People hate to do things themselves. Today we have self-driving cars, self-cleaning microwaves, self-regulating thermostats, even self-completing sentences. Automation is pretty much everywhere, from the streets we drive to the stores we shop in, but there is still a long way to go before it hits the ceiling of what it can do.
Linnworks brings this ceiling closer to reality. On Wednesday, the trade automation firm announced a new majority investment from Marlin Equity Partners that it will use to scale its product capabilities and continue its global expansion. Linnworks vision is to automate processes such as inventory, product information and order management to enable businesses to scale. The company has customers in 50 countries who deliver to more than 140 countries around the world.
Full control of the trade
Just as a self-driving car can free a driver to grab a bite to eat from their lunch, Linnworks’ solution automates key business operations that allow managers to focus on the scale. Based in the UK, the goal of the SaaS company is to give brands and retailers what CEO Callum Campbell calls “full control of the business”.
“The world of commerce we live in is all about a fantastic consumer experience, where you and I, as consumers, can buy the products we want to access on a multitude of different platforms, online and offline – ideal. for us as consumers, but it’s a challenge for brands and retailers. How can I, as a brand or retailer, take my products and make them available for sale wherever my customers choose to shop? Campbell told Modern Shipper. “So you end up with a very fragmented ecosystem for the brand or the retailer. “
To manage this disjointed network, Linnworks adds a central hub to business operations through which brands and retailers can reach consumers in the channels where they shop. The company automates inventory management, product information management and order management across all channels and operations, with partnerships including marketplaces like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), Shopify ( NYSE: SHOP) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT).
“Take, for example, this pen,” Campbell said, holding a normal ballpoint pen. “You want to sell this pen on your website, you want to sell it on Amazon, you want to sell it on eBay, you want to sell it on Instagram – you can sell it in a lot of different environments at the same time. , but to do it right and not cause problems for your customers, you need to control your inventory levels. And all these different environments have to describe this pen and list it, manage the prices, and then when you get orders, you kind of have to aggregate and collect them centrally and then assign them to the appropriate shipping departments. … Imagine selling 1,000 different types of pens on 20 different channels internationally – it becomes a complex inventory management problem. Thus, Linnworks is centralized and synchronizes your inventory.
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Campbell noted that consumers today expect to be able to purchase products in the environments where they spend most of their time, whether in stores or on their phones, and they expect products are delivered according to their conditions. In a recent Linnworks study, the company surveyed over 1,000 customers in North America and Europe and found that 76% said convenience was their top priority when selecting a retailer, even at the above the price.
In order to provide this convenience, Campbell says, retailers must meet their customers where they are. But as brands attempt to sell across more and more channels, the complexity and operational costs of this operation can limit the scale – that’s where Linnworks comes in.
“Yes [businesses] want to maximize their income and not miss any income opportunities, so they have to figure out how to be where their customers are with their products. Trade automation therefore allows them to maximize their income and be simultaneously on all these different channels. “
Cash flow for your work flow
Linnworks will use the new investment to improve the functionality of its automation offerings, as well as to expand connectivity by integrating with more sales channels, 3PLs, enterprise resource planning applications and vendors. ‘shipping. The company also aims to provide its customers with more information using a combination of internal business intelligence, machine learning and AI. These innovations, Campbell says, will give businesses greater control and visibility to make smarter decisions.
Marlin Equity Capital led the investment, which closed on July 30.
“We wanted to work with a partner, financially and strategically, who could help us accelerate our growth, realize our full potential and really reach the global scale that we are looking for,” said Campbell. “And so we spoke to a whole bunch of different players in the market, but Marlin stood out.”
The global investment firm manages over $ 7.6 billion in capital, providing the financial firepower needed to help Linnworks scale. But beyond that, says Campbell, Marlin brings knowledge of market trends, broad industry expertise and a shared vision to become a global market leader. To boot, the company is headquartered in Hermosa Beach, Calif., Allowing Linnworks to connect to the North American market across the pond.
An effortless economy
Campbell sees the growing trend for convenience in ordering and shipping as the new normal.
“I think the big driving force behind the market for the consumer right now is what we call the rise of the ‘effortless economy’. In a nutshell, “he explained,” consumers expect an effortless commerce, a frictionless experience in terms of product discovery, product purchase, product delivery and the process of shopping. return and after-sales refund “.
This ease is just one of the trends guiding Linnworks’ strategy for the future. Campbell says the company has kept an eye on strengthening markets and wants to do more. On the other end of the spectrum, Linnworks has also noted an increase in direct-to-consumer commerce (DTC) and plans to focus on its DTC offerings. Campbell also hopes to integrate with other social commerce platforms, like Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Instagram.
“A brand or retailer, through their relationship with Linnworks, will have a great relationship with markets and social platforms,” he said. “It means understanding, what do best practices look like on these platforms? How to maximize revenue on these platforms? How do you provide a great after-sales experience through these platforms? What is the consumer life cycle? How do brands and retailers connect to the platform to ensure they deliver a great experience across the consumer lifecycle? “
With Linnworks, customers will be able to answer these questions, but they won’t have to worry about them – automation will take care of it.
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