The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Buy now, pay later
The two biggest private fintech companies are officially teaming up—retailers using Stripe can now activate Klarna as the preferred payment method in their checkout.
The first results of retailers using Stripe show that the Klarna integration led to an average 27 percent sales increase. On average, retailers using Klarna see a 41 percent uptick in average order value (AOV) and a 36 percent increase in purchase frequency, which subsequently led to an increase in revenue.
Additionally, the fintechs said some retailers reported that as many as 40 percent of shoppers were new consumers of their brand due to Klarna.
“Through the Klarna and Stripe partnership, we were able to get up and running quickly with a tailored service that met our needs perfectly,” said Alex Nazarevich, vice president growth at Indochino in a statement. In August, the made-to-measure men’s wear retailer said Klarna helped it lift AOV 16 percent and increased conversion from paid ads mentioning the payments provider by 20 percent.
In addition to enabling retailers already using Stripe to activate Klarna in their checkout, both companies have announced more plans to strengthen the partnership. Stripe is now Klarna’s preferred payments partner for consumer purchases pre-funded by Klarna in the U.S. and Canada. Tests with Stripe’s services have resulted in “significantly improved” performance rates. For that reason, Klarna has shifted more payment processing volume to Stripe than initially planned, and partners with Stripe for about 90 percent of its payments volume in the U.S. and Canada.
The two companies, worth a combined $140 billion, are planning to deepen and expand their partnership to more countries and products in the future.
All eligible Stripe users can now start accepting Klarna—there is no additional application, onboarding or underwriting to get started. Klarna is supported on Stripe’s Payment Intents API, Payment Element, Checkout, and Connect. Building and managing a separate API, integration patterns, and SLAs for Stripe retailers will not be necessary.
Klarna on Stripe is available to all retailers based in the U.S., the U.K., Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Affirm has partnered with American Airlines to enable eligible travelers to pay over time ahead of the holiday season.
Eligible travelers can use Affirm to pay for airfare $50 or higher, and will be able to choose payment options from three to 12 months. Customers on aa.com will see the total cost of their purchase upfront, as Affirm does not have late fees or hidden costs, the buy now, pay later provider touts. Any interest is represented in a dollar amount and never increases.
As of now, select customers will now see Affirm as a payment option for eligible airfare at checkout on aa.com, but Affirm will be more broadly available to U.S. customers in the coming weeks.
The partnership comes amid the latest Affirm Consumer Spend Report, in which the company said more than half of consumers would rather take a getaway than have a traditional family get-together this holiday season. Additionally, while 74 percent of Americans say they’ll spend more on travel this holiday season than ever before, 60 percent are concerned that they can’t afford to travel as they would like to.
American Airlines joins more than 29,000 Affirm merchant partners, including Target and Walmart, as well as e-commerce platform giants Amazon and Shopify.
E-commerce fulfillment and technology solutions provider ShipMonk is expanding into Mexico with the acquisition of fellow fulfillment provider El Mar Mexico, also known as 321 Fulfillment of Mexico.
The fulfillment center, based in Tecate, Mexico, is ShipMonk’s first warehouse facility located outside of the U.S. Situated in the El Bajio Industrial Park, less than 20 miles east from the San Diego-Otay Mesa border crossing, the warehouse will enable the company’s growing base of e-commerce customers to leverage U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s (CBP) Section 321 de minimis statute to legally bypass taxing on the majority of U.S. shipments, eliminating tariffs and import duties.
The Mexico fulfillment center will be completely owned, managed and operated by ShipMonk, in full compliance with Section 321. The legislation allows international shipments meeting the “de minimis threshold,” items valued at less than $800, to enter into the U.S. duty-free. The law is particularly beneficial to e-commerce merchants in tariff-challenged industries, including apparel, home fashion products, or luggage, industries largely represented in ShipMonk’s customer base.
Goods are legally imported into a free trade zone in Mexico under special license, and then shipped directly to the U.S. consumer within ShipMonk’s comprehensive shipping zone coverage area, without paying duties and tariff fees.
Over the past 12 months, ShipMonk has raised $355 million in funding to accelerate its strategic growth and international expansion, including a $290 million round in December 2020.
ShipMonk Mexico is the first new location in the company’s plan for expanded carrier geographies and will be critical in efforts to enhance its technology platform to serve existing and new customers internationally. International expansion also increases ShipMonk’s workforce during this time in which supply chains and warehouses, in particular, are plagued by shortages of available labor.
ShipMonk’s platform is designed to allow merchants to delegate the hassle of managing order fulfillment, tracking inventory throughout warehouses, and dealing with fluctuating shipping circumstances such as the current logistics lag. Heading into the peak holiday season, ShipMonk’s technology can give businesses the peace of mind that orders will arrive on time, accurately and reliably.
