The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Lululemon Athletica has selected Nedap iD Cloud, an RFID platform designed to enable inventory visibility across the supply chain, to optimize omnichannel product availability across its 600 stores worldwide.
In August 2022, Lululemon began its deployment of iD Cloud to its fleet of North American stores. The project was completed in September when all North American stores became live on iD Cloud. Lululemon will continue to scale up the RFID-based inventory management platform to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific region in early 2023, streamlining growth in new markets.
The athleticwear label partnered with Nedap as it further invests in a strong global “omni-guest” experience. Lululemon calls Nedap’s iD Cloud platform a crucial pillar to unlock real-time inventory data so that stores have the right product assortment available on their floors, ideally creating a seamless experience across brick-and-mortar through digital engagement.
“Our guests are at the center of everything that we do, and we are hyper-focused on creating strong guest connections through seamless store and online experiences,” said Carl Barker, vice president, global omni programs at Lululemon. “With Nedap’s iD Cloud solution, we can leverage real-time, accurate data to enable our in-store educators to spend even more time engaging and connecting with our guests. Having a fully mobile cloud solution in our stores greatly contributes to this experience. Online, RFID continues to elevate our digital experience, offering accurate real-time store inventory visibility and powering key fulfillment experiences such as buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS).”
Supply chain and inventory management software provider Manhattan Associates said its Manhattan Active Omni suite has expanded its support of RFID tags for automating and streamlining the inventory counting, receiving, picking, checkout, return and exchange processes. With this new solution, users can make more accurate promises, increase conversion rates and maximize inventory exposure for selling.
The launch comes after a 2020 Manhattan survey found that only 3 percent of U.S. retailers believed they had an accurate view of inventory in stores and across their distribution network.
Manhattan is aiming to solve this challenge by enabling its point-of-sale and store fulfillment solutions with handheld RFID support for all inventory management and order fulfillment activities. By combining RFID technology with Manhattan Active Omni, the company claims that retailers can increase store inventory accuracy from 70 percent to nearly 100 percent. Manhattan’s solution is also built to reduce inventory-related labor hours, help associates locate merchandise and expedite transactions at the point of sale.
Manhattan Active Omni’s RFID capabilities are also built to streamline and automate inventory counting and receiving processes. Store associates can perform store-wide inventory counts with the latest handheld devices, such as Zebra’s RFD series. Associates can also use the mobile RFID scanners to reduce the time required to perform unit level receiving of new inventory items.
In active store environments, it is common for merchandise to be moved by customers or even misplaced by store staff. Manhattan’s new “find” mode works just like a metal detector, using handheld RFID devices to direct store associates to the precise location of tagged items, reducing inventory shortages and time spent hunting for missing items.
Manhattan’s new RFID capabilities can also be used to speed up sales transactions and returns. Readers placed at the point-of-sale capture tag information as soon as merchandise is placed on the counter, immediately populating the customer’s shopping cart.
Supply chain visibility
Cargonerds, a company that provides medium-sized global freight forwarders with plug-and-play software solutions for quoting, booking, tracking and reporting, has partnered with FourKites to offer enhanced supply chain data to its customers.
Armed with FourKites’ data and machine learning-driven estimated times of arrival (ETAs), Cargonerds now says it is built to ensure that its freight forwarders and their customers can track products across the supply chain and know exactly when they’ll arrive at their destination. The integrated solution will track global shipments across road, rail, ocean, air, parcel and last mile across the globe.
Conrad Franchi, founder of Cargonerds, said in a statement that the FourKites solution helps the company give its customers more accurate ETAs and greater network collaboration.
A spin-off of Rohlig Logistics, Hamburg, Germany-based Cargonerds is a software development company that wants to make the digital supply chain more accessible for small and medium-sized freight forwarders. These smaller freight forwarders often don’t have access to services like supply chain visibility because they lack software development resources and implementation skills.
Now, Cargonerds’ freight forwarders can send data about each shipment in transit directly and securely to their supply chain stakeholders. In doing so, their customers can better streamline communication, more easily collaborate with partners and increase on-time deliveries.
In 2022, Cargonerds moved 250,000 ocean shipments, 250,000 air shipments and 150,000 road shipments.
FourKites is built to extend visibility beyond transportation into yards, warehouses, stores and beyond, tracking more than 2.8 million shipments daily across road, rail, ocean, air, parcel and courier, and reaching over 200 countries and territories..
