(credit image/Pixabay/Gerd Altmann)Shopify announced at the Unite 2021 event, its largest set of platform updates in its history. The company already one of the largest entities in commerce on the internet. In 2020, 450 million people checked out on Shopify, and processed nearly $120 billion in Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV). As the world’s commerce platform, Shopify needs to innovate. To give entrepreneurs endless possibilities to creatively present their brands and grow their businesses. The company says developers and merchants have more potential to create experiences that define the future of commerce on the internet.

(Credit image/LinkedIn/Tobias Lutke)
Tobias Lutke, CEO of Shopify

The internet is the world’s largest city, and Shopify is building its commerce infrastructure,” said Tobias Lutke, CEO of Shopify. “Especially over the past year, we saw independent businesses succeed by showing up creatively and uniquely in this city. The future of commerce on the internet relies on creative expression at every touchpoint. Together with developers, we are building the infrastructure to make this possible.”

A snapshot of Shopify announcement at Unite 2021 included.

Storefront – Online Store 2.0:

  • The biggest upgrade to Shopify’s Liquid platform ever. It features greater levels of flexibility and customization so merchants can better showcase their brands, create unique online experiences, and integrate apps—all without touching code. It also launched a new set of developer features including sections on all pages to personalize every aspect of a store, a new editor experience, and theme app extensions.
  • The Shopify Theme Store will open for developer submissions on July 15. Shopify is launching new developer tools and a new default theme that they say is faster and more beautiful than ever. These will make building themes significantly easier and provide merchants more creative options for their storefronts.

Custom Storefronts:

  • The company has made global infrastructure investments to get online stores and its GraphQL Storefront API within 50 milliseconds of every buyer on Earth. This includes expanding hosting regions to every continent, with Shopify commerce logic running in 100+ server locations that will directly serve API requests for Custom
    Storefronts for faster response times.
  • Shopify also introduced Hydrogen, a new React framework for developers to build custom storefronts (launching soon). It will also underpin Oxygen, the future hosting platform for custom storefronts on Shopify.

Metafields and Custom Content

  • With support for additional Metafields, merchants can now add their own attributes to models like products and product variants, with support for other models like customers and orders coming later this year.
  • Custom Content, coming soon, will be built on top of the new Metafields infrastructure and will serve as Shopify’s Content Management platform. It will allow merchants to store content of any format within Shopify.

Checkout

  • Shopify Checkout will be even faster, giving any shop the capacity to handle tens of thousands of purchases per minute. Shopify’s goal is for a single merchant to be able to sell 300,000 pairs of sneakers in just over eight minutes, and for each individual shop to have the ability to handle as much sales volume as served across all of Shopify at the peak of Black Friday Cyber Monday in 2020.
  • Checkout Extensions will allow developers to securely build apps into Shopify Checkout. These checkout customizations will also work in Shop Pay, making the fastest way to pay on the internet another creative brand surface for merchants.
  • Shopify Scripts are now easier to build and more powerful than ever for developers creating unique checkout experiences for Shopify Plus brands.
  • Payments Platform, is a new way to integrate third-party payment gateways into Shopify Checkout, unlocking new sales growth opportunities for merchants.

For Developer-Entrepreneurs

  • Developers who build for the Shopify App Store will now pay 0% revenue share for the first $1M they earn annually on the platform starting on August 1. That’s down from 20%. The $1M benchmark resets annually.
  • The same 0% revenue share model will also be available to Theme Store developers.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business?

The future of commerce will be when retailers understand customers needs and provide them with content in the right context. Shopify is attempting to rejuvenate its internet’s commerce infrastructure like never before. From Storefronts and Checkout to the Theme Store and partner ecosystem, the company has added new functionalities. These enhancements are expected to deliver more personalised customer experiences.

Shopify says its platform investments provides retailers and online merchants with the creative tools to understand and support customer experience. The company is also calling on developers to help build that future together. Shopify is not just betting on a world full of merchants, but on a world full of developers and technical entrepreneurs. The company’s infrastructure updates give developers and merchants even more tools to create, customise, scale, and monetise on Shopify. In theory, this should position the company to reap the expected benefits of the growing spend in digital. However, increasingly businesses are attracted to low code configurations that require no developer or technical expertise. Could such a trend could derail Shopify’s ambitions? Only time will tell.

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