Retail Tech: Under Armour Rolls Out RFID to 400 Stores, Joor Integrates Vntana, Hot Topic Taps Signifyd
The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Under Armour /Nedap
In the first phase of the rollout, Under Armour aims to lay a scalable foundation, both operationally and technologically, for the program and to achieve accurate stock visibility in its stores in an effort to optimize item availability and efficiency gains in key day-to-day processes. The iD Cloud platform can give retailers real-time, item-level insights into their stock levels, and says it can determine the exact location of each item across stores.
The objectives for future phases of RFID are threefold: enhance Under Armour’s real-time view of inventory in stores to further drive operational efficiencies, leverage RFID to drive innovation in consumer experiences and identify opportunities to leverage RFID across the company’s supply chain.
By improving in-store accuracy through RFID, Under Armour wants to create a more seamless and connected shopping experience across all consumer touch points. With increased inventory visibility, tighter supply and demand alignment and investments in channel-agnostic technology, the athleticwear and footwear retailer believes it has a better chance to meet the consumer wherever and whenever they are.
Additionally, with RFID, Under Armour feels it can make stronger data-driven decisions to drive more profitable sell-through across retail.
“At Under Armour, we are focused on growing our direct-to-consumer (DTC) distribution channels,” said Bob Neville, vice president of global retail in a statement. “With that in mind, it is crucial that we invest in solutions that will improve the experience of our target consumer, the focused performer, when shopping at Under Armour. We don’t see RFID as a nice to have, we see it as vital to bringing the retail experience to the next level. We are excited to partner with Nedap to bring this to life in our stores around the world.”
Under Armour selected Nedap iD Cloud due to the platform’s scalability and simplified interface, as well as Nedap’s global presence . The RFID-based retail cloud platform is connected to more than 10,000 stores worldwide.
The acquisition is expected to strengthen Global-e’s offering and capabilities, allowing the Israel-based platform access to an additional addressable market of small merchants not currently eligible to use its services.
Global-e’s end-to-end, localized service has a mission to make global commerce “border agnostic.” The platform is designed to allow merchants to tailor the online shopping experience to the preferences and behaviors of shoppers in different markets to enhance and accelerate online sales and conversions. Perks include local pricing in more than 100 currencies, local messaging and a seamless checkout experience supported in more than 25 languages.
In leveraging Flow’s API-based technology, which caters to the SMB demographic, Global-e says it can now provide these sellers with both lightweight integration and advanced self-service capabilities, alongside data models and AI-algorithms for conversion optimization.
The acquisition is expected to allow Global-e to expand the scope of its exclusive relationship with Shopify to offer certain cross-border services to e-commerce giant’s more than 1.7 million customer merchants. Concurrent with this expanded relationship, Global-e agreed to issue to Shopify a warrant for approximately $70 million in Global-e shares. Shopify already bought 7.75 million shares in Global-e in the wake of its April IPO, acquiring a then-6.5 percent stake in the company.
The deal’s base consideration is approximately $425 million and adds up to approximately $75 million based on certain financial results in 2021, plus approximately $45 million in Global-e shares for certain assumed, performance-based vesting warrants for Flow shares.
Flow is expected to generate approximately $20 million in net revenue in calendar year 2021. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2022, subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approvals.
Digital River/Gorilla Group
Digital River , a global commerce, payments and marketing services, has partnered with B2B and DTC consultancy and services provider Gorilla Group to help brands expand their e-commerce operations.
With Digital River’s Global Seller Services now integrated within the Gorilla IQ solution for Adobe Commerce , both B2B and B2C brands now can leverage the e-commerce solution to expand to global consumers in weeks, the company says.
The integration with Gorilla’s proprietary quick-launch commerce solution is designed to reduces the risk and complexities of global expansion, while still bringing customers localized experiences.
Armed with APIs that provide a localized approach for payments, fraud mitigation, tax and compliance already built-in, brands can focus their efforts on features such customer experience and go-to-market strategy.
An Adobe Accredited Partner Solution, Gorilla IQ is built to offers onshore and cross-border options for both physical and digital products.
Headquartered in Minneapolis, Digital River partners with more than 2,100 global brands across the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Vntana has integrated its 3D and augmented reality (AR) e-commerce technology into the Joor wholesale management platform. With the partnership, Joor customers and their retail partners can view rich visual assets in 3D and AR.
This new integration allows brands to upload their existing 3D designs from programs like Browzwear, CLO, Keyshot, Modo and others and instantly see them on the Joor platform in 3D and AR. There is no additional work needed as Vntana’s algorithms can automatically optimize and convert files to meet web and mobile standards.