Western wear brand Kimes Ranch has selected the CGS BlueCherry Enterprise Suite for end-to-end ERP and warehousing/logistics management. The retailer will implement BlueCherry to optimize inventory control and gain greater visibility into its supply chain and distribution activities all from one platform.
BlueCherry is designed to help brands overcome operational complexity. With real-time enterprise visibility, Kimes Ranch wants to gain greater control of their supply chain, improve strategic decision-making and better streamline the delivery of products through all sales channels.
“As a brand, we have made it a top priority to identify the finest materials and the right teams to create products that are undeniably the best fit and highest quality. To manage the operations involved in getting the products made and available to our many channels is one of the most important aspects of the business,” said Matt Kimes, founder and president of Kimes Ranch. ”As a native apparel platform, BlueCherry is designed to meet our exact needs. We are confident that the solution will streamline our processes, improve our operational efficiency, and ultimately provide the tools we need to continue to grow our business.”
Product decision making
MakerSights, an apparel, footwear and accessories product decision platform, entered new partnerships with three more European companies in the fashion space, tapping Gant, Odlo, and Orlebar Brown.
The partnerships comes on the heels of Italy-based Garmont International choosing MakerSights to inform its product strategy and optimize assortments.
Gant, the Sweden-based premium lifestyle brand known for its preppy American sportswear styles, has engaged MakerSights to test products for both its men’s and women’s lines throughout the concept-to-consumer process. Gant will gather feedback from target consumers in its largest markets including China, Germany and the U.K. to inform its product strategy and decisions regarding product details from colors, prints and patterns to logo placement and size.
“At Gant we are driven by a simple idea: Never stop learning,” said Joanna Sjöberg, global planning and merchandising director, Gant. “Working with MakerSights allows us to do just that. Rather than just a few people in a room deciding which direction to take the line in next, we can now easily survey hundreds of target consumers and quickly understand what they’d like to see from Gant next so we can factor the voice of our consumers into decisions. From there, we can quickly focus our efforts, which will save us valuable time, energy and resources.”
Odlo, the Norwegian-born, Swiss-based performance apparel brand, has implemented MakerSights as a foundational component of its new Voice of Consumer initiative. In the past, the Odlo team leaned heavily on historical data and internal expertise to guide new product decisions, but is now turning to consumer data and predictive analytics to gain a competitive advantage and remain agile, especially during times of economic uncertainty.
“We’re excited to have MakerSights take a lot of the guesswork out of our product creation process,” said Timo Pape, product director, Odlo. “Instead of merely relying on opinions and some historical sales data to plan our ranges and inform new products, we are looking forward to adding actual consumer insights and feedback into the decision-making process with the MakerSights platform. Being able to see product-specific feedback from hundreds of target consumers almost instantly will be instrumental in the evolution of our product and merchandising strategies, and driving alignment and buy-in with cross-functional stakeholders.”
Orlebar Brown, a London-based luxury swimwear and lifestyle brand, selected MakerSights to test its largest men’s categories, including shirts, swim and polos, to ensure resonance with target consumers in the U.K. and the U.S. before investment. The consumer testing program will kick off a review of existing products. The results from this test will be leveraged to rationalize and refine its current range across e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores.
“OB was built around the voice of our customers,” said Michael Weatherley, merchandising and trading director, Orlebar Brown. “MakerSights gives us the means to scale that practice well beyond the confines of one-to-one or even one-to-few conversations. Now we can hear from thousands of current and aspirational consumers in just a couple of days so we can quickly determine which styles will have the biggest impact on consumers and drive the most value for OB. That’s great for our brand and business, but it’s even better for our consumers.”
BrainBox AI, an autonomous AI-powered solution built to optimize the design of commercial real estate buildings, has expanded its product offering to multi-site retail portfolios. The expansion into the vertical comes as retailers seek solutions to reduce energy costs and emissions, while still optimizing customer and employee comfort.
Built on the foundation of BrainBox AI’s core solution, this new offering for multi-site retailers can be connected to an existing building management system or via wireless cloud-connected AI-enabled thermostat upgrades. BrainBox AI’s autonomous decarbonization solution measures, models, learns and continuously optimizes a business’s HVAC systems to reduce your retail footprint’s operational emissions.
As brick-and-mortar stores are being called on to lead the way in the green real estate revolution, BrainBox AI is built to address the needs of retailers by offering a solution aiming to meet or exceed a company’s sustainability targets.
