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Retail Tech: Lectra Acquires TextileGenesis, Shopify Gets Sustainable

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

Traceability

Lectra/TextileGenesis

Lectra has agreed to acquire a majority stake in textile supply chain traceability platform TextileGenesis, buying 51 percent of the company for 15.2 million euros ($16.2 million).

As a major player in the fashion, automotive, and furniture markets, Lectra’s expertise and software solutions encompass everything from on-demand manufacturing to product design and development. But now, the company gets a new complementary piece to serve the growing desire for traceability and transparency in the apparel supply chain.

Founded in 2018, the Netherlands-based TextileGenesis provides a blockchain-based Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that enables fashion brands and sustainable textile manufacturers to create a digital map of their textiles, from the fiber to the consumer, and thereby guarantee their authenticity and origins. This solution ensures the traceability of TextileGenesis’ customers’ entire sustainable textile supply chain in order to meet the demands for transparency, driven by changes in legislation in a growing number of countries and by growing consumer awareness, thereby encouraging sustainable development.

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Its traceability mechanism is designed to address both ends of the textile value chain, as well as its network of partners for material certification. The technology platform is built to guarantee the exchange and tracking of reliable and secure data throughout a material’s life cycle.

H&M, Arvind, Lenzing Group, Eastman and Supima have already partnered with TextileGenesis, further enabling the connection of multiple actors of the sustainable fashion ecosystem on this platform.

The acquisition of the remaining share capital and voting rights is expected to take place in 2026 and 2028, for an amount that will be calculated based on a multiple of the 2025 and 2027 recurring revenues. Lectra has set a revenue target of between 514 million and 534 million euros ($546 million and $567 million) for 2022.

With TextileGenesis now in the fold, Lectra will have made four acquisitions since the beginning of 2021. The company first made a massive deal in acquiring Gerber Technology for $326 million, a move that further pushed the French firm into the U.S. and expanded its client list to include top-tier fashion brands such as Ralph Lauren, Adidas and Hanesbrands among others.

That June, Lectra acquired a majority stake in Nexteven, a cloud-based platform designed to enable brands to simplify and effectively monitor product distribution on large online marketplaces, for 12.6 million euros (then $14.9 million). Finally, in September 2021, the company acquired a majority stake in Gemini CAD Systems for 7.6 million euros (then $9 million), further fortifying its fleet of product design, developing and manufacturing software.

Fit technology

MySize

MySize, Inc., a provider of AI-driven measurement solutions and fit technology, said Naiz Fit, its recently acquired Spain-based fashion tech company, is test piloting Smart Catalogue with several of its current customers.

Smart Catalogue is a software-as-a-service solution that can help fashion designers create patterns that optimize fit, with the aim of reducing unsold items, improving economics for fashion brands and retailers, while reducing environmental footprint.

Nearly 30 percent of all clothing purchases returned to stores are never sold, becoming deadstock, according to the Australian Circular Textile Association.

Smart Catalogue directly addresses the unsold inventory challenge by providing fashion designers with demographic- and location-specific data about customer body morphology and fit preferences.

Major retail brands currently piloting Smart Catalogue include Spain’s Desigual, El Ganso, and Silbon, all of which are MySize customers using the Naiz Fit sizing solution.

“With the pilot of Smart Catalogue, our designers will benefit from the wealth of data available on the user-friendly platform,” said Desigual’s innovation leader, Eva Sirera, in a statement. “Fashion collections are coming to life through designs and specific patterns that are specifically tailored to the demographics and regions in which we sell. We expect to see better inventory performance and more satisfied customers as a result.”

Naiz Fit CEO and co-founder Borja Cembrero Saralegui said the company developed Smart Catalogue based on a need in the market for a data-driven solution that addresses apparel fit issues during the design phase.

Sustainability

Shopify

Shopify is partnering with six new companies aiming to scale carbon removal technologies through its Sustainability Fund.

Alongside payments giant Stripe, Shopify is purchasing $11 million worth of carbon removal from Arbor, Captura, Carbon To Stone, Cella, Crew and Inplanet.

In April, Shopify and Stripe launched a carbon removal initiative, Frontier, in conjunction with Big Tech conglomerates Alphabet and Meta, as well as McKinsey Sustainability. As founders of Frontier, the companies committed to spending a combined $925 million on carbon removal by the end of 2030.

The six new companies within Shopify’ Sustainability Fund bring the total backed by the e-commerce company to 28. 

Biomass carbon removal and storage company Arbor has developed a process that removes carbon dioxide from the air through biomass and stores it. Captura is developing a sea-based electrodialysis machine that generates a sequesterable stream of atmospheric carbon dioxide directly from ocean water. Carbon To Stone is developing a new approach that couples Direct Air Capture (DAC) with mineralization in an effort to reduce both the energy and the cost required for the same tonnage of carbon dioxide captured.

