The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Steve Madden/Hot Wax Commerce
Steve Madden Ltd. selected HotWax Commerce’s Omnichannel Order Management solution to facilitate omnichannel retailing strategies companywide, affecting the namesake Steve Madden brand, as well as Betsey Johnson, BB Dakota and others.
Steve Madden aims to implement fulfillment capabilities including same-day buy online pick-up in store (BOPIS), ship from store, and pre-ordering.
HotWax Commerce said the platform is often implemented within eight weeks, with the API-first architecture enabling integration with various other platforms across POS, enterprise resource planning (ERP), warehouse management software (WMS), and e-commerce platforms. Such solutions include XStore POS, Manhattan WMS, Shopify Plus and Magento.
PredictSpring, a provider of omnichannel commerce and modern POS technology, raised $16 million in Series B funding, taking its total funding to date to $32 million. Existing investors Salesforce Ventures, Felicis and Novel TMT Ventures participated in the round. PredictSpring will use the new funding to accelerate the growth of its omnichannel business and grow its R&D and go-to-market teams.
PredictSpring Modern POS supports a broad array of verticals, including apparel and footwear, luxury, health and beauty, jewelry and watches, winery and liquor stores, home furnishing and decor, and telco.
The company said it has seen 100-plus percent year-over-year ARR growth in its Modern POS business over the past three years and has grown payments transaction volume processed through its Modern POS platform by 455 percent year-over-year. PredictSpring Modern POS is deployed on thousands of terminals in 25 countries, powering the omnichannel experience for global retail brands.
Zebra Technologies introduced the enterprise-grade ET4x series of rugged tablets, including the Android-based ET40 and ET45 editions, enabling users across transportation and fulfillment to improve productivity within the warehouse, while retail associates can bolster the in-store experience.
Businesses can choose from either the 8-inch or 10-inch tablet depending on the use case. The ET4x series is designed to be ideal for delivery drivers and fulfillment personnel, while store employees can better perform assisted selling and other line-busting tasks. The tablets can provide flexibility and support for multiple point-of-sale (POS) applications. The payment-ready tablets feature options including tap-to-pay functionality for mobile POS, a new presentation stand for self-service and fixed POS and a workstation set-up providing a desktop-like experience.
Included in the tablets are a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera to capture photos for proof of condition and visual in-store merchandising audits, while the 5-megapixel front-facing camera supports video calls that can help save time and reduce errors.
An integrated 2D scanner enables barcode data capture for retail price checks, inventory lookups or parcel track-and-trace.
The ET4x series of tablets include select Zebra Mobility DNA software tools in an effort to optimize workflows, and improve communications and usability for mobile workers. These tools include Mobility Extensions (Mx), which adds enterprise-class security and manageability features to the standard Android operating system and StageNow, which allows businesses to stage up to “thousands” of devices in seconds, according to Zebra.
The ET4x series is designed to replace consumer-grade tablets and support Wi-Fi 6, 5G and citizens broadband radio service (CBRS) wireless technology.
Knit, a consumer insights startup that empowers brands to make customer-centric decisions through voice of consumer video feedback, announced an oversubscribed seed funding round of $3.55 million. Knit’s technology enables customers to tap into a network of over 1 million Gen Z and 4 million millennial consumers to gather on-demand video feedback and quick-turn quantitative data.
The round is led by Silicon Road Ventures with participation from Bread and Butter Ventures, Alumni Ventures, Bootstrappers.mn, Operate Studio, and TiE Global Angels.
“Gen Z is shaping the future of consumer trends, it’s critical for brands today to be empowered with the right information to understand how to successfully engage this next generation,” said Sid Mookerji, managing partner and founder at Silicon Road Ventures. “Knit allows companies to gather and analyze customer feedback of this demographic with little turnaround time, making it an essential, actionable tool for marketers. Knit qualifies as a transformational technology in CommerceTech which is the focus for Silicon Road.”
With this investment, the Austin-based startup will continue to build out its technology to further automate the video analysis process and expand its non-Gen Z panel to become a cross-generational solution for a global customer base, starting with EMEA and LATAM.
“We frequently see major brands with an appetite to better understand Gen Z and the next generation of consumers. The data we’re able to provide empowers these organizations to minimize risks and drive intelligent marketing and product initiatives,” said Raahish Kalaria, Knit CTO. “We think of ourselves as an on-demand Think Tank of Gen Z consumer demographic data for brands. Our goal is to help marketers make more confident decisions to attract their fanbase of the future.”
