The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Macy’s has partnered with global advertising technology company The Trade Desk to connect more of its consumers to advertisers.
This marks the first time that the department store’s in-house media publisher, Macy’s Media Network (MMN), has coordinated an audience partnership with a demand-side platform, and its audiences will be available on The Trade Desk for all advertisers, including brands whose products are sold at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.
Using The Trade Desk’s self-service, cloud-based platform, ad buyers can create, manage and optimize digital advertising campaigns across ad formats and devices. Integrations with major data, inventory and publisher partners are designed to ensure maximum reach and decisioning capabilities, and enterprise APIs can enable custom development on top of the platform.
Macy’s says its media network can give advertisers exposure to 42.7 million active shoppers at Macy’s and 4.1 million at Bloomingdale’s. According to SimilarWeb, Macys.com is the most-visited fashion and apparel site in the U.S.
Combined with The Trade Desk’s reach of more than 100 million households and premium inventory from leading publishers including streaming TV, the partnership enables advertisers to layer on shopper and purchase insights from these retailers and help inform their media buys. This partnership enables brands to buy tailored ads across the open Internet, including connected TV, and drive efficiency to make the most of their advertising investments.
“Macy’s, Inc.’s globally recognized brands—Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s—have been built on a foundation of strong consumer relationships that create life-long loyalty,” said Melanie Zimmermann, vice president of Macy’s Media Network. “By working with The Trade Desk, we are empowering advertisers to optimize their media campaigns with a highly desirable and engaged audience set. We are excited to partner with the world’s leading advertisers to make their media matter.”
Macy’s Media Network represents the first national apparel retailer in The Trade Desk’s retail audience offering.
Zadig & Voltaire/Centric Software
Zadig & Voltaire, a ready-to-wear fashion and luxury accessories brand, has chosen Centric Software’s Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution to power its digital transformation.
Centric Software provides enterprise solutions to plan, design, develop, source and sell products such as apparel, footwear, sporting goods, furniture, home décor, cosmetics, food and beverage and luxury to achieve strategic and operational digital transformation goals.
“We decided to select Centric so that we could benefit from industry best practices and a standardized solution already at the heart of many other brands and retailers in the fashion and luxury sector,” said Rémy Baume, general manager at Zadig & Voltaire.
Driven by strong growth and as part of the ongoing structuring of its IT department jointly with different business units, Zadig & Voltaire identified the need for a digital solution to streamline product development.
“We intend to optimize our product strategy by modulating our assortment in terms of width and depth, refining the product mix and aligning our pricing and supply strategies,” said Vincent Queru, chief information officer, Zadig & Voltaire.
Centric PLM will allow the design studio, as well product, global marketing and merchandising and operations teams to reduce time-consuming tasks that add little value. The technology will also help support the brand’s CSR, or corporate social responsibility, policy, specifically with eco-minded development and design and traceability.
“Centric PLM will make it possible to gather and collect unique, reliable and shared data between the quality, development and production teams, thereby improving cross-department collaboration. This tool is a lever to better manage product composition data, country of origin for each component and supplier certifications,” Queru said. “Finally, all of these advantages will enable easier and optimized processes as a whole for all of our services at every level, leading to increased efficiency.”
PTC is collaborating with Made2Flow, a technology company specializing in data gathering and analysis of environmental data across global apparel and footwear supply chains.
This collaboration will enable PTC to provide its FlexPLM customers with transparent, science-based impact measurements at scale, to help them drive more environmentally responsible decisions during design and product development. Currently, brands and retailers rely heavily on generalized averages and generic environmental data sets due to a lack of transparency and data gaps across the supply chain.
Made2Flow’s technology is designed to allow product teams to understand the environmental consequences of their design and development decisions earlier in the process, which enables them to proactively impact their Scope 3 reduction targets.
The collaboration with Made2Flow can provide apparel and footwear manufacturers with science-based analysis directly within the FlexPLM platform of how much CO2 (GHG) is released into the environment in each step of the manufacturing process, including water use and land use. As designers and product managers make changes to the materials, suppliers and the Bill of Process in FlexPLM, they can see the impact of these changes on the environment and can course correct if needed.
