Skip to main content

Customers and Online Shoe Retailers Put Their Best Foot Forward for Climate

It can be difficult to buy a pair of shoes online, and if you have a high instep, wide feet, or a bone spur, the problem is exacerbated. It is common for customers shopping online to buy two sizes of the same model so they can try them on at home and return the pair that doesn’t fit.

The size of the problem is considerable, with half of all shoes bought online being returned. The primary reason for these returns is a poor fit or wrong size — a staggering 75%!

There is a significant cost to these returns. In Europe alone, 330,000 tons of CO2 emissions are created every year by people returning shoes. Returns and re-shipments cost the industry €10 billion annually and cost customers a cumulative 275 million hours — an average of 32 minutes per return — per year. And this doesn’t account for the amount of waste that is generated, including the additional packaging involved and items that are returned but cannot be resold.

On the customer side, some people only discover a pair of shoes doesn’t fit well when they wear them out for the first time, after which they are unable to return them. What happens to these shoes? Some will be listed on peer-to-peer secondhand sites but others will sadly go to landfill, where 22 billion pairs end up each year.

The global online footwear market is thriving, with a market size valued at US $99.1 billion in 2021 and a predicted growth rate of 6.8% from 2022 to 2028. According to a study by Quantis, the footwear industry currently responsible for 1.4% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Additionally, 77% of people believing the shoe industry should do more to reduce its level of waste. The market is crying out for an innovative approach to scale down waste.

Enter German startup Footprint Technologies. The company has stepped up to the challenge of reducing waste in the footwear industry through the development of an innovative solution that benefits the customer, the planet, and the industry as a whole.

Using technology based on artificial intelligence (AI), shoppers can now scan their own feet to a high degree of accuracy and match it to find the perfect fit model and size of shoe.

Read More…

Deepgram lands new cash to grow its enterprise voice-recognition business

Deepgram, a company developing voice-recognition tech for the enterprise, today raised $47 million in new funding led by Madrona Venture Group with participation from Citi Ventures and Alkeon. An extension of Deepgram’s Series B that kicked off in February 2021, led by Tiger Global, it brings the startup’s total raised to $86 million, which CEO Scott Stephenson says is being put toward R&D in areas like emotion detection, intent recognition, summarization, topic detection, translation and redaction.

“We’re pleased that Deepgram achieved its highest-ever pre- and post-money valuation, even despite the challenging market conditions,” Stephenson told TechCrunch in an email interview. (Unfortunately, he wouldn’t reveal what exactly the valuation was.) “We believe that Deepgram is in a strong position to thrive in this tougher macroeconomic environment. Deepgram’s speech AI is the core enabling technology behind many of our customers’ applications, and the demand for speech understanding grows as companies seek greater efficiency.”

Launched in 2015, Deepgram focuses on building custom voice-recognition solutions for customers such as Spotify, Auth0 and even NASA. The company’s data scientists source, create, label and evaluate speech data to produce speech-recognition models that can understand brands and jargon, capture an array of languages and accents, and adapt to challenging audio environments. For example, for NASA, Deepgram built a model to transcribe communications between Mission Control and the International Space Station.

Read More…

Web-Store Plugin Reduces CO2 Footprint of Online Shoe Shopping

Currently more than 50 % of all shoes purchased online are returned, most of them due to an improper fit. Fashion Industry company Footprint Technologies and SAP are going to change that. Their cloud-based Artificial Intelligence solution helps online shoe buyers to find their perfect fit, on the first try. The footprint app is installed into online shoe retailers’ web-shops, using SAP Commerce Cloud as a proven connector. Online retailers increase their profitability by minimizing size- and fit-related returns, customers are happy and the planet benefits from saving CO2 emissions and packaging waste.

Watch Video…

Public sector drives strong demand for conversational AI, with 2.7M+ users served on the Yellow.ai platform

With governments across the world working to enable broad-scaled digital transformation, public sector organizations are increasingly gravitating towards the adoption of Conversational AI solutions to redefine the citizen experience. According to data released by Yellow.ai, a leading enterprise-grade Conversational AI platform, the company has served over 2.7M unique users for its government sector clients worldwide.

