Software provider Bamboo Rose is expanding its product development platform by allowing retailers to plug-in various new technology and services tools – such as 3-D design, augmented reality and machine learning.

"Retailers shouldn't be pigeon-holed into one cool tool from a single vendor," says Sue Welch, CEO of Bamboo Rose.

The company now "lets anyone plug into our platform, and we also provide scalability – you can choose one plug-in today and another in six months – letting you grow at the pace that makes sense for you.

"We're focused on digitising more of retailers' and brands' backend processes so we can spur innovation and collaboration within our expanded platform, and ultimately help them compete in a fast-paced industry."

Its collaborative B2B platform combines intelligent product lifecycle management (PLM), Sourcing, Global Trade Management (GTM) to help retailers and suppliers simplify the product creation and delivery process to bring great products to market faster, more efficiently and at higher margins.

The new expansion also provides retailers with the flexibility to integrate various technologies into their product development cycle to support activities like digital sample management, virtual product rendering, image recognition and color palette generation.

By plugging in all the latest and coolest technology, savings can be achieved, for example, with virtual showrooms and 3-D renderings during the sampling phase reducing the need for overseas trips and sampling by 75%, cutting months out of product design cycles and increasing collaboration.

Embedding machine learning also allows Bamboo Rose to automatically recommend supplier matches for product development based on dozens of criteria, such as user behaviour, collaboration sentiments, geography and capacity commitments, and not just on past performance.

With colour recognition integrated into the process, the platform can automatically assess a batch of photos from a shopping trip and use image recognition to create a colour palette as a starting point for product design.

"Too often, the firehose of cool tools are tested in multiple siloed use cases that don't connect to the organisation's mainstream core capabilities, which makes it difficult to understand ROI and roll out across an organisation," Welch adds.

"Our goal is to provide pragmatic, practical accessibility that drives innovation. That means delivering an end-to-end platform that doesn't just jump on the latest trend, but develops business use cases that provides measurable value through the entire buying process."