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Retail Tech: Shopify x YouTube, Instagram Integrates Payments & Chat, Flexe Nabs $119M

The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.



Shopify and YouTube‘s new partnership enables merchants on the e-commerce giant to integrate their online store into the video-sharing platform.

With the launch of YouTube Shopping on Shopify, merchants can sell their full range of products via live streams, videos, and a store tab to reach the platform’s 2 billion monthly logged-in users.

As brands seek greater consumer engagement, Shopify aims to blur the line between merchant and content creator by putting content at the center of brand interactions. Content creators are selling goods and building fully realized brands, and DTC merchants are creating content as a way to find and engage with new customers.

With livestreams, merchants can tag and pin products at key points during the video. YouTube will offer picture-in-picture playback so consumers can continue to watch while they check out. The standard video option enables merchants to show a curated list of items in a “product shelf” listed below on-demand videos. And the store tab will be added to every merchant’s YouTube channel so they can feature their entire selection of products.

“Bringing my commerce platform and my most popular viewer engagement platform together will be a game changer for me,” Christen Dominique, YouTuber and CEO of Dominique Cosmetics, said in a statement. “As an entrepreneur finding new ways to build my business, it’s so important that I show up where my customers are shopping, and more and more that’s on YouTube. With the Shopify and YouTube integration, I can share new products from Dominique Cosmetics directly on my videos and lives, and make it easy for viewers to purchase as they watch.”

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Because Shopify acts as a merchant’s retail operating system, product details including names, images, pricing and shipping are kept up-to-date across channels. The catalog automatically syncs from a Shopify store to the platform, so if a product sells out, it will automatically be removed from YouTube. Merchants can also track performance of live and on-demand videos directly from their Shopify admin, with a full view of multichannel sales. For select eligible merchants in the U.S., onsite check on YouTube means consumers can purchase without leaving the platform.



Small businesses that sell on Instagram can now enable shoppers to buy products from them directly via the platform’s chat function, which could help sellers convert more customer messages into transactions without leaving the app.

When shoppers chat with a qualified small business on Instagram, they can now ask about their favorite T-shirt, view available options and customizations and place their order immediately. The feature is designed for small and medium-sized businesses that don’t have an Instagram Shop digital storefront, so that they can still transact with shoppers in app.

In that same chat thread, shoppers can track their order and ask the business any follow-up questions. Finally, they’ll be able to use Meta Pay to complete the purchase.

Using this new feature, small business owners will be able to chat with customers in real time to answer questions and confirm purchase details; create a payment request with item description and price; and request and collect payment.

This launch is another step forward in Instagram’s goal to become a one-stop retail destination.

Instagram’s parent Meta says 1 billion people message a business across its family of apps each week, whether it’s chatting with brands, browsing products or asking for support.

Meta has rolled out more business-friendly messaging features recently, including the ability for businesses to send marketing chats to customers who opt in via Facebook Messenger. Instagram  expanded the product tag feature to all users in April, and celebrated Instagram Shop with an in-person popup store in May.


Quiet Platforms

Quiet Platforms, the logistics subsidiary of American Eagle Outfitters, expanded its fulfillment capacity with the June activation of a new, multi-functional, connected fulfillment facility in Atlanta.

Launched in under 60 days, the new sortation and fulfillment center joins Quiet Platforms’ national network of facilities offering end-to-end, fully managed supply chain services that enable mid-sized retailers to compete effectively with the largest enterprises on speed and cost of fulfillment.

The opening further expands the logistics company’s national fulfillment network, which provides retailers access to integrated inventory solutions, a multi-tiered carrier network that enables next-day delivery and real-time analytics.

The Atlanta facility is a key addition to Quiet Platforms’ network, bolstering the company’s footprint in the Southeast and expanding its edge capabilities, such as same-day delivery, to Atlanta, which is now the eighth-most populous metro area in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Additionally, the warehouse offers smart containerization and flexible sortation capabilities that can enable carrier and courier consolidation, as well as robotic-augmented operations that can support multiple brands. The Quiet Platforms facility is located near a broad transportation network that includes Interstates 85 and 95, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the CSX/BNSF intermodal railroad and the Port of Savannah.

