The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, textiles, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Ruby Has/Brightpearl/Happy Returns
Ruby Has Fulfillment, a fulfillment and logistics provider for DTC e-commerce brands, forged new partnerships across the supply chain with omnichannel retail management system Brightpearl and returns management service Happy Returns.
With Brightpearl’s digital operations platform integrated with Ruby Has’ fulfillment data, the companies aim to provide more real-time visibility into their entire supply chain operations. Along with customer relationship management (CRM), order and supplier management information, financials and more, they now have new fulfillment insight.
Happy Returns, which automates the returns and exchange processes through its network of more than 2,600 drop-off locations, integrates with Ruby Has’ returns processing system. The PayPal-owned service will authorizing return labels for Ruby Has to improve efficiency and visibility.
Ruby Has Fulfillment has distribution center locations in New York, New Jersey, California, Nevada, Kentucky and Ontario, Canada. The company says it allows retailers and brands to ship faster and reduce freight costs by up to 45 percent.
The fulfillment company has been on an expansion spree in recent months, acquiring fellow e-commerce fulfillment provider Boss Logistics and then launching the DTC Consortium, an industry alliance and think tank dedicated to the direct-to-consumer space. The consortium aims to help brands comprehensively navigate their go-to-market strategies including technology, fulfillment, reverse logistics, international, marketing, vertical-specific considerations, funding and more.
ShippyPro, a shipping management software provider for global e-commerce merchants, raised $5 million from Five Elms Capital.
The company has built a universal delivery technology helping e-commerce brands increase delivery speed and efficiency, automate tracking and returns, and manage the complexity of cross-border shipping.
The funding will allow ShippyPro to continue to execute on its product roadmap, which includes releasing new features to help customers optimize their fulfillment processes and save budget on logistics spend, including functionality that will focus on the carbon impact of deliveries.
ShippyPro currently processes “millions” of shipments per month for “thousands” of customers in 36 countries, including brands like Diesel, Guess and Volcom, which rely on the platform and its integrations to ship, track and return their e-commerce orders. Retailers, brands and logistics players connect to ShippyPro and access its library of carriers online from one API and dashboard.
The platform integrates with over 140 carriers and 60 sales channels including major players such as UPS, DHL, FedEx, Amazon, Shopify and eBay. The company believes its international integration library is what makes it a key differentiator in an industry where most competitors focus on integrations with region-specific providers.
ShippyPro has grown its team from three employees in 2019 to nearly 50 today. With the investment, it plans to reach 150 employees in 12 months while supporting triple-digit revenue growth.
Arta, a provider of logistics software and fulfillment services for high-value goods and collectibles, is offering 10 new API integrations driven by an increase in demand and business needs to sell online.
The platform is designed to help businesses eliminate friction in selling unique items online from the pre-purchase process through fulfillment. Both new entrants to the market and incumbent sellers are using Arta to get to market and capitalize on demand, whether its marketplaces, auction houses, galleries and other online sellers, the company said.
The Arta API aims to provide instant shipping costs pre-purchase and enables a click-to-buy transaction including streamlining complex logistics and automating end-to-end fulfillment and returns. Arta says the software provides shipping costs for any item type, regardless of size, material, or price point, giving its clients a chance to reduce overhead, scale faster and offer a frictionless purchase experience for their buyers.
Arta recently secured $4.5 million in seed financing.
Retail solutions provider Celerant Technology is integrating solutions from multi-carrier shipping logistics platform ShipEngine. While retailers working with Celerant could initially select from carriers including UPS, USPS and FedEx, they now can ship to more than 40 carriers, including Amazon Prime and DHL.
The ShipEngine API enables retailers to connect with their preferred carriers, and access a large network of local, regional, national and international carriers.
With rate shopping, package tracking and automated shipping processes built into a single interface, Celerant says retailers can fulfill orders more efficiently, save time and reduce shipping costs.
Integrating ShipEngine and Celerant’s retail solution enables retailers to manage their online orders, and have each order shipped by the “best-fit” carrier. After an order is placed on Celerant’s e-commerce platform or integrated marketplaces, such as Amazon, Walmart and eBay, the order is automatically transferred to the Celerant back office.
From the back office, retailers can access ShipEngine to compare real-time shipping rates across multiple carriers; and select the most cost-effective and efficient carrier for each shipment. Rules can also be configured to automatically select carriers based on shipping costs, delivery times, carrier capabilities, and other preferences.
The ShipEngine API already powers shipping software ShipStation, so the new integration now embeds all ShipStation shipping tools directly in the Celerant back office. Retailers can access API tools in Celerant to track packages, generate and print labels, validate addresses, view estimated taxes, and more. With the built-in processes, retailers can automate shipping, and customize workflows in an effort to further improve supply chain efficiencies.
Bambuser has launched the Live Shopping with Bambuser app for Shopify. Developed and launched by Woolman, the largest Shopify Plus agency in Europe, the app can be downloaded directly from the Shopify app store.
The software company, known for specializing in interactive live video streaming, recently won the 2021 LVMH Innovation Award and announced the app in tandem with the annual Shopify Unite virtual event.
The launch augments the custom app the duo released in November 2020. The new Shopify app offers merchants a streamlined method of implementing Bambuser’s Live Video Shopping platform with no upfront cost, giving them a chance to elevate performance across KPIs including time spent, engagement and conversion.
