Everything We Learned at Shopify Reunite 2020
In a mission to align the e-commerce entrepreneurial community amongst this ‘new reality’, Shopify offered its first-ever broadcast event ‘Reunite’. The episode, which is now available on a recording, brought together merchants, partners, and entrepreneurial communities to unveil features, share major announcements, and provide marketers with insight into the future of commerce.
Shopify’s new product launches and updates range from financial tools to help merchants manage their store’s money, to offering effortless local delivery options, to creating new ways of generating revenue at checkout, the programme aims to help merchants navigate an ever-evolving retail landscape and plan for the future.
Streamlining business cash flow can be particularly difficult especially when starting or growing a business and unfortunately banking and financial services aren’t designed around the needs of independent business owners. Shopify Balance will give merchants free access to critical financial products to start, run, and grow their businesses without having to look elsewhere, these will include:
A Shopify Balance account within the Shopify Admin where business owners can get a clear view of their cash flow, pay bills, track expenses, and make decisions about the future of their business, with no monthly fees or minimum balance.
Physical and virtual Shopify Card cards that merchants can use to access their money faster, when spending in-store, through mobile, or online.
Shopify rewards that offer cashback and discount deals, designed for everyday business spending.
It launches in early access later this year to merchants in the U.S. first and will expand to other countries in the near future.
Now more than ever, merchants need financial support without the uncomfortable legislation restrictions and intrusive behaviour these usually carry with them. Shopify Capital allows small business merchants, in eligible countries such as the US, UK and Canda, to apply for financial support through their Shopify account. The process is fast, amounts range from $200 to $1,000,000, and they don’t focus on personal credit history. Most importantly, Shopify doesn’t own a percentage of the merchant’s business.
Likewise, Shopify is looking to give customers financial relief through a flexible payment system that allows buyers to pay for purchases in 4 equal instalments, free of interest or fees.
There’s no risk for merchants either, payment for product purchases is received in full and upfront and Shopify takes responsibility for collecting the remaining instalments. Shop Pay Instalments will have mutually beneficial advantages to both merchants and buyers and we are excited to see increased cart sizes and a rise in overall sales within our Shopify clients.
Instalments will be fully integrated into the Shop Pay accelerated checkout maintaining the shopping experience smooth & straightforward.
#2 Online Store
As more and more brick and mortar businesses pivot towards the e-commerce experience, Shopify is evolving their online store by creating new tools and avenues to help Shopify partners offer new and historic merchants a better e-commerce platform.
Read more about Shopify retailer technology here.
As the name may suggest, this free Shopify theme is built specifically to get stores online quickly with small to medium catalogues of products. The theme is designed as a one-page shopping experience and is optimised for mobile.
The aim is to make the online onboarding process faster and easier for inexperienced merchants who want to keep their online experience simple, but essentially any business that needs to get online quickly can benefit from Express.
Check out the Express theme now.
Gift cards are a good way for customers to support their favourite businesses who might not have the availability to sell all their products online. To give back to Shopify merchants, the platform is temporarily enabling the feature free for all Shopify plans.
Tipping is a determining financial factor for a lot of local businesses, especially in the F&D industry. As a form of support particularly to local delivery services and all types of service businesses that are well-suited to tipping, buyers can now make donations and give back to those who needed it the most. The tipping feature can also be used to allow contributions to charities.
Merchants will soon be able to use local domains, enabling them to assign individual domains to a country or currency, as well as a language or set of languages. Local domains will use HTML hreflang tags to help Google direct customers to the right country and language version of the store, improving the shopping experience for customers worldwide, building trust and positively contributing to the company’s SEO ranking.
Additionally, Shopify is introducing Custom FX for merchants using multicurrency. The feature allows merchants to maintain a stable price for products regardless of currency fluctuations and still get paid in their own coin. This will make paid advertising marketing easier as businesses can advertise their products in 133 different countries without worrying about changing product prices. With better price transparency, merchants will be able to build further trust with international customers.