Quiet Platforms’ suite of technology add-on solutions is built allows retailers to enhance their fulfillment capabilities to provide best-in-class delivery experiences to their customers. With opt-in services ranging from intelligent inventory control to optimized transportation management, parcel consolidation and robotic picking, the platform’s network and integrated technology services aim to enable retailers to create faster, more cost-efficient and greener supply chains.


Omnichannel logistics platform Flexe secured a $119 million Series D funding round at a $1 billion post-money valuation. The round includes new investments from funds and accounts managed by BlackRock and follow-on investment from Activate Capital, Madrona Ventures, Prologis Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. and T. Rowe Price Investment Management, Inc. and Tiger Global.

The company says it continues to see accelerated demand for its logistics programs amid the current uncertain macroeconomic environment, which also includes factors such as rapidly shifting consumer behaviors, forecast variability and supply chain gridlocks.

Six of the 10 largest retailers and four of the five biggest consumer packaged goods companies work with Flexe to run programmatic logistics as part of their supply chain strategies, the firm said.

Flexe co-founding CEO Karl Siebrecht said the company added nearly as many enterprise customers in the first six months of 2022 as it did all of last year and continues to see strong demand. As of early July, the company has doubled its revenue year-to-date.

Flexe’s business model enables organizations to quickly scale in strong economic environments and reduce risk, capital investment and long-term commitments. The business got its start as a “warehouse-as-a-service” company, offering on-demand warehousing space for online sellers. Flexe has since grown its technology offerings beyond just warehouse capacity, expanding to provide transportation and fulfillment for both online and physical retailers.

Flexe’s asset-light model has enabled its growth as it doesn’t own or manage any of the facilities used by its customers, who include large retailers and brands including Ralph Lauren, Walmart, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Ace Hardware.

The company provides its clients with access to inventory and order visibility, as well as a range of LTL, parcel and last-mile carriers through its platform, in addition to short-term fulfillment space. They can expand and contract the services as demand dictates without the high fixed costs of owning or leasing their facilities or signing a long-term contract with a third-party logistics provider (3PL), many of whom are Flexe partners.

Flexe closed an $80 million Series C round in January 2021.

TuSimple/Hegelmann Group

TuSimple, a global autonomous driving technology company, has partnered with Hegelmann Group, a major European transport and logistics provider that operates a fleet of more than 5,000 vehicles. With the partnership, Hegelmann is reserving an unspecified portion of its purpose-built SAE Level 4 (L4) Autonomous International Trucks for operation in North America.

The trucks will be equipped with TuSimple’s advanced autonomous driving system and will be based on a global vehicle platform developed by Navistar.

Hegelmann’s partnership with TuSimple signals the path of both companies to offer solutions that address the ongoing driver shortage, while lowering greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and improving vehicle and environmental safety.

Hegelmann has reserved factory-production units with TuSimple technology as it enters the company’s logistics network in North America called the TuSimple Autonomous Freight Network (AFN). The AFN includes TuSimple’s network shippers, carriers, railroads, freight brokers, fleet asset owners and truck hardware partners, and is designed to address the truck freight industry’s top challenges by enabling low-cost freight capacity as a service, while maintaining high standards for safety and fuel efficiency.

TuSimple demonstrated a series of “Driver Out” test runs in 2021, which required no human intervention or operator, instead using survey vehicle ahead of the truck and an oversight vehicle trailing behind. The company plans to continue through 2022 as it prepares for full commercialization.

The Driver Out pilot program is the product of a year-and-a-half of work to co-develop a L4 autonomous Class 8 vehicle with Navistar, with the company ultimately seeking to demonstrate the level of redundancy, reliability, consistency and safety necessary to remove the driver from the truck.

By the end of 2023, TuSimple plans to carry paid freight operations in high-density freight lanes in the southern U.S. Driver-out runs have been critical in scaling autonomous trucking operations on the TuSimple AFN.

Freight forwarding/carbon emissions, an artificial intelligence (AI)-based productivity platform for freight forwarders, has partnered with Pledge, an integrated suite of climate tools, to incorporate carbon measurement, emission reduction and carbon removal capabilities into its customer offering.

