Shopify opens its first brick-and-mortar space in Los Angeles

Shopify, the provider of payment and logistics management software and services for retailers, has opened its first physical storefront in Los Angeles. The first brick and mortar location for the Toronto-based company, is nestled in a warren of downtown Los Angeles boutique shops in a complex known as the Row DTLA. For Shopify, Los Angeles […]

Shopify, the provider of payment and logistics management software and services for retailers, has opened its first physical storefront in Los Angeles.

The first brick and mortar location for the Toronto-based company, is nestled in a warren of downtown Los Angeles boutique shops in a complex known as the Row DTLA.

For Shopify, Los Angeles is the ideal place to debut a physical storefront showing off the company’s new line of hardware products and the array of services it provides to businesses ranging from newly opened startups to $900 million juggernauts like the Kylie Cosmetics brand.

The city is one of the most dense conglomerations of Shopify customers with over 10,000 merchants using the company’s technologies in the greater Los Angeles area. 400 of those retailers have each earned over $1 million in gross merchandise volume.

In the Los Angeles space, which looks similar to an Apple store, patrons can expect to see demonstrations and tutorials of how Shopify’s tools and features work. Showrooms displaying the work that Shopify does with some of its close partners will also show how business owners can turn their product visions into actual businesses.

Like Apple, Shopify is staffing its store with experts on the platform who can walk new customers or would-be customers through whatever troubleshooting they may need. While also serving as a space to promote large and small vendors using its payment and supply management solution.

“Our new space in downtown LA is a physical manifestation of our dedication and commitment to making commerce better for everyone. We’re thrilled to be able to take our proven educational, support, and community initiatives and put them to work in an always-on capacity,” said Satish Kanwar, VP of Product at Shopify, in a statement. “We know that making more resources available to entrepreneurs, especially early on, makes them far more likely to succeed, and we’re happy to now be offering that through a brick-and-mortar experience in LA.”

Kanwar and Shopify chief operating officer, Harley Finkelstein, envision the new Los Angeles space as another way to support new and emerging retailers looking for tips on how to build their business in the best possible way.

“The path to being your own boss doesn’t need to be lonely or isolating,” said Finkelstein, in a statement. “With Shopify LA we wanted to create a hub where business owners can find support, inspiration, and community. Most importantly, entrepreneurs at all stages and of all sizes can learn together, have first access to our newest products, and propel their entrepreneurial dreams.”

Shopify rolls out fraud protection to U.S. merchants

Large e-commerce businesses have systems in place to fight online fraud, but smaller sellers with their own storefronts don’t always have the same advantages. Today, e-commerce platform Shopify is aiming to change that with its rollout of Fraud Protect for Shopify Payments. The service is initially available in the U.S. The company had announced its plans […]

Large e-commerce businesses have systems in place to fight online fraud, but smaller sellers with their own storefronts don’t always have the same advantages. Today, e-commerce platform Shopify is aiming to change that with its rollout of Fraud Protect for Shopify Payments. The service is initially available in the U.S.

The company had announced its plans to introduce fraud protection earlier this year at its Unite conference in Toronto, where it also debuted marketing app Shopify Ping and support for sellers managing inventory across multiple stores, among other things.

The company’s goal with anti-fraud systems is to protect online sellers against fraudulent chargebacks.

Shopify says its experience in processing millions of orders across its platform has allowed it to develop fraud detection technology that has the ability to accurately determine which orders are considered fraudulent. Its algorithms will now analyze incoming orders and decide if an order should be set as “protected.” If a fraudulent chargeback on a protected order then occurs, Shopify says it will automatically reimburse the merchant.

Before, merchants would have to manually review orders for fraud, which could be difficult – especially for smaller sellers who don’t know what to look for.

However, Shopify says the system isn’t just for the mom-and-pop merchants – it can aid bigger businesses, too, as it means lower operating costs.

Often, if merchants can’t handle fraud detection in-house, they’ll work with a partner who specializes in this technology. For example, Shopify competitor Bigcommerce integrates with Signifyd, an automated fraud detection service which merchants can opt to use.

In Shopify’s case, it’s offering the technology directly to its merchant partners – meaning it’s managing the risk itself, and eating the loss involved with fraudulent transactions, as needed. That could be a big selling point in its favor when merchants are looking for a home to set up their online storefront.

“We talk to merchants every day and one of the recurring themes we often encounter is the amount of time and effort they put into preventing fraud, and the anxiety and turmoil they put up with when dealing with a chargeback on an order they’ve already shipped,” said Andre Lyver, Head of Financial Solutions at Shopify, in  a statement. “With Fraud Protect, merchants will never have to think about fraud and chargebacks. They can fulfill all of their orders with peace of mind, knowing that Shopify has them covered if the order is fraudulent,” Lyver added.

The pricing for the service will vary, Shopify tells us, but will be a small percentage of the order amount that’s protected.

