The annual Shopify Unite conference kicked off yesterday… I wanted to go but I’m in South America right now and maaaaaan that’s a journey to Canada โœˆ๏ธ

So instead I watched the live stream with all the key notes to see what’s up. Here are my favorite nugs:

Checkout upgrades

Flexibility with checkout page customizations is opening up: Checkout pages are going to be accessible by apps and the Shopify API. Nice!

Cynthia from UX says Shopify is focusing on performance this year, and “checkout latency has been decreased by 20%”. Sounds like conversion rates could get a boost ๐Ÿ‘

Speaking of performance, Shopify mentioned they’re going to be adding WebP support. WebP is an image format that Google claims has superior compression.

Shopify Fulfillment Network

This is a big move: Shopify has been building a fulfillment network to what looks like to me a direct competition with Amazon FBA.

I’ve dealt with this problem in a Shopify store I’m partnered in – we’ve tried Amazon FBA + 2 other 3rd party solutions, and haven’t been fully satisfied with any of them.

Amazon FBA is our current solution, but the drawback is they don’t let you use plain or branded boxes, so customers buy from your site and get an Amazon box. It’s not good for branding, but also customers complain about this.

Shopify Fulfillment highlights:

  • Warehouses are located across the US
  • Machine learning and forecasting dictates where inventory is stored
  • They can predict where and when a SKU will sell, within 85% accuracy
  • Usually same day fulfillment, 2 day delivery
  • Custom (branded) packageing
shopify fulfillment network warehouse locations

Getting in Shopify Fulfillment

Here’s the link to early application for the program.

The process goes like this:

  1. Install the app
  2. Select products to fulfill by SFN
  3. Review the quote
  4. Send the products in bulk

I’m not sure the price model, but from what I gathered you should be doing 10+ orders per day for this to make sense.

If they can compete in the same price range as Amazon (a tall ask, but just saying), I think this could be a big opportunity for Shopify store owners to automate their fulfillment while providing a good branding experience.

Store Front upgrades

They announced a few things, these stuck out the most for me:

3D Product images

They’re rolling out native 3D product model support.

I think the way it works is that you’ll upload the images, then be able to convert to a 3D model on your product page.

Cool feature, but the real cool thing is what Cynthia from UX said this:

Customers are 2x more likely to purchase with 3D model over a regular image

Double conversions yaassssss ๐Ÿค˜

Site wide sections

Sounds like there will be modular sections for pages and other elements. We often see performance issues with stores using page builders, so I’m wondering if this move will help create custom pages easier natively.

More shipping settings control

Shipping profiles are coming, where you can assign delivery rates based on more rules, products, etc.

I always thought the stock shipping settings were restrictive, so this is good to know they’re opening it up more.

International

David, Director of Product, said on average 35% of traffic comes from international users.

In a couple of the talks, it sounded like Shopify is putting more focus on a better international experience.

2 things that stood out to me:

  • Native multi-currency integration through the whole site
  • API updates to easier display localized content for international users of your site

Shopify growth

Shopify is smashing it right now:

  • 820,000 merchants use Shopify for their online store
  • Merchants sold $41 Billion in sales in 2018
  • 218 Million customers have bought something from a Shopify store in the last 12 months

Summary there is that Shopify continues growing and thriving. This is great news for Shopify store owners. That growth leads to more features and makes big challenges like the Shopify Fulfillment Network possible.

To close I’ll share this quote from Harley the Chief Operating Officer:

Shopify is the world’s largest community of entrepreneurs supporting other entrepreneurs.

I thought that was pretty cool. One of the reasons I created Speed Boostr is because I enjoy working with developers and Entrepreneurs.

It’s a tough path and eCommerce is competitive!

I know first hand the challenges and amount of time involved in the eCommerce journey, which is why optimization and automation are the 2 mantras I think of most in my pursuit of helping Shopify entrepreneurs level up their business… and also why I’m working on app ideas that save time and automate tasks ๐Ÿ˜Ž