Pledge’s offering leverages tens of thousands of data points to calculate emissions in line with strict standards and uses independent experts and registries to rigorously vet all offsetting projects, the company said. The partnership with Pledge will provide customers with tools to understand, manage and reduce their business’s climate impact as well as meet the demand for ESG initiatives.

According to James Coombes, co-founder and CEO of, the partnership comes as more Beneficial Cargo Owners (BCOs) are under increasing regulatory pressures to report on the full carbon impact of the movements within their supply chain network.

The Pledge integration enables’s freight forwarding customers to help BCOs make more carbon-efficient decisions at the booking stage while also reporting the full carbon footprint at a shipment level—helping to attribute the impact to specific SKUs.

Pledge is now integrated into the user interface of’s technology, providing forwarders automated workflows designed to understand, triage and act on incoming emissions and shipment data, saving operators hours chasing information, manually keying into systems and reconciling against downstream systems. The platform’s real-time, continuous processing will enable forwarding operators to better track sustainability data and help advise on more conscious, carbon-conservative decisions going forward.

Product discovery


Klevu, a provider of AI-powered search and merchandising technology for digital commerce, has unveiled a new connector with Commercetools‘ headless e-commerce platform and is also now a certified Commercetools independent software vendor (ISV) for search, merchandising, and product recommendations.

Retailers that use Klevu’s full Product Discovery Platform achieve 37 percent more revenue per web session than those that don’t, the company says. The platform leverages AI, natural language processing and user behavior analytics to connect shoppers with products they want.

Klevu’s advanced search and merchandising solutions are available as pre-integrated with Commercetools and MACH architecture, which aims to help retailers offer fast and customized front-end experiences to shoppers, so merchants can monetize every customer touch point. Klevu fetches product and inventory data from Commercetools in real time, and can power the search and discovery of multiple digital front-end experiences, including mobile apps, e-commerce websites, in-store kiosks, campaign websites and allows for flexibility to add new channels with ease.

Those using the Commercetools platform can now access Klevu’s advanced semantic language processing, and product ranking algorithm which helps e-commerce sites improve key metrics, such as increasing average order values, increasing margin or improving conversion rates, according to Klevu CEO and co-founder Nilay Oza.

Unlike other “garbage in, garbage out” search technologies that index data already available in a product catalog, requiring people to manually configure the product discovery engine, Klevu’s machine learning capabilities are built to automatically enrich catalog data automatically, and develop an ongoing understanding of how shoppers are engaging with each front-end experience specifically to display select products in the order most likely to convert. Klevu AI expands its knowledge as it accumulates more information from purchases, clicks and product ratings — giving the website the voice of the customer.

Klevu is a headless e-commerce microservice that can replace on-site search, category merchandising and product recommendations banners functionality. Klevu is API-first, cloud-native and headless architecture. Klevu’s new SDK is built to optimizes conversion by connecting back-end e-commerce systems such as checkout, inventory control and product information management, to front-end product displays shown in ways that drive sales.

Global commerce

Digital River/Commercetools

Digital River, a provider of global commerce, payments and marketing services for established and growing brands, has also entered an ISV partnership with Commercetools. The partnership integrates Digital River’s Global Seller Services of tax, payments, compliance and fraud mitigation into Commercetools’ e-commerce platform for B2C and B2B customers.

Commercetools is the latest addition to Digital River’s partner ecosystem. Digital River clients can now experience the platform’s headless, modern API approach, combined with Digital River’s expertise in the back-office functions of global commerce. The integration, built by Digital River partner and headless system integrator E2X, allows brands to scale their e-commerce businesses to sell in more than 240 markets worldwide, with the agility required to consistently adapt to shopper expectations.

As a Commercetools merchant-of-record solution provider, Digital River takes on the financial and legal responsibilities of selling online. Brands using Commercetools can then focus on crafting customer journeys and growing revenue.

Additionally, the partnership offers more advantages such as: consolidating vendors within a single integration, optimizing revenue to increase conversion rates, reducing development time for quick entry to new markets, delivering personalized customer experiences and reducing the risk of changing global fraud, security, and regulations.



Beumer introduced the BG Line Sorter and BG Pouch System, which use technology designed to deliver flexibility and scalability for mid-size-volume operations, to address rising demand for e-commerce organizations.

