The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Checkpoint Systems/Partner Tech Europe
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Checkpoint Systems, a provider of RFID and RF technology solutions, has joined forces with POS solutions manufacturer Partner Tech Europe to develop a new generation of self-service checkouts (SCOs).
The Fashion RFID SCO features Checkpoint’s RFID technology integrated into Partner Tech Europe’s POS terminal. The solution allows shoppers to place their garments directly in the kiosk and automatically identifies the RFID tags, determining whether the garment has been paid for or not. The new solution is designed to create a frictionless retail environment that enables customers to check out quickly, while prioritizing loss prevention.
Fashion RFID SCO will also allow apparel retailers to tackle challenges they currently face in self-service checkout areas. This includes detecting theft, the identification of multi-packs, multiple items, non-barcoded items, non-readable QR codes and the inconvenience caused by technical issues.
The intelligent solution will deactivate soft tags when a payment has been verified, reducing false alarms and improving loss prevention. With the shopper placing items into an area on the checkout desk, barcode scanning issues are also instantly removed, speeding up the payment process and enhancing the customer experience.
The new RFID-based SCO can also provide more accurate data about individual purchases, that, when combined with inventory information, can help stores replenish merchandise quicker and reduce out-of-stock scenarios. Checkpoint cited a study from Auburn University indicating that implementing RFID and increasing stock accuracy levels to above 93 percent can lift sales by 9 percent.
Other Partner Tech solutions include Alfred, a compact and modular self-checkout for multiple retail segments which includes an “all-in-one” touch POS, intelligent three-light and video camera, Ace self-checkout for grocery and general retail with advanced security and frictionless shopping features and Bora Bora, the futuristic SCO developed in 2022, which includes holographic touch, as well as integrating all the traditional components such as a scanner, printer and payment terminal.
The Fashion RFID SCO will be available in a range of sizes and colors, enabling stores to tailor the solution to meet their needs.
Walmart Commerce Technologies has collaborated with digital services and consulting firm Infosys to help merchants implement and use the retail giant’s Store Assist app. The app helps retailers offers omnichannel fulfillment experiences such as pickup, delivery and ship from store for both employees and customers.
The Store Assist app is built on the same fulfillment technology that Walmart stores use, giving retailers access to decades of company’s operating expertise. With Store Assist, retailers can better optimize in-store fulfillment by increasing picking accuracy, speed and efficiency. Store associate productivity can be enhanced through order queueing, multi-order batch picking and prioritized pick paths, all enabled in the Store Assist app.
It also provides a “handoff” experience between employees and customers, Walmart says, whether they’re picking up orders in-store or curbside, having them shipped or getting last-mile delivery—while letting businesses control their customer experience.
Store Assist is a lightweight, cloud-based, API-first solution that integrates into a retailer’s existing Commerce or OMS platform, including dedicated integrations with out-of-the-box capabilities for Salesforce and Adobe customers.
“Infosys is a trusted partner to businesses that are navigating their digital transformation,” said Sunil Kumar, vice president and general manager of Walmart Commerce Technologies. “We are excited to have Infosys help streamline implementation of the Store Assist app and to serve as a trusted system integration team for our customers.”
ShipStation, a cloud-based e-commerce shipping solution, has partnered with online marketplace SaaS technology provider Mirakl. The partnership will integrate ShipStation into the Mirakl Connect ecosystem, granting merchants access to enhanced shipping processes on online marketplaces.
Merchants in the Mirakl Connect ecosystem can now access ShipStation through a direct integration. In parallel, ShipStation merchants can now access Mirakl Connect, an ecosystem of high-quality, vetted global brands and marketplace partners.
Within the ecosystem, ShipStation merchants get access to Mirakl’s more than 350 marketplace channels and selling tools, with the ability to seamlessly retrieve and print order labels through their ShipStation accounts. As a result, merchants can better equipped to build and grow their multi-marketplace businesses, and marketplace operators can provide better customer experiences thanks to accurate, real-time shipping updates.
ShipStation and Mirakl’s integration gives merchants the selling tools to import orders and export tracking numbers between the two solutions, streamline shipping operations for purchases made on Mirakl marketplaces and scale their business workflows to multiple marketplaces.
