The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
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The first activation within Mstylelab will include a surrealistic re-creation of New York inspired by Macy’s newest brand, On 34th. The immersive experience is built on the metaverse technology platform Journee.
The retailer said the activation is accessible on any device and browser via macys.com/mstylelab.
Users can design and personalize a digital fabric to establish their community identity. They can discover and engage with curated digital versions of select apparel from the On 34th collection. As users navigate through star checkpoints throughout the activation, they will unlock a unique digital T-shirt that is personalized to match their Mstylelab digital fabric. All On 34th apparel featured in the experience is shoppable as well.
“We are excited to launch Mstylelab, the next evolution of our Web3 digital strategy, creating a hub for style inspiration and discovery at the intersection of fashion and technology,” said Dave Torres, vice president of interactive marketing, Macy’s. “As we grow and evolve the Mstylelab digital platform and community, new activations and experiences will be brought to life creating immersive storytelling focused on fashion and style, in a fun and shoppable environment.”
Later this fall, the current activation will shift to showcase the next iteration of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade metaverse experience, marking the second year is bringing a virtual version of the parade to the metaverse.
Fitness apparel brand Gymshark has selected Google Cloud to support the next phase of its digital growth. Gymshark will use Google Cloud’s technology to enhance its data analytics capabilities, improve customer experiences and drive innovation and growth with generative AI.
To support its growth strategy and expansion into new territories, Gymshark sought to become more targeted in its decision making, with the brand saying its incumbent data management and analytics solutions was outdated. Gymshark will now use Google Cloud’s data warehousing and analytics suite, real-time analytics, and AI and machine learning tools to help the company provide more personalized experiences for its customers.
Gymshark will also experiment with various generative AI use cases, leveraging Google Cloud’s AI platform, Vertex AI. This includes the creation of new expert assistants that will guide consumers through the product selection process, and enable the Gymshark training app to record activities via text and provide new insights to help customers reach their fitness goals.
In the coming months, Google Cloud, together with partner Deloitte, will support Gymshark with multiple data-centric initiatives, including enhancing customer experiences during this year’s Black Friday shopping season by improving the breadth, relevance and availability of its offering to customers.
Gymshark will also use Google Cloud’s BigQuery to replace the central repository of all data, as well as unified business intelligence platform Looker as its visualization and reporting tool.
“We have come a long way since founding Gymshark 11 years ago, and we are ready for this partnership to kickstart the next phase of our transformation and future growth,” said Ben Francis, CEO and founder of Gymshark in a statement. “Data is at the heart of this evolution, and with the help of Google Cloud’s game-changing technology and data analytics experts, we are certain that we will be able to reach our goals and remain a leader in this competitive industry.”
PTC has unveiled Flex Insights, a low-code platform designed to help brands and retailers leverage their data to drive faster and better decision-making during planning and product development.
Flex Insights extends the capabilities and functionality of PTC’s retail product lifecycle management (PLM) platform, FlexPLM, and is available through apps, including critical path management, compliance tracking, visual line planning and sustainability analytics.
The apps empower brands and retailers to access actionable intelligence that could help them with their specific business needs and challenges.
For example, the Critical Path Management app provides product teams and senior management with views of the progress of each product and across the entire season’s line, enabling them to address steps needed to get them to market on time.
The Compliance Tracking app allows product teams to define what sustainability and social compliance documents are required for specific products, and to track and manage the data in those documents to support reporting.
The Sustainability app enables integration between FlexPLM and sustainability solutions, such as Worldly (formerly Higg) and Made2Flow. Product, material and supplier scorecards in the app can provide users with data to proactively impact corporate sustainability goals and manage compliance and certifications.
Finally, the Visual Line Planning app automates seasonal line reviews, helping make it easier to set up reviews, collaborate with remote team members, capture notes and update plans.
Ceva Logistics/Boston Dynamics
Ceva Logistics, a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, recently opened its 135,000-square-foot transload facility in Los Angeles, incorporating robots from Boston Dynamics in the warehouse. The robotics will serve Ceva’s customers at the strategically located site within miles of both the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles.
