Here is a list of product releases and updates for mid-November from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on email marketing, holiday shipping, ecommerce returns, digital payments, live chat support, and ecommerce education.
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Ecommerce Product Releases
Shopify introduces Email. Shopify has launched Shopify Email to create, run, and track email marketing campaigns natively in Shopify. Send emails using your domain name with virtually no setup required. Shopify Email includes campaign analytics to measure success, including email open and click rates and the number of products added to carts and purchased.
WhatsApp launches Catalogs for WhatsApp Business app. To make it easier to learn about products and services from businesses, WhatsApp Business has launched Catalogs, a mobile storefront for businesses to showcase and share their goods. For each item in its catalog, a business can add information including price, description, and product code. Creating a catalog with the WhatsApp Business app takes just a few steps.
Amazon announces Small Business Academy. Amazon has announced a range of programs to help small businesses harness the internet to reach more customers, build their brand, and grow sales. The initiatives include in-person seminars, community college courses, and webinars. The Amazon Small Business Academy program also includes a grant to the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship to help fund curriculum development and instruction of digital business courses in community college classrooms around the country. The classes will cover the fundamentals of online business strategies, marketing, merchandising, inventory management, and more.
UPS to reward consumers receiving holiday parcels at alternate delivery locations. UPS is offering rewards up to $35 each to encourage U.S. consumers to try alternative delivery sites. The UPS Access Point network consists of nearly 15,000 pick-up locations, including UPS Stores, Michaels, and local U.S. businesses, such as neighborhood delis, dry cleaners, and flower shops. Shoppers can pick up deliveries when convenient at no additional fee. To participate, consumers should log in to UPS My Choice and select a UPS Access Point location as their preferred alternate delivery location.
Loop closes $10 million Series A funding round. Loop, an ecommerce SaaS platform that specializes in product returns and exchanges services, has closed a $10 million Series A funding round. FirstMark Capital, an early investor in Pinterest and Shopify, led the round. The Series A funding will allow Loop to strengthen its returns offering.
Visa invests in LISNR to accelerate growth in payments. LISNR, which develops ultrasonic data transmission, announced an investment by Visa to accelerate its growth in mobile payments. LISNR’s technology enables merchants and payment providers to accept mobile payment data securely across the customer journey. This is a single technology that can live across touchpoints such as scan-and-go, store pickups, pay zones, point-of-sale, at home with ecommerce, and voice-enabled purchases.
Facebook launches Facebook Pay. Facebook has introduced Facebook Pay across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Facebook Pay features real-time customer support and enhanced security. Facebook Pay is initially rolling out on Facebook and Messenger in the U.S. for fundraisers, in-game purchases, event tickets, person-to-person payments on Messenger, and purchases from select pages and businesses on Facebook Marketplace. Built on existing financial infrastructure and partnerships, Facebook Pay is separate from the Calibra wallet, which will run on the Libra cryptocurrency network.
ShipStation releases 2019 Holiday Prep Guide. ShipStation has published a free 2019 Holiday Prep Guide for online merchants. The guide covers warehouse workflows, increasing cart conversions, establishing a holiday return policy, when to stock holiday inventory, and U.S. carrier shipping deadlines.
Zazzle collaborates with Adobe to help creators monetize their designs. Zazzle, a website to customize, create, and make products and designs, has announced that it is collaborating with Adobe during the launch of Adobe Design to Print, a tool that enables designers to create artwork for printing on physical products, such as those from Zazzle, and earn royalty fees for their efforts.
Helpcube integrates with Shopify. Helpcube has launched its managed live chat and ticketing system for Shopify stores. Helpcube agents get access to clients’ orders, fulfillment, and current stock in real-time, without any configuration needed. Helpcube offers up to 60 interactions and 7 free days to test the service.