This new partnership comes as brands and fashion industry leaders are rapidly realizing the benefits of 3D and AR e-commerce in an effort to improve user experience, increase sales and reduce sample production.
Vntana says its 3D content management system (CMS) has helped double conversion rates and increase cart size by 60 percent. The solution’s headless architecture and API are built to allow technology partners to add 3D capabilities on the back end of their existing offerings, enabling platforms like Joor, PTC, and others to deploy 3D offerings to their customers with limited development time and expense. Vntana can also work directly with brands to upgrade their e-commerce experiences to include 3D.
Joor , which provides a SaaS-based platform built to allow brands and their retail partners to connect for wholesale discovery, planning and sales, used Vntana’s API to add 3D and AR capabilities to their platform. The Joor platform will make calls to the Vntana 3D cloud and will display the 3D and AR versions of each asset alongside the existing 2D imagery that is available on product detail pages. The imagery is automatically matched by style ID, so brands do not have any extra work to take advantage of this new functionality.
Vntana’s patented optimization algorithms can allow brands such as Deckers Brands, Staud and Diesel to use their existing 3D designs to create high-fidelity, fast-loading 3D assets that are automatically optimized for use across web, social media, advertising, game-engines and the metaverse . Brands across fashion, footwear, furniture, tools, sporting goods and more share and embed 3D and AR for sales and marketing use.
Product lifecycle management (PLM) provider Centric Software has acquired end-to-end retail planning solution provider Armonica Retail for an undisclosed sum.
Centric Software provides enterprise solutions to plan, design, develop, source and sell products across apparel, footwear, sporting goods, furniture, home décor, cosmetics, food and beverage and luxury to help them achieve strategic and operational digital transformation goals.
The cloud-native Armonica Planning solution includes features such as merchandise financial planning, range planning, assortment planning and buying, store allocation and replenishment, forecasting and vendor replenishment as well as wholesale planning and forecasting.
Armonica Planning complements the family of Centric products including Centric PLM and the Centric Visual Innovation Platform (VIP), Centric’s suite of digital boards.
As a combined company, Armonica and Centric want to enable companies to orchestrate an integrated process from planning to development to delivery to omnichannel sales. Under one roof, the businesses aim to deliver digital transformation so users can plan, visualize and execute based on real-time planning and actual feedback throughout the entire product lifecycle.
Armonica was founded in 2018 in Milan, Italy, by CEO Simone Pozzi and chief technology officer Riccardo Proni.
The deal comes as Centric unveiled the results from its partnership with international footwear, apparel and accessories manufacturing company Otabo. The full-service manufacturer, with a network of more than 50 factories, is geared to help smaller startups compete with big brands, and also assist larger sellers as they become more agile and efficient.
Otabo said it quickly outgrew spreadsheets, Word docs and emails as the engines of their product development process. The manufacturer selected Centric PLM as the vehicle to drive their digital transformation and increase their own efficiency. After implementation in 2020, Otabo says it offers transparency for both customers and vendors, with all product data now organized in one central location and workflows streamlined are redefined.
“Having that one source of truth, and being able to dissect all of the information in terms of materials, vendor costing and then tying all that together for design, gives the brands an understanding of the impact of their designs,” said Sabrina Finlay, CEO of Otabo, in a statement. “You have transparency into the decisions and the compromises that the brands are making in terms of costing and timeline. This is what PLM is enabling us to do. It’s changing a lot of things in regards to how fast we are, but also how we think about our business.”
Hot Topic and its sister brand BoxLunch operate with 700 store locations, but its two websites have seen significant online sales growth in recent years, burdening the brands with a manual fraud review process that resulted in many legitimate orders being mistakenly rejected.
The retailer replaced its manual rules-based assessment process across both brands with Signifyd’s Commerce Protection Platform to automate 100 percent of its orders.
Because nearly all online purchases are made by consumers previously seen across Signifyd’s Commerce Network, the commerce protection provider could recognize customers new to Hot Topic as legitimate customers. This further empowered the retail to turn those shoppers into “superfans,” rather than turn them away entirely.
Also, the machine learning models Signifyd offered enabled full order automation rather than Hot Topic’s previous manual review process, which could take up to 24 hours to process orders.
Order approval rates soared to over 99 percent, while 94 percent of previously declined orders were subsequently approved. After accurately separating fraudulent orders from legitimate ones, Hot Topic benefited from millions of dollars in found revenue as well as a better overall customer experience thanks to Signifyd’s Commerce Protection Platform.
