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Virtual shopping startup Hero launches short-form video feature

Hero, a virtual shopping platform, has introduced a “Stories” feature, the company announced on Thursday. The tool allows brands to create short-form, shoppable videos highlighting their products that can be shared within their online store.

According to the company survey of about 1,500 consumers, the company found that shoppers wanted short, relevant videos, more product experts than influencers and the ability to visualize products in an authentic way. Hero’s survey showed that 64% found the inability to see products up close as they would in person was their least favorite aspect of online shopping.

“Static product images and boring text descriptions simply aren’t cutting it,” the company wrote in its announcement. “Today’s shoppers want to see real video content about their favorite products, from experts who know them best.”

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A Quick Dive into Retail Tech Startups In Europe

Statistics say that since 2015, nearly $130 bn has been invested across the continent in nearly 23,600 equity deals to tech startups in the European continent alone. It is interesting to note that despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact of the same on the global supply chains, 2020 still managed to produce major tech breakthroughs along with some profound startup launches and growth stories.

From shelf monitoring to increasing brand engagement, retail tech startups in Europe have developed amazing solutions for the global market. European Retail Tech Startups have driven $26 trillion revolution and the retail tech landscape in the continent seems to be at its peak.

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Explorium advises enterprises on improving and speeding up analytical machine learning

The key to successful artificial intelligence-based advanced analytical training is augmenting internal data with external, according to data science platform startup Explorium Inc.

The process is not easy, though. Problems include getting a hold of and managing that mass of external material.

“The key to any analytical problem is having the right data,” said Zach Booth, director of global partnerships and channels at Explorium.

Models are only as strong as the data they train on, but getting that needed, external data is challenging. “It’s manual, it’s tedious and it’s extremely time consuming,” he said.

Explorium claims it has a solution that includes a curated, data-source catalog coupled with a platform to integrate everything within an organization’s existing, internal material.

Booth spoke with John Furrier, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during the AWS Startup Showcase: The Next Big Things in AI, Security & Life Sciences. They discussed how external data source platforms — taking advantage of the massive amounts of data being generated in the world — could improve and speed up analytical machine learning for individual organizations.

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SetSail Announces Revenue Acceleration Programs To Align Sales Behaviors With Specific Growth Objectives

Silicon Valley Startup Improves On Its Industry-leading Revenue Execution Platform With A Host Of New Ai And Workflow Enhancements

SetSail, the Revenue Execution platform for sales, has launched a library of machine learning powered Revenue Acceleration Programs that extend its intelligent signals engine. Combined, these two products form a complete solution for driving predictable revenue growth for B2B businesses and digitally transform their sales processes.

“Despite the maturity of the CRM space, running efficient sales programs has always been the Achilles heel of revenue organizations,” said Haggai Levi, the CEO of SetSail. “By introducing a new layer of program management on top of SetSail’s intelligent signals, we are making it easy for sales managers to guide their teams towards in-quarter goals. Just like ABM ushered us into the age of programmatic marketing, Revenue Acceleration Programs ensure teams can rally around specific growth objectives — with clear accountability and higher impact on key behaviors.”

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BP completes nationwide rollout with Too Good To Go

The Too Good To Go app lets consumers buy surplus food and drink from retailers, restaurants, pubs, and producers to stop it from going to waste. Consumers simply download the free Too Good To Go app and search for nearby businesses with unsold produce. They then purchase a ‘Magic Bag’ and collect it at an allotted time.

The surplus food app has now been successfully rolled out to all 292 company-owned and operated bp M&S Food Stores across the UK, having launched an initial pilot in Scotland and Essex in August 2020.

Since August 2020, the partnership has saved more than 138,000 Magic Bags of food from going to waste. The BP Magic Bags contain a mix of short-dated fresh groceries, food-to-go items, deli items, and ambient produce from M&S Food, Wild Bean Cafe, and other in-store ranges.

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‘Shopify for physical stores’ raises £1.3m

Retail disrupter Mercaux has secured £1.3 million in new debt financing from Flashpoint Venture Debt. 

The London firm helps transform retail stores from simple point of sale, into multi-purpose centres that deliver a personalised in-store customer experience and omnichannel sales, as well as serve as customer acquisition and remote selling channels.  

It achieves this by deploying built-for-purpose modular in-store digital platform that connects stores to eCommerce and other systems, such as OMS, PIM and CRM.  

The company’s in-store solutions are operated by store associates, or self-served by customers, and also reveal a rich pool of in-store customer behaviour data that can be leveraged in other channels. 