Recently mentioned in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Digital Government Services, 2022, under the chatbot category, the company works with key government departments across countries. The Yellow.ai platform has recorded an exchange of over 79M messages focused on citizen delivery services, exchanged between its Dynamic AI agents and end-users during over 5M sessions.

Raghu Ravinutala, CEO & Co-founder, Yellow.ai said, “Public sector organizations need to address numerous queries daily, and doing so manually is a time-consuming task. At the same time, citizens have a growing expectation of being able to conveniently avail government services. That’s where Conversational AI can step in to improve efficiency and human productivity, streamlining the process of delivering citizen services digitally while keeping humans in the loop. We have seen a huge surge in traction from government agencies across countries and our deployments are helping address some very unique use cases by bringing power to citizens’ fingertips on channels that they actively use. With continued emphasis on digitization, we expect Conversational AI to soon become an integral pillar in delivering stellar services to citizens.”

While text-based messaging channels are the preferred medium for citizen delivery services, the company is also seeing voice-based Conversational AI solutions gain momentum. The major use-cases, as observed, are for automating customer support, filing documentation related to government entities, booking services, raising complaints, making payments, and locating branches and offices, where the most traction is being witnessed on channels such as WhatsApp.

Read More…

Infront acquires Israeli sportstech startup Pico

Switzerland-based sports marketing company Infront has acquired Israeli startup Pico Get Personal, a sports technology company that helps rightsholders to gather, manage and own zero- and first-party audience data to customize marketing.
Pico pairs content with fun activations, capturing first-party data and individual preferences. Brands or rightsholders can then use those insights to create personalized marketing.
Pico, founded in 2014 by Asaf Nevo, Aviv Paz, and Roi Mozer, has raised $5 million to date and all 12 of its employees will be joining Infront.

“Beyond the joy of joining the biggest organization in our sector, one of the most important things for us was to ensure that every one of our employees would be able to come with us,” said Nevo. “We have been working with Infront for many years now, making this new chapter a very natural step in our growth. The sports industry has made a push in recent years into tech and data, with Pico playing a major part in that. By joining one of the biggest players in this market we will be able to provide our services at a much bigger scale.”

Vue Storefront wins best e-Commerce and retail startup at The Europas Tech Startup Awards 2022

Vue Storefront, a technology company that develops software for businesses to create fast, modern and high-performing online storefronts, was crowned a winner at The Europas Tech Startup Awards 2022, picking up the prize for hottest e-Commerce and Retail tech startup.

One of the most high-profile technology awards in Europe, The Europas recognize the continent’s most ambitious and successful startups. Already in its fourteenth year, previous winners include Spotify, wise, SoundCloud, Deliveroo and Starling.

Patrick Friday, CEO, Vue Storefront: “We’re honored to receive this award and take our place among such illustrious previous winners. It’s testament to the hard work of our talented team and shows that, as a company, we’re moving in the right direction. Thanks to our investors for believing in our vision, to our customers and partners for trusting in our product, and to our huge global community of developers, who have been with us since day one – driving us to continually improve our technology.”

Borys Musielak, Partner, SMOK Ventures: “As Vue Storefront’s first institutional investor, it’s thrilling to witness its growth and the successes of the founding team. That it has been named the best e-Commerce startup in Europe is no surprise at all. This is a company that will help define digital commerce in the coming years and its potential for growth is unlimited.”

Read More…

Parcel Perform & Wise Systems Recognized as Leaders in Last Mile Operations in Retail by CB Insights

Rising shipping costs combined with shoppers’ expectations of fast and free delivery are impacting retailers’ profitability. This Market Map looks at the companies helping retail leaders — like Walmart and American Eagle — optimize their last-mile operations.