Retail supply chains are responsible for 25 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Sam Ramadori, CEO of BrainBox AI, said the company’s mission is to empower brick-and-mortar retailers and warehouses to reduce their carbon emissions and play a critical role in adopting energy efficient climate solutions to address the GHGs they are emitting.
A number of retailers have already signed up to experience the benefits of BrainBox AI’s artificial intelligence technology. Sleep Country, Canada’s leading specialty sleep retailer, installed BrainBox AI across 214 stores, representing 1.1 million square feet of retail space across Canada. BrainBox AI has also been deployed in hundreds of other multi-site real estate locations including grocers, discount retailers, big box stores, medical clinics, sporting goods stores and more.
To date, BrainBox AI has decreased its multi-site retail clients’ HVAC electricity spend by an average 26 percent and gas spend by an average 34 percent, enabling an overall average 28 percent reduction in the HVAC emissions of their buildings.
Additionally, the company says retailers will experience up to a 15 percent reduction in maintenance costs, up to a 50 percent extension of equipment service life and a 60 percent improvement in comfort level for customers and associates.
Product information management
MadaLuxe Group/Digital Wave
MadaLuxe Group, a worldwide distributor of luxury fashion, has selected Digital Wave Technology for its Product Experience Management (PXM) Suite, which combines capabilities like product information management (PIM), product master data management (PMDM) and digital asset management (DAM) on one platform.
After evaluating other PIM providers, MadaLuxe Group chose Digital Wave PXM Suite due to its potential to increase speed to market, create a single source of truth and flexible approach to the luxury brand’s business model. Additionally, the suite offers a roadmap that aligns with the luxury brand’s future vision and goals, the companies say.
“Digital Wave PXM Suite stood out from its competition because it doesn’t put our processes into a box—instead, it’s tailored to our business and framework without the cost of a custom solution,” said Robert Seaborn, vice president, systems and business applications at MadaLuxe Group. “Not to mention, we received incredible service and attention from the Digital Wave team from the start. MadaLuxe Group is eager to hit the ground running with PXM Suite.”
The addition of MadaLuxe Group to Digital Wave’s customer base also marks a step further into the world of luxury fashion for the SaaS provider.
XY Retail, a global commerce solution built to help fashion retailers streamline omnichannel operations, has partnered with Italy-based IT services company BinHexS. The new partnership is aimed at strengthening XY Retail’s ability to provide post-installation support services and better implement roll-out activities.
The cloud-based, unified omnichannel commerce solution is seeking to improve flexibility and speed to further meet customers’ requests on its platform. On the other hand, BinHexS works with clients like Bally, Loewe, Versace and Giorgio Armani to bring a high level of focused skills, knowledge and experience within the retail and fashion industry to deliver a worldwide network of partners to support XY’s clients.
Luxury brands have adopted XY Retail’s API-driven, mobile-first cloud platform in an effort to modernize their stores and manage their entire global retail operations, from data decisioning, stock management and order management to hyper-personalized clienteling and merchandising experiences. The platform also boosts commerce by enabling retailers to fulfill online orders up to 300 percent faster.
BinHexS says its fashion IT services are tailor-made technological solutions to address each client’s individual needs and focus points. Working alongside XY Retail, the company aims to use its resources and expertise to support XY’s growth and expand its capabilities.
E-commerce fraud protection platform Forter has acquired Immue, a bot detection company based in Tel Aviv, for an undisclosed sum. This is Forter’s first acquisition, which is aimed at both strengthening the company’s existing fraud management capabilities but adding Immue’s domain-specific bot expertise.
Bots are used by fraudsters to monitor and automate purchases from merchant sites. Frequently automated systems are usually competing against legitimate customers for the most sought-after items. Headline-grabbing bots often target limited stock drops or short time frame sales—most common in the ticketing and footwear/apparel industries—where merchants must balance high demand with low-quantity. Forter’s data found that these merchants face five to six times more bot attacks than their counterparts.
The Immue acquisition will expand Forter’s fraud prevention solution stack by improving its bot detection capabilities. The Immue team will join Forter’s cyber research group in an effort to improve its ability to detect device and connection manipulations.
The deal is also designed to advance Forter’s bot detection layer, as Immue provides its own bot mitigation layer, a Captcha feature, as well as the ability to regulate bots during hype and flash sales. Forter says it will build these capabilities into its core platform.
