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jerryking : shopify   12

Georgian Partners closes largest independent VC fund in Canadian history - The Globe and Mail
SEAN SILCOFFTECHNOLOGY REPORTER
PUBLISHED AUGUST 2, 2018

Georgian focused on being a North America-wide player from the outset, closing its first $70-million fund in 2010. It started out backing firms that developed data-driven analytical software tools for large corporate and government customers, putting it at the vanguard of broader trends in technology.

Georgian specializes in large “growth capital” financing deals amounting to tens of millions of dollars for fast-growing startups that have achieved initial market success and generate millions of dollars in annual revenue. Thanks to the partners' connections (Mr. Berton is a veteran financier), Georgian was able to get in on competitive financing deals led by U.S. funds from the start, including a 2011 US$15-million deal for Shopify led by Boston’s Bessemer Venture Partners that produced bonanza returns for Georgian.

Georgian further set itself apart by establishing an “impact team” of seasoned executives the firm parachuted in to help its portfolio companies. More recently, Georgian has taken a lead among VC firms by creating software tools to assist its investee companies in the artificial intelligence space by bolstering their ability to anonymize client data and explain how their algorithms make decisions.
artificial_intelligence  Canadian  Georgian_Partners  high-impact  Sean_Silcoff  Shopify  Toronto  vc  venture_capital 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
Tech groups push ‘chat commerce’ to western shoppers
SEPTEMBER 23 2019 | Financial Times | by Patrick McGee in San Francisco.

From wishing a friend happy birthday to contacting a colleague about a meeting, text messaging is central to much of 21st-century life, with one glaring exception: commerce....the potential for brands to engage with customers and sell goods using pithy, personalised messages is vast. On the Chinese app WeChat, 170m people browse for products — and pay for them — every day on more than 600,000 “mini-programs” within the app. They hail cabs, buy groceries, book doctor’s appointments and even get tourism recommendations through real-time crowdsourcing.

Now, after a series of failed starts, so-called conversational commerce may be set to gain traction in the west, as a host of tech companies attempt to follow WeChat’s lead.

In its new iOS 13 software update, Apple is prompting users on its iPhones who attempt to make a call to companies such as Burberry, Hilton and Verizon to “start a Business Chat instead, so you can interact with a business from a text instead of waiting on hold”.

Apple Business Chat, which was first announced in 2017, lets consumers communicate directly with brands within the Messages app — usually via sophisticated artificial intelligence chatbots — enabling them to ask questions about products and pay for them through Apple Pay, which is integrated into the platform......

‘There is no shortage of demand’

Proponents say the reason texting works in commerce is the simplicity and intimacy of the experience. Consider what happens when a flight is cancelled, causing 200 people to suddenly need to make new plans. Customer service is bombarded; passengers are left waiting on hold. Instead, an airline could let each person text their preferences, then put their phone away as an answer is worked on.

“The idea that [customer service] has to be this synchronous thing where you settle down for a 10-minute conversation on the phone is ridiculous,” said Charles Golvin, researcher at Gartner. “The actual aggregate amount of time you need might be 30 seconds.”.....Making customers feel they are engaging with an individualised service that responds quickly with helpful answers is critical. Instead of hiring a massive staff to respond to each and every query, companies are deploying AI to field customer questions using chatbots, though these can defer to human employees when necessary.

Into the west

So far, attempts to bring conversational commerce to the west have received a lot of hype but little traction. Three years ago, after Uber integrated ride-hailing into Facebook Messenger, product designer Chris Messina hailed 2016 as “the year of conversational commerce” — a prediction that never materialised.

“I don’t think ‘fail’ is too harsh — the uptake of commerce through messaging in the US has been dismal,” Mr Golvin said.

Nevertheless, momentum is beginning to pick up, with sales volume tripling in the past three years, led by in-app messaging within Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Brian Long, chief executive of Attentive, a Sequoia-backed start-up building text platforms for more than 400 brands ranging from Jack in the Box fast food to luxury apparel brand Coach, said it is becoming clear that email marketing does not work, especially among younger people.....Apple declined to say how many brands are participating on Business Chat, but a deal inked earlier this year enabled all 800,000 online merchants on Shopify to engage with customers over text and transact with Apple Pay.

Michael Perry, director of product for conversational offerings at Shopify, said brands using text to engage with customers are building trust that translates into higher spending habits.

“You’re more likely to pay a premium [for] a brand you like,” he said. “And messaging, more than any other medium, powers that.
Apple  brands  chat  chatbots  conversational_commerce  messaging  mobile_applications  Shopify  text_messages  WeChat 
september 2019 by jerryking
Now bigger than eBay, Shopify sets its sights on Amazon
August 20, 2019 | Financial Times | by Tim Bradshaw, Global Technology Correspondent.

