Shopify Unite 2019: Pushing the boundaries of commerce with new capabilities

By Lance O'Grady

It's that time of year when we head up to Shopify Unite, Shopify's annual conference and hear announcements on new features, the direction Shopify is heading, and catch up with partners from around the world. 

Today marks the first day of Shopify Unite and they didn't hold anything back, with a day packed full of announcements that we know will push the boundaries of commerce. I wanted to highlight some of the features we're most excited about and how we expect our clients to leverage them to drive business growth.

1. Shopify Plus Multi-Site Management

Perhaps one of the biggest announcements is around how Shopify Plus merchants will soon be able to view and manage their multi-store architecture. This includes a single view of customers, orders, automations, users and other marketing features within one dashboard.

We work with a range of clients, carefully crafting unique experiences for regional expansion so this feature will dramatically save initial setup and ongoing management time that comes from the increased complexity of global expansion.

2. Order Editing

It seems simple, but having native capabilities to edit orders is a game-changer. This gives merchants the ability to edit orders after they've been placed, change customer details, add or remove products or send an email requesting additional payment (or letting the customer know they're getting a partial refund) without using any tricky workarounds. Pair this with Shopify Flow and you can automate key actions including instantly adding a free gift or upgrading shipping to Express to orders placed by VIP customers with no manual intervention.

3.  Sections on all pages

Shopify Sections gives merchants huge control over the homepage structure. Sections can be added, removed and re-arranged to create infinite homepage structures based on current marketing and brand activity. This flexibility will be extended to all pages within the online store, giving merchants more control over every page of the site. If you have products that have more detailed specifications or a backstory you want to add, you can add the section just for those products (or to the product master if you want on all product pages). 

sections

4. Shipping Profiles

Shopify's current shipping rates are very simple. Customers are either changed on weight based or price based rules. Shipping profiles will allow merchants to set custom shipping rules based on product details like size, weight, or shipping origin. 

These profiles can be used to offer more accurate rates to your customers based on what they are actually purchasing, ensuring they get the best rate possible, while you maintain your margins on shipping costs.

5. Shopify Fulfilment Network

This is one of the most exciting announcements so far. Shopify are launching their own distribution centres across the US as well as partnering with existing facilities to provide a fully integrates 3Pl solution to help businesses expand into new locations globally (launching with US, but will scale to new markets). Shopify are using AI and forecasting models to determine to an 85% accuracy where a SKU will sell next to ensure you can meet that demand. They are running this now on private beta to a 99.99% order delivery success within 1-2 days of order being placed.

This will give merchants looking to expand into new markets a transparent and easy way to test those markets without the need to vet 3PL providers and integrate those providers into the fulfilment architecture of the backend.

6. Native Video & 3D

Soon merchants will be able to upload video content and 3D renders directly into the backend on product pages, giving customers a richer more dynamic experience. This will help customers understand more about the product including how it looks, it's size in relation to the room (think furniture, art or other home decor) and ultimately drive conversion.

 Image and videp

It's only day one, and that's just a snapshot of what's been announced so far. For a full list, check out the Shopify Announcements Blog.

 

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