Mercaux’s clients include Stadium Goods, Dufry, Holland & Barrett and TENDAM (formerly the Cortifiel Group), operating in more than 1,000 stores across the world.  

Founder and CEO Olga Kotsur said: “What Shopify is for eCommerce, Mercaux is for physical stores.  

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Popwallet’s Elias Guerra: ‘The pandemic was a catalyst for changing consumer behaviour’

As the payment journey continues to evolve, innovative methods are taking on a heightened role of importance, especially as global economies emerge from the pandemic. 

Elias Guerra, Founder and CEO of Popwallet, spoke to Payment Expert about how the pandemic has shifted consumer habits and elevated the importance of mobile wallets. 

Payment Expert: Firstly, can you tell us more about the Popwallet offering? 

Elias Guerra: Popwallet is a Mobile Wallet Marketing Automation and Customer Experience Management Platform. Really, that’s just a fancy way of saying we provide software tools for brands to reach and engage their customers through mobile wallets like Apple Wallet and Google Pay.

Popwallet enables brands to leverage mobile wallets to deliver contactless customer experiences such as dynamic coupons and offers, loyalty, gift, and member ID cards, tickets, and other branded content. The mobile wallet enhances traditional marketing and communications tactics by replacing paper and plastic with a dynamic mobile engagement channel.

PE: How has the climate for mobile wallets changed over the past year? 

EG: The pandemic really was a catalyst for shifting consumer behaviour. Think pre-pandemic: the value proposition for these mobile wallets was more about convenience. It was a little bit easier to use your credit card if it was on your mobile device as people’s mobile devices are with them at all times, so you’re less likely to forget something at home.

When the pandemic hit, the value proposition shifted to be driven more by consumer safety than convenience. The idea of touching a payment terminal or handling a plastic credit card or paper cash–any physical object–all of a sudden was undesirable; people no longer wanted to touch things as a means to try and stay safe from COVID-19. This definitely accelerated the use of mobile wallets and contactless transactions over the past year.

PE: What role do loyalty points and cards sit within the payment journey and how integral are they to providing an engaging user experience? 

EG: Brands want to acquire new customers and retain loyal customers. A common way to do this is by rewarding customer behavior around purchases. The ability to reward through exclusive offers and loyalty is essential for acquiring and retaining these ideal customers, so being able to accomplish this through one common place, like a mobile wallet, is the ultimate combination of content and commerce.

It is a very powerful tool for brands, and provides utility and value for consumers. With the mobile wallet as the centerpiece of the loyalty program, brands are able to seamlessly tie loyalty and rewards to purchase behavior in a way that’s very convenient for their customer.

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New SetSail Analysis Shows Micro-Incentives Combined With Actionable Data Are Key to Successful B2B Sales Cycle

SetSail, the Revenue Execution platform for sales, releases new data on the anatomy of a successful B2B sales deal, derived from its analysis of deals at six large enterprises, including one of the Fortune 10, over the past two months. SetSail found sales reps are most effective when given data on the next best action in tandem with a micro-incentive (points that lead to prizes and rewards) to act. On average, if a sales rep takes action on five or more success indicators the deal win rate increases by 62%.

“Reps must be aware of the path to success and motivated to execute on multiple recommendations, focusing on the small wins that lead to big deals,” said Haggai Levi, SetSail CEO. “Micro-incentives accomplish this – they lay out success indicators and prompt reps to take action, making the difference between a deal closing and an indefinite sales cycle.”

As part of its analysis, SetSail broke down the three most important elements of a B2B deal: Buyer Persona (who the rep is contacting), Buyer Engagement (contact type and frequency) and Deal Progression Keywords (keywords discussed throughout the deal cycle) and the impact that micro-incentives play within them.

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Breinify announces $11M seed to bring data science to the marketing team

Breinify is a startup working to apply data science to personalization, and do it in a way that makes it accessible to nontechnical marketing employees to build more meaningful customer experiences. The company announced a funding round totaling $11 million.

The investment was led by Gutbrain Ventures and PBJ Capital with participation from Streamlined Ventures, CXO Fund, Amino Capital, Startup Capital Ventures and Sterling Road.

Breinify co-founder and CEO Diane Keng says that she and co-founder and CTO Philipp Meisen started the company to bring predictive personalization based on data science to marketers with the goal of helping them improve a customer’s experience by personalizing messages tailored to individual tastes.

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SetSail Leverages AI To Empower Sales & Increase Team Productivity

SetSail, an AI-powered sales tracking, motivation and empowerment platform, leverages AI to identify buying signals and provide recommendations for sales teams, and help them follow the best path of action to closing deals faster and building good selling habits.

