The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Prada Group and Adobe have enhanced their partnership to enable real-time personalization and increase revenue, elevating the global luxury group’s customer experiences across all digital and physical retail properties. The partnership spans Prada Group’s range of brands, including Prada, Miu Miu, Church’s, Car Shoe, Pasticceria Marchesi and Luna Rossa.
“Today we are happy to announce a new and important step towards our fruitful collaboration with Adobe, with the adoption of their unique customer data platform, to further evolve the retail experience across all our brands,” said Lorenzo Bertelli, marketing director and head of CSR at Prada Group. “This will ensure we are able to engage and connect with each customer in the right place, at the right time and with the right content.”
Prada Group will leverage Adobe Experience Cloud solutions including the Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform and Adobe Journey Optimizer to combine vast amounts of existing data, creating unified customer profiles and delivering personalized experiences across any channel in real time. With these tools, the group aims to deliver relevant content to customers at the moments that matter.
Customers who have opted in will enable sales assistants to know when they visit a store and their preferences, with the goal of developing a richer personalized experience. For example, a customer who has researched a bag online may be invited to see the bag’s latest seasonal colors in person, where a sales assistant will be ready to provide a tailor-made experience. After leaving the store, the customer will receive recommendations based on their purchase, in-store experience and online profile.
Shopify and Google Cloud have unveiled an integration that enables retailers using Commerce Components to leverage Google-quality search capabilities and AI innovations.
Enterprise brands on Shopify can access Google Cloud’s Discovery Al solutions directly through Commerce Components, which Shopify designed to be a modern, composable tech stack for enterprise retail. This integration, which can now be used by Shopify merchants globally and is available in most languages, can increase access to Google’s advanced search and browsing technologies so that retailers can create more fluid shopping experiences for their customers.
Shopify and Google Cloud’s new integration is designed to equip enterprise brands with artificial intelligence-driven product discovery capabilities that address real-world business challenges. One such capability is Google Cloud Retail Search, which provides advanced query understanding designed to produced enhance results from even broad queries, including non-product and semantic searches, to effectively match product attributes with website content for faster, more relevant product discovery.
The integration also includes an AI-powered browse feature that uses machine learning to select the optimal ordering of products on a retailer’s e-commerce site once shoppers choose a category, like “women’s jackets” or “kitchenware.” Over time, the AI learns the preferred product ordering for each page on an e-commerce site using historical data, optimizing how and what products are shown for accuracy, relevance, and likelihood of making a sale.
Merchants can also benefit from an AI-driven personalization capability that customizes the results customers get when they search and browse retailers’ websites. The AI underpinning the personalization capability uses a customer’s behavior on an e-commerce site, such as their clicks, cart, purchases and other information, to determine shopper taste and preferences. Companies can also leverage Google Cloud Recommendations AI solution to potentially deliver better personalized recommendations at scale.
As part of integration, advanced security and privacy practices can help ensure retailer data is isolated with access controls and is only used to deliver relevant search results on their own properties.
Rainbow Shops, a Shopify merchant and apparel retail chain with more than 1,000 stores, recently integrated Google Cloud’s Discovery AI for Retail technology directly into its own digital domains. After experiencing limitations with other search and product discovery solutions, Rainbow Shops approached Shopify about the possibility of using Google Cloud’s search and browse capabilities.
When compared to other specialty search services, Rainbow Shops’ internal testing found that Google Cloud’s solution could deliver helpful results to an assortment of test queries 100 percent of the time, the companies said. In addition to accuracy, Rainbow Shops saw an immediate reduction in the amount of time and effort its teams previously spent on manually refining search results, creating redirects and pulling up to 50 other levers to get useful results.
Rainbow Shops is now using Google Cloud’s Retail Search technology, with the retailer saying it took less than a week for Google Cloud’s AI tools to be successfully integrated into their online store and mobile app—all right before last year’s peak shopping moment for the retailer, Cyber Week.
