The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Yotpo has raised $230 million in Series F funding, marking the e-commerce platform’s largest investment round to date. The round puts Yotpo’s valuation at $1.4 billion, with the company crossing the $100 million annual recurring revenue (ARR) threshold in 2020. The company last raised $75 million in August 2020.
With the latest round, Yotpo plans to double its product and R&D team to accelerate the rollout of its full platform experience, which includes products such as Yotpo SMS Marketing, Yotpo Loyalty & Referrals, Yotpo Reviews and Yotpo Visual UGC. This connected suite of solutions is designed to unify customer data in a way that would allow brands to get more from every campaign and maximize their return on investment.
The company says revenue from its Yotpo Loyalty & Referrals service nearly doubled last year, while Yotpo SMS Marketing grew by 170 percent. Yotpo now serves more than 30,000 brands including Patagonia, Brooklinen, Steve Madden, Princess Polly and Revolution Beauty. The tech provider highlighted the Australia-based Princess Polly fashion brand as one that uses the entire Yotpo platform suite, the tech provider says.
“Our biggest challenge was having so many different marketing tools, vendors and programs and none of them were talking to each other. Yotpo’s approach to integrated products on a single platform solved that for us,” said Kim Zorn, head of performance, Princess Polly. “With Yotpo, we can send review requests via SMS, reward loyalty points for reviews, ask five-star reviewers to make referrals, send loyalty members tier-specific texts, and so much more.”
Yotpo believes the improved synergies resulting from a full product integration would benefit its consumers. Brands that use two or more Yotpo products have grown 54 percent faster than those that use only one, the company says.
The company also hopes its integrations with outside platforms helps its retail relationships thrive. Yotpo has partnered with more than 500 agencies, platforms and technologies to power its e-commerce stores. The platform is available on Shopify, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Adobe’s Magento and BigCommerce and integrates with Google and Instagram. The number of tech integrations with Yotpo products grew 40 percent year over year in 2020.
Led by Bessemer Venture Partners and Tiger Global, the funding round saw participation from existing investors Claltech Investment, Coin Ventures, Hanaco, Vertex Ventures, Vintage Investment Partners, among others.
Marketing technology provider Kenshoo has expanded its retail media reach, providing access to seven new national retailers and delivery providers including Macy’s, Ulta, Meijer, CVS, Staples, Shipt and FreshDirect.
The Kenshoo solution combines augmented analytics for consumer and market insights with campaign orchestration and marketing measurement across platforms. The technology’s machine learning algorithms leverage market signals and internal data in an effort to enable brands and agencies to predict trends and keep pace with customers.
This is a first-to-market expansion for Kenshoo, and is designed to enable brands and agencies to manage complex cross-retailer advertising campaigns in a single platform. Additionally, the launch aims to help brands engage customers across multiple shoppable media touch points to be successful and grow revenues in a competitive digital retail sphere.
Kenshoo’s API integration already supports major retail names including Amazon, Walmart, Target and Instacart, enabling users to test and learn the impact of each channel on bottom line sales and achieve rapid program scale and success from a holistic, connected commerce approach across all shoppable media, including paid search, social and retail to drive growth.
The company says that retail media grew 32 percent in 2020, as the increase in online shopping options has made it challenging for brands to reach their target consumers.
Kenshoo recently announced that it was acquiring Signals Analytics, an artificial intelligence-powered consumer and market insights platform that says it can connect data from more than 13,000 external sources—including Target, Macy’s, Walmart, Amazon, Zappos, Nordstrom and Instagram—and offer “contextualized insights across the consumer, competitive and commerce landscape.”
Fit Analytics said its focus will be on scaling its operations and collaborating with Snap to grow the social app’s shopping platform using its proprietary technology. With the deal, both teams will be jointly executing on next-gen shopping, fashion and style offerings, the company said.
The acquisition is likely to accelerate Snap’s efforts to bring e-commerce and in-app purchases to Snapchat and expand its revenue stream, similar to what Instagram has done with the introduction of shopping features within its app. Snapchat’s core audiences are teens and younger users, who are also a major target for fashion retailers.
The tool enables users to select how they would like the item to fit from very loose to very tight and offers recommendations based on their information. Fit Analytics also has personalization tools and other analytics to help retailers understand how they can sell more. It already partners with 18,000 retailers to help provide more accurate product matches and reduce returns.
Snap has recently experimented with the fashion space, teaming last year with Ralph Lauren to enable Bitmoji users to dress their digital avatars in branded Ralph Lauren attire.
Xesto has launched Xesto Fit, a 3D foot sizing app that uses a smartphone to recommend shoe sizes across 150 brands. Using the app, consumers can scan themselves within 1.5mm accuracy in the comfort of their own home using their iPhone FaceID camera, and share their size profiles for gift purchasing with the tap of a button via iMessage.
