It’s been a very interesting couple of months in the ecommerce world, from the rapid onboarding of brick-and-mortar businesses, to adapting to how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted order fulfillment, and more. In fact, things have changed so fast that in the last two months online sales have increased at the same rate as the last 10 years combined. 10 years of growth in just 2 months – now there’s something to make you go, “Wow”!
Along with the rapid growth of ecommerce, there have also been changes to how we interact and engage online. The biggest example for us was Shopify’s annual partner conference being replaced with Shopify Reunite - a merchant-focused livestream based event updating the world about all the changes and updates coming up for the platform. Of course, we were in attendance, so here’s a recap of our favorite announcements from Reunite.
One of the biggest announcements at Reunite was Shopify Balance - a new venture from Shopify that aims to provide business owners with a suite of financial products designed around their needs. This will include a Shopify Balance Account included within Shopify Admin, where merchants will have a clear view of their cash flow, bills, and expenses. There will also be a Shopify Card, which will be both physical and virtual that can be used for faster spending, as well as rewards designed around everyday business spending.
Updates to the Shopify Fulfillment Network
Fulfillment can be one of the most stressful, time-consuming parts of running an online business. Last year’s conference saw the announcement of the Shopify Fulfillment Network, offering affordable fulfillment services to merchants through a network of fulfillment centers. It’s come a long way in just one year, and now they’re planning to expand it by opening it up to applications from merchants that ship between 10 and 10,000 orders per day to the United States. They’ll take care of packing, shipping, and returns; best of all they’ll make sure it’s packaged up in the way you like rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
New Express Theme
With the changes and challenges that Covid-19 has brought on, we’ve seen lots of new businesses joining the ecommerce space. This has sparked some innovation within Shopify to develop a brand new, completely free Express theme designed to get businesses online fast. It’s simple, easy to use, and looks great. It’s been built with businesses like restaurants and cafes in mind who have a small to medium-sized catalog of products, and is optimized for mobile.
Improvements to the Product Creation Flow
A beautifully designed site is great, but it’s nothing without the products, right? One of the issues flagged by the onboarding of new businesses in the last two months is that the product creation process is the most time-consuming part.
Shopify is going to make the product creation process even more streamlined and easier for merchants so that you can get products up quicker. Soon they’ll be able to start the process on their phone - so taking photos, titles, pricing, bar codes, and variants can all be done on your phone. They’ll also be optimizing the speed of desktop product management so you can create products in bulk, being able to add images, variants, inventory, and more from one page.
These are just some of the announcements from Reunite - there’s a lot more to unpack! Check out Kelly’s newest podcast Commerce Tea for a really great rundown of these announcements and more.