Here is a list of product releases and updates for mid-June from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on visual search, lending, loyalty programs, payments, fraud protection, and gaming.
Ecommerce Product Releases
1. Avalara helps businesses automate consumer use tax compliance. Avalara, a provider of cloud-based tax compliance automation for businesses, has announced the availability of Avalara Consumer Use, a new product to self-assess consumer use tax obligations and achieve compliance quickly. Use tax is owed by buyers when they’re not charged the full amount of sales tax on a purchase, or the item is used in another location or for a different purpose. Avalara Consumer Use integrates with Avalara AvaTax to automatically calculate consumer use tax based on current rules and rates. Businesses can easily integrate consumer use tax accruals into the filing process in Avalara Returns to automate sales and use tax return preparation.
2. USPS to launch a loyalty program. The United States Postal Service has created a loyalty program for shippers. The program has three tiers: Basic, Silver, Gold. Basic (no minimum spending) provides $40 credit for every $500 spent; Silver (at least $10,000 spent) provides $50 credit for every $500 spent; Gold (at least $20,000 spent) qualifies for commercial pricing. The loyalty program applies to customers using Click-N-Ship for Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail at retail rates. Beginning on August 1, 2020, the Postal Service will automatically enroll these customers in the Basic tier of the program. On January 1, 2021, the loyalty program will expand to the three tiers.
3. AWS and Slack partner for enhanced enterprise collaboration tools. Amazon Web Services and Slack have announced a new multi-year agreement to deliver services for enhanced enterprise workforce collaboration. The partnership will help distributed development teams communicate and become more efficient and agile in managing their AWS resources from inside Slack. Slack will migrate its Slack calls capability for all voice and video calling to Amazon Chime, AWS’s communications service for users to meet, chat, and place business calls. Slack is also utilizing AWS’s global infrastructure to support enterprise customers’ rapid adoption of its platform and to offer residency options for their stored data.
4. Amazon offers line of credit to sellers. Amazon Lending announced a new partnership with Marcus by Goldman Sachs to provide a Marcus Business Line of Credit for U.S.-based sellers. The Marcus Business Line of Credit offers competitive fixed-interest rates and provides Amazon sellers with funds as needed. As with the direct loans from Amazon Lending, the goal is to help sellers grow their Amazon business, as well as other online or offline channels. Eligible sellers will receive invitations via Seller Central to apply with Marcus for the line of credit. The rollout will occur gradually.
5. BlueSnap integrates with Splitit to offer installment payments. BlueSnap, an all-in-one payment platform, has announced its integration with Splitit to improve the merchant and customer experience on installment payment transactions. BlueSnap provides businesses with a payment gateway, merchant account, and advanced features that improve bottom-line performance. Splitit offers no-fee installment payments on credit card purchases, allowing consumers to break payments into smaller increments. Shoppers can buy now and pay later using a card they already have with no need to obtain additional cards or lines of credit, no application, no credit check, and no interest fees.
6. ClearSale updates Shopify app for increased fraud protection. Fraud protection player ClearSale has announced updates to its integration with Shopify, now as a public app, providing merchants with protection from fraud and chargebacks. ClearSale’s large, in-house team of analysts ensures that no order is declined without a fraud expert investigating it, providing merchants with a low rate of false declines. The public app, available to download for free from the Shopify App Store, requires minimal technical knowledge to add to an existing Shopify implementation.
7. Scuti offers ecommerce marketplace for video games. Scuti, an ecommerce platform, has announced its new marketplace, accessed directly through video games. Scuti’s platform lets brands market, sell, and ship directly to game players from within any Scuti-enabled game. The marketplace incentivizes players with Scuti points, which are redeemable against future purchases. Scuti is the creation of Nicholas Longano, who built in-game advertising company Massive Incorporated, which he sold to Microsoft in 2006.
8. Amplitude launches no-code product analytics. Amplitude has launched a no-code milestone analysis, empowering product teams to pinpoint the exact moments in the customer journey that convert new users into high-value customers. With the capabilities, Amplitude combines behavioral analytics with relative-time analysis (placing the event in the context of the user’s journey) to identify critical events. By identifying key milestones, product teams can engineer experiences to drive conversions.
9. Amazon expands aircraft fleet. Amazon has announced the lease of 12 Boeing 767-300 converted (into cargo) airplanes from Air Transport Services Group. These planes will join Amazon’s existing fleet of 70 to bring its entire network to over 80 aircraft. One of the new planes joined Amazon’s operations in May 2020, with the remaining 11 to be delivered in 2021. Amazon continues to expand on-the-ground operations in addition to aircraft. Amazon will open new regional air hubs at Lakeland Linder International Airport in Florida later this summer and at San Bernardino International Airport in California next year, along with the central Amazon air hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 2021.
10. Pinterest adds a Shop tab to its Lens camera for image search. Pinterest has launched a shop tab right on Lens results. Users just click the camera in the search bar, snap or upload a photo, and see a “Shop” tab with a feed of shoppable pins based on the in-stock products identified in that image. Each product pin links directly to the checkout page on the retailer’s site. Pinterest has also partnered with Shopify to make uploading catalogs to Pinterest easier. Additionally, Pinterest announced shopping spotlights, a new way to shop curated picks from influencers and publishers.
11. CartSquad launches to help companies navigate marketplaces. CartSquad, a new company, has launched its end-to-end channel management for established and up-and-coming brands. Founded by a team of distribution professionals, CartSquad will launch and manage a brand on top ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon, Walmart.com, Wish, Overstock, Wayfair, Rakuten, Tophatter, and more. CartSquad will optimize, market, warehouse, fulfill orders, provide customer service, and more. Pricing starts at $79.99 per month.