The last mile is the most expensive leg of the supply chain, making up more than half of total shipping costs. Record high inflation, rising fuel costs, and a lasting labor shortage are now making it even more difficult for retailers to protect their margins while avoiding passing these costs onto consumers.

This is an even greater challenge as customers have grown accustomed to the free and fast shipping options used by the likes of Amazon, Walmart, and Alibaba to lure shoppers.

To stay competitive without sacrificing their margins, smaller retailers are turning to tech solutions that can improve delivery economics. These solutions help optimize various aspects of the last-mile journey whether retailers decide to outsource deliveries, invest in their own fleet, or strengthen omnichannel capabilities.

Using CB Insights data, we identified 218 last-mile tech companies addressing 12 technology priorities for retailers, from delivery management platforms to buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) enablement.

We are proud that two of our SAP.iO Foundry startups are included in the report. Parcel Perform was named a leader in E-Commerce Fulfillment & Logistics and Wise Systems was named leader in Route Optimization by CB Insights.

WISY PLATFORMS: BRINGING VISIBILITY TO PRODUCT AVAILABILITY IN CPG RETAIL

Wisy Platforms is building a predictive, decision-analytics retail operations and execution platform to help retailers solve and overcome the product availability challenges that they have lived with until now.

Using Wisy;

  • Employees performing visual inspection of retail shelves experience an improvement in the amount of time they would otherwise spend doing this task. Practically speaking this is a reduction from 20 minutes of work doing manual inspections to no more than 1 or 2 minutes using Wisy’s AI-enabled platform.

  • Retailers, CPG manufacturers and brokers experience a 90% or higher improvement in the accuracy of data about product availability on store shelves, and

  • Retailers, CPG manufacturers and brokers experience revenue gains of between 3% and 10%.

In addition to bringing visibility to Product Availability, Wisy also offers the following:

  • Price checks,

  • Real-time share-of-shelf KPIs,

  • Planogram compliance checks, and

  • Competitive intelligence: Wisy detects known or unknown competitors’ products on the shelves and transforms the data into business intelligence. This is particularly useful for addressing an industry trend where new niche brands gain market share at a much faster rate than established brands. Wisy provides alerts when new competitors come into a category and keeps track of their growth over time and per location.

Wisy is currently working on real-time object tracking using the video mode on mobile phones. This feature makes it easier for users to capture large shelves without the need to take many pictures. Wisy is also developing predictive analytics to optimize product assortment and basket analysis.

The platform enables CPG retailers, manufacturers, suppliers,wholesalers and brokers to make better strategic, tactical, and operational decisions by decreasing the complexity of the systems they have to interact with while introducing simplicity and convenience into their workflows. Employees just have to be able to take pictures or videos of retail store shelves using any mid-range smartphone.

Wisy’s breakthrough is in its ability to instantaneously run all its analytics processes and algorithms on an employee’s mobile device without the need for an always-on internet connection.

Incumbent solutions are complex, difficult, slow, cumbersome, and impractical for the fast pace at which retail execution must move. Most incumbent solutions require a high speed internet connection in order to produce results.

Wisy is lightweight, portable, simple, fast, and affordable. Anyone who can use a smartphone camera can be trained to use Wisy to perform retail operations tasks. The platform works for large multinational CPGs and retail chains, and for smaller CPGs, retail stores and brokers. It works on a stand-alone basis. But, it can also be with retail execution systems, ERP systems, retail data clouds, retail analytics systems and so on. It can be integrated into a retailer, manufacturer or broker’s existing systems – for example, customers of SAP can find Wisy in the SAP App Center.

Read More…

Computer vision start-up Everyangle raises €2.7m

Everyangle, a start-up that provides bricks and mortar retailers and hospitality venues with the same sort of insights available to online businesses, has raised €2.7 million to accelerate its expansion into international markets.

Founded by David Owens in 2019, the company, whose partners include Mulberry, helps retailers and other offline businesses to better understand what their customers are doing in-store. It also helps them to reduce loss through fraud and theft, and to optimise operations using computer vision technology.

