From Ikea’s recreation of iconic living rooms from TV shows to the retail-tech startup headed for ‘unicorn’ status, It’s been a full week in the retail world.

After a short break, the weekly summary is back, here to give you a handy recap of the industry’s latest news.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Image retail analytics company Trax raising $100 million at $1.1 billion valuation

Israel-linked startup Trax is finalizing a deal to raise $100 million at a pre-funding valuation of $1.1 billion. The round, set to close by the end of June, is intended to finance three upcoming acquisitions Trax is seeking to make.

According to Bloomberg, the company is gearing up towards an initial public offering in the next two years. In 2018, Trax raised $125 million a round led by Boyu Capital according to a company valuation of $850 million.

Established in 2012 and headquartered in Singapore with global offices in Israel, Asia-Pacific, the Americas and Europe, Trax offers retailers image recognition and computer vision analytic tools. Trax’s technology is used by global CPG companies like Coca-Cola and Nestle, that use it to track their products on retail shelves.

Image Source: Yahoo Finance

IKEA Recreates the Iconic TV Living Rooms from Friends, The Simpsons and Stranger Things

We’ve all been there: watching your beloved show, craving you were there too, chilling on the sofa with your favorite characters and a cup of coffee.

Thanks to the Swedish furniture giant, this dream is now a reality.

From now on, IKEA’s customers will be able to not only sit in Monica and Rachel’s ‘Friends’ living room, but recreate it in their own home using IKEA furniture pieces.

In addition to Friends, IKEA brought to life iconic living rooms from popular TV shows like The Simpsons and Stranger Things. The United Arab Emirates-based ad-campaign, titled the “real life series”  will be on display at some IKEA stores in the Middle East.

To make things even easier for its customers, the company compiled product lists for each room on its website. There are some minor differences in the spaces, but the overall vibe of each series is pretty accurate.

Coffee, anyone?

Image Source: The Spaces

Ben & Jerry’s goes all-in on CBD trend

Ben & Jerrys announced a new CBD-infused flavor this week, but it will only arrive on supermarket shelves if the US Food and Drug Administration approve it.

The ice cream company has released some controversial flavors in the past like Half Baked and Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies. It’s latest flavor, however, connects to the wider “green” trend we have been witnessing in the retail industry lately.

The CBD craze, so they say, is here to stay.

Among the retailers and brands that have launched CBD or other cannabis-derivative products, are Neiman MarcusDSW and Sephora. Barney’s even went as far as openning  a store-within-a-store focused exclusively on luxury pot products. According to a recent study,  the U.S. CBD market could reach up to $16 billion by 2025.

Costumers were quick to express their support of B&J’s new flavor, even if it’s just a mere possibility at the moment due to the Drug Administration’s ban on CBD-infused foods.

Image Source: FoxNews

Amazon to open high street pop-ups to support online indies

The world’s largest online retailer is looking to the little guys, with a new program dedicated to emerging players that will sell goods like homeware, beauty products, food and beverage, and even electronics.

Amazon’s year-long pilot program began this week in Manchester with the name ‘Clicks and Mortar’ and is expected to grow with a series of pop-ups around the UK, in which 100 small online businesses will have the opportunity to trade in a physical retail space.

And that’s not all: Amazon is planning to invest $1.26 million to train more than 150 full-time apprentices in the stores in order to help the small businesses to expand operations and productivity.

Image Source: The Drum

Summary

With its movement towards an international takeover, Amazon has become a regular guest in this blog – and for a good reason. The latest’s Clicks and Mortar initiative adds another fascinating piece to the online giant’s expansion story.

A little reminder: Amazon has a bookstore chain in the US and has opened eleven cashier-free Amazon Go stores. The e-commerce giant also acquired Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.7 billion, and there is growing speculation that an Amazon Go store will open in London soon.

Looking at the bigger picture, Amazon’s initiative to put small online retailers on the high street syncs with what some see as an aggressive expansion into the retail space outside the US. Time will tell whether the focus on pop-up stores will lead to the desired result, as we continue to witness the company’s endeavors to expand its physical presence.

Inbal Perlman

Inbal is the community and hub manager of the Re:Tech hub, a co-working space for retail and e-commerce startups based in the heart of Tel Aviv. The Hub offers its members industry focused events, access to global partners and various opportunities in the global and local retail tech ecosystem.

If you are in retail and would like to learn what new technologies can help push your business forward, get in touch.