Reading List - Week of August 15

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Alicia Doiron

This week in the world of eCommerce and technology, Aldo is looking to create an omnichannel solution for customers by combining mobile with brick-and-mortar to offer their customers a better and more modern shopping experience. Online retailer MyOptique got acquired by lens-maker Essilor for a deal close to $160 million. Shopify is looking to raise $246 million through the selling of five million shares. Canadian woman's retailer, Aritzia, announced it would be going public on the Toronto Stock Exchange earlier this week. For detailed stories, read on.

Aldo’s bricks-and-mortar connected store experience laces up mobile-inspired sales

Source: Mobile Commerce Daily

Fashion footwear and accessory retailer, Aldo, has joined other leading brands in the quest to integrate mobile with brick-and-mortar. At its Westfield World Trade Center location they’re enabling shoppers to use their app and self-serve tablets in a bit to employ a more personalized shopping experience. Aldo realizes customers path-to-purchase has changed and are progressing to keep up to their demands. The app gives shoppers access to product wish lists which allow a customer to find certain products and receive similar product suggestions as well as the ability to purchase products in a certain size or color that aren’t physically present. Customers looking for style inspiration will find the app contains styled outfits and content to help them discover how a product could be worn in multiple ways and work with the what they already have in their closet.

Ken Morris, President of Boston Retail Partners had this to say regarding Aldo’s new technology “The enhanced personalized features driven by mobile apps and more meaningful interactions between the customer and sales associate will help customer find and buy the right products based on customer context...With customer context, retailers can guide the shopping journey based on what a customer has in her closet, what she previously purchased, what she browsed on the Web site and abandoned in her online cart, when she is near your store and even exactly what she is browsing and where within the store...The main reason customers leave empty-handed is because they are not helped by an associate or can’t find what they are looking for. The new features of Aldo’s new connected store, which leverages customer context, will help eliminate this problem.”

Online glasses retailer MyOptique sells to lens-maker Essilor for close to $160M

Source: TechCrunch

European online glasses retailer MyOptique, has been acquired by French lens maker Essilor International in an acquisition estimated at $158 Million, although an exact figure hasn’t yet been confirmed. Investors that will be cashing out from the sale are Index Ventures, Action Capital Partners, Beringea, Cipio Partners and Korys. Founded in 2005, MyOptique brings in annual revenues of £56 million. The MyOptique management team plans to stay in place post-acquisition and the business will continue to operate as two separate brands: MyOptique and Essilor. Maurice Helfgott, chairman of MyOptique commented on Essilor and the acquisition stating “The business has achieved pan European scale, is growing fast and had a number of strategic options for its next stage. Joining Essilor, the world leader in ophthalmic optics, was by far the most compelling one.” Essilor also released a statement stating the acquisition will allow it to enlarge its online market into central Europe, supporting its means in becoming multi-channel, multi-brand models.

Shopify Raises $246 Million Through Sale of Five Million Shares

Source: BetaKit

A report from the Ottawa Business Journal claims Shopify will raise $246 million through selling five million shares. In addition, Bessemer Venture Partners–the lead investor of Shopifys series A round and a participant of both the B and C rounds–as well as a few other Shopify executives will sell another 2.5 million shares, which will raise an estimated $123 million that will go to selling shareholders. According to a filing with securities regulators in the U.S., OBJ claims the company will use the funding to strengthen their balance sheet providing Shopify with the flexibility to fund their growth strategies. That means 7.5 million shares will be available and will be priced at $49.25 (USD $38.25). Shopify released its financial results for Q2 in early August and revealed the company’s total revenue for the second quarter was $86.6 million.

Canadian women’s fashion retailer Aritzia makes plans to go public

Source: Canadian Business

Aritzia, the Vancouver based woman’s fashion brand, has been around since 1984 and earlier this week announced its plan to go public on the Toronto Stock Exchange. At this time the retailer stated they plan to offer an undetermined amount of shares with the price to be set during the IPO process. The multichannel company that has 75 locations throughout Canada and the U.S is co-owned by CEO Brian Hill and Boston-based investment firm Berkshire Partners. Artizia, upon filing, says their plans for long-term growth include expanding and renovating current stores, growing their eCommerce business, constant brand innovation, and building out its international presence. Aritzia launched their online store in North America in 2012 and plans to offer international shipping this fall, with hopes to increase their online revenue. Online sales represented just 12% of their overall sales last year and they’d like to see it increase to 25% by 2021. However, Aritizia also plans to expand their brick-and-mortar presence by opening between 24 to 30 new stores in the next 6 years.