Here is a list of product releases and updates for late November from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on shipping, customer support, website builders, artificial intelligence, and shoppable videos.
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Ecommerce Product Releases
Sendle, a shipping carrier for small business, launches in the U.S. Sendle, a carrier focused on small ecommerce businesses, has launched its 100-percent carbon-neutral, flat-rate shipping service in the U.S. Sendle reduces the environmental impact of shipping by tapping existing shipping providers and filling their vehicles with packages to ensure every trip is as efficient as possible, as well as purchasing carbon offsets to address the remaining impact. The company also offers compostable packaging in Australia and plans to extend the offering in the U.S.
BigCommerce launches GraphQL Storefront API. BigCommerce has announced the open beta release of its new GraphQL Storefront API for creating faster, personalized shopping experiences. With GraphQL, brands can quickly develop and launch commerce experiences that are both contextual and unique to each shopper by delivering data across multiple BigCommerce services in one API call. The GraphQL Storefront API enhances developers’ ability to leverage BigCommerce in a headless architecture through its open APIs for seamless integrations with their preferred content management system, digital experience platform, and progressive web apps framework.
Mailchimp launches website builder for small businesses. Mailchimp has launched a public beta of its website builder as part of its all-in-one-marketing platform, giving users the ability to build their own websites and the option to purchase unique domains to make landing pages look like a natural extension of their brand. Users will have the ability to create and publish a website with a free Mailchimp domain. Advanced features, such as custom branding and custom domains, are available for paid users. Mailchimp is also offering multi-page websites, enabling users to index more pages to market their products and services.
PayPal to acquire Honey to personalize shopping offers. PayPal has agreed to acquire Honey Science Corporation, a platform for shopping and rewards, for approximately $4 billion. The acquisition supports PayPal and Honey’s shared mission to simplify and personalize shopping experiences for consumers while driving conversion and increasing consumer engagement and sales for merchants. Honey will enable PayPal to reach consumers at the beginning of their shopping journeys and will enhance PayPal’s ability to help merchants acquire and convert consumers by delivering offers that are personalized, timely, and optimized across channels. Honey will accelerate its growth by driving adoption among 275 million active consumer accounts of PayPal and Venmo (PayPal’s mobile payment service).
Verizon Media and eBay launch campaign and shoppable videos. Verizon Media and eBay have launched a new campaign, “The Guy’s Guide to Nailing the Holidays,” to help men tackle the holiday season with ease and confidence. eBay will be the first advertising partner to sponsor Verizon Media’s new shoppable video format, integrating the online marketplace’s products from top brands into shoppable carousels beneath gift-guide videos. Verizon Media will roll out a series of videos featuring influencers, such as tech and gaming expert Brian Tong and reality TV star Tanner Tolbert, to highlight eBay products across lifestyle, tech, and sports.
Elavon acquires Sage Pay payment gateway. Elavon, a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, has agreed to acquire Sage Pay, a payment gateway. The acquisition is part of Elavon’s strategy to help its business customers as the global economy becomes more digital, and as businesses look to streamline their operations with software that includes payments capabilities. Elavon is the fourth-largest merchant account provider in Europe with a platform that allows it to do business in many countries and currencies. The Sage Pay acquisition extends Elavon’s market share in the U.K. and Ireland, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Ohi raises $2.75 million to provide brands with same-day delivery. Ohi, which enables ecommerce brands to offer same-day delivery, has announced the close of a $2.75 million seed round led by Flybridge Capital Partners. Ohi’s artificial intelligence helps growth-stage companies find fulfillment centers across the US, without the commitment of long-term leases and expensive integration. Ohi partners with landlords to convert commercial space into micro-warehouses in major cities. The company then offers those warehouses on flexible leases that can be as short as three months to help direct-to-consumer brands achieve same-day and next-day deliveries. Ohi charges brands a fixed monthly fee.
Returnly enables online gifting for Shopify Plus merchants. Returnly, a post-purchase payments company for returns, has announced the availability of instant gift exchange for Shopify Plus merchants and their customers. The program enables gift recipients to immediately browse a site and purchase an alternative item, even before they return the original gift. According to Returnly, nine in 10 users have ordered a second item before they shipped the first item back, and they’re likely to outspend the original size of their order by 23 percent.
Gorgias raises $14 million to help ecommerce companies deliver customer service. Gorgias, a startup offering artificial intelligence tools for customer service and support, has raised $14 million in Series A funding. With the shift that brands are taking to sell directly to consumers, Gorgias provides tools to help customer service representatives respond quickly and upsell products and services. Using AI and customer data, Gorgias can automate responses to basic questions. Gorgias pulls data from a brand’s apps to display rich customer profiles next to tickets. Agents can respond to chats, emails, and Instagram comments while seeing previous conversations and order data. Flex Capital led the financing round. Gorgias will use the money to build out the product with new features while also bringing on more merchants.
Route raises $12 million to track packages with AI. Route, a package-tracking app that helps merchants with post-purchase satisfaction and offers shipping insurance to consumers, has raised $12 million through seed financing with Peak Venture Capital and Album VC. Route aggregates purchase and tracking into one place, synchronized with the customers’ Gmail accounts. Route’s insurance program enables customers to file lost, damaged, and stolen package claims from within the Route app. It’s free for brands to offer. The seed funds will help Route keep up with demand and add new features to its app.