🟥 What is digital transformation? At the highest level, it means that the use of digital technologies is creating game-changing innovations in the business world that are either disrupting current industries or creating entirely new ones.
🗨 While it can be difficult to elaborate further, the important question to ask is whether the digital transformation is a fad or a lasting trend. The easiest examples tend to be Uber and Spotify, where the technology managed to turn the entire market upside down.
Spotify, for example, made physical media (music in particular) almost completely irrelevant. Uber completely changed the need for a vehicle and how people get rides, impacting the economics of an entire industry. 👇
We are continuing to see digital transformation in nearly all industries. Even in places like the hot tub business, where people can find the best pool heaters of 2020 or the benefits of a frequent soak, is seeing an impact.
◆ Retail and Digital Transformation 👇
Perhaps the one area that is still waiting for its big change is retail. For now, there is still a transfer of the possession of physical goods from a retailer to the consumer. Digitizing those assets has yet to happen. But that physical transfer of goods is what may be inhibiting retailers into thinking that the digital transformation won’t impact them as it has other industries.
The simple fact of the matter is that the change has already started to happen. Nearly the entire process of consumer shopping is digital. The only part that hasn’t changed is the physical transfer of the goods being purchased.
Even certain aspects like the fit of clothing have become nearly entirely digitized. More and more, consumers are eschewing the physical store experience. It is no wonder that traffic is down in stores and that in-store sales have struggled.
◆ Why is Digital Transformation Important for Retailers? 👇
Perhaps the most important thing that retailers need to understand is that digital transformation has already begun. More importantly, there are aspects of the world as a whole that have changed the way businesses are structured.
🎯 For one, COVID-19 has completely disrupted life, period. Going to work and school, going to the grocery store; these have all been heavily impacted by a global pandemic. Consumer demand, saving patterns, spending style, and shopping habits have all changed as we see an increasing demand for personal safety.
🏧 The digital buying trend was already here but the need for self-quarantining and social distancing only enhanced that surge. Continuing forward with digital transformation is now a must. Businesses must find new distribution and sales channels. They must improve their online presence, investing in better models, and more granular data to meet changing customer demands.
Moreover, digital transformation is pushing for a change in the way that businesses and their employees operate. With a change in the supply chain and distribution models, as well as an improving shift in technology, more and more employees are not only capable of doing their jobs from home but are being encouraged to.
Retailers in specific are being forced to look deeper into their supply chains. This global pandemic has exposed how truly vulnerable our global supply networks are. Retailers took it for granted and were rocked by the impact of the outbreak. 👇
Retailers have now been forced to investigate their inventory plans – both online and offline – in order to better understand and navigate potential interruptions. But most importantly, those retailers that have managed to strengthen their online presence have thrived. ⤵
Those with a digital presence have been ahead of the game, making themselves available to consumers forced to stay at home. The most advanced companies have managed to capture their share of the market by using this pandemic as a chance to innovate and improve their business model.
🗨 The ones that can’t make that shift, that are stuck in the past, are already feeling the impact. More than 20 major retailers have either filed for bankruptcy or plan to do so sometime in the near future. Simply put the evolution into digital transformation can mean life or death for some businesses.
Finally, customers are depending on the brands that they know and trust. Customers are more impacted now than ever by restrictions like social distancing, maintaining proper personal hygiene, and all of the other current preventative measures being put into place. 🔻
🛍 Customers are then turning to the brands that they know and trust to lead the way. They expect better services while showing respect and concern for their safety. The brands that are able to meet this demand, to accelerate their digital transformation, are the ones that will stay ahead of the curve. 👇
◆ Digital Transformation and the Differences it Can Make on a Business
Retailers need to be flexible and responsive in this day and age. The ❄ COVID-19 outbreak taught some retailers that the hard way and it won’t be an overnight transition. Some retailers are already in different stages of that transformation but have positioned themselves well.
They are using operational data in order to improve their insights on IT, their supply chain, and the adapting needs of their customer base. They are also developing and deploying the processes and tools necessary to serve their customer base more effectively. 👇
Automation is also becoming important. Retail, in particular, has demanded of here and now from the customer base. Automation allows for that need to be met without significant contributions to overhead and maintenance.