“Now our search bar can handle almost anything our shoppers throw at it, surfacing helpful product results for nuanced queries like ‘lbd’ (little black dress) and extremely general searches like ‘Mardi Gras.’ We’ve also significantly advanced our ability to produce relevant results when a shopper has a typo in their query, which is commonly seen among our many customers now shopping on mobile devices,” said David Cost, vice president of e-commerce and marketing, Rainbow Shops. “Rainbow Shops is using Google Cloud’s AI tools to create an undeniably better shopping experience for our customers. In just three months we’ve already seen search volume increase 48 percent and our bounce rate on visits has decreased three-fold.”
The integration comes as many shoppers report hurdles in the product discovery experience on retailers’ e-commerce properties. New research from a Google Cloud-commissioned Harris Poll survey found that search abandonment—when a shopper searches for a product on a retailer’s website or mobile app, but doesn’t find what they are looking for—costs retailers more than $2 trillion annually globally, and more than $234 billion in the U.S. alone.
Shoppers themselves say they depend on the search function or search box when shopping; it’s the most common way U.S. consumers search for products on retail websites (69 percent), followed closely by general website browsing (63 percent), according to the study. The problem is that retailers’ search experiences lack consistency, as only one in 10 U.S. shoppers say they get exact results for their queries (12 percent) or good alternatives (11 percent) every time they use the search function on a retailer’s site.
Coveo, a provider of search engine, e-commerce personalization and recommendation platforms, has announced that its Coveo AI Search and Recommendations platform for SAP Commerce Cloud is now an SAP Endorsed App and available on the SAP Store.
SAP Endorsed Apps are a select category of solutions from SAP’s partner ecosystem which are premium certified, by invitation only from SAP.
Together, SAP and Coveo will jointly promote the Coveo AI platform in conjunction with SAP Commerce Cloud to help B2B and B2C consumers benefit from AI-powered search, recommendations, personalization and merchandising AI models, including testing and analytics. Coveo has completed SAP’s premium product certification process, with the company saying it will now focus on go-to-market plans, sales execution and customer success with the launch of its SAP Endorsed App program.
Retailers, brands, manufacturers and distributors can help maximize the value of their SAP Commerce Cloud with Coveo AI-powered search, personalization, recommendations and merchandising AI models. Digital merchandisers can optimize commerce effectiveness by letting AI and machine learning optimize campaigns and personalize experiences, instead of managing a multitude of manual rules.
The Coveo AI Search and Recommendations platform is designed to improve product discovery and conversion by using predictive and relevant search, AI-powered listing pages and dynamic navigation to help buyers find what they’re looking for. Additionally, users can aim to boost their average order value (AOV) by helping shoppers discover more of the product catalog with intent-driven products, relevant content, and complementary product recommendations.
Coveo’s solution also is designed to improve brand experiences with unified search across catalog data and content such as expert blogs, videos or articles.
Merchandising teams can garner major benefits here, learning insights on zero-result searches, recommendation-driven AOV, revenue attribution and conversion from search, ultimately helping them optimize their product placement and ideally increase sales.
Coveo says these teams have access to intuitive workflows and a drag-and-drop UI, making it easier to deploy campaigns, audience strategies, and business rules. In addition, the Coveo Merchandising Hub allows for experimentation and testing, designed to optimize KPIs with AI, so merchandisers can focus on profitability and strategic revenue execution instead of administrative tasks and managing manual rules.
Stylitics, an AI-powered digital merchandising and styling technology, has unveiled its automated styling technology to enable retailers to deliver a new class of e-commerce experiences for their shoppers.
This upgrade uses vastly expanded training data sets developed in-house; introduces more than 20 new algorithms that can increase AI-driven quality, variety, speed and scale; and enable Stylitics’ capabilities for one-to-one personalization. The new generation of the platform also supports additional verticals such as beauty, hard goods and toys, as well as localization in dozens of new regions.
This latest version of the platform has been beta-tested with several large unnamed retailers and brands in the fashion and home verticals over the past six months, following more than two years of research and development.
