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Retail Tech: Bloomreach Acquires Exponea, Bambuser Raises $60 Million

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

Digital commerce

Bloomreach/Exponea

Commerce experience solutions provider Bloomreach has acquired Exponea, a customer data and experience platform, for an undisclosed sum. As part of the deal, Bloomreach aims to combine its e-commerce search and content services with Exponea’s customer data platform and marketing automation capabilities to create and offer an integrated product.

Working together, the companies plan to accelerate the speed of execution for businesses to create, personalize, and optimize commerce experiences. and accelerate revenue growth for both B2C and B2B brands.

In particular, the integrated platform would leverage the new customer and product data for Bloomreach’s real-time, AI-based recommendations, and actions designed to allow clients to drive purchases and loyalty.

Bloomreach’s content management component lets customers build websites, while the search powers the search box, navigation and merchandising. These sites are powered by an underlying data analysis engine that matches data to people and people to products. With Exponea in tow, marketers can target and personalize their marketing messages across multiple channels.

Under the acquisition, Bloomreach gains 200 additional employees from Exponea to add on to its approximately 300 now. The company also gains 250 net new customers, giving it a total of 750.

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Alongside the acquisition, Bloomreach procured $150 million in investments from Sixth Street Growth to fuel the growth of its flagship digital commerce experience platform Bloomreach Experience (brX), an API-driven digital experience cloud that combines AI-driven search and merchandising. The latest funding values Bloomreach at more than $900 million. Benjamin Johnston, managing director of Sixth Street Growth, will join Bloomreach’s board of directors.

Accenture/Businet

Global professional services and consulting firm Accenture has acquired Businet System, a developer and operator of more than 60 Salesforce Commerce Cloud-based e-commerce sites in Japan, with a proprietary order management system (OMS) for the apparel and retail industries. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Businet System’s 40 employees will join Accenture Interactive in Japan.

“As Covid-19 continues to drive lifestyle changes in Japan, consumer purchasing behavior is undergoing a major shift. To better understand consumer needs and gain a competitive advantage, retailers need to provide more personalized experiences by digitizing the customer interface across a variety of devices,” said Atsushi Egawa, market unit lead at Accenture Japan. “Through the acquisition of Businet System, Accenture is strengthening its e-commerce services, from strategy to system design, development and operation, to help our clients grow their businesses.”

Businet System’s proprietary OMS works with Salesforce Commerce Cloud and has been implemented at clients across industries.

Combined with Accenture’s broader global ecosystem, including its long-standing strategic relationship with Salesforce, this acquisition is designed to help clients of both Accenture and Businet reimagine their e-commerce business around delivering exceptional experiences for their customers.

PLM/3D design

Centric Software

Centric Software has released the Dassault Systèmes Solidworks 3D connector to extend its computer-aided design (CAD)-agnostic approach with integration to multiple 3D design and development solutions.

This new connector comes on the heels of multiple innovations in 3D PLM including connectors to other 3D environments such as Browzwear, Optitex, and soon to come with CLO. Like Centric’s existing 3D connectors, the Solidworks connector gives 3D designers and product teams access Centric PLM from Solidworks and vice versa.

The Solidworks and Centric PLM integration helps companies eliminate manual processes and time-consuming data entry, and centralize all creative, technical and production-related details relevant to the product lifecycle. Users can access 3D models in Centric PLM for previews, reviews and use in sales and marketing collateral to speed time to market.

The Solidworks/Centric PLM connector could also be used to integrate CAD functions, automate certain tasks, deploy revisions and improve communication between design, engineering and suppliers.

Centric’s Browzwear 3D 2.0 update includes bill of materials (BOM) integration, enabling designers to automatically create a BOM for a new style in Centric 8 by checking in its completed Browzwear 3D design file.

Centric PLM will use its libraries to generate a BOM matching materials, colors and quantities used in the 3D design, which designers can edit as necessary.

CGS BlueCherry

Los Angeles-based apparel and lifestyle company Michael Stars selected the BlueCherry Enterprise Suite of cloud-based solutions, including BlueCherry Merchandise Planning, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), BlueCherry Next Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and BlueCherry B2B and B2C eCommerce API.

