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Ecommerce Industry Roundup – Week of 5/16

Here are the news and headlines that grabbed our attention this past week:

PayPal Announces ‘Return Shipping on Us’ to help drive online retail in Canada via Yahoo Finance: 
PayPal announced the launch of a new Return Shipping on Us service in Canada. By directly addressing a concern of online shoppers, this service aims to boost consumer confidence and help drive online retail by refunding return shipping costs on eligible online purchases within Canada and around the world.

A study from Ipsos reports that 40 per cent of Canadians are worried about ordering the wrong item online and not being able to return it. A further 27 per cent said they have been forced to pay for shipping back items in the past year, with the majority (65%) saying it cost them more than $10 each time.

Five ways to incorporate social shopping into your digital marketing strategy via ClickZ: 
Social shopping is, more or less as you might have guessed, the name given to when social media and shopping meet online. It describes everything from integrating e-commerce features into a social platform – such as ‘buy’ buttons on networks like Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram – to dedicated websites that combine shopping with social media.

According to the Internet Retailer’s Social Media 500, the top 500 retailers earned $3.3 billion from social shopping in 2014, up 26% from the previous year. This is well ahead of the average 16% growth rate for the e-commerce market in the United States, as reported by Business Insider.

A study by digital marketing agency Greenlight found that 52% of UK marketers believe that social commerce will be the most rapidly growing trend in 2016. And 74% of consumers are said to rely on social networks to guide their purchasing decisions.

The SEO industry is worth $65 billion; will it ever stop growing? via SearchEngineLand: 
Since its early days, search engine optimization (SEO) has always had naysayers insisting that this marketing discipline is a passing fad, or that it’s dead.

Not only has SEO survived this long, it’s thriving: According to a recent study by Borrell Associates, companies are going to spend $65 billion on SEO in 2016. This is more than triple what they predicted for this year back in 2008, before major game-changers like Panda and Penguin even entered the equation.

What’s more, the company is predicting that the SEO industry will continue to grow to an estimated $72 billion by 2018 and $79 billion by 2020.

GoButler launches Angel.ai to offer natural language tech to commerce companies via TechCrunch: 
GoButler, the startup that originally offered a virtual assistant that let you request anything on-demand, appears to be pivoting for a second (and maybe final) time. This time the New York-headquartered company is shuttering the GoButler consumer-facing service altogether in favour of offering natural language processing technology to third-parties.

Angel.ai is based on the same NLP technology that previously powered GoButler’s “fully-automated” flight search and discovery, and will enable commerce companies to build ‘conversational’ user interfaces, such as Facebook Messenger chat bots, or other kinds of natural language search.