Knit has observed seven times growth since its launch in January 2021 with currently over 30 enterprise customers including NASCAR, WNBA, Harman International (JBL Speakers) and Moët Hennessey (for 21+ Gen Z-ers). Led by a team of Gen Z entrepreneurs, Knit CEO Aneesh Dhawan launched his first company, a cause marketing Gen Z agency called Feed A Friend, at the age of 16. Knit CTO Raahish Kalaria joined Knit after founding and scaling FreeCopy, an ad-tech company in India, and One Remote (previously WAND Smart Systems), a computer vision-based home automation solutions, as a Gen-Z student. Dhawan and Kalaria are alumni of the esteemed Techstars’ 2019 accelerator ‘Farm to Fork’ program, the success from this program fueled the transformation and growth of Knit.
Onymos, developer of what it says is the world’s first Features-as-a-Service platform, raised $12 million in Series A financing led by Great Point Ventures, with participation from Benhamou Global Ventures, Engineering Capital, and Industry Ventures. Onymos will use the funds to further enhance its platform for application development, expand its team, and build market leadership. The Series A financing builds on an exceptional year for Onymos, which saw a more than 300 percent increase in annual recurring revenue.
The Onymos Features-as-a-Service platform enables rapid, high-quality and affordable application development and innovation for enterprises across industries such as retail, healthcare, delivery, and digital media and entertainment. It has a full suite of over 20 foundational Features, including login, biometrics, chat, data storage, deep links, geo-services, and notifications. These Features can be easily added to new or existing applications and include the UI/UX, underlying logic that runs on the device, as well as server-side functions and integrations that process and store data in the cloud.
“We are thrilled to invest in Onymos’ continued growth and the expansion of its Features-as-a-Service platform,” said Gautam Krishnamurthi, partner at Great Point Ventures. “In today’s fast-paced digital world, enterprises must constantly innovate to meet the needs of evolving customer demands, as evidenced by the massive shift to digital in the last two-three years. Onymos has the solutions and capabilities enterprises require to develop these applications in a timely manner, without creating a burden to the enterprise.”
Today, new application development accounts for nearly 20 percent of enterprise IT budgets and timelines can vary greatly from a few months to a year or more. The time and effort spent on routine application maintenance can occupy 10-20 hours per week per developer, limiting their bandwidth and productivity for new innovation.
“Enterprises today are experiencing long development times, the ongoing burden of technical debt, and diminished returns on their investments in innovation,” said Shiva Nathan, Onymos founding CEO. “Onymos provides a solution that addresses these common challenges and enables engineering teams to focus on building true business value for their organizations. This financing round will allow us to expand our Feature capabilities and continue helping customers rapidly develop and launch best-of-breed applications in weeks instead of months.”
“We had determined that it would take our own developers months to build the basic functionality for our social shopping application. However, in the ever-changing fashion industry, we needed to launch our application quickly to keep up with trends,” said Jenny Cipoletti, founder of TIVVIT, a peer-to-peer social shopping app. “We started working with Onymos to leverage its innovative Features-as-a-Service platform, allowing our team to easily build the foundation for the application using its out-of-the-box Features like Access, Chat, Payments, and Notification. Ultimately, the platform was able to cut our development time by more than 60 percent and allowed us to focus on functionality that would redefine the social shopping space.”
Attentive, a conversational commerce platform that leverages text messaging to deliver personalized marketing campaigns, has launched Attentive Concierge to facilitate personalized conversations at scale.
Concierge empowers brands to create a true conversational commerce experience with their customers, by taking a dialogue-driven approach using SMS at every stage of the customer journey.
The platform is built to strengthen customer loyalty, drive revenue, scale two-way communications and reduce the CX backlog.
Personalized support through Concierge can come via first-name greetings and customized offers, and brands can better leverage customer data to power conversational messages throughout the purchase funnel, leading to increased transactions and higher conversion rates.
Additionally, the company provides 24/7 customer support via text, within the app to minimize friction around checkout. Attentive says the platform has enabled brands’ customer experience teams to reduce response time from two days to as little as two minutes.
According to a recent consumer survey from Attentive, 75 percent of consumers said they expect a direct response from a person when they interact with a brand. Concierge is built to meet that demand and recreate in-store assistance and experiences, by enabling store associates to answer customer questions, and providing authentic recommendations that are personalized to a shopper’s specific needs.
These mobile conversations are resulting in subscribers spending 50 percent more with a brand using Attentive Concierge.
