Reading List - Week of August 22

0 min read

Alicia Doiron

This week in the world of eCommerce and technology, Symphony Commerce raises $11 million to help brands with faster shipping and eventually become a true commerce-as-a-service provider. Amazon launched an incredibly helpful auto buying research tool. The kids will be back to school soon which means parents will be frantically shopping for the next few weeks but it seems that Canadian Millennial parents aren't doing as much online shopping as you'd think. Online retailer, Casper, is getting really friendly with Canadian consumers through the use of pop-up shops. Offline and online beauty retailer, Sephora, opened it's first Canadian TIP concept store in Toronto earlier this week. For full stories read on.

Symphony Commerce raises $11 million to help brands offer faster shipping

Source: TechCrunch

Symphony Commerce, a fulfillment company that provides eCommerce platforms with cloud technology is looking to grow by raising a funding round of $11 million. Symphony, which helps brands manage their online business, is looking to focus on enabling these companies to offer faster shipping through their order management tools and network of warehouses. They say their offerings make it easier for large businesses to compete with the likes of Amazon by providing two-day shipping and in some cases, same-hour delivery. CEO Harish Abbott told TechCrunch that shipping efficiency is still an unsolved problem, and posed the question “How do you make sure the order gets fulfilled on time, accurately, and cost effectively?” Symphony, which views themselves as a commerce-as-a-service provider, also helps fashion and beverage companies, amongst others, by also providing web design and inventory management services. Ajay Agarwal, managing director at Bain Capital Ventures, went so far as to say that he believes Symphony “has built the first full stack cloud commerce solution” adding that clients “recognize their needs to build a direct-to-consumer presence.” However, Symphony has some fierce competition from the likes of Magento, Big Commerce, Demandware and others looking to break into the online shopping space.

Amazon releases auto buying research tool

Source: TechCrunch

Thanks to Amazon, shopping for a vehicle just got a whole lot easier. Amazon announced www.amazon.com/vehicles earlier this week and so far it’s getting rave reviews. While you may not be able to purchase a car through Amazon, yet, you are able to compare and research them in an incredibly comprehensible way. When a user clicks on a vehicle, they’re taken to a page where they may view photos, specs, play around with styles, and even look at reviews. While there’s many similar sites like this out there–Edmunds and Aol–Amazon has pushed the envelope once again, making the user experience much better than the competition.

44% of Millennial Canadian Parents Plan to Spend More on Back-to-School Shopping This Year

Source: CanTech Letter

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, well for parents any way. Kids will be going back to school in just a few weeks and that means parents are scrambling like mad getting things back in order. While Millennials are known for being tech savvy adopters, this year it seems Millennial parents are kicking it old-school. A GfK study found 44% of parents aged 25-34 will be making back to school purchases in store rather than online. Even when it comes to electronics, 40% of parents stated they would research items online but prefer to visit a brick-and-mortar location to do the actual buying–commonly referred to as “Webrooming.” We all know social media plays a huge impact in all our lives and it seems parents are no different. 66% of Canadian parents will be using social media on their path to purchase–43% stated they would use it to research promotions while 33% stated to browse products. The GfK study interviewed 1,007 Canadian households with children in Kindergarten to grade 12. For the full study click here.

Why Online Retailer Casper is Getting Physical in Canada

Source: Retail Insider

Casper–not be confused with the friendly ghost–is a New York City-based company specializing in comfy mattresses and cozy sheets. The online retailer has recently set up a few pop-up locations in a bit to better engage their customers. Last year, Casper saw sales of over $100 million and was announced as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies in the World” and in 2015 Time Magazine awarded their mattresses as “Best Inventions of 2015.” So what’s so great about them? The award-winning mattress is delivered to consumers in a box that leaves customers puzzled and amazed–it’s a lot smaller than one would think. In addition, the memory foam mattress is reasonably priced with sizes starting at $725 Canadian, which Canucks seem to be pretty keen on. This has led Casper to move into the great white north through a series of pop-ups. This spring, Casper initiated a “Canadian Nap Tour” which included a “Napmobile” and consisted of 4 rooms small rooms with Casper mattresses. Co-founder and CEO of Casper, Philip Krim, stated the pop-ups are marrying its eCommerce business model with experimental marketing to allow for interaction and consumer product testing. The pop-ups aren’t so much about selling their mattresses but more about educating and engaging new and old customers–without the used car salesman antics. Depending on how well the pop-up shops resonate with Canadian consumers, a brick-and-mortar location could be in store for the future.

Sephora Opens 1st Canadian 'TIP' Concept Store

Source: Retail Insider

Large beauty retailer Sephora has opened their first Beauty TIP workshop store in Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. There’s currently only four in North America and this marks the first in Canada. Sephora hopes to fuse digital technology and services to offer a modern shopping experience with “Teach, Inspire, Play.” Sephora is not new to innovative ideas and is known for bridging the gap between content, community, and commerce. The TIP workshop store will include a “Beauty Tip Workshop” where up to 10 clients may participate in group beauty lessons led by Sephora associates, gain access to self-guided tutorials using iPad stations, and be granted access to a Sephora beauty board–a shoppable showcase which features UGC, user generated content, through a large digital screen. Each station comes with its own products, iPad, USB port and wifi, giving customers the ability to share their own looks and browse others via the digital screen and online, right inside the Sephora store. And that is just one of many amazing ways in which Sephora is working to create a truly omnichannel presence. For more details and for the full story go to Retail-Insider.