The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Revolve will be one of the first retailers to use the new Checkout Links feature from Bolt so shoppers get a branded, one-click checkout, “see now, buy now” experience.
At Revolve Gallery, an immersive New York Fashion Week experience running Sept. 9-11, shoppers will be able to scan a QR code directing them to a pre-populated, Revolve-branded checkout page for a one-click purchase.
Following Fashion Week, the companies plan to roll out Bolt’s standard one-click checkout on revolve.com.
Bolt’s Checkout Links are designed to expand beyond e-commerce, allowing retailers to enable their shoppers to check out with a single click across online and offline experiences.
Retailers can use Checkout Links to convert high-intent shoppers by using brand-owned digital channels—such as emails, blog posts and chat—enabling consumers to quickly complete their purchases. Checkout Links can also be used in physical formats such as brick-and-mortar stores, interactive signs, trade shows and events.
If an item is out of stock in a size in-store, shoppers can scan the QR code on the item’s tag to access the product page, select their size and complete their purchase online.
“Revolve is committed to providing a best-in-class, seamless customer experience that always keeps our brand front and center,” said Mike Karanikolas, co-CEO and co-founder of Revolve Group. “We chose Bolt’s Checkout Links because it allows us to extend our strong storefront presence with a solution that complements our established brand experience. It gives our customers an easy way to purchase items with one click from wherever they choose to engage with Revolve, online or offline.”
E-commerce technology and services platform CommerceHub has acquired e-commerce solutions provider ChannelAdvisor in a transaction valued at $23.10 per share in cash, or $663 million, in a deal expected to close before the end of the year that takes the latter private.
The companies will operate independently until the proposed transaction is finalized.
The combination of CommerceHub and ChannelAdvisor would leverage complementary strengths, as the former focuses on shipping products directly from distributors to customers and the latter enables brands to sell through different online channels. Since both companies operate marketplace offerings and services, brands will be able to manage their public and private marketplaces alongside their retailer connections with a single vendor to improve efficiency by unifying first-party, drop ship and third-party integrations.
Retailers will be able to access an even larger pool of brands, with more than 18,000 customers transacting more than $50 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) and more than $500 million in digital marketing and retail media ad spend annually across the combined network.
Companies across the network also may be able to improve delivery costs and experiences with CommerceHub’s Delivery Suite, and improve their consumer experience with ChannelAdvisor’s Shoppable Media and Brand Analytics features.
CommerceHub is backed by private equity firm Insight Partners, which acquired a majority stake in the business in 2020. Insight Partners, GTCR, Sycamore Partners, and Goldman Sachs Asset Management invested in the take-private transaction.
The agreement represents a premium of approximately 57 percent over the company’s closing $14.70 stock price on Sept. 2, 2022. Both boards have unanimously approved the transaction. The transaction is still subject to customary closing conditions.
Sleep Number is expanding its financing options through an extension of its partnership with consumer credit company Synchrony.
The multi-year agreement—which carries on an existing relationship between the companies—will allow Sleep Number to expand customer payment choices, increase access to credit for shoppers and offer a more personalized experience. Sleep Number will use Synchrony’s customer data capabilities to cater credit services to its customers.
“This partnership is an important contributor to our superior shopping experience, enabling us to deliver exceptional value for our smart sleeper community,” Melissa Barra, executive vice president and chief sales and services officer, Sleep Number, said in a statement. “Leveraging our extensive consumer insights and digital capabilities, Sleep Number and Synchrony work closely together to continuously simplify the purchasing process and broaden credit accessibility.”
The Synchrony deal comes on the heels of Sleep Number’s announcement of an expansive store revamp initiative. The company is in the process of renovating its brick-and-mortar locations across the U.S. with immersive digital experiences, sustainable design and a focus on helping customers better experience the company’s beds.
In October, Sleep Number will launch its latest model, the Climate360 smart bed, which features temperature-sensing technology that adapts to the individual sleeper. With that introduction on the horizon, Barra said the partnership with Synchrony comes at an strategic time for the retailer.
“Because consumers are increasingly connecting the impact of quality sleep to their overall wellbeing, we must ensure our 360 smart beds are attainable for everyone,” Barra said. “We’re excited to extend our collaboration and deliver meaningful health and wellness benefits for more people.”
Hibbett/Digital Wave Technology
Hibbett, Inc. has gone live on the Digital Wave Product Platform as part of the retailer’s recent partnership with Digital Wave Technology.
The athletic-inspired fashion retailer, which operates both online and in 1,106 Hibbett Sports and City Gear stores nationwide, is focused on delivering premium product assortments and experiences to consumers through digital channels. With the Digital Wave Platform, Hibbett aims to accelerate speed to market, expand product offerings, enrich product information, ensure data quality and collaborate more effectively with suppliers.
