Shopify’s “Shop”: Helping Local Retailers In The New Normal

Corporate Startup of the Week

Social distancing and stay-at-home measures have drastically changed our day-to-day lives forever and this includes the way we shop. 

Customers around the world are increasingly relying on online shopping to get the things they need and connect with the brands they cherish. In fact, many online marketplaces have already taken significant steps to respond to the changing demand:

  • Amazon hired 175,000 additional workers to help meet increased customer demand.
  • Wayfair is now offering outdoor, garage, and inside-the-door deliveries. 
  • Walmart Marketplace launched its Fulfillment Network.

Even with all the recent changes, there is still one cardinal rule that remains constant: A great customer experience is the key to success. 

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With that goal in mind, Shopify has set out to elevate their buyer’s shopping experience by making it more convenient, customized, and fun.

Meet Shop, a new app that enables customers to discover local stores, get customized recommendations, track purchases in real-time, and make payments at lightning speed.    

Let’s find out more about how this young corporate is using corporate venturing as a strategy to innovate and future-proof their business. 

about spotify

About Shopify.

Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, Shopify Inc. is an all-in-one commerce platform that enables users to:

  • Set up a customized online store 
  • Showcase and sell their products
  • Unify their online and offline sales through Shopify POS

The Shopify developer platform even allows for the creation of third-party apps, which has boosted their online community and helped businesses combine Shopify services with their existing PoS, marketing, and delivery services.

Their subscription service enables retailers to build a website to showcase, manage, sell, and ship products. Additional features make it easier for users to process orders and store business data.

Launched in 2004 as an online snowboard store called Snowdevil, Shopify has since grown into a commerce ecosystem that powers 1,000,000 businesses globally. Some of the biggest brands that use Shopify services include Nescafe, Allbirds, GymShark, Rebecca Minkoff, and L’Occitane among others.

shop app

So, what is “Shop”?

Shop is a mobile shopping app designed to create a more user-friendly and intuitive online shopping experience for Shopify customers. It enables users to:

  • Access and discover local businesses
  • Get personalized recommendations 
  • Stay connected to their favorite brands
  • Pay for their items in one tap
  • Track orders in real-time

The goal? To help businesses establish deeper connections with their customers, build loyalty, and create a user experience that keeps them coming back for more. As described by General Manager Carl Rivera:

“Shopify has focused the last decade on solving complex problems for entrepreneurs by making commerce seamless and accessible. Now, we want to do the same for customers. We set out to solve the common pain points in the customer’s shopping journey today while developing specific features, like local business discovery, that will be relevant today and in the future.”

app shopify

The thinking behind “Shop”.

Rivera and his team had been developing Shop since he joined Shopify in 2018 as a response to shifting customer behavior (e.g. more people shopping on their phones and using native mobile apps). According to an article by Tech Crunch, the need for the app was highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic pain points that came with it.

The result was an app that brings together Shopify’s years of experience in e-commerce along with some of the best features of previously developed projects like:

  • Arrive – An app designed to track online orders more efficiently (with 16 million users).
  • Shop Pay – An accelerated checkout service that enables users to make quick and effortless purchases (with $ 8 billion in processed sales).

Lastly, the app’s recommendation feature was designed to help retailers drive sales and help customers find the products they need – supporting local businesses by helping them connect with buyers.

This can be a “make-or-break” aspect for many small businesses who have been forced to close and have become extra dependent on online sales to remain afloat. 

allbirds app shopify

How does it work?

The Shop app enables users to buy products from any Shopify retailer (both online or through a physical POS). Additional features include:

  • A “follow” function that allows users to stay connected to their favorite brands (much like following a company on Linkedin).  
  • A “Shop Local” function that makes it easy for users to find and shop from local stores.
  • One tap checkout and payments through the Shop Pay.
  • Easy purchase tracking with real-time updates through the app. 
  • Customized recommendations that are based on purchase history. The goal is to help users stay on top of interesting new releases and discounts. 
  • The app is free for shoppers and Shopify stores don’t have to pay any additional fees to be featured on it. 

Last but not least, Shop is available on iOS and Android. All you have to do is download and register to start shopping!

What’s next?

Regardless of the pros and cons of each company, Amazon better watch its back. According to an article by Vox, Shopify is “coming for Amazon” by:

“creating a merchant-first software product and constantly adapting to fast-moving changes in how we shop online, it helps support more entrepreneurship and new business, which ends up benefitting the consumer in the long run.”

Recent announcements by Shopify include:

Although Shopify is not yet making any revenue on Shop, the app is a great way of attracting new and smaller businesses to use their services. This is especially important during social distancing when businesses need an easy way to offer their products online in order to survive. 

Scaling the new app to generate profit will surely be part of their future plans, once they’ve built a returning user-base for the shops in their system.  

Good luck Shop! We’re all rooting for you here at Bundl!

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Ritza Suazo

Ritza Suazo

Innovation Journalist