Will AI really move the needle for retailers?

retaildive | November 14, 2018

Imagine this: A customer needs something to wear for a special occasion, so they come into your store. You’ve hired plenty of associates, but they just stand there, waiting for the customer to come to them. The customer has a question about sizing and finally seek out an associate who then provides the response “Sure! Wait time is approximately ten minutes”. The customer is left alone again. As a retail owner or manager, you’d be completely bewildered, right? Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens every day to customers who shop online.  We go on a website in search of something, but often struggle to find what we need and either move on or end up ordering the wrong item. AI-powered chatbots have made this experience better, offering answers to frequently asked questions and helping route customers to the right agent when necessary. These bots are helping save the customer from walking away, but yet the shopping experience is still pretty impersonal.


Blockchain Business-as-a-Service Ecommerce Ecosystem, powering global sales for retailers and manufacturers with a complete white label online store solution. Start global sales of brand products easily don’t need infrastructure with all-in-one interface: customize shop, turn delivery and payment on, connect warehouses, fulfillment, marketing, support and loyalty token system. 3 internal marketplaces for services, service providers and products suppliers make it possible to operate globally and get revenue from different markets

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Sionic Enters Multi-Year Agreement With Google Cloud To Host ULink™ Commerce Services Platform

Sionic | June 30, 2022

Sionic, a leading provider of omni-commerce, consumer-to-business payments solutions, today announced it has selected Google Cloud as the exclusive provider of cloud services for the nationwide rollout of its real-time, bank-to-bank digital payment service, enabling instant cash deposits from customers to merchants’ accounts at the point of sale. After an eight-year run with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the hosting of its mobile commerce platform, Sionic chose Google Cloud to underpin its ULink mobile, online, in-store and in-vehicle service experiences. “We invested a lot of time with the Google Cloud team to thoroughly understand the value and benefits of Google Cloud over AWS, Having that level of interaction and support from knowledgeable, real human beings was a great first impression. Google Cloud’s focus on security, scalability, and sustainability mirrors our objectives as we bring current and future solutions to market. We have greatly decreased our infrastructure management needs and increased our development velocity by using Cloud Run, Cloud SQL and Big Query.” -said Justin Turner, Director of Product for Sionic. The payments industry is increasingly embracing the security and scalability that is offered by cloud technology, said Yolande Piazza, Vice President, Financial Services, Google Cloud. “We look forward to working with Sionic to enable its bank-to-bank digital payment service and enhance the payments experience for customers. Erica Burris, VP Strategy and Product for Sionic, said, We are anticipating steady, month-over-month transaction volume growth as we connect our Pay-by-Bank service to existing card payment providers already processing billions of transactions annually. About Sionic- Atlanta-based Sionic is leading The Great Reallocation in digital payments by delivering instant bank-to-bank transfers from consumers to merchants. Sionic's market first ULink™ is bringing real-time direct deposits to the point of sale via mobile, online, in store or in vehicle experiences. The company has partnered with top financial institution owners of The RTP Network for bank payments and CyberSource, a Visa solution, for secure card payment processing. Merchants accepting real-time payments bypass expensive card swipe fees and receive POS cash deposits immediately. Consumers may receive perks for paying with their bank accounts.

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Square Unveils Suite of New Integrated Restaurant Solutions to Help Increase Profitability and Improve Server and Customer Experience

