Passionate, driven and focused on your success!
We began in 1998 in Chicago. A couple of stylish computer geeks, a dapper graphic designer and a devoted shopaholic started brainstorming and came up with the idea to build a portal to great stores in Chicago. Dubbed urbanStyle, this portal included an ETSY-like experience for shoppers while providing all the backend capabilities for our clients to run their e-commerce store.
One of the best retailers in Chicago is without question Lori’s. Luckily, we were able to win Lori over on the concept of selling her shoes and accessories online. Other retailers in the trending Lincoln Park neighborhood quickly followed, and it wasn’t long before dozens of retailers relied on us to sell their wares online. What’s amazing is our cloud-based e-commerce platform was live seven years before Shopify!
Modern Retail (Rebranding)
While urbanStyle was the perfect name to describe the portal to great Chicago retailers, it didn’t work when describing the e-commerce platforms clients used to manage their online store. Hence, Modern Retail was born. Modern Retail encompassed the website tools retailers used to add products to their website, take online orders, manage their website, and even print UPS shipping labels.
First POS Integration
Modern Retail saw quite a bit of success during this time, but we noticed an alarming trend: clients were leaving us because we didn’t integrate with their point of sale (POS) system. This caught our attention, and we soon figured out how to integrate QuickBooks POS with our e-commerce platform. We quickly added several more systems and our reputation as an POS integration company grew.
It’s safe to say nearly everyone fell in love with Magento when it first came out in 2008. Magento was extremely powerful and, because it was open source, you could do just about anything with it. Even though Magento competed with our own platform, we couldn’t help ourselves and built dozens of websites using it. This naturally included integrating our client’s POS system with Magento.
As Shopify’s popularity continued to grow, we knew we needed to do this integration as well. We fundamentally understood Shopify because their cloud-based platform was quite a bit like our own. However, the one thing Shopify did well even in these early days was their Application Programming Interface (API). This left a mark on us as APIs fundamentally change how others conduct business with you.
Integration Platform as a Service
During a company retreat in Chicago, we determined we had to reinvent our POS integrations along with our company. We wanted to do something no one else had done before – make it easy and cost-effective for retailers to connect their POS system to their website. The answer was Modern Retail’s cloud-based Integration Middleware, which is also commonly called Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS).
Back in 2012, BigCommerce was a scrappy e-commerce platform with a limited following. However, Modern Retail believed in their cloud-based approach and decided to invest in the integration. BigCommerce quickly took note and invited Modern Retail to help them with the latest version of their API. We’ve been a big fan of BigCommerce ever since and remain an active partner to this day.
WooCommerce is a platform with a passionate following. We used to tell people the thing that makes WooCommerce so powerful wasn’t WooCommerce, it was WordPress, the most popular content management system in the world. Given that WordPress and WooCommerce run side by side (they are even owned by the same company now), integrating with it was a no-brainer.
As our reputation and customer base for our POS/ERP integrations continued to grow, we needed to clearly differentiate our e-commerce platform from Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce. We also needed to show we were agnostic, not caring if someone picked our e-commerce platform or one of the others. The HipCommerce name served us well until it was retired several years later.
Cloud Integration Services & Solutions
Listening to our clients and their developers, we realized our Integration Middleware / iPaaS system was not enough. Sure, our ready-made integrations were nice, and our Integration API was powerful, but people wanted more. They wanted more solutions to solve tough business problems without a lot of development. Cloud Integration Services and Solutions (CISS) was Modern Retail’s answer to this dilemma!
Order Management v1
Our In-Store Pickup and Ship From Store features were the first two builds under our new CISS umbrella. Immensely popular and sorely needed because these features understand where inventory “lives” within the organization, retailers with multiple stores and warehouses could now offer curbside and in-store pickup, as well as route orders for fulfillment based on which location had the inventory.
B2C & B2B Services
Over the next couple of years, our Business to Consumer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B) solutions exploded under CISS. Our widget technology was not only being used to power gift card and loyalty integrations, but also B2B features such as showing order and payment history from the POS/ERP system on the website. These widgets made it easier for Modern Retail to roll out sophisticated features in a fraction of the time and work.
Order Management v3
Our latest version of Order Management encompasses everything we’ve learned over the years to successfully help people manage and route orders in a modern world. Customers can decide how they want to get their products, whether by picking it up in-store, getting it delivered, or receiving it in the mail. Retailers can leverage inventory from multiple sources (suppliers) as if it was sitting in their own store or warehouse.