- E-commerce platform provider Shopify launched a free mobile app that connects to the messaging apps its merchant customers already use, such as Facebook Messenger, Rep.ai and Chatkit, to streamline their conversations into a single location. Shopify's merchants can now interact with their customers through social media, their respective online storefronts, email and more all in the same interface, the company announced in a press release.
- Shopify Ping aims to make it easier for merchants to respond to questions in real-time and deepen relationships. The app, which is now available in the iOS App Store for all merchants, comes with Shopify's free virtual assistant, Kit, which helps merchants plan, create and manage marketing activities through a conversational interface.
- Shopify Ping can support actions like running Facebook and Instagram ads, email campaigns and retargeting campaigns, as well as potentially quicker customer conversations by removing the need for merchants to switch apps for each task.
Shopify, whose multichannel commerce platform powers the e-tailing efforts of about 600,000 businesses worldwide, recognizes that many merchants are trying to manage customer conversations across multiple apps while also running a business. The Shopify Ping app aims to help business owners as a one-stop messaging app that helps to avoid juggling between multiple apps. About half (45%) of Shopify's merchants run their businesses and engage shoppers on their mobile devices, making on-the-go apps a key part of their customer support system.
Shopify has benefited from the retail industry's transition to mobile and social media channels for sales and marketing. Mobile commerce surged 44% during the 2017 holiday season from a year earlier, as consumers spent $17.2 billion through smartphones and tablets, analytics firm comScore found. Mobile commerce sales are forecast to grow 32.7% this year, eMarketer predicts. Shopify reported that traffic to merchant stores on mobile devices grew to 75% of all traffic and 64% of orders for Q1 2018, up from 69% and 59% a year earlier.
This comes as Shopify continues to ramp up its mobile commerce platform to entice both merchants and shoppers to browse and buy on its app. In March, it launched an integration with Google Pay, giving shoppers who buy products from participating stores a quicker checkout. The company has also worked with Snapchat and is integrated with Instagram, where people can purchase items directly from retailers and brands on the mobile app, instead of being rerouting to a separate app or browser to make a purchase. The company is likely to see continued growth as it integrates additional tech like augmented reality (AR) features built with Apple's ARKit that lets merchants provide a more immersive view of the products they sell.