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Australian retail and e-commerce making waves globally

Retailers around the world are seeking new solutions to build stronger customer relationships and grow market share in a fiercely competitive sector. In this insight, Austrade’s Investment Director in San Francisco, Jessica Richman, describes the two areas where Australia is excelling and the Australian technology companies that are trailblazers in their field.

Leaders in retail and commerce technology

Retail and commerce technology development is a fast-growing Australian capability. I believe Australian companies are leaders in two areas of retail and commerce technology:

  1. Technology which helps companies understand their customers and assortment.
  2. Tools which help companies leverage the intersection of creators, content and commerce.

Technology to understand customers

Lexer is leading the way when it comes to technology which helps retailers understand customers and assortments. It is a customer data platform that raised US$25.5 million in February 2021.

Brands use Lexer to increase their incremental sales, which includes sales to existing and new customers. Its platform helps retailers understand key activities such as shopping patterns among different groups of visitors, which customers are most likely to make future purchases, and which marketing strategies deliver the most sales.

Another tool in the battle to understand the customer is Kapiche, an AI-powered text analytics software platform that analyses large volumes of text generated from customer and employee survey responses.

By allowing retailers to better understand contextual insights, Kapiche provides clients such as American Express, Target and Nissan with a deeper customer understanding. This translates into actionable insights that customers can use to grow and optimise their businesses.

Technology to understand your product

It is one thing to understand your customer and another thing to understand your product. Two Australian companies that are excelling in the know-your-product space are Style Arcade and Hivery.

Style Arcade helps companies perfect their product offering through analytics and range planning software. The company’s tools allows retailers to visualise, automate and collaborate on product assortment in real time. These tools allow retailers to utilise smart on-demand insights to achieve revenue and profit growth.

Hivery, a company rapidly expanding in North America, provides a category management analytics solution. Hivery incorporates artificial intelligence, operations research and design in its solution, and specialises in vending, trade promotion and category management. Hivery currently works with retailers like Walmart and CPG companies like Coca-Cola.

Rounding out this area is QSIC, which provides a unique omni-channel-solution. The company offers a commercial streaming service and, more importantly, enables intelligent in-store connectivity. This includes the ability to automatically adjust volume levels, speaker by speaker, depending on real-time traffic and conditions. Users can also curate content (like ads), targeting customers as they move through a space.

Merging content and commerce

Now that we understand our customer and product, we need technology to help us create beautiful, meaningful and contextually relevant experiences that merge content and commerce.

Leading the charge is Carted, a company which recently raised US$10 million. Carted’s technology meets the customer where they are at. As the line between content and commerce continues to get blurred, Carted makes commerce seamless by connecting developers and platforms to millions of sellers and billions of products with a single API.

Following closely behind Carted is Linktree, which raised US$45 million in March. Linktree is a social media company that provides a platform to make users’ online content more discoverable and easy to manage. The company’s technology is used for bio links by Shopify, Facebook, TikTok, YSL, HBO and Major League Baseball, and celebrities like Jonathan Van Ness, Jamie Oliver and Pharrell.

Canva: Serving creators, content and commerce

Another Australian player sitting at that important intersection of creators, content and commerce is Canva. As more and more people find themselves falling into the creator bucket, Canva provides a toolkit to easily make attractive content and websites, assisting millions of people the world over in creating and monetising their online identities. Think of Canva as providing the picks and shovels needed for the creator economy.

Canva is also becoming an even bigger player when it comes to e-commerce in general. Imagery and video are becoming vital in driving click-through and conversion, not only on a retailer’s website, but through its social channels. Canva’s templated solutions and offerings streamline content design to allow retailers to catch eyeballs and dollars.

Canva’s technology powers the personalised and photo gift experiences for companies like Kmart in Australia and Sam’s Club in the US. The company is also behind the design-to-print solutions at both Office Depot and FedEx Office, which allows it to play a big part in creating signage for local retail.

Australian technology companies are creating the tools that are rewriting the rules for the content-driven creator economy, transforming the way commerce has traditionally functioned. I am excited to watch as Australian tech continues to change the world.

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