RevCascade's Electronic Data Interchange Seeks to Give Retailers an Ecommerce Boost

RevCascade is trying to put brands and retailers on equal footing with the mega players in the ecommerce business. Hans Klis checks out the company’s marketplace technology.

Every retailer needs to have an online marketplace. In the increasingly digital world of shopping, this seems self-evident.

But the thought anyone is going to outperform Amazon, eBay or Alibaba – who hold 60 percent of the $1.3 billion online market – is farfetched. And don’t get your hopes up for capturing the rather large remaining piece of the pie for yourself. It’s split between more than two million ecommerce sites from all over the world ranging from large international players like Walmart (which recently bought Jet.comfor $3.3 billion) to little local ones like iBuySell.

RevCascade is trying to give brands and retailers an advantage over ‘the big three’. The New York based start-up launched a beta-version of its platform in June that seeks to leverage the power of marketplaces in the favor of brands and retailers. It has already attracted more than a hundred customers that use its Wordpress-like software.

What RevCascade does is simple: it offers an electronic data interchange (EDI) that can process orders and send relevant information to brands and retailers as well as their accounting department and logistical partners. Retailers including Target and Walmart – that offer third party products and services - also use EDI to streamline their business with their many suppliers.

RevCascade changes this equation: instead of one retailer (and its marketplace) connected to hundreds of brands and retailers, the suppliers also instantaneously gain access to a plethora of retailers and their online marketplaces; with as little work as possible.

Just getting products in an online marketplace is time consuming. Companies must sign-up, negotiate the terms of transaction, streamline an additional logistical process, manage inventory and most frustratingly of all: manually input all product descriptions and pictures. Not just once, but with every vendor or marketplace where you want to peddle your wares.

Josh Wexler, co-founder and CEO of RevCascade, is on record saying that’s an expensive hassle. He told WWD that “managing product, inventory, and transaction data between brands and retailers is fraught with friction, which holds the market back.”

Wexler was one of the people behind the successful online advertising technology firm The Rubicon Project. And his latest venture, RevCascade, in its first year has raised more than 3 million dollars in Silicon Valley. 

Managing inventory and transaction data on marketplaces was one of the problems that GloDea was dealing with. The Jacksonville, Florida based design and manufacturing company is a RevCascade client. It used to input orders by vendors like Wayfair and Overstock by hand.

Now the platform saves them that hassle and leaves them free to direct their energies into expanding their business.

“RevCascade's ability to customize their services to our needs allowed us to streamline our business, save time and ultimately increase sales and revenue”, CEO Patrick Cherix said in a press release. RevCascade is also working with Barney’s, Bloomingdale’s, Foot Locker and Bergdorf Goodman. Since their platform is still in its beta-phase, it doesn’t want to raise expectations too high--yet. 

The buzz surrounding RevCascade is suggesting it might be a silver bullet against the hegemony of Amazon. At the very least, use of the platform opens up a larger piece of the ecommerce playing field for brands and retailers, co-founder Andrea Tobin says: “The untapped opportunities that online marketplaces bring are massive. Brands and suppliers can offer more styles to existing retailers, roll out new product categories with existing retailers, build relationships with new retailers, develop close-out strategies for underperforming styles, and leverage analytics to optimize their styles across marketplaces.”

RevCascades’ platform and its analytics lets clients easily figure out if a jacket sells better in the Macy’s marketplace than a Bloomingdales or if a pair of shoes is a fit for the Urban Outfitters. In this way brands and retailers can become curators of their wares.

RevCascade is a startup that fits a trend in digital retail. After the focus on creating attractive front-end systems, the back-end of ecommerce is getting a closer look.

Inturn focuses on helping brands sell the inventory they haven’t been able to unload at traditional retailers. Inturn provides a digital platform to easily connect brands to the right ‘off-price’ retailer by translating the information available in their management system to something akin to a virtual auction.

Other newcomers focus on making life easier for the buyers who visit the prestigious showrooms in the fashion capitols of the world to determine what next seasons’ couture will be for retailers like Macy’s, Nieman Marcus or Target.

Startups such as Joor and Ordre are helping change the way clothes are ordered, by replacing the old fashioned pen and order form with software or replacing the actual physical showroom with a virtual one – which saves time and money for retailers as well as brands.

Just like these retail startups, RevCascade is making the process of buying and selling inventory easier. And making the online marketplace a platform that can help retailers and brands capture the consumers attention.

The online marketplace is where brands and retailers can find that oh so important and illusive demographic: the Millennial. According to research by consultancy firm DNA Response, it’s the ideal channel to reach the group. By 2020 Millennials will spend $1.4 trillion annually, Accenture reports. That will make up 30 percent of all retail sales.

The online marketplace fits with the desire to easily compare prices. Amazon tickles Millennials, DNA Response marketing expert Garret Nagle writes, because it presents “variety, competitive pricing and comparison shopping.” Amazon is essentially a search engine for shoppers. And a successful one at that, it’s the preferred technology brand for Millennials as marketing firm w00t media found.

For now Wexler and Tobin are trying to position RevCascade as the platform that can help its clients save time, make more money and have a greater control over their business.