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Retail Tech Roundup: Vtex Nabs $225M Funding, Untuckit Deploys Sezzle

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

Order management

Vtex

Vtex, an integrated commerce marketplace order management system, has raised $225 million in a Series D funding round, raising the company’s valuation to $1.7 billion.

Vtex said it will use funds from the latest round to make acquisitions, hire additional talent, innovate its platform and accelerate growth in U.S., European and Asia-Pacific markets. The company now powers more than 3,000 online storefronts for retailers such as Walmart and global brands like AB InBev, Coca-Cola, Motorola, Nestlé, Sony, Stanley Black & Decker and Whirlpool.

The round comes amid a high growth year for Vtex, which expects to close 2020 with a 114 percent increase in year-over-year growth and a record $8 billion in gross merchandise volume. The company’s collaborative commerce platform, which integrates digital commerce, native marketplace and order management capabilities, has seen 98 percent growth in platform adoption during the pandemic.

The funding, led by public market technology investors Tiger Global and Lone Pine Capital, and joined by Constellation, Endeavour Catalyst and SoftBank, brings Vtex’s total funding to $365 million in the last 10 months.

OneStock

British luxury apparel and accessories retailer Ted Baker partnered with OneStock in 2019 to enhance its omnichannel service and in the year since has fulfilled an extra 101,000 online orders, following an initiative that saw a proportion of orders packed and shipped by stores.

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Prior to implementing OneStock, items that could not be fulfilled by a distribution center were unavailable to Ted Baker’s e-commerce customers. The platform’s Ship From Store feature eliminated the dependency on distribution center availability and enabled orders to be fulfilled from store stock. The order orchestration capabilities from OneStock are designed to ensure customer demand is fulfilled in the most timely and efficient way, improving customer satisfaction while maximizing margin.

In December, 30,000 orders, or 13 percent of the retailer’s total U.K. e-commerce revenue for the period, were fulfilled by stores. Prior to the introduction of Ship From Store, these orders would have been lost. A peak of 4,059 orders were shipped by stores in a single day. Since implementing Ship From Store, each Ted Baker store is shipping more than 350 products per month.

During Black Friday last year, Ted Baker fulfilled more than 6,000 additional orders from store stock.

In addition to Ship From Store, Ted Baker leverages the company’s Click & Collect feature, which is also part of the OneStock OMS Cloud Suite. After just five months of offering the service, Click & Collect orders for Ted Baker multiplied six-fold.

OneStock’s orchestration engine uses sophisticated algorithms to search real-time stock inventory, first at warehouses and then at local stores, on a competitive basis enabling stores with stock to claim the order quickly and win the sale.

The retailer is now looking to expand its use of OneStock’s technology internationally.

Installment payments

Sezzle

Untuckit added “Buy now, pay later” platform Sezzle as its lone installment payments option ahead of the holiday season to meet growing demand from consumers who want to pay over time without incurring interest-bearing debt or fees.

The platform provider says its retail customers see an increase in conversion rate, basket size, customer satisfaction and rate of repurchase.

Today, more than 3 million U.S. customers use Sezzle at approximately 17,600 retailers three years after launching in the market.

Demand forecasting

Antuit.ai and PredictHQ

Antuit.ai and PredictHQ have formed a partnership to bring PredictHQ’s expanded and localized data sets, such as events, sports and severe weather, into Antuit.ai’s AI-powered demand forecasting.

As companies have had to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, many leverage localized event data and AI-assisted demand forecasting to inform inventory management and labor optimization strategies.

Antuit.ai CEO Craig Silverman noted that incorporating PredictHQ’s localized data into its demand forecasting solutions could further enhance the store/SKU/week level accuracy to further reduce out-of-stocks and excess inventory. This accuracy could improve store replenishment, order fulfillment, demand planning and pricing.

The Antuit.ai and PredictHQ partnership will see PredictHQ’s demand intelligence added into Antuit.ai’s predictive models for key customers. Antuit.ai’s AI Demand Forecasting feature will now include PredictHQ’s verified and intelligent event data, which can provide local context for every store about relevant demand catalysts such as sports (both nearby and televised), school holidays, academic events, severe weather and 14 more categories.

