The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Buy now, pay later
Macy’s is expanding its partnership with Klarna, bringing the “buy now, pay later” platform into its brick-and-mortar ecosystem for the first time. With the deployment, the department store will offer Klarna’s Pay in 4 solution both online and in-store across all Macy’s retail brands. Shoppers can now purchase items on Macys.com, Bloomingdales.com and Bluemercury.com and across their more than 750 retail locations throughout the U.S.
“Klarna’s in-store option gives our customers the same shopping experience they already enjoy online, in-store, making it easier for them to purchase with confidence,” said Matt Baer, chief digital officer, Macy’s, Inc. in a statement. “We’re excited to expand our partnership with Klarna to bring even more convenience to our shoppers in-store by enabling flexible, contactless payments at checkout.”
Shoppers can pay in-store by downloading the Klarna app, creating a one time-use digital card within the platform and adding it to their Apple or Google Wallet. Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury customers can then make a contactless payment with one phone tap.
The decision comes as Macy’s hopes to bring more younger shoppers into the fold. Fifty-one percent of shoppers who use the platform on Macys.com are millennials or Gen Z, Klarna says.
In an earlier partnership with Sephora, Klarna found that average order values (AOV) from shoppers using the platform to pay jumped 65 percent in the two months after its installment payments were offered in store. Online, AOV only rose 35 percent.
Macy’s is already an investor in Klarna, making the technology available at checkout on its website for up to five years as part of its investment. In March, Klarna raised another $1 billion at a $31 billion valuation, on top of $650 million in September last year.
Klarna will offer promotions on its app to drive shoppers to Macy’s stores, including geotargeted discounts for consumers within walking distance of a Macy’s.
Delta Apparel, Inc., a designer, manufacturer and seller of core activewear and lifestyle apparel across the Salt Life, Coast, Soffe and Delta brands, has partnered with Autoscale.ai to integrate its technology into its DTG2Go on-demand direct-to-garment apparel printing solution.
DTG2Go uses highly automated factory processes and its proprietary software to deliver on-demand, high-quality digitally printed apparel direct to consumers on behalf of its customers. The strategic alliance between DTG2Go and Autoscale.ai is aimed at bringing two technology-minded businesses together to provide a solution to customers from design to fulfillment.
With the integration, DTG2Go can now offer customers a solution for selling on-demand decorated apparel using Autoscale’s automated workflow for design creation, art and licensing management, as well as assisting with marketplace listings and ad spending.
More specifically, Autoscale.ai enables one single design to be transformed into hundreds of variations for broader consumer appeal. The patent-pending software then automatically optimizes the product descriptions and lists those products virtually across multiple online marketplaces, Delta says. Using data-driven analytics and advanced automation built into the software, customers can focus designs on consumer preferences and more efficiently use advertising to boost sales.
Retail market intelligence firm Edited has acquired retail analytics and decision platform DynamicAction for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition combines internal data analytics collected by DynamicAction for e-commerce, physical stores and omnichannel retail teams, alongside overall global market data from Edited that stems from 2.5 billion SKUs across retailers, brands and marketplaces.
Fashion brands like Zara, Puma, Boohoo, Diesel, Mango and Tommy Hilfiger use Edited’s suite of Market Intelligence products, powered by an AI data engine including 2,500 custom-made decision-making algorithms. Meanwhile, DynamicAction’s works with retailers and brands in the U.S., U.K. and Western Europe including Columbia Sportswear, Coach, Kate Spade and Eddie Bauer.
The combination comes at a time when apparel retailers need to spot top trends almost instantaneously to make the right product, design, supply chain decisions. With both external and internal data available for all Edited and DynamicAction clients, the combined company aims to equip retailers with the insights needed to make better data-backed decisions.
Operating under the Edited brand name, DynamicAction employees and leadership will merge into the new parent company. The combination of the two products and teams will support the Edited mission to help retailers win under any circumstances and weather any crises.
Over the next few months, Edited will be integrating the DynamicAction product suite into its platform, according to a company blog post.
Attabotics has partnered with AltaML, a Canadian applied artificial intelligence and machine learning company, and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), an artificial intelligence research and application center, to further develop its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities within its 3D robotics solutions.
