The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Z-emotion has launched Z-weave, 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software for the apparel and soft goods industry. Fashion companies can use the software to develop 3D fashion products, thus improving speed and reducing cost in the design and development process, and allow product developers and buyers to connect their ideas virtually.
The software provider says its tech goes beyond the focus on shortening the sampling process within the supply chain, so that even end consumers can interact with 3D garments in real time.
To develop Z-weave, Z-emotion acquired a proprietary 3D garment simulation engine that helps users to develop virtual products. The technology appears to be geared toward the rising prominence of virtual fashion and nonfungible tokens (NFT), in that the content is downloadable but has no physical counterpart.
Z-emotion says Z-weave enables real-time modification capabilities, so that users can create patterns from scratch or import ready-made patterns to generate the 3D virtual garments, or adjust body measurements of the human avatars to try on the design.
The 3D simulation outputs lets end consumers view how combinations of different sizes and colors fit on their custom body avatars in 360 degrees, particularly characteristics such as garment tension and pressure via Fitmap. Additionally, users can add photorealistic background settings to showcase their design in a real-life situation.
This live virtual fitting service is aimed at helping consumers make purchase decisions and optimize online sales conversion rates of e-commerce platforms.
Otrium, a fashion marketplace that sells unsold end-of-season collections from retail brands, has launched in the U.S. with new Series C funding of $120 million.
Technology investment firm Bond and Index Ventures led the investment. Juliet de Baubigny, a general partner at Bond, will join Otrium’s board of directors. The round also had continued participation from Eight Roads Ventures. The new capital will further help the company accelerate its U.S. expansion, help it develop its technology platform and support hiring initiatives.
Otrium said revenues tripled in 2020, with registered members surpassing 3 million. It now counts over 300 fashion stores on its app, with partners including Karl Lagerfeld, Joseph, Anine Bing, Belstaff, Reiss and Asics.
Brands can list the items they want on Otrium and sell them through the marketplace so they have another sales channel as the end of the season approaches. Given that many brands are reluctant about selling outdated items, the marketplace gives partner brands control over pricing, merchandising and visibility of their excess inventory.
“Our goal is to get as close as possible to eradicating unsold seasonal inventory,” said Milan Daniels, CEO and co-founder of Otrium, in a statement. “Firstly, we help fashion brands find homes for clothing items that would otherwise remain unsold and maximize the revenue they generate on those items. Secondly, we leverage our in-depth analytics to help brands determine which clothing and at what quantities and price will sell the most in the future.”
Otrium raised $26.6 million in a Series B round in 2020 as it jumped into the U.K. market for the first time. The company recently rolled out an expanded analytics functionality designed to help fashion houses analyze past demand to determine which items have staying power.
Groupe Dynamite/Manhattan Associates
Groupe Dynamite, owner of the Dynamite and Garage fashion brands, will begin deploying Manhattan Active Point of Sale from Manhattan Associates in 10 pilot stores this summer, with plans to expand the solution to its remaining 300+ retail locations in the U.S.
Groupe Dynamite creates, designs, markets and distributes accessible fashion collection, and uses Manhattan’s Omni and Warehouse Management solutions to manage the flow of products through these stores and its Canadian distribution center. But the company said its progress towards true omnichannel commerce had been hampered by an aging point-of-sale system.
“We wanted to add the latest fulfillment methods, like buy online, pickup in store and ship-from-store capabilities, but were limited by a legacy POS with an inflexible architecture,” said Marie-Soleil Tremblay, senior vice president sales and operations, Groupe Dynamite Inc., in a statement. “Manhattan’s POS solution will give our retail associates the state-of-the-art tools they need to provide a modern and personalized shopping experience.”
Groupe Dynamite already leverages Manhattan Active Omni’s Order Management, Store Fulfillment and Store Inventory Management functionalities, according to Tremblay. With Manhattan Active, the retailer will leverage the platform’s “omni-cart” and clienteling capabilities.
Southeast Asian fashion and lifestyle retailer Zalora is deploying the Algonomy Hyper-Personalization Suite in an effort to create consistent experiences across digital touch points including search, content, email, browsing and product recommendations for seven different markets.
Zalora, which has a presence in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Taiwan, is seeking to drive one-to-one personalized interactions to help its shoppers discover authentic products from more than 3,000 brands across categories including apparel, footwear, accessories, beauty and resale.
