Here is a list of product releases and updates for mid-February from companies that offer services to ecommerce merchants. There are updates on live-stream shopping, product management with artificial intelligence, digital payments, augmented reality for sampling products, and multiple items from Amazon.
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Ecommerce Product Releases
New Amazon Live features live-streamed video shows. Taking on home-shopping broadcasters, Amazon has launched Amazon Live, which features live-streamed shows from Amazon talent and brands that broadcast their own streams through the Amazon Live Creator app. Merchants can showcase products, and interact with shoppers in real-time.
Akeneo unveils AI-powered product data intelligence. Akeneo, a provider of product-information-management services for brands and retailers, announced the launch of Akeneo PIM Version 3.0 and its new AI-based product library, Franklin. The new Franklin service brings machine learning-enabled product data intelligence capabilities to Akeneo’s product experience management suite. It automates the process of product-information curation and enrichment, addressing a pain point for most retailers and brands.
Amazon opens Alexa store for anyone to publish custom skills. Amazon is now letting anyone publish skills into the Alexa skills store. There are now more than 80,000 skills in the store. With this announcement, the number of skills published should grow considerably. Creators will be able to add a recorded audio feed URL to a blueprint skill and include it with Flash Briefings, to answer the question, “Alexa, what’s the news?”
Walmart.com introduces MoDRN brand. Expanding its ecommerce on-trend collections, Walmart.com is launching MoDRN, an exclusive online brand for the modern home. MoDRN contains three collections: Retro Glam, Refined Industrial, and Scandinavian Minimal. Prices range from $700 to $899 for sofas, $599 to $649 for beds, and $199 to $699 for indoor and outdoor dining tables and chairs.
PayPal pilot program helps sellers go multichannel. PayPal is launching a new program called PayPal One Touch Seller Signup that helps sellers go multichannel. PayPal Chief Operating Officer Bill Ready explained the program for sellers and marketplaces. “With PayPal One Touch Seller Signup, as merchants are discovering more and more new platforms, one of the most difficult things for that small business is the sign-up and vetting process. The marketplace has to figure out, is that business trustworthy or not, are they fraudulent? We’re able to alleviate those pain points, not only for the seller to sign up but also for the marketplace to know they’re bringing on a trustworthy seller on to their platform.”
Amazon to acquire Eero to help customers better connect smart home devices. Amazon and Eero have announced a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire Eero. Eero’s home mesh systems set up in minutes and blanket every room in high-performing, reliable wi-fi. Eero is already an Amazon merchant with a 4.6-star product rating. Eero communicates with the cloud to receive instructions and updates. Eero systems are self-updating, self-fixing, and self-improving.
Warby Parker’s iPhone app lets you try on glasses in AR. Using a new augmented reality feature, you can now try on Warby Parker eyeglasses using just the camera on your phone. Instantly see how you look in glasses using Virtual Try-On (available on iPhone X). Add frames to your Home Try-On box by clicking the + sign to the left of each pair (in Home Try-On mode).
Chinese ecommerce platform Pinduoduo raises another $1 billion. Pinduoduo, a leading Chinese ecommerce player, has announced that it intends to sell 37,038,000 American depositary shares (an equity share available for purchase on an American stock exchange), each representing four Class A ordinary shares of the company, in an underwritten public offering, which will also include 14,815,000 ADSs of several shareholders. The company expects to use the approximately $1 billion in net proceeds from the proposed offering to enhance and expand its business operations, for research and development, and for general corporate purposes and working capital, including potential strategic investments and acquisitions.
Amazon launches Amazon Moments for rewarding customers. Amazon has launched Amazon Moments, a service for developers create actions for users (such as watching a streaming video) and then giving physical gifts for completing the action. Items eligible to be gifted will come in a catalog. According to Amazon, there are already millions of products available from Amazon and third-party vendors. The service is now live in 100 countries.
Amazon and Western Union partner to launch PayCode. Amazon PayCode is a new payment option in partnership with Western Union. Consumers can shop for products on Amazon and, if available for the order, select the “Use Amazon PayCode” payment option at checkout. Consumers then visit a Western Union location within 48 hours and pay for the purchases in cash. The orders are shipped directly to the buyer’s delivery address.