Symphony Commerce, an enterprise-level commerce as a service platform, has been named the Shop.org Digital Commerce Start Up of the Year. Shop.org is a division of the National Retail Federation (NRF) focused on retailers who sell online.
In December, the National Retail Federation (NRF) narrowed down over 60 nominees to five finalists. On Monday, January 12, each finalist was given five minutes to present their case at Retail’s BIG Show for the title of first-ever “Shop.org Digital Commerce Start Up of the Year.” In a TechCrunch style competition, Symphony’s CEO and Co-Founder Harish Abbott talked about how Symphony’s commerce as a service increases the ability for retailers to succeed.
“60% of all online businesses fail within five years,” said Abbott. “And a more appalling statistic is that 90% of them fail not due to a lack of demand, but they fail from a lack of operations knowledge.”
“In order to build a winning commerce business, you need a winning commerce infrastructure,” Abbott continued. “Except for a few people who have big pockets and access to technical resources, it is very hard to pull this off. We need to fix this. Symphony is working on democratizing access to enterprise level commerce so brands don’t need to cobble together a commerce infrastructure.”
Symphony was selected by a judging panel that included business leaders at National Retail Federation, Northwest Venture Partners, Simon Venture Group, Modcloth, Hudson’s Bay Company and Abercrombie and Fitch. They were named the startup with the greatest potential to transform the shopping experience and make a positive impact on the retail industry.
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. For this award, Symphony was selected from among 60 companies deemed most likely to transform the shopping experience.
“Symphony has already shown significant potential as a company that helps brands build a retail and wholesale ecosystem,” said Vicki Cantrell, NRF senior vice president and Shop.org executive director. “In this changing world of retail, that opportunity is important to new business. We are sure we will see more from this company for years to come.”
Symphony has taken a holistic view of commerce and broken it down into two services: store and fulfillment. All Symphony services work across retail and wholesale channels. But the most important thing is that Symphony is not building software, or software as a service, but truly business as a service.
Business as a service means that Symphony solves complex commerce problems at a strategic level. For example, Symphony has pre-integrated with more than ten warehouses across the country. On top of that, Symphony has built out inventory and order management tools, and then we bundled it up with the critical needs of retailers such as returns, subscriptions, and storage. So now retailers can solve high level problems such as: ‘I want to deliver to 95% of the country, on ground, in 2 days’ because Symphony can make that happen by taking care of everything behind the scenes. This levels the playing field because mid-sized, growing business can finally offer fulfillment like Amazon.
“The brands that are running on Symphony have seen a 48% increase in profitability,” Abbott noted during the presentation. “Their revenues are up and their costs are down due to economies of scale and better infrastructure. But the most important thing is that Symphony is giving freedom to retailers to focus on what they love.”
The award is the culmination of significant growth in Symphony’s product and revenue. In the past year, Symphony has grown into an enterprise-level commerce as a service platform propelling brands to robust growth. Product enhancements include automated fraud detection and prevention; automated tax calculation across all U.S. jurisdictions; the world’s fastest, sleekest checkout; and multi-warehouse optimization and shipping. These game-changing capabilities were previously non-existent or available only to mega-retailers. Symphony is changing the face of commerce, leveling the playing field, and letting our brands go toe-to-toe with big name brands.
In 2015, Symphony continues to focus on making it easier for mid-market retailers to compete and grow. “Symphony envisions a world where retailers compete on their merchandise; not their ability to build commerce infrastructure,” said Abbott. “With that we will make the world a better place. We will democratize commerce.”