Our Top Takeaways from Shopify Unite 2017
Developers, designers, and retailers from 175+ countries recently gathered in San Francisco for the second annual Shopify Unite. We came together to learn how we can serve this growing community: in 2016, over 400,000 merchants sold products using Shopify. And – most astoundingly – Shopify merchants sold to over 100 million customers.
“Take the path that leads to more entrepreneurs.”
Tobi Lütke, Shopify CEO
Over two days, Shopify shared the path they are cutting forward in commerce. Tobi Lütke, Shopify CEO, framed the company’s announcements as resulting directly from feedback they’ve received from developers and Shopify store owners.
“We have strong opinions, but they are weakly held. If someone tells us something is important, we listen,” he said.
Here are a few of the headlines we’re excited to bring to our clients on Shopify:
1. Introducing Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader
We were so happy to see Shopify drop their first EMV chip / magnetic strip credit card reader. They’ve had good iterations of a credit card reader before, but this is the first chip reader. And while they were at it, they decided to fully update the device in ways that are going to serve merchants for a long time to come.
The new Chip & Swipe Reader fully integrates with Shopify’s point of sale system — a system that over 65,000 merchants used in 2016. The new reader rests in its own charging station, so it’s easy to keep charged. It’s also bluetooth enabled for selling on the go, i.e. local marketplaces and pop-up shops.
Shopify is offering their Chip & Swipe Reader free to merchants on their platform, and it will be available in June. Pre-orders are open now.
2. Mobile Purchase Simplicity + Shopify Pay
Right before Shopify’s VP of Product, Satish Kanwar, announced Shopify Pay, he led up to it with some important stats on mobile purchases. Namely, in 2016, over 58% of Shopify sales happened on mobile devices. He summarized it, “Shopify can close the sale on mobile like nobody else can.”
Armed with this knowledge, Shopify is working hard to unlock the future of mcommerce. They will soon simplify the mobile buying process. For example, customers are going to be able to check out with their phone number, rather than email, and receive order updates via SMS. Shopify is also bringing the check out button right into the product page on mobile. Customers will now be able to buy from the page, rather than get directed to a cart on another page.
But most importantly, Shopify Pay will accelerate the check out process like never before. This feature is due out in the coming months, and it will be available across all Shopify stores. Your customers can save their information once, and then be able to buy from you or any other Shopify store without re-entering their info. This vastly eliminates the check out fields – from 16 to 2!
Shopify has been testing Shopify Pay with approximately 15,000 merchants over the past few months, and they’re getting a lot of positive feedback. Kanwar flashed one test merchant’s opinion on the big screen during his talk – see below:
3. More Selling Channel Integrations
What inspired us at Shopify Unite is that we witnessed a company leading the future of ecommerce. This is evident in the way Shopify thinks big picture. Their product team works in tandem with the entire ecosystem of modern business. Kanwar’s announcement of collaborations with new sales channels for their merchants was one of the many ways we saw this.
Shopify already integrates with powerful channels like Amazon, Facebook Shop, and Pinterest. At Unite, they announced they will soon add Buzzfeed and Instagram to their sales network. They’re also bringing in Generation Z shoppers with a new Kik sales channels, giving Shopify merchants access to the 300+ million users of Kik.
They continually developing these sales partnerships. As Kanwar explained, “We’re meeting customers where they are.”
4. Pioneering APIs
Shopify already has a robust API infrastructure. Atlee Clark, Shopify’s Head of App and Developer Relations, opened her talk with the news that Shopify’s API has received 40 billion calls thus far in 2017. They’ve adeptly built their own API system, and they’re using this expertise to develop their merchant API offerings. Our three favorites were:
Draft Orders API
With the Draft Orders API, merchants will be able to create, edit, and delete invoices right in the Shopify platform. This API brings in stronger support for merchants who take orders in more traditional ways, such as at tradeshows or on the phone.
As several speakers noted, merchants have wanted a better Discount API from Shopify for awhile. Now they have it. Store owners will be able to promote a range of customized discount offers.
Marketing Events API
Clark introduced this API to address merchants biggest pain point: marketing. The API registers the customer journey to a Shopify store, and makes this data easily accessible to the retailer. As a result, store owners learn which marketing channel works best for conversion rates. For example, did the recent buyer come from a Facebook ad? Or an email campaign? Shopify plans to make this data available on every order page, as well as on the Merchant Home page. Here’s a preview with Atlee Clark:
With all the Unite updates, we’re ready to help our clients sell more and stress less on Shopify. Drop us a line and let’s talk about how we can work Shopify’s new capabilities into your business.