Offline businesses have fallen behind their online counterparts in terms of analytics that can help them understand customer behaviour. Everyangle’s platform addresses this by using computer vision and machine learning to analyse CCTV footage for events of interest, without the need for human review.

Among the analytics it provides is information on customer footfall, demographics, sales conversion and customer theft and staff fraud.

Based in Ireland and with plans to increase headcount over the next 24 months, the company is looking to double staff numbers with hires in areas that include roles in machine learning, data science, software engineering, product management and sales.

“Our platform is becoming ever-more critical to ensuring retailers, hospitality venues and convenience service stations can leverage at scale all of their video data to improve the in-store customer experience, reduce theft and fraud, and deliver real operational cost savings,“ Owens said.

Read More…

EcoCart drives $14.5M of new funding into its sustainable shopping experience

With all the plastic and paper covering the things we buy, more and more consumers are seeking out companies that operate more sustainably.

EcoCart has built an infrastructure for e-commerce companies and works with them to make that shopping experience more transparent and sustainable. Here’s how it works: The three-year-old software company performs product life cycle audits for its customers to help them calculate, analyze and offset their carbon emissions.

Customers can then see how that company is doing in terms of protecting trees and using clean energy sources while companies can offer offsetting initiatives within its shopping experience — for example, providing a way for them to make carbon-neutral purchases or showing the number of trees saved from an order.

“Consumers are looking for ways to shop sustainably, but brands don’t have a great way of being able to communicate that to their customers or execute on that in an inexpensive, easy-to-understand way, and that’s all the things that we help with,” EcoCart co-founder Dane Baker told TechCrunch.

Baker and Peter Twomey started the company about three and a half years ago and launched its product about two years ago. When we last profiled the San Francisco–based company in 2021, it had raised $3 million in seed funding and was working with 500 customers.

Read More…

A new marketing metric: ELTV (Extended Lifetime Value) Webcast with Mention Me

In a webinar we recorded in Sep 2022, Lior Weizman of SAP.iO met with Kat Wray, Head of Partnerships at Mention Me (an SAP partner), and Nils Siméon, Key Account Executive at SAP Customer Experience, to discuss how brands should better evaluate the value of their customers and how they can even extend it.

It’s not a secret that brands today are facing real challenges with their customer acquisition. The main reasons as of now are:

1. The sunset of third-party data, with Apple iOS updates and recent regulation changes, is causing brands to take a step back in analyzing their acquisition channels.

2. Customer acquisition costs have increased dramatically and are not sustainable. With no or less past data, marketing channels must work a lot harder to get the same results.

3. On the customer side, there is a growing distrust amongst customers on how brands are using their data to target them.

For these main reasons, brands must diversify the acquisition channels they’re using, and prioritized channels that are trusted, authentic and such that capture first party data can used to scale growth. Referral marketing is a great example for such a channel. This is where customers recommend brands to their friends, and when you think about it, it’s the most trusted acquisition channel. According to Mention Me, referral marketing is now a $1 billion market, and will be a $50 billion market by 2040.

Watch Here…

Global accelerators boost Swiss startups’ growth

From America to Europe: Five Swiss startups have been selected to join global acceleration programs to pursue their growth ambitions. Plug and Play has selected two startups for its food and its insurtech acceleration program. In Europe, ScanTrust, CollectID and Foodetective will get support from European Innovation Council and SAP program respectively.

The global plug and Play Accelerator provides selected startups worldwide with access to leading corporates to help catalyse their innovation, and give them access to financing and its network. The upcoming Plug and Play Silicon Valley Summit from November 15-17 will feature over 250 startups across 17 verticals. Batch 12 of the Food and Beverages vertical includes Cultivated Biosciences, the startup specialising in alternative dairy fat. The company is developing a fermented creamy ingredient from GMO-free yeast which offers the creaminess needed for plant-based dairies such as cheese, milk or ice cream.

