Today in Retail: Swiftly Raises $100M

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Today in retail, Dollar General releases a banking option and tests buy now, pay later (BNPL), while Fanatics launches Zerocool trading cards as its expansion beyond apparel continues. Plus, Dick’s loses eCommerce momentum as shoppers return to brick-and-mortar stores, TrueCar unveils its online car-buying platform and Levi Strauss launches a humanitarian aid program for Ukrainian refugees.

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Fanatics Enters Trading Card Space With Zerocool Launch

Sports retailer Fanatics is set to launch a brand of trading cards in a bid to move beyond sports and into a broader pop culture space, according to a Bloomberg News report Tuesday (March 8).

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The company will look to ink licensing deals with production studios, musicians and fashion houses, aiming to gain access to intellectual property with an active fanbase, the report says. The first line from the card brand, dubbed Zerocool, is being done in partnership with investor Gary Vaynerchuk, based on his NFT project VeeFriends.

Retail Tech Firm Swiftly Raises $100M in Series B Round

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Retail technology platform Swiftly secured $100 million in a Series B funding round that it will use to offer an enhanced digital shopping experience to more brick-and-mortar retailers, capture digital advertising dollars and build customer loyalty, according to a Tuesday (March 8) press release.

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Wormhole Capital led Swiftly’s fundraising effort, with participation from Liquid2 Ventures, Bramalea, Gaingels, Silicon Ventures, Proof VC, Western Technology Investment, Sand Hill Angels and The Martin Family. The fresh capital brings Swiftly’s total investment capital to $120 million.

Swiftly will use the new money to add staff and resources in all departments, including engineering, sales, marketing and customer onboarding.

From Levi’s to Danone, Brands Face High Stakes Decision on Russian Response

Levi Strauss & Co. joined a growing list of other American companies and brands to speak out against Russia’s attack on the Ukraine, announcing it is launching a humanitarian aid program and company matching gift plan to support regional refugee relief efforts.

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The San Francisco-based retailer said it was committed to supporting its employees, partners and their families affected by its decision in the months ahead.

thredUp Posts Record Revenues but Struggles to Get Investors to Believe in Resale

Fourth-quarter 2021 earnings numbers looked largely positive for resale platform thredUP Monday (March 7), but investors — and even CEO and Co-Founder James Reinhart — understand secondhand is a tough idea to get behind.

The company’s stock has been battered for almost a year since its initial public offering (IPO) last March, dipping from its $20-per-share starting price to $7.55 Monday after the latest earnings report showed an all-time quarterly revenue high of $72.9 million, representing 68% growth year over year.

The company also reported annual revenue of $251.8 million, representing 35% growth year over year; and had a record number of active buyers with 1.7 million and orders of 1.7 million in the quarter, representing growth of 36% and 69% year over year, respectively.

eCommerce Tumbles for Dick’s Sporting Goods

Shoppers’ return to their local Dick’s Sporting Goods store took a bite out of the omnichannel sporting goods retailer’s eCommerce business — both for the fourth quarter (ending Jan. 29) and for the full fiscal 2021, the company reported Tuesday (March 8).

In Q4, Dick’s saw an 11% drop in eCommerce sales compared to the same period one year earlier, after the previous fiscal year saw a 57% increase in Q4 eCommerce sales. eCommerce penetration has grown from 25% of total net sales in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 27% for the fourth quarter of 2021. The firm’s eCommerce penetration was approximately 32% in the fourth quarter of 2020.

For the year, eCommerce sales dipped 9%, including a period of temporary store closures, following a 100% increase in eCommerce sales in fiscal 2020.

Dollar General Rolls Out Banking Option, Tests BNPL

Dollar General has rolled out new financial services aimed at giving customers new banking options and payment alternatives, including the launch of its exclusive banking platform, spendwell; a pilot buy now, pay later (BNPL) program with Sezzle; and a new FIS Worldpay card reward points system.

spendwell is being offered through a partnership with InComm Payments and includes a bank account, Visa debit card and mobile banking app. The company said it has waived the retail purchase price to open an account through Sept. 30 of this year and will give customers a $10 deposit into their spendwell accounts after their card registration is approved. The program lets customers access services like direct deposit, online bill pay and the ability to add cash at Dollar General stores.

The company also plans to launch a test of a BNPL option with Sezzle at more than 1,700 stores in Texas. The program will let customers pay for their purchases in four zero-interest installments.

TrueCar Launches Online Car-Buying Platform TrueCar+

Online car retailer TrueCar, Inc., unveiled its online car-buying platform, TrueCar+, according to a Tuesday (March 8) company press release.

TrueCar+ allows users to explore, confirm and complete their car purchases with a dealer and arrange financing and delivery from anywhere. Shoppers can complete any portion of the transaction at a TrueCar Certified Dealer.

TrueCar+ was launched as a pilot in September in Tampa, Florida, and has expanded to Orlando, Jacksonville and Gainesville, Florida. TrueCar expects to have full market and brand coverage in Florida by the end of the second quarter of 2022, with plans to scale eventually scale TrueCar+ across the U.S.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: ACCOUNT OPENING AND LOAN SERVICING IN THE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT

About: Forty-two percent of U.S. consumers are more likely to open accounts with FIs that make it easy to auto-share their banking details during sign-up. The PYMNTS study Account Opening And Loan Servicing In The Digital Environment, surveyed 2,300 consumers to examine how FIs can leverage open banking to engage customers and create a better account opening experience.



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