SAP’s newest employee-led venture Feather by SAP is coming to market, bringing an end-to-end recommerce solution. It will support brands and retailers that want to accelerate the shift from linear to circular business by taking ownership over their recommerce activities. It enables SAP customers to take back, manage, and resell pre-owned inventory as well as track key financial, customer, and sustainability performance indicators.
From consignment shops and other marketplaces popping up on social media pages to dedicated spaces on e-commerce websites, today’s consumers are shopping with the circular economy in mind. The secondhand market is maturing. We anticipate that the next wave of growth is going to come from brands and retailers taking ownership over their pre-owned items and resell channels – which will drive incremental profit from secondary product ownership, attract a younger demographic at a lower customer acquisition cost, and increase frequency and loyalty and thus contribute to overall customer lifetime value while also contributing to sustainability.
But, like any groundbreaking idea, the task of bringing brands into the circular economy can be easier said than done. That’s when SAP.iO Venture Studio comes in.
Cultivating an environment for in-house innovation by investing in small, employee-led teams to build, launch, and scale products, SAP.iO Venture Studio has made solving some of enterprise’s biggest problems its mission. SAP employees are encouraged to channel their inner entrepreneur to pitch ideas for new products and solutions to the program. Following a selection process where teams work with mentors to refine their ideas, founders can develop and build their product from within the company.
Feather by SAP received nearly US$3.5 million (EUR 3 million) from SAP.iO Venture Studio to tackle the challenge of bringing the circular economy to large premium apparel, fashion and luxury brands, and retailers.
“Today, brands rely on partnerships with consignment marketplaces or outsource to white-label solution providers,” said Joanna Maryewska, general manager and founder of Feather by SAP. “In order to realize the full potential of recommerce and provide a great shopper experience, the ownership needs to come from in-house. We thought that as SAP, we are in a unique position to build a solution that helps brands fully tap into the opportunity of recommerce and control it on their own terms.”
According to Maryewska, Feather is a cloud solution that enables businesses to pursue recommerce in-house and tap into services providers along the value chain where needed without losing control over the processes, data, and experience – a feat made possible by combining SAP’s vast experience in managing core processes for fashion, luxury, and retail with new innovative circular business processes.
“That’s a winning combination for us and for our brand and retail innovation partners,” Maryewska said, adding that blending the two together can lead to transparency into the performance of recommerce and its impact on the broader business.
Feather is one of the first enterprise-ready solutions that permits businesses to facilitate the in-house business processes, capture data, engage with the shopper, and own the end-to-end product life cycle – all in-house. It acts as an end-to-end managed recommerce solution with three key features: the recommerce experience (business processes), recommerce manager (tracking and reporting), and the recommerce take-back (product intake).
First, the recommerce experience gives customers the ability to manage recommerce processes in-house. This includes back-end integrations and workflows required to receive, add, and track inventory, oversee product movements, then post items onto their own storefront. One checkout that shoppers already know enables a seamless experience.
Secondly, recommerce manager includes analytics and performance tracking dashboards. This feature allows businesses to get a better view and understanding of operations and performance. That way, businesses can align on performance measurement and scale as needed.
Lastly, recommerce take-back supports customers in taking items back from their shoppers. The feature helps create a dedicated journey for buy-back and warehouse routing. Not only that, but it can also manage store credit distribution for participating shoppers.
“The vision for Feather by SAP is to provide a seamless, one-checkout experience that shoppers enjoy,” Maryewska said. “To deliver on that promise, we use intelligent features and solutions that integrate with leading commerce and returns solutions, and in doing so, we’re supercharging our customers’ commerce businesses to become more sustainable and intelligent.”
Camille Nguyen-Tran is head of Content for New Ventures and Technologies at SAP.