Here is a list of product releases and updates for late September from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on augmented reality tools, conversational commerce, social commerce, small business financing, fraud protection, and buy-now, pay-later.
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Ecommerce Product Releases
WPP and Snap launch augmented reality partnership. WPP, the multinational marketing agency, and Snap Inc., the camera company behind Snapchat, have announced a global partnership (“The AR Lab”) to help brands build and deliver augmented reality experiences. With a focus on ecommerce, the partnership combines Snap’s AR technology with WPP’s integrated capabilities across creative, media, commerce, and technology, allowing WPP clients to better connect with their customers on the Snapchat platform and drive meaningful business results through AR.
Quiq launches conversational AI platform for commerce payments and conversational surveys. Quiq, an AI-powered conversational platform that enables businesses to engage with customers, has announced the addition of two new features: payments and surveys. Quiq’s Conversational Commerce Payments enables brands to safely and securely accept payments across all Quiq supported channels, including SMS-text messaging, Apple Business Chat, Google Business Messages, webchat, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and more. Quiq’s In-Conversation Surveys enable a short survey to be sent immediately following the end of customer interaction, regardless of the channel, for real-time feedback. Quiq has standard support for Stripe and Braintree payments platforms and integrates with any brand’s payment processing platform, through the Quiq Payments API.
GoDaddy Payments launches two point-of-sale devices. GoDaddy has expanded GoDaddy Payments with the launch of two point-of-sale devices: a countertop smart terminal and a mobile card reader. The introduction adds to GoDaddy’s commerce services, giving small businesses the ability to sell, track, and manage transactions in more places. GoDaddy’s POS seamlessly integrates with GoDaddy’s Online Store to unify in-person and online sales in the new Commerce Hub. For GoDaddy’s POS, customers are charged a transaction fee of 2.3% + 0 cents, and online transactions are 2.3% + 30 cents.
Amazon and Lendistry launch Amazon Community Lending program for SMBs. Amazon and Lendistry announced a joint pilot program, Amazon Community Lending, aimed at driving growth opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses selling on Amazon. The program is a new financing option through Amazon Lending. AmazonCommunity Lending will provide U.S.-based Amazon sellers access to short-term loans of up to $100,000. Lendistry is a minority-led community development financial institution that serves urban and rural small businesses in socially and economically distressed communities.
TikTok launches shopping platform. At its inaugural World event, TikTok released the official TikTok Shopping suite, a commerce service for merchants wherein TikTok manages everything — from product upload to point of purchase, shipping, and fulfillment. The suite includes Product Links, Live Shopping, Collections Ads, Dynamic Showcase Ads, and Lead Generation. Additionally, brands can connect their product catalog to TikTok via third-party platforms, including Shopify, Square, Ecwid, and PrestaShop. Wix, Shopline, OpenCart, and Base will be available soon.
Google adds new ways to shop visually. Google is adding tools for shoppers to browse and find new products and brands in a more visual way. Users can now shop right from Search as it displays a visual feed of products, alongside other helpful information, which can then be filtered. This new experience is powered by Google’s Shopping Graph, a comprehensive, real-time dataset of products, inventory, and merchants with more than 24 billion listings. Also, when users search for products, they can now select the “in stock” filter to see only the nearby stores that have it on their shelves. And starting soon, iOS users will see a new button in the Google app to make all the images on a page searchable through Google. Google is also bringing Lens to Chrome on the desktop. Users can select images, video, and text content on a website with Lens to quickly see search results in the same tab, without leaving the page they’re on.
Cart.com partners with Clearco to deliver funding for ecommerce brands. Cart.com, an ecommerce services provider, has announced a partnership with Clearco, an investment company, to transform the way that ecommerce founders access financing. Through the partnership, Cart.com’s clients will have direct access to Clearco’s capital financing from within their Cart.com dashboard — up to $10 million in capital within 24 hours without giving up equity or control of their company — and then repay the loan from future revenues. Founders can also access up to $1 million in inventory loans. Clearco’s capital products will extend Cart.com’s financing offerings.
Squarespace releases new selling features. Squarespace has released a series of features to help customers sell online for physical products, digital content, classes, appointments, reservations. and more. One of the products is the Squarespace Video Studio, an app to produce professional-quality videos to engage audiences and help sell ideas, goods, and services. The new features also include tools for Etsy sellers.
Carrot, a plugin that categorizes cart contents, raises $5.5 million. Carrot is a plugin that saves the products put in a cart and automatically categorizes them. The company has closed a $5.5 million seed round with investors that include Kindred Ventures, M13, Abstract, Designer Fund, Combine, Paris Hilton, Scott Belsky, Riverpark, and NextView. Carrot captures what’s put in the cart without any additional buttons or signals, regardless of the retailer. The plugin then automatically categorizes carts based on the retailer itself, but also allows users to create their own folders. The product also tracks pricing changes for items in a cart, giving users the chance to see when something goes on sale.
Mastercard offers new installment plans for buy-now, pay-later. Mastercard’s new buy-now, pay-later service makes it easier for banks to offer installment plans, letting consumers pay for purchases over time. Lenders can approve consumers for an installment loan before purchase or offer the option during checkout. As part of the new program, Mastercard will allow lenders to use its consumer banking data in their underwriting decisions. For merchants, buy-now, pay-later services increase average sales by 45% and reduce the risk that consumers will abandon their shopping carts before they finish checking out online, according to Mastercard.
ClearSale partners with Bold Commerce for checkout protection. ClearSale, a fraud-protection service, has announced a partnership with Bold Commerce, an ecommerce platform. ClearSale can now integrate with Bold Checkout, the company’s customizable checkout framework, to provide global fraud prevention. ClearSale adds advanced statistical fraud analysis to minimize friction during checkout and provides the lowest level of false declines while providing a no-chargeback guarantee.