More than ever it’s important for the entrepreneurial community to align on our mission of making commerce better for everyone—no matter how quickly the world around us changes.
That’s why today, Shopify ran Reunite, their first-ever broadcast event for Shopify business owners. It was an opportunity to come together to unveil features, share major announcements, and provide insight into the future of commerce.
To keep you up to date on the latest Shopify product information, we’ve put together this overview of Reunite’s biggest announcements. If you missed today’s broadcast, you can also watch the recording.
Business cash flow is top of mind for merchants always, and especially now. Having financial support goes a long way when starting and growing a business. We’re releasing new products and features aimed at helping small business owners manage their finances.
[New] Shopify Balance
A large part of ecommerce is banking and financial services, yet today’s banking products aren’t designed around the needs of independent business owners. We want to change that by empowering merchants with tools that help them take control of their business finances.
That’s why we’re introducing Shopify Balance; financial products built for business owners and entrepreneurs.
Shopify Balance will give merchants access to critical financial products to start, run, and grow their businesses. Shopify Balance will include:
- Shopify Balance account. A one-stop-shop within the Shopify Admin where merchants can get a clear view of their cash flow, pay bills, track expenses, and make decisions about the future of their business, with no monthly fees or minimum balance.
- Shopify Card. Physical and virtual cards that merchants can use to access their money faster, when spending in-store, through mobile, or online.
- Rewards. We’re working with our partners to offer cashback and discounts, designed for everyday business spending.
Shopify Balance is another piece of the entrepreneurial puzzle, and will make running a business simple and accessible to as many people as possible. It launches in early access later this year to merchants in the U.S. first, and will expand to other countries in the near future.
Consider how you can join us and help make managing money simple, smart, and hassle-free for independent business owners. Shopify Balance isn't available yet but you can sign up to for an early trial. Learn more about Shopify Balance.
[Update] Shopify Capital
Shopify Capital is a program that helps small businesses easily access financing. Merchants in eligible countries can apply for funding within their Shopify account and, when approved, will see funds in their bank account within a few days.
Shopify issues financing amounts that range from $200 to $1,000,000, and doesn’t focus on personal credit history. We also don’t own a percentage of the merchant’s business.
To help merchants stay afloat, we recently expanded Shopify Capital outside of the U.S., to include the United Kingdom and Canada. We’ve also committed an additional $200 million to the program and have already provided $1 billion in capital to our merchants.
Shopify Capital is not available yet in New Zealand, but watch this space. Learn more about how Shopify Capital can help your clients.
[New] Shop Pay Installments
It’s not just merchants who are struggling with cash flow right now; their buyers are feeling the pinch, too. To help, we’re announcing the launch of Shop Pay Installments, coming to merchants and buyers in the U.S. later this year.
Shop Pay Installments allow buyers to pay for purchases in four equal payments over time, with no interest or fees. Merchants will receive the full purchase amount upfront, and Shopify will collect the remaining installment payments, meaning there’s no risk to merchants. This flexible payment option will allow buyers to stretch out their payments, making purchases more convenient. This, in turn, will help merchants increase cart sizes and overall sales.
Installments will be fully integrated into the Shop Pay accelerated checkout, meaning merchants can continue to offer buyers a seamless checkout experience.
It's not available yet, but instead of relying on third parties, you can keep everything within Shopify, and you can bet that the rate will be lower which means more dollars in your pockets. You can join the waitlist for Shop Pay Installments now.
2. Online store
The online store is the heart of the ecommerce experience, and more brick and mortar businesses than ever before are pivoting to online.
To help these new merchants—and those who have been here for years—we’re evolving the online store. That means there are new tools and avenues available to Shopify Partners that will enable you to help more business owners, now. Here’s what we’re doing.
[New] Express theme
With such a dramatic increase in new business types joining Shopify, we’re releasing tools and resources to help them get online faster.
One of these new resources is a free Shopify theme called Express.
Express is designed for a one-page shopping experience, and optimized for mobile. It can be used to get stores online quickly, and supports small to medium catalogues of products. We built it thinking specifically of businesses like restaurants and cafes, who want to keep their online experience simple, but any business that needs to get online quickly can benefit from Express.