The app is designed to reduce the environmental cost of e-commerce as well by preventing returns, highlighting that the online footwear industry sees returns of approximately 40 percent versus an 8 percent return rate in brick-and-mortar stores.
To use the technology, the shopper takes four photos of each foot. In less than a minute, Xesto says that the app can use those photos to create 3D reconstructions of their feet.
FabFitFun, a lifestyle and e-commerce membership company known for its flagship FabFitFun Box, which delivers a curated collection of full-size products across beauty, fashion and fitness, has partnered with RangeMe. With RangeMe, a product sourcing platform for consumer packaged goods suppliers and retailers, FabFitFun aims to scale its sourcing efforts and add to its evolving list of partners with a focus on brands founded by diverse business owners.
“Our mission at FabFitFun is to provide happiness and well-being to everyone, everywhere and in order to serve our growing membership, we are constantly looking for the most diverse set of brands and products that will surprise and delight women of all ages, backgrounds, and interests,” said Katie Rosen Kitchens, co-founder and editor in chief of FabFitFun. “The diversity of our suppliers has been, and remains to be, of utmost importance to our team, our members and our community. By partnering with RangeMe we can scale our supplier diversity efforts in a more meaningful and efficient way than ever before.”
With more than 175,000 suppliers and over 750,000 products on the platform, RangeMe is designed to bring a streamlined approach to digital product sourcing that offers retailers and buyers opportunities to connect with suppliers across categories.
Wholesale B2B e-commerce platform NuOrder has partnered with Black Diamond Equipment, a manufacturer and seller of climbing, skiing, mountain sports equipment and apparel. Beginning with the F/W 2021-2022 buying season, Black Diamond will conduct all its wholesale practices through NuOrder’s digital buying platform.
NuOrder’s platform will provide Black Diamond with digital marketing tools to conduct virtual and in-person sales presentations, alongside a full suite of services including EZ orders, campaigns, quick catalog/line sheet creation, Excel order form creation and white-boarding.
With the suite, Black Diamond can give its full network of retail buyers a wider network to discover, connect and purchase through category and price point search functionalities, as well as provide access to curated virtual showrooms, relevant product recommendations and easy in-platform order placement.
“Black Diamond Equipment is excited to partner with NuOrder to create a more collaborative, immersive buying experience for our independent specialty retailers,” said Jeff Pratt, Black Diamond Equipment’s North American sales manager. “NuOrder’s robust platform will allow buyers to visualize, budget and plan their buys more strategically, ultimately making the process more efficient and easier for them to do business with Black Diamond.”
With the rollout of NuOrder, Black Diamond Equipment wants to better manage its vendors, facilitate easier collaboration and tap into real-time insights to inform business decisions. NuOrder’s innovative technology applies science to the art of buying, driven by real-time insights and visual virtual market tools to efficiently manage assortments providing enhanced consumer experiences.
Connecting more than 3,000 brands and more than 500,000 retailers, NuOrder has processed more than $40 billion in GMV. Early in March, the company raised $45 million in a funding round led by Brighton Park Capital and Imaginary Ventures. Last year, NuOrder entered the digital trade show space, partnering with Informa Fashion Markets to power its virtual events.
Cymbio, a developer of an end-to-end drop ship and marketplace automation platform, has raised a $7 million Series A financing round led by Vertex Ventures.
The funds will be used to expand Cymbio’s global footprint across R&D, sales and marketing.
Cymbio provides a platform that is designed to connect brands such as Steve Madden, Camper and hundreds of others, directly to retail partners, enabling what it calls a “true plug-and-sell reality” across the brands’ drop ship and marketplace operations.
The company’s solution provides the complete setup, integrations, onboarding and daily management of streamlined product data, as well as imagery, mapping, orders, tracking, returns and more.
Cymbio says it is looking to solve a current struggle brands and retailers have when it comes to connectivity. Since they often use different systems and processes, the integrations and operations of this connectivity can be a significant bottleneck for increasing sales channels, creating lengthy integrations and tedious manual work on product content, imagery and processes, the company says.
Using Cymbio, customers cut the amount of time it takes to go live on a new marketplace by 91 percent, and have experienced an average digital revenue increase of over 65 percent and boosted average units sold by 47 percent.
Cymbio currently supports more than 600 retailers, marketplaces and department stores across the U.S., Canada, Europe and APAC.
Buy now, pay later
Ahead of its fifth bi-annual “Afterpay Day,” the Australia-based installment payments provider announced it will include brick-and-mortar shopping for the first time and run for an extended four-day period, from March 25-28.
Afterpay Day has historically driven deals and promotions from nearly 3,000 fashion, beauty and lifestyle retailers and brands.
Customers can take advantage of up to 70 percent off from retail participants, and manage their payments in four installments without incurring interest. A number of new brands partnering with Afterpay in-store will be participating in this season’s sales event, offering promotions across e-commerce and their physical locations, including Steve Madden, MAC Cosmetics, Jo Malone London, Aveda, Origins, Vera Bradley and more.
