This morning, I had the chance to watch the Shopify (Re)unite live stream. As someone that works with SMBs and local businesses, I’d like to offer my thoughts on what these developments mean for small business owners.
First, let’s cover the highlights of what was discussed. Also, the full video is included below.
Launching later this year, Shopify will offer a ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ checkout option. This is intriguing for many shop owners because it can increase cart conversion, especially for those with higher-priced items. Furniture, art, electronics, and health equipment are just some of the possible products that could benefit from this new feature. Join the installment plan waitlist here
Businesses can now set up local delivery zones and charge different rates for these areas. In addition, accounts can now set up free local pickup as a shipping option for those looking to offer a more contactless-type purchase experience. With almost two-thirds of consumers now wanting to limit direct contact with other people as much as possible and around 40% saying they will limit the amount of time spent in physical establishments, this option is a must for most local businesses. You can learn more about online pickup here.
Almost two-thirds (65%) of consumers will now try to limit direct contact with other people as much as possible and 41% will limit the amount of time spent in physical establishments —ISCS Engine Insights study, 2020
Shopify Balance sure sounds a lot like a bank and is comprised of 3 main features:
According to Shopify, 16M people have used the new Shop app (formerly Arrive). This app allows customers to look up previous orders, find products they have ordered in the past, and track all of their purchases made on Shopify. As a Shopify customer, I have found this app incredibly useful for tracking and locating vendors.
But I think the real play is for this app to become a place for customers to search for and find products. In my opinion, this is the final play for Shopify to combat Amazon.
There is currently a “Shop local today” call-to-action in the app, that leads people to a list of nearby Shopify businesses. I believe that Shopify will expand this to allow people to search for products everywhere, not just local shops. Today, they announced that they will be creating a new Shop Channel, where shop owners can customize their appearance in the Shop app and have some control over where they appear in the app.
One of my biggest complaints with the Shopify platform is the editing & designing experience. For all of the positives, I see in Shopify, their clear weakness is in their editor. The experience differs by theme, but product pages are typically difficult to customize. This has been a major pain point for me and my clients, as product pages are the most important pages for many of these shops. Today, they announced that they will be launching increased editing capabilities. They mentioned having customization tools on other pages, including product page templates. As someone that builds Shopify shops, this is huge.
With Google’s recent announcement that some Google Shopping impressions would now be free, getting into Google Shopping has become a must. Without an integrated app, this requires a somewhat cumbersome setup process with Google Merchant Center. Shopify has already created a solution with this via their Google Shopping app. This app makes it easy to add products to Google Shopping and you can even manage ads and Smart Shopping campaigns.
Facebook also recently announced Facebook Shops, which allows businesses to sell within the Facebook and Instagram apps. Shopify announced that they are working with Facebook to create “branded storefronts to help merchants deliver unique shopping experiences, and enable consumers to browse and purchase without ever leaving the apps”. They did not discuss a lot of details on this, but it sounds like a solution similar to the Google app, where a product feed is delivered to Facebook & Instagram via Shopify.
If this wasn’t enough for you, watch the full video below.