#3 Omnichannel & Marketing
As the world of e-commerce rapidly changes the importance of providing an omnichannel service is becoming a key factor to leverage your business’s position in the market. With an all-new POS which you can read about in our Shopify partner blog, Shopify has announced a number of additional features to help merchants prepare for the omnichannel present and future.
To help support physical distancing in stores even when tap & chip isn’t available, Shopify is introducing a new contactless checkout portal where buyers will be able to simply scan a QR code to pay in-store purchases via their phone. The existing POS already supports contactless payment options such as Google Pay and Apple Pay.
Additionally, merchants will be able to label what products are available in-store allowing shoppers to select the fulfilment option best suited for them during these times.
Launched in April 2020, Shopify email will become a powerful marketing tool for businesses and ensure seamless communication between merchants and buyers. The emailing system includes email templates, including one for curbside pickup and is free of cost until October 2020.
Free listings on Google Shopping
To increase sales and help merchants widen the audience that sees their products, Shopify has partnered up with Google to allow merchants to list their products for free on Google Shopping, through Shopify’s Google Shopping app. Currently only available in the US, however, read more about free listings on Google Shopping that might be beneficial to your business.
Similarly, they’ve also joined social giants Facebook and Instagram to launch a new shopping experience that allows merchants to build a simple, branded version of their online store within Facebook and Instagram, syncing right from Shopify. Learn more about the revolutionary launch of Facebook and Instagram ‘Shop’.
#4 Back Office
As Shopify explained ‘If the online store is the face of a merchant’s business, then the admin is its brain’. In order to ensure time is managed efficiently in the back office, new tech is being put in place to organise fulfil and manage all the moving parts of their business.
With product states, merchants will be able to create a product and save it as a draft, add more details later, hand it over to a team member, and publish it when they’re ready. They will also be able to archive products (a long-requested feature). These updates are particularly impactful for merchants managing large numbers of products and lay the foundations for teams to react quickly during peak periods.
Faster Product Creation
‘77% of merchants moving from offline to online say that adding products to their store is the most time-consuming task in Shopify ’ – Shopify
Removing the barriers to entry for new retailers being a constant theme, merchants will soon have the ability to set up products directly from a phone. Capturing product images, adding product details such as title, price, and variants, and scanning the barcode can all be done from a phone’s camera, including photos for each variant. When the merchant is ready, products can be reviewed and published directly from the phone.
Once your clients get products online, they also need to manage the inventory associated with those products. Tracking the accurate count of what stock they have and where can prove difficult especially at the early testing stages.
Shopify Purchase Orders let retailers order, track, and receive inventory from their suppliers. Inventory information will be received using the scanning feature on Shopify’s mobile app, which makes updating inventory counts easier and more accurate.
There is nothing worse than clumsy and unpunctual delivery services so a robust shipping strategy is paramount to a merchant’s success.
Some of the new shipping innovations have already been rolled out to several of our clients:
Local & Curbside Pickup
Retailers now have the option to allow customers to pick up orders in-store, curbside, or from any location they choose. Merchants will soon be able to fulfil orders directly from the Shopify POS, their admin, or the Shopify mobile app, and have customers come to their location for pickup.
Local retailers will be able to define a local delivery area using zip and postal codes, or by radius and define local delivery fees and minimum order prices. Shopify has also built the Shopify Local Delivery app, which helps merchants create and recommend optimised delivery routes that they can share with staff. With the app, merchants can also send customer notifications when deliveries are on the way.
Our team has been testing the app recently with CEEK Managing Director, Charlie Terry, ordering a pair of the new Allbirds running trainers via the new Shop app.
‘Anything above 3 seconds load time, increases a bounce rate by 50% damaging online retailers performance considerably’ – Rhys Harris, Shopify Expert at CEEK
Speed is key in every aspect of life and especially when it comes to websites that’s why Shopify is releasing a storefront renderer which aims for a 40-200% improvement in load times on live stores, helping merchants get better conversion rates globally.
To understand how various backend actions such as theme code customisation and app installations impact a website’s overall speed, Shopify is currently building an online store performance dashboard to help merchants better troubleshoot performance issues.