Shopify held its first-ever livestream, Reunite, to announce new and upcoming features on the ecommerce platform. They had a lot to offer to retailers looking to get online quickly and competently. With half of retail stores in the US shut down in late April, the economic repercussions of Covid-19 have been severe and many businesses have found themselves forced to move online to stay afloat.
As garment decorators, many of us have found ourselves pivoting to online stores for our own businesses and for our customers’ businesses, as well. Selling online adds a layer of complexity that requires new and different skills. I’m currently running several online stores on the Shopify platform and I find it intuitive, customizable and a good value. These are my takeaways from today’s Shopify livestream.
Shopify is responding to brick and mortar businesses’ sudden, urgent need for online presence by adding a new free theme called Express. This theme features a one-page shopping experience that is optimized for mobile. It was created mainly for retail stores and restaurants, but it is an easy way to get started for any business looking to move online quickly.
Online store design will also become easier when new drag and drop features and increased customization are introduced later this year. There will also be a way to create product images using photos taken on your phone and an option to save drafts of products, which will be really useful if you have multiple people working on a store.
Shopify Capital, which offers financing to Shopify business owners in amounts ranging from $200 to $1 million, has been expanded to include Canada and the UK, in addition to the US. Shopify has committed an additional $200 million to the program. They promise minimum paperwork and quick funding, with no focus on personal credit history and without taking a share in your business. As always, the devil is in the details, but this could be a financing option for those who didn’t or couldn’t secure funding from the SBA loan programs.
A suite of financial products, Shopify Balance, will be rolled out later this year. It will offer centralized administration of your Shopify finances, a card and a rewards program.
Sales Channels and Payment
Shopify is currently offering free listings at Google Shopping. Facebook and Shopify are working together to release Facebook Shops later this year. Businesses will be able to build a simple, branded version of their online stores in Facebook and Instagram. The Shopify POS has been completely rebuilt and offers contactless checkout, among many other new developments.
Gift cards are now available without a fee. Tipping or donations can be added to the check out process. New international selling developments are also on the way. Shops will be able to operate local domains in different countries within a single account and custom foreign exchange pricing will help stabilize pricing in international markets.
Stores now have options for local and curbside pick-up. You can set up for local delivery within the radius or zip code you choose, as well as set local delivery fees and order minimums The Shopify Local Delivery app can optimize the delivery route and send out delivery notifications.
These were my highlights from today’s presentation, but there was a lot more on offer. You can watch the entire hour and a half here: