Last updated on December 28, 2022

Moran Khoubian
Director of Global Partner Marketing
June 26th, 2019

The eCommerce industry is still abuzz after the announcements at Shopify’s Unite conference.

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Shopify’s stock soared to record heights after COO Harley Finkelstein officially declared the platform one of the three key players in commerce, alongside Amazon and eBay.

This came alongside an impressive salvo of product announcements, including deeper expansion into offline retail, advancements to support global merchants and businesses, and, most notably, a fulfillment network offering two-day shipping in the US. Combine this news with the $41.1 billion in total sales by merchants using the platform in 2018 alone, and it becomes clear that Shopify is readying itself to unseat Amazon.

More than anything, Shopify’s announcements signify a new era for brands. Everyone from one-woman-show entrepreneurs up to multi-million-dollar businesses will be empowered to curate exceptional buyer experiences, from product discovery all the way through to fulfillment.

“Shopify is democratizing access to an end-to-end commerce platform so every retailer or brand can execute ‘at or above’ Amazon-like efficiency without the need to build the infrastructure — similar to what AWS did for startups,” explained Yotpo CEO and Co-founder Tomer Tagrin.

So: what exactly do these developments look like? As always, our Partner Team attended Shopify Unite to get the insights.

Winning the instant gratification game with two-day shipping

By the end of this year, American merchants on the platform will have access to a fulfillment network offering two-day shipping. For now, Shopify is starting off by offering early access to merchants who ship between 10 and 10,000 items per day.

“We plan on spending over $1 billion to build and operate the Shopify Fulfillment Network over the next few years,” said Chief Product Officer Craig Miller at the Unite conference. While Shopify will be running some warehouses directly, they ultimately plan to work with third-party companies to manage warehouses and delivery.

For emerging brands, being able to offer customers a first-class shipping experience from day one is a game-changer. No longer will these small companies have to play catch up with major brands, or lose shoppers to Amazon because of the convenience factor. Additionally, merchants will be able to use custom-branded packaging, enhancing the unboxing experience.

Let’s take this offline

Shopify POS is already driving billions in sales out in the wild, giving growing direct-to-consumer brands the chance to build a seamless face-to-face connection with their customers.

At Unite, the product team announced that the upgraded POS will feature:

  • Faster checkout, refunds, and exchanges
  • Multiple location and global searches
  • Improved design for retail staff, including smart grids
  • Scalability with unlimited products, staff permissions, and quick access to apps
  • A unified backoffice to sync customers, inventory, and orders across all locations

Going global

Shopify is serious about international brand-building, taking actions to directly address the challenges faced by merchants handling sales across countries.

Businesses on Shopify Plus can now use a single account to access multiple stores and brands across geographies. They also will be able to manage global users across their organizations in a one place and to enable international workflows. The option to auto-build a new storefront in a single click using the unified admin will make it easier for merchants to expand global operations even faster.

In addition to the changes for Plus users, all merchants on Shopify will have access to multicurrency, empowering small businesses around the world. The new multi-language API also allows brands to localize the content on their site and translate everything from product pages to blog content to suit the local market.

A brave new world of commerce

Shopfiy is posed to profoundly shake up the entire commerce industry. Their recent announcements are particularly significant for direct-to-consumer brands, for whom the ability to own and influence the entire buyer experience is a key differentiator.

Budding D2C merchants will now find themselves able to provide a shipping experience on par with Amazon, complete with branded packaging. Enhanced POS for a more seamless sales process, as well as features optimizing international commerce complete the picture. Many of the long-standing barriers to entry and pain points for these brands will be significantly reduced or eliminated altogether.

From on-site experience all the way through to fulfillment, Shopify is enabling direct-to-consumer commerce wherever it’s happening. We can’t wait to see the doors this will open for our thousands of shared customers.