The new transload site is the only transload facility in North America to offer a cross-belt sortation device, enabling 10,000 parcels to be sorted every hour based on pre-selected variables such as size, color or preferred carrier, Ceva said. The facility caters to consumer retail, automotive and technology companies.
Ceva leverages Boston Dynamics’ Stretch robots to unload hundreds of boxes per hour. Stretch is designed to safely and rapidly unload containers, which can be a difficult task to perform manually based on the height and weight of boxes, as well as the often-high temperatures found inside containers. Stretch can reach boxes up to 50 pounds in weight, its vision system enables it to adapt to different stacking configurations and it does not require any pre-programming.
The autonomous robots can operate continuously, improving efficiency and preventing safety concerns associated with using manual labor for the same process. Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot is also being used for security to patrol the site. Ceva is also using One Network’s yard and warehouse management systems to bolster end-to-end visibility for its customers.
The CMA CGM-owned company expects to process a total of 26,000 floor-loaded containers during the facility’s first year in operation and to double its capacity within three years. Beyond its capacity, technology and automation, the site was designed to minimize Ceva’s carbon footprint. Environmental initiatives, including rooftop solar panels and EV trucks powered by renewable energy sources, will be in service by January 2024.
In addition to leveraging the Los Angeles transload warehouse, supply chain customers will also have access to Ceva’s drayage fleet and dedicated container chassis when moving product from port to warehouse. These offerings can alleviate transportation delays and avoid commonly experienced resource bottlenecks. The site features 50 dock doors and parking for 205 trailers.
Coveo, a provider of search engine, e-commerce personalization and recommendation platforms, launched early access to Coveo Relevance Generative Answering for B2B and B2C commerce enterprises.
This expands the program to give manufacturers, distributors and retailers access to test Coveo’s generative answering solution at enterprise scale on their e-commerce sites. This new capability means Coveo Commerce customers can enhance their product and knowledge discovery during the shopping experience. General availability is expected later this year.
Coveo Relevance Generative Answering is built to enhance customer experiences with generative AI question-answering capability, leveraging large language models (LLMs) on top of the platform’s unified indexing functionality. The functionality is scalable, secure, traceable and can provide accurate and relevant answering from multiple sources of content. Coveo Relevance Generative Answering serves as a natural augmentation of Coveo’s AI models, and can improve each touch point across the customer journey from early in the sales cycle to post-sales customer service.
Coveo announced the addition of enterprise-ready generative answering to the Coveo Platform in March. In June, Coveo launched its Relevance Generative Answering Design Partner Program, working with 45 customers. Three months later, Coveo said that its Relevance Generative Answering feature went live across Coveo’s own customer self-serve experiences.
GXO Logistics/Blue Yonder
In North America, GXO Direct operates a network of 14 strategically located hubs comprising more than 100 sites across the U.S. and Canada. This network is built to enhance operational efficiency for all warehousing services, including returns management, while positioning goods closer to the end consumer and enabling one-day delivery nationwide. The new software solutions from Blue Yonder will enable faster customer onboarding and tech integration, all while enhancing inventory management with more data.
GXO is implementing several Blue Yonder solutions to support its GXO Direct network in the U.S., including Warehouse Management System (WMS); Labor Management; Order Management (OMS); Warehouse Execution System (WES), which includes Robotics Hub and Warehouse Tasking; Billing Management, and more.
Since its introduction in the U.S. in 2018, GXO Direct has grown exponentially, adding millions of square feet to its network of fulfillment centers. The program is built to help customers boost scalability and flexibility, provide a consistent and reliable fulfillment experience, increase end-to-end visibility through technology and turns reverse logistics from a cost center into a profit center.
In March, GXO launched GXO Direct in the U.K. with plans to expand across Europe.
Writesonic, a provider of AI-powered content solutions for individuals and businesses, has launched Botsonic, an AI chatbot enriched with generative AI and large language models, including OpenAI’s GPT-4.
