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To Michael Forrest, retail is all about the interactions between people.
“The cornerstone of successful retail is relationships and how well you can foster those relationships, both between a retailer and consumer and a retailer and supplier,” Forrest said. “Ultimately, how you deliver products to your consumer, whether that’s online or in-store, is a representation of who you are.”
That insight has plenty of learning behind it. Forrest is a self-described “student of retail” has 30 years of experience in the industry. Along the way, he played a key role on the team that launched the Apple Store, served as global head of customer experience at Microsoft and led retail operations at Samsung, among other roles.
Now, Forrest is the CEO of Surefront. The company makes software that’s designed to streamline the process that brings those products to market. The Surefront team saw a retail space where lots of information needs to come together to develop, list and ultimately sell a new product. This disparate information, in turn, is often recorded and shared using disparate tools like email and spreadsheets, with lots of data entry involved. There are tools to share information internally, and others to share it with outside partners.
Surefront’s system, in turn, sits between brands, retailers, suppliers and manufacturing partners.
“They have one shared, collaborative space to go from new product ideation all the way through to an ecommerce listing or B2B sale for brick and mortar,” said Doug Heckmann, Surefront’s chief solutions officer.
Surefront's team. (Courtesy photo)
This involves bringing together familiar tools for product lifecycle management, product information management and merchandising into one platform. A soon-to-launch feature will add product data syndication.
With the information that is presented, stakeholders can collaborate on ideas, view updates with visual workflows, manage price quotes and export listings to ecommerce platforms. These capabilities exist alongside tools that enable communication between the different stakeholders. So the product’s data and imagery lives in the same space as the chat that takes place around its development. Plus, it's in a space where it can be revisited at a later date.
“We contextualize all of the communication to the product and to the quotations,” Heckmann said. This means "it’s always easy to have a shared history that you can quickly reference and leverage for insight for growth.”
The collaboration and communication helps speed up the time to market for a product, Forrest said. When companies with a large number of SKUs are working to meet demand or get products out in time for a new season, that’s valuable.
At the end of the day, brands, retailers and manufacturers are all working to get the right product to customers at the right time, and at the right price.
Surefront wants to help make it easier for these groups to work together to reach that goal, and in turn delight both customers and partners. That sounds like the basis for stronger relationships.
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Dealboard has details on acquisitions in CPG and social marketing.
This week, there are new investment funds for QR codes and ecommerce software. Plus, Purple rejects a takeover bid, and a tennis star gets a voice with a beverage startup.
Tennis star Nick Kyrgios took an equity stake in Alive, a no-sugar probiotic soft drink developed by Australia’s Gen U Brands. Kyrgios will help the startup brand raise its profile, and is also offering business advice. “As an international citizen, so to speak, he brings a different perspective to the business,” CEO Andrew Blew told Business News Australia.
Beaconstac, a QR code customer engagement platform, raised $25 million in a Series A round. Telescope Partners led the financing, with participation from existing investor Accel. Over the lat year, the company helped businesses create 1.8 million QR codes, which were scanned over 150 million times by consumers. It is used by Revlon, Nestle, FedEx, and Marriott. The company is planning to increase its 75-person workforce by 200% in 2023.
Boxed, the bulk delivery service and ecommerce software provider, raised $20 million as it seeks to either become profitable, or sell itself. The company received $10 million upfront from an unknown lender, and could receive another $10 million upon completion of certain milestones. “This new financing will provide greater flexibility for us to continue to execute on our strategic vision and the strategic alternatives process,” said Boxed CEO Chieh Huang.
Food Should Taste Good, a natural tortilla snacks brand, was acquired by Real Food From the Ground Up from General Mills, Just Food reported. It comes about a decade after General Mills acquired Food Should Taste Good. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Purple rejected a bid to be acquired by Coliseum Capital Management in a takeover bid that was submitted in September. Purple announced last week that it declined the offer in November after Coliseum proved unwilling to $4.35 per share. In a statement, Purple Chairman Paul Zepf said the proposal “undervalues Purple and fails to recognize the strength of our business today as well as our compelling future prospects.”
Tinuiti, a performance marketing firm, acquired Ampush, a growth marketing agency. It’s a move that is designed to expand the paid social capabilities of Tinuiti. Ampush offers performance creative, optimization and analytics. Founded in 2010, Ampush works with ecommerce and subscription businesses such as Instacart, Blenders Eyewear and STARZ. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Founder Jesse Pujji shared these lessons over 13 years building the business.
\u201cI just sold my company for life changing $.\n\n13 years later, I'm an overnight success.\n\nHere are 13 lessons from the journey, by year:\u201d— Jesse Pujji (@Jesse Pujji) 1674583389
Henkel completed its acquisition of outlets in Malaysia and Taiwan from Shiseido Professional. It’s the final piece of an acquisition that began in January. Subsequently, Henkel closed on deals to acquire the haircare business in China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. Shiseido joins a portfolio at Henkel that also includes Schwarzkopf Professional, Authentic Beauty Concept, Bonacure and Igora Royal.
WeCommerce and Tiny are combining to form a single technology holding company. The combined company will be known as Tiny, with WeCommerce operating as a software and services group inside the business. The combined company will be valued at about $910 million. Tiny cofounders Andrew Wilkinson and Chris Sparling will serve as co-CEOs, while WeCommerce CFO David Charron will serve as CFO. Tech investor Bill Ackman will own 15.4% of the company through his firm Table Holdings, and is the largest non-management shareholder.WPF Holdings acquired ecommerce assets of KPOP 1004, which is a specialty store for K-POP and K-Beauty speciality store. With this, WPF Holdings is set to form a subsidiary called K-Shop. This will include the online shop, and kiosks at KPOP1004 in-store locations that provide shopping beyond what is offered in-store. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.