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How Shopify is supporting businesses through COVID-19 (and beyond)

Written by BlueRock Digital | July 2, 2020

Shopify has levelled the ecommerce playing field. At a time when many businesses are struggling to stay afloat, Shopify has enabled businesses, no matter how small, to easily and affordably sell online. 

Now, announcements regarding Shopify’s newest innovations at their virtual Reunite event have detailed how they will help merchants navigate the rapidly changing retail environment and plan for what’s to come.   

Is Shopify the next Amazon?

From humble beginnings, Shopify has risen to great heights, in part thanks to the number of businesses pivoting online during COVID-19. Going up against eCommerce giants like Amazon is tough business, but those who invested in the potential of this once-tiny startup are now lapping up over 3,500% in gains

But while some may tout Shopify as ‘the next Amazon’, it is fundamentally different in many ways. Shopify has a simple proposition: help entrepreneurs bring their products to the masses in a simple and effective way. While Amazon, eBay, Alibaba and others focused on making brands an afterthought, Shopify became the invisible partner that let businesses build their own online presence. 

But Shopify isn’t just for the budding entrepreneur. The platform has become so versatile, user friendly and beneficial to business that big players using it include The Economist, Gymshark, Red Bull, Penguin Books, Heinz...and the list goes on. 

Shopify at this moment is the go-to for eCommerce. That’s just one reason analysts say it’s still undervalued, even after soaring 90% since COVID-19 lockdowns started.

What’s next for Shopify? New products to support merchants and buyers 

Creating and maintaining an eCommerce store has never been an easy task. From website building to ensuring there are sufficient servers to handle internet traffic, shipping products to managing returns and sustaining marketing efforts, there is a mountain of work involved. 

At BlueRock Digital, our Shopify experts take advantage of the latest innovations to benefit our eCommerce clients. Here are some of the latest updates from Shopify and how these new products will benefit small, medium and large businesses that use the platform. 

1. Financial products 

Shopify Balance 

Now more than ever, cash flow is critical. In such a tumultuous time, you need to know how every single product or service is performing, and how your marketing efforts are attributing to that performance. Shopify Balance is a suite of financial products aimed at helping merchants have greater control over their finances. With no fees and no minimum balance, Shopify Balance is designed to rectify some common pitfalls of traditional banking products. Shopify Balance includes:

Shopify Balance account 

Does your business struggle to make sense of cash flow, pay bills on time or track expenses? The Shopify Balance account is a one-stop-shop that provides clarity on your business’s finances and gives decision-makers confidence to make calculated investments about the future. 

Shopify Card 

Are you blurring the lines and using your personal credit card for business expenses? This can cause issues when analysing your spending and you risk basing business decisions on inaccurate data. The Shopify Card is a physical or virtual card that enables merchants to access their money faster, whether that be spending in-store or online. Oh, and it’ll have your store name on it…pretty schmick if you ask us! 

Shop Pay Installments

Watch out AfterPay, Zip and other interest-free payment providers. Shop Pay recognises that the world has difficult times ahead, and both merchants and buyers are feeling the pinch. 

Shop Pay enables buyers to pay for products from Shopify stores in installments, with the merchant receiving the full payment upfront. Shopify will handle the rest, lowering the risks as a seller. Shop Pay makes purchasing more convenient, and similar services have shown to increase cart sizes and overall sales as much as 45%. What a win! 

2. Online Store 

Gift Cards and Tipping 

The Shopify team have currently made gift cards free for all Shopify plans. We’ve recently seen thousands of hospitality venues and retail stores close, as they struggle through COVID-19. Gift cards are a great solution, enabling buyers to help their favourite businesses through trying times!

When we shop online, it’s easy to forget one revenue stream that some businesses rely on. Tipping allows buyers to further support their favourite businesses. 

Selling Internationally 

Although, for the moment, many borders remain closed, selling internationally is still largely business as usual. One big issue when shopping internationally is trust. With local domains, Shopify merchants will be able to assign individual domains to a country or currency, as well as a language or set of languages to increase buyer confidence and boost repeat purchasing. Suona bene!

3. Omnichannel and Marketing 

Shopify POS

The coronavirus has certainly highlighted the need for (almost) all businesses to bridge the gap between their physical storefront and online store. The new Shopify POS includes a number of essentials like contactless checkout, in addition to new invaluable features like the local availability feature. This lets buyers see what’s in store and lets them choose the fulfillment option most suitable, such as local pickup. 

Listing on Google Shopping 

Through a recent partnership, Google opened up its shopping functionality so merchants can list their products on Google Shopping for free. This gives your business a huge amount of credibility and exposure on the world's largest search engine. You can read more about free organic listings here

Shop and Shop Channel

The Shop app is the online equivalent of your local shopping centre. The app has the features of Shopify’s Arrive and Shop Pay functionalities built in to offer buyers a seamless experience from discovery to delivery. 

Buyers will be able to search for local businesses, make their purchases using Shop Pay and track their package all in the one app. Shop also learns about buyers, suggesting products from your stores and others based on their purchase history. 

4. Shipping 

Delivery and Pickup Methods 

For small and medium sized businesses, an exciting change is the introduction of local delivery. Sellers will be able to set a local delivery area using postal codes or the radius to the merchant’s physical location. Buyers in this designated zone will be able to select this option at checkout. 

Merchants can also deliver items independently if it saves on costs and they can send notifications to buyers when deliveries are on the way. A nice touch to improve the customer experience. 

Sound like the right solution for your business? 

There’s a lot for Shopify customers to get excited about. With innovations like these, aimed at supporting businesses of all sizes, it's easy to see why Shopify’s share price continues to soar.

If your business is looking to benefit from a new or improved eCommerce presence, our Shopify experts know all the ins and outs of the platform. Get in touch to learn how we could help transform your business. 

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