The BG Line Sorter solution extends the handling mix of parcel and material handling operations by allowing them to sort the widest possible range of items, while using a modular design that can enhance flexibility to optimize the use of space. With the ability to be reconfigured or upgraded throughout its lifetime with minimal system downtime, Beumer can provide the scalability to respond to future business growth with a plug-and-play operation. In addition to offering lower maintenance costs than conventional line sorters, the BG Line Sorter makes use of low-friction components to ensure endurance and high system availability.

The company is attempting to lead a paradigm shift in line sorting by using active slat-belt technology and linear synchronous motors that can deliver a line sorter that also has the handling capabilities of a high-speed, cross-belt sorter. The solution features durable belts and maintenance-free motor technologies designed to keep energy consumption and maintenance costs at a necessary low.

Beumer Group’s other launch, the BG Pouch System, delivers less touch, low-cost, multi-use sortation for fulfillment centers and distribution centers by utilizing unused overhead space to achieve omnichannel fulfillment and increased operational flexibility. The BG Pouch System, also known as the pocket technology, can buffer, sort and sequence single items to automate the order handling and returns processes with a capacity of over 10,000 items an hour per sortation module. By using data imported from a Warehouse Management System (WMS), the BG Pouch System can serve as an intermediate buffer for items most likely to be resold, with less manual handling involved.

The BG Pouch System is built to transform unused overhead space into an omnichannel sort-and-return solution, while also increasing operational flexibility. The system can be used for partners throughout e-commerce, including fashion, pharmaceuticals, electric and express services.

The BG Line Sorter solution and BG Pouch System, along with all products and technologies with the Beumer label, are built to induce lower energy consumption and ultimately reduce operating expenses.

The Beumer Group is a manufacturer of intralogistics systems for conveying, loading, palletizing, packaging, sortation and distribution. The Germany-based company’s U.S. subsidiary, Beumer Corporation, operates four U.S. business lines: conveying and loading, packaging and palletizing, sortation and distribution and airport baggage handling.

Live chat


Next-gen product experience app Scroble has launched its new Product Live Chat feature, allowing in-store consumers and brands to connect in real-time around individual products. The feature provides fashion shoppers with access to instant product information and peer-to-peer feedback whether they are shopping online or in physical stores.

The app is designed to cater to the new “phygital” phenomenon of using technology to bridge the digital and physical worlds by enabling brands to gather valuable intelligence in real time with Scroble’s platform.

With Scroble, users can scan a QR code to access product information, interact with the brand and other users, save and share product information and even pair products with other items to make bespoke “sets.”

Scroble recently launched its open beta version in Luxembourg, working and experimenting with more than 50 fashion brands, and demonstrating fast growth in a small market. The new Product Live Chat feature launched will allow stakeholders taking part in the project to communicate in real time about individual products. For consumers, this can adds a sense of community to their shopping experience, while the information delivered to retailers is completely anonymized, ensuring customers’ personal data is protected.

Scroble plans to launch to European markets this year, with North America soon to follow. Onboarding is now available for a limited batch of brands, which can sign up for access to the Scroble platform, and begin digitizing their products in preparation for launch in their market.

Buy now, pay later


Consumer financing company Synchrony unveiled its own buy now, pay later (BNPL) offering. Merchant partners of the company will now be able to offer Synchrony SetPay pay in 4, a short-term, no interest installment option, via the Clover point-of-sale and business management system from Fiserv, Inc.

This BNPL offering will further expand the reach of Synchrony’s payments and financing options and enables select merchants that use Clover to accelerate growth, while providing more choice and flexibility for consumers, especially at the point of sale.

With more than one-third of shoppers stating they are more likely to seek additional financing options now versus two years ago, according to an internal study from 2021, ⁠Synchrony’s SetPay pay in 4 installments offering provides customers with the ability to make four equal, interest-free payments for purchases typically between $40 and $500 with the first payment due at checkout.

The offering will be part of the Pay with Synchrony app available on the Clover App Market for participating merchants using any Clover device. This app will be the first time that a combined private label credit card and a BNPL solution will be available to small businesses via Clover.

Synchrony now offers a suite of revolving credit and installment loan options in a variety of channels, including SetPay pay in 4, SetPay monthly installment loans for up to 84 months and a variety of equal payment solutions offered through revolving credit programs.