NewStore, a provider of an omnichannel platform focusing on helping vertically integrated brands improve their customer experience, has raised $45 million from existing investors Activant Capital and General Catalyst, as it expands in Europe and looks to fuel further growth.
Stephan Schambach, founder and CEO of NewStore, said the pandemic “changed the sentiment” around omnichannel as a must-have capability for brands. The cloud-based platform combines POS, order management, inventory and clienteling, while also enabling endless aisle, mobile checkout and fulfillment.
He said the new funding will go toward R&D and expanded functionality, sales and marketing and expansion specifically into Europe. NewStore currently has a footprint in 20+ countries, with brand customers including Burton, Frank & Oak, Faherty Brand and Goorin Brothers. While there are some customers in Asia, the company doesn’t have a sales presence there yet.
“The general trend for many industries is to be much more rigorous around digital processes, and retail has been lagging behind the last 20 years,” Schambach said. “Very pragmatically, COVID has shown vertically integrated brands they need access to all inventory, for things like shipping rare combinations from stores if it’s not in the DC, and relying on store fulfillment of online orders if they’re closed or customers don’t want to frequent them. There are many new ways use stores but only if you apply ecommerce technology and thinking.”
The other driver of growth for NewStore, Schambach said, was the desire to improve the overall customer experience for brands. “Now store associates can sell everything that’s available in the enterprise inventory, no matter where it is, and customers don’t have to bring in a receipt for a return,” he said. “It’s easy and quick, paying with a phone. Improving the CX, that’s the main motivation for them.”
NewStore’s brand clients are most keenly interested in controlling as much of the customer relationship as possible, with the vast majority of sales direct through stores or their own channels, mixing in curated marketplaces.
“The direct piece is of the most importance,” Schambach said. “There they directly touch the customer and learn more about her preferences. It’s difficult to do if you have a bunch of franchise partners or give away licenses. To manage it efficiently and have a unified experience, that’s where the investment is these days.”