 

Back-Of-The-Box Details

SetSail is designed to help sales teams automate their sales data and buying signals in their CRMs to improve sales team behavior, helping salespeople at every level of an organization improve their productivity and performance while closing deals. SetSail’s signal-based coaching app also uses these signals to help managers coach their reps to close deals and generate revenue more efficiently.

The signal-based platform offers three different solutions, including:

  • SetSail Collect, which integrates all sales data from disconnected sources into a single view in a CRM or any other platform, and allows salespeople to pull relevant information for specific buyer interactions;
  • SetSail Discover, a solution that analyzes customer interactions with salespeople and provides 370+ prescriptive buying signals to help them uncover what is driving the buyer’s deal and decide what actions to take; and
  • SetSail Accelerate, a custom program that uses real-time micro-incentives to increase sales team motivation, rewarding reps for the right actions throughout the customer relationship.

Who It’s For

SetSail is designed for everyone involved in the sales cycle, including CROs, sales managers, sales reps and more, at organizations of all sizes.

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Omnichannel Insights for Marketing Decision Support

An old adage goes like this: 50% of the money spent on marketing programs is wasted. But which 50%?

That question can finally be answered in the new era of advanced analytics – and by Adverity Marketing Data Analytics Platform. No more tedious number crunching on spreadsheets for marketing teams, thanks to this popular solution on SAP Store. Now, data-driven marketers can take advantage of fully automated data integration for a single source of truth on the performance of their programs and move past “point-in-time” performance monitoring toward insights that lead to tangible actions.

I spoke with Sven Woeltjen, partner manager with Adverity GmbH, to find out more about the solution’s impact on the life of a marketer.

“From every source – paid search, social media, direct demand-generation campaigns, events – you get different data in different formats,” Woeltjen said. “Everyone is asking for ROI, and no one has the answer. Many marketing teams work in silos. Harmonizing and cleansing the data from all the different sources is a labor-intensive process that’s prone to mistakes, and typically takes many days. As a result, marketers spend more time wrangling data than they do interpreting it, meaning they miss out on opportunities to optimize performance and improve ROI. They don’t have current info and can’t produce timely reports. Those are the problems Adverity solves.”

Reporting in Near Real Time

With the Adverity solution, marketers can create omnichannel overviews in near real time. Integration with SAP ERP and SAP Marketing Cloud allows them to enrich their insights by pulling in data from finance or HR or whatever interests them, Woeltjen continued. The ability to build ad-hoc reports on their own enables them to explain to the business the impact of what they’re doing whenever they’re asked. Report templates and data visualization tools make that even easier. “With tangible results based on real data, they can turn their attention to the next program or campaign rather than the next report,” he added. “By better understanding what works and what doesn’t, they can make decisions from a strategic standpoint.”

In fact, Woeltjen speaks from experience after spending his career in marketing, including tenure with an agency where he was using the Adverity solution himself. He ended up approaching the company about potential partner opportunities and, not long after, joined the firm and worked with its most important partner, SAP.

Understanding Marketing Challenges – as Marketers

I asked Woeltjen to tell me more about the company, which was established in 2015. Like him, the founders themselves were working in the marketing field, experiencing the data challenges , and saw an opportunity. The company has grown steadily since then, largely by building relationships, understanding customers’ needs, and building new features accordingly – as all good marketers do. For example, an augmented analytics module uses machine learning to analyze large amounts of data, identify trends and anomalies, and deliver suggestions for improvements that enable marketers to proactively address issues affecting performance.

Teamwork is a crucial factor for Adverity. The implementation team sits next to the developers to promote collaboration. Even as they have transitioned to working from home, the relationships are in place. Now with about 250 employees, based largely in Austria, the U.S., and the UK, the company plans to double in size this year. With offices in London and New York City already, Adverity plans to establish a presence on the West Coast of the U.S. and in the Asia-Pacific-Japan region. As a digital company with most employees working remotely, not just during the pandemic, he commented, “We can hire the best people.”

And speaking of the pandemic, Adverity has been in the position to cushion some of the fallout for customers suddenly making the transition to online marketing. “Here in Germany, for example, many stores have been closed for a full year,” Woeltjen remarked. “People have had to get used to buying more online, causing many smaller businesses – distilleries, for example – to sell directly to consumers and use their marketing budgets to acquire customers online. We can help them with our tool.”