The suite will handle the brand’s manufacturing process from garment dye, to cut and sew through wholesale and e-commerce channel support.

“From designer-friendly integrated PLM to robust, integrated planning tools, our changing business requires a seamless solution” said Jeff Busse, chief financial officer of Michael Stars. “With the BlueCherry solutions’ comprehensive features that are essential to current and future needs, and a team with extensive industry knowledge and experience, Michael Stars has found a partner in CGS to help deliver our apparel and accessories from design-to-consumer.”

The Enterprise Suite provides clients with comprehensive digital supply chain management solutions, available both in the cloud and on-premises, to drive fundamental business processes.

Filson/Gerber Technology

Filson, an outfitter and manufacturer of comfortable outdoor apparel, leveraged Gerber Technology’s cloud-based product lifecycle management (PLM) system, YuniquePLM, to ensure a smooth transition to a remote working environment for its product development and design teams.

Four years ago, Filson digitally transformed their development process by integrating YuniquePLM into their workflow, so the company was ready when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. When it was time to pack up the office and transition to remote working, Filson was able to do so quickly without any issues, the company said.

“When we were looking to implement a PLM solution, the head of IT said YuniquePLM was the Cadillac of PLM systems. It’s the best solution on the market,” said June Evans, director of technical design at Filson. “We ultimately chose YuniquePLM because of how easy it is to use and the integration with AccuMark. YuniquePLM is an incredible asset and has helped tremendously over the last several months as we all adjusted to working remotely.”

Prior to YuniquePLM, Filson was using Excel for tech packs and other manual processes. All of their information was stored on a local server, which made collaboration and product development difficult as they had to ensure data was updated in multiple places. Through integration with AccuMark, Gerber’s CAD pattern design software, YuniquePLM enabled Filson to streamline the entire design and development process while improving collaboration, minimizing errors, and allowing them to easily transition to remote work.

Filson leveraged one-on-one sessions with the Gerber Consulting team to fully implement YuniquePLM in “just a few weeks.” In addition to their product development team, several other departments, including sales, marketing, customer service, and engineering, are leveraging YuniquePLM to gain access to product data and information. Filson says it can onboard new users into YuniquePLM in as little as half an hour.

Payments

NuOrder

B2B e-commerce platform NuOrder has introduced NuOrder Payments, enabling its brands to now accept credit card payments directly in their wholesale platforms without having to go through a third-party payment gateway or process payments over the phone.

“Before making the move to NuOrder Payments, we were manually storing customer credit card numbers and keying them into a machine in the offices,” said Umair Valoria, business manager at Three Layer Sportswear. “Orders now come in with a credit card on file which has helped us process more orders and saved us so much time on admin work. On top of all this we are confident that our customers’ data is secure and protected.”

NuOrder Payments aims to support and streamline the wholesale ordering process for retailers and brands alike, offering both click-to-purchase and pay later experiences. Using the platform, brands can manage payments for both immediate or pre-book orders, without risking the delays or cancelled orders associated with the traditional invoicing process.

The platform benefits more than 500,000 retailer buyers with a simplified checkout experience that allows them to complete payments in the same system where they are placing orders. Retailers can also store multiple credit cards in a digital wallet for purchasing across NuOrder’s network of more than 3,000 brands.

Additionally, after conducting a service fee audit of its customers and finding that brands are paying higher than necessary rates NuOrder said that Payments offers “the most competitive rates in the industry.”

To handle increasing global privacy regulations and security risks, NuOrder Payments also provides brands with a SOC2 and PCI compliant solution that includes machine learning and AI-powered fraud prevention, payment routing optimization and data encryption.

Vistaprint/PayPal

Online printing and design services company Vistaprint has partnered with PayPal to bring touch-free payments to small business owners throughout the U.S. Through this collaboration, Vistaprint is enabling customers to leverage PayPal’s touch-free payment solution through a collection of customizable Vistaprint marketing products bearing their unique QR code.

