Shopify UNITE 2017: Key Feature Releases
We were recently at the Shopify UNITE 2017 Conference in sunny San Francisco. This aptly named conference is a special partners-only event that Shopify hosts to unite with their partners under one roof, both to celebrate and to inform and educate about new features.
We have been Shopify experts (what they call their official partners) from the beginning of their partner program, and are now one of the few select Shopify Plus Experts. While there are over 200,000 Shopify Experts, there are just about 45 Shopify Plus Experts in the US, and we are proud to be one of the top.
Shopify’s mission is simple: to empower entrepreneurs. This is particularly important today when new business creation is still recovering from the recession and business deaths outpace business creations.
With their easy-to-use, feature-rich platform, Shopify aims to reduce the learning curve in ecommerce so that entrepreneurs and business owners can quickly get up and running on the platform. In fact, the conference motto was this: take the path that leads to more entrepreneurs.
Shopify’s mission is not far from our own at Metacake. They call themselves a growth engine, and we call ourselves a growth partner, both looking to help drive real business growth.
How is Shopify working towards creating more entrepreneurship and business growth this year?
Check out these new features that Shopify announced at this year’s conference (some already available and some coming soon).
Major Shopify Feature Releases
Shopify is not just an ecommerce solution. They are a full commerce solution, whether that commerce takes place on your ecommerce site, on a social platform, or in a physical store. As a matter of fact, Shopify is the largest single multi-channel commerce platform in the world.
Given that, Shopify was not happy with the quality or cost of available POS hardware systems, so they developed a new piece of hardware of their own, called the “Chip & Swipe Reader.” This cool piece of equipment includes all of the standard features you’d expect from a card reader and it’s pocket sized. And better yet, it will be offered for free to Shopify users without a POS System.
The other major announcement that Shopify made in regards to features was Shopify Pay. Typically in the ecommerce experience, checking out is the step with the most friction for customers. Some checkout experiences are so painful that many people abandon ship, not completing the checkout process. Shopify Pay removes this friction. It allows customers to save their payment information with Shopify so that they can then check out on any Shopify store simply by entering their mobile phone number. The process is not only secure (being verified by an SMS code), but incredibly easy for the customer.
Frenzy is a flash sale app, so that Shopify clients can run effective flash sales through an app without having to do any customer work.
Unity Buy SDK
This SDK allows apps and games to sell physical foods the way they would do in-app or in-game purchases.
Previously, managing inventory across various sales channels was very difficult. But now Shopify has upgraded their inventory management so that all inventory can be centrally managed through Shopify.
Not only has Shopify made updates to their dashboard design and improved reporting, but they also created a UI kit for Shopify app developers, so that now there will be a standardized look across Shopify apps, improving the user experience for store managers.
The one area, in our opinion, that Shopify was lacking in the past was in discount functionality. But this year at Unite they announced a series of improvements that allows for increased logic for discounts and coupons. This opens up new marketing capabilities for all merchants.
Shopify Plus Enterprise Solution
Shopify Plus, Shopify’s enterprise commerce solution, has only been around for 2 years, but already is gaining traction and market share quickly. Shopify Plus is an enterprise commerce solution that just works. The beauty of Shopify Plus is that, in contrast to typical enterprise solutions, it is quick to set up and much less expensive than building a custom solution, but still offers all of the flexibility and customization that an enterprise might need in a commerce solution.
Interested in Shopify Plus?
Here are some qualities that make you a good candidate for Shopify Plus.
- You are an emerging company. You may be large or small, but you are growing quickly and are serious about your business.
- Your commerce offering involves some degree of complexity, so you require flexibility in your eCommerce solution. A Shopify Plus subscription includes 10 store fronts off the bat, and is incredibly customizable.
- You can afford to spend around 2k per month on your commerce solution. This might sound like a lot, but for an enterprise eCommerce solution, this is actually incredibly affordable. In the past, enterprises spend millions of dollars over many months just to get up and running.
- You are currently on another enterprise eCommerce solution and are stuck building and maintaining it internally. Switching to Shopify Plus allows serious commerce businesses to focus on their business and never again worry about their platform not performing. And the best part is that peace of mind comes at a fraction of the cost.
Shopify Plus is a holistic enterprise eCommerce solution, offering an astonishingly wide array of features to help you create the store of your dreams. And did we mention, that currently (as of the writing of this article) they are offering 6 months free to customers switching from Magento to Shopify Plus?