Made2Flow is a German company composed of fashion veterans and environmental scientists that aims to empower fashion designers, product developers, sourcing and sustainability teams to identify the impact of their choices and gain greater transparency and accuracy.
Based on the company’s proprietary technology and existing relationships, Made2Flow has developed a unique textile database with over 4 million primary data points for data validation purposes which covers over 78,000 combinations of products and materials, across apparel, footwear and accessories.
Women’s fashion retailer Windsor has partnered with Stylitics, a provider of AI-powered digital merchandising platforms, to launch automated styling and product recommendations for its e-commerce business.
Best known for its formal dresses, Windsor aims to deliver glamorous, on-trend styles for all the occasions in a woman’s life. Stylitics recommends outfits and product bundles in more than 50 billion shopper sessions a year, resulting in a 21 percent increase in average order value for its partner brands and a 23 percent increase in units per transaction, the company says.
“Windsor is thrilled to partner with Stylitics to elevate our customers’ experience and provide her with even more fantastic ideas for outfitting and styling our head-to-toe offerings,” said Tina Konow, vice president of e-commerce, Windsor, in a statement. “Stylitics’ platform has successfully automated Windsor’s fashion guide to deliver on-brand digital merchandising recommendations that our shoppers find inspirational and personalized.”
Stylitics recently raised $80 million, bringing its total funding to $100 million. To date, Stylitics has driven more than $2.5 billion in incremental revenue with more than 100 million additional units sold to nearly 3,400 brands.
Windsor wants to be the destination for affordable fashion “for millions of young women searching for the perfect look for all of life’s important moments.” The company, owned and operated by the Zekaria family since 1937, operates more than 330 retail locations across the U.S. and online.
Supply chain visibility company FourKites has introduced several new capabilities designed to enhance air freight visibility. These new features, including dashboards and views into carrier events, split shipments and booking details, complement FourKites’ existing end-to-end international visibility solutions to help shippers proactively build routes based on in-transit inputs, all in a single user interface.
Heavyweight air is commonly used by shippers and freight forwarders to transport high-value goods, as well as to expedite shipments when delays occur. FourKites’ data intelligence and enhanced air solutions can help shippers optimize their supply chain faster with greater accuracy—all on the FourKites platform via end-to-end multimodal visibility.
The Carrier Events View feature is designed to allow shippers to compare data from carrier websites against FourKites’ milestones, events and Dynamic ETAs for Air that leverage machine learning and AI algorithms. This can potentially allow supply chain partners to increase workforce efficiencies and maximize collaboration based on high-quality, end-to-end visibility data.
And with easy load creation, shippers can generate air shipments with limited information, thereby accelerating their time to value with visibility.
New dashboards include a transit time dashboard, an on-time performance dashboard, a milestone dashboard, a customer health dashboard and a lane dashboard—all are designed to allow for more strategic decision-making through insights on carrier and lane performance, tracking health and more.
The Split Shipments feature lets customers track shipments that have been split onto different flights or routes, and monitor quantity and weight at the flight level. This provides enhanced visibility into inventory levels, empowering shippers to improve resource planning and pickup scheduling.
Booking details include flight number, status, origin/destination, arrival/departure time, quantity, weight and volume, and can provide clear visibility into the flight expectations compared to the tracking updates happening in real time.
These new capabilities build upon FourKites’ recent significant expansion in air freight. Over the last 12 months, the company has experienced over 150 percent growth in air volume, and now tracks across more than 100 airlines and 17,000 airports, integrating with more than 20 major parcel providers to support high-value shipments. In addition, customers continue to benefit from FourKites’ Dynamic ETA for Air—an innovation that tracks nearly 100 percent of air freight with automated ETAs within 9 hours of arrival.
FourKites’ new air offerings are part of the company’s international solution suite that comprises ocean, air and rail, connecting global end-to-end supply chains through real-time visibility technology designed to help shippers, carriers and 3PLs better collaborate. Similar to air visibility, FourKites’ Dynamic Ocean also includes Dynamic ETAs powered by artificial intelligence, providing customers with the market’s most accurate ETAs for ocean shipments across all lanes worldwide.
Supply chain finance
8fig, a continuous funding and management platform for e-commerce businesses, has closed a $140 million Series B funding round in combined equity and credit facility led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT). This brings 8fig’s total funding to date to $196.5 million.