Square | May 20, 2022

Square announced a suite of new software and hardware restaurant solutions. Built on the company’s experience in serving hundreds of thousands of restaurants over more than a decade, these new solutions help restaurants of all types and sizes, particularly full-service restaurants (FSRs), improve their bottom line and increase the efficiency of their operations. Square launched Square for Restaurants mobile POS, which gives servers the power of Square for Restaurants, an all-in-one restaurant POS, in their apron pocket - enabling them to quickly and seamlessly take orders and payments tableside or in line. Restaurants using the Square for Restaurants mobile POS beta program have been able to turn more tables and grow their sales even when they were short on staff. Square for Restaurants mobile POS runs on two handheld devices: Square Terminal and the forthcoming Restaurant Mobile POS kit, and as a launch promotion, restaurants will be able to use the software for $0 per location until early next year and just $50 after the promotional period ends. “We're seeing a lot of additional efficiency in our operations with Square for Restaurants mobile POS because our staff are spending more time on the floor rather than out of reach putting in orders, With the layout of our restaurant, Square for Restaurants mobile POS is saving a lot of physical steps, which has increased staff satisfaction and alleviated some of the stress on their positions. Alcohol sales also rose by 22% and we have seen voids due to out of stock items decline by 57%.” -Frankie DiCarlantonio, owner Scaffidi Restaurant Group. Square also announced Square Stand Mount, a versatile iPad point-of-sale that can be easily affixed to any wall or countertop right out of the box, or used as a kiosk. Coming soon, Square Stand Mount will allow restaurants to optimize space by mounting their POS to their ideal surface and helps waitstaff make checkout more efficient with integrated payments built in. Further, the company announced updates to the broader Square for Restaurants POS system, including: Coursing, a feature that helps restaurants manage the flow of orders to and from the kitchen, is now available on Square Register, Square for Restaurants mobile POS, and Square KDS. Now significantly more powerful, Coursing enables servers to send items as additions to courses already sent to the kitchen. At the same time, prep stations and expeditors will soon be able to flip between viewing everything fired, held, or completed, improving ticket readability, reducing errors, and providing diners an exceptional hospitality experience. Square KDS will soon enable restaurants to route tickets from a specific POS to a specific KDS, giving restaurants more flexibility in how they organize their kitchens to better support growing delivery and pickup orders. Along with other recent KDS feature launches such as seating and kitchen-facing names, restaurants can now use KDS as a full digital replacement for messy and expensive kitchen printers. Square’s powerful ecosystem offers first- and third-party integrations to seamlessly and efficiently power every element of a restaurant’s business operations, from delivery orders to team management. With Square Loyalty, sellers can schedule one-off or recurring promotions to drive more business on slower days. Square Payroll can help restaurants attract and retain staff in a challenging hiring market, with popular employee features such as On-Demand Pay, which enables W-2 employees to access up to 50% of their earned income before the pay period ends. Square will soon be introducing its first reservation & table management system integration with OpenTable, which will allow restaurants the ability to connect the data from their POS with the data from their OpenTable reservations system, unlocking better, more personalized customer experiences. Restaurants can now use SoundHound to take voice orders automatically without having to dedicate their limited staff to answering the phone, and this summer will be able to power their own delivery services (and maintain higher margins) via new integrations with Cartwheel and Vromo. “Square is dedicated to building the most robust ecosystem of products and services for restaurants of all types and sizes - from multi-location FSRs to QSRs, bars, breweries, and everywhere in between, No two restaurants are exactly alike and one solution doesn’t always fit all. That’s why we’re constantly working to grow and improve our suite of first-party products and partner integrations to enable restaurants around the globe to thrive in 2022 and beyond.” -Bryan Solar, Head of Restaurants at Square. Restaurant operators attending the National Restaurant Association Show from May 21-24 can visit Square’s booth #6057 for a preview of Square’s new and existing restaurants product suite. Attendees who meet with our Sales team and sign up with Square at the NRA Show will receive 3 months of Square SaaS software and may qualify for additional discounts on hardware and from Square partners. Square is also launching a new referral program available for a limited amount of time - offering exclusive perks to both the referrer and the referred as well as custom promotions for the Illinois Restaurant Association members - our latest partner.

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B-Stock Announces ReverseLogix as Returns Management Solutions Partner

ReverseLogix | June 10, 2022

ReverseLogix, a provider of end-to-end returns management systems, today announced a partnership with B-Stock, the world's largest business-to-business marketplace for returned, excess, and other liquidation merchandise. The partnership provides merchants with ReverseLogix's powerful returns management solution (RMS) that empowers sellers to centrally manage eCommerce product returns with B-Stock's industry-leading platform to sell and buy customer returns, overstock, and other excess merchandise. As consumers spend more time and money shopping online, retailers are looking to technology to help them orchestrate and automate product returns operations. With global eCommerce sales estimated to top $7 trillion dollars by 2025 (Statista), reverse logistics technology presents a significant opportunity for organizations to offer a well-managed customer experience beyond the initial point of sale through a returns experience that is easy for the customer and cost-efficient for the retailer. "In today's eCommerce-driven world, returns management is critical to improving profitability and delivering a superior customer experience, From providing a totally self-service returns initiation to streamlining returns processing in the warehouse, to after-sales care and resale, the ReverseLogix RMS directly addresses the need for better consumer returns experiences and more efficient returns management operations. We are thrilled to collaborate with B-Stock who, like ReverseLogix, is focused on delivering solutions that deliver true business value." -Gaurav Saran, CEO of ReverseLogix. "As a 2-sided marketplace, B-Stock provides business value to the world's largest retailers and manufacturers by allowing them to outsource their returns process to B-Stock to drive high recovery, and operational efficiency, at a fraction of the cost it would require managing the process internally, In addition to the value to large sellers, B-Stock empowers the entrepreneurs of commerce in the form of the growing number of medium to small businesses who bid and buy on B-Stock to secure the inventory they need for their resell businesses. B-Stock's platform and recommerce expertise, combined with ReverseLogix returns management software, provides an innovative approach to optimize the entire returns process." -Sean Cleland, Vice President to Sales and Partnerships. About B-Stock B-Stock is the world's largest B2B recommerce marketplace for excess [or surplus] merchandise. Businesses of all sizes leverage the B-Stock platform to sell and buy customer returns, overstock, and other excess merchandise. Our customers range from the world's largest brands and retailers (including nine of the top 10 U.S. retailers) who want best-in-class inventory management to entrepreneurs looking to source valuable merchandise for their resale businesses. B-Stock believes there is tremendous value in and demand for this inventory – no matter the category, condition, or location. We pride ourselves on empowering the entrepreneurs and innovators of commerce. Having completed over 225,000 transactions in 2021, B-Stock gives buyers a simple and direct way to buy valuable products and offers sellers a trusted replacement for traditional liquidation while boosting operational efficiency, recovery rates, and cycle time. About ReverseLogix ReverseLogix is the only end-to-end, centralized, and fully integrated returns management system built specifically for retail, ecommerce, manufacturing and 3PL organizations. Whether B2B, B2C or hybrid, the ReverseLogix platform facilitates, manages, and reports on the entire returns' lifecycle. Organizations that rely on ReverseLogix deliver a vastly superior customer returns experience, save employee time with faster workflows, and increase profits with 360⁰ insight into returns data.