Stylitics’ latest technology incorporates 50x more data than prior iterations, the company says, including an expansion of product data, market trend data, shopper behavior and intent, and performance data from nearly 100 billion sessions, over $50 billion in tracked purchases and billions of shopper engagements per month. In addition, it delivers more than 10x faster content creation, supports twice as many layouts and formats, more than 30 new regions and 1,500 additional categories and styles.
Advanced algorithms and capabilities within the platform include personalization features for better intent and behavioral mapping, expanded dynamic styling engines to support more complex inventory optimization and expanded attribution of products and images. Additionally, the platform’s quality engine has improved variety scoring, quality scoring and feed data cleanup.
The company also announced the appointment of Margaret (MJ) Jastrebski as chief product officer, a new position reporting to Rohan Deuskar, founder and CEO of Stylitics. Jastrebski brings product leadership experience from ShopRunner, Orbitz and numerous other enterprises and startups. As chief growth officer of TXI, she oversaw tripled revenue across the business. She has also served as a mentor, advisor, and investor for over a decade to many in the industry, with a focus on women and underrepresented individuals in technology and business.
Stylitics recently closed an $80 million Series C fundraising round, bringing its total funding to $100 million. To date, Stylitics has driven more than $4 billion in incremental revenue for its customers with 200 million plus additional units sold from more than 4,500 brands and retailers. The platform recommends outfits and bundles in over 50 billion shopper sessions a year, resulting in a 23 percent increase in units per transaction and a 21 percent increase in average order value for its partner brands and retailers.
Marks & Spencer/CommerceHub
Marks & Spencer (M&S) has partnered with CommerceHub, a provider of software solutions connecting supply, demand and delivery, to enhance its customer experience and grow revenue without incurring inventory cost and complexity.
CommerceHub is supporting M&S’s digital transformation journey by providing its unified Commerce Suite, for the flexibility to stay ahead of consumer expectations through any e-commerce partnership model, including marketplace, e-concessions, hybrid and more. Commerce Suite enables M&S to expand assortment, boost customer engagement and loyalty, and attract new customers, while maintaining profitability with more agile and flexible merchandising and fulfillment.
“As M&S continues on the next stage of its transformation and reshapes as an omnichannel retailer, we wanted a strategic partner that could help us deliver a best-in-class shopping experience for our customers,” said Henry Swift, head of online commercial at M&S.com in a statement. “CommerceHub has proven expertise in e-commerce leadership which will help us amplify our commerce solutions and help ensure they seamlessly join up across our channels and business systems. The SaaS solutions and extensive commerce network that CommerceHub brings to the table made partnering with CommerceHub a clear and easy decision for our team.”
M&S is a U.K.-based retailer operating more than 1,500 stores worldwide and focusing on own-label businesses, including clothing, beauty, food and home. With revenue exceeding $10 billion annually, M&S serves nearly 30 million customers each year and employs 70,000 companywide.
CommerceHub’s Commerce Suite solution is built to provide comprehensive e-commerce tools to help retailers like M&S grow their online business. With Commerce Suite, M&S can onboard new suppliers, manage orders and handle returns more easily. These capabilities enable M&S to offer more products to customers without the need for additional, owned inventory and increases the ability to respond quickly to changes in customer demand.
CommerceHub recently acquired cloud-based e-commerce solutions provider ChannelAdvisor, and achieved a record high of over $6.2 billion in gross merchandise value during the 2022 holiday season.
Osa Commerce, a supply chain technology provider for brands, retailers and third and fourth-party logistics (3PLs and 4PLs) providers, has unveiled its Unified Commerce Platform, in an effort to provide enhanced visibility and omnichannel management from a single dashboard.
Recent years have emphasized the dramatic impact supply chain disruptions can have on the global economy, and the rise of e-commerce companies in parallel to growing consumer expectations means brands must ensure their technology is prepared for both the best and worst-case scenarios. Gartner confirms this point in a recent report revealing, “adapting to new technology is the most important strategic change,” for the supply chain industry. Additionally, a separate report claims, “Through 2024, 50% of supply chain organizations will invest in applications that support artificial intelligence and advanced analytics capabilities.”