Attabotics and Körber are entering into a strategic partnership to equip European companies with the former’s patented 3D storage and retrieval technology. The automated system features order picking at high speeds, including built-in sequencing and buffering, to operate within the footprint of an ultra-high-density storage structure.
Körber’s supply chain automation arm has been seeking innovative partners to jointly support European e-commerce companies that encounter order fulfillment challenges. Körber will be a reseller, integrator and implementation partner for the Attabotics solution throughout Europe.
Attabotics’ all-in-one fulfillment system condenses typical warehouse space by creating a single, vertical storage structure that uses 3D robotic shuttles internally to store and pick goods for workers on the outside perimeter to ship. This architecture can maximize the flexibility and speed of warehouse processes while maintaining a cost-effective and eco-friendly methodology.
Seko Logistics has teamed up with e-commerce logistics company MyFBAPrep as its preferred Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) partner. The new deal will include co-branded products and expands Seko’s offering to include Amazon FBA fulfillment services.
The partnership gives MyFBAPrep’s client roster of Amazon aggregators access to Seko’s global fulfillment warehouses and an additional 4 million square feet of new warehouse space globally.
In addition to adding to their U.S. footprint, Seko brings a network that reaches into Europe, Canada and the Asia Pacific regions. Seko will help support MyFBAPrep’s cross-border e-commerce expansion into additional markets including Australia, Japan and China. Each Seko warehouse is strategically placed close to major ports and airports, allowing for a maximum of 24-to-72-hour delivery windows facilitated via modern facilities run by talent with expertise in Amazon prep, e-commerce fulfillment and logistics solutions.
Already operating a global network of more than 50 warehouses and 7 million square feet of operating warehouse space, MyFBAPrep offers a suite of e-commerce third-party logistics (3PL) services including Amazon wholesale and private label, direct-to-consumer (DTC) fulfillment, and B2B retail.
MyFBAPrep moves more than $1 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) and processes over 10 million units annually.
Spanish footwear retailer Camper has partnered with AI-based demand forecasting and inventory planning solutions provider Invent Analytics to improve its omnichannel demand forecasting across its 400 stores, online channels and e-commerce marketplaces.
The partnership will help Camper enhance its forecast accuracy for multiple sales channels including stores, outlets, online and digital channels and e-commerce marketplaces. With Invent Analytics, Camper wants to leverage the technology’s retail demand forecasting capabilities to predict different product and location combinations for varying decision time windows.
“At Camper, we integrate physical and digital channels into an omni-channel retail format to deliver remarkable experiences to our customers at every point of their journey,” said Sito Luis Salas, Camper deputy CEO. “Their sophisticated AI-powered capabilities and deep know-how in the retail industry will help us to forecast better. Our goal is to do better inventory management across different channels and increase sales with more accurate demand forecasting.”
To achieve the highest forecast accuracy, Invent Analytics will consider variables such as customer information, product attributes and external factors like weather, tourism and competitors. As a result of this project, Camper says it aims to increase its inventory efficiency, optimize margins and better manage its sales optimization for its sophisticated omnichannel structure.
B2B online marketplace Faire extended $60 million in credit to more than 6,000 new online and brick-and-mortar small business owners. The news comes a month after the company said it doubled its $400 million Series G, raising another $416 million in two subsequent rounds.
Through Open with Faire, a program specifically designed to provide new retailers with the necessary capital needed to source inventory, Faire has committed to ensuring new retail business owners can find success on opening day and beyond.
Open With Faire, which launched one year ago in North America, makes it possible for qualifying businesses to buy up to $20,000 in inventory on Faire, at zero interest, so they can stock their stores and hold onto cash for other essential business expenses like rent and payroll. By helping new business owners maintain a healthy cash flow, the program extends a retailer’s capital runway as it gets started, potentially leveling the playing field for underserved entrepreneurs.
In a blog post, the company cited a recent Federal Reserve survey, which revealed that in 2021, only 30 percent of companies that applied for financing received the total amount requested, down 20 percent from 2019. Faire also noted the Fed’s finding that businesses owned by people of color were the least likely to receive the total amount requested.
“Now more than ever, consumers are rallying around small businesses – choosing to support their favorite local shops to help create thriving communities,” said Lauren Cooks Levitan, Faire chief financial officer. “Inventory planning is a unique and often expensive element of opening a retail business, and we remain committed to ensuring these inspiring entrepreneurs start with a strong footing. We look forward to continuing to fuel their growth through programs like Open with Faire.”
Janel Andersen, owner of Berkeley, Calif.-based apparel boutiques Bird & Bean and Stitch + Sparrow, leveraged Open with Faire to open a second store location just six weeks after receiving credit from Faire.