Local delivery platform Evermile has raised $6 million in a seed funding round led by 10D with participation from Mensch Capital Partners and angel investors. Through its platform, Evermile aims to simplify and automate complex delivery operations and make enterprise-grade logistics accessible to owner/operator-led SMBs.
The company has built an optimization engine that is designed to leverage mobility-driven algorithms and AI aggregation models to reduce delivery costs by 30 percent to 50 percent and change the unit economics of local delivery for small businesses. Evermile already has partnered with more than 300 local merchants across the U.K. including a variety of pharmacies, flower shops, wine stores, local bakeries and more. The funding will be used to expand to new markets globally.
Local merchants often faced two challenging scenarios: manage external delivery vendors themselves or build their own in-house delivery fleet, both of which can expensive, complex and time-consuming. Evermile offers a third route; access to a single delivery platform that strives to power delivery needs in a simple, flexible, customizable and cost-effective manner.
Evermile changes the unit economics of local delivery and cuts delivery costs for these businesses and the millions of customers who want to continue buying locally.
Evermile harnesses advanced machine-learning and mobility-grade optimization technology, having built a network of delivery companies and matching merchants to the right partner for each delivery task.
The proprietary algorithms analyze order preferences and constraints, including locations, distance to delivery, the type of goods and the customer’s preferred timescale to receive their purchases ranging from on-demand, next day to custom or scheduled dates.
Through Evermile, local merchants can also benefit from each others’ delivery needs by forecasting deliveries that can be aggregated and initiating shared journeys. The company’s community approach further slashes costs by uniting local merchants to capitalize on the combined negotiating power of thousands of companies operating together.
Evermile claims it automates more than 80 percent of logistics tasks. Small businesses can set up an Evermile account in under five minutes, the company says, without requiring complex integrations, volume commitments or any agreements. The solution enables merchants to offer bespoke delivery services through mobile phone, tablet or computer.
Businesses can choose to use Evermile’s aggregation delivery service, in which multiple products are collected and delivered to different drop-offs, or they can participate in Evermile’s Deliver Together program, which allows local businesses to join together and choose a single pickup point for deliveries. Both options can offer local merchants a more eco-friendly, more cost-effective and more reliable delivery service than traditional methods.
Algolia launched Algolia NeuralSearch, a vector and keyword search within a single API that includes end-to-end AI processing in every query. Algolia NeuralSearch is built to understand natural language and can deliver accurate and relevant results in milliseconds, the company claims.
With a mission to revolutionize the way individuals engage with content online or in apps, Algolia says NeuralSearch can deliver higher conversion rates and increased revenue at enterprise scale.
The technology uses advanced Large Language Models (LLM)—the same technology underpinning ChatGPT and generative AI.
In an effort to achieve live production quickly, Algolia provides the setup, scaling and management of all search capabilities and services. Moreover, Algolia NeuralSearch is backward compatible, which means there is zero engineering required for customers to become AI-enabled.
Frasers Group, which encompasses an array of fashion apparel brands serving diverse audiences, was among the first Algolia customers to use Algolia NeuralSearch in a real world environment.
“We tested Algolia NeuralSearch with two of our brands (Missguided and I Saw It First), and were thrilled to see above a 65 percent drop in zero search results and up to a 17 percent uplift in conversion rates. These results, despite only sending a portion of our query traffic to Algolia NeuralSearch over a four-week period, exceeded our expectations,” said Kyle Sanders, head of digital optimization, Frasers Group, in a statement. “Notably, our existing search implementation seamlessly evolved to further improve our customers’ discovery journey and improve their experience on our website—all without having to make any changes to a single line of code. We are excited to see what the future holds with Algolia NeuralSearch.”
Algolia NeuralSearch analyzes the relationships between words and concepts, generating vector representations that capture their meaning in an abstract and contextual manner. Because vector-based understanding and retrieval is combined with Algolia’s full-text keyword engine, it works for exact matching too. Algolia NeuralSearch uniquely addresses an industry-wide problem with vector search: the inherent limitation to scale and the high burden of costs associated with using specialized computers.
