When INTURN announced earlier this week that it has launched a new B2B software solution, the firm simultaneously uncovered a long-ignored area of the B2B commerce industry.
"Brands have been selling their excess inventory to retailers in linear fashion using Excel spreadsheets for too long,” INTURN CEO and Co-Founder Ronen Lazar said in a statement last Monday (April 20). “It’s archaic and massively inefficient."
INTURN has just launched a new software to address such an underserved segment of the apparel retail industry. The service offers retailers and brands a platform to buy and sell off-price inventory, which are excess products or last season’s stock.
But more than simply streamlining this process, INTURN has focused the development of its software on usability. Jumping on the trend to offer a B2C-like experience to B2B shoppers, INTURN highlights the ability for off-price apparel procurement officials to “shop like a human."
"For decades B2B buyers of off-price merchandise have been purchasing product from brands without the opportunity to evaluate the inventory because they receive spreadsheets that contain little information in a variety of formats from different buyers,” Lazar recently told PYMNTS. “With INTURN, buyers no longer have to decode immense spreadsheets that very from brand to brand, and can make profitable decisions based on large, zoomable photos, detailed product information and complete inventory details for every item in the listing."
For retailers, Lazar says that while it is easy to do so, they do not necessarily have to integrate the software into their existing programs to make use of the tools. Instead, INTURN provides a mechanism to take in troves of raw data and analyze it, as well as aggregate brand product images, then turn all of that information “into sortable, rich content on the INTURN platform.” In other words, the company has turned B2B off-price procurement into a process that is quite similar to online clothes shopping for the average consumer.
While INTURN has only just launched its software, the firm is already looking ahead, Lazar said. At present, once a buyer chooses the inventory he or she would like to procure, both sides of the transaction negotiate on a price and finalize a deal, and that payment is carried out directly between those two parties. In the future, however, INTURN said it is looking to introduce escrow and foreign exchange features in a broader push to streamline the sales process.
And it’s not just the apparel industry that INTURN is eyeing. The market for off-price product procurement is wide, so the software could potentially see application in a variety of segments. “INTURN’s methodologies apply to all verticals within the retail marketplace,” Lazar said, though he added that at least for the moment, the startup will focus on gaining traction in the apparel and fashion communities.
That traction is already formulating. Investors recently provided $3.6 million worth of funding to INTURN, which Lazar said will be used to expand the firm’s client base and add additional features to the software, though he did not elaborate on what, exactly, the company may have up its sleeve.
One of its largest investors and longest supporters is Beanstalk Ventures. “This is the last frontier untouched by retail technology,” the venture capitalist firm’s Managing Partner Ken Seiff said in a statement. “While nearly every aspect of the retail experience has been automate, the sale of off-price inventory remains a very manual and inefficient process."
The leader of INTURN’s latest funding round, however, was Forerunner Ventures’ Kirsten Green, who commended the startup’s all-star team. Along with Lazar, industry veterans from the likes of eBay, Google and Amazon are working to introduce innovation in the space. The team also includes former Ralph Lauren Vice Chairman, COO and CFO Michael Newman, as well as President of TJX Companies’ Winners unit David Margolis.
"The team at INTURN has brought to life an incredibly powerful platform that stands to reshape the multi-billion dollar global off-price apparel market and beyond,” Green said of this fellowship of innovators.