The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, textiles, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Tompkins Robotics has launched a new t-Sort solution designed specifically for micro-fulfillment operations. The micro-fulfillment solution uses the company’s t-Sort autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to optimize operations in a store backroom, micro-fulfillment center (MFC) or dark store by saving space, labor and cost while increasing speed and accuracy.
The fully modular system fits in an existing backroom space, can process all types of products and is designed for customers pursuing a micro-fulfillment strategy using automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) or goods-to-person AMR solutions. In a store environment, t-Sort works in conjunction with Tompkins Robotics’ new t-Rail system to provide overhead transportation of goods to and from the sales floor, minimizing floor congestion and human interaction.
When used in a retail backroom setting, the micro-fulfillment solution can facilitate inbound sortation of mixed containers to segments of each aisle for more efficient shelf stocking, enhance home delivery and BOPIS order processing by allowing batch picks of hundreds of orders by department or aisle, automate order consolidation, and sort outbound parcels by route, courier or local delivery unit, enabling same- or next-day delivery.
Additionally, retailers can configure t-Sort to sort large, bulky products on one level and smaller goods on another level to optimize operations and increase productivity.
“We can deploy a backroom t-Sort system in as little as two weeks per site during a rollout to multiple stores,” said Mike Futch, president of Tompkins Robotics. “A system can increase capacity in minutes once additional robots are on site, and an entire system can be moved to another store in a day. The simple, flexible design and plug-and-play elements make t-Sort truly unique for micro-fulfillment applications.”
Scandit, a mobile computer vision and augmented reality (AR) scanning solutions provider, has raised $80 million in Series C related funding led by G2VP, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm of former Kleiner Perkins partners. Atomico, GV, Kreos, NGP Capital, Salesforce Ventures and Swisscom Ventures also were part of the round.
The new funding will further accelerate growth in new markets such as APAC and Latin America, as well as expand Scandit’s footprint and operations in North America and Europe. It will also support continued R&D to develop new ways enterprises can transform their core business processes using computer vision and AR.
Scandit has extended its value proposition throughout the COVID-19 crisis, noting that retailers and transport and logistics companies can better meet the soaring demand for click-and-collect and home deliveries by providing workers with scanning apps on BYOD (bring your own device) or corporate-owned, personally enabled smart devices.
“The smartphone is a personal tool that can be deployed with powerful computer vision software to seamlessly interact with everyday objects and display real-time insights with AR-overlays,” said Scandit CEO Samuel Mueller. “Our new funding makes it possible for us to help even more enterprises to quickly adapt to the new demand for ‘contactless business,’ and be better positioned to succeed, whatever the new normal is.”
Scandit raised $43 million prior to the funding round. Since the last funding round in July 2018, Scandit has tripled recurring revenues, doubled the size of its global team and more than doubled the number of its “blue-chip” enterprise customers, which include Levi Strauss & Co., FedEx, Hermès and French postal service company La Poste.
Bluecore, a retail marketing technology company, has closed a $50 million Series D funding round led by existing investor Georgian Partners, bringing total funding to more than $100 million. Current Bluecore investors FirstMark and Norwest also invested in the round.
While the company’s current artificial intelligence (AI) applications are designed to auto-generate completely personalized email campaigns by curating products, content and offers specific to each shopper a brand interacts with, Bluecore will use the funding to continue accelerating its work in machine learning and AI.
Over the next 12 months, Bluecore expects to unveil new AI capabilities, such as the ability to use product trend data across more than 400 hundred brands’ live product catalogs to improve experiences on an individual retailer’s digital channels. With information from 100 billion consumer interactions and 200 million products, the new AI application is designed to learn and predict which product is most likely to drive a purchase by a specific individual. It will then autonomously trigger the next-best action for a given shopper, no matter where he or she is shopping in the moment.
“We’re eager to bring a new form of real-time intelligence that no one else has been able to tap into, to market,” said Fayez Mohamood, CEO of Bluecore. “We’re both encouraged and emboldened by the fact that our investors have continuously backed our AI and substantially increased their investments in us. Having accelerated our growth and achieved best-in-class sales productivity metrics for clients, the next phase in our partnership with Georgian Partners, FirstMark and Norwest will be critical to realizing an even greater vision for the retail industry.”
Bluecore estimates that it currently influences approximately 10 percent of all non-Amazon gross merchandise value (GMV) in the U.S. It has the goal to increase this percentage through its use of AI to transform retail brands’ existing first-party data into a more precise and actionable form of consumer insight as the industry distances itself from third-party cookies.
Showrooming and virtual appointments
Faire, a platform that helps retailers find and buy unique wholesale merchandise for their stores, is releasing three new tools in July to address the impact of trade show cancellations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tools are designed to build upon the Faire online marketplace to bring the sense of community and connection that trade shows offer online, all year round.
With virtual brand page showrooms, retailers will be able to view entire wholesaler catalogs in a virtual showroom—including collections, pre-orders, pre-packs and pre-recorded video. Brands will be able to customize their pages to showcase new products, best-sellers and merchandising tips for retailers.
Additionally, brands can host livestream video to hundreds of retailers to debut new products and launch new collections. Retailers can ask questions through live chat and check out directly.
The final tool includes collaborative cart building features, namely live 1:1 appointments where brands can invite retailers to walk through products and merchandising options. During the appointment, brands and buyers can easily create orders together with collaborative order building. Preview notes can be provided beforehand to set up each call for success.
The Trade Desk
The Trade Desk, a global advertising technology platform, has collaborated with Zalora, an online fashion destination for consumers in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Hong Kong and Taiwan, on attribution integration designed to better enable brands to measure conversions and sales generated from advertising campaigns.
Under the partnership, Zalora can log attribution for any consumer who views or clicks on an ad before purchasing the brand on Zalora. The integration gives eligible brands the opportunity to understand users’ paths to purchase on Zalora and attribute their online sales with ads that run through The Trade Desk. Participating brands will be able to access this measurement solution through their The Trade Desk account.
“Zalora’s partnership with The Trade Desk opens a lot of possibilities for us and our brand partners,” said Jo Bjordal, chief marketing officer of Zalora Group. “This will enable us to empower brands with data to optimize campaigns and reach more relevant customers. This also translates to Zalora shoppers getting an improved product discovery experience as they go through the catalog. Data is the most important resource and tool for e-commerce and advertising, and we are delighted to have this demand-side platform partnership with The Trade Desk.”
Through the Trade Desk self-service, cloud-based platform, ad buyers can create, manage and optimize digital advertising campaigns across ad formats and devices. Retailers integrating the platform with major data, inventory and publisher partners ensure maximum reach and decisioning capabilities.