Together, the three organizations will collaborate on projects that combine AI technologies with IoT (Internet of Things) infrastructure in an effort to achieve more efficient IoT operations, improve human-machine interactions and enhance Attabotics’ data management and capabilities.
Attabotics says that its robotics technologies require 85 percent less space than typical fulfillment warehouses, using the robots to store and retrieve items for box packers on the outside perimeter.
The robots replace the rows and aisles of traditional fulfillment centers with a patented storage structure that include shuttles that use both horizontal and vertical space.
Attabotics says it is building advanced AI/ML capabilities in an effort to maximize supply chain system throughput and predictively optimize fulfillment while minimizing downtime. The company already leverages IoT data derived from its cloud-based robotic operations to drive its AI models, but with AltaML and Amii, Attabotics is taking another step to building out its digitally integrated, distributed network.
Combining Attabotics’ expertise in warehousing and fulfillment with AltaML’s expertise developing applied AI solutions and Amii’s research expertise, this collaboration draws on the strengths of three Alberta technology leaders to expand the data analytics capabilities for customers.
Third-party logistics (3PL) provider WSI has selected Manhattan Active Warehouse Management from Manhattan Associates to better facilitate operations and expand its logistics services nationwide.
Historically, WSI has been focused on the industrial and chemical space, but amid shifting market trends, the Wisconsin-based 3PL decided to expand its e-commerce services. To make this pivot, WSI said it needed a warehouse management system (WMS) purpose-built for connected commerce, alongside flexibility and scalability to adapt to future market changes.
After a competitive selection process, WSI will replace its prior system with the Manhattan Active Warehouse Management cloud native enterprise-class WMS technology. The Active WM platform, released last May, is designed to unify every aspect of distribution process.
Manhattan Active WM uses machine learning to orchestrate distribution center automation and the human workforce to optimize execution within the distribution center. The solution’s embedded warehouse execution system (WES) also coordinates the work between any combination of automation, robotics and labor, and the Manhattan Automation Network provides pre-certified integration to industry distribution center robotics providers.
Port Logistics Group/Whiplash
Port Logistics Group has rebranded as Whiplash. The omnichannel fulfillment solutions provider, based in City of Industry, Calif. said the revitalized branding follows its acquisition in 2019 of Whiplash Merchandising Inc., after it invested in the e-commerce platform and its best-in-class integration, order management, and warehouse management business in 2018.
Whiplash operates 18 distribution centers nationwide across more than 6.5 million square feet of space in addition to its international partner network. The company has evolved with the growth of omnichannel retailing after its formation in 2008 by logistics industry leaders. From major nationwide retailers to digitally native brands, the company offers flexible, scalable fulfillment solutions including customized packaging, personalization, apparel services, and tailored returns programs.
Ware2Go, the UPS-founded company that helps merchants of all sizes achieve one- to two-day shipping guarantees, has unveiled a new initiative to offset carbon emissions for all small parcel, LTL, FTL and air shipments within their network.
The program will retroactively offset all shipments made since January 2021, and all Ware2Go clients are automatically enrolled at no cost. Through a partnership with Pachama, Ware2Go will participate in a variety of carbon offset programs, from reforestation to old growth forest conservation.
Pachama and Ware2Go’s analysts will work together to determine the monthly carbon emissions in metric tons of all shipments across Ware2Go’s network. Based on these emissions, Ware2Go will purchase the appropriate number of carbon credits on its clients’ behalf.
Through a diverse portfolio of projects, they will use carbon credits to restore ecosystems, prevent deforestation of old-growth forest, and transition working forests to sustainable forests with mature trees that are capable of sequestering a high volume of carbon dioxide.
The initiative comes right after the company unveiled NetworkVu, an application now available on BigCommerce and Shopify app stores that recommends ideal warehouse placements to maximize delivery speeds within ground networks while controlling costs. The app does this by analyzing a merchant’s sales and transit data using machine learning, Ware2Go says.
The app handles a challenge for many fast-growing and mid-sized merchants, which often have to develop a business case to support a distributed warehouse model without significantly increasing cost to serve.
