Shopify hosted Reunite, our first virtual event for members of our global community. We gave attendees an exclusive look at the latest updates and new products we’re building to help entrepreneurs future proof their businesses.
This is a difficult time to be an entrepreneur—the retail landscape is shifting under our feet, and the old way of doing things no longer works. Physical distancing measures and lockdown have made it clear that omni-channel commerce is more important than ever.
The products and updates we announced at Reunite will continue to help merchants navigate this new normal, but will also empower them to start looking forward, to plan for the future. From finance to retail to shipping, here’s a look at what we covered:
Introducing Shopify Balance, the business account built for independent businesses and entrepreneurs
• Most of today’s banking products are built from a traditional financial institution’s point of view and designed for large, established businesses. They aren’t designed for the needs of independent business owners, and aren’t as flexible as they need to be. In our research:
We found that two in five merchants are currently using their personal bank accounts and cards for business, meaning they’re combining their personal and business finances, making it difficult to measure the financial health of the business.
• Shopify Balance will help close this gap by giving 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 cash flow, pay bills, track expenses, and make decisions about the future of their business.
Shopify Balance Card: Physical and virtual cards that merchants can use to access their money faster when spending in-store, with mobile or online, as well as withdrawing from ATMs.
Rewards: We plan to offer merchants cashback and discounts on everyday business spending like shipping and marketing.
• With Shopify Balance there will be no monthly fees or minimum balances.
• Shopify Balance will launch in early access later this year in the U.S.
Enabling ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ at checkout
• Shop Pay Installments, Shopify’s new “Buy Now, Pay Later” option, will let merchants offer more payment choice and flexibility at checkout, giving consumers the option to split purchases into four equal payments over time, interest-free and with no additional fees to consumers.
• Flexible payments can help increase a merchant’s average order size by making purchases more palatable to consumers—particularly in the current economic climate.
• Working with a partner, Shopify will launch Shop Pay Installments later this year. It’ll be available to U.S. merchants eligible for Shopify Payments.
A new way for merchants to deliver locally
• COVID-19 has underscored the importance of shopping locally. More than ever, merchants need efficient ways to connect with their local customers today and in the future.
Average daily local orders on Shopify for the six weeks ending April 24 grew 176%, compared to the prior six weeks, coinciding with the introduction of physical distancing measures; and, as of April 24, 26% of brick-and-mortar merchants in Shopify’s English-speaking geographies were using some form of local pickup and delivery solution, compared to just 2% at the end of February.
• Shopify has begun rolling out a new Local Delivery product for merchants globally to offer an improved and simplified local delivery experience. Merchants can:
Define a local delivery area using distance radius or zip/postal codes
Set local delivery fees and minimum order price
Fulfill local orders through Shopify, Shopify POS, and Shopify Mobile
Use the new Shopify Local Delivery app to create optimized delivery routes, and send customer notifications when deliveries are on the way
Expanding Shopify Fulfillment Network
• Shopify Fulfillment Network, which launched in 2019, has graduated from its early access stage, and is actively accepting merchant applications.
• Shopify Fulfillment Network continues to take away the complexities of fulfillment by investing in technology and a collaborative robotics workforce, allowing merchants to join, scale and evolve their fulfillment strategies through its growing partner network.
• Shopify opened its first research and development hub in Ottawa to trial new robotics and fulfillment technologies, iterate and improve on warehouse operations, and fulfill Canadian-based orders.
Improving the online store for all entrepreneurs
• As COVID-19 has forced many businesses to move online, Shopify is releasing more online store features that will help entrepreneurs from a range of verticals adapt.
• Merchants now have the option to collect tips at checkout. We’ve also released a new one-page theme called Express that enables merchants to get online quickly. These features were built with our local restaurants and coffee shops in mind, but can also be used by merchants in any vertical looking to connect with their customers online.
• As of March 20, selling gift cards has been available to all merchants, and Shopify has seen more merchants utilizing this feature than ever before. For businesses that can’t deliver products during COVID-19, this feature has provided a much-needed supplement to cash flow.
Giving merchants more choice with more channels
• Recently, Shopify announced Shop, a first-of-its-kind direct-to-consumer app and personal shopping assistant to make purchasing and order tracking frictionless.
• Coming soon, Shopify’s new Shop Channel will let merchants control how their brand appears on Shop.
Merchants will be able to customize their profile, and how and where they appear on the app.
• Shop Channel will first be available to merchants in Canada and the U.S.
• On May 19, Facebook introduced Facebook Shops, which allows merchants to build branded versions of their online store within Instagram and Facebook.
Shopify is partnering with Facebook to help businesses create branded storefronts to help merchants deliver unique shopping experiences, and enable consumers to browse and purchase without ever leaving the apps.