While bot traffic can be damaging to merchants and their customers, Immue says its technology allows businesses to filter out sophisticated attacks and authorize only certain bot-enabled transactions. For example, a merchant with excess inventory may create a policy that allows bots to purchase a certain number of items to eliminate the overstock and avoid lower gross margins.
Immue was founded in 2021 by CEO Shira Itzhaki, chief technology officer Amit Yossi Siva Levi and Omri Meliches to help merchants detect and prevent the most sophisticated bot attacks.
Faire has launched a mobile app that lets independent brands manage their business from their phones.
As part of the company’s commitment to helping entrepreneurs grow a successful business on the Faire platform, the new brand app is built to enable brands to oversee their orders and respond to customers right from their pocket. Faire brands can now work between their computer and phone, whether they’re visiting the warehouse, designing a new product, or juggling their work and personal life.
“Faire has been such a game changer for brands, helping us turn our passions into thriving businesses by placing our products in front of thousands of retailers all over the world,” said Alison Barnes, owner of Alison Brooke Designs and an early user of the Faire app for brands. “As entrepreneurs, we wear many hats and juggle multiple tasks at once, so it has been invaluable to be able to manage orders while on the move and engage with our customers from anywhere.”
The company said in a blog post that the “vast majority” of brand entrepreneurs visit the Faire portal from their mobile device—indicating that users would find a mobile app useful. Until now, small independent brands have been restricted to managing their day-to-day tasks on Faire from their computer.
Faire brands can use the app to get real-time push notifications to view and accept orders from their phone as they come in; manage and track the status of orders from the moment an order is placed up until it’s delivered; and get notifications for new messages and answer questions in real-time to build customer rapport.
“As we expand globally, we are building even more products to help independent brands and retailers discover and connect with each other,” said Carla Pellicano, head of brand product at Faire. “Retail and wholesale are evolving, and our customers are leading the way forward. New tools like this app for our brands are one of the many ways we are enabling our customers to do more business efficiently.”
Pants Store, an Alabama-based apparel, shoes and accessories retailer, crossed $5 million in lifetime live selling gross merchandise value (GMV) leveraging video commerce capabilities from CommentSold, a commercial live selling platform.
“Pants Store started our CommentSold journey in 2018, wanting to get into the online retail space. Over time we gained a large following, which allowed us to grow our inventory and our team into what it is today,” said Maggie Carter, e-commerce specialist of Pants Store. “We did not know how big we would get or how loyal our customers would be, but we have been overwhelmed by all the support and success we have had.”
The live video commerce market is projected to hit $57 billion in the U.S. by 2025, according to data from Coresight Research.
CommentSold’s technology is built to provide more than 7,000 small-to-mid-sized retailers with live-selling tools, and has thus far generated more than 147 million items sold with $3.5 billion in lifetime GMV. Recent innovations from the company include their lightweight video commerce plugin technology, Videeo, which gives retailers and brands the ability to embed and go live with branded live video commerce experiences within days. Videeo can be integrated into a brand’s existing e-commerce stack.
Windsor Fashions LLC, a women’s apparel and fashion retailer, unveiled it has leveraged live video shopping technology from Bambuser for two years across its social channels. Collaborating with Bambuser will elevate the Windsor Live experience, during which Windsor stylists share fashion tips and provide first access to shop new arrivals in real time.
Bambuser helps brands like Windsor to attract customers to shoppable videos on their native sites. Through this partnership, a Windsor shopper will be able to view live videos while browsing on the Windsor site, as well as rewatch live styling videos on demand.
“Windsor Lives are an important aspect of the company and how we connect with our consumers, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Bambuser to create a more elevated and accessible shopping experience,” said Catherine Seaton, vice president of marketing, Windsor. “Bambuser’s tools open up a new way of communicating with our customers, and we’re excited to use the platform to scale the brand.”
Sophie Abrahamsson, Bambuser president of Americas, said that products are returned at 50 percent lower rates for products bought in live streams, but now more than ever consumers are craving authenticity and interactivity.
Over the past two years, Windsor has been broadcasting Windsor Live three times a week on social media platforms to speak to the “Windsor Girl” by sharing advice on how to style products and previewing new styles for purchase. With more than 200 new styles in-store and online each week, Windsor aims to be the ultimate destination for affordable clothing for all life’s occasions.