Botsonic is built to offer autonomous decision-making and personalized user experiences across retail, travel, real estate, education and many other industries.
Utilizing generative AI, Botsonic delivers intelligent, autonomous interactions in over 10 languages. And when customers encounter issues with online checkout processes, they can immediately interact with Botsonic using detailed questions and specifications to provide a tailored solution in real time.
For complex queries that require a human interaction, Botsonic will transition to a human agent and facilitate automatic calendar integrations for meetings, all while ensuring interaction aligns with a company’s unique brand voice, guidelines and communication style.
With the capability to reduce support volume by up to 80 percent, Writesonic says, the solution enables support teams to concentrate on higher-value interactions, thereby potentially enhancing customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
The bot is designed to learn and adapt to training from files like PDFs, Docs, Excel and more, and can integrate website links and connect to various tools like Salesforce and Google Docs.
Threedium, a provider of 3D/AR high-fidelity assets for e-commerce retailers, has closed an $11 million Series A funding round led by Interpublic Group and Olma Partners.
The funds will be used to deepen R&D into AI to further enhance efficiency of 3D models and extend the company’s growth by bringing immersive storytelling to more global brands.
Threedium’s proprietary 3D and AR engine, Unlimited3D, powers 3D assets across web and mobile, with real-time customizable AR. This can enable B2C brands, fashion retailers, gaming companies, automotive, CPGs and more, to display their goods as hyper-realistic 3D assets. This feature allows customers to interact with the product, zoom in or out, see it from any angle, try it on, change the color, size or material before committing to purchase directly from the browser.
Through its own engine or APIs, Threedium is built to allow for full autonomy and creativity in crafting, customizing and scaling thousands of bespoke 3D assets and turnkey 3D solutions across web, mobile, and digital media channels.
Brands such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Bulgari, Loewe, Girard Perregaux, Tommy Hilfiger, Diageo and NuOrder Lightspeed and are already making use of these enhanced digital immersive experiences on the 3D web, allowing consumers to gain confidence in the buying experience for luxury items and negate the need for manufacturing inefficiencies or delivery of multiple samples.
The round came with additional support from Mesh Consensys, Reflexive Capital, Nirvana Family Office, Lyra Ventures, Edenbase and Kinisis Venture Fund I.
Bazaarvoice, a provider of full-funnel user-generated content (UGC) solutions, has acquired the Affable.ai platform from Affable Technologies for an undisclosed sum. With the Affable.ai platform, Bazaarvoice adds creator discovery and management technology to its existing creator-managed services. This better ensures clients can build a creator marketing strategy with more service options that best suit their social commerce needs.
The acquisition of the Affable.ai platform is designed to accelerate Bazaarvoice customers’ ability to leverage social commerce, by activating content across their communities of everyday customers, creators, and brand ambassadors. According to a recent study commissioned by Bazaarvoice, creator content is the most used type of content by e-commerce sites, after branded content.
According to Colby Smith, general manager of content activation solutions at Bazaarvoice, the plan is to integrate Affable.ai with both the company’s Social Commerce and Content Activation solutions, enabling clients to create, curate and manage content from a single interface, and connect the silos between their social and e-commerce strategies.
Global tech consultancy Nisum is now officially a certified BigCommerce Agency Partner. As a member of the BigCommerce Partner Program, Nisum can now offer the retail tech company’s open SaaS commerce platform to B2C and B2B brands.
In partnership with BigCommerce, Nisum it is committed to providing agile commerce technology and best-in-class services to build more digital solutions and facilitate scalable global transformations.
With a presence in both the U.S. and Latin America, Nisum will join forces with BigCommerce to help support their expansion in both the North and South American markets. BigCommerce will leverage Nisum’s expertise of digital commerce development, data-led strategy and insights, and expert teams of software engineers and developers around the world.
Tens of thousands of BigCommerce customers look to the platform’s agency partner ecosystem for support in creating differentiated shopping experiences to fuel their growth.