Check out the Express theme now. We've had a quick demo, and this is a fantastic free theme for small stores and cafes.
[New] Gift cards
To help support more merchants, we’ve temporarily made gift cards free for all Shopify plans. Enabling gift cards is a good way to help merchants who may not be able to sell all their products right now. With gift cards, buyers can still support their favorite businesses.
If you haven't already, make sure you drop gift cards onto your site now. Our clients had great results over lockdown and it's an easy way to gift-shop for customers.
Some of the businesses pivoting to ecommerce rely on another form of revenue: tipping. As more of these businesses move online, we decided to build tipping into the online checkout flow to allow buyers to continue showing their support.
To help your clients make the most of the new tipping functionality, consider the type of business they’re in. Food businesses, those offering local delivery, and all types of service businesses are particularly well-suited to tipping. The tipping feature can also be used to allow contributions to charities.
Tipping in the online checkout is now available. Learn how to set up tips for your client’s online store.
[New] Selling internationally
We’re also launching additional features to the online store that benefit international merchants and their buyers. These include two new features.
Merchants will soon be able to use local domains, enabling them to assign individual domains to a country or currency, as well as a language or set of languages. Setting up local domains will improve the shopping experience of international customers, build trust, and help encourage repeat business.
The local domains feature uses HTML
hreflang tags to help Google direct customers to the right country and language version of the store, which can positively contribute to the store’s SEO ranking. Stay tuned for more updates and information on the launch of local domains.
Later this year, merchants using multicurrency will be able to maintain a stable price for products, even as currencies fluctuate. That means that merchants can sell in 133 different currencies, get paid in their own, and still show a stable price to shoppers.
Custom FX pricing with rules-based padding will make it easier for merchants to target buyers in local currencies. Marketing initiatives will be easier to plan, as merchants can advertise effectively without worrying about changing product prices. With better price transparency, merchants will be able to build further trust with international customers.
[Update] The new online store design experience
At last year’s Shopify Unite, we announced a new online store design experience that enables sections on all pages of an online store. At Reunite, we told merchants about how this feature allows them to drag and drop different sections to any page of their online store, allowing them to customize all their pages without writing a single line of code.
This new experience also means that it will be possible for merchants to add new features and functionality to their online store through app sections, without having to run scripts or edit code. To make this possible, we launched two new app extensions in January, which empower developers to create reusable and performant app sections and snippets, that can be safely added to merchant storefronts. You can learn more in our post on working with online store app extensions.
The new online store design experience will launch to merchants later this year, but is available in developer preview for all partners now.
[Update] Checkout and subscriptions
At Shopify Unite last year, we announced checkout app extensions for subscriptions. Subscriptions are a highly asked-for feature, and at Shopify, we’re determined to build them right with the help of our partners. That means enabling a seamless buyer experience, along with integrated merchant tools to set up, manage, and report on subscription products and orders. To achieve this we need to allow for greater flexibility and integration between apps and Shopify.
In working on subscriptions, we’re working on making the checkout process more extensible and customizable, allowing apps to integrate more easily into the checkout workflow.
We're continuing to work on this in collaboration with select partners. We’re being exceptionally careful with any changes to checkout—including subscriptions—to ensure that conversion rates stay high for merchants. You can expect to see more improvements coming to checkout soon, including subscriptions and upsell functionality.
We are so excited about this announcement and will keep you up-to-date when it becomes available.
3. Omnichannel and marketing
You know us and you know we are all about multi-channel selling, so yes we may have clapped when we watched this release. As the face of commerce changes, the importance of omnichannel solutions has grown. An omnichannel approach to commerce helps make merchants resilient, and better able to handle today’s unique challenges. We’re releasing a number of features to help merchants prepare for the omnichannel present and future.
[New] The all-new Shopify POS
Retail has changed. When comparing the period of March 13 - April 24 to the six weeks prior, our data shows a 71 percent drop in sales through Shopify POS, our point of sale solution. But in that same time, these same retailers replaced 94 percent of those lost sales with online store sales.
