Who, What, and Why: Assemble’s Partners in Retail Technology
By David Schripsema
Over the course of a few posts in the coming weeks, we’ll be introducing you to some of the companies we’ve partnered with, what they do, and why we’ve chosen to partner with them.
We’re retail technology experts
As experts in retail technology, it’s crucial that we can provide unbiased guidance on what technologies make sense to implement. We also feel pretty confident that many of the problems our client’s face have been solved before, and any novel solutions or competitive advantage comes from how you connect your tech stack together. At Assemble, we seek to identify solutions that are both best in class and built with interconnectivity in mind, then build close relationships with the teams behind those solutions. This gives us a seat at the table when feedback is needed, sometimes helps our clients get early access to features, and gives us better access to the teams behind the tools so we can overcome any challenge we encounter.
We value transparency
At Assemble, one of our core values is transparency:
We operate with transparency by communicating with integrity, honesty, and respect. We pride ourselves on providing visibility into our successes and failures and what we have learned from them.
When I started at Assemble, I read the core values as part of my orientation and thought ‘neat.’ After some time here though, it’s startlingly clear that the culture of this organization is indeed built on those values as more than mere lip service.
So with that in mind, let’s address one of the elephants in the room. For many of our partners, Assemble receives a commission when referring our clients to one of our partners. With that being said, we have not made any partnership decisions based on the amounts received and do not ever plan to!
We’re successful when you’re successful. To that end, we won’t recommend a vendor that’s not the best fit for you, regardless of our partnership—or lack thereof—with the vendor. There’s some really sexy tech out there that might not meaningfully move the needle for you. It’s our job to know that and share that knowledge with you.
We’re a technology company, not a sales company
Founded by Apple alumni over a decade ago, we have been developing custom software solutions for our clients ever since. Our team has SFDC certifications, 4+ years of FDA compliance work, and three patents around BLE and IoT. We’re a bunch of techies who’ve been in the technology and retail spaces for a long time. From a client perspective, this means we’re typically at least aware of whatever the latest trends are, and have probably sought them out and played with whatever the newest thing in tech is—forming an opinion for how it is, or isn’t, useful in addressing the problems our clients bring our way. As early adopters, we’ve played with a lot of great products, and a lot of terrible ones, and have learned to quickly differentiate.
Ultimately, we’re a company built on healthy relationships. We’re not interested in just taking money from our clients, or in maximizing the benefit we get from a partnership. We want a two-way street where we can take our boots-on-the-ground experience in the trenches of retail tech and feed it back into a product roadmap. We want to make sure that our clients and partners alike understand if there are shortcomings, and work together to come up with sustainable solutions.
We’re successful when our clients are successful and are willing to tell their friends that we are good to work with and know what we’re doing.
We know there’s no one-size-fits-all solution
When it comes to retail technology, what’s right for one business isn’t right for another, especially when it comes to things like going headless, automating your tech stack, or managing tech debt.
At Assemble, when we choose technology partners we look for a few things.
- Why is it better? Many partners we work with require engineering to implement that’s initially more expensive than an out-of-the-box solution. Before we recommend that our clients take the plunge, we need to make sure that the return on investment is there and that the initial expense will have a worthwhile payoff in a short enough timeline.
- How is it supported? Knowing that our clients often don’t have a team of engineers on hand and may not have the budget to hire them, we want to find partners that provide a level of “keep the lights” support to prevent production downtime and don’t require a team of engineers to keep going.
- How many solutions exist in the space? Most problems worth solving have had multiple people solve them. We generally avoid partnering with companies that are the only ones solving a problem as it’s often too specialized/narrow in scope to be worth the investment. We’ve also tried to partner with multiple vendors within each area because each of our clients has different price points and require different feature sets based on their unique needs.
With that being said, we’d love to introduce you to some of our partners.
Builder is a visual editor built on top of a CMS, with an optimization and testing layer natively integrated. Heatmaps, A/B Testing, and personalization—all built-in.
Contentful has seen widespread adoption across multiple industries and is considered the de facto standard to which most other CMS providers are held. We like them for clients who demand super high availability (99.9995%+), and white-glove service at an enterprise scale and are looking to invest in a solution that will serve them well for years to come.
Fabric is a modular suite of e-commerce solutions. From a Product Information Manager to an Order Management System to an Experience Platform—and everything in between. Each piece can be used standalone or in conjunction with the rest of the suite. We love that they’re API-first, but in a low-code package that makes it straightforward for our clients to manage in the future.
Nacelle provides a set of APIs that do the hard work of abstraction so that development teams can put more emphasis on building the actual web apps and worry less about how the data is coming in, API rate limiting from Shopify, build environments, etc. It also serves to publish content to customers’ devices in a reliable and scalable fashion.
Netlify is our tool of choice for building and hosting websites. Their CI/CD tooling makes it a snap to take our engineer’s outputs and get it in front of our clients—capturing feedback in a seamless and meaningful way. They also handle all the scaling needed to deploy something high-performing and worldwide.
Prismic is a lightweight, BYO Tech Stack, screamin’ fast pure CMS. We like it for clients who have technical chops in-house (or love working with us long-term!) for ongoing support and maintenance.
Shogun delivers a sub-second shopping experience using progressive web app technology and an end-to-end headless commerce platform. Their ability to enable mobile performance, as well as a visual editor that makes ongoing content updates a snap.
Yotpo provides a suite of tools that support the marketing needs of merchants. From SMS to email to loyalty to product reviews—they’re a full-featured platform that’s easy to integrate with and supports the marketing needs for businesses large and small.
Looking for a retail technology partner?
If you’re looking for a technology partner to help your retail platform scale and grow, we’d love to talk.