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Wayfair Enhances Mobile Messaging With Trumpit Acquisition

E-Commerce home furnishings retailer Wayfair has acquired mobile messaging application Trumpit in a move geared to expand the brand’s customer service offerings, according to a report from BostInno. Financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Wayfair has plans to utilize the technology for staff and customers, so that they can engage in group chat and exchange images and videos. As part of the acquisition, Wayfair gains access to not only the technology driving the mobile app but the team that built it as well.

The Trumpit acquisition is an example of retail’s continued interest in housing their own technology platforms, whether through the creation of internal innovation labs or the purchase of — or investment in — a third-party platform. As more brands try to optimize consumer engagement through various channels, compete with strategic pricing, provide more differentiated offerings and extend into other markets, tech startups are a great blueprint to follow.

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One can immediately look to the recent Walmart-Jet.com acquisition as a prime example of a retailer eyeing technology from another company to fulfill a goal: to gain traction in its e-Commerce competition with Amazon. While Jet.com itself is a retailer, Walmart’s interest in the business also has roots in the company’s pricing technology, which was an asset the retail giant didn’t have at the time. Whether the dynamic pricing tech works in Walmart’s favor is still to be determined, but it’s unlikely Walmart would make a $3 billion bet on Jet.com if it wasn’t confident that the acquisition would pay off in some manner.

Japanese e-Commerce retailer Rakuten recently acquired the intellectual property assets of blockchain payments startup Bitnet, leading the brand to open a research and development lab in the UK on Aug. 22. The retailer appointed Bitnet Chief Technology Officer Stephen McNamara and former VP of Engineering Fergal Downey to head operations within the lab, with the rest of the remaining employees moving under the Rakuten banner.

Not every technology acquisition is directly related to the retail side of the business. Dick’s Sporting Goods purchased sports management technology company Affinity Sports to supplement its Team Sports HQ service, which provides software and customized uniforms to youth athletic leagues.

While the Affinity technology doesn’t affect store or e-Commerce traffic at Dick’s, the retailer will be able to help facilitate and simplify the registration, scheduling and communication processes between governing bodies and their associated leagues. In working with youth sports leagues and the teams, coaches and managers associated with them, Dick’s gives itself a leg up on competitors by attaching its brand name to services that can reach a wider group of potential consumers.

As these retail brands continue to rely on differentiation, it appears Wayfair is serious about following in their footsteps and taking a more innovative role. The furnishing company recently hired a new VP of Operations/Product Innovation, Doran Robinson, to oversee the growth of its technology initiatives, so more mobile developments should be expected as 2016 winds down.

 

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