What this demonstrates is how important it is for retail merchants to have a robust solution that bridges the gap between their physical storefronts and online store. That’s why we released our all-new Shopify POS this month; a fully redesigned, rebuilt, and extensible point-of-sale system with omnichannel capabilities at the forefront.
Among the new features of the redesigned POS is the smart grid, which puts apps at the forefront of the merchant experience. Retailers can highlight the apps, discounts, and workflows that their staff use most, and the tiles on the grid automatically adjust to what’s happening in the cart. This makes the all-new POS a great opportunity for app developers to build point of sale apps that help retail merchants as they build their businesses to be stronger than ever.
As the all-new POS evolves, we will be adding new features to help merchants truly build resiliency for their businesses, now and in the long run. These include:
- Contactless checkout: While Shopify POS already supported tap and contactless payment options like Google Pay and Apple Pay through our Tap & Chip card readers, we’re introducing an additional contactless payment method for those who don’t have access to those options. Soon, buyers will be able to simply scan a QR code to pay for in-store purchases via their phone, using Shopify’s online checkout. This new option will help support physical distancing in stores, even when tap isn’t available.
- See what’s in-store: Soon, buyers will be able to see what merchants have available in-store via their website. This will allow shoppers to select the fulfillment option that’s best suited to them during these times, such as local or curbside pickup.
The all-new Shopify POS has launched globally. To help more retailers adjust their businesses to the current reality, we’ve made all the additional features of POS Pro free for everyone until October 31st, 2020.
We’re also continuing to expand our POS functionality globally. Our Tap & Chip reader is now available in Canada, and we’ll be expanding further this year, starting with the UK.
Having been retailers, we know our way around point of sale options, and there a bad, worse, ok and then there is Shopify POS. We really can't sing it's praises strongly enough for small-medium retailers. You may be small, but with Shopify POS you have an affordable, customer-centric POS option to act big.
Learn more on our blog about the all-new Shopify POS.
[New] Shopify Email
Email is a powerful marketing tool for businesses, and it’s important that merchants have a channel to easily communicate with their buyers. We launched Shopify Email in April 2020 for this reason.
As a Shopify Partner, you can help your clients by understanding the marketing capabilities of Shopify Email, then recommending the email strategies that will best meet the needs of their business. We’re also launching additional features that your clients will soon be able to leverage, such as more email templates, including one for curbside pickup. In the future, we will continue to release more features, like our first set of email automations.
For your clients who require more advanced or specialized email marketing functionality, Shopify Email may not currently be the right fit. We’ll continue to support the growth of email marketing apps by opening up more embedded app opportunities for our developers, and by enabling more features that help merchants grow their businesses.
It's in a pretty basic form at the moment but Shopify Email is going to be another fantastic tool for retailers. If you need additional functionality stick with your current provider for now but when they release the new functions, get your good self over to what Shopify email has to offer. Shopify Email will be free for all merchants until October 2020.
[New] Free listings on Google Shopping
To help merchants widen the audience that sees their products, we’ve partnered with Google to allow merchants to list their products for free on Google Shopping, through Shopify’s Google Shopping app.
If a merchant already has products synced through the app, their approved products can start showing up in relevant Google Shopping tab search results, with no further action required.
This is currently available to merchants in the U.S. but will be rolling out globally by the end of the year. Learn more about how to list your client’s products for free on Google Shopping.
[New] Facebook Shops
We’ve also joined forces with Facebook to launch Facebook Shops; a new shopping experience that allows merchants to build a simple, branded version of their online store within Facebook and Instagram, syncing right from Shopify. The Facebook Shops feature is rolling out to all merchants over the coming months.
This is going to be a game-changer for social selling, and we are really excited to see how this rolls out. Sign up now and when it's available, voila! you will be a truly mult-channel business. Learn more and get ready to sell on Facebook Shops.
[Update] Shopify Ping
To help retail staff better serve customers, we’ll also be adding staff accounts this year, meaning different staff members can help customers individually, with the help of a ticketing system. Ping will also allow a merchant’s team to collaborate and message each other, making business operations and team communication smooth and efficient.
