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, customer service, omnichannel solutions, returns, live streaming, and shoppable video.
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Ecommerce Product Releases
eBay made easy with Snapchat. Snapchatters can now share eBay listings with friends using the Snapchat camera on Android and iOS. To get started, open the eBay app and select any listing. Tap the share icon and select the “Snapchat” option to automatically jump to the Snapchat camera with the automated eBay sticker. Create an original snap with the eBay sticker and layer using any creative tools. When snapchatters send a snap that includes an eBay sticker to their story or directly to their friends, the recipient or viewer will be able to tap the eBay sticker to jump to the listing.
Facebook and Instagram introduce Recurring Notifications. To help businesses drive more meaningful conversations, Meta announced Recurring Notifications for the Messenger platform. Recurring Notifications allow companies to send automated messages to drive re-engagement and keep the conversation going right in the thread. Create personalized messages about a chosen topic, such as product discovery recommendations, product alerts, discount codes, and product service reminders. Send messages daily, weekly, or monthly. Consumers are shown the topic and frequency in advance and must opt in before businesses can send recurring messages.
YouTube teases the expansion of live stream shopping. At its first-ever Upfronts media conference, YouTube announced new features to help creators and advertisers make more meaningful connections with their audiences. Later this year, two channels will go live and cohost together, uniting communities in a single live shopping stream. With live redirects, creators can start a live shopping stream on their channel, then redirect their audience to a brand’s channel for fans to keep watching.
Zowie closes $14 million Series A funding. Zowie, an AI-powered chatbot technology built for ecommerce teams who want to drive sales through customer support, announced $14 million in Series A funding led by Tiger Global Management. Zowie integrates with all ecommerce tools, such as Shopify, Recharge, Klaviyo, and more. The ready-to-use automation supported by an open API enables Zowie’s customers to quickly set up automation such as order status, subscription management, parcel tracking, and more. This latest round of funding will support Zowie’s mission to enable better online customer experiences and extend its automation capabilities to new channels, including email. Additional investors in the round include Gradient Ventures (Google’s AI-focused fund), 10x Founders (investor in Revolut, Robinhood, Adyen), and The Inovo Group, as well as strategic investor Jack Altman (CEO at Lattice).
Meta opens WhatsApp to all businesses and developers with a new cloud-based API. Meta is making WhatsApp available for any business of any size by offering free, secure cloud hosting services through its new cloud-based API. With the new API, companies and developers can quickly access and build directly on top of WhatsApp to further customize their experience and increase the speed they can respond to their customers. WhatsApp is also working on advanced features for these businesses to help them run operations beyond just a few people and further amplify their brand online. One advanced feature includes the ability to manage chats on up to 10 devices to handle an influx of conversations better. These services will also eliminate costly server expenses for partners, giving instant access to new features. Businesses can sign up directly or work with a business solutions provider to get started.
TikTok announces Live subscription. TikTok Live allows creators to inspire, entertain, and connect with engaged communities in real-time. TikTok introduced Live subscription, a monthly subscription for people to show appreciation for their favorite Live creators. Live subscription allows creators to increase earnings while continuing to grow their community and provides engaged communities an opportunity to thank their favorite creators regularly. Subscribers receive badges that are displayed next to their name on their profile and upgraded over time. Subscribers get access to exclusive emotes custom-designed by the creators during Live sessions. And when the subscriber-only chat is on, creators and their subscribers have exclusive access to one another. Live subscription will initially be available invite-only to creators this month and will later become available globally.
ManyChat launches WhatsApp Chat Marketing Automation. ManyChat, a marketing platform for 1.5 million businesses, announced the launch of WhatsApp Chat Marketing Automation. The new channel will allow brands who use WhatsApp to communicate with customers and automate chat marketing and customer support. Businesses can now automate campaigns to drive sales, answer common questions, or quickly escalate customers to live chat agents by using WhatsApp automation. Users save time by creating automated responses to customers’ queries and quickly raise concerns that typically require an admin’s attention.
WooCommerce announces partnership with TikTok. WooCommerce announced a strategic alliance with TikTok to connect the 3.7 million Woo-powered stores and the TikTok community with a new extension, TikTok for WooCommerce. Available now in the WooCommerce Marketplace, the extension allows merchants to sync their catalog to TikTok and promote products via ads to its 1 billion active global users. Merchants can now create native, shareable “in-feed” TikTok ads directly from their WooCommerce dashboard, including an embedded smart video generator that simplifies the process by producing video ads using existing product images. The integration allows for an advanced TikTok pixel on a merchant’s website for ongoing campaign performance tracking. It will offer priority access to all of the ecommerce features TikTok plans to release in the upcoming months.
Fast Simon launches no-code editor. Fast Simon, a player in AI-powered shopping optimization, announced a new No-Code Search and Collections Editor. The interface delivers a drag-and-drop visual page builder with a publishing and hosting platform, removing the need for coding and cutting the time and costs of providing optimized shopping experiences. Using the no-code editor, merchants can create front-end pages on major ecommerce and headless platforms and deliver personalized experiences without high upfront costs. The interface integrates with all major ecommerce and headless platforms, including Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce, and Shopify Hydrogen.
Cycleon launches omnichannel returns management. Cycleon, a returns management company for fashion, retail, and electronics brands, launched omnichannel returns management. The new service simplifies return processes, making them scalable by integrating all return flows and providing brands with a single point of contact. Items are registered, consolidated, and reworked at Cycleon’s network of decentralized warehouses before being transported to their final destination. Brands can utilize Cycleon’s return portal and tap into the already established ecosystem of local carriers, logistics providers, and developer partners.
Instacart announces new shoppable video and display ads. Instacart announced two new advertising integrations: shoppable video ads and enhanced shoppable display ads. These new formats expand Instacart’s ad product suite with experiences to give brands a more immersive way to tell stories, engage audiences, and drive sales. Shoppable video and shoppable display enable consumer packaged goods brands to shorten the user journey from awareness and product discovery to purchase — all within one media unit. Advertisers can now promote engaging, targeted, creative content to consumers shopping from their favorite retailers on Instacart. Dove, Mondelēz International, PepsiCo, and S.Pellegrino are among the first consumer packaged goods brands to pilot Instacart’s shoppable video and shoppable display products.