Last week in Toronto, the Art & Science team attended Shopify’s annual partner conference Shopify Unite. It’s been a pretty epic year for Shopify – an enviable TSX valuation, its new ranking as the 5th largest global retailer (behind Alibaba, Amazon, JD.com & eBay, and dominate market share growth. Needless to say, as long-time partners, we were excited to see what their product road map has in store for 2019 and beyond. Below are the highlights, but most importantly the answer to the question:
How can Shopify’s new features & expanding ecosystem help brands and retailers grow?
Easier Content Management
A major theme throughout the entirety of this year’s conference was overall improvements to the content management structures of the CMS. While sections as a feature has been available on the homepage, this will now roll out throughout the site and allow for more editorial, dynamic category and product pages without the need for ‘hacking’ themes.
Shopify also spoke about improvements around content portability which will remove the need for a full a content re-import following theme updates – this one is particularly exciting when considering the time it will save!
New Developer Tools
A large focus of Unite seemed to be around the improved GraphQL API’s – in simpler terms, this facilitates more room for brands and development teams to ‘play’ and create custom online experiences. These APIs, alongside the breadth of web apps already available help developers (and ultimately brands) facilitates endless possibilities of the end customer experience – and continues the trend in the industry towards ‘’headless commerce’’.
A few immediate benefits of this include a more flexible checkout flow, better opportunities to up-sell at checkout alongside more flexible payment and subscription options.
Multi-currency for All
A long overdue capability, there was a raucous ‘WOOHOO’ in the audience during this announcement. Multi-currency and Multi-site limitations has long been Shopify’s achilles so we were very excited to share this news with many of our brands.
Not only will this improve the customer experience for shoppers (and ultimately drive conversion rate!) it will also make store management much easier for retailers – allowing for a collective backend to access customer data, sales data and inventory management.
An even more interesting announcement was the launch of Shopify’s fulfillment network launching soon in the US. This could mean big things for small brands looking to dream big and would cut down waiting times between orders, support sales across multiple channels and facilitate better returns and exchanges.
A Strong Focus on AI/AR
From Shopify CEO Tobias Lutke:
We have prepared the platform for [augmented reality], as you can go to a number of Shopify stores and sort of seize a little bit early fruits of that labor. These technologies can help increase conversion by 3X.
Shopify announced a variety of features that both enable and support the use of AR and 3D technology on merchant sites. Through the use of AR, Shopify wants to bring the physical retail experience online, by giving customers the opportunity to interact with the product they would in real life. Shopify used the example of a baby stroller, using AR technology to show audience members how the strollers would fit in the trunk of a car, and how it would navigate the space in their house.
Merchants can now add interactive 3D pictures of their product to your Shopify page, allowing shoppers to view products like never before. Plus, the aforementioned fulfillment network will be supported largely by AI capabilities. For us at Art & Science the opportunity for AI and eCommerce is perhaps the area in which we are most excited about!
Curious to better understand how to leverage these upcoming Shopify changes for your brand? Get in touch.