one million monthly active users on their eCommerce platform, Shopify is a giant in online retail. At their Shopify Unite conference last week, the company announced tons of new updates and features for their selling platform – the most popular eCommerce solution available, according to Inc.com. So how are these updates going to affect your online store? Will they allow you to be more competitive than you currently are? These are big questions that require some in-depth answer. So grab a cup of coffee, kick back, and take a look at what Shopify’s recent updates mean for the future of eCommerce sites.
New SolutionsShopify announced more solutions than what we’ll mention here (a full list of their new updates can be found here) but these are the features we see as most immediately impactful.
Shopify PayThe average cart abandonment rate is 69.23% and in 2016 shoppers in the US and Europe left $260 billion worth of purchases in those abandoned carts. Shopify Pay addresses those issues. An average checkout requires a customer to fill out an average of 16 forms. Shopify Pay reduces that number to 2. It’s fairly similar to Amazon’s One-Click ordering feature where customers can choose to have their information stored in the Shopify Pay app. After entering a code they receive via SMS, their order is placed and they just wait for it to show up. This should drastically reduce cart abandonment.
Find New CustomersWhile existing customers certainly provide the most value for online merchants in terms of stable long-term revenue, you should always be looking to grow that base of current customers. Enter Shopify Sales Channels. They’re opening the current partner program to thousands of developers, giving you access to channels your brand previously didn’t reach. One example is the popular free messaging app, Kik. You’ll be able to reach the teen and younger millennial audiences far easier this way than in years past. Wish is another platform – with roughly 200 million active online shoppers – that targets products directly to customers interested in your niche.
Improved DiscountsDiscounts, sales, contests – they’re all essential to running a successful eCommerce business, and Shopify’s new features in the discounts area will help you manage them better, get an entirely new discounts report, and enable the ability to combine discount codes. This is one area that companies with proprietary systems – like Amazon – have always had a leg up on other eCommerce merchants. Managing and combining discount codes has been more of a hassle than it should be, but Shopify’s solution could make it much easier. This allows you that much more flexibility in how you manage these discounts, granting more freedom with marketing campaigns.
Marketing Events APIEvery marketer knows the value of big data. The more information you have, the easier it is to make the challenging decisions needed to execute a successful marketing campaign. The problem is wading through all of that data. It eats up time, and so often you’ll end up not finding what you were looking for. Shopify recognizes this as a major pain point for eCommerce merchants. Their Marketing Events API will let you dictate what marketing events you track, how they’re reported, and when. Basically, the API give marketers free reign to more deftly sift through big data.
New FeaturesWhat we’ve discussed so far are new solutions that build on existing ones. What we’ll look at now are new features entirely that should excite just about every eCommerce merchant out there.
In-Game PurchasingThis has been in the works for years at various levels, and it hasn’t quite hit the mark as a go-to channel for sales. The jury is obviously out on Shopify’s solution since it’s brand new, but it’s worth being aware of. It’s important to note that this isn’t allowing for purchase of in-game items; rather, this new sales channel will allow gamers to buy branded store items – like a T-shirt – and immediately return to the game. You’ll actually never leave the game application itself, which is great since it eliminates the possibility for customers to bounce off a landing page. This is still in development, but it’s an intriguing idea. If it works, then all the talk over the past few years regarding in-game purchases may prove to be viable.
FrenzyFrenzy is an app that works a lot like Pokemon Go. With Pokemon, users had to be at specific locations at certain times to catch a Pokemon. Take that same logic and apply it to flash sales, and that’s what Frenzy is. Customers have to be in certain places to take advantage of sales and make a purchase, which helps the online and offline experience work much more seamlessly.
What Does this Mean for eCommerce?Shopify’s new features are pretty incredible, and they’re going to mean a lot of things to a myriad of merchants. Let’s take a look at some of the broad strokes.
Better UXFrom Shopify Pay to Frenzy, the user experience of shopping through your store can be improved dramatically if you properly implement these new solutions. A better user experience results in more sales. This piece from ConversionXL showcases about a dozen cases where UX made a lasting impact on a company’s sales. One company featured in the article made $150 million in annual sales in just two years thanks to UX tweaks.
More DataThe Marketing Events API may turn out to be the most useful solution introduced by Shopify. Consider this example from Forbes:
- 75% of a typical company’s revenue comes from standard products
- 30% of pricing decisions fail to deliver the best price