At a time when many online sellers are struggling with cash flow crunches due to challenging economic conditions and reduced consumer spending, 8fig is focused on directly contributing to the sustained success of the e-commerce businesses in its network. This includes delegating more capital to finance e-commerce businesses and enhancing its supply chain management platform for online sellers.
8fig provides e-commerce businesses with bespoke funding plans that are optimized according to their supply chain and cash flow needs to accelerate growth. Online sellers can manage their funding and remittance schedules using the 8fig platform, which also offers tools for supply chain management, financial planning, and freight and logistics coordination. The funds from 8fig are disbursed incrementally and on an ongoing basis, equity-free. Using insights from 8fig’s platform, online sellers can quickly and easily respond to real-time industry changes such as fluctuations in demand and shipment delays and can change their funding plans accordingly, if necessary.
Since its inception, 8fig has delivered over $500 million in funding to online sellers. Its success has resulted in an increased client base and annual revenue by 900 percent and 800 percent, respectively, in 2022. Over the same period, 8fig grew its global workforce threefold to 90 employees and further developed its platform’s capabilities, most recently releasing a mobile app version and a freight management and payment functionality.
The funding round includes participation from existing investors Battery Ventures, Localglobe, Hetz, the Jesselson family and Silicon Valley Bank, a division of First Citizens Bank.
With the latest round of funding, 8fig will expand its growth efforts and scale its funding capabilities to support an increasing number of e-commerce businesses, helping them to continue growing amid economic uncertainty. Additionally, the company plans to implement enhanced financial management capabilities with new banking solutions and cash flow prediction models that will include alerts and insights based on business performance, as part of its quest to become a one-stop shop for e-commerce business management.
8fig is also collaborating with e-commerce marketing agencies on a financial tool to evaluate their clients’ cash flow requirements and mitigate risks by providing alerts and actionable insights.
Trimco Group, a global supplier of identity branding items such as labels, hangtags, badges, care and content labels and RFID tags, has signed definitive agreements to acquire Wah Lung Labels, a
supplier of brand identity products to apparel brands.
Based in Toronto, Wah Lung has been a partner to many recognizable Canadian and global apparel
brands and is expected to benefit from Trimco Group’s global production footprint, designs, product offerings and innovative digital solutions focused on supply chain optimization and sustainability, including the bespoke supply chain traceability platform ProductDNA and RFID solutions.
After closing, Wah Lung’s founder Mimi Chau will lead Trimco Group’s Canadian business, with a focus on delivering best-in-class services to local clients.
The Wah Lung acquisition fits into Trimco’s growth strategy and accelerates the labeling company’s expansion into the North American market, where it sees significant room for growth. This partnership will allow Wah Lung Labels to further expand its product offering to more consumers.
Trimco Group is the combined force of three separate labeling firms, including Clotex, A-Tex and Labelon, serving more than 800 brands and 8,600 manufacturers around the world.
Locus, a dispatch management and logistics technology company, has enhanced its order-to-delivery last-mile logistics platform for its growing retail, 3PL, and courier, express and parcel (CEP) customer bases. These new features serve to help businesses seamlessly manage all stages of their last-mile operations.
For retail and e-commerce, Locus introduced Delivery Linked Checkout, a feature enabling flexible and convenient delivery options and advanced routing for seamless returns, whereas ShipFlex automates carrier workflows for optimal pricing and end-to-end visibility across fleets. Cross-fleet Utilization is designed for efficient fulfillment, while Dark Store Optimization allows retailers to centralize dark store, in-store, and FC fulfillment on a single platform.
To support 3PLs and CEPs, Locus offers Daily Dynamic Optimization for route and capacity allocation, and Dynamic Zone Planning for custom zone clusters. Automated Parcel Sorting is designed to ensure more accurate dispatch of orders in minimal time and Transporter Management brings all transporters onto a single platform for easy order assignment.
Nishith Rastogi, CEO of Locus, said the company’s solutions have already reduced dispatch planning time by 75 percent, minimized sorting time by 60 percent and slashed 25 percent in operational costs.
