Progress Partners

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Progress Partners is a boutique investment firm based in Boston and New York City providing financial advisory services to companies in media, marketing, advertising, and software.

Progress Scouting Report: Shoptalk 2017

Las Vegas, NV - April 3, 2017 - Industry leaders and disruptors convened in Las Vegas for March 2017’s Shoptalk conference, one of the retail and ecommerce industry's most important. The event, founded by Anil Aggarwal (fmr. Global Head of Google Wallet Business Development and host of Money 20/20, the largest payment conference in the world), hosted thousands of retailers, brands, consultants, and analysts to discuss the incredible revolution taking place. One underlying thesis recognized by Sam Thompson (Senior Managing Director, Progress Partners) during the four-day event was the growing importance of multi-channel marketplaces as the future of retail, where to stay relevant, major retailers must diversify their shopping channels or risk becoming irrelevant to consumers.

Kevin Mansell, CEO of Kohl's, talks stores at Shoptalk 2017 (Kohl's Corporate)

Kevin Mansell, CEO of Kohl's, talks stores at Shoptalk 2017 (Kohl's Corporate)

"Data is becoming an increasingly important part of the equation, where companies are using this multi-channel approach to understand their buyer and cater to this consumer in increasingly sophisticated ways. Corporations are collecting these consumer data and incorporating it into their business plans as sales continue to shift from brick and mortar to online, building out detailed customer profiles collected from ecommerce transactions," Thompson noted. "The strategy is to apply this data to a more tailored or customized approach to the in-store experience to then increase likelihood of a transaction."

Additionally, while solutions abound for all processes up to the Point-of-Sale, outside of loyalty programs, there are few solutions to address the measurement of post-sale interactions and engagement, specifically around customer retention and increasing repeat business. Purchases made by loyalty programs consumers still only covers roughly 20% of total sales (source: Loyalty360). This data gap will close, eventually, but no clear winners have emerged.

During his time at Shoptalk, Thompson was impressed by several growth and expansion-stage companies, some that we had seen before in their earlier stages, and others that were entirely new to the conference circuit:

  • Vantiv is a large yet versatile company in its ability to serve all types of retailers through credit card processing and online POS solutions. With revenue in the billions steadily increasing year over year, Vantiv is able to effectively serve clients by providing simplicity for customers, omnichannel analytics and insight for businesses, and a partnership program that leverages the combination of its own strengths with those of other industry leaders. This program enhances Vantiv’s capabilities and network, which contributes even further to the strength of the company as ownership and usage of credit cards continue to grow.
  • True Fit provides a platform of apparel and footwear data through its partnerships with thousands of top brands, the world’s leading retailers, and millions of consumers. Its data is mapped into its Genome™, which helps retailers and brands unlock digital growth in the $2 trillion footwear and apparel industry. With personalization being an ever important part of the sales procees True Fit’s ability to give retailers all the data they need to provide their clients with the most personalized fit and size recommendations drives their revenue. As more companies realize the importance of personalization, True Fit should see even more growth. T he company is based in Boston and backed by Fung Capital.
  • Newstore is a mobile retail platform that empowers brands to deliver an end-to-end shopping experience for their consumers. The team has grown quickly to 125+ employees since founding a little over a year ago. The founder of Newstore, Stephan Schambach, was previously the founder of Demandware. With the track record of selling Demandware to Salesforce for $2.8B, the founders have proved their knowledge in the ecommerce space and thus should continue to take advantage of their learnings with Demandware and be able to scale Newstore quickly.
  • Tulip Retail delivers a mobile platform for sales associates, giving them access to the information they need to deliver breakthrough customer service. Sales associates can easily access catalogue, customer and sales transaction information from a mobile device allowing them to quickly answer questions, make personalized recommendations and check out faster.
  • Brickwork provides a SaaS platform for retailer and brands to deliver a better pre-visit experience: providing their customers with more accurate store information, more access to events and promotions, more personal assistance when they arrive in-store, and more confidence that products are available near them. Brickwork opens a new world of actionable data for marketers and store teams, starting with their unique measure of Digital-to-Store Conversion, to drive traffic, engagement, conversion, and basket size.

As the retail industry continues to catch up with technology and incorporate these innovations into their business models, the opportunity for disruptors will continue to grow. As time passes, we see an opportunity for M&A activity to increase as companies remain bullish on building out full-suite services to help both ecommerce and brick and mortar retailers improve their operations, logistics, merchandising, acquisition, and retention.

For more information about Shoptalk, visit their website: www.shoptalk.com.

© 2017 Progress Partners, Inc.

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