You’ve heard of commerce. You’re probably familiar with e-commerce. But allow Galen Walters, CEO of the newly formed Stor.ai, a Relationshop company, to introduce you to i-commerce.
“The ‘i’ represents the tenets of our enterprise solution: intelligent data, individual engagement and integrated shopping,” Walters explained. “We believe that for regional retailers to compete with WIKA (Walmart, Instacart, Kroger, Amazon), they need a technology solutions partner and unified technology platform that drives all commerce — that’s i-commerce.”
I-commerce is the core tenet of the young company, which formed following the acquisition of grocery e-commerce firm Stor.ai by shopper engagement services provider Relationshop this week. The deal, Walters said, was worth more than $50 million and will allow the company to help regional grocers compete with the likes of Amazon and Instacart.
“By merging the Relationshop shopper engagement and personalization suite with the ecommerce and fulfillment platform of Stor.ai, our clients will be able to provide a transformational and frictionless digital shopping experience to their customers, that drives both online and in store activity,” he added.
Before the merger, Stor.ai was already working with more than 100 clients in the U.S., including regional grocers like NetCost and Vallarta Supermarkets as well as national brands like Big Y Foods and Albertsons. Globally, the company has over 200 customers in eight countries.
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Now, in addition to bringing in more clients from Relationshop, Stor.ai will bring the shopper engagement company’s analytics and personalization tools to its own clients, which combined have transacted more than $1 billion in sales on the platform.
“[Grocers] end up with an e-commerce guy, a front end guy, a mobile guy, and they’ve got the recipe guy, they’ve got the health and wellness guys. We’re bringing all that together … so they will not have to go to multiple companies to integrate all of these different systems inside their IT department,” Walters told Grocery Drive.
Streamlining processes like order management and customer experience could help regional grocers go toe-to-toe with the juggernauts of the industry, which combine massive fulfillment and delivery networks with sophisticated digital systems.
Amazon, for example, uses its 1,200-plus facilities and thousands of drivers to fulfill orders while managing its own online store at the same time, and it does the same for its clients. Similarly, other large grocers offer service packages that can include fulfillment, order management, analytics or any number of other integrated services.
“By combining the two product offerings, we will be able to provide regional grocers with a one-stop commerce solution that includes deep engagement and customer insights,” said Mendel Gniwisch, Stor.ai’s former CEO and the current president of the new company. “For regional chains, it is critical that we offer a cohesive shopping experience beyond what can be achieved thru bespoke third party integrations or external marketplaces.”