As the COVID-19 pandemic creates chaos in the American marketplace, small businesses are bearing a lot of the damage. Despite the government’s stimulus packages that were designed to help small businesses stay afloat as their foot traffic screeched to a halt, an estimated 2 million of them are in immediate risk of going under, according to the Brookings Institute.
In response to the pandemic and the resulting boost in e-commerce, Canada-based Shopify has announced that it is launching a new shopping assistant app called Shop in hopes that it can help some of these small businesses get their names and locations in front of local consumers.
Shop isn’t exactly a brand new idea. It’s actually a re-branding and relaunch of an app previously known as Arrive, a tracking app for all of your online shopping packages. You could follow all of your packages from various retailers from shipment to your doorstep. According to Shopify, Arrive has been used by 16 million people, so it’s not like the company is relaunching a failed app here.
So what’s the difference? Shop is going to continue to do what Arrive did for consumers but will also add new features, including:
Tracking. Just like Arrive, Shop will help your customers track their purchases and shipments from many vendors all in one place. Real-time updates will keep them informed so you don’t get too many, “Where’s my stuff?” calls.
Streamlined Checkout. Using Shop Pay, users can check out quickly and easily, reducing the number of dreaded abandoned shopping carts. It’s also has a pretty cool environmental benefit.
Personalized Shopping Recommendations. Based on your favorite products and retailers, Shop will offer personalized product recommendations to help you discover new products that may be right up your alley. There is a strong emphasis here to help link users to products and brands that they know and like, not bombarding the user with product ads that are not relevant to them.
Local Business Filtering. This is the biggie. If you are a small, local business, it can be hard to get your business name and information in front of customers. Shop has a local search feature to help users filter local businesses. It will also let them know which businesses offer delivery or offer in-store purchasing. Customers can make purchases right on the app to support those local businesses.
The Shop app is already available on both the iPhone App Store and the Google Play store.
Tyler Omoth is a contributor to Codetic.