Your clients can sign up for the Android waiting list on our Ping homepage.
[New] Shop and Shop Channel
The Shop app showing delivery tracking, product recommendations, and purchasing with Shop Pay.
We’ve brought together features from Arrive and Shop Pay to create our brand new personal shopping assistant, Shop.
From discovery to delivery, Shop is an app that helps merchants improve the online shopping experience for their customers. With the shop local feature, Shop lets buyers find nearby merchants, enabling them to support local businesses.
Buyers will also see customized product recommendations from merchants they’ve previously purchased from. And when they decide to buy, customers get a lightning-fast checkout experience with Shop Pay.
Additionally, Shop lets buyers track their package, and for every order purchased through Shop Pay, Shopify will automatically pay to offset the carbon emissions from the package delivery.
We’re also announcing a new way for merchants to leverage Shop. Soon, merchants will be able to use Shop to tell their brand story, by customizing how and where their brand shows up in the app. This isn't available just yet, but we'll let you know when the full version is released, it looks amazing. We LOVE the local aspect of it.
Shop will become a free channel inside of Shopify that is available to all merchants, alongside their online store and POS. Merchants can now activate Shop Pay in their admin, and add Shop’s notifications to their order status page.
4. Back office
It's not the sexiest of the releases, but as a business, the back office of your Shopify site is so important. Really pleased to see the updates being made, Shopify has listened to its users and is delivering some fantastic updates to make your life easiest so you can get back to what you do really well, look after your customers.
If the online store is the face of a merchant’s business, then the admin is its brain: it’s where merchants organize, fulfill, and manage all the moving parts of their business. To help keep those businesses running smoothly, we’re releasing updates that help merchants move faster and work smarter in their back office.
[New] Product states
Soon, we’ll be releasing functionality that gives merchants more flexibility when working with products in the admin. With product states, merchants will be able to create a product and save it as a draft, add more details later, hand it over to a team member, and publish it when they’re ready. They will also be able to archive products (a long-requested feature). These updates are particularly impactful for merchants managing large numbers of products.
[New] Faster product creation
Seventy-seven percent of merchants moving from offline to online say that adding products to their store is the most time consuming task in Shopify. That’s not ideal.
Now more than ever, merchants need to be able to quickly get their products online to keep their businesses afloat. That’s why we’re working on faster and easier product creation.
Soon, merchants will have the ability to set up products directly from a phone. Capturing product photos, adding the required details like title, price, and variants, and scanning the barcode can all be done from a phone’s camera, including photos for each variant. When the merchant is ready, products can be reviewed and published directly from the phone.
We’re also optimizing for speed on desktop. It will soon be possible to create products in bulk; merchants will be able to add product images, prices, titles, variants, inventory, and more via a single screen, allowing everyone working on merchandising to move faster.
[New] Purchase Orders
Once your clients get products online, they also need to manage the inventory associated with those products. Keeping track of inventory across its lifecycle takes time for merchants. They need to ensure they have an accurate count of what inventory they have and where, to know when it’s the right time to reorder.
Shopify Purchase Orders lets merchants order, track, and receive inventory from their suppliers. Coming soon, inventory can be received using the scanning feature on Shopify’s mobile app, which makes updating inventory counts easier and more accurate.
This feature includes:
- Purchase orders with draft, ordered, received, and closed states
- PDF export
- Product costs and cost adjustments
- Payment terms
- Ship notices with estimated arrivals, tracking numbers, and shipping carriers
- Link between suppliers and products for easy reordering
- Mobile receiving
Purchase orders is currently in the process of rolling out to all merchants, and is accessible via the Shopify Admin.
[Update] Orders list page
As more merchants shift online, and existing merchants see an increase in online shopping, it’s important that businesses get orders to customers as quickly as possible. We’ve redesigned the orders list page to make this process better.
In the past, merchants had to click on each order to see all the details and fulfill them. Now, the orders list page displays relevant order information, like customer details, items on the order, delivery method, order notes, and tags, at a glance.