A variety of the participating merchants will be offering exclusive promotions that are only offered to Afterpay customers. Major apparel, footwear and beauty retailers including Shein, Anthropologie, J. Crew, Gilt, Rue La La, Puma, Tarte Cosmetics and Kiehl’s, are offering Afterpay-shopper exclusive deals.
During the last Afterpay Day, merchant partners saw average sales grow by 36 percent, with the average number of new customers growing by 46 percent, the company says. In December 2020 alone, 45 million customer referrals were sent to retailers globally from the Afterpay Shop Directory.
Afterpay customers will also be able to uses the newly launched “Favorites” feature this Afterpay Day. Located within the Afterpay app, shoppers can browse their most-wanted items and add them to their favorites to revisit at a later date. Launched earlier this year, the “Favorites” feature has already been used by nearly 40 percent of U.S. app users.
Gant, a branded apparel retailer with more than 750 stores in 80 countries, is close to completing a rollout of Cegid Retail’s Unified Commerce Platform across Europe in a bid to improve stock management and customer service across multiple channels and territories.
The cloud-based point-of-sale and merchandising solution has recently been added in France and goes live in the U.K. in March. This is part of the brand’s strategy to introduce more omnichannel and digital technologies and standardizing systems throughout the group.
The initiative follows a move to bring more of its overseas franchise partners under the same roof—such as Portugal and Spain during 2020—as wholly owned subsidiaries, sharing the same processes and accelerating a shift towards more digital services like click-and-collect.
“A lot has changed over the last year and there’s now a greater focus on digital and e-commerce,” says Peter Joelsson, Global IT director at Gant. “So, we’re accelerating our digital and omnichannel strategies and adding extra services. Gant has invested a lot in IT over the Covid period to ensure more reliable data across all channels and increased agility.”
Other digital services and mobile solutions are being piloted and considered for further rollout across Gant. The retailer has been trialing Cegid’s mobility tools, including a Mobile Inventory module designed to help staff carry out stock checks directly on the shop floor and a mobile point-of-sale solution designed to enable staff to serve customers and process payments while on the move.
Gant now has reporting systems in place that it expects to deliver accurate, up-to-the-minute information on stocks, customers and sales across all channels. For consumers, the retailer expects to reduce the number of returns by providing better images and better information on sizing. It also hopes to align sales and distribution by having a more accurate picture of stock availability and location—ultimately cutting costs and speeding up delivery options by determining the nearest store, warehouse or reseller.
“If something’s not selling well in a particular location, it shouldn’t be replenished and take up unnecessary space,” said Joelsson. “It’s better to send it instead to sell via e-commerce or an outlet store.”
Casual apparel retailer Marine Layer has implemented the NewStore Omnichannel Platform in its 46 U.S. retail locations. With the technology, the brand offers customers new shopping and delivery capabilities such as mobile checkout, endless aisle and ship-from-store.
Marine Layer set out on the path to a better omnichannel experience in mid-2020, with the belief that the customer experience, inventory optimization and associate mobility enabled by the NewStore platform would be essential to the business’ continued growth and profitability.
“Our business is built on a commitment to our customers and a belief that we need to get them the product they want, in the channel they want, with as little friction as possible. So we made the decision last year to turn a very difficult year into an opportunity,” said Adam Lynch, chief operating officer, Marine Layer. “That meant going all in on complete cross-channel inventory flexibility, ship from store, endless aisle and a better in-store experience to become a true omnichannel organization. NewStore has been a great partner the last six months. We’re launching the entire platform on-time across our full store fleet. We are confident it was the right investment at the right time, and know it will benefit our business and our customers.”
NewStore’s solution is positioned as an “Omnichannel-as-a-Service” platform, since it applied capabilities across the front and back ends including POS, order management, clienteling and inventory.
SPS Commerce Fulfillment has expanded its support of e-commerce platforms and marketplaces, providing its suppliers with a single solution to manage all omnichannel orders.
With Fulfillment, the company says businesses can now view and process orders from wholesale and direct-to-consumer channels, including retailers like Target and Walmart using electronic data interchange (EDI) capabilities; e-commerce platforms such as BigCommerce, Shopify and WooCommerce; and marketplaces including Amazon Marketplace.
This new capability from SPS is designed to eliminate the need for manual processes or spreadsheets to consolidate the tracking of orders, inventory counts and shipping details from multiple sales channels.
With that in mind, Fulfillment seeks to offer businesses an efficient way to view, manage and process orders for thousands of wholesale retailers, e-commerce sites and marketplaces. The platform is already being used by “tens of thousands of suppliers,” the company says, to keep pace with today’s consumers by continually automating supply chain processes.
As e-commerce and marketplaces sales both continue to grow, SPS will continue to bring Fulfillment’s capabilities to more suppliers, including its carrier service, 3PL data exchange and the ability to automate with a system of record.