Macy’s isn’t the only one interested in B8ta.
The software-powered retailer’s Series B round of funding brought in a total of $19 million and five new investors, including the department store, Sound Ventures, Palm Drive Capital, Capitaland and Plug and Play Ventures. Two previous backers — Graphene Ventures and Khosla Ventures — also participated in the round.
In all, B8ta has raised $39 million since 2015.
Vibhu Norby, chief executive officer, said the new funds will help B8ta continue building the “infrastructure that the next generation of stores are built on top of.”
Norby said the company was founded on the premise that brands, instead of taking purchase orders from a retailer, can control the consumer experience from inside the store, as well as inventory allocations, marketing and payments. The set-up found its start in electronics, a category that is often showroomed in the multibranded, bricks-and-mortar space.
In the past 18 months, B8ta began working on bringing its Built by B8ta model to other categories, including apparel. Macy’s tested that approach by launching a B8ta shops-in-shop in its Herald Square last year and said recently it would use the technology to scale its The Market @ Macy’s concept.
Norby said if one thinks of a bricks-and-mortar store as a primary marketing tool, then the staff in the shop should be teaching customers about the product line, whether it’s about “how it works in electronics or fit on the body in apparel.”
B8ta also has the ability to use data to track how many people visited the shop in shop, how many engaged with the product or received a demonstration, and the effectiveness of different marketing pitches.
In addition to its presence in Macy’s, the company has 10 flagships and store openings are slated for Chicago and at Tyson’s Corner in Virginia. Norby said the company has about 35 employees at its San Francisco headquarters, and a total of 100 including its retail staff.