Here is a list of product releases and updates for mid-October from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on shipping and fulfillment, sales tax, digital advertising, mobile commerce, brand monitoring, and conversational commerce.
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Ecommerce Product Releases
Sendle announces “Sendle Saver” shipping service for small businesses. Sendle, a Certified B Corp shipping service that offers 100% carbon-neutral options for small businesses, has announced a new service called Sendle Saver, a low-cost shipping option. Designed to level the playing field between large and small business operators, Sendle aims to save small businesses money and mitigate the stresses of the peak holiday season amidst a recession backdrop.
Visa launches Ready Creator Commerce. To serve the growing content creator category of small businesses, Visa has announced the launch of Ready Creator Commerce. The global initiative will help creator-centric platforms, such as social commerce and video gaming companies, embed financial tools, such as faster and more flexible payouts through Visa Direct, tipping, and donations. Immediate access to earnings can help creators capitalize on viral moments, opening further opportunities for advertising and brand partnerships.
Etsy improves integration with Google. There are two places Etsy merchant listings can now appear on Google — ad placements and free product listings. With ad placement, Etsy covers the upfront costs of the ads, and merchants pay an Offsite Ads fee when they make a sale. With free product listings, shoppers find items and check out directly on Google via Partner Checkout or by visiting Etsy.
DHL partners with BigCommerce to support global growth of U.S. merchants. DHL has announced a new partnership with BigCommerce. The partnership will help online businesses across the U.S. expand their products worldwide. BigCommerce merchants that join the program will receive discounted rates from DHL Express and will have special access to DHL shipping and logistics professionals to take the mystery out of shipping internationally.
Sprout Social launches an Employee Advocacy tool. Sprout Social has launched its rebranded Employee Advocacy, wherein companies can create and publish employee-driven posts from Sprout’s social suite and leverage their social media influence. According to Sprout Social, more than two-thirds (68%) of marketers report that their organizations have an advocacy program for social to increase brand awareness, reach new qualified leads, and drive sales.
“Always on” YouTube measurement enabled in Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings. Nielsen’s “always on” Digital Ad Ratings will now measure YouTube video ad campaigns. “Always on” will simplify YouTube campaign evaluation by eliminating the need for advertisers and agencies to tag or enable campaigns. Marketers who use “always on” Digital Ad Ratings will have more impressions data to improve the ability to deliver ads to desired audiences.
PayPal launches point-of-sale feature for small U.S. businesses. PayPal has announced the rollout of the PayPal Zettle Terminal for small businesses in the U.S. following its launch in European markets last year. The terminal offers increased mobility in-store and comes with the Zettle point-of-sale app pre-installed so small businesses can accept payments in person — including credit cards, contactless, digital wallets, and PayPal and Venmo QR Codes — and manage sales, inventory, reporting, all in one place.
Shopify introduces a tax management system. Shopify has introduced a system to help manage sales tax. Merchants can access tax-specific information in the admin to know their liability and collect the right amount at checkout automatically. Sales Tax is available to all merchants in the U.S. and Canada. The service is free for the first $100,000 in yearly sales. After that, a small transaction fee applies.
SocialGrep releases intelligent keyword alerts for Reddit. Lexyr Inc. has released SocialGrep Alerts, a new tool for keyword research and monitoring sentiment. SocialGrep Alerts works by notifying users when of particular keywords mentioned in a Reddit post or a comment. Throughout public beta testing, SocialGrep Alerts helped with brand identity management, lead generation, technical support, security and vulnerability monitoring, and research.
Amazon to invest $150 million to help underrepresented entrepreneurs. Amazon has announced Amazon Catalytic Capital, a new initiative to invest $150 million in venture capital funds, accelerators, incubators, and venture studios that provide funding to entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds, primarily at the pre-seed stage. Investing will go toward black, Latino, indigenous, women, and LGBTQIA+ founders. Companies will receive mentorship from Amazon executives to support their businesses. Amazon has invested in the following funds: Collide Capital, Elevate Future Fund, Share Ventures, and Techstars Rising Stars Fund.
Standard AI brings ecommerce-level insights to brick-and-mortar retail stores. Standard AI, a player in retail artificial intelligence, has introduced additions to its core autonomous checkout platform, allowing retailers to understand shopper behavior and in-store operations. Mission Control, the first addition, is an app-based dashboard to manage the operations and the shopper experience better. The second, Insights, will unlock intelligence about store operations, providing views into shopper behavior and operational performance.
ShipHero implements inVia Robotics’ automation. ShipHero, a shipping and logistics platform for over 5,000 ecommerce brands and third-party logistic providers, has selected inVia’s autonomous mobile robot service for two additional fulfillment centers. After automating picking and replenishment activities in its Jacksonville, Florida, location with inVia, ShipHero will now add the technology to its Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Las Vegas, Nevada, warehouses.
Heyday by Hootsuite launches direct message integrations for Shopify merchants. Heyday by Hootsuite, an AI-driven conversational platform, has announced the integration of Instagram Direct Messages and Facebook Messenger within its Shopify chatbot app. The update creates opportunities for merchants to connect with their customers and ensures chats are operating 24/7 year-round. Initially launched in November 2020, the chat app integrates with web chat and email, centralizing every direct message in one unified inbox.