“We conducted a rigorous evaluation of the PIM market and the Digital Wave Platform was the best fit for us,” said Bill Quinn, senior vice president of marketing and digital at Hibbett, Inc. “We engaged the Digital Wave Technology team to improve our product building process which is critical to our accelerated growth strategy.”
The Digital Wave Platform combines Product Information Management (PIM), Product Experience Management (PXM), Master Data Management (MDM), Digital Asset Management (DAM), with enterprise workflow, automation, governance and customer/vendor portals. The platform aims to be the single source of truth for Hibbett’s entire organization, suppliers and customers. Through its platform and accompanying solutions, Digital Wave helps Hibbett share product stories wherever its customers shop.
CBX Software/CLO Virtual Fashion
CBX Software, a provider of extended product lifecycle management (PLM) and supply chain management solutions, has partnered with CLO Virtual Fashion to integrate the company’s 3D garment simulation technology. This partnership aims to facilitate a more seamless and efficient 3D workflow for the apparel industry.
CBX Cloud’s integration with CLO’s PLM plugin CLO-Vise can save more time for designers, allowing them to access and share vital product design information directly between CBX and CLO, which can improve data transfer and workflow. CLO users will be able to access color, trims, material libraries from CBX all from the CLO software. In addition, 3D designs can now be uploaded directly to CBX from CLO, so 3D assets can be shared to all stakeholders and suppliers in the sourcing, sampling, and quality workflow.
By allowing 3D designs to be uploaded directly from CLO, the integration is one more way that CBX Cloud can eliminate manual handoffs, redundancies and administrative work during the product design process, according to CBX Software CEO Michael Hung.
CBX helps brands and retailers streamline product development and sourcing all the way through order, production and delivery. Through a suite of sourcing management, product lifecycle management (PLM), and production and order management solutions, CBX assists supply chains for more than 15,000 retail and supplier partners, and 30,000 users in more than 50 countries.
CLO Virtual Fashion digitally merges, consolidates and converges the components related to digital garments through its 3D Cloth Simulation Algorithm. The company’s interconnecting services include 3D garment design software, digital asset management, a design development collaborative platform and virtual fitting.
Swatchbook, a digital database and sourcing platform for virtual fabric and material renderings, has partnered with Vntana, a 3D content management software provider, to help enhance brands’ capabilities within digital product transformation.
The new integration helps brands deploy 3D at scale across a range of channels from the web to B2B showrooms and the metaverse, increasing speed to market, reducing costs and boosting sales.
As fashion and apparel brands expand into new markets and become more cross-functional, they face an increasing challenge to provide a seamless experience for both customers and employees, especially when it comes to digital processes that span across the organization. To support this effort, the two tech companies partnered to enhance digital end-to-end processes for customers, such as Merrell, which saw immediate success by deploying the two platforms as a part of one unified solution.
Swatchbook’s platform allows Merrell to upload its CAD/DCC assets in standard formats for cross-functional collaborations. By using the platform and its “mix” app, design and development teams at Merrell can also directly connect with suppliers—allowing them to source materials more efficiently, calculate costs and streamline their models for manufacturing processes in real-time and on a mobile app while using touch interaction.
Brands can create and distribute completed designs to the Swatchbook cloud to create design packs with rendering assistance. The final products from this process are then published directly to Vntana using the new integration, instantly converting digital assets from CAD-heavy meshes into interactive 3D files optimized for sharing, collaboration and e-commerce.
Vntana’s patented optimization software automatically converts high-fidelity 3D models into web-ready formats, reducing their size by up to 99 percent without a loss in quality—making them suitable for use across digital platforms such as e-commerce sites, B2B virtual showrooms, social media and the metaverse. This process allows for collaboration from design to sales, ensuring the highest quality and accuracy, without any manual effort. With Vntana, there’s no need to re-digitize products manually at various stages of the design, development and go-to-market process. Before its integration with Vntana, Merrell’s 3D artists would spend days manually optimizing and converting each 3D design file to meet various digital standards each time a 3D design needed to be shared to a different platform.
Swatchbook and Vntana aim to help brands reduce their need for physical prototypes by using 3D to drive design decisions and impact sales before products are even manufactured. Because of this efficiency, companies can turn around new products faster while decreasing their carbon footprint, saving money, and providing better customer experiences.
For example, Merrell has calculated a savings in cost of 81 percent when using this technology as well as approximately one month savings in turnaround time per model.
“Our integration with Swatchbook and Vntana has allowed us to maximize the potential of our 3D assets by enabling us to deploy them across design, development, and go-to-market platforms,” said John Burch, Merrell’s senior vice president, global footwear. “At a time when adaptation and technology adoption are key to keeping up with the modern consumer and outpacing the competition, both of these platforms help us to stay on the cutting edge and improve our ability to make decisions with pace.”