Vistaprint and PayPal have initially introduced this small business solution in the U.S. with plans to launch similar online offerings for customers to create their own customizable touch-free payment marketing materials across key markets in North America and Europe throughout 2021.

Vistaprint conducted a survey of 500 small business owners in the retail and food service sectors, with 52 percent of respondents saying they added touch-free QR code payment options as a direct response to the pandemic and plan to keep it in place long term. Furthermore, 42 percent of the small business owners polled believed of all the pandemic pivots they have made, touch-free payment is among the most important to their customers.

Business software

SAP

SAP has merged its two separate marketplaces—the SAP App Center for partners and the SAP Store for SAP solutions—into one consolidated entity, now just called SAP Store, which is available at store.sap.com.

The consolidated SAP Store introduces new capabilities, including a unified home page and intelligent search functionality, which bring together all of SAP’s digitally available solutions from SAP Store with more than 1,700 partner apps previously available through SAP App Center. The guided search enables customers to use the same natural sentence structure as they would when speaking to a live sales agent, which can reduce the need for repeat searches.

Within the marketplace, partner solutions certified by SAP and SAP Endorsed Apps continue to be prominently noted with visual identifiers. Customers can still browse the marketplace by industries, categories, SAP products and lines of business. The category menu is updated to include additional solution areas, SAP says.

“The merging of SAP’s two marketplaces into one storefront is important to the success of the platform,” IDC research director Frank Della Rosa said in a statement. “The ability to discover SAP and partner solutions side by side is valuable to customers. The guided search also is vital to those seeking solutions via SAP Store, and the clean design and intuitive site navigation make discovery quick and frictionless at a time where speed and agility are critical success factors.”

Additional new features include product pages that can be saved in a personalized favorites section that is designed to make it easier to compare and contrast with other offerings, as well as tips for search filtering, in which search results pages suggest next-best steps and popular features.

Category landing pages show customer reviews of SAP and partner solutions, with authentic quotes and ratings. SAP’s goal is to provide a new experience tailored to the shopping experience, whether the buyer is purchasing for personal use or for a large enterprise.

Frictionless checkout

UST

Digital transformation solutions company UST launched the UST Walk-In, Walk-Out frictionless shopping solution, a contactless in-store retail experience designed to allow shoppers to walk into a store, grab their items and immediately walk out.

The technology is being piloted with Retail Business Services, the services company of grocery operator Ahold Delhaize USA, as well as within another unnamed European grocery retailer. UST is implementing this end-to-end frictionless shopping solution for grocery retailers, convenience stores, cafeterias, and grab-and-go food stores at airports and universities—in markets across the U.S., Asia, and Europe.

Retailers can integrate the Walk-In, Walk-Out tech with other technology solutions that UST offers such as UST Healthy Store, UST Chatbot and UST RapidCEL, among others.

The technology behind UST Walk-In, Walk-Out is a unified integration of artificial intelligence, sensors and cameras working together to enable the core features. Customers enter the store by scanning a QR code in the mobile app, selecting desired items from the shelves, and thereafter exiting the store, receiving their digital receipt. The solution implemented by UST can be installed and functional in a little as eight weeks, the company says.

Livestreaming

Bambuser

Bambuser has raised $60 million in new funding via the completion of a directed share issue.

The raise will enable Bambuser to expedite further development of its Live Video Shopping technology and speed expansion to additional verticals and markets. The deal with new and existing investors brings the total funding received since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic up to more than $100 million.

Among the new investors is Anders Holch Povlsen, the CEO of Bestseller and the largest shareholder in Asos and Zalando. Existing investors participating in the round include Lancelot Asset Management AB and Swedish technology investment firms TIN Fonder and Handelsbanken Fonder. Along with the investment, Povlsen will now have a seat on Bambuser’s board.

Bambuser officially launched its U.S. and U.K. headquarters in September. The U.S. is now the company’s largest market.

The directed issue, in which 50,000 to 60,000 new shares of Bambuser will be passed on to shareholders, is expected to be approved by the board of directors at an extraordinary general meeting on Feb. 12, 2021.

