Disney to shut its stores in favour of online and Saks is dividing its omnichannel platform. Welcome to Power Retail Sparks, a roundup of the global e-commerce news that happened this week. We will update the news stories as they happen. Stay tuned.
Snapcommerce Raises CAD 85m in Funding
Canadian e-commerce startup, Snapcommerce, has raised CAD85 million in a funding round and bringing its total venture capital raised to more than CAD 100 million. This round has been fuelled by Inovia Capital and Lion Capital, with the new funds aiming to expand into consumer verticals, and further scale its product.
Snapcomerce uses language processing and AI to drive commerce via messaging platforms and services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and SMS. “Snapcommerce collects terabytes of data including supply and demand information, customer browsing behaviour, and over 100 million messages exchanged with our services. On top of this data set, we have built multiple deep learning models to predict and optimize everything from pricing to preferences to predicting customer intent,” said Hussein Fazal, the Co-Founder of Snapcommerce.
“As an example, our natural language processing engine is able to comprehend a customer’s query up to 98 percent of the time — as measured by a mean average precision score. Our AI technology is able to predict the likelihood of a customer making a purchase at a certain price. This has allowed us to automate the process of sending out personalized promotions to customers over messaging with offers to match their purchase intent.”
Saks to Separate Online from Brick-and-Mortar
Saks Fifth Avenue is dividing its online and brick-and-mortar stores into two separate entities. The department store, which was founded in 1867, will be splitting its e-commerce division into its own company, as stated by Husdon’s Bay Co. Some reports state that this could be the first step into an online IPO for Saks, and will “unlock significant value within our company’s assets” said Richard Baker, the CEO of the company.
Hudson’s Bay Co will be turning the online platform into a standalone company, known as saksfifthavenue.com, selling a $500 million stake to the private investor, Insight Partners. Hudson’s Bay Co will retain a majority share of the business, and will work with the physical stores to create a “seamless customer experience”. Shoppers will see one Saks Fifth Avenue brand when they shop, with the e-commerce platform handling the marketing and merchandising. The physical stores will take control of the buying online, click and collect, exchanges, returns and any alterations.
Disney Closes Stores in Favour of E-Com
Disney will be shutting 3 percent of its North American store sin favour of pushing e-commerce – this equates to at least 60 stores across the US and Canada, and will further link the shopping experience to its Disney World theme parks.
“While consumer behaviour has shifted toward online shopping, the global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer,” said Stephanie Young, the President of Consumer Products, Games and Publishing at Disney. “Over the past few years, we’ve been focused on meeting consumers where they are already spending their time, such as the expansion of Disney store shop-in-shops around the world. We now plan to create a more flexible, interconnected e-commerce experience that gives consumers easy access to unique, high-quality products across all our franchises.”
Disney+, the streaming platform, has attracted nearly 95 million members – despite this, the company’s revenue decreased by 22 percent to USD16.3 billion, compared to USD21 billion in the same period the year before. This is as a result of the pandemic, which forced the closure of its stores and theme parks across the globe.
Lord & Taylor is Making a Comeback Online
American department store Lord & Taylor is making a comeback following its acquisition by equity firm Saadia Group for USD12 million. The firm plans to re-launch the department store with a pureplay approach. The equity firm bought the e-commerce assets and all related intellectual property relating to the retailer, following its liquidation in February 2021.
“Lord & Taylor has a deep retail history that spans 195 years, and a tradition of innovation and countless fashion firsts,” said Jack Saadia, the Co-Founder and Principal of Saadia Group. “We are excited to build the future of the brand, expand the loyal community, and show the world what’s next.” Saadia Group plans to re-launch the Lord & Taylor e-commerce site in April with a primary focus on womenswear and menswear, beauty and home products.
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