Merchants installing the Live Video Shopping with Bambuser app can access an embeddable live video player that works responsively both on mobile and desktop and a user-friendly interface for managing calls-to-action (CTAs). With the integration, the app installs the code brands need to deliver livestreaming capabilities.
Shopify merchants also can leverage in-stream purchasing through full integration with inventory and Shopify’s native shopping cart, and gather advanced metrics and reporting on audience engagement, add-to-cart rates and conversions made through live shopping events.
Axel Arigato, a Swedish lifestyle and contemporary fashion brand, partnered with Hero to bring virtual shopping to its e-commerce store.
The new Axel Arigato virtual shopping service connects online customers in the U.K. live with a product expert who can take them through the minimalist design and fit of its sneakers, men’s wear, women’s wear and lifestyle accessories. Product experts can chat, call, or send videos directly to shoppers.
Hero says Axel Arigato customers who interact with a product expert via the app are 14x more likely to purchase than those who didn’t.
Axel Arigato’s team of experts can follow what customers are shopping for in real-time, answer product questions and share personalized product recommendations.
Sprout Social, a provider of cloud-based social media management software, has unveiled new integrations with Shopify and Facebook Shops.
Sprout says 86 percent of executives say social commerce is a growing part of their marketing-driven revenue plans. But that number is poised to rise as millennials and Gen Z shoppers gain spending power.
Within Shopify and Facebook Shops, Sprout helps users deliver a rich customer care experience and provide personalized interactions throughout the entire purchasing cycle, from discovery to sale and beyond. Sprout customers can access product catalogs and historical customer information so they can connect an online order with a customer’s social profile and reach customers where they are already browsing and shopping.
Kindred and Hy-Tek Integrated Systems will partner to integrate Kindred’s Sort robotic systems with Hy-Tek’s material handling solutions as the companies aim to further automate retail and e-commerce order fulfillment operations. The partnership is designed to expand Hy-Tek’s apparel customers’ distribution center and warehouse automation capabilities, while accelerating polybag pick-and-place processes to meet increasing consumer demand.
Hy-Tek’s Ecomplete e-commerce solution helps retailers improve existing e-commerce platforms or enter e-commerce. The company calls Ecomplete a “one-stop-shop” for e-commerce components that can take sellers from click-to-ship and everything in between.
Hy-Tek—which brands itself as a single-source provider of material handling solutions for industries including manufacturing, distribution, retail, construction, food, electronics and automotive—also provides integrated conveyor systems, welded construction conveyor installation, engineered storage systems, receiving and shipping systems, robotic palletizing cells and complete turnkey solutions for any material handling application.
To meet the continued peaks in online orders since the Covid-19 outbreak, Kindred’s Robotics as a Service (RaaS) model enables retail and e-commerce customers to pay for the Sort robots’ service, such as the number of items the robots pick, rather than making a major capital investment. With the partnership, Hy-Tek wants its retail clients to use the RaaS model to minimize large one-time capital investments and better manage costs.
The Kindred Sort pick-and-place robots use Core with AutoGrasp, a robotics artificial intelligence platform that identifies items to pick and place and then sorts them into complete end-customer orders. Kindred’s Core with AutoGrasp combines AI-powered machine vision, grasping and manipulation algorithms designed to handle a range of merchandise, including deformable items such as polybags.
Kindred uses edge AI research and human-in-the-loop data methodology to continuously improve robot capabilities.
Tulip, a cloud-based retail mobile solutions provider, has secured $28 million in Series C funding. Arrowroot Capital, a U.S. growth equity firm specializing in B2B SaaS investments, led the raise, and was joined by BDC Capital and existing investors.
Tulip powers behind-the-scenes technology for many fashion, luxury and retail brands including Mulberry, Saks Fifth Avenue, Kendra Scott, Kate Spade, Coach and Michael Kors.
The funding will be used to aid the company’s expansion, which includes further plans to grow the sales and marketing team, accelerate road map development and expans across Europe and the U.S.
Tulip also said it is preparing for its “largest product announcement” in the third quarter.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Tulip said it experienced significant growth, adding new functions to its platform including video chatting between customers and store associates and launching web chat and remote pay features when non-essential stores were closed.
Tulip also acquired two companies during the pandemic. In August 2020, the company acquired Blueday, a store performance management platform provider, to enhance its selection of retail mobile solutions and better help stores adapt to the new retail world. Two months later, Tulip acquired advanced scheduling and resource management system Timekit, allowing store associates to book appointments and create personal touchpoints.
Unified commerce platform provider Kibo has made Personalized Search available within its platform, bringing Monetate and Certona capabilities into its platform, helping retailers to deliver a fully integrated personalization strategy.
Kibo cited a Forrester Research study in explaining how its search feature can benefit retailers, saying that 43 percent of site visitors immediately go to a search box when on-site. Those searchers, Kibo said, are two to three times more likely to convert than other visitors.
Personalized Search delivers a set of search capabilities covering the browse and discovery journey, including site search, category pages and predictive visual search.
Personalized Site Search provides “hyper-relevant” search results leveraging the Monetate and Certona platforms. The Personalized Category Pages feature is aimed at providing personalized product listings on category or subcategory pages. And with Predictive Visual Search, users can generate recommendation results for as-you-type, partial or full-search terms.