“Having that credit line, along with thousands of brands to shop all in one place, really helped us get off the ground,” Andersen said. To date, Andersen has discovered over 700 brands through Faire.
This year, Faire launched Open with Faire in seven additional markets in the U.K. and Europe, including Italy, Spain, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the Nordics.
Tangiblee, a provider of enterprise-grade immersive shopping experiences, recently introduced the next generation of its Virtual Try-On (VTO) solution.
The VTO solution offers features such as Multi-SKU Bundling, Dynamic Lighting and Shadowing Optimization among others. The Dynamic Lighting and Shadowing Optimization capabilities enhance the lighting and shadows casted on a product so it matches the lighting conditions of the user image and environment. These circumstances are crucial in delivering a realistic try-on experience, especially when the product image is taken in completely different lighting conditions.
Lighting and shadowing optimization can happen automatically in the background using Tangiblee’s machine learning and computer vision algorithm stack.
Additionally, Tangiblee enables the creation of custom-generated product and lifestyle imagery, drawing on a massive library of high-quality photos. Other interactivity-focused features include Adjustable Silhouettes, Airline Carry-on view, and Compare To. Retailers can leverage all of these features, whether their catalogs range from 100 to 100,000 SKUs.
Tangiblee said it delivers augmented reality (AR) and interactive technology solutions designed to increase online sales for a wide variety of clients ranging from jewelry to home decor. The wider platform is designed to allow brands to create and curate a stylized customer experience with comprehensive analytics. It gives customers the ability to virtually try on items, compare sizes, or see how a product would look in their own space.
Visulon has released advanced 3D image management technologies to enhance faster adoption of 3D for apparel, footwear, fashion and sports brands. The technologies include a new 3D Plugin, a custom Viewer and cloud-based Image Compression for apparel and fashion.
The Vi3D tools incorporate a compression logic designed to optimize cloud performance, and leverage an algorithm to handle mesh layers and textures.
The Visulon platform compresses a 3D object to reduce the size of storage and transfer in the cloud and then expands the compressed file within the Vi3D viewer to its full original quality. Image Compression works with different 3D file formats and other common data types that are produced by 3D software like Browzwear, CLO, Kaledo, 3DMax, Modo and others. Visulon’s compression logic does not permanently alter original file settings.
Visulon’s 3D Plugin, designed in consultation with Browzwear, is built to eliminate the need to render manually, export, store and upload the product 3D images into Visulon using a secure file transfer or manual drag/drop methods. Since the plugin was released to Puma, a Visulon client, 30 designers have already mapped more than 1,200 3D product images, and their process innovation team is excited about this automation.
The new plugin supports the use of custom 3D poses. Knit tops or woven pants can have different 3D mapping configurations, and the plugin is designed to manage and save them.
Visulon’s 3DViewer is 100 percent cloud-based and designed to support numerous file formats, all while working with all browsers. It provides the ability to adjust camera position, lighting intensity and angles and allows rotation and autosave. It has user-specific settings to adjust field of view, camera light, distance, angle or ambient light.
AxleHire, an expedited urban last-mile delivery provider, is now providing last-mile delivery service for e-commerce fulfillment provider Radial. AxleHire currently provides service for Radial in major metros on both the East and West coasts.
After Radial sorts orders in their fulfillment centers, AxleHire transfers them to the closest regional sortation center, positioned close to the end consumer. AxleHire builds dense routes in real time using advanced routing algorithms and optimizes capacity via a heterogeneous driver fleet in order to provide Radial customers a fast and efficient delivery service.
AxleHire’s tech-forward delivery platform is built to support millions of daily transactions and scales to support seasonal and unplanned capacity surges. Currently, Radial says shippers who use AxleHire experience an on-time delivery (OTD) rate that exceeds 98.5 percent.
Potential expansion plans include several southeastern markets and northern California in the near future.
LiquidX, a global fintech platform for digitization, monetization and risk mitigation for working capital, trade finance and insurance assets announced a new funding rounding led by Broadridge.
Citi, one of the largest trade finance banks worldwide, is also participating in the investment.
The investments are designed to help LiquidX bolster its supply chain digitization and automation capabilities, which will deliver transformative efficiencies and value to all commercial users of the platform. LiquidX technology solutions, led by its InBlock technology platform, are built to help businesses better manage their trade assets across their entire life cycle.
LiquidX incorporates blockchain technology and machine learning analytics to enhance transparency, reporting and forecasting for financial professionals.