Here is a list of product releases and updates for mid-May from companies that offer services to online merchants. Updates include digital currencies, checkout tools, freight logistics, customer service, omnichannel solutions, and social commerce.
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Ecommerce Product Releases
Loop and Happy Returns by PayPal merge. Loop Returns, an exchange-first returns platform for Shopify brands, announced a new engagement with Happy Returns by PayPal. The integration will enable Loop merchants to offer box-free, label-free return drop-off at more than 5,000 locations across the U.S. By aggregating and shipping returns in reusable totes, merchants reduce costs and increase sustainability. Shopify brands use Loop’s platform to promote exchanges and retain revenue. Loop works with reverse logistics providers such as Happy Returns to give merchants various options for returns, including home pickup, the ability to donate items, and item consolidation.
Introducing Digital Collectibles on Instagram. Select creators and collectors can now share their digital collectibles on Instagram. Meta is beginning to test digital collectibles with a handful of U.S. creators and collectors who will be able to share non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on Instagram that they have created or bought. Once connected, creators and collectors will have the ability to choose which NFTs from their wallets they would like to share on Instagram. When posted, a digital collectible will have a shimmer effect and can display public information, such as a description of the NFT. Posts will also be visible on users’ profiles. Automatically attribute the creator and collector in the digital collectible post (subject to their privacy settings).
Introducing Pinterest API for Shopping. Pinterest unveiled a new shopping feature known as the Pinterest API for Shopping. Now in beta, the feature enables merchants to manage inventory and provide shoppers on the app with more real-time, accurate information. Use the Pinterest API for Shopping to upload or delete a single feed or multiple ones. Merchants can also use the API feature to pause feed ingestion, obtain feed status, control scheduling, and receive errors and alerts. Use filters such as brand, category, price, product type, and more to combine items into product groups. Reduce staleness on Pinterest by updating data such as price and availability in real-time via API. The API updates only items that need to be updated.
ShipBob launches FreightBob. ShipBob, a global fulfillment platform, announced the launch of an end-to-end managed freight and inventory distribution program, FreightBob. The service includes ocean freight powered by Flexport and ShipBob’s cross-docking, automated inventory distribution, and goods transfers across their fulfillment network. Merchants that use ShipBob’s fulfillment service and ship inventory from China to the U.S. can achieve faster transit times, lower freight costs, greater visibility, and distribute inventory seamlessly across ShipBob’s fulfillment centers. While this service currently delivers shipping containers directly from China to the West and East Coasts of the United States, it will expand worldwide in 2022.
DataHawk launches “Connections.” DataHawk, an ecommerce data and insights software company used by brands and agencies for operations on Amazon and Walmart, announced the launch of DataHawk Connections. It allows users to collect, aggregate, and sync Amazon and Walmart business data to Google Sheets and business intelligence tools such as Power BI, Tableau, or a cloud warehouse. Brands can measure and analyze their Amazon and Walmart performance and optimization efforts with digital shelf analytics on products, markets, advertising, and financial data. DataHawk Connections also helps brands unveil data-driven insights and critical signals automatically and provides AI-powered recommendations to lift performance.
Shopify acquires Deliverr. Shopify’s recent purchase of Deliverr, a fulfillment technology provider, removes the complexity of fragmented supply chain management. The acquisition of Deliverr includes its network management software, its team of software engineers, operations experts, customer representatives, and its network of warehouse, carrier, and last mile partners. The addition provides Shopify with visibility and control of movements along the supply chain, empowering merchants to deliver faster across channels. By integrating the end-to-end software and logistics platform into its ecosystem, Shopify will streamline shipping for merchants. The addition of Deliverr will more than double the size of Shopify’s fulfillment team.
Paloma launches checkout tool for Instagram DMs. Paloma launched the first checkout for Instagram DMs, becoming a DM-commerce platform. Instead of manually collecting customer information or building a website, creators can now use Paloma to operate a store through Instagram and Facebook DMs. Shoppers receive curated information about a seller’s products in an intimate space and have the ability to check out anytime, anywhere. Order history, performance, and customer data are stored in Paloma for the seller to access.
Lightspeed launches “Retail.” Lightspeed Commerce, a one-stop commerce platform for merchants, announced the launch of Lightspeed Retail. This ecommerce platform unites advanced POS and payments into one place. Merchants can transform any website (WordPress, Squarespace, Wix) into an ecommerce engine. Sell and advertise products on key social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and leading marketplaces like Google, Amazon, and eBay. Leveraging the power of headless commerce and a reimagined interface, Lightspeed Retail can help business owners elevate their strategy and manage the complex challenges of the evolving retail landscape.
Tidio raises $25 million to automate customer service. Tidio combines live chat and chatbot tools to help businesses provide customer service and generate more sales. Tidio’s platform provides a list of visitors on a company’s website, which owners can use to interact with in real time via chat or automatically with a chatbot. The company announced that it raised $25 million in a Series B round led by PeakSpan Capital with participation from Inovo Venture Partners and InPost CEO Rafał Brzoska, bringing Tidio’s total amount raised to $26.8 million. The company will use the new capital for marketing and expanding its 140-person staff.
USPS to launch “Connect eCommerce.” The United States Postal Service has announced the launch of USPS Connect eCommerce. As shipping needs become more complex, many merchants look to online marketplaces and shipping platforms for assistance. Using USPS Connect eCommerce, the Postal Service will serve online marketplaces and shipping platforms at discounted rates.