“The more customer loyalty you earn, the greater fanbase you build,” said Hot Topic and BoxLunch CEO Steve Vranes. “But while we needed to automate order fulfillment for our customers to stay competitive, we couldn’t process the volume of online orders we were receiving while also feeling confident that we were filtering out fraud. So instead, we had to increase manual review before approving orders and that significantly delayed orders for loyal customers.”
Since partnering with Signifyd, Vranes said Hot Topic has reaped “a multi-million-dollar uplift” in annual revenue.
“That doesn’t even begin to capture the additional revenue we will gain from customers who had a great experience and are going to come back and shop more with us,” Vranes added. “And to do that well, we have invested in the best technology to transform every step of our customer experience.”
Shoppable, an e-commerce platform provider that built out a patented “universal checkout technology,” has launched Instant Shop, a new platform designed to allow a shop owner to create and launch an online custom branded shop in as little as 20 minutes.
Additionally, Instant Shop offers direct affiliate marketing sales features in an effort to protect seller commissions and improve follower engagement.
The new revenue channel is currently in an exclusive beta and available to those who sign up for the waitlist, available on the Shoppable website. Shoppable will give users priority access from the waitlist based on the depth and breadth of their following and their placement. Shoppable expects to fully launch Instant Shop in Spring 2022 after collecting user feedback and optimizing the platform for both shop owners and consumers alike.
Instant Shop drives commissions on sales through a white label e-commerce platform that does not require the shopper to redirect to a third-party website to place an order. The embedded white label solution can therefore eliminate most opportunities to lose a sale from broken links or coupon sites, earning the credit for their sales via “last-click” attribution, thus preserving sales and commissions.
Influencers, publishers and content creators can embed Instant Shop into an existing website or can use the solution as a stand-alone pop-up on the Shoppable domain with their brand name or username. Shop owners can develop their storefront using their own logos, colors and other branding components in the setup experience.
Instant Shop benefits from the catalogue Shoppable already maintains with major retailers and brands through its suite of services, including the power to process sales from multiple merchants in a single transaction and ship directly to consumers. Users can begin selling from the existing Shoppable catalogue or can import their own. In either scenario of use, retailers and DTC brands fulfill all orders, preventing influencers or shop owners from carrying inventory or managing product delivery and drop shipping.
Shop owners can also customize the storefront with images and social videos and can change and adjust the storefront at any time through the simple web-based portal. Product images, prices and item descriptions come directly from retailer catalogs, but shop owners can create various sections or shop categories based on interests, trends or brand partnerships.
Instant Shop extends sales data to shop owners while also offering campaign tracking and custom shop links that allow a consumer to complete a purchase from any number of retailers and in what the company says is as little as two clicks.
Instant Shop also provides shop owners web-based shop analytics and order data reports, providing an always-on dashboard of first-party sales data and insights outlining top selling products, top converting traffic sources and order conversion, among other things. Shop owners can then use those insights to inform content strategy, brand partnerships and shop assortment and selection in real time.
The shop owner will receive 100 percent of all earned commissions and any brand sponsorships and paid placements they sell or secure. Shoppable will offer multiple options for Instant Shop license packages.
Miva, a mid-market and enterprise e-commerce platform, has secured an undisclosed equity investment from Boston-based growth-focused private equity firm, Equality Asset Management. The company will continue to be led by CEO, Rick Wilson.
The platform is designed to equip retailers, wholesalers and distributors with the tools and capabilities needed to scale their e-commerce operations.
The company aims to improve the agility of its B2B and DTC customers at every step of the sales journey by integrating with existing systems, delivering curated shopping experiences and creating a customizable online store for direct sales.
First Analysis acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Miva for the transaction. Sheppard Mullin LLP acted as legal advisor to Miva. Goodwin Procter LLP acted as legal advisor to Equality.
Bolt , an e-commerce platform provider known for what it calls “single sign-on checkout” capabilities for retailers, has acquired Tipser, a Swedish-based checkout technology, to help roll out its newest feature, Remote Checkout. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
Tipser’s “embedded commerce” technology is designed to allow consumers to purchase products natively on any surface—whether that be an online publication, a mobile marketplace, a price comparison site, a social media platform or a search engine. This type of feature is becoming more popular in the wake of livestreaming and other social commerce innovations such as Instagram Shop .
