The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Buy now, pay later
Klarna has rolled out a new iOS price drop widget enabling consumers to stay on top of the latest deals and sales, as well as new curated holiday “Wish Lists” and personalized deals based on price points, shopping categories and holiday gift recipients.
With the iOS widget, consumers will be able to receive real-time updates on price changes for their saved items by checking their smartphone home screen. The widget rotates through a selection of shoppers’ most relevant items and saved products based on price updates. Available in three different sizes, the widget is a permanent extension of the Klarna app experience that can be used well beyond the holiday season.
The Klarna app, which regularly provides users with a variety of personalized, inspirational content, will now also provide trending Black Friday shopping deals from key merchants including Foot Locker, Express, GameStop and others. The new Deals section will provide users a dedicated space to search and browse a list of thousands of merchant discounts that are updated daily.
The new launches come after Klarna revealed in its recent study that 73 percent of U.S. consumers have made a concerted effort to shop smarter since the beginning of the pandemic, with eight out of 10 saying the pandemic has made them more mindful of their budget.
Top strategies among respondents included shopping sales (61 percent), using coupons (54 percent), buying in bulk (41 percent) and using interest-free, buy now, pay later payment options (25 percent) as a means of better managing their personal finances.
Nuro, an autonomous delivery company that designs and engineers electric self-driving road vehicles that transport goods, raised another $500 million in Series C funding. The round led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. The company is now valued at $5 billion, according to Pitchbook.
This fundraising comes on the heels of multiple significant advancements since Nuro raised $940 million in February 2019 for its Series B round. These include the first and only federal exemption for an autonomous vehicle granted by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and operating the R2 vehicle fully autonomously on public roads in three different states—California, Texas and Arizona—with no drivers, no occupants and no chase cars.
The round also comes at a time when autonomous delivery is more in tune with consumer desires than ever due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Walmart announced a partnership with Nuro in December, at the time noting that it would soon make deliveries in Houston using the R2 vehicles, but has not done so as of yet.
Currently, Kroger customers in six Houston ZIP codes are getting orders via Toyota Prius vehicles outfitted with R2 technology. Once the order arrives at shoppers’ homes, they receive a text message prompting them to come out and gather their order from the vehicle.
Nuro plans to roll out R2 commercially in the coming months and is working on developing R3, its third-generation vehicle that will become its mainstream, fully scalable vehicle.
The round also includes existing investors such as SoftBank Vision Fund 1 and Greylock, with participation from new investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company, LLC. and Baillie Gifford.
Supply chain management
American Tall, an online retailer dedicated to making quality clothing for tall consumers, has partnered with Suuchi Inc. to digitize its supply chain. The brand will implement Suuchi’s platform, the Suuchi GRID, to improve and streamline current processes with increased visibility across the entire supply chain.
The retailer is using the platform to optimize operations, improve speed to market and maintain its current growth rate. Through its partnership with Suuchi, American Tall will create a digital twin of its supply chain. With the data collected, it will work to improve its supply-chain strategy, reduce turnaround times, increase margins and reduce execution risk on new product lines.
“The GRID will allow us to connect our internal and external partners to have an end-to-end, real-time view of our supply chain,” said Jake Rajsky, co-founder of American Tall. “This strategic partnership should allow us to minimize the time spent on manual tasks and allow us to focus on greater supply chain efficiency, expanding our supplier network and freeing up time for growth initiatives.”
Tecsys, a supply chain management and omnichannel commerce software company, has pivoted to 100 percent remote implementation. The company says that continued customer implementation go-lives are providing cloud-based omnichannel capabilities for retailers entering the high-demand holiday season, as Black Friday and Cyber Monday see more volatility than usual.
Tecsys develops and implements omnichannel retail order management software (OMS), enabling retailers to dynamically route and fulfill orders across online and physical locations. Its technology serves as the nucleus for dark store order fulfillment, in-store and curbside pickup, ship-from-store and ship-to-home, among other distribution channels.
The retail platform powers multi-channel and omnichannel commerce for some of the world’s most preeminent brands including transnational apparel and accessory brands, global digital asset giants and one of EMEA’s leading luxury cosmetics retailers. Its software is designed to enable seamless transaction capture, processing and distribution across digital and in-store channels, giving retailers a single provider for end-to-end distribution management functionality capable of routing complex order management combinations.