The retailer will leverage Algonomy’s real-time Customer Data Platform to unify customer interactions and activate personalized interactions across the digital channels. The supporting library of more than 150 pre-built personalization algorithms, which includes what the company calls its “Deep Recs,” are designed to ensure that shoppers are engaged with the right set of product recommendations and optimized for their individual preferences and stage in the buying journey.
In addition, Zalora plans to use Algonomy’s Xen AI, a patented composite decisioning engine, select the strategies that it can use for every consumer interaction, considering their engagement, conversion or revenue goals. The retailer hopes that personalization will also influence a shopper’s search and browse results based on their real-time behavior.
“We are proud to serve a diverse set of customers from different lifestyles, and celebrate the individuality of every shopper,” said Alessio Romeni, chief revenue officer at Zalora in a statement. “Personalization is therefore a central part of our customer experience, and our discussions with Algonomy helped us improve our personalization efforts. We’re excited about the customer engagement and revenue opportunities ahead of us and Algonomy’s innovative capabilities such as Visual AI that will make online shopping more human-like for our customers. Zalora is committed to giving customers the best online shopping experience possible.”
Algonomy, which was formed after RichRelevance and Manthan merged in January 2021, offers an Algorithmic Customer Engagement (ACE) platform for retailers that includes built-in customer activation and analytics designed to enable omnichannel personalization, customer journey orchestration and, merchandising analytics and supplier collaboration.
The company is a partner to more than 400 retailers, consumer brands, quick serve restaurant chains, convenience stores and more, including Walmart, Flipkart, Carrefour and L’Oreal among many others.
Mirakl, an enterprise marketplace SaaS platform, has partnered with PunchOut2Go, an agnostic Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) that facilitates data interchange between e-commerce and e-procurement technologies.
Through the partnership, B2B marketplace operators can incorporate punchout catalog functionality into Mirakl-powered Marketplaces, enabling e-procurement and ERP platforms to integrate with the goal of increasing access to B2B digital buyers and improving purchase experiences.
The companies cited a fourth-quarter survey from McKinsey which found that 90 percent of B2B decision makers expect the dominance of digital sales to persist after the Covid-19 pandemic. As B2B buyers begin to understand digital shopping, online marketplaces will have to take on a larger role in integrating into procurement process.
Using the PunchOut2Go cloud integration platform, Mirakl-powered Marketplace operators can support functionality such as punchout catalogs, purchase order automation and electronic invoicing.
B2B buyers can integrate marketplaces with their e-procurement and ERP platforms, and B2B sellers can offer personalized purchasing methods to buyers with online procurement platforms. For example, in wholesale industrial supply, one marketplace may be serving multiple customer segments with unique catalogues and pricing tiers. Through this integration, customers can find the products they want at their negotiated prices to help optimize their productivity.
This partnership announcement follows a year of 110 percent revenue growth for Mirakl-powered Marketplaces, which saw a total of $3.1 billion in gross merchandise value transacted in 2020. The company raised $300 million in funding in September 2020, bringing its total capital raised to $400 million and pushing the company’s valuation over $1.5 billion.
PunchOut2Go’s cloud-powered iPaaS technology links business applications to automate the flow of purchasing data and aims to reduce integration complexities for punchout catalogs, electronic purchase orders, online invoices, and other B2B sales order automation documents to accelerate business results.
Fetch Rewards, a consumer loyalty and retail rewards app, has raised more than $210 million in Series D funding from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with participation from existing shareholders Iconiq, DST, Greycroft and E.ventures. This latest round of funding brings the total amount raised by Fetch Rewards to $328 million, and puts the company above a valuation of $1 billion.
With the latest round, Fetch plans to use the capital to inform its product strategy and continue adapting to changing consumer shopping habits on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The app allows shoppers to earn free rewards on their everyday purchases by snapping photos of their receipts or submitting electronic receipts. When shoppers snap every receipt after they shop, Fetch Rewards does the back-end work to match the reward.
By ramping up the ability to process online receipts, the platform aims to give shoppers even more convenient ways to earn points. When shoppers buy something, from anywhere, they now can scan the receipt and expect an immediate reward. As users earn points, they can redeem them through the platform to enter monthly sweepstakes, donate to charity or exchange for gift cards.
Since launching in 2017, Fetch says its rewards app has been downloaded more than 19 million times and has nearly 7 million active users. To date, Fetch has processed nearly 1 billion receipts and has delivered more than $120 million in savings to its shoppers.
