Able Sense hosted its first-ever virtual Meetup on June 11. The hour-long format was a chance for presenter (and President) Aaron Whitman to share the big announcements from Shopify Reunite, explain what they meant to merchants, as well as answer questions from the participants on the specifics.
There was a lot to run down: Shopify is rolling out a multitude of updates and new capabilities; some are available today, others are only in the US (for now), but all are impressive.
Money matters: supporting and helping merchants
Shopify is broadening their reach with some pretty incredible new products and services, from Shopify Capital (for merchants that need a start-up loan), to offering the option for customers to purchase in installments (which caused a bit of a happy flurry among the participants). They are also creating Shopify Balance, a banking service for their merchants.
Shopify is making it easier for merchants to do business across borders
Their current Multi-Currency functionality now supports 133 global currencies, so that customers can pay in their local currency. Coming in late 2020, there will be a way to assign individual domains to a country/currency, as well as a language (or set of languages), to offer an improved localized buying experience for international customers. They are also releasing Custom FX (Foreign Exchange), which enables merchants to market and advertise effectively in various markets, without worrying about changing product prices.
Keeping the conversation going
Email marketing has a consistently high return on investment. For more advanced use, merchants will still need to upgrade to a plan with Klaviyo, Omnisend or Rare.io, but Shopify Email is an easy, built-in way to start (and it’s free until October). As well, Shopify’s built-in chat feature, Ping, helps recreate an in-store shopping experience, to convert conversations into sales.
Shopify listens to their merchants and partners
- The top operational issue for many merchants is PIM (Product Information Management). Shopify’s solution, which is set to roll out at the end of 2020, promises fewer clicks to complete tasks, multiple product actions on one page, draft products, archived products, and new mobile product creation features.
- There is a redesigned Orders List, with improved Inventory management, and they are actively perfecting a one-stop “back office” for all orders within Shopify, including fulfilling, editing, shipping, refunding and returning. This will save time and reduce the burden of using multiple tools and systems.
- The Shopify Fulfillment Network is even cooler than the Jetsons. They are using a human-robot partnership (with a robot named Chuck!) to meet their target of two-day fulfillment in the US. Expansion outside of the US is planned.
- For use with wine clubs, subscription boxes, etc., Shopify is working to embed subscriptions into their native checkout. Stay tuned!
Shopify takes it to the next level in setting up ways for customers to buy your products
Shopify POS acts as a bridge between your physical storefront and your online store. More contactless options are being developed for their Tap and Chip Reader (finally available in Canada!), and their POS Pro is free until October.
As well, they announced some amazing new partnerships for new markets:
- With Google Shopping, merchants can now sync their products; approved products can appear in relevant search results on the Google Shopping tab!
- Facebook Shops expands upon Instagram product tagging, which is already incredible (and you should try it in your store).
- And finally, Shop (the app), is the new Shopify marketplace where customers can discover and follow your brand.
Never stop improving
Shopify is actively rebuilding their online store engine. The new engine is showing 50% to 100% improvement on load times for some online stores, and is rolling out continuously.
With the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the ways the business world has pivoted, Shopify is on point with new capabilities
- For those needing to get online now, they have created Express themes for your online store: make it yours fast by customizing its sections and theme settings..
- Curbside Pickup - your customers can skip the shipping rates and pick up online orders in-store, curbside, or from other locations that you choose.
- Gift cards - generate incoming cash flow so you can still pay your expenses - free for all merchants
- Merchant tipping - Online tipping gives your buyers the option to tip a percentage of their order total, or a custom amount, on the payment page of checkout. You can customize the online tipping features so your customers understand how they’re helping, for example, by financially supporting your fulfillment team or raising money for a charity.
Conclusion: All this is why we love Shopify
Whew! There was a lot of information shared in just one hour. It would be fair (and much simpler) to say that Shopify is using merchant and partner feedback to improve and expand the services they offer, all the time. With each new update and release they remove more barriers to entrepreneurs and create the best possible user and merchant experience.
If you have ideas for topics for a future Meetup, or would like to present, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.