The NPD Group has acquired Pricing Excellence, a retail analytics company that uses proprietary cloud-based computing technologies to deliver market insights, for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition complements NPD’s portfolio of information services spanning more than 20 industries with new methodologies that will enhance the firm’s ability to provide insight across emerging channels and provide more granular data faster.
Pricing Excellence founder Nathan Krol has joined NPD and will continue to lead the business for current product offerings Market Insight and Data Ladder. The team will also explore complementing these offerings with NPD Group’s data. NPD will leverage Pricing Excellence expertise and machine learning to enhance recently introduced tracking services for the home improvement industry.
“NPD is focused on delivering best-in-class data through our core products and alternative data sources for measuring emerging channels such as DTC,” Karyn Schoenbart, CEO of NPD Group, said in a statement. “Covid has accelerated market shifting and introduced new layers of complexity and urgency. We’re excited to be at the forefront of helping our clients navigate a new normal.”
Tapestry, the luxury fashion house comprising the Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman brands, is deploying the Enterprise Customer Data Platform from Amperity to drive better personalization and customer experiences.
The company will leverage Amperity’s AmpID, Amp360, AmpIQ products to generate comprehensive customer profiles that can serve as the basis for rich predictive analytics and ultimately improve interaction with its customers.
“Key principles of Tapestry’s Acceleration Program are leveraging new capabilities and data, simplifying ways of working, and sharpening our focus on our customers,” said Noam Paransky, chief digital officer at Tapestry. “Amperity allows us to better understand our customers and put actionable insights into the hands of our teams to drive experimentation and activation, enabling us to personalize the critical touch points our brands have with our customers without the need for significant technology expertise or code. Our ability to combine data from various sources and create a comprehensive and unified view of our customers is another step in Tapestry’s strategy to be an enabling platform that enhances opportunities for our brands.”
Amperity recently launched a new 3.0 version of its platform, featuring three distinct products designed to mirror how large enterprises approach the problem of customer data today.
AmpID is an AI-powered identity product that creates a stable, universal first-party identity graph of consumers and then tunes it with features such as householding, data hygiene and standardization for full utility across every use case. This graph is the foundation for accurate insights, personalization and measurement.
Amperity says AmpID drives an average 30 percent savings versus legacy identity providers, and up to 144 percent improvement in reach from resolving identity on previously siloed, unusable data.
Amp360 is designed to give every team across the enterprise real-time access to customer data. Brands can access the data directly from the real-time query engine or make it available in every downstream system where customer data is needed.
The company says brands are seeing an average of 85 percent faster time-to-value to add and use new data sources for marketing and analytics, shaving months or even years off of legacy attempts to drive business return on a usable single customer view.
AmpIQ is a point-and-click marketer hub for customer intelligence and omnichannel activation that is designed to drive immediate ROI gains. It has a complete suite of tools, comprising four components: metrics and KPIs, customer insights, predictions and segments and campaigns and measurement, representing the integration of technology and expertise from Amperity’s 2019 acquisition of customer intelligence firm Custora. Amperity says AmpIQ drives an average of 3X ROI improvements on digital marketing investments.
Automated product creation
FindMine/SAP Commerce Cloud
FindMine, a New York City-based fashion tech startup, has unveiled that its FindMine app for the SAP Commerce Cloud solution is now available on the SAP App Center. FindMine for SAP Commerce Cloud is designed to enable brands and retailers in fashion, beauty, and home goods to help customers answer the age-old question, “How should I use this?” for every product.
The company leverages artificial intelligence to mimic a stylist’s expertise and truly scale outfit guidance, which can ultimately lift online revenue and shopper engagement. For consumers, the platform can recreate the experience of getting styled by a personal stylist.
FindMine says its app for the SAP Commerce Cloud achieves significant revenue gains by showing shoppers three different ways to wear each item, resulting in higher customer lifetime value, average order value, units per transaction, conversion and margin.
Achieving this experience without automation can be difficult for most retailers, so FindMine aims to alleviate that by making outfits, furniture/decor sets or makeup look like they’ve been handpicked by the company’s merchants or stylists. Most importantly, it reinforces what the brand stands for and differentiates it from competitors.
With this “Complete the Look” offering, FindMine shows shoppers how to use each product across e-commerce, email, marketing channels, and in-store. The company reports that by creating more looks that scale with the offering, merchandising time can be reduced by 90 percent.