The Unified Commerce Platform is built to restore confidence in supply chain operations by providing a responsive, cloud-native and tech-agnostic infrastructure. In addition, Osa Commerce provides a streamlined process to navigate the complexity of 1PLs, 2PLs, 3PLs, 4PLs and 5PLs.
The technology includes more than 125 preset integrations, including Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Walmart, Target and more, and optimizes operations via technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics.
The platform offers comprehensive management hubs—including data, warehouse and fulfillment management and more—that can be incorporated as business needs change and grow, to enhance omnichannel fulfillment and shipment visibility.
The Unified Commerce Platform is built on headless commerce ecosystems and used largely by retailers and brands focused on omnichannel selling.
“Working with Osa Unified Commerce has allowed us to optimize our logistics operations and drive growth for our business. With their platform, our customers have complete visibility of their orders and inventory, which has helped us make data-driven decisions in real-time,” said Jose Montoya, chief operating officer of Ranon Logistics. “Their transparent billing and invoicing details have also helped us keep track of our finances. Our partnership has been collaborative and successful, and we look forward to continuing to work with Osa and enhancing our customer’s experience.”
American Exchange Group/Infor
American Exchange Group (AXNY), a designer, manufacturer and wholesaler of fashion accessories, has selected Infor CloudSuite Fashion, an ERP solution specifically designed for apparel, footwear, textile, and fashion accessories companies, to standardize all of its divisions across the organization and support future growth.
After the brand licensing company acquired two footwear brands, Aerosoles and White Mountain Footwear Group, the firm made it a priority to consolidate its various ERP systems into one.
“With our recent acquisitions of Aerosoles, White Mountain and Cliffs adding to our AXNY portfolio, we were faced with having to maintain multiple ERP systems to support multiple brands,” said Alen Mamrout, CEO of American Exchange Group in a statement. “We knew we needed one platform that made sense for all divisions and brands with the dynamic capacity to support future growth and additional potential acquisitions. This provides better communication and better allocation of our resources for productive results. We are looking forward to the consolidation of systems, as well as optimizing the visibility of our information from one source.”
By consolidating to one ERP solution, American Exchange Group aims to have better integration between systems, standardization across all business units and more modern capabilities. This new end-to-end solution includes Infor CloudSuite Fashion, Fashion PLM, Factory Track, and Infor Birst analytics & reporting.
The multi-tenant cloud solution is powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), and deployed by Infor partner Fortude, a global enterprise and digital services company with a strong focus in the fashion industry.
“AXNY has made it a priority to have the best resources, products and teams to ensure the continued success and growth of our company,” said Todd Emerson, chief technology officer of AXNY. “We selected a partner that aligned with our digital transformation strategy and would support our continued success and growth. Infor’s multi-tenant CloudSuite Fashion ERP solution is powered by Amazon Web Services, making it a perfect match for our long-term strategy.”
Lily AI, a retail technology platform specializing in visual AI solutions for retailers and brands including Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Gap and ThredUp, has launched the self-serve model of its Product Attributes platform. This self-serve solution is designed to enable retailers and brands to apply enhanced product attribution throughout their product catalog for use by both merchandising and marketing functions.
The new Product Attributes platform builds upon Lily AI’s visual AI product attribution technology and offers a range of new features designed to simplify and automate the product attribution process. With it, retailers and brands can associate attributes, synonyms and trends with products, and also gain access to real-time product analytics.
The Product Attributes platform, currently in pilot with several customers, was designed for retailers and brands seeking a solution to improve their product-related operations. Designed with merchant experience at the core, the Lily AI self-serve solution aims to make it easier to search and filter one’s entire inventory by any attribute, giving merchants the flexibility to customize or remove attributes as needed. Additionally, merchants can create product curations based on seasonal trends, macro and micro trends, and performance-based insights.
The Lily AI self-serve Product Attributes platform comes at a time when retailers and brands face uncertain global market conditions and constantly evolving consumer shopping habits and brand loyalties. Despite the macro environment, businesses that prioritize customer experience and satisfaction continue to achieve explosive growth—the global e-commerce market is expected to total $6.2 trillion in 2023, according to Insider Intelligence.
