Here is a list of product releases and updates for late November from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on live-stream shopping, holiday shipping, drone deliveries, direct-to-consumer marketing, buy-now pay-later services, cloud training, and sustainable ecommerce.
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Ecommerce Product Releases
Twitter debuts live shopping platform. Twitter has launched live shopping. While watching a live-shopping stream on Twitter, users can take several actions, such as checking out the shoppable banner and Shop tab, toggling between the Latest and Shop tabs, and watching the stream on the merchant’s website with an in-app browser. Twitter kicked off its first shoppable live stream during Cyber Week, collaborating with Walmart and Jason Derulo, a singer, songwriter, and social media star.
Amazon launches a rewards program for Customer Service by Amazon. Customer Service by Amazon (CSBA) is a paid program that allows merchants to use Amazon’s customer service network to manage inquiries on self-fulfilled orders. Amazon has now launched CSBA Rewards, which offers the customer service network for free or at discounted rates to sellers who (i) provide tracking information and maintain a Valid Tracking Rate of 95% or higher, (ii) streamline the customer returns process through Amazon Prepaid Return Label (APRL) program, and (iii) maintain APRL rate of 95% or higher. Eligible Amazon sellers who maintain Contact Per Unit (CPU) of less than or equal to 5% receive free CSBA service each month. Sellers with a CPU higher than 5% can still benefit through fee discounts ranging from 15% to 50%, depending on their CPU tier.
Afterpay debuts buy-now pay-later subscriptions. Afterpay, a buy-now pay-later provider, has announced its subscription service, giving U.S. consumers the ability to pay for their favorite recurring purchases in installments. Merchants such as Ipsy, BoxyCharm, Savage X Fenty, and Fabletics are among the first to utilize the new program. The offering allows qualified merchant partners to offer Afterpay for gym memberships, entertainment subscriptions, online services, and more. Afterpay’s subscriptions will be available to consumers across online platforms in the U.S. and Australia in early 2022, with plans to extend the feature in physical stores and other regions, including Canada, New Zealand, the U.K., and Europe.
Noissue raises $10 million for sustainable packaging platform. Noissue, a New Zealand-based platform that offers sustainable packaging products to businesses of all sizes, has announced a $10 million Series A financing round led by Felix Capital. Noissue, which mainly operates in the U.S., intends to use the funds to grow its global team, invest in the technology that powers its platform, and localize its supply chain. The startup relies on a network of manufacturing partners and suppliers based in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Europe, China, Vietnam, and Australia. It works with logistics partners to offset carbon emissions related to shipping. Noissue has recently launched compostable kraft mailers, recycled hang tags, and reusable drawstring bags — all driven by customer demand.
Walmart and DroneUp announce commercial drone delivery operations. DroneUp, a provider of drone technology and services, and Walmart have announced the first multi-location commercial drone delivery service. The three locations, located at Walmart stores in Northwest Arkansas, will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days per week, delivering items to customers by air in as little as 30 minutes. Shoppers in Farmington, Arkansas, can place orders now at DroneUpDelivery.com. The additional locations at Walmart Neighborhood Market in Rogers and Walmart Supercenter in Bentonville will open in the coming months.
Amazon launches AWS Skill Builder and expands access to free cloud skills training. Amazon Web Services has announced four initiatives to empower learners to access free cloud computing skills and unlock new career possibilities. The initiatives include the launch of AWS Skill Builder, a digital learning experience, the addition of AWS courses to Amazon.com, the expansion of the AWS re/Start global reskilling program, and the opening of the AWS Skills Center, Amazon’s first dedicated in-person cloud learning space. AWS Skill Builder is a new digital learning experience available in more than 200 countries and territories, allowing learners to quickly and easily access over 500 free, on-demand courses, including nearly 60 new cloud computing classes added this year. AWS re/Start is a free, full-time, 12-week program that prepares individuals with little or no technology experience to pursue entry-level cloud computing careers.
Nexcess to update WooCommerce suite with built-in automated testing. Nexcess, a managed digital commerce cloud platform, has released WooCommerce Automated Testing, which empowers online merchants to fix any discovered issues and maintain robust and profitable stores. The feature runs nightly tests and displays results in the WordPress dashboard, offering fast, actionable insights for online business owners and web developers. The interface displays at a glance the status of critical tests via a simple green-yellow-red code system.
Pinterest announces TwoTwenty, an experimental products team and in-house incubator. Pinterest’s new TwoTwenty is an incubator team of engineers, designers, and content and product experts dedicated to the rapid testing and launching of new ideas such as Pinterest TV. TwoTwenty’s first exploration was with live-streamed creator events, which evolved from creator and pinner feedback to include features such as rewatching and shopping product recommendations. As part of the effort, the TwoTwenty team launched a virtual studio with producers who work directly with creators to develop content and go live on a “stage” in front of millions of Pinterest users.
Mapp and VTEX launch an interactive guide for direct-to-consumer marketing. Mapp, a provider of customer-experience services, and VTEX, a software-as-a-service digital commerce platform, are launching a free interactive manual called “The Informative Guide to Direct-to-Consumer Marketing.” The guide targets DTC merchants — manufacturers, retailers, ecommerce brands, agencies — that sell internationally. It addresses questions around successful DTC models, such as brand awareness, customer acquisition and retention, and more.
Bolt acquires Tipser and launches Remote Checkout. Bolt, a shopper network provider, has acquired Tipser, a Swedish-based company enabling commerce on any digital surface. Bolt will leverage Tipser’s turn-key publisher marketplaces, touchless merchant integrations, and headless implementation capabilities to enhance Bolt’s new Remote Checkout service. Remote Checkout will enable publishers to access Bolt’s one-click account creation and tap into its network of shoppers. Remote Checkout gives shoppers the ability to check out directly and safely at any point of inspiration, such as a content website, a social network, or a shopping app. Publishers and creators can monetize traffic by offering visitors an in-app or on-site one-click checkout.