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Steven Bramson Named CEO of Innovative Ergonomic Solutions

Innovative Ergonomic Solutions | June 07, 2022

Innovative Ergonomic Solutions (IES), a private equity-backed platform with a collection of inventive brands focused on increasing productivity wherever work happens through better ergonomics, has named Steven Bramson CEO, effective today. Bramson has served as IES President since joining the organization in August 2021. In this elevated role, he will be responsible for setting the company's vision, the strategies to accelerate growth and profitability, and to drive overall success for the organization. Bramson will also oversee IES's diversified, global portfolio of brands. These include: HAT Collective, which serves the contract office market with intuitive, ergonomic products such as height-adjustable tables, monitor arms, seating, power and accessories; HAT Collective Healthcare, a division of HAT Collective, which provides point of care products like mobile carts and wall mounts; Innovative Design Works (IDW), which serves as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and designer of monitor arms, tablet mounts and point of sale systems for customers ranging from hospitality to retail; and several e-commerce brands. "Steven brings deep knowledge of the markets we serve and is well positioned to lead IES at this time in the company's lifecycle, He is a proven leader who can solve challenges, unite people and create new opportunities. He is a great fit to the lead the team and serve our customers." -IES Executive Chair and commercial furnishings industry veteran Kris Manos. Mark Woods, Non-Executive Chairman of IES, and Partner and Head of North American Private Equity at Cathay Capital, the controlling shareholder of IES, commented: "During his time at IES, Steven's vision, leadership skills and business acumen have been instrumental in strengthening the existing IES platform while identifying significant growth avenues. Steven is relentless in his pursuit of excellence, and we are confident he will create significant value for all stakeholders." Bramson brings more than 25 years of experience to the position. Prior to joining IES, he was the President of Humanscale North America, a leading manufacturer and global provider of ergonomic products and high performance seating. During his tenure there, he oversaw many of the company's largest divisions, implemented new organizational strategies and helped deliver significant revenue growth and increased market share. About Innovative Ergonomic Solutions Innovative Ergonomic Solutions is a private equity-backed platform with a collection of inventive brands focused on ergonomic workspace products and services that improve the health, wellness and productivity of users across a multitude of environments. IES serves a broad range of channels and markets including both corporate and home office, healthcare, hospitality, retail and point-of-sale. Its brands include HAT Collective, Innovative Design Works and others that serve the e-commerce market. IES is committed to product excellence and supporting the growth of ergonomics across North America, Europe, and Asia. About Cathay Capital Cathay Capital Group is a global investment firm supporting companies at all stages throughout North America, Asia, Europe and Africa. By helping navigate the opportunities of globalization and sustainable transformation, Cathay is the partner of choice for companies aspiring to lead markets and make a positive impact. Its global platform connects people – from investors and entrepreneurs to management teams and leading corporations – across continents to share knowledge, the tools to scale, and achieve the extraordinary. Founded in 2007 with a strong entrepreneurial heritage, Cathay Capital now manages over $4.5B in assets, has completed over 220 buyouts, growth and venture capital investments with the global reach and local expertise from offices in Paris, New York, Shanghai, Munich, San Francisco, Beijing, Singapore, Shenzhen and Tel Aviv.

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Blockchain Business-as-a-Service Ecommerce Ecosystem, powering global sales for retailers and manufacturers with a complete white label online store solution. Start global sales of brand products easily don’t need infrastructure with all-in-one interface: customize shop, turn delivery and payment on, connect warehouses, fulfillment, marketing, support and loyalty token system. 3 internal marketplaces for services, service providers and products suppliers make it possible to operate globally and get revenue from different markets