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Retail Tech Roundup: Manhattan Associates Launches Active Allocation, Syte Raises $30 Million

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

Inventory optimization

Manhattan Associates

Manhattan Associates has introduced Manhattan Active Allocation, a solution engineered specifically for apparel, footwear and fast fashion retailers to manage short lifecycle inventory and improve allocator agility and responsiveness.

Manhattan Active Allocation’s embedded analytics and data visualizations can enable retailers to instantly respond to changing business conditions and dynamically evolve their allocation strategies to maximize sales and margins. The solution gives allocators the agility to create adaptable plans, which result in less stranded inventory and less financial risk for the business.

The solution is designed to give allocators direct insight into demand stemming from omnichannel fulfillment platforms such as BOPIS and curbside pickup and is designed to help them shape allocation decisions based on the distinct types of fulfillment experiences offered for each product at both the store and distribution center level.

With the holiday season already in full swing, the product release is aimed at generating fewer fulfillment redirects and end-of-season markdowns, according to Scott Fenwick, senior director of product strategy at Manhattan Associates.

The new solution delivers real-time performance monitoring and updates to inventory and sales, network wide. Inventory performance is captured by channel and fulfillment type, and configurable allocations help users define, preserve, learn and reuse high-performing fulfillment strategies year over year.

The microservices-based, cloud native solution doesn’t need to be upgraded, and is fully extensible.

Visual search

Syte

Product discovery platform Syte has raised $30 million in Series C funding. The round, which was led by Viola Ventures, brings Syte’s total funding to $71 million.

Since the beginning of 2020, Syte says it has grown 22 percent quarter-over-quarter on average alongside a 38 percent expansion of its customer base.

The company is capitalizing on today’s need for improved visual search as more shoppers shift online for their apparel and footwear shopping needs. Earlier this month, Syte launched what it calls augmented site search, which uses visual AI to automatically categorize products using the type of language that a shopper might actually use in language searches, such as “red dressy heels.”

Syte will use this round of funding to expand its geographic reach into the United States and the Asia-Pacific region, since much of their early customer base resides in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Syte CEO and co-founder, Ofer Fryman also said in a statement that the funding would help fuel the growth of its product offering, particularly in both developing and acquiring visual, text and voice solutions.

The platform has already partnered with major online fashion companies including Fashion Nova and Farfetch, and offers camera search, personalization and recommendation engines, as well as e-commerce search and merchandising solutions. Syte says the platform, on average, increases online conversion rates by 177 percent.

Syte will take on an additional $10 million in debt financing with the funding round. The round includes investments from LG Tech Ventures, La Maison, MizMaa Ventures, Kreos Capital, and existing investors Magma, Naver Corporation, Commerce Ventures, Storm Ventures, Axess Ventures, Remagine Media Ventures and KDC Media Fund.

3D product development

Embodee

Embodee, a technology provider that creates virtual renderings of 3D apparel and footwear, is releasing its Orchids platform in limited beta release starting Nov. 1, with the intent to integrate digital product creation and development online and increase collaboration, reduce costs and improve sales.

The platform is scheduled for full release in the coming months.

Orchids is designed to maximize the benefits of high-impact 3D virtual products as online shopping surges due to the pandemic, and eliminate barriers that have kept brands from working efficiently and effectively with 3D products and assets.

The platform features web-browser access to 3D assets and interactive collaboration throughout an organization and with other parties, such as vendors and product lifecycle management systems.

Last month, the platform also added new features including integrated fluidly rotating 3D product renders, the ability to view products from any angle in varied lighting conditions and the option of downloading product imagery in 4K resolution.

Users can now access more than 20,000 digital materials from the library of Swatchbook, which specializes in organization, visualization and sourcing of real-world digital materials.

The Orchids platform, which does not require licensing or installing software, features a dashboard that organizes 3D assets so they are easy to navigate, view, and revise—all in one place and always accessible from the cloud.

Non-technical staff can create interactive assortments directly from the 3D products. They can also refine 3D artists’ initial designs by easily applying color changes and creating variances, all from a centralized library of colors, textures, materials, fonts and graphics.

E-commerce

Rokt

E-commerce marketing technology company Rokt has closed an $80 million Series D investment round led by the solution provider’s largest institutional shareholder TDM Growth Partners and joined by existing investor Square Peg.

The capital will help accelerate research and development and support the expansion of its client base into new verticals and geographies, Rokt said. With the funding, Rokt, now valued at $450 million, plans to grow from 260 employees to more than 400 by the end of 2021.

