpin sales.