Robotic delivery

Starship Technologies

The Save Mart Companies has launched an on-demand grocery delivery service to its customers at the Save Mart flagship store and innovation lab in Modesto, Calif., in partnership with Starship Technologies.

Based in San Francisco, Starship Technologies recently passed the 500,000 autonomous deliveries milestone across 5 million streets worldwide.

The robots, each of which can carry up to 20 pounds of groceries—the equivalent of approximately three shopping bags—can travel up to four miles in a round trip and provide a safe, low-cost and contactless delivery alternative for Save Mart shoppers. This enables shoppers to order from thousands of items via the Starship app platform for on-demand delivery straight to their home.

The robots move at pedestrian speed and use a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence and sensors to travel on sidewalks and navigate around obstacles. The computer vision-based navigation helps the robots map their environment to the nearest inch. The robots can cross streets, climb curbs, travel at night and operate in both rain and snow. A team of humans can also monitor their progress remotely and can take control at a moment’s notice.

ERP

Zadig&Voltaire

French fashion brand Zadig&Voltaire is deploying Infor CloudSuite Fashion, a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Upgrading the IT system and streamlining business processes are the two main challenges of the Infor CloudSuite Fashion deployment project.

“As our teams are young, with a real appetite for digital, we wanted to move quickly so we could free our employees from many low value-added tasks and let them focus on their respective core businesses,” Fabien Delivré, IT director at Zadig&Voltaire, said in a statement. “We set up an internal sponsorship system for the project as soon as it started in January 2020. This enabled us to involve the finance department, the operations department and around 30 key users who were able to take part in the various workshops and became our ambassadors to the directors of the various departments.”

More than 250 users will use the solution to help define offers, collections and sales, managing purchases and suppliers, associating orders, allocating goods and orchestrating the supply chain.

Zadig&Voltaire is also working internally on the implementation of a data hub that will be interfaced with all IT solutions, while a gradual data switchover is planned between January and April 2021.

The fashion brand offers two major collections per year, with five new products arriving between these two high points and 10 capsule collections throughout the year.

Livestreaming

Bambuser

Lingerie brand Etam partnered with Bambuser to enable live shopping during its annual Live Show event, which streamed on Sept. 29.

The year’s show, themed “Glamour, Rhinestones and Sequins,” turned Paris’ Boulevard Haussmann into a socially distanced catwalk. Audiences viewing the live stream were taken “backstage,” where they got an insider’s view of models and celebrities as they prepared for the show. Once the models “left” the catwalk, the audience could purchase looks from the catwalk via Bambuser’s interactive Live Video Shopping technology.

Stockholm-based Bambuser also announced it is establishing companies in the U.K. and U.S., with new offices in London and New York respectively.

Etam’s partnership with the Lafayette Plug and Play retail business acceleration platform has enabled the brand to fast track the live video shopping solution with Bambuser.

Fraud protection

Signifyd/Shopify

Signifyd now offers liability-shift fraud protection through the Shopify Plus Certified App program, expanding integration options for enterprise brands and retailers looking to maximize conversions while shielding their businesses from fraud and consumer abuse.

By completing Shopify’s certification process, which assesses vendors’ performance, support, security and privacy protections, Signifyd opens up a way for merchants to automate order flows, while optimizing revenue, avoiding chargebacks and future-proofing their enterprises’ payments systems.

The integration expands on a six-year partnership for Signifyd and Shopify. Together, the companies contributed to the success and dramatic growth of enterprise brands and retailers such as La Jolla Group (O’Neill, Spiritual Gangster, PSD Underwear) and underwear retailer Mack Weldon.

Signifyd’s Commerce Protection Platform helps retailers maximize conversion, automate customer experience and eliminate fraud and consumer abuse, while offering a 100 percent financial guarantee on approved orders.

The platform provides three primary solutions that shift the worry and financial liability away from retailers and on to Signifyd, including: revenue protection, which automates order review while instantaneously sifting fraudulent orders from legitimate ones; abuse prevention, which prevents financial losses from consumers intending to take advantage of corporate policies; and payments compliance, which future-proofs a merchant’s payment systems in the face of evolving regulations, such as PSD2 in Europe.