Shopify announced a new app today to help its ecommerce customers communicate directly with their customers in a unified messaging tool.
As the company describes it on the Product Hunt page where it made the announcement, “Shopify Ping is a free mobile workspace for Shopify merchants that brings together customer conversations, marketing workflows, and more in a single iOS app.”
That means it is opening up a free integrated messaging platform for Shopify users to communicate directly with customers and (maybe) give them what they want when they want it, which is of course the goal of online retailers.
The beauty of this approach is that it brings together all the communications from many of the major messaging platforms including messages from Facebook Messenger, Rep.ai and Chatkit out of the box with more coming down the road as the product develops further beyond the early release announced today.
It also includes Kit –yes, it’s called Kit — to deliver Facebook and Instagram ads, email campaigns and retargeting campaigns all based on that information you’re gathering from all of those messages. This about making it easier for retailers to pinpoint their ads and communications with customers based on what they are hearing directly from them in the messaging channels.
Ray Wang, who is founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, says this is a positive step by Shopify. “Ping is a smart move. The goal is to move the purchase behavior to where the customer is. Chat and marketing convergence is happening in commerce,” Wang told TechCrunch.
As Product Hunt’s Ryan Hoover pointed out on Twitter when announcing the tool, this is a direct shot at Intercom, which has done well in a similar space. It’s worth noting that this tool is geared to Shopify users, and not necessarily more broadly focused as Intercom is. Shopify is a significant platform, that pulled in over $580 million in revenue last year.
The good news is they are offering the tool for free, but the bad news is that it won’t be available until later this summer, and if you’re an Android user, you are out of luck, at least for now.