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Delivery Service GoPuff Expands Into Ghost Kitchens

Philly-based on-demand delivery service GoPuff is known for its quick deliveries of essentials like Doritos, Ice Cream, and COVID-19 tests. Now it’s offering made-to-order meals via its app.

The new offering, called GoPuff Kitchens is placing ‘ghost kitchens’ next to some of its micro-fulfillment centers. Via the GoPuff app, customers can order meals as well as the usual GoPuff selections for its flat $1.95 delivery fee. 

“Ghost Kitchens’ are non-branded kitchens with no space for customers and intended for delivery only, whose popularity exploded last year as a way for restaurants to keep afloat during the pandemic. 

The initial GoPuff Kitchen pilot program included centers in Philadelphia, Austin, Miami, Nashville, San Antonio, Tampa, and four locations in Arizona. The company plans to launch additional GoPuff Kitchens across the US by year’s end. 

Daniel Folkman, Gopuff’s SVP of Business said in a statement: “GoPuff is launching a completely new category and raising the bar on how technology is making our lives more convenient. Nowhere else can you order your everyday essentials while also taking care of dinner for the family or getting a quick coffee, all from one platform. Today’s milestone represents a new way of thinking about the Instant Needs economy and will redefine consumer expectations.”

The startup has recently filed papers in Delaware to raise up to $1 billion at a $14 billion pre-money valuation, $15 billion post-money.

Snapchat Partners with Verishop for eCommerce Expansion

The race for social commerce dominance continues as Snapchat has announced a partnership with Verishop. The partnership is called Versihop Mini and will live exclusively within the Snapchat app. Versihop Mini will allow consumers to shop a rotating selection of Bebe, Fifth & Nine, Kosas and Blume, while also utilizing Snapchat’s augmented reality (AR) feature to virtually sample products and accessories prior to purchase.

Verishop Mini will integrate directly with Snapchat’s Chat feature, allowing customers to show off and share their purchases with friends and family. 

The announcement comes on the back of Verishop’s introduction of Livestream shopping within its own app. Verishop has added 125 Livestream shopping programs, which gives users 12 hours of Livestream shopping per day. Verishop has other social shopping features on its app. One is called Shop Party which allows customers to share content and interact with other shoppers and brands. 

Snap has a user base of over 265 million, primarily millennials and Generation Z users who open the app an average of 30 times per day. Verishop has raised $30M since its inception in 2018.

According to eMarketer, retail social commerce sales will reach nearly $37 billion this year, or just over $11 per capita, but in China, where the trend has already caught on, sales will surpass $351 billion, or $251 per capita.

Shopify to Allow Merchants to Sell NFTs on its Platform

Shopify President Harley Finkelstein

Shopify President Harley Finkelstein said in a Twitter announcement on Monday that his company would allow merchants to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) directly to consumers. Previously, merchants would have to sell the token on third-party marketplaces, relinquishing control of the sale and the customer relationship (and data).

“Once again we are putting the power back into the hands of merchants and meeting customers how and where they want to buy,” Finkelstein said.

One of the first businesses to sell NFTs via Shopify is the Chicago Bulls, which launched an NFT “Legacy Collection” on Monday featuring the franchise’s six world championship rings. 

Shopify has over 1.7 million merchants operating on its platform. Finkelstein said initially, only a limited number of merchants can sell NFTs, and didn’t reveal when the option will become available to all.

$2.5B worth of NFTs were sold in the first six months of this year, up from $13.7M during the same period in 2020.