Founded in 2014, ShipMonk is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and employs more than 1,200 employees across its U.S. operations, which include more than 1 million square feet of warehouse space in Florida, California, Pennsylvania and now Mexico.
Already operating an office in Prague, Czech Republic, ShipMonk has plans for continued international expansion and to open a European warehouse in 2022.
PTC will be a sponsor of the latest PI Apparel event, which will take place on Nov. 9-10 at The Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. PI Apparel brings together leaders from across the fashion, apparel and footwear industry to discuss the role that technology plays in helping brands, retailers and their suppliers to keep pace with a rapidly changing marketplace.
Over the course of the two-day event, PTC will showcase FlexPLM V12 along with other innovations to align with key event topics such as digital product creation; the future of supply chain connectivity and collaboration; the use of 3D assets in design, development, and consumer-facing channels; and AI and machine learning.
On the second day of the event, PTC’s vice president of product, Quach Hai, and Stephanie Anetrella, senior manager of digital product creation at VF Corporation will also lead a session on how PLM has evolved to accelerate product development and fuel post-pandemic growth. Supported by real-world use cases, the session will highlight the PLM capabilities and features needed to improve user adoption, support scalable, digital product creation workflows and enable supply chain agility.
PTC partners with more than 150 apparel, footwear, fashion and retail customers, while more than 1,200 total brands use the company’s FlexPLM platform. More than 226,000 people use PTC FlexPLM on a daily basis, the company says, with more than 57,000 of them in the global supply chain.
U.K.-based men’s wear retailer New Look has recently went live with BlueCherry Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) from enterprise business solutions provider CGS.
New Look was seeking to reduce siloed systems, establish better control and visibility of purchasing across the whole supply chain and implement a configurable PLM platform. The retailer wanted a single solution and found BlueCherry PLM to help support the retailer’s growth, eliminate manual processes and improve overall productivity. Additionally, New Look felt the CGS team’s expertise and resources in retail and apparel provided reassurance throughout the process.
“We have been working with CGS for a number of years and the PLM software forms a core part of our trading system,” said Claire Dunford, support senior manager of buying, merchandising and design, New Look. “CGS provides a collaborative way of working with New Look and this has been key to us as we have implemented and expanded our usage of the BlueCherry solution.”
BlueCherry is a PLM solution for fashion and consumer lifestyle products companies, providing a comprehensive set of tools designed to manage the entire product lifecycle. In addition to core product data management (PDM), bill of materials (BOM), technical specifications and other commonly available PLM tools, BlueCherry PLM draws from its enterprise solution heritage with the intent to deliver a broader set of integrated line planning, design, product development, sourcing, and production capabilities.
L.L. Bean has selected API-based digital commerce software provider Commercetools to further modernize its commerce architecture and enhance the experiences consumers love about the brand.
The multi-year agreement is foundational to L.L. Bean’s ongoing digital commerce transformation initiative, which stretches across the brand’s physical and digital B2C channels. The retailer embarked on a digital transformation journey that included breaking up its all-in-one monolithic commerce platform and developing its own custom microservices to differentiate from competitors and better serve its customers.
Although L.L. Bean has had a digital presence since 1995, when online shopping was in its infancy, the pandemic highlighted the need for the 100-year-old outdoor retailer to further digitize its brand experience across channels and the need to move quickly to meet fast-evolving customer demand.
The Commercetools MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native and Headless) architecture approach can enable L.L. Bean fulfill its vision of having a technology it can extend, and one which will naturally enhance the collaboration between business and IT stakeholders.
With the new solution from Commercetools, L.L. Bean aims to enhance its in-store and online experience by blending the lines of physical and digital retail via social commerce, point-of-sale systems, pop-up shops, clienteling and transactional customer care.
“As our largest channel, our e-commerce experience is critical to our business, and also bringing our brand to life,” said Nick Wilkoff, chief marketing officer of L.L. Bean, in a statement. “We believe that the Commercetools platform will allow us to further enhance our e-commerce experience, while allowing us to leverage our current microservices architecture and best of breed solutions.”
Retail innovation research and advisory firm Coresight Research partnered with global livestream and shoppable video technology provider Firework for its second annual 10.10 Shopping Festival, pulling in 350,000 livestream viewers for participating brands.
Firework powered the 12-hour livestream shopping experience, which featured 25 retailers and brands such as Guess, Macy’s, Vera Bradley and more, attracting hundreds of thousands of viewers as retailers showcased apparel, accessories, home goods and more. Coresight says with 45 percent of the viewers actively interacting with shopping livestreams.
A purpose-driven event, the 10.10 Shopping Festival requires that participants donate at least 5 percent of sales to partner charities like American Heart Association, Delivering Good and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“This event truly opened our eyes to the power of the type of in-the-moment engagement afforded by livestream e-commerce,” said Harry Cunningham, co-founder and chief creative Officer at GoodMRKT, a participating retailer launched by Vera Bradley. “We were excited to tell the stories of a number of our ‘doing good” brands and also introduce (and sell) their products to a new audience. And we did so in a way that felt uniquely fresh, invigorating, and rewarding. We loved engaging with our customers in real time and seeing conversations sprout up organically around our good people, great products, and exceptional causes.”