.....ecommerce via social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, which have become vital to growing online retail outside Amazon, and increasingly important to Shopify.

“Instagram has been the most phenomenal growth vector for small businesses,” said Mr Lütke. “It's a great way to tell stories about products that Amazon, with its static pictures and very sanitised listings, doesn't offer people.” 
Amazon  e-commerce  fulfillment  logistics  retailers  Shopify  Tobias_Lütke 
august 2019 by jerryking
Shopify paves the way for Canadian tech IPOs - The Globe and Mail
SEAN SILCOFF AND JACQUELINE NELSON
Shopify paves the way for Canadian tech IPOs
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Apr. 16 2015
Shopify  IPOs 
april 2015 by jerryking
Shopify leaping from Web to storefront as startups dream big - The Globe and Mail
Aug. 28 2013 | The Globe and Mail| SEAN SILCOFF.

The Ottawa-based company is launching a comprehensive system that allows retailers to run their entire operation, from cash register to inventory management to online storefront, from an iPad. Shopify attracted tens of thousands of retailers by offering a system that allows users to set up web-based store fronts in minutes...
“The distinction between online, mobile and bricks-and-mortar retailing shouldn’t exist,” Shopify chief platform officer Harley Finkelstein said of Shopify POS, which launches Wednesday.
Shopify  start_ups  retailers  e-commerce  bricks-and-mortar  m-commerce  product_launches 
october 2013 by jerryking
6 Tips for Building a Web-Based Store - WSJ.com
DECEMBER 9, 2011 | WSJ | By TY MCMAHAN. (Send to Debbie)

Building an ecommerce platform within your company website doesn't have to be complex or expensive. A number of new services—such as such as Goodsie, Shopify, Storenvy and Weebly—now make the task easy and affordable. You can use these services to design a store, upload product, create shopping carts, manage fulfillment and more, —all for as little as a few dollars a month.

1. Invest time, and possibly money, in taking good photos.

Photography is the "dirty little secret" of e-commerce, according to Mr. Davis. "[Customers] can't touch and feel your wares, so your photography needs to be an important element."

Merchants should professionally photograph as many details of a product as they can afford.

Goodsie Chief Executive Jonathan Marcus recommends shooting each product individually, as well as while it's being worn or used by a model, in order to show how big the product is.

2. Use a voice that matches your brand.

"There's a fine line between cute and strategic," says Mr. Davis. For example, a flower shop may describe marigolds as "perfect for fall and a favorite for moms," while an electronics store may provide a more technical description of products. Merchants should also consider how their descriptions might surface in search-engine results, he adds.

3. Experiment with the layout, and mix it up.

The new services, which emerged within the past five years, provide hundreds of templates for the arrangement of products on the page, as well as a wide variety of different colors and fonts. "Change things every two to three weeks over three months and see what drives the best results," Mr. Davis says.

Goodsie's Mr. Marcus adds that stores need to be thoughtful about what products fit together on a page. For example, an apparel company may consider arranging items that make up an entire outfit.

4. Figure out the payment gateway.

This is the trickiest part of creating an online store, according to Mr. Davis. Store owners will need to set up a merchant account with a bank to link funds from the credit card company or a third-party processor like PayPal, which lets customers use its merchant account under certain terms, usually with very little setup required. PayPal does not charge a setup fee.

Currently, Weebly stores only accept Paypal or Google Checkout to process payments. Goodsie offers those services, as well as Braintree Inc. and Authorize.net, a Visa Inc. company, to accept credit card payments. Shopify offers dozens of payment options.

PayPal accepts all major credit cards with no setup or monthly fees. The service takes a 2.9% fee per transaction on monthly sales up to $3,000. The rate reduces as monthly sales increase. Google Checkout charges the same. Authorize.net charges a $100 set-up fee, a $20 monthly fee and 10 cents per transaction. Most services charge about $10 per chargeback in the event a refund is issued.

5. Try to make online shopping feel like an experience.

"Do you have the right boxes? Do you have packing foam? How do you want merchandise to be presented when your customer opens the box? Remember, that's the only one-on-one you're going to have with a customer," Mr. Davis says. He suggests offering gift wrapping and sending hand-written thank-you notes to add a more personal touch to the e-commerce experience.

Alternatively, you can outsource fulfillment. Shopify integrates with third-party fulfillment services such as Fulfillment by Amazon, Shipwire and Webgistix. The cost of this can range for tens of dollars into the thousands depending on the product and volume of shipping. Those who choose to outsource fulfillment should do several trial orders with a service before committing to a provider, Mr. Davis suggests.

6. Promote heavily.
tips  e-commerce  websites  fulfillment  third-party  Shopify  Amazon  howto  JCK 
december 2011 by jerryking

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