Rokt offers tools that let companies make personalized marketing offers during and after a transaction. Rokt’s technology enables cross-selling and upselling efforts based on a retailer’s existing commercial relationships, collecting a technology fee in the process. It also operates a marketplace to connect businesses and vendors—including integrating payment and shipping providers—from which it takes a cut of the transaction.

Obsess

Obsess, an experiential e-commerce platform designed to enable brands to create interactive, shoppable virtual stores and showrooms, closed a seed round led by Venture Reality Fund, WXR Fund and Jump Capital, bringing its total funding to $3.4 million.

Obsess uses virtual reality and augmented reality to digitize retail stores and showrooms in a way that can create memorable, branded virtual experiences for consumers and wholesale buyers. These photorealistic, immersive online shops are designed to ultimately drive discovery, engagement, clickthrough, session duration, average order value and conversion for retailers.

The company already has created fully shoppable virtual store experiences for major fashion retailers including Coach, Charlotte Tilbury, Diesel and Tommy Hilfiger.

In-store mobile

Apple/Highstreet Mobile

G-Star Raw is introducing Apple’s App Clip technology in its Amsterdam and Utrecht stores in the Netherlands, using the Highstreet Mobile platform. App Clips are designed to give shoppers instant access to a part of a retailer’s app without having to download the whole app.

With the technology, customers can scan a QR code or tap an NFC-powered information tag on a store window or in-store mannequin to instantly obtain information about the outfit on display. Users can also directly order online and make a payment via Apple Pay.

“Our Raw app is very popular as it offers the likes of look books and inspiration,” said Klaas Buist, digital director of operations at G-Star. “Our brand stores in turn yield other advantages: consumers can touch and try on clothes there, with personal advice from our stylists. With Apple’s new App Clips, we connect the best of both of these worlds.”

As the digital product information from App Clips is available in physical stores, consumers can see what a garment looks like when worn by a model, and then try the item on themselves in-store or purchase it online, in any available size or color.

Without having to download the app, G-Star Raw customers can now use the app to scan a QR code or tap an information tag on a store window or in-store mannequin to instantly obtain information about the outfit on display.

Without having to download the app, G-Star Raw customers can now use the app to scan a QR code or tap an information tag on a store window or in-store mannequin to instantly obtain information about the outfit on display.

Customer targeting

PreciseTarget

PreciseTarget, a platform that gathers shopper data to help apparel retailers and brands target, acquire and understand their highest-value customers, has launched a new data enrichment product called Customer Insights Profiles.

The feature is designed to deliver a comprehensive view of shoppers’ likelihood to purchase a product or brand, helping sellers better personalize their offerings and serve their customers with more targeted products.

PreciseTarget has analyzed more than 5 billion consumer purchases from 3,000 brands to create profiles of 99 percent of apparel and footwear shoppers. Customer Insights Profiles provides individual data about customers by using PreciseTarget’s unique Taste” profiles, and scores them based on their buying behavior and purchase propensity.

Using PreciseTarget’s comprehensive profile data sets, retailers can identify customers by specific characteristics such as those who have purchased the brand via other channels, paid with cash or weren’t identified at purchase time.

Each profile includes demographics, brand propensity scores in soft goods, category and price propensities, gifting and on-sale targeting attributes and buying tastes. The platform also provides target clustering, where customers are organized into target segments based on the attributes that best fit a brand or retailer’s assortment.

Sizing

Pickashirt

Pickashirt, a seller of tailor-made shirts and suits, has created an algorithm intended to perform the calculations of the traditional tailor by leveraging its database of over 20,000 customers and their measurements. The algorithm is designed to continue to learn with each new customer.

“Just like a tailor does in his head, the algorithm can use a set of data points and make probability-based decisions on spotting errors or making allowances to a garment size,” said Robert Bell, founder of Pickashirt.

While the algorithm cannot guarantee a 100 percent strike rate, Bell said the algorithm minimizes the event of first-time customers needing adjustments.

Self checkout

Tiliter

Tiliter, the Australia-based developer of a solution designed to recognize products without scanning barcodes, raised $7.5 million in a funding round led by Investec Emerging Companies and joined by Eleanor Venture and Cornell University. The company will use the latest funding to accelerate its expansion across Europe and the U.S.

The AI-powered tech provider is currently focused on serving the supermarket vertical with a camera-and-software system that can automatically identify items such as fresh produce without the need for packaging or price stickers. The solution is designed to identify items in under one second to enable faster self-checkout.

Tiliter CEO and co-founder Marcel Herz said in a statement that there has been a 300 percent increase in scan-and-go adoption in the U.S. over the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which he expects to fuel further adoption of the technology.

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