2019 was a milestone year at RELEX, full of growth, unprecedented achievements, and a lot of fun. We added 47 new clients to our global family, which means our team of talented retail optimization experts needed to grow too. With almost 900 RELEXians now in the fold — including 124 in our newest office in the US — we ensured each of our over 250 customers received the highest possible quality of service.
This incredible year of growth was supported by our biggest news of the year: raising $200 million from the private equity firm TCV in our second round of funding. TCV’s General Partner John Doran said they invested in RELEX because they “seek to partner with businesses and management teams that are poised to grow to dominate global markets in their sectors.”
Their minority investment paved the way for our acquisition of Zenopt, an advanced workforce optimization system, after originally investing in 2017. Zenopt’s team has been a valued addition to RELEX after two years of working closely together. The forecast-based workforce optimization solution is now a fully integrated part of our Living Retail Platform, delivering value for customers. Coop Värmland, for example, put it to work and saw a 6-8% reduction in their personnel costs.
Building Strong Customer Relationships
We’re always eager to deepen our partnerships with existing customers like Coop Värmland because we live by a core value that “the customer is a friend.” In 2019, we worked with Suomalainen Kirjakauppa, one of our very first customers, to implement the markdown optimization solution, helping increase inventory turnover by 133% and markdown campaign sales by four times. We also enjoyed working with S Group to further improve its RELEX automatic replenishment solution with AI-based optimization of main replenishment days.
But in addition to expanding existing relationships, we also added many new customers in 2019. In Europe, we started working with companies like E.A. Smith in Norway, Smeding in the Netherlands, Swedish department store Åhléns, and more.
One of the most exciting developments in the last year was our entry into the Asia-Pacific market. In September, we established our first ever customer partnership in the APAC region with Baby Bunting, Australia’s largest specialty baby goods retailer.
But the most explosive growth we saw in 2019 took place in North America, where we added 15 new customers! In addition to expanding our relationship with Retail Business Services and the companies of Ahold Delhaize USA, we kicked off new projects with American Freight Furniture and Mattress, AutoZone, Thrive Market, The Vitamin Shoppe, Ingram Content Group, PetSmart, and Big Lots, among others.
Living up to the RELEX Vision
It’s been exhilarating to witness this kind of growth, it’s important to remember why we do this in the first place. We’re on a mission to help retailers reduce their impact on the environment, increase efficiency, protect revenue, and adapt to the ever-increasing rate of change we’re seeing in retail. The awards we won with our customers show that we’re successfully executing on that mission.
At London’s Retail Systems Awards, RELEX and our customer Tourvest won the Technology Project of the Year for the development of TourCast, the first ever forecasting and replenishment system designed specifically for airline retail. We were also honored to receive the Supply Chain and Logistics Award for successfully unifying planning and optimization across core retail processes at Coop Värmland and JULA. In Spain, we were recognized for Best Leadership in Planning Solutions at La Razón’s Technology and Innovation Awards, while in the US, Supply & Demand Chain Executive gave us its SDCE Green Supply Chain Award for the success of our sustainability mission.
But we ended the year with the recognition that was most important to us — the kind that came from our own customers. RIS News’s Software LeaderBoard ranks retail software vendors based on evaluations submitted by actual retail customers. Our customers’ evaluations resulted in RELEX being listed on 31 out of the 50 “Top 10” lists in categories from Customer Satisfaction to Leadership in Technology Innovation, including a #1 ranking as Leader in Recommendation by Tier-One Retailers.
At the end of the day, happy customers are the only measure of performance. We’re extremely pleased that we were able to grow while continuing to deliver value and best practice leadership to our customers in 2019, and we look forward to achieving even more in 2020.