Cloud automation is becoming a major factor as well. Being able to access everything virtually and moving away from physical space has changed many aspects of the retail world and abroad. Strong adoption of DevOps has also allowed for better application modernization, sustenance, and delivery.
If anything, COVID-19 has merely rushed the digital transformation timeline forward. It was happening at its own pace and the need for safety and accessibility only enhanced the transformation. As is the case with any transformation in business, those who innovate and move forward thrive. Those who do not are left in the graveyard.🔚
Online 529 Education Gifting Programs Fulfill Families’ Ecommerce…
By sharing a link to a child’s 529 savings plan, families can educate their circle of friends about this option and empower their broader network to participate in a child’s financial and educational future. — CSF Chair Vivian Tsai
WASHINGTON (PRWEB) November 24, 2020
This holiday season 529 Education Gifting Programs are meeting the needs of families and friends looking to ecommerce channels for holiday gifts from the comfort of their homes. Having grown in availability and popularity over the last several years, the variety of online gifting tools, crowdfunding platforms, e-gift cards and downloadable gift certificates, make higher education savings as convenient as online shopping for material gifts, according to members of the College Savings Foundation.
“At a time when families are carefully evaluating the costs of higher education, 529 education gifting tools can make saving easier while sending a powerful message on the value of setting long-term goals. Whether the funds will go to a community college, technical school or a traditional 4-year college, these gifting programs provide a foundation for a child to plan and prepare for their future,” said CSF Chair Vivian Tsai.
Among CSF members’ offerings are personalized websites for crowdfunding, online registries, electronic or physical gift cards purchasable online or at national retail and grocery chains, and downloadable gift certificates. Links and special features are included in Gifting Programs at http://www.collegesavingsfoundation.org
Although CSF members report 529 education plan gifting throughout the year, most say that contributions increase during the holiday season and into the New Year. As families become more aware of them as options for graduations, birthdays and special occasions, numerous CSF members report year over year growth in their gifting program contributions.
One benefit of online gifting is that parents can include a link to a child’s customized 529 education savings platform in an e-birthday invitation or social media site.
“Families are pragmatic about the need to save for their children’s higher education. By sharing a link to a child’s 529 savings plan, they can educate their circle of friends about this option and empower their broader network to participate in a child’s financial and educational future,” Tsai said.
CSF members have implemented ways to make gifting easier:
- Alaska 529 and T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan, which have seen a 10% and 13% year over year growth in gifting last year respectively, allow account holders to access the GoTuition® online gifting portal to ask friends and family for gifts by email, evites or social media.
- Indiana CollegeChoice 529 serving Indiana plan owners can share a Ugift® code with friends and family so they can “give a gift that won’t be outgrown.”
- College Savings Bank, a Division of NexBank and CollegeChoice CD 529 Savings Plan, offer family and friends the option of making a deposit online.
- Fidelity-managed gifting programs include UNIQUE College Investing Plan, MEFA U. Fund College Investing Plan, Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan and Delaware College Investing Plan. Year over year through the end of Q3, Fidelity managed plans saw a 66% increase in online gifting activity.
- Franklin Templeton: Spryng is a crowdfunding platform where a parent or account holder can send out invitations to contribute via email or social media – along with a personal story about the beneficiary. Contributors can also download a gift announcement to share their gifting news to the family. Spryng is available for Franklin Templeton 529 College Savings Plan and NJBEST account holders.
- Gift of College offers a platform that enables crowdfunding for college. Friends, family, and employers can contribute to any 529 college savings, student loan or 529 ABLE account using the giftofcollege.com registry. Its suite of products and services includes Gift of College Gift Cards (available online and at over 3000 retailer locations including select Target stores, Save Mart, Lucky and H-E-B) and Gift of College At-Work, an employee benefit platform offering payroll deduction and employer match and contribution technology.
- Kansas’ Learning Quest® 529 Education Savings Program and Schwab 529 Education Plan offer gifting options through Ugift®.
- Maryland College Investment Plan, managed by T. Rowe Price, allows account holders to access the GoTuition® online gifting portal to ask friends and family for gifts by email, evites or social media. Maryland Prepaid College Trust gift contributions are sent by mail using a Gift Contribution Slip.