“When we implemented Algolia NeuralSearch, the overall results have been amazing and have included a 9 percent increase in clickthrough rates and a 9 percent increase in the conversion rate,” said Rachel Maxwell, digital merchandising manager at Everlane. “We’re also finding our merchandisers are spending less time on manual tasks such as creating synonyms to optimize search results, and more time on more strategic work.”
To solve this problem, Algolia pioneered Neural Hashing, which compresses these search vectors from 2,000 decimal long numbers into static length expressions making computing them very fast and significantly more economical. Prior to Algolia’s proprietary breakthrough, vector-based search has been too computationally expensive to run in production.
“By adding Neural Hashing of vectors to its existing keyword-based search within a single index, leveraging a single API, Algolia has the potential to disrupt AI-powered search with significantly better precision and recall, in a manner that requires less manual work to set up and update, while incurring fewer storage and processing costs,” said Hayley Sutherland, research manager, IDC.
Most organizations only have the resources to optimize their search for a few popular queries. However, this can leave a significant amount of potential revenue on the table. According to Algolia CEO Bernadette Nixon, “long tail” search queries (such as “stunning fall outfit for mother of the bride”), could potentially represent up to 55 percent of all search queries today. These low volume searches could collectively amount to millions of queries corresponding to billions of dollars in unfulfilled sales of less popular or searched for products.
“This evolution from search to discovery through methods like vector search is significant for the e-commerce and retail industries due to its implications for product discovery use cases. In the retail world, long-tail searches—that is, less commonly used search terms that may not find exact keyword matches and return null results when queried—represent lost revenue when they return null results to users, forcing those potential customers to abandon searches and take their business elsewhere,” said Sutherland, in a statement. “Vector search has become popular in recent years due to its ability to provide customers with similar or related products when an exact match is not found, allowing customers to find relevant results using free-form natural language and helping to ensure their revenue does not go to competitors.”
Additionally, as the index changes, new products are added, new content is uploaded, or as terms take on new meaning, the AI-powered Algolia NeuralSearch product can learn and adjust automatically. It doesn’t require any additional headcount or manual operations. It will automatically match keywords or concepts—potentially a mix of both—depending on the query or search phrase.
BigCommerce, an e-commerce platform for B2C and B2B brands, unveiled the newest release of its B2B Edition, a suite of B2B functionalities that can enhance the online selling experience for suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers.
This latest release introduces the technology’s Multi-Storefront (MSF) compatibility, a modernized B2B buyer portal and headless support that brings together next-level B2B features into one solution. Large B2B brands worldwide now can have more power to modernize B2B e-commerce experiences to meet buyer expectations, drive conversions and build brand loyalty.
B2B Edition’s enterprise-grade capabilities are built to deliver the flexibility and customization B2B brands need to elevate online selling experiences and meet digitally native buyers where they are. The solution aims to turn legacy B2B practices into a modern, agile and nimble digital operation with a composable foundation ready to scale with the business.
With MSF, B2B brands can launch and manage multiple storefronts from a single BigCommerce back-end across brands, geographies and/or customer segments (e.g., B2B in addition to B2C) at a lower operational cost and complexity, which can further growth and scalability. Sellers can also leverage the buyer portal to provide modernized purchasing experiences that ideally would give buyers better control of their online shopping journey, encouraging repeat business and brand loyalty.
The new modernized buyer portal can automate administrative processes while streamlining the buyer-merchant relationship to more efficiently manage orders, quotes and workflows to reduce operational burden and influence customer loyalty and conversion.
With B2B Edition’s headless support, B2B brands have the advantage of microservices based, API-first, cloud-native SaaS and headless (MACH) architecture and composable elements to create and build agile storefronts that can be continuously improved as the business grows. B2B Edition is headless agnostic and can integrate into an existing BigCommerce HTML theme or CMS platform using the buyer portal API to further personalize the buyer purchasing experience.
The B2B Edition offers customized purchasing experiences, so that users can curate tailored purchasing experiences from a single back end based on a buyer’s specific region, industry vertical and needs, all while delivering a personalized B2C-style shopping experience.
Users can enable frictionless purchase experiences with preset price and shopping lists that buyers can configure, price and quote (CPQ), potentially saving time and influencing more conversions.
