We’ve just returned from Shopify Unite, Shopify’s annual developer conference where solution providers and development agencies from all around the world come together to celebrate all things Shopify, and to catch up on all the latest to come out of the Toronto based ecommerce platform.
Inbetween breakfast Mimosa’s and a surprise visit from the Canadian Prime Minister, we managed to get some work done, seeking out all the most exciting developments and product announcements for the event.
#1 Shopify Merchant Services Marketplace
Successful Shopify merchants know that you can’t do everything by yourself, but luckily Shopify has a partner network that is second to none offering everything from development to marketing.
At this year’s Unite, Shopify announced that they will be making it easier for sellers to connect with the best providers of these services with the Shopify Services Marketplace.
An extension of the Shopify Partners program, the marketplace will be a one stop shop for finding vetted service providers and will provide a portal through which merchants can search for, hire and pay partners.
Giles Thomas from leading Shopify marketing & design agency Whole Design Studios said, “The new marketplace will push service provides to productize and standardize offerings, to make the sign-up process clearer and deliverables and pricing transparent. The years of custom quoting every task are gone, agencies need to move with the times when working within a marketplace and create services packaged as products.”
The public beta launch will be coming this Summer with more details to come soon.
#2 New App Store
On the product solutions and SaaS side of the coin, the Shopify App Store will also be getting a facelift.
With a complete UX redesign, new app listing layout, a revised third-party application approval process plus new search and recommendation algorithms the changes will the biggest to come to the app store since it’s 2012 launch.
Shopify have been working with the leading third-party solution providers such as Codisto throughout the first half of the year, and from what we’ve seen so far sellers should expect great things when it launches this coming summer.
#3 Multilingual & Multicurrency Support
For some merchants, this one is a long time coming with Shopify finally announcing they will not only be supporting multicurrency but will be adding a host of local payment options through partnerships with Shopify Payments – including Germany’s SOFORT and China’s AliPay – with a view to making cross-border commerce as frictionless as possible.
In addition to accepting payments in more ways, and in more currencies, Shopify also announced that they’ve launched an early beta for the full Shopify platform in six different languages (French, German, Japanese, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish).
For international sellers and those invested in cross-border trade the news that Shopify is doubling down on global commerce will be welcome news.
Local payments is set for launch this fall, and for those interested in the language beta you can register interest here.
To learn more about these new changes you can check out the official announcement on Shopify’s blog.
#3 Shopify’s Big Retail Push
After an exodus from bricks-and-mortor over the last decade, a physical presence has started to come back in vogue with a string of success stories of ‘online first’ merchants using omni-channel selling to boost their brand visibility, meet customers at multiple touch points and simultaneously grow their online and offline sales.
With more and more online merchants making a foray into traditional retail, it’s no surprise that Shopify is keen to follow them there.
Seeking to bridge the gap between ecommerce and bricks-and-mortor, Shopify have announced a host of features for Shopify POS that aim to make managing an omnichannel presence with Shopify a reality.
The ability to accept returns and exchanges in-store, Customer View for POS, new inventory management options and an affordable Tap & Chip reader compatible with Shopify are just some of the new features being rolled out by Shopify.
There are clear advantages to have on platform that can support both your online and offline business and a seamless experience between the two should serve merchants and their customers well, but with Shopify POS still in it’s infancy it will be some time before we can say whether Shopify’s entry into ‘real world’ commerce will meet the needs of retailers as strongly as in ecommerce.
You can check out the latest announcements here or get acquainted with Shopify POS through this link.
#4 Marketing Tools for Shopify
Shopify merchants are renowned for their hands-on approach to running their businesses and will be excited to learn about Shopify’s announcement of a whole new marketing section being added to the platform.
Allowing for self-service management of all your digital marketing campaigns in one place, the new section should make life easier for merchants running their own marketing activity, although some of the announced features – personalized marketing recommendations and marketing automation – will need proven performance before we can make a call on them.
The new marketing tools are all available now, so we won’t have to wait long to see if the performance can match the hype, but some of the features like Dynamic Checkout and Buy One, Get One discounts are definitely a step in the right direction and we’re excited to hear of any success merchants might be having with them.