Unite 2019. Key note announcements & ecommerce headline news

The countdown
The countdown

Overview

Unite 2019 carried more feature announcements than ever before, so summarising them is a challenge.

While the conference was themed around the concepts of opportunities and the future, the feature releases and announcements were very much based around the concepts of merchant access, design flexibility, globalisation and growth. That’s our view anyway.

Take languages as an example, with 6 new languages launched in 2018, this year, 11 more languages have been opened up, opening Shopify up to the cool 2 billion people who speak those languages.

Wow. Just wow.

Read on to find out more and to see if we have it right with our summary - Access, Flexibility, Globalisation, Growth.

  • Meet Harley Finkelstein, he works at Shopify
  • Stats, metrics, figures
  • On a day of many firsts
  • of

User Experience

The Day 2 key notes kicked off with a variety of announcements regarding User Experience, and by ‘User’ they mean the Merchants.

Key messages here are all about increasing ease of use to designing Shopify websites and managing content, all good moves for merchants who are doing it themselves, and the agencies who work with merchants.

Sections

Sections will now apply across the whole store, on every page. The were previously launched for the Home page and will now be available on all pages.

Sections allows for website content to be designed and arranged according to ‘sections' or modules. Easier, faster and more efficient.

Master Pages

The addition of Master Pages means that a particular page type, such as a Cart page, or a Standard Page, can be designed and controlled by the Master Page. Make changes to the Master Page, and those changes will be deployed across all pages of that type. Clever and welcome.

Apps & Sections

The addition of apps to sections has been made easier and more accessible, which will be welcomed by merchants. They will now have significantly more control without needing to touch any code.

Content Portability

When merchants are changing themes, they will now be able to automatically transfer all content across to the new theme. At this stage, we are being loose with the term ‘all’ but it is believed that content portability will be wide reaching. This will dramatically speed up and simplify the process of switching themes. Flexibility and efficiency.

  • Users are merchants
  • There's no doubt about it
  • Truly global
  • of

Checkout the checkouts

Faster

Checkouts have been made faster. Much faster. Shopify have managed to reduce latency at Checkout by 20% in 3 months. That’s significant, and with checkout speed being a key factor in cart abandonment, conversions will increase thanks to the increase in performance.

Checkout apps

A big announcement is the opening up of checkouts to allow the insertion of apps direct into the checkout. While checkout pages have previously been fairly rigid in Shopify core, less so in Shopify Plus, this change will open up a ton of options that will make cross sell, upsell and promotions (and much more) achievable on checkout pages.

Headless Commerce

‘Headless Commerce' was THE buzz word of Shopify Unite 2019, and it takes a little while to get your head around what it means. That’s partly because the concept has been around for a while, but it’s only recently been given this new name. Some people liked it, other didn’t, you make your own call, but to the meaning.

In simple terms Headless Commerce, is the concept of using a stack of technologies integrated with Shopify to create a completely custom business and experience for customers.

Like we said, this has been happening for some time with a 300% increase in merchants adopting custom options. But now, we have a name for it.

Bricks & Mortar

It’s interesting, because the importance of maintaining physical stores, whether they be permanent or pop-ups, has been a topic for a while, and has appeared at our own Perth Shopify Meetups. It was at Unite too.

While you might think that Shopify’s focus would be purely digital, that’s not the case. With an obsessive focus on customer experience, the Shopify community acknowledge the importance of real life and physical stores and the great experiences that can be delivered in real-life.

Shopify’s focus on the physical is growing, they have their own store in LA, which we visited, and they are also expanding and improving their range of POS products, which now power over 100k merchant stores.

Shopify POS offers flexibility with mobile POS and the ‘Tap and Chip’ case that turns a mobile into a payment device. This gives any merchant the opportunity to run an Apple store type experience, with no more lines at the physical checkout.

Plus, consider the combination of ecommerce technology in-store. Customers can use ecomm technology to choose products, colours and sizes, and request them to try on in-store etc.

We’re thinking that there will be many more great ideas that come from merging the online commerce experience with bricks and mortar shopping.

New POS Interface

The Shopify POS interface has been re-imagined to optimise user experience for merchants with multi stores and channels.

Efficient workflows are now more visual and easier and simpler to create and modify, thanks to the new ‘Smart Grid’. The grid offers custom tiles for the creation of merchant workflows

And search has been beefed up to allow merchants to instantly search all products, customers and stores. This will save time for buyers and store staff.

With the new POS merchant staff will be able to check inventory across all locations and make sales from any location.

Staff functionality has been evolved to give views on who is working, their time logged and performance etc.

  • POS hardware
  • New POS interface
  • of

Orders & Shipping

The back office admin that is an inevitable part of any business, (e)commerce or otherwise, has been given a big helping hand in the new Shopify POS interface.

Shipping

As we all know, the costs and timing of shipping are big issues and often huge barriers to sale. Managing shipping just got way easier with the ability to handle cost variables and shipping for different product types.

Shipping Profiles

Shipping Profiles were launched this year and can be created based on product type and location to give more control over what customers see at the checkout. Merchants can define the rules and set up way more control than ever before.

Fulfilment

Yes, fulfilment is time consuming for merchants so the announcement of new fulfilment APIs got big applause. Shopify POS now offers accurate and instant control of the fulfilment process to create a neat two way conversation between merchants and suppliers.

Editing an Order

This was a big one. The ability to edit orders that have already been placed was announced at Unite 2019 and people made some noise, in a good way.

The enhanced customer order experience allows for fairly simple editing and will remove so many instances of unhappy customers and clunky work arounds that merchants and agencies were forced to implement up until now.

Order editing
Order editing

Shopify Plus

Have we mentioned that The Cut are Perth’s only Shopify Plus partner? So, now you know. Ben and Scott pricked up their ears and flexed their note taking fingers for this one.

With a focus on powering fast commerce growth and meeting the challenges of scale, Shopify Plus has some exciting changes.

Summary

In short, Shopify Plus announcements included the new, simpler, single admin, access to all data for all stores, easy views of all stores, auto creation of new stores (big!) and managing all staff, and customers, from one place.

Multi Stores

While most Core merchants run 1 store, most Plus merchants are on multi stores and now launching a new store is far easier. Automated even.

This is great for merchants who want to launch sub brands or test new products, and, of course, makes global expansion more achievable and accessible.

Shopify Unite - Day 2 Keynote - IMG_9059.jpg

Fulfilment by Shopify

In many ways, this special announcement from Shopify’s Chief Product Officer was one of the biggest of the whole conference.

Fulfilment, shipping, 3PL always create big challenges for merchants and pain points for customers. Complex pricing, increased inventory costs, integrations and poor performance with delays and shipping errors can turn fulfilment into a full nightmare.

Enter Shopify with their own solution. But don’t get too excited yet you Aussies because for now, this is North America only. Although with their focus on expansion and global access, we think it will be sooner rather than later that the rest of the world will gain access.

Fulfilment by Shopify will be based on the premise of access and aim to deliver fast shipping at fair value to give merchants a sector-leading experience by making fulfilment totally approachable, and easy to get along with.

So, there you have it, our take and out-takes from the biggest keynotes of Shopify Unite 2019. If you need help working out how these changes can help your ecomm business, give us a call.

  • Set to make massive improvements
  • of