Social selling

Replika Software

Replika Software, which helps brands empower their networks of social sellers to inspire and sell online, has completed its Series A financing round with LVMH Luxury Ventures and L’Oréal BOLD, both investment arms of their parent companies.

The funding will enable Replika to aggressively expand its global footprint of brands and industries. The company plans to continue investing in its technology, introduce new features and add to their team to support the adoption of the platform.

Replika’s relationship with LVMH started in 2019 when the group discovered and selected the solution to be highlighted at the Vivatech Innovation Awards.  The company was invited to participate in LVMH’s accelerator, “La Maison des Startups,” at Station F and their business relationship has continued to expand ever since, with deployments in both Europe and the U.S.

Though Replika is currently focused on online sales for fashion and beauty clients, the company seeks to expand into other industries like healthcare, entertainment, travel and electronics in the future, Replika’s co-founder Corey Gottlieb said in a statement.

Shipping

Kidizen/Sendle

Kidizen, a resale platform for children’s fashion with more than 700,000 U.S. active users, is partnering with Sendle to help sellers streamline their shipping operations and reduce the industry’s environmental impact.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to help people live more sustainably through buying and selling quality, secondhand fashion,” said Dori Graff, co-founder and CEO at Kidizen. “With Sendle, we have a national shipping partner to help our sellers manage their delivery in a seamless, yet highly affordable and eco-friendly way. That’s something that perfectly aligns with the values shared by the Kidizen community.”

With Sendle’s integration, Kidizen sellers can print shipping labels directly from their dashboard, giving them a streamlined way to manage orders and book package delivery across the U.S. Sendle gives small businesses an affordable shipping service with flat-rate pricing that can take the headache out of calculating shipping costs.

Sendle, which is a 100 percent carbon-neutral shipping carrier and a Certified B-Corporation, offsets the emissions from every single package shipped, and invests in high-impact environmental projects including forest regeneration in Australia and the U.S.’s Lower Mississippi Valley.

With Sendle’s integration, Kidizen sellers can print shipping labels directly from their dashboard, giving them a streamlined way to manage orders and book package delivery across the U.S. Sendle is designed to offer small businesses an affordable shipping service with flat-rate pricing that can take the headache out of calculating shipping costs. No warehouses are required to work with Sendle.

The partnership builds on Sendle’s existing e-commerce marketplace integrations with Etsy, WooCommerce, Shopify and EBay, each designed to make the shipping experience seamless for small businesses, no matter where they sell.

Mobile apps

Poq/Essential Accessibility

Mobile application developer Poq has partnered with Essential Accessibility, a provider of an “Accessibility as a Service (AaaS)” platform to offer retailers and brands the chance to ensure their mobile apps are accessible to all shoppers with disabilities.

The Essential Accessibility platform is aimed at helping organizations enhance the customer experience for people with disabilities, maintain conformance with the Web Content Accessibility (WCAG) guidelines and follow best practices for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. The partnership will offer retailers and brands integrated accessibility on-demand to test and remediate mobile apps built on the Poq app commerce platform.

Poq clients will be able to access the platform’s streamlined accessibility testing, audit, and remediation functionality; video captioning and transcription management capabilities; training modules; and, system of record to demonstrate legal intent. It will also provide a recognizable icon to denote the use of assistive customer experience and communications support technologies within Poq apps.

Online checkout

SamCart

SamCart, an e-commerce platform designed for direct-to-consumer brands with only a handful of products to promote and sell, raised a $10 million Series A funding round led by TTV Capital, bringing its total funding to $13 million.

Demand for SamCart’s solution has soared during Covid-19, with the company stating it experienced high double-digit growth in 2020, closing the year with more than 14,000 customers and more than $500 million in sales processed through the platform.

The Series A will allow SamCart to invest in marketing efforts, as well as staff recruitment in Austin, Texas, and the Washington, D.C., area to support company and customer growth.

The SamCart platform is built around individual products, providing brands with the capabilities to create sites that showcase those products and ideally increase the value of each purchase, instead of encouraging consumers to browse through hundreds of products.