Aug 9, 2022
March 15, 2023
With an increasing focus on international growth, the company split its annual developer conference into a year-long product rollout with Shopify Editions. We’re excited about a slew of new platform enhancements and a collection of product updates that will help us build incredible new eCommerce experiences for brands and merchants alike.
Shopify Introduces Audiences, Homegrown Ad Network for Merchants
Audiences is the most anticipated product update this year and mark Shopify's foray into the ad network business. With Audiences, merchants can connect with high-value customers using Shopify’s proprietary network of customer insights and buyer data. In theory, merchants can reduce customer acquisition costs by utilizing Shopify's data platform and targeting customers across the purchasing funnel. Shopify rolling out an ad solution for their network of merchants makes intuitive sense as customer acquisition costs continue to rise for SMBs. Audiences will be rolling out to all Shopify Plus merchants soon. We’re excited to see how it performs compared to the big three ad networks across Facebook, Google, and TikTok.
Shopify Cash Rewards Program
Shopify is rolling out Shop Cash, a financial extension of its popular product discovery and consumer app, Shop. It’s a percentage-based rewards program designed to create a new audience of repeat buyers and help merchants unlock long-term customer retention. Customers can earn up to 3% on Shop Cash purchases and buy across the apps extensive network of D2C brands. It’s an intelligent move for Shopify to increase the customer lifecycle value by incentivizing repeat purchases and building a native rewards program. We’d be curious to learn more about its sticky product and financial metrics in the coming years.
Connecting Creators and Brands With Dovetale
Further bolstering their relationship with the creator economy, Shopify recently acquired influencer affiliate platform Dovetale. The platform is an all-in-one creator management tool to help brands find and build relationships with popular creators and influencers. Shopify rolling out Dovetale allows merchants to cultivate relationships, manage partnership terms, process payments, and help bridge the gap between product discovery and brand partnerships.
B2B on Shopify Got a Wholesale Better
B2B tooling has been a weak point for Shopify for some time, so it's great to see them making strides in that department. With the new product rollout, the B2B wholesale experience is now fully integrated with the Shopify platform, no longer relegated to a separate buying experience for B2B customers. The integration of D2C and wholesale presents a simplified experience for merchants who can now manage price breaks, net payment terms, discounting tiers, and a streamlined checkout experience from the same platform.
Check out Checkout Extensibility
Shopify has one of the most performant checkout solutions, focusing on the simplicity of checkout flow and security. Unfortunately, customization for brand consistency has always been a workaround for developers. With its latest Branding API and Checkout UI extensions, merchants can design a unique checkout experience for customers. Checkout UI offers component extensions embedded within the checkout, valuable upselling opportunities, custom branding, and recommended product add-ons.
Hydrogen & Oxygen Equals Headless
Headless commerce is having a renaissance moment in eCommerce development. However, it's still marred by technical workflows and complicated setup processes for developers. Shopify hopes to combat that with its headless offering, Hydrogen, and Oxygen. Hydrogen is a React-based framework for developers to build a robust and highly performant storefront. It uses component-driven development and is powered by its network of rich APIs. With Oxygen, Shopify also simplifies the hosting process by offering an easy-to-deploy global hosting solution. It’s a promising first step in Shopify's decoupling from its walled garden approach of back-end business tools paired with front-end technologies. If you’re curious about the basics of headless commerce, you can read our post on headless 101.
Web3 is still in its infancy, but Shopify offers tools for brands to experiment with tokenized commerce experiences. With its newly announced tokengated commerce features, brands can create gated experiences exclusive to shoppers with a connected crypto wallet. Fans can unlock benefits like exclusive merchandise, early product releases, and special discounts. Web3 is still early, but it's promising to see Shopify making strides in the decentralized future of commerce.
Shopify's introduction of functions is the most groundbreaking shift in its long-term platform strategy. The company is slowly releasing its grasp on its traditional monolithic commerce stack. Functions unlocks the backend of the core platform, allowing developers to replace server-side business logic. Think of the power of Shopify unlocked by developers to customize the admin interface and business logic of several apps and functions. It provides unlimited technical flexibility powered by Shopify’s scalable infrastructure. For example, merchants can build custom discount logic into their Shopify admin tailored to their unique needs. Functions is still in its infancy but were excited to see the future of flexible commerce emerge.