The NetworkVu application analyzes a merchants’ historical sales and shipping data through a native integration to their e-commerce cart, but merchants also can upload their own historical shipping or sales data.
Orders can be processed within minutes to build a full analysis that illustrates through heat maps, charts and cost analyses the current delivery times and cost per shipment compared side-by-side with two alternate scenarios that show ideal warehouse placement, improved delivery speeds, potential cost savings, and top-line revenue impacts.
My Size has launched direct-to-retailer sizing recommendation capabilities within its mobile app. The solution provides customers shopping for footwear and apparel online with sizing for more than 120 retailers, with recommendations shown directly on the retailers’ sites when accessed through the MySizeID app.
The direct-to-retailer sizing integration aims to reduce the number of people ordering products in the incorrect size. My Size estimates that up to 40 percent of return rates for e-commerce retailers hurt their bottom line and the environment.
MySize seeks to help preemptively convert orders that may have resulted in returns into sales where the customer orders a product they’re more likely to keep.
The My Size app leverages sensors already built into customers’ smartphones and is designed so that users can instantly obtain highly accurate clothing sizes in any brand’s apparel. While browsing online, customers can find out which size of an item is the ideal fit from the comfort of their homes, without the need to visit a brick-and-mortar store.
Vivrelle, a membership club that provides access to a shared closet of designer handbags, jewelry and diamonds, has secured $26 million Series A financing round led by Origin Ventures, with participation from Chapford Capital Group.
The company says it sees an opportunity to advance the growth of circular fashion and be at the forefront of reimagining consumers’ shopping experience.
Vivrelle has built a community around sustainable, flexible, and affordable luxury accessories. The membership club allows consumers to use items for as long as they would like or swap them out monthly. Vivrelle also aims to elevate the try-before-you-buy model by offering members-only discounts to purchase items from Vivrelle’s closet.
Vivrelle says it saw triple-digit growth in 2020, and with the current funding, is poised for rapid expansion.
The Series A funding will enable the company to support membership growth, expand its product offering to meet increased membership demand, amplify marketing initiatives and partnerships, and scale its services, operations, and internal teams.
Enjoy Technology, a company that aims to disrupt the physical retail model by bringing a personalized, “mobile retail” experience through the door and into the comfort of a customer’s home, is going public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
The company, founded by former J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson, is merging with Marquee Raine Acquisition Corp. in a deal that would value Enjoy at $1.2 billion.
The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions. Upon the transaction’s closing, the combined company will operate as Enjoy Technology, Inc. and its common stock will be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker symbol “ENJY.”
The platform operates as a delivery service that aims to reinvent “Commerce at Home,” operating in more than 85 cities in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., delivering products for several wireless companies and Apple products in some cities.
Enjoy is powered by its own trained tech experts who deliver products to consumers’ homes. The representatives spend an hour installing devices and offering advice to users on how to use what they’ve purchased.
The company partners with carriers such as AT&T, BT Group and Rogers Communications, while proprietary technology powers its commerce and distribution system.
The startup is planning to use the funding to deliver more volume of its new products to customers and expand to new areas, while teaming with new consumer brands and attracting new investors.
“We believe our disruptive ‘Commerce at Home’ platform can do everything a store can do but better, as our full-time experts deliver deeply personalized experiences in the comfort of customers’ homes,” said Ron Johnson, CEO and founder of Enjoy. “With Marquee Raine’s long-term partnership, we have a groundbreaking opportunity to bring Enjoy’s trusted, in-home retail experience to even more customers around the world.”
Enjoy said it is aiming for $1 billion in annual revenue by 2025. Its valuation in the Marquee Raine deal is almost five times its projected fiscal 2022 revenues of $245 million. The company is projecting $110 million in revenue for fiscal 2021, and profitability by fiscal 2023.
The company has raised $230 million in venture capital funding.
Upon going public, Enjoy will generate up to $454 million of gross proceeds from Marquee Raine, consisting of the contribution of up to approximately $374 million of cash held in the SPAC’s trust account and $80 million of additional capital, through a private placement of common stock of the combined company, priced at $10.00 per share.