Two Swiss startups made it into SAP’s new start-up equity-free accelerator program focused on the “Future of Retail and Consumer Products” at the SAP.iO Foundry Paris, which has already supported 65 companies in developing their solution. Over the next five months, the cohort of 12 international start-ups will get access to personalised mentoring from SAP France executives, exposure to SAP technology and application programming interfaces (APIs), as well as opportunities to collaborate with SAP customers around the world. St.Gallen-based CollectID is dedicated to fighting counterfeits through its encrypted NFC tags, which are embedded in products to guarantee authenticity, improve the phygital experience and establish a direct communication channel between brands. Foodetective is a management platform and infrastructure (API) for the F&B industry. Companies use Foodetective to automate operations, simplify administration, increase online revenues and accelerate new business opportunities.

Read More Here…

SAP.iO Foundry Paris launches new startup program on “Future of Retail and Consumer Products”

September 21, 2022 – SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) has launched a new startup accelerator program focused on the “Future of Retail and Consumer Products” at SAP.iO Foundry Paris. 12 international startups were selected by a jury of SAP experts, partners, customers and investment funds to join the program. These startups were recognized as pioneers in this year’s chosen field, a theme that is more topical than ever with the upheavals in customer habits and the customer journey due to effects of the pandemic and the accelerated digitalization of all businesses.  

SAP.iO Foundry Paris, SAP’s equity-free startup accelerator in France, has already helped more than 65 growth businesses develop their business or their solution. The Foundry’s efforts helped meet France’s overall startup investment goal set at the #ChooseFrance summit, France’s flagship forum for economic attractiveness. 

“SAP.iO is committed to accelerating startups to help customers run at their best. For this program, our focus is on retail, addressing the traceability and authenticity of products as well as offering consumers an improved and differentiating purchasing experience”, said Odilia von Zitzewitz, Interim Lead at SAP.iO Foundry Paris. “We are very proud to accompany this new class of startups and help them scale their innovations.” 

Over the next five months, the startups will have access to personalized mentoring from SAP France executives, exposure to SAP® technology and application programming interfaces (APIs), as well as opportunities to collaborate with SAP customers around the world. 

The following startups are participating in the latest SAP.iO Foundry Paris program: 

  1. Sorga Technology supports retail brands in their digital innovation by offering a low-energy solution ensuring the transparency and traceability of their products.
  2. Arianee provides businesses with simple solutions for building direct relationships with consumers, respectful of user data and independent of large technology platforms.
  3. CollectID can be used to guarantee product authenticity, improve the physical experience and establish a direct communication channel between brands. The solution guarantees the authenticity and uniqueness of products while bringing brands closer to their customers.
  4. DIAKSE develops and markets a solution for creating virtual showrooms in the metaverse with one objective: to enable brands to better communicate about their products and thus help them increase their sales.
  5. Foodetective is a management platform and infrastructure (API) for the F&B industry. Companies use Foodetective to automate operations, simplify administration, increase online revenues and accelerate new business opportunities.
  6. LIVEBUY GmbH is an online shopping solution for leading retailers that provides both the technology and the right creators to build a successful content platform within online shops.
  7. Priceloop has developed an AI to facilitate and automate the pricing process, offering the best prices taking into account all the essential parameters.
  8. Replika Software is a turnkey social selling solution. It enables brands to activate a network of social sellers with a turnkey business to inspire on social media, sell online and connect with customers.
  9. Shopreme GmbH is developing a technology called “Scan & Go” that brings the benefits of online shopping to real shops including speed, ease of payment, personalized recommendations, shared shopping lists, and more.
  10. SmartPixels provides a 3D product configuration and visualization tool to help fashion and luxury brands create personalized and interactive experiences online and in-store.
  11. SMARTZER LTD’s platform is used by brands to transform their videos and live streams into interactive and actionable experiences, allowing them to get direct ROI from content and measure detailed data from video interactions.
  12. YZR automates and accelerates all of its customers’ text data projects with a powerful solution based on automatic language processing.

If you want to learn more about this program, check out the SAP.iO Foundry Paris website or get in touch with the team.