The success of the 10.10 Shopping Festival portends the future of shoppable video in the United States. Already wildly popular in Asian markets, livestream ecommerce is expected to grow to a $300 billion market in China next year. Now, it’s gaining steam in western markets as well. In fact, recent research predicts that livestream sales revenue will double this year and Coresight Research expects livestream sales to more than triple by 2023.
“The success of this year’s 10.10 Shopping Festival clearly demonstrates the promise of livestream e-commerce. American consumers are ready for more engaging, immersive experiences while they shop—retailers who adopt this channel and do it well, will add an exciting new dimension to their online offerings, one that offers a way to connect to the consumer at a far deeper level than the anonymity of an online transaction,” said Deborah Weinswig, founder and CEO, Coresight Research, in a statement. “This year’s festival also demonstrated to retailers and consumers alike, how accessible livestream technology can be. Most of our participants had never livestreamed before. Using Firework’s platform, they got up and running in a matter of days, launching livestreams that help to generate engagement, build brand loyalty, grow audience retargeting pools and drive new revenue.”
More than 600 direct-to-consumer brands, retailers and media publishers worldwide and 1 billion monthly active users use Firework’s “shoppertainment” platform. Firework is designed to enable brands to create and host native, shoppable video content that can foster product discovery, deliver more seamless experiences and manifest a deeper emotional connection with consumers.
The Firework platform helps users drive organic traffic to their livestream events by up to 300 percent, the company says. Users can deploy shoppable short form video in tandem with livestreams; simulcast livestream events across multiple locations, including social media feeds, and provide access to fully managed livestream programming and curation services.
The company says it has experienced 10x year-over-year growth. It is backed by more than $100 million in capital raised to date by IDG Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and GSR Ventures.
Getbee has raised $1.8 million in first round, pre-series A funding. The round was significantly oversubscribed and includes technology investors such as Altitude Capital, B & Y Venture Partners, and +VC among others.
The video shopping software is designed to empower sales experts to engage directly with consumers online in the same way they would in a physical store, sharing product recommendations and completing a purchase via live video consultations.
In using the platform, brands can give consumers access to their catalogue in real time, create a live shopping cart for them and complete a purchase in-call. Additionally, users can access real-time insights on the performance of their associates, from usage to conversion.
Getbee works with clients like Dolce & Gabbana, Lancôme, and Dermalogica. The software is ideally suited for segments that have a consultative sales process, such as luxury, furniture, mobility, wellness and more.
Getbee will leverage the round of funding to accelerate its market adoption with new retail brands. The software is currently integrated with technology partners like Shopify and BigCommerce.
Point Pickup Technologies, a last-mile fulfillment and delivery provider, has launched GigPoint, a platform intended to help the expanding network of gig workers better manage crucial aspects of their work and lives with job-based rewards and services such as banking and insurance. Future iterations of GigPoint will introduce new job support benefits along with greater community-building tools.
The initial GigPoint release is available for an invitation-only focus group, but will be available to all flex workers, including shoppers and drivers, both via the Point Pickup flex worker app or as a downloadable standalone app.
The three services available at launch are rewards, banking and insurance. By completing successful orders through Point Pickup, flex workers will earn points that they can then exchange for rewards like cash bonuses, vacations, service and product discounts, and other perks. Through PointTrust, flex workers can manage their finances without worrying about overdraft or monthly fees. They can also purchase affordable insurance packages, including health, dental, and vision benefits through GigPoint.
GigPoint’s initial features are linked to an internal retention and job motivation study conducted by Point Pickup to identify top work-benefit priorities for its flex workers. An easy-to-use loyalty program with instant access to rewards was rated as the number one request.
Point Pickup also cited a recent research note published by Barclays U.S. Internet and North American transportation senior analysts Ross Sandler and Brandon Oglenski. The note, titled “Gig Last Mile Delivery vs. AMZN – The Next Battleground?” indicates that the size of the gig economy workforce is likely to more than double by 2025, from approximately 7 million to over 14 million. In addition, these same gig workers are estimated to be over half of delivery personnel by 2025, with same-day delivery expected to take 16 percent of the U.S. package market.
After the beta program is completed, the first release will launch to Point Pickup’s network of more than 350,000 flex workers later this fall. Future iterations will expand to the general gig ecosystem, with the intent of building a more open and transparent gig environment, as well as implementing additional features.
The Point Pickup technology platform offers on-demand shopping and delivery with repeat drivers while accommodating pre-scheduled requests. The platform offers matching criteria, optimized routing, selective shoppers and drivers, and an API that can integrate with various e-commerce systems.