Software research and development company Anthropics Technology has released Zyler, an AI-powered virtual fitting technology for shoppers and retailers allowing customers to digitally try on outfits on a smartphone, desktop or in store.
Zyler helps shoppers virtually try on clothing in a variety of styles before making a purchase. Users test different outfits on themselves virtually, whether it’s to see what suits them, to find their style and to save time shopping.
The company says its patented technology offers precision and accuracy down to the hips, legs, waist, chest, arms and even shoulder and head measurements. Clothing details from the original image (e.g. texture, color, hem or sleeve length) as well as facial features, skin tone, body shape and overall fit are taken into account throughout the try-on experience.
Using Zyler, shoppers can virtually try on a range of products from casual wear to evening gowns and wedding dresses. The platform includes additional features such as try-on displays, a catalog, product style discovery, a virtual sales assistant helper, and a quick try-on scanner.
Global payments provider Elavon Merchant Services said its Transaction Risk Analysis (TRA) solution offers a Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) exemption to low-risk transactions up to 500 euros (approximately $500), double the typical SCA exemption limit.
Elavon claims that its current customer fraud rates make it the only major acquirer that can enable exemptions for low-risk online transactions up to 500 euros ($500) across Europe. Typical SCA exemptions across the payments industry are 100 euros ($100) to 250 euros ($250), the company said.
SCA across the European Economic Area is designed to make e-commerce transactions more secure. However, this extra layer of protection can result in longer or more complicated checkout processes, leading to cart abandonment and reduced customer satisfaction.
The TRA solution is built to optimize the payments process by providing a frictionless payment experience for consumers while preventing fraud by using real-time risk analysis and scoring
On average, Elavon’s merchants using the TRA solution are experiencing transaction approval rates 3.5 percent higher than the industry average of 88 percent, which can help lead to a superior buying experience for customers, reduced cart abandonment and increased revenue for merchants.
“Elavon was a strong partner in supporting Puma e-com Europe during a time of high uncertainty by providing an innovative technical approach to cover the downsides of PSD2 regulations,” said Marcus Riese, senior payment specialist e-commerce, Europe at Puma. “As a result, Puma has been able to keep its authorization rates at high levels, ensuring that transactions are processed in a PSD2-compliant manner while reducing friction for payments which were validated to be secure.”
Bold Metrics, an AI-powered apparel size recommendations solutions provider, has partnered with Loop, an “exchange-first” returns platform for Shopify brands, to help further reduce apparel returns.
Both companies have teamed up to create a data stream that can generate insights and more accurate sizing recommendations for customers. The partnership is designed to create a scalable way to boost utility around existing data while providing contextualized fitting options for each garment style. Brands see a boost in conversion, meaningful fit-related return reduction and an elevated online retail experience that deepens the customer relationship.
According to Shopify data, returns based on consumer preferences drive approximately 72 percent of all returns in apparel product categories, with poor fit accounting for more than 50 percent. The streamlined data flow resulting from this partnership improves data feedback efficiency, making it easier, and faster, for brands to encourage customer product exchanges while significantly shrinking return rates.
On average, apparel brands using Bold Metrics see a return rate reduction of 32 percent and conversion boost of 20 percent.
Shopify-based apparel brands will be able to use Bold Metrics’s AI Body Modeling technologies to leverage customer body data to potentially reduce returns, boost conversion and improve the retail experience. Purchase data is ingested via Bold Metrics’ purchase API and automatically layered with a returns data feed from Loop. Under the partnership, the integration helps brands and retailers close the data loop without the need to accomplish additional steps on the back end.
The Loop platform has automated more than 22 million returns and retained more than $700 million in revenue for Shopify brands including Allbirds, Marine Layer and Princess Polly.
Retail for the People, a retail consultancy for fashion and lifestyle brands, has partnered with retail CRM software company Endear to provide an in-store and online clienteling solution to partner retailers globally.
Endear’s clienteling tool integrates with a retailer’s POS or e-commerce platform to deliver a CRM experience that is fully equipped with the data brands need to drive more sales.
Clienteling is a retention strategy helping retailers create personalized experiences through customer information. Endear says its digital dashboard is focused entirely on building relationships with customers and increasing lifetime value through personalization, data and loyalty building.
“Clienteling is an important part of retail and something we believe to be a top priority,” said Krista Boyer Starratt, Retail for the People founder. “Through this partnership, we are thrilled to offer a solution that makes it easier for retailers.”
Together, Retail for the People and Endear aim to empower retailers with fully omnichannel clienteling solutions that include CRM, personalized messaging, shoppable videos and sales tracking. Users will be able to leverage customer data that spans the physical and digital retail presence, including customer order history and purchase behavior.
Retailers from more than 10 countries consult with Retail for the People to help them navigate their business, whether it be via CRM, pop-up shop openings, point-of-sale/e-commerce optimization, visual merchandising and general business advisory.