About SAP.iO
SAP.iO delivers new partnerships and products for SAP by accelerating and scaling startup innovation as well as incubating employee ventures. SAP.iO brings together innovators from every region, industry, and line of business to transform how businesses run. Since 2017, SAP.iO has helped 450+ external startups and internal ventures accelerate their growth while enabling thousands of SAP customers to access innovation. For more information, visit http://sap.io/.

FindMine Closes New Venture Round

FindMine, the leader in AI-powered dynamic content creation for brands, announced that it has closed a new venture capital funding round. Led by XSeed Capital and Underscore VC, this investment supplements a previous seed round and brings total capital investment in FindMine to $9.9 million.

Proceeds from the investment will be used to accelerate go-to-market activities and advance development of FindMine’s AI-powered content engine. Driven by predictive intelligence and merchant sales data, FindMine helps brands articulate their unique points of view to increase revenue and inventory performance across multiple sales channels – including e-commerce, email campaigns and targeted messaging, advertising and social media campaigns, and in-store applications such as kiosks, personal shopper programs and sales associates platforms.

By focusing on the content bottleneck, FindMine has created an entirely new category that addresses current shortcomings in the personalization and customer data platform (CDP) markets. The current personalization landscape has done a great job at carving out one-to-one communication channels with consumers based on their personal data. But it puts the onus on the brand to come up with content to share, resulting in the same small amount of assets being sent to every consumer/segment because marketing teams cannot create bespoke editorial content for every consumer. FindMine’s technology allows marketers to showcase unique, curated shoppable assets to every single segment and customer to improve top-line revenue with larger shopping carts and longer, more profitable customer lifecycles. Merchants use FindMine to improve bottom-line profitability and increase gross margins thanks to more effective inventory and logistics management.

“The current personalization process is broken, and one-to-one, persona-based marketing simply does not scale, because the industry forgot about one big piece of the equation: the content. We’re changing the game with AI-powered automation that can create visual, shoppable assets in milliseconds,” commented FindMine CEO Michelle Bacharach. “We’re excited about this investment because it means that we can continue to grow our platform’s ability to create highly-produced and differentiated editorial content out of thin air – empowering brands and retailers to maintain visibility with customers and other key audiences while driving both revenue and loyalty.”

Read More…

How Zoovu secured Spotlight Status and became the fastest riser in the SAP Store in 2022

It’s hard to look at the last 6 months here at Zoovu and not be incredibly proud of what we’ve built and continue to build, we announced a $169 million Series C round with FTV Capital  to continue establishing ourselves as the go-to solution for Discovery experiences and we’ve continued to strengthen our partnership with SAP.  As of August, Zoovu is featured in the SAP Store as the Spotlight solution for their over 425,000 customers.

As I mentioned in our post about participating in SAP’s SAP.iO program this past spring, I’m a firm believer in the idea “We are Better Together.” When an SAP customer integrates Zoovu, we both benefit from showcasing how solutions work together to provide everything a business needs to thrive and meet their customer needs and expectations. In essence, SAP and Zoovu complement each other and supercharge customer experiences as a unified solution.  For this reason and more (read on to find out), SAP continues to highlight Zoovu as a game changer for their customers to supercharge content discovery with a variety of experiences powered by AI and semantic knowledge.

When I look at the value of Zoovu in the market and specifically for SAP’s customers, it’s a trite but true pandemic lesson: the digitization of sales impacted businesses of all types, those who sell to consumers and those who sell to businesses. For B2B organizations, they were scrambling to adjust to a digital first world and facing the reality of “how do we communicate and sell complex offerings online?” for the first time.

This shift of streamlining operations to drive business cost savings while still making impact requires a solution like Zoovu. By tackling time and money drains on businesses, such as providing continuous enrichment of product content and enabling self-service content discovery experiences, Zoovu is an incredibly powerful platform for any business selling on digital channels. Regardless of selling model, we automate any sales conversation and content discovery at scale.

Read More…