Cella is aiming to accelerate the process of converting carbon dioxide into a mineral by injecting it into volcanic rock formations together with saline water and geothermal brine waste. Crew is developing a container-based solution to enhanced weathering, so that it is quicker and cheaper to deploy. In the company’s first project, the firm will co-locate with a wastewater treatment facility to remove carbon dioxide resulting from the incineration of organic waste. Finally, Inplanet uses enhanced weathering to permanently sequester carbon dioxide and regenerate tropical soils.

Launching in 2019, the support of Shopify’s Sustainability Fund has helped multiple companies raise over $50 million in capital to date and grow their carbon removal capacity by more than 1000x. 

In June, Shopify released Planet, an app that the company’s merchants can use to zero out their shipping emissions. Planet calculates the estimated shipping emissions from every order. Merchants then remove these emissions by funding the same carbon removal companies supported by Shopify. Since launch, more than 8,000 Shopify merchants have used Planet to neutralize their shipping emissions on more than 6 million orders, totaling over 5,000 metric tons of carbon removal. 

Clarity AI/Klarna

Clarity AI, a sustainability technology platform that uses machine learning and big data to deliver environmental and social insights to investors, organizations, and consumers, is partnering with Klarna so the “buy now, pay later” giant can promote environmentally conscious brands to its more than 150 million shoppers.

As of November 2022, Clarity AI says its platform analyzes more than 50,000 companies, 320,000 funds, 198 countries and 188 local governments to help companies research and report for sustainability regulations worldwide.

Klarna says it will feature ways to shop consciously, powered by Clarity AI’s capabilities, to those shopping for electronics across thousands of brands in 22 countries around the world. As a whole, the technology industry is expected to produce around 14 percent of global emissions by 2040, up from around 3 percent today, according to a survey from Capgemini.

In the BNPL firm’s Q3 2022 Klarna Shopping Pulse, 62 percent of U.S. shoppers surveyed said that sustainability when shopping for electronics is important to them (e.g., that the product is made of more sustainable materials or the brand is taking active steps towards climate change). Also, the study showed that more than two-thirds of Americans think it’s important that the brands they buy actively combat climate change and use recycled or sustainable materials in their products. Moreover, Klarna says that 24 percent of Americans actively seek brands that are ethical and sustainable.

After consumers make a purchase in the electronics category, new Clarity AI-powered information on the brand’s environmental efforts will be displayed in the form of brand badges, bringing together brand-level sustainability data in one overview.

This information provides can consumers with a simpler and more reliable way to identify brands that are proactively addressing climate change, helping consumers shop more consciously. The brand badges indicate whether a company has lower greenhouse gas emissions than similar businesses, whether they derive a higher proportion of its energy from renewable sources, has climate change policies and a roadmap to positively impact climate change, and whether or not a company is transparent in its reporting of climate-related information.

Klarna has sought to push forward sustainability initiatives via its own terms CO2e emissions tracker unveiled in 2021, which offers shoppers the ability to view the carbon footprint impact of each transaction made within its own app.

Personalization

Lands’ End/Movable Ink

Lands’ End has selected Da Vinci, the AI-powered marketing personalization engine from software content personalization provider Movable Ink, to power its email marketing programs.

Through Da Vinci, Lands’ End is reshaping its email marketing program to focus on deepening loyalty and driving long-term customer value (LTV).

“Customer centricity is in Lands’ End’s DNA. We’re thrilled to use Movable Ink’s Da Vinci to transform our email program as we drive scalable, contextually relevant communications that deliver what customers want,” said Sarah Rasmusen, chief customer officer at Lands’ End.

Movable Ink says its Da Vinci engine can help guide customers down an individual path that optimizes both short and long-term goals. With AI at the helm, brands are better positioned for the immediate next conversation and the entire customer journey, driving discovery, LTV, and stronger brand affinity.

With Movable Ink, brands can scale one-to-one omnichannel personalization and transform data into creative content that integrates across customer touch points. Content connects to all relevant data, updates based upon a recipient’s recent interactions, and is auto generated by the platform.

Order management

Aptos

Aptos, a provider of unified commerce solutions for retail, said it experienced a 17 percent year-over-year uptick in orders running through its order management system (OMS) during the five-day holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.

In addition to an increase in orders, the Aptos OMS processed a 15 percent year-over-year boost in total transaction value during the five-day time frame. The increase in order volume and value reflects the growing number of consumers who shopped online and/or took full advantage of retailers’ omnichannel capabilities between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

Approximately 25 percent of e-commerce orders flowing through the OMS are being fulfilled from the store, according to Nikki Baird, vice president of strategy at Aptos.

Partnering with retailers across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, Aptos’ OMS is designed to enable order management processes that anticipate, adapt and align to shifting customer expectations while optimizing efficiency at every step.

With core capabilities for enterprise inventory visibility, order orchestration and routing, customer service, store fulfillment, and more, Aptos’ OMS is a cloud-native solution designed to put customers at the center of all decisions, and that utilizes enterprise wide inventory—including stock positioned in stores—to profitably fulfill customers’ orders.

As more retailers leverage stores for fulfillment, Aptos’ OMS includes a mobile-native store fulfillment application to help retail associates meet the escalating demand for orders that pull from store inventory, including buy online, pickup in store; ship from store; and store-to-store orders.

IHL analyst Jerry Sheldon, who researches and advises on the state of the order management market, said in a recent report, “Aptos’ demonstrated capability of the mobile store fulfilment application was excellent, and they scored among the leaders with regard to fewest associate clicks to complete key in-store tasks.”

Headless commerce

Pack

Headless commerce solution Pack has secured a $3 million seed funding round led by Norwest Venture Partners, with additional participation from returning investor Alpaca and new investor Vanterra Ventures.

The financing will enable continued company growth, focusing on accelerating Pack’s engineering, product, design and go-to-market. Pack will also leverage the funding to generate opportunities for strategic partnerships that will propel the company in creating industry-leading solutions in the headless commerce space. The new round brings the company’s total funds raised to $6 million.

Beyond enabling brands to create a more seamless shopping experience for consumers via its fast Progressive Web App (PWA), Pack’s headless solution can help customers like T-shirt brand Cuts boost conversions by more than 20 percent and year-over-year growth by 200 percent.

Founded in 2019, Pack is a front-end platform for headless commerce that is designed to enable brands to upgrade their digital storefronts with technology and tools that are simple enough for non-tech-savvy teams, yet sophisticated enough to be maximized by advanced developers. Pack built some of the first headless storefronts in North America and now works with e-commerce brands such as Truff, Liquid I.V., Cuts Clothing, Prima and many others, giving merchants a platform that is resource-light and easy to maintain.

Accelerator program

Yotpo/Searchspring

Searchspring, a provider of site search, product merchandising, and e-commerce personalization solutions, has joined Yotpo Grow, a year-long program designed to accelerate the growth and retention of small, Black-owned e-commerce brands by providing free access to products from e-commerce marketing platform Yotpo and its partners.

Searchspring is one of five Yotpo partners invited to be a part of this initiative to widen the e-commerce toolset for chosen merchants. The partners include digital agency Curio, website personalization company JustUno, cause marketing platform ShoppingGives and reverse logistics solution Loop Returns.

Yotpo’s Searchspring integration is built to enable brands to boost highly rated products across the site, display ratings on product listing pages and add ratings as a filter option.

Yotpo selected eight Black-owned brands to join the 2022 Yotpo Grow program. Rahyma, a luxury African-inspired clothing line, and Yuuma Collection, a brand that provides stylish and functional bags for mothers, are among the brands that integrated with Searchspring.

“The team at Searchspring has been an amazing gift to our business,” said Rahyma Momodu Awanife, owner, Rahyma, in a statement. “We are convinced that we will see a big difference in the growth of our online store with Searchspring’s advanced search and merchandising capabilities.”

Participating in Yotpo Grow is the latest way Searchspring is celebrating entrepreneurial thinking. In February 2022, the company launched the Searchspring Ecommerce Accelerator, a program built for entrepreneurs to drive business smarter and faster.

Rewards

Kwik

Kwik, a platform that uses software to pay commissions and other incentives to consumers who make product recommendations through social media, has launched its first set of API’s, which enable any brand using marketplace platforms to integrate with the Kwik service platform.

These API’s along with the Kwik customized proprietary software creates an application that brands, without the necessity of any I.T. programming on their side, can offer loyalty, reward and affiliate programs to their customers and the data necessary to manage these programs.

The first application developed under the Kwik platform using these API’s will be an integrated application with Shopify, closely followed by integrates with the WooCommerce and Magento marketing platforms.

During the shopping and checkout process, the provisional patent on Kwik’s widget is fully integrated on any vendor’s website which utilizes web site market platforms by means of CMS tools these platforms provide.

Kwik further notes that Shopify is only one of the e-commerce platforms that will have Kwik available for website owners and their customers. The inherent differences in the Kwik platform include consolidating the rewards and affiliate programs through its patented “Waves of Earnings” commissions. Given the scale, a small portion of new sales generated on these major market platforms through a referral made on the Kwik platform can yield returns since Kwik earns between 6 percent and 10 percent of the selling price of recurring sales initially referred using its platform.

Customer service

Five9

Five9, a provider of cloud contact center software, has unveiled new capabilities designed to help businesses deliver more engaging and unified customer journeys across digital and voice channels and between virtual and live agents.

These features include rich media for digital and voice channels, multi-modal engagement capabilities, real-time language translation and integrated analytics to optimize interactions.

Five9 aims to help organizations address the inherent complexities involved in integrating multiple touch points across both self-service and assisted channels by delivering flexible tools for deploying and managing AI applications.

The latest Five9 enhancements are built to enable companies to design and implement customer journeys that move through an efficient and personalized path across channels and between virtual and live agents, leveraging the best of “collaborative intelligence.”

With rich media controls, customers can send and receive digital content such as images; documents; video; audio; and buttons to link, reply, post back and add a location when using Five9 digital experiences powered by Five9 Digital IVA and Five9 Messenger.

Companies can also serve a broader multilingual audience while simplifying staff requirements using the new real-time translation capabilities on Five9 Messenger. This enables contact center agents who speak English to serve customers who speak other languages.