- Michigan Education Savings Program offers Ugift® and, along with MI 529, downloadable gift certificates.
- Nebraska’s NEST 529 Direct and Advisor College Savings Plans offer a new program called GiftED, starting in December, in which the account owner can send out GiftED invitations for holidays, birthdays or other special occasions from their computer. Contributors can mail their contributions in directly and download gift cards and certificates to notify the beneficiary. The GiftED platform provides the gift history to the account owner online including the date and amount of any contributions as well as the contributor name.
- New Mexico’s The Education Plan® and ScholarsEdge® offer online access to gifting through Ugift®, as well as suggestions for how parents can broach the conversation with others about contributions to a 529 plan.
- Ohio’s 529 Plan, the CollegeAdvantage Direct Plan, offers tools for grandparents and friends to open or add to a 529 plan. Ohio’s 529 Plan offers online gifting through Ugift®, accepts gift contributions by check and offers physical and digital greeting cards to send the child. The site also has a special page for grandparents.
- Private College 529 Plan allows families to establish an eGifting event and prompt family and friends to contribute directly to their Private College 529 Plan account, for hundreds of colleges and universities, through a secure portal.
- Scholars Choice® 529 College Savings Program (Colorado – home state – available Nationwide) participates in Gift of College and Ugift®, the free crowdfunding/gifting service that invites family and friends to celebrate milestones with gift contributions to the Scholars Choice Scholars Choice® 529 account. Gift givers can manage multiple gift contributions and gifting requests can also be posted on social media.
- ScholarShare 529, California’s official college savings plan, allows account holders to establish a gifting portal profile and share it with friends and family by email or social media. ScholarShare 529 has experienced a 19% year over year growth this year.
- Sootchy, Inc is a new, state-of-the-art, AI-driven platform that leverages crowdfunding through the use of My Circle and My Events to help ease the difficulties families face when saving for college or higher education. On December 10th, families can download the Sootchy app in the Apple App and Google Play stores for the ability to save for their child’s higher education savings and or the ability to save for their child’s private school tuition.
- Texas College Savings Plan, Lonestar529 Plan and Texas Tuition Promise Fund offer online downloadable gift coupons, and notify families of the gift.
- Utah’s My529’s gifting program links friends and family to a personal gift page where they can contribute with the gift code online through gift.my529.org or download a gift notice about a contribution by check. The gifting platform has grown by 17% over the past two years.
- Virginia529 family and friends can access a Gift Center for digital gift cards, get co-branded gift cards available at Walmart.com or participating Target or H.E.B. Grocery locations, or download gift certificates for a variety of occasions from its website. It saw a 58% year over year increase in gifting transactions and a 96% increase in dollars contributed.
- WA529, Washington College Savings Plans, offer family and friends various gifting options. Washington’s DreamAhead College Investment Plan enables account owners to create a gifting page for their student with a unique link that makes it easy to share on social networks and invite family and friends to contribute. The state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition program offers multiple ways to gift, along with downloadable certificates announcing the gift.
The College Savings Foundation (CSF) is a Washington, D.C.- based not-for-profit organization helping American families achieve their education savings goals. http://www.collegesavingsfoundation.org
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South Metro Housing Options joins the Rocky Mountain E-Purchasing…
South Metro Housing Options encourages all of their current vendors to register or contact BidNet’s vendor support team with any questions.
LITTLETON, Colo. (PRWEB) November 24, 2020
South Metro Housing Options announced today that it has joined BidNet’s Rocky Mountain E-Purchasing System to post, distribute and manage RFPs, quotes, addendums and awards online. The platform provides notification to registered vendors of new relevant solicitations, any addenda and award information from nearly 300 participating agencies from across Colorado and Wyoming. South Metro Housing Options invites all vendors to register online at http://www.bidnetdirect.com/colorado.
South Metro Housing Options joined the Rocky Mountain E-Purchasing System in October. All vendors looking to respond to bids and access solicitation documents from South Metro Housing Options must register by visiting http://www.bidnetdirect.com/colorado. Vendor registration is easy and takes only a few minutes online.
Registered vendors can access bids, related documents, addendums and award information. In addition, the Rocky Mountain E-Purchasing System offers a value-added service to notify vendors of new bids targeted to their industry, all addenda associated with those bids and advance notice of term contract expiration. A robust NIGP code category list allows vendors registering to find the correct codes and receive matched bids.
