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Retail Tech Roundup: Manhattan Debuts Cloud WMS, Groupe Dynamite Taps Paybright

This is the first of a regular column compiling technology news across the supply chain, textiles, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.

Supply Chain

Manhattan Associates

At its Momentum Connect digital consumer conference, Manhattan Associates announced the new Manhattan Active Warehouse Management solution, a cloud-native enterprise-class warehouse management system (WMS) designed to unify every aspect of distribution without requiring an upgrade. Drawing entirely from microservices and extraordinarily elastic, Manhattan Active WM is designed to deliver a new level of speed, adaptability and ease of use within distribution management.

Following a mobile-first paradigm and built with consumer-grade design, Manhattan Active WM’s Unified Control screens allow management team members to visualize, diagnose and take action anywhere in their supply chain. Distribution center associates can use the WM Mobile version of the application for all transactional tasks.

Manhattan Active WM uses machine learning to orchestrate distribution center automation and the human workforce to optimize execution within the distribution center. The solution’s embedded warehouse execution system (WES) also coordinates the work between any combination of automation, robotics and labor, and the Manhattan Automation Network provides pre-certified integration to industry distribution center robotics providers.

“Manhattan Active Warehouse Management gives us a distribution solution that adapts as quickly as our customers’ needs, with frequent and easy access to the latest technologies and new features,” said Miles Tedder, chief operating officer of Pet Supplies Plus. “This solution takes care of all of the system and software maintenance, allowing us to focus all our energies on serving our customers.”

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Retail Management

Cegid

U.K.-based outdoor apparel retailer Regatta is migrating from on-premise infrastructure management to the cloud with Cegid’s cloud SaaS application. The Cegid Retail software is hosted on the SaaS application and is designed to eliminate the need to rent server storage on-site.

Cegid is also providing Regatta with the mechanism to manage the infrastructure and can handle all compliance activity and the necessary software updates to align with the latest product roadmap, easin the pressure on internal teams.

With Cegid managing retail software updates, Regatta is in alignment with all the latest product offerings including new functionality from the Cegid roadmap. There is also now business-wide visibility of store inventory and CRM data. The replenishment and inventory management modules have helped Regatta streamline supply chain, merchandising operations and promotional activity.

“We recognized early on the need to run one solution for many international locations, rather than having to seek out a new point-of-sale system for each country we entered,” said Chris Bulmer, group IT director at Regatta. “With so many local currencies to deal with, tax rules and different configurations required location by location it was essential for us to partner with a specialist retail software supplier who knows the clothing retail industry and has international reach and experience.”

Ecwid

Ecwid, a global SaaS e-commerce company that provides online selling solutions for small businesses and enables them to establish a digital storefront, announced a funding round of $42 million led by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital and PeakSpan Capital.

The funds will be used in part to buy out previous and early-stage investors, including Runa Capital and ITech Capital, as well as fuel aggressive growth including an expected doubling of headcount.

The expansion is vital for the company during the COVID-19 crisis, as merchants of many sizes have had to close physical storefronts. Ecwid has seen a surge in adoption of its free solution, with new customer sign-ups tripling as merchants leverage its platform to transition their businesses online throughout the pandemic. Transaction volume amongst Ecwid’s active customers increased more than 50 percent from March to April to alone.

The Ecwid platform includes tools for creating websites, managing orders and inventory and accepting payments. It also offers a white-label version, allowing third-party agencies, site builders, hosts and point-of-sale platforms to bundle e-commerce stores into their respective services without having to build the technology themselves.

Reverse Logistics

Happy Returns

Happy Returns, a provider of end-to-end returns management solutions for retailers and their customers, announced a partnership with BigCommerce that expands Happy Returns’ full suite of returns software and reverse logistics to the e-commerce provider’s merchant base. The first BigCommerce user to launch with the new service is luxury fine jewelry seller Dana Rebecca Designs.

Under the partnership, Happy Returns has integrated its Online Return & Exchange Service (ORES) with the BigCommerce platform, offering merchants a fully branded, customizable online flow designed to maximize revenue by giving shoppers the ease and flexibility to initiate returns online.

In addition to ORES, BigCommerce retailers now have access to Happy Returns’ nationwide network of 700+ Return Bars for in-person drop off and a cardboard-free returns program, as well as Happy Returns shipping rates for returns by mail. The full offering positions Happy Returns customers to save an average of 20 percent on reverse logistics costs in the first year, according to the company.

Retailers that use BigCommerce to store order, transaction and inventory data can also activate Happy Returns’ exchange functionality, including One-Click Exchanges. The feature suggests exchange ideas to shoppers based on the item being returned, the reason for returning, and product inventory.

Autonomous Checkout

Standard Cognition

Standard Cognition, an autonomous checkout solution designed to allow customers to walk in a store, grab what they need and walk out without waiting in line or stopping to scan or pay, has acquired Milan-based Checkout Technologies. The deal significantly increases the size of Standard’s engineering team and establishes its European presence.

“Milan is an emerging center for machine learning and AI research and development,” said Jordan Fisher, co-founder and CEO of Standard Cognition. “We’re excited to expand our presence in Europe with this acquisition, and to invest in Milan’s growing technology sector.”

Standard Cognition was one of the first startups in the autonomous checkout space, and the first to open a cashierless store in San Francisco. The company’s machine vision and AI-powered solution can be installed in retailers’ existing stores. Recognized by Fast Company as “One of The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies,” Standard is currently working with retailers across the U.S. and the world. The company has raised $86 million in funding from high-profile investors including CRV, Initialized Capital, EQT Ventures and Y Combinator.

“Standard has emerged as the clear leader in autonomous checkout, and we are thrilled to now be part of this team,” said Enrico Pandian, founder and CEO of Checkout Technologies (and also the founder of Italy’s Supermercato24). “Checkout and Standard were both working on the same retail issues and we found that we had a lot in common. Together, we can make significant inroads in the global retail market.”

Standard Checkout’s technology can detect anomalies on store shelves, such as misplaced products (red) or shelves that are blocked (blue). Green means the shelf is OK. Checkout’s algorithms analyze the store’s planogram to make these real-time determinations, and alert store staff.
Standard Checkout’s technology is designed to detect anomalies on store shelves, such as misplaced products (red) or shelves that are blocked (blue). Green means the shelf is okay. Standard Checkout’s algorithms analyze the store’s planogram to make these real-time determinations, and alert store staff. Standard Cognition

Installment Payments

Paybright

Paybright, an installment payments platform, has partnered with Groupe Dynamite, a Canadian fashion retailer offering apparel and accessories in more than 300 Garage Clothing and Dynamite stores.

Through this new partnership, Canadian shoppers on www.dynamiteclothing.com and garageclothing.com can now select PayBright’s “Pay in 4” installment payment option at checkout, which offers four biweekly interest-free payments for purchases starting at $35. Groupe Dynamite offers Klarna as the online installment payments option for U.S. shoppers.

“Canadians are increasingly looking for flexible pay-later options at checkout, especially now,” said Wayne Pommen, president and CEO at PayBright. “During these challenging economic times, interest-free payment plans give customers financial flexibility in a simple and transparent way.”

Toronto-based PayBright partners with more than 6,000 domestic and international merchants. According to the company, e-commerce merchants that partner with PayBright are seeing growth in consumer traffic, increases in checkout conversions of 10 percent to 25 percent, and average order values that are as much as 100 percent higher than orders completed with other payment methods.