Fetch isn’t profitable, but has annual sales of more than $100 million, the company says. While it has grown more with businesses like restaurants and drug stores, it also crunches shopping data to offer retailers and brands insight on purchasing patterns.
The funding came after Fetch already closed an $80 million Series C round in December.
Retail Zipline, a communication and task management platform designed to improve store execution by connecting employees across stores and at a retailer’s headquarters, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by venture capital firm Fifth Wall.
The funding comes after a year that saw the company double its customer-count with zero churn, convert 100 percent of pilot accounts and expand into new regions and languages. The new round will be used to increase investment in verticals like pharmacy, grocery and convenience stores. It will also be used to hire key strategic roles across all departments.
Retailers used the Retail Zipline platform to drive health and safety compliance and streamline operations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic and ensuing health regulations upended our operations and created stress for our teams due to evolving mandates,” said Corey Bouyea, director store operations, U.S. retail and outlet field stores at L.L.Bean. “We turned to Retail Zipline to streamline our communications and have been blown away by how much better our stores execute. In the last six months alone, we jumped from #27 to #3 in NAPCO’s Health and Safety study of the top 100 omnichannel retailers. Best of all, our employees love it because it makes their jobs easier.”
Retailers like American Eagle Outfitters, L.L.Bean, Cole Haan, TOMS, Sephora, Hy-Vee Inc., Lush Cosmetics, BevMo!, Torrid and others depend on Retail Zipline to keep teams connected on one platform, boost engagement and drive efficiency across each store.
Dan Wenhold, a partner at Fifth Wall, will join Retail Zipline’s Board of Directors and Matt Wallach will become an advisor. Additional participation in the round has come from Emergence Capital, Ridge Ventures, Hillsven Capital, Matt Wallach, co-founder of Veeva, and Robert J. Fisher.
Thrasio, a consumer goods company that focuses on acquiring and consolidating brands that sell on Amazon’s marketplace, has raised $100 million to boost its Series C funding to approximately $850 million.
The company initially raised $750 million in February on top of $260 million last July, and announced that JCPenney veteran Bill Wafford will be taking the reins as its chief financial officer. While Thrasio was valued at “less than $10 billion” after the February funding, this latest addition gives the valuation a “50 percent step up,” the company said in a statement.
Thrasio has acquired more than 100 “top-rated” brands sold on Amazon, and manages more than 15,000 category-leading products. Over an analysis of 6,000 Amazon brands, Thrasio claims that its own brands on the marketplace are “more profitable, grow faster and outperform almost every other seller on Amazon.”
The company positions Amazon-native brands to compete with top household name labels with the goal of making them trusted name brand items that consumers turn to for their everyday needs.
In total, Thrasio has now raised $1.35 billion in equity and another $500 million in debt financing.
Although the company didn’t explicitly reveal who was behind the funding, co-CEO and co-founder Josh Silberstein said the latest $100 million is coming from previous backers that didn’t get the allocation they hoped for in the previous financing. The list of past backers includes Oaktree, Advent, Harlan Capital, Peak6, Western Technology Investment and Upper 90, which is led by Jason Finger, the co-founder of Seamless.
Pickup, an enterprise-grade, last-mile delivery solution provider for retailers and commercial businesses, has closed a $15 million Series B funding round. The round was led by NewRoad Capital Partners with participation from existing investors TDF Ventures, Noro-Moseley Partners and Florida Funders. Additional investors in the round include Autotech Ventures and the New York Angels.
Proceeds from the round will help Pickup expand its geographic reach and scope of services, as it further accelerates company growth.
Pickup’s integrated API solution, Pickup Enterprise is designed to enable national retailers and commercial businesses to offer same-day and scheduled delivery of their full assortment of goods, including big, heavy and high-value items, whether they are purchasing online or in store. By integrating with Pickup’s Enterprise delivery API, retailers access an on-demand delivery network that can provide white-glove and contactless delivery.
Pickup Enterprise leverages the company’s “Good Guy” network of drivers, specializing in the delivery and assembly of big and heavy goods alongside its partner network of courier services, including Postmatesl.
Since the launch of Pickup Enterprise in 2020, the company’s customers have seen a 2X increase in basket sizes and a 23 percent conversion lift with its buy online, deliver from store offerings.
Pickup currently serves more than 75 cities within the U.S. and partners with major brands including At Home and Big Lots. The company developed a “Perfect Delivery” algorithm designed to help businesses optimize their delivery experience success with business intelligence, including delivery quality, tracking on-time performance and Net Promoter Score.