Key takeaways from Shopify Unite 2019
Yet another Shopify Unite has come and gone, and as always, the Bold team was on hand to take in all the exciting announcements, conversations and workshops Unite has to offer.
If you’re new to Shopify, Unite is the annual partner conference held by Shopify where all your favourite app developers and agencies meet to network, learn and get the latest updates on the platform.
This year, Unite was jam-packed with exciting updates for both merchants and partners, so we’re breaking it down for our merchants and diving into the announcements that will affect your store.
Shopify Fulfillment Network
Shopify announced that they’ve created their own fulfillment network named (appropriately) the Shopify Fulfillment Network. They’ve acquired warehouses across the US to help merchants distribute products to their customers. Shopify will have employees on hand to pack and ship orders for you, at a 99.9% order accuracy rate.
This means not only ease of accessibility and assurance that you and your clients are in good hands, but it also means your customers will get their packages much quicker and be able to return items much easier.
The best part is, they’ve already got the ball rolling. Shopify Fulfillment Network is available now for merchants shipping between 10 to 10,000 packages per day, but their plan is to expand this to merchants shipping 3 to 30,000 packages per day to accommodate shops of all sizes. While Shopify mentioned it was available across the US, we can only assume with their global interests that it will expand to other countries.
This has a major impact on any business, but for Bold Subscriptions businesses, it makes sure that your loyal customers are getting their packages delivered efficiently and reliably month after month.
Apply for early access to the Fulfillment Network here!
Shopify was very clear that the future of commerce is multi-channel, and made improvements to their in-store offering to support this. Advances to the Shopify POS system began with a sleek redesign and moved on to some impressive improvements like faster checkout, refunds & exchanges, and a unified back-office system to sync orders, inventory & customer data across locations.
They also shared some exciting new technology to come for POS, such as tap-and-chip cases for mobile (complete with custom printed hardware), and native "Buy online, pick up in store" functionality.
Sections were originally available on the home page to customize the look of your store. But if you made one change to a page, that change would be represented across all pages. Now, Shopify is planning to release page-specific sections so every page on your store can be changed independently and have a distinct look and feel.
Gone are the days where you have to redo your content when you switch to a new theme! Shopify plans to release content outside of themes, so changes will transfer easily between themes and new versions of themes. Duplicating themes to complete changes is no longer required.
Video and 3D Models
The browsing experience just got a whole lot cooler. Coming soon is native 3D model and video support, so merchants can showcase their products in a much more robust way. Customers will be able to check out their favourite products in action and from every angle.
Merchants will be able to store and manage this media from a single location, using the same workflow that you use for regular product images. Try it on their demo store (works best on mobile)!
Checkout app extensions for subscriptions
Shopify announced their new checkout app extension for Subscriptions, which will allow partners to integrate subscriptions apps right into the checkout flow. It’s a great feature and one we’ve been working with Shopify to help launch for quite some time.
The new API allows 3rd party apps to vault a credit card through Shopify Payments. This means Bold Subscriptions and Cashier will eventually be able to work with Shopify Payments. We’re very excited about this and plan to have both options available as soon as Shopify releases that functionality.
Regardless of which one you choose for your clients, managing the subscription program for admins, and their customers’ ability to manage, pause, edit, skip and update their subscriptions will be powered by Bold Subscriptions.
The feature we’ve all been waiting for! Later this year, merchants will be able to add, remove or replace items for their customers post-purchase to ensure the most flexible buying experience.
This native functionality will prove to be a customer service life-saver.
Over the summer, Shopify will be releasing a new Delivery Profile API to merchants to allow for flexible shipping options like per-product shipping. Not every item you sell is the same, so you’ll be able to set different rates for different types of products, such as fragile or bulky items.
You can also set shipping rules based on where an item is being shipped from, and customers can see an estimated time of arrival based on their own location.
One of the exciting announcements from last year was that Shopify admin was rolling out in 6 different languages. This allowed merchants across the world to sell online with ease, using interfaces in their language of choice. This year, they’ve expanded the admin to include 11 new languages, including Dutch, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Malay, Hindi, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Korean, and Thai.
The partner portal is also now available in 10 languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Dutch.
As businesses scale, the complexities that arise with an online store grow more and more difficult. That’s why Shopify has put a lot of work into Plus and creating a scalable solution for large brands.
In the next few months, expect to see an entirely new interface featuring dashboards for orders, customers, and more for multiple stores, all in one place. Utilize Shopify Flow through this interface to manage your store(s) daily functioning and automate simple tasks, so you can focus on the big picture.
Every year, Shopify stuns with some amazing announcements, and this year was no exception. We’re excited for the upcoming changes and enhancements that will help you to be more organized, sell more and provide your customers with a more delightful shopping experience. We’re stoked to be working alongside Shopify, and amazing merchants like you, to power the future of commerce.