Supplier Spotlights: Lula Convenience, Mars Wrigley, Relationshop & Swiftly
Relationshop, a digital engagement platform for retail chains, acquired Stor.ai, an e-commerce solution for regional grocers. The purchase will create a unified i-commerce platform, combining operations with data analytics and omnichannel engagement capabilities to increase transactions, enhance loyalty and grow sales.
The new entity will be called Stor.ai, a Relationshop company.
Stor.ai was founded in Israel in 2014 and provides solutions for some of the top grocery chains in Israel. Today, the company has over 100 grocery customers in the United States and more than 200 customers globally.
Relationshop's digital experience platform offers grocers omnichannel engagement and personalization tools for health and nutrition, rewards programs, email marketing, digital circulars, and data analytics for both online and offline customers. The platform is deployed in 11 regional grocery brands across the U.S., including chains such as Albertsons, United Supermarkets and Big Y Foods.
"This acquisition gives retailers the ability to advance beyond e-commerce to i-commerce," said Galen Waters, CEO of Relationshop. "We believe that for regional retailers to compete with Walmart, Instacart, Kroger [or] Amazon, they need a unified technology platform [to drive] all commerce. By merging the Relationshop shopper engagement and personalization suite with the e-commerce and fulfillment platform of Stor.ai, our clients will be able to provide a frictionless digital shopping experience to their customers."
Post-closing, Waters will serve as CEO of Stor.ai. A 50-year veteran of the retail industry, he established Relationshop in 2007 under the name Go Think!. Mendel Gniwisch, former CEO of Stor.ai, will serve as president and member of the board and will focus his attention on further merger-and-acquisition opportunities and international operations.
Retail technology company Swiftly released its new SMB platform, democratizing access for more than 15,000 small-to-medium sized brick-and-mortar retailers (SMBs). The launch brings Swiftly's network of retailers to more than 25,000 stores nationwide, representing over 12 percent of the grocery and convenience store locations in the U.S.
Swiftly worked in conjunction with two launch partners, Alliance Retail Group (ARG) and Skupos. The stores received a portfolio of retail tools and solutions to own their digital customer relationship with an enterprise grade platform, while offering advertisers potential access to the largest network of stores in the country.
Though many retailers understand the need for digital solutions to compete against big box stores, they have historically been limited by a lack of financial and engineering resources, according to the company. The new low-cost platform aims to not only address those challenges but create solutions for SMBs in the wake of looming consolidations like that of Kroger and Albertsons, which is expected to bring nearly 5,000 stores together under one company umbrella.
"Competition and technical complexity make it harder than ever for brick-and-mortar retailers to stand out to consumers," said Henry Kim, co-founder and CEO of Swiftly. "The launch of our platform, and the subsequent partnerships with ARG and Skupos, are reinforcing our mission to democratize retail technology for … stores across the country."
By giving SMBs access to the technology and tools they need to drive new revenue streams with faster speed to market and little to no upfront cost, Swiftly believes the scales will tip more evenly in favor of smaller retailers.
"We are putting our independent grocers on a level playing field with companies like Walmart, so that they can own their digital customer relationships and capture valuable digital advertising revenue streams," said Mike Bokarae, chief development officer at ARG. "With industry consolidation on the horizon, time is of the essence. Our independent grocers can now leverage their advantages in speed and nimbleness and the power of the network that Swiftly and ARG represent to outmaneuver the competition."