Locus’ order-to-delivery dispatch management software is built to help enterprises transform last-mile logistics from cost centers to revenue generators through advanced optimization algorithms and intuitive workflow automation. The company has helped global consumers execute 850 million deliveries across 30+ countries. Its technology has also helped save $275 million in transit costs and offset 10 million kilograms in CO2 emissions while maintaining a 99.5 percent service level agreement (SLA) adherence ratio.
Drone delivery startup Zipline is raising $330 million in a Series F funding round, valuing the company at approximately $4.2 billion.
In an April filing in Delaware, the company said the round priced Zipline at $40.20 per share. The filing also included a Series F-1 extension of up to $20 million that could still be rolled into the round, meaning the exact total raised by Zipline could still fluctuate, according to one of the sources.
The filing didn’t name a lead investor. The company’s $4.2 billion value represents a 55 percent increase from its previous valuation of $2.7 billion two years ago.
“We are well capitalized to continue to grow our operations, including launching our new home delivery service,” Zipline said in a statement.
The cash infusion comes as Zipline unveiled a new autonomous drone, the Platform 2, that it said could carry eight pounds of cargo at a range of 10 miles.
With the new funding, Zipline has raised more than $900 million to date, per data from startup tracker PitchBook. Zipline is active in Arkansas, North Carolina and Utah in the U.S., and also operates in Cote d’Ivoire, Japan, Kenya and Nigeria.
Autonomous drone delivery provider DroneUp and Wonder Robotics, an Israeli startup for autonomous solutions for drones and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, completed a successful initial operational evaluation on DroneUp’s drone platform.
The companies say that Wonder Robotics’ autonomy technology will allow DroneUp to continue growing operations while maintaining its commitment to safety.
For the evaluation, Wonder Robotics’ proprietary “WonderLand” solution was installed on DroneUp drones, enabling smart precision autonomous landing, accurate winch delivery and an advanced contingency plan. In addition to the improvements to precision, the WonderLand technology will allow a single flight engineer to safely and autonomously oversee multiple drone deliveries simultaneously, a crucial aspect to scaling DroneUp’s operation.
Wonder Robotics’ WonderLand technology includes vertical awareness (Vertical Detect And Avoid) and robust precision landing, allowing drones to operate in scale while beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) from an operator or visual observer. In urban environments, this includes obstacle avoidance systems so drones can navigate around common settings such as trees, buildings, cables and more to safely deliver packages quickly.
DroneUp will be validating Wonder Robotics’ technology in several areas through more operational flight tests.
Commercetools, a composable commerce software company, launched Commercetools Checkout to introduce more opportunities for revenue generation and unlock opportunities for increased sales through expanded consumer touch points.
The debut of the technology comes as many customer-facing channels of today such as social media, mobile and live chat are not built to interact with legacy backend tools and databases. Commercetools built Checkout to be a fully customizable payment solution that can enable retailers to build faster and more customer-preferred checkout experiences without implementation risks.
One of the biggest benefits of Checkout is that it can be implemented within days and integrated with Commercetools Composable Commerce APIs. Checkout is pre-integrated with payment service providers Worldpay and Adyen, with more to be integrated in the near future.
Commercetools will maintain and operate the checkout technology, allowing customers to focus on the front-end customer experience and expansion.
Loop, a return management platform, has launched a new, standalone iOS app, Loop Point of Sale (POS), for in-store returns.
The company’s post-purchase platform already enables Shopify’s merchants to transform returns into exchanges. But by expanding its omnichannel presence with Loop POS, the company wants to take account for all return scenarios.
Loop POS will empower brands to retain revenue and capture upsells through the company’s robust exchange functionality, providing customers with more flexible inventory, in-store return policies and multiple payment methods. With the optionality of Loop POS, there are no more limited restocking options or figuring out where an exchange order lives in your ERP.
The app aggregates data on the Loop platform, centralizing information from both in-store and online returns and allowing brands to make more informed product changes. Through this, the app will enable brands to uplevel team operations and simplify return logistics with clear return-related order management.
Mike Indigaro, vice president of merchant success at Loop, said some brands have spent more than 65 hours a month on in-store return-related order management. But through initial beta testing, Indigaro says brands could save up to 780 hours annually.
Loop works with more than 2,200 brands to help them increase customer loyalty, retain more revenue and lower reverse logistics costs.