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VNTANA Launches 3D Digital Showroom to help Fashion Brands Sell Online to Retailers

VNTANA, the industry leader in 3D Content Management Software (CMS),  announced the launch of VNTANA’s new 3D Digital Showroom, which allows brands to instantly and easily create secure, shareable 3D digital showrooms with their existing designs. The 3D Digital Showroom looks like a traditional line sheet with interactive 3D versions of products.

By using 3D versions of products, brands can showcase products even before samples have been produced saving thousands of dollars and providing a differentiated experience for their customers.

The VNTANA platform has patented algorithms to ensure 3D models load fast with the highest quality images. The platform generates a sharable link and QR code to make sharing easy. Each file holds metadata, so all product information, such as fabric and style number is tied to the 3D file. A 3D digital showroom can be created in minutes instead of weeks by following a simple set of steps.

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Final-mile fulfillment startup parcelLab closes $112M Series C funding led by Insight Partners

Munich-based parcelLab, which offers a final-mile fulfillment service for online retailers, has closed a $112 million (GB£80 million) Series C funding round led by the U.S. VC/PE firm Insight Partners.

Germany’s Endeit Capital participated as a co-investor, alongside existing investors Capnamic Ventures and coparion. ParcelLab last raised an undisclosed Series B in October 2019. The new funding will feed into parcelLab’s global expansion plans and new product development.

Founded in 2015 by Tobias Buxhoidt (CEO), Julian Krenge (CTO) and Anton Eder (COO), the startup has managed to bag such customers as Lidl, to which it provides automated personalized shipping messages. This means that as much as 85% of Lidl customers return to its website.

It also works with Ikea and Farfetch to increase basket sizes and email open rates of — it claims — over 90%, 25% reductions in WISMO (where is my order) and increases of customer reviews.

In a statement, Tobias Buxhoidt, CEO and founder of parcelLab, said: “As e-commerce becomes increasingly competitive, providing unique and branded experiences will drive growth. Identifying opportunities to further connect with people and build a better, stronger relationship is a key differentiator.”

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Too Good To Go Expands Its Food Waste App Nationally Across the U.S.

Not so very long ago, the United States lagged far behind Europe in terms of the widespread availability of food rescue apps. Fortunately, a heightened awareness of the world’s food waste problem has changed this and created opportunities for food rescue companies in the U.S.

Case in point: Too Good To Go’s recent expansion westward. The company, originally started in Denmark, today announced its plans to expand across the United States, following a successful program in select East Coast states. The first stop is San Francisco, with 200-plus food businesses participating, including Mission Chinese, La Boulangerie, and Indie Superette.

Via the Too Good To Go app, users can browse surplus food options from participating restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores at the end of every day. They can then sign up for a “surprise bag” which includes surplus items from these businesses. Depending on the business from which it’s ordered, that bag could include pastries, extra sushi rolls, surplus produce, and many other items.

Too Good to Go brought its app Stateside in 2020, starting in New York City. The company followed that move with a $31 million fundraise at the start of this year, specifically meant to enable a wider expansion around the U.S.

And while the concept of food rescue might be more commonplace Stateside compared to a couple years ago, it’s still unusual in the restaurant biz. Grocery delivery services like Misfits Market and Imperfect Foods address the grocery sector. Canada’s Flashfood app, based in Toronto, Ontario, similarly addresses surplus food in the grocery store via its U.S. partnership with Meijer.

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GoFundMe and Perksy Release New Data Revealing the Kindness of New Yorkers

GoFundMe, the world’s leading fundraising platform, today released new data about the state of giving in New York City. The findings, which combine new internal GoFundMe data with the results of a survey* conducted by Perksy among 1,000 New Yorkers in April 2021, demonstrate the kindness and resilience of the nation’s largest city.

While only 1% of New Yorkers described themselves as kind in the Perksy survey, data from GoFundMe between January 2020 and March 2021 indicates otherwise. In that period of time, GoFundMe found that:

  • Approximately $150 million was raised on GoFundMe by New Yorkers for people, causes, and organizations in need.
  • A New Yorker donated to a fundraiser every 30 seconds.
  • Over half of donors in New York City were first time donors.
  • Over 40% of donations made by New Yorkers were anonymous, a signal of the city’s understated generosity.
  • Over one-third of the fundraisers started by New Yorkers were for someone else.

“The data speaks volumes about the resilience and strong sense of community New Yorkers demonstrated over the past year,” said Emily Wolverton, Head of Analytics at GoFundMe. “With New York City often considered a microcosm of the United States, we’re inspired by the city’s generosity and commitment to uplifting one another that our research uncovered. From helping a friend in need to supporting a local coffee shop, we see the kindness of New Yorkers everyday on GoFundMe.”

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