For example, the merchants you work with are now able to more easily determine which orders need to be delivered internationally vs. locally, or which orders require shipping, local delivery, or in-store pickup. We’ll also be adding further customization in the future, so merchants can view exactly what they want to see on their orders page.
Armed with this information, merchants can speed up and optimize their fulfillment processes. Learn more about how the updated orders list page helps merchants work faster.
With businesses continuing to move online, a robust shipping strategy is paramount to a merchant’s success. Here’s how we’re continuing to build our shipping and fulfillment features.
[New] Delivery and pickup methods
In the past few months, the way people shop locally has changed. Between March 13 and April 24, average daily local orders grew 176 percent, when compared to the six weeks prior. We have two updates to help with this.
Local and curbside pickup
Merchants now have the option to allow customers to pick up orders in-store, curbside, or from any location they choose. Merchants will soon be able to fulfill orders directly from the Shopify POS, their admin, or the Shopify mobile app, and have customers come to their location for pickup. Notifications on the all-new Shopify POS will allow store staff to see when a buyer has arrived for curbside pickup. Learn more about local pickup for online orders.
Merchants in all countries will soon be able to offer an improved and simplified local delivery experience. Merchants will be able to define a local delivery area using zip and postal codes, or by radius. They can also set local delivery fees and minimum order prices. Eligible buyers will see the local delivery option in their checkout, and can provide specific delivery instructions if necessary.
We’ve also built the Shopify Local Delivery app, which helps merchants create optimized delivery routes that can be shared with staff. With the app, merchants can also send customer notifications when deliveries are on the way. It will soon be available to all merchants globally. Learn more about local delivery.
[Update] Shopify Fulfillment Network
At Shopify Unite last year, we announced the Shopify Fulfillment Network, a geographically dispersed network of fulfillment centers to ensure fast, low-cost delivery to buyers. In the past year, we’ve invested heavily in this network, to make fast, inexpensive shipping the norm.
One year in, and the Shopify Fulfillment Network now has:
- Seven warehouses across the U.S.
- Our first R&D center in Ottawa, Shopify’s hometown, where we test and improve our warehouse operations. Our aim is to offer Canadian fulfillment to merchants later this year.
- Robots! We acquired 6 River Systems in late 2019, and use their “Chuck” robots in our warehouses to help employees fill orders. Chuck allows for a 50 percent reduction in walking, and leads to fulfillment rates two to three times greater than average.
The Shopify Fulfillment Network allows merchants to leverage different fulfillment strategies while retaining their own branding—merchants can still use their own custom packaging even while using one of the warehouses. Additionally, 99.5 percent of orders ship the same-day through the Shopify Fulfillment Network.
The network is now generally available to all merchants who fulfill orders in North America, and we’re investing an additional $1 billion over the next four years to make fast and affordable shipping possible for our merchants.
We’re inviting merchants with essential and non-essential products to join us. Learn more and have your clients apply now.
While new updates and features are always exciting, there’s an underlying quality necessary for all successful stores: speed.
Ensuring the online stores of our merchants continue to be the fastest commerce websites around is a big priority. Why? Because fast websites are important to ensuring the best experience for buyers. We’re introducing two tools to help with this.
[New] Storefront renderer
We’ve rebuilt the engine that takes a merchant’s storefront Liquid theme, and generates the output HTML to send back to a buyer's browser—these updates are rolling out to merchants now.
The new renderer will account for a 40 to 200 percent improvement in load times on live stores, helping merchants get better conversion rates globally.
[New] Online store performance dashboard
This summer, we’ll also be releasing an online store performance dashboard for merchants, which will allow them to understand how various actions, such as theme code customizations and app installations, impact their store’s speed.
With these changes, merchants will be able to better troubleshoot performance issues and keep their stores fast. Stay tuned for more on how we’re helping merchants stay fast.
Reunite, from our homes to yours
Right now is a tough time for entrepreneurs. The future of commerce is upon us—trends and products we didn’t think we’d see until 2030 are here, now. With these announcements, merchants can future-proof their businesses, and not only weather this storm, but thrive.
Any questions on the updates announced, connect with the Connec+ team today.