Per South Metro Housing Options Procurement Department, “By using the Rocky Mountain E-Purchasing System, South Metro Housing Options’ valued vendors can now access not only the agency’s open bids, but those from other municipalities, counties and school districts throughout the state with just one location for all local bid opportunities. South Metro Housing Options encourages all of their current vendors to register or contact BidNet’s vendor support team with any questions.”
Vendors register at http://www.bidnetdirect.com/colorado. BidNet’s vendor support team is available to answer any questions regarding the registration process or the bid system at 800-835-4603 option 2.
In joining, South Metro Housing Options has become the 284th participating local government agency utilizing the sourcing platform. The Rocky Mountain E-Purchasing System is a single, online location for managing sourcing information and activities and provides local Colorado and Wyoming government agencies a method to minimize costs and time delays associated with the procurement process. In joining, South Metro Housing Options looks to save time, increase competition and achieve cost savings over the traditional paper-based bid process.
Other local Colorado and Wyoming government agencies looking to switch from a manual bid process, please contact the Rocky Mountain E-Purchasing System for a demonstration of the no-cost sourcing solution.
About South Metro Housing Options:
Since 1971, South Metro Housing Options (SMHO), also known as Littleton Housing Authority, has been building a better community by providing access to affordable housing in one of the most desirable places to live on the Front Range. Affordable housing serves an essential need and creates a more diverse and productive community, personal empowerment, and economic opportunities. Good housing also provides a stepping-stone toward self-sufficiency and promotes dignity and individuality. Whenever possible, SMHO strives to assist the City of Littleton with other community building activities, including creating affordable housing. Learn more at http://www.smho.co.
About BidNet Direct:
BidNet Direct, powered by mdf commerce, is a sourcing solution of regional purchasing groups available at no cost to local government agencies throughout the country. BidNet Direct runs regional purchasing groups, including the Rocky Mountain E-Purchasing System, across all 50 states that are used by over 1,500 local governments. To learn more and have your government agency gain better transparency and efficiency in purchasing, please visit https://www.bidnetdirect.com/buyers
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New York startup Mai launched with two social media unicorns in Asia…
NEW YORK (PRWEB) November 24, 2020
BCG reported that 70% Gen Z prefer to discover products on content, not directly on a retailer site. Social commerce is NOW.
Facebook heavily invested in Facebook Commerce this year. Bytedance (Tiktok’s mother company) reached $30B GMV sales last year from making content shoppable. Tiktok itself also received a $10B investment from Oracle & Walmart to do the same.
With Covid, Amazon sales are growing, and now started to kick off Amazon fashion. Global eCommerce content advertising allocation is $500B
Just like instagram, Tiktok, youtube have been encouraging influencers to manually tag products in their content. However, the solution Mai provides, making content instantly shoppable with AI, will be a game changer so influencers can focus on creating better content, instead of focusing on selling products directly to consumers. 62% of millennials want visual search over any other retail technology. Fashion ecommerce is now 39% of all online sales in the US.
Mai has spent three years working with top computer vision AI scientists, AI engineers and fashion experts to create the world’s 1st fully automated video fashion shopping solution to fill $200B+ gap between digital content and eCommerce.
Mai has connected with top e-commerce platforms with a total of 20M SKUs, including Farfetch, Yoox, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Shopbop, Forever21, SHEIN, SSENSE, H&M, Revolve in the US, and many top retailers & brands globally.
Mai went live with two of the biggest digital social content platforms in Asia with total 1B monthly users. The goal is to bring $20B new GMV towards eCommerce retailers, $2B revenue and $1B profit into Mai in 3 years.
“Now is the time for retailers and brands to embrace technology that both identifies and simplifies the buying process of their product, once it has been viewed digitally through organic, streaming content,” says Terry Lundgren, retired Chairman and CEO of Macy’s. “Companies like Mai offer this service on a ‘pay-for-performance’ basis making a new business relationship easy to justify, especially during challenging times when brands need to reach more consumers”.
Founded by Joy Tang, a serial entrepreneur graduated from MIT undergrad, with a Gold Medal in Math Olympics, and an obsession for digital fashion. In 2018, Joy has won Goldman Sachs Top 100 Most intriguing entrepreneurs. In July 2020, Joy won first place in “MIT AI Idol 2020”.
Mai raised a total investment around $9M USD from global notable investors including, Plug & Play, Cheetah Mobile, Dentsu (Japan’s biggest advertising company), Infinity Venture Partners, Deepcore (soft bank early-stage AI Fund), Plum Alley, Cachet Family Office.
For more information, visit http://www.Markable.ai.
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Kredivo Closes up to US$100m Warehouse Financing Facility with Victory…
We look forward to our partnership with Kredivo. The company presents a unique combination of growth, scale, risk management and financial inclusion in one of the most exciting emerging markets in the world.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (PRWEB) November 24, 2020
Kredivo, the leading digital credit platform for retail borrowers across Indonesia, and Victory Park Capital Advisors, LLC (“VPC”), a leading private credit specialist headquartered in Chicago, announced today the closing of a committed debt facility of up to US$100 million to fund consumer loans for Kredivo’s borrowers in Indonesia. The deal marks major milestones for both firms: for Kredivo, it is the largest deal in its history with a credit provider and also represents one of the largest ever credit lines secured by any digital credit platform in the region; for VPC, this represents their first transaction in Southeast Asia and Indonesia overall.
The transaction, which closed in the previous quarter, will further propel the tremendous momentum that Kredivo has enjoyed to date, with strong growth and risk metrics, even in this year’s challenging macro environment. Kredivo will use the funds to grow and further diversify the funding of its loan book, all of which is 3rd party generated.
Commenting on the closure, Umang Rustagi, co-founder of Kredivo, said, “The large capital pool made available via this facility will enable the business to scale even further and get us closer to our goal of serving up to 10m customers in Indonesia over the next few years. We believe that the size and complexity of this facility represents major breakthroughs for Indonesia’s tech and fintech ecosystem. The entire Kredivo team is extremely pleased to have sealed a partnership with VPC, a renowned and sophisticated credit provider active in our space globally.”
Gordon Watson, partner at VPC, said, “We look forward to our partnership with Kredivo. The company presents a unique combination of growth, scale, risk management and financial inclusion in one of the most exciting emerging markets in the world. We are very pleased to anchor our first investment in this region with a business of this caliber and one that is deeply passionate about enabling low-cost access to credit to the mass market.”
The transaction represents a major milestone for the digital credit ecosystem in Indonesia (and Southeast Asia). With less than 3% of its population in possession of a credit card, and banks historically cautious about providing unsecured credit to the mass market, digital credit providers such as Kredivo have been making efforts to fill the gap. While the unsecured credit industry is primarily fueled by peer-to-peer lending models, the transaction between Kredivo, which operates as a multi-finance company, and VPC represents a significant departure from the norm, and a sign of the growing institutional credibility of emerging fintech players.
Kredivo is the leading digital credit platform in Indonesia that gives customers instant credit financing for ecommerce and offline purchases, and personal loans, based on real-time decisioning. Kredivo users can buy now and pay later with one of the lowest interest rates amongst digital credit providers in the country. Kredivo’s merchant partners benefit from instant point-of-sale financing, powered by its unique 2-click checkout. Kredivo is operated by FinAccel, a Singapore headquartered financial technology company backed by leading investors such as Mirae Asset, Naver, Square Peg Capital, MDI Ventures and Jungle Ventures, among others. Kredivo is supervised by OJK’s multi-finance division in Indonesia. To know more about FinAccel and Kredivo, visit http://www.finaccel.co and http://www.kredivo.com.
About Victory Park Capital
Victory Park Capital invests in emerging and established businesses across various industries in the U.S. and abroad, who are often unable to access traditional sources of capital. The firm’s differentiated offerings leverage an extensive network of industry relationships, disciplined deal origination, creative financing capabilities, broad credit structuring and special situations expertise. The firm was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Chicago with additional resources in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. VPC is privately held and a Registered Investment Advisor with the SEC. For more information, please visit http://www.victoryparkcapital.com.
Artemis (Kredivo Communication Consultant)
Victory Park Capital
Jordan Niezelski, Edelman
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