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Nike’s New A.I. Platform, Amazon Ends Dash Buttons, and Microsoft’s Marketing Automation

Nike Acquires A.I. Platform for Predicting Shopping Behavior

To boost its direct-to-consumer strategy, Nike has acquired Celect, a predictive analytics platform. Celect specializes in omnichannel inventory optimization via hyper-local demand predictions, and Nike plans to integrate Celect’s technology into its mobile apps and website to better predict what apparel customers want. “As demand for our product grows, we must be insight-driven, data-optimized and hyper-focused on consumer behavior,” says Nike Chief Operating Officer Eric Sprunk. “Our goal is to serve consumers more personally at scale; we have to anticipate demand.” Celect has fewer than 50 employees, who will reportedly be immediately integrated into Nike’s global operations team.

What stood out to us?

Brands buying technology platforms to own the IP as a competitive advantage. Swoosh!

Amazon Ending Support for Dash Buttons

Due to dwindling sales and usage, Amazon will cease support for Dash button devices on August 31. Dash buttons are small, oval devices introduced in 2015 as a simple way to purchase regularly ordered items, such as laundry detergent or paper towels. Users needed only to press the button on the device and the branded product will be instantly ordered. In the years since launch, the novelty and use of Dash buttons steadily declined, with Amazon confirming to CNET that usage of the buttons “significantly slowed” over the last few months. For customers who have Dash buttons, Amazon is encouraging the use of its recycling program that covers shipping and disposal costs.

What stood out to us?

Amazon should have acquired Celect and predicted that Dash would fail (and when to restock toilet paper.)

Microsoft Purchases Marketing Automation Vendor

Microsoft announced this week that it purchased PromoteIQ, a marketing automation vendor. PromoteIQ specializes in working with brand manufacturers and e-retailers to place sponsored ads for products on ecommerce sites of retailers, such as Kohls and Home Depot. The vendor also enables online retailers to earn revenue from these ads placed on their ecommerce sites, in addition to allowing advertisers to target shoppers with ads based on their shopping activity. “PromoteIQ’s technology strategically complements Microsoft’s current retail advertising offerings,” says Rik van der Kooi Corporate Vice President. “Together, we can enable retailers with a portfolio of technology solutions to modernize their ecommerce platforms and maximize their monetization opportunity.”

What stood out to us?

Microsoft needs to acquire or bundle a .NET ecommerce platform to complete its offering.

In the headlines

  • Berry Expensive: acquires gourmet food business Shari’s Berries for $20.5M.
  • Huge Payout: Swedish payment provider Klarna raised $460M in equity funding to grow its presence in the U.S.
  • Holding Out for a Depot: Despite online sales slipping in Q2, Office Depot is confident in its ecommerce platforms.
  • GiveMe Variety: Walgreens joined sourcing platform RangeMe to diversify product offerings.

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