They can also create specific access points, such as by company or user, to view past company orders, quotes and lists in one place. Additionally, they can upload orders in bulk with the Quick Order Pad feature, which can make it easier for buyers to reorder, duplicate past orders or simply create new purchases based on past orders.
The platform can integrate into any BigCommerce Stencil storefront, or any headless platform connected to BigCommerce such as CMS platforms, and leverage the buyer portal API to further personalize buyer purchasing experiences.
Finally, users can speed up purchases with a mobile-friendly buyer portal for the digitally native buyer working from home or on the go with the handheld, smartphone or self-service transactions that have potential to accelerate time-to-purchase and ease the buyer journey.
Elastic Path, a headless commerce system that enables template-less e-commerce to be integrated into ERP systems, has acquired front-end-as-a-service company Unstack for an undisclosed sum. Unstack is a fully hosted product built to enable business teams and digital agencies to design and launch personalized shoppable landing pages and component-based front ends.
The acquisition is designed to provide merchandisers with an effective no-code front-end and the ability to launch a revenue-driving composable solution.
Unstack seeks to bring commerce, content and customer data together for business users to orchestrate unique front-end experiences that can drive business growth without reliance on IT. Using the platform, business teams can reduce implementation timelines with a merchandiser-friendly, no-code visual editor that powers personalized, data-driven experiences resulting in higher conversion rates and lower customer acquisition costs. With Unstack, teams can reduce the complexity of building composable solutions with one-click integrations that eliminate custom development work for key friction areas like tracking and analytics, hosted checkout and on-site personalization.
Elastic Path is an advocate for composable commerce and the belief that brands should be empowered to select the best-of-breed vendors that best fit their business. Unstack’s front-end-as-a-service will remain commerce platform agnostic, and will continue to support customers across all commerce platforms. There are currently one-click commerce integrations for both Elastic Path and Shopify.
The acquired solution offers more than 30 one-click integrations that can enable users to access tools including Elastic Path, Shopify, Klaviyo, Google Analytics, Segment, Salesforce and Meta.
With no-code visual editing, business teams can be empowered with the freedom to merchandise front-end experiences without reliance on IT.
Additional features enable users to drive conversion by leveraging first- and third-party data to create personalized experiences for shoppers, and maximize their conversion rates with A/B testing.
Unstack also offers revenue analytics that can inform user strategies and help increase their spend efficiency in real time with insight into which sources, keywords, experiences and campaigns are driving profitable outcomes.
Accenture has acquired Einr AS, a Norwegian business consulting company that specializes in high-volume logistics solutions. The consultancy says it uses SAP technologies to help optimize the flow of products from manufacturers to consumers.
The acquisition is designed to further enhance Accenture’s SAP capabilities, helping it accelerate supply chain reinvention for organizations within the retail and consumer electronics industries.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Once the acquisition is completed, Einr’s 42 employees will join the Accenture SAP Business Group in the Nordics. With specific competencies in retail and supply chain management, transportation management, warehouse management and assortment planning, Einr’s employees can help bolster Accenture’s SAP offerings in the market.
In bringing Einr’s SAP business consultants under its own umbrella, Accenture said it would further enhance our market position with clients and SAP in the Nordic countries.
GoBolt, a logistics solution provider that aims to build a sustainable, vertically integrated supply chain network, has unveiled a carbon calculator to calculate emissions from non-electric vehicle (EV) first-party deliveries. The company has also entered a formal partnership with Veritree, a verification platform built to connects nature-based technology solutions with companies ready to lead the restorative economy
Leveraging Veritree, GoBolt will support verified nature restoration projects to sequester those emissions. The Veritree platform includes merchant-level dashboards where each of GoBolt’s last-mile customers can view total trees planted, amounts of carbon sequestered and land reforested, as well as the specific areas in which it’s taking place.
GoBolt sought to reduce its carbon footprint with Veritree as it is a blockchain-based management system that provides transparency by connecting companies and planting partners. Because of its use of blockchain technology, Veritree can provide real-time insights into ground-level efforts and tangible results.
Veritree aims to plant over 1 billion verified trees by 2030.