Leveraging the Lily AI self-serve solution, retailers and brands can completely elevate the customer experience by effectively communicating in the language their customer speaks.
Specifically, retailers and brands who utilize the Lily AI self-serve platform can manage the entire product attributes lifecycle on a single platform, enrich metadata with language that reflects both the consumer and brand voice and distribute enriched product information to different systems, including search and recommendation engines, PIMs and CDPs.
Ceva Logistics and Geek+ are teaming up to more efficiently connect consumers with footwear and apparel through the use of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
The modernization efforts at Ceva’s Grobbendonk warehouse, located in Belgium’s Antwerp province, are designed to deliver a more ergonomic working environment and improve efficiency, all while maintaining accuracy.
The warehouse is now equipped with a fleet of 27 Geek+ P-series picking robots and five workstations. The picking robots feature a 1000-kilogram payload and operate at a maximum speed of two meters a second. The goods-to-person solution devised by Ceva and Geek+ is built to provide a higher degree of flexibility, and can handle daily volumes of more than 10,000 outbound items.
The Grobbendonk project represents the latest collaboration between Geek+ and Ceva Logistics. In 2021, Geek+ robots were introduced in certain automated operations at a Ceva warehouse in Australia. The Grobbendonk site applies those previous successes to online retail operations in Europe, including the creation of safe working conditions for warehouse staff.
Wish has partnered with e-commerce fulfillment service provider ShipSage to provide its merchants with more fulfillment options.
Through the agreement, Wish merchants that sign up for ShipSage’s fulfillment service will gain access to its warehousing facilities and e-commerce fulfillment services through its network of warehouses across the U.S. Wish merchants using ShipSage’s fulfillment service will have the possibility of bringing their average time to door (TTD) in the U.S. down to two-to-three days.
“We’re on a mission to transform our business, and this extends to the shipping experience we provide to our customers. In the past year, we’ve made a lot of improvements to our overall time to door and on-time delivery rates, and want to build on that success by providing even more fulfillment options to our U.S.-based merchants,” said Sarah Luo, vice president of merchant operations at Wish. “By partnering with ShipSage, our U.S. merchants can leverage their operational excellence to deliver an overall better experience to our users.”
ShipSage is a business-to-consumer fulfillment service provider for e-commerce companies such as Wish. Its Smart Distribution product enables sellers to allocate inventory across multiple warehouses to achieve the optimal efficiency, while delivering a superior shipping experience for buyers. As of March 2023, its technology platform now incorporates robotics in its warehousing operations.
The partnership with ShipSage further expands Wish’s broader effort to improve the customer experience on its marketplace. On March 8, Wish announced a partnership with e-commerce integrator BaseLinker to connect shoppers with more than 18,000 new European merchants.
Earlier this year, Wish introduced flat rate shipping to customers in the U.S.. The $2.99 flat rate fee is applied to all eligible items over $10, at no additional cost to merchants. Flat rate shipping was also recently rolled out to customers in Australia, Canada, Italy and Spain.
Visulon, a data-driven line planning and merchandising solution for apparel, sports and fashion brands, has debuted its Generative AI strategy to enhance the design and merchandising planning processes for fashion brands.
By leveraging the power of Generative AI, Visulon aims to elevate its customer’s productivity for better product design, planning and inventory management capabilities, enabling them to meet the demands of consumers more efficiently.
The Generative AI strategy involves training advanced machine learning models on a large dataset of fashion images, allowing the AI models to learn the style, color, and composition of the products. With this knowledge, the Generative AI models can design new products that are similar to the input images but with unique variations. This can better enable fashion brands to expand their product offerings while maintaining their established brand identity.
With the Generative AI model, global merchants and merchandisers can substantially automate building new lines for a specific buyer using selection criteria, sales analytics, pricing, and margin calculations; and can offer variations for regional style preferences and uniqueness.
Visulon is also working on using a brand’s historical large product data sets to build an AI model to automatically build new apparel and footwear designs. Also, using Visulon’s ChatGPT, merchandisers would be able to build presentation boards in Freedom-Board or in Powerpoint.