Here is a list of product releases and updates for late March from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on live streaming, social commerce, product tagging, next-day delivery, payment gateways, multi-store management, and marketplace automation.
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Ecommerce Product Releases
Shopify launches Linkpop, a free link-in-bio tool for social media profiles. The feature allows merchants to link from those profiles, such as Instagram, to a Linkpop page containing links not otherwise permitted by the social site — including shoppable links to websites, articles, videos, playlists, and more. Shoppable links on Linkpop automatically sync with a merchant’s Shopify product catalog.
BigCommerce releases Multi-Storefront, a feature that helps merchants create and manage various storefronts within a single BigCommerce backend. Accessible from the BigCommerce control panel, Multi-Storefront enables merchants to deliver tailored shopping experiences by setting up unique storefronts with separate domains, customized design, transactional and promotional emails, and custom pricing with preferred payment methods. Merchants can simplify the management of customers, products, order fulfillment, storefront analytics, and data insights. BigCommerce powers all the storefronts using its native Stencil framework or a third-party headless front-end such as Next.js, Bloomreach, and WordPress. Brands can also mix headless and native Stencil storefronts in a single account.
Google launches Shopping Experience Scorecard. To reward merchants for good customer experiences and help them build their reputation with potential buyers, Google has introduced the Shopping Experience Scorecard program. Merchants who provide excellent shipping and returns services will receive a Trusted Store badge that appears alongside their free product listings on the Shopping tab. Merchants receive a Trusted Store badge based on their performance across metrics relative to other merchants, including shipping speeds, costs, and return windows.
Instagram expands product tagging to U.S. users. Instagram is now allowing all U.S. users to tag products from businesses on Instagram Shopping. The expansion will make it easier for Instagram users to share and discover products. Merchants receive notifications when someone tags a product and control who tags through preference settings.
FedEx to test drone cargo delivery with Elroy Air. FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., is teaming up with California-based Elroy Air, which produces autonomous vertical take-off and landing aerial cargo systems. FedEx Express will test Elroy Air’s Chaparral system within FedEx’s middle-mile logistics operations, moving shipments between sortation locations. The Chaparral aircraft can autonomously pick up 300-500 pounds of cargo and deliver it up to 300 miles.
Etsy launches Seller Events Hub. The new hub helps sellers find upcoming educational programs, seller-run markets, and other community events. The hub currently lists new Etsy U virtual workshops as well as courses on setting up an Etsy shop, growing a business, Etsy search optimization, product photography and video, live listing critiques, and the launch of new products.
PayPal broadens post-purchase services for merchants. PayPal has announced the availability of its Happy Returns portal software to merchants who offer PayPal Checkout. Happy Returns automates returns and exchanges and delivers a more user-friendly customer flow. With intelligent exchange suggestions based on return reasons and inventory, consumers can make an exchange within the same transaction or choose to receive a refund. Merchants with in-person returns can use Happy Returns to show customers nearby locations. Additionally, Happy Returns has partnered with Ulta Beauty, a retail chain, increasing the number of in-person locations to roughly 5,000.
Shippo opens an office in Dublin. Shippo, an ecommerce shipping platform, has created a European research and development center in Dublin, initially supporting engineering, product, and design teams. Shippo’s entry into Dublin aligns with its international expansion plans.
PayPal Ventures invests in Cymbio, an Israel-based marketplace automation platform. Cymbio enables merchants to automate selling on roughly 800 marketplaces worldwide. The investment, which follows a recent $20 million Series B round, allows Cymbio to invest in expansion capabilities.
Next-day delivery platform Veho acquires QuikReturn. Veho, a technology company that facilitates next-day delivery for ecommerce brands, has acquired QuikReturn, a reverse logistics startup firm in the New York City region. The acquisition accelerates Veho’s geographical expansion throughout the U.S.
ShopThing raises $10 million for live shopping in U.S., Canada. ShopThing, a live-shopping marketplace founded in 2018, has announced a USD $10 million Series A round led by Origin Ventures, with Pritzker Group and Interplay participation. ShopThing’s technology allows consumers to walk into stores and create shoppable product links to share live with thousands of marketplace viewers.
Recurly launches Partner Connect. Recurly, the subscription management platform, has launched Partner Connect, a payment gateway integration technology that allows payments partners to get certified and build connections within Recurly’s API. The new technology will simplify the expansion of new subscription programs on existing ecommerce stacks, streamlining billing and subscription management processes.