OPERATIONS

Pitney Bowes to buy cross-border e-commerce services provider Borderfree

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Borderfree, a provider of cross-border e-commerce services, announced that it signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Pitney Bowes Inc. for $14 per share in cash, or approximately $395 million. The acquisition comes as Pitney Bowes looks to expand more into software and digital-commerce services.

Borderfree, which generated approximately $125 million in revenue in 2014, manages all aspects of the international shopping experience, including site localization, multi-currency pricing, payment processing, fraud management, landed cost calculation, customs clearance and brokerage and global logistics services.

"The combination of Borderfree's cross-border ecommerce capabilities with our own solutions expands our portfolio of offerings and extends our global reach," said Marc B. Lautenbach, president and CEO, Pitney Bowes. "Together, we have a significant opportunity to help our clients expand and grow by providing a comprehensive range of complementary, cross-border ecommerce solutions in the fast-growing global ecommerce marketplace."

The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter.

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FINANCE

Zulily names CFO

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — Online retailer Zulily announced today that Brian Swartz has been appointed senior VP and CFO, effective June 1, 2015.

Swartz brings more than 20 years of operational and financial experience to Zulily. For the last six years, he served as senior VP and CFO of Apollo Education Group, Inc., a private-sector education company. Swartz joined Apollo from EaglePicher Incorporated, a technology and industrial products and services company, where he served as VP and corporate controller.

"Zulily has been incredibly disruptive in the e-commerce space and I'm excited to join a company that has fundamentally changed the way people shop," said Swartz. "I look forward to bringing my experience and helping the business continue to scale, and being part of delivering an exceptional daily experience to the passionate and loyal base of customers that Zulily has created, in such a short period of time."

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News

Exclusive: Netsuite CEO envisions retail’s omnichannel future

BY CSA STAFF

Omnichannel may not be Netsuite CEO Zach Nelson’s favorite word, but that didn’t stop him from using it extensively and sharing a vision of what it means during the cloud commerce leader’s annual SuiteWorld conference.

Nelson characterized omnichannel as the next wave of disruption for all businesses, not just retail, during comments to nearly 8,000 attendees at the Silicon Valley event. The Netsuite executive offered a vision of omnichannel that is known to many a retailer but fully executed by none as they have been unable to keep pace with shoppers’ elevated expectations for the type of seamless experience disruptive technologies make possible.

“The next disruption that is coming to every industry is the omni distruption in two forms; omnichannel and omnibusiness model. With omnichannel, you have to recognize your customers wherever they are. They expect that. The second thing that is happen is everyone’s business model is changing,” Nelson said referring to the omnibusiness model. “People think omnichannel is a retail problem, but it is an every company problem,” Nelson said.

His comments came during an hour and a half long presentation filled with several major new product announcements, including one involving Microsoft and CEO Satya Nadella, along with testimonials from retail customers who rely on Netsuite’s software to integrate their physical and digital operations.

One of those was action sports retailer Billabong, which plans to roll out NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce platform as part of a larger transformation strategy. Billabong operates 310 stores, with 10 brands in nine countries and 13,000 wholesale customers generating more than $1 billion in annual sales. Despite its scale, the company lacked the fundamental omnichannel capabilities of being able to view inventory across its store network or accommodate in-store returns of items purchased online.

“Creating a true omnichannel experience is one of the seven strategic pillars in our transformation strategy. We have high expectations of potential strategic partners in line with our approach of undertaking major structural changes once and doing them right,” said Billabong CEO Neil Fiske. “We look forward to working with NetSuite to build an industry leading global platform that creates a seamless customer experience across all of our channels, including wholesale.”

“Global retailers are repeatedly held back by siloed systems that result in a fractured journey as customers transition across disparate systems,” said Netsuite CEO Nelson. “Billabong’s move to SuiteCommerce’s single unified cloud-based platform will give the company the agility to deliver the seamless omnichannel customer experiences shoppers demand.”

Billabong’s Global Chief Technology Officer Kadima Lonji figures with new omnichannel and supply chain visibility capabilities if the company can save one sale a day across its network of stores every day it will equal a $13 million annual revenue gain given the company’s average transaction size is $125.

Netsuite’s focus on giving its core mid-size and smaller retailers state-of-the-art omnichannel capabilities was also evident in another major announcement involving the launch of a new product called SuiteCommerce InStore.

The new point of sale solution, or what Netsuite refers to as point of commerce, is designed to unify in-store and online brand experiences to enable omnichannel retail from a single cloud commerce platform. The company contends SuiteCommerce InStore is the first system that integrates comprehensive omnichannel capabilities into an enterprise-class, mobile-first, point-of-sale solution that seamlessly unifies the online and in-store customer journey.

For the first time, retailers will be able to equip sales associates with complete inventory and customer information to engage shoppers more effectively, drive more sales and provide a satisfying shopping experience, according to Netsuite.

The solution enables employees to engage customers anywhere in the store, view inventory anywhere in the store and combine different fulfillment models in a single transaction. The best part is employees gain a complete view of customers and their history on the sales floor. For example, a visual timeline viewable on a handheld device shows all purchases, returns, exchanges, store visits and service requests regardless of channel, with the ability to drill into any transaction, according to Netsuite.

“We immediately saw how SuiteCommerce InStore could serve as the foundation for the next-generation in-store experience we are building,” said Ryan Johnson, COO at the 60 store Lovesac furniture chain. “It was obvious to us that the product was designed with the omnichannel shopper in mind, but also with an eye toward helping our sales associates serve our customers better. And, because it is built on SuiteCommerce, we were able to deploy all of its omnichannel capabilities in a fraction of the time it would have taken to deploy virtually any other point of sale solution.”

Another major development announced at the SuiteWorld event that caught attendees by surprise involved a new strategic cloud alliance with Microsoft. The deal is intended to create new, innovative and future-proof solutions that connect NetSuite's cloud enterprise resource planning systems to Microsoft Office 365, Windows and Microsoft Azure.

"We're at the 'end of the beginning' of the cloud, in that the cloud business model that NetSuite pioneered in 1998 is becoming the de facto standard for how fast-growth businesses are run," according to Nelson. "We're thrilled to work with Microsoft to deliver a fluid cloud environment across the key NetSuite and Microsoft applications that companies and their employees rely on to continually improve their day-to-day operations and run their business better and more efficiently."

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