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Here is a list of product releases and updates for late May from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on social commerce, product drops, live shopping, two-day shipping, fraud prevention, and long-term financing.
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Ecommerce Product Releases
PayPal acquires Happy Returns. PayPal has purchased Happy Returns for an undisclosed amount. Happy Returns’ technology will help extend PayPal’s commerce platform beyond discovery and payments to the post-purchase experience. With PayPal’s support, Happy Returns will also focus on improving and expanding its footprint to provide more customers with seamless, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly ways to process returns.
Instagram launches section for product drops. Instagram is adding a new feature to help connect limited-quantity product drops with online shoppers. Drops help sellers create buzz for forthcoming products in the days and weeks leading up to their availability. On Instagram, drops will now have their own destination inside the app at the top of the Shop tab, where consumers can discover, browse, and buy all the latest and upcoming product launches. Shoppers can also sign up to receive reminders about products they’re interested in and look through products and collections from other recent drops.
Google announces integrations with Shopify, WooCommerce, GoDaddy, Square. At its recent I/O event, Google announced new Merchant Center integrations with Shopify, WooCommerce, GoDaddy, and Square, making it easier for businesses to reach new customers through direct product listings on Google. The integration with Google Merchant Center allows sellers to quickly and easily add their item catalog to Google’s surfaces, including Search, Shopping, Images, Maps, and YouTube. Buyers can then click on the listings and buy items directly from sellers’ online stores. The integration provides a simple way for sellers to reach new customers at no additional cost. Soon, merchants will have the ability to curate how their brands appear on Google through videos, rich lifestyle imagery, and interactive story formats — all for free.
Wayflyer raises $76 million to provide revenue-based financing to ecommerce merchants. Wayflyer, a revenue-based financing platform, has raised $76 million in Series A funding led by Left Lane Capital. The company aims to help ecommerce merchants “unlock growth” by giving them access to working capital ($10,000 to $20 million). Wayflyer uses analytics and sends merchants cash to make inventory purchases or investments in their business. Those merchants then repay Wayflyer using a percentage of their revenue until the money is paid back, plus a fee.
Facebook launches Live Shopping Fridays. Facebook is bringing brands together to showcase products, tips, demos, and more through Live Shopping Fridays. Shoppers can discover the latest products and ask questions about size, fit, and tips in real-time. For brands, Live Shopping offers a chance to build relationships with consumers, provide content, answer questions, and streamline the purchase process through the checkout with Facebook Shops.
ShipBob partners with Walmart to enable two-day shipping for ecommerce brands. ShipBob, a global cloud-based logistics platform for small and medium-sized businesses, is now listed as a shipping and fulfillment provider for Walmart’s marketplace sellers. ShipBob integrates with the Walmart marketplace to display “free 2-day delivery” badges for approved sellers. ShipBob also offers fulfillment and shipping outside of the two-day program. ShipBob’s platform gives Walmart marketplace sellers a single view of their inventory, orders, and shipments across all sales channels and locations, in addition to advanced analytics into shipping performance, inventory allocation, and fulfillment costs.
New “Pay with Flexa” button offers instant acceptance of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Flexa, a fraud-proof payments network, has expanded its cryptocurrency offerings to include a suite of ecommerce plugins. The new offerings provide a simple checkout experience using the new “Pay with Flexa” button, which streamlines the acceptance of dozens of cryptocurrencies on the Flexa network. Online transactions made with Flexa are authorized and guaranteed in less than a second — fast and fraud-proof.
Pinterest introduces Idea Pins. Pinterest has released Idea Pins, a multi-page format to help users engage and explore video content directly. Idea Pins are an evolution of Story Pins, renamed to empower creators to share long-lasting ideas (rather than short-lived stories) via a suite of publishing tools, including video recording and editing, voiceover recording, ghost mode transition tools, detail pages for instructions or ingredients, and interactive elements such as people tagging and stickers.
Forter raises $300 million to combat ecommerce fraud. Forter, an ecommerce fraud-prevention platform, has raised $300 million led by Tiger Global Management with participation from Third Point Ventures and Adage Capital Management. Forter will use the funding to continue expanding its global ecosystem, enabling retailers, ecommerce platforms, issuing banks, and payment providers to fight fraud and improve the shopper experience across the entire purchase journey.
Sezzle launches long-term financing with Ally. Sezzle, a buy now, pay later service, has announced the launch of long-term financing options with Ally Lending, the personal lending arm of Ally Financial. The launch expands on Sezzle’s core product, offering consumers longer loan terms for higher ticket transactions. Ally Lending enables monthly, fixed-rate installment loans for up to 60 months and $40,000 through a digital application process.
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