In a release, Bolt cited the Pew Research Center, highlighting that 84 percent of shoppers look for insights on at least one social media platform before purchasing. The checkout provider also pointed to data from Inmar Intelligence, which said that 52 percent of socially engaged shoppers have initiated a purchase through a social platform.
Bolt will build upon Tipser’s technology, including its publisher marketplaces, touchless merchant integrations and headless implementation capabilities to enhance the newly launched Remote Checkout solution.
With both the Tipser platforms and the Bolt SSO Commerce in tow, Remote Checkout is built to enable publishers who struggle to build direct relationships with their consumers to leverage Bolt’s one-click account creation and tap into a new network of shoppers. With SSO Commerce, shoppers can already access one-click checkout with a single account across all participating merchants, such as Forever 21 , Lucky Brand, Casper and Badgley Mischka, instead of redirecting them to another site.
The launch of Bolt’s Remote Checkout enables shoppers to check out directly and safely at any point of inspiration, whether that’s on a content website, a social network or a shopping app.
Publishers and creators can monetize traffic by offering their visitors an instant in-app or onsite one-click checkout and ideally convert these visitors into loyal shoppers, instead of sending them away to other sites via affiliate links.
Additionally, merchants use the checkout to potentially boost conversion rates while ramping up revenue and account creation via the Bolt network, all while being able to receive and manage orders from multiple channels (as if the remote checkout is taking place natively on their websites).
Now, both the shoppers in the Bolt network, alongside publishers like Bustle, The Zoe Report, W Magazine, Elle, Cosmopolitan and InStyle can build direct relationships with their visitors by unlocking SSO Commerce, turning anonymous visitors into logged-in account holders.
“BDG partnered with Tipser earlier this year to launch a pioneering commerce initiative across our sites that allows our readers to seamlessly transact on our content through a native checkout. Tipser’s platform has been instrumental in providing us with an elevated shopping experience for our readers,” said Jason Wagenheim, President and CRO at BDG (formerly known as Bustle Digital Group). “We clearly see the benefits of adding Bolt’s one-click checkout and account creation capabilities to what we have already built with Tipser, and we are so excited to expand our commerce offering in 2022 for our readers and retail partners alike.”
With this acquisition, Bolt says it will soon be powering one-click checkouts on remote surfaces throughout the U.S., Canada, the U.K, and all E.U. territories. In fact, Tipser’s presence in Sweden will now also serve as Bolt’s European headquarters to go with the company’s recent announcement of expanding into Europe.
Fabric , a “headless commerce” product that leverages APIs to help merchants build and customize online customer experiences, has introduced Fabric Marketplace. The offering is built to increase the number of products available to brands and merchants to sell, and provide them with an end-to-end drop shipping solution.
Fabric Marketplace allows merchants of all sizes to connect with any vendor, as well as launch, operate and scale curated marketplace programs. On the brand side, the seller won’t need to pay any warehousing costs and can minimize last-mile costs since their is no need to warehouse the goods. Items ship directly from Fabric Marketplace vendors to customers.
Faisal Masud, Fabric’s CEO, said in a statement that historically, brands have not prioritized assortment expansion via marketplaces due to loss of control with customer experience. However, in allowing both drop shipping and third-party selling through the marketplace, Masud said brands and retailers can regain control.
Within Marketplace, self-serve supplier onboarding tasks are carefully designed so that they are easy to complete and provide maximum education and integration capabilities to both new and experienced drop ship trading partners.
The merchandising engine is built to validate supplier product attributes, imagery and pricing data, enabling merchants to receive consistent and reliable product information. Transactions are automated via in-house EDI, API or through any official integrations with leading storefront, OMS, and/or ERP platforms. Finally, compliance and exceptions management utilities provide full visibility into the timely delivery of orders ensuring the best possible customer experience.
Together, these features can provide merchants with quicker setup, added merchandising options, visibility into order management and fulfillment, and a 24/7 view of vendor fill times, unit economics, delivery times and inventory updates.
Merchants have more control to create and manage a custom, curated product offering that complements and enhances their existing assortment.
“At Modsy, we are experts at interior design and product sourcing. Having a broad range of vendors and items to meet our customer’s needs is critical to our success,” said Shelly Gardner, vice president of marketplace at Modsy, a leading online interior design service. “Fabric Marketplace makes expanding our curated product selection easy, which gives us more options to present in our designs. We have a diverse customer base with a broad aesthetic range and budget expectations. They aren’t settling for a ‘close to but not perfect’ design, so we rely on Fabric Marketplace to allow us to create ‘wow’ designs filled with curated products unique to them.”