The company says it’s rolling out Fraud Protect to a select group of U.S. merchants to start, who will be notified via email as well as with a notification within Shopify. It plans to expand the service to more merchants in the near future.

Deliverr raises $7M to help e-commerce businesses compete with Amazon Prime

Deliverr, a startup that helps retailers offer a Prime-like delivery experience has raised a $7.1 million Series A led by Joe Londsdale’s 8VC, with participation from Zola founder Shan Lyn Ma, Flexport chief executive officer Ryan Peterson and others.

When Amazon rolled out its membership-based two-day shipping service in 2005, e-commerce and customer expectations around fulfillment speed changed forever.

Today, more than 100 million people use Amazon Prime. That means, 100 million people are fully accustomed to two-day shipping and if they can’t have it, they shop elsewhere. As The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Mims recently put it: “Alongside life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, you can now add another inalienable right: two-day shipping on practically everything.”

Only recently have Amazon’s competitors begun to offer similar fast delivery options. About two years ago, Walmart launched its own free two-day delivery service for its owned-inventory; eBay followed suit, establishing a three-day or less delivery guaranteed option for shoppers in March 2017.

To power these Prime-like delivery options, Walmart, eBay and the Canadian e-commerce business Shopify are relying on a little upstart.

One-year-old Deliverr helps businesses offer rapid delivery experiences to their customers. Today, the company is announcing a $7.1 million Series A led by Joe Lonsdale’s 8VC, with participation from Zola founder Shan-Lyn Ma, Flexport chief executive officer Ryan Peterson and others.

The San Francisco-based startup uses machine learning and predictive intelligence to determine which of its warehouses to store its client’s goods.

Currently, Deliverr operates out of more than 10 warehouses in Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey, among other states, though co-founder Michael Krakaris says that number is growing every week. Its customers typically store inventory in three to five different locations based on Deliverr’s predictive algorithms.

Unlike Amazon, which owns more than 75 fulfillment centers, Deliverr doesn’t own its warehouses. Krakaris describes the company’s strategy as a sort of Uber for fulfillment.

“Uber didn’t change the physical infrastructure of cars. They didn’t build their own taxis. What they did was create software that could connect excess capacity drivers,” Krakaris told TechCrunch. “Most warehouses aren’t going to be full. We are going in and filling that extra space they wouldn’t otherwise fill.”

One of the startup’s tricks is to use brand-neutral packaging so any and all marketplaces could theoretically power fulfillment through Deliverr. Amazon, of course, sticks a Prime sticker on all its outgoing packages. And because Amazon’s fulfillment service is used by some eBay sellers, eBay items are known to show up at customers’ homes in Amazon-branded packaging. Not a great look for eBay.

You need an independent fulfillment service that can handle all these different fulfillment channels and be neutral,” Krakaris said.

Deliverr plans to use the investment to scale its team and ink partnerships with additional online retailers.

FirstMark Capital’s Catherine Ulrich is joining us at TechCrunch Sessions: AR/VR

One of the underlying trends of VR/AR investment in 2018 is that money has become harder to come by for startups which may have had no trouble pulling together a round in 2016. Who better to chat with about why this is happening than a partner at one of the leading early stage venture capital […]

One of the underlying trends of VR/AR investment in 2018 is that money has become harder to come by for startups which may have had no trouble pulling together a round in 2016. Who better to chat with about why this is happening than a partner at one of the leading early stage venture capital firms.

Catherine Ulrich of FirstMark Capital will be joining us onstage at TechCrunch Sessions: AR/VR in LA on October 18th where we’ll get a chance to chat with her about investor perceptions surrounding augmented and virtual reality startups and where she thinks the real opportunities lie in the short and long term. 

Before joining FirstMark as a managing partner this past year, Ulrich served as the Chief Product Officer at Shutterstock and previously held a number of executive roles at Weight Watchers. Ulrich recently led the firm’s investment in Parsely Health, an ambitious medtech startup looking to reimagine the healthcare industry with its membership service.

FirstMark Capital is a New York City VC firm that has made a name for itself in the past decade with smart early stage bets. They’ve made notable investments in Airbnb, Frame.io, Shopify, Pinterest, DraftKings and Riot Games, among many others.

While so much of the AR/VR scene has been pushing forward in LA and San Francisco, FirstMark is firmly rooted in NY though they have managed to begin experimenting with investments in the space. The firm led 3D object platform Sketchfab’s $7 million Series A. The tool has become a popular hub for 3D models that can be shared and purchased by creators.

While some more established firms have been reticent to pump money into a field with so many variables, others see the massive opportunity presented by AR/VR as well worth the massive risk. With so many of today’s massive tech giants arguing that AR and VR will be the most critical future platforms, it’s really a question of when the timing will be right and which startups have the longevity to make it there. We’ll zero in on all of these questions and more when Ulrich takes to the stage at our October event.

Early bird tickets are now on sale for $99 – that’s 50% off before prices go up! Student tickets are available for $45. You can get your tickets here.

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