Shopify: Why do we build what we build?

Category: Brands
2023 Shopify Price Changes

Brands go to Shopify for the product. Not just because of what the product is today, but also because of the sheer velocity of our innovation.

On the 31st of January, Shopify will release the latest version of Shopify Editions, where twice a year they catalog everything shipped in the past six months. The Winter ’24 Edition will show you more than 100 platform updates, all designed to help your business succeed.

While we wait for Shopify to share their latest product innovations, they have shared the underlying philosophy driving their work. Why Shopify we build what they build? How do they approach their products and the strategies behind them?

Shopify’s job is to increase the rate of successful entrepreneurs. To do that, they always start with five foundational principles. They’re the not-so-secret sauce behind why the best brands of today are on Shopify, and why the best brands of tomorrow will be built here, too.

1) Be the easiest way to start a digital native business

Little-known fact: the name Shopify comes from the word “simplify.” So much of what they do in their product is just that: simplifying complex things. For entrepreneurs, the complex ranges from massive servers to code, web design, shipping, taxes, payments… Shopify build tools that make all those complex things easy.

Said another way, Shopify lower the barrier to entry for entrepreneurship, which means there can be more entrepreneurs in the world. They believe that’s what the world needs.

Shopify software has inspired millions of people to take the leap and think to themselves, “You know what, maybe I could start my own business.

Today, there are hundreds of examples of how they simplify the complex through their product. You can launch your business in a new country in less than 20 seconds, for example, using Shopify Markets.

And we can’t talk about making things easier without referencing the power of AI, which Shopify are integrating into every part of our product. Merchants are already using Shopify Magic, their AI feature suite, to save valuable time. This is all part of an historic transition from imperative to declarative software.

If you think about software like a car, we give you the best vehicle – you can drive it wherever you want. That’s imperative software. We’re now heading into the world of declarative software, where you can say, “I don’t want to drive right now, but I’ll tell you where I want to go. Can you drive for me?

2) Be the ideal way to sell globally in all channels

For merchants, every new stage of business growth brings a whole new set of challenges. Shopify solves more of those problems than any other platform out there.

Often, software only solves one problem: a or b. But their philosophy is, why make you choose? Why not both? Here are some examples of what they mean:

  • Sell online or and in person: Shopify helps people sell both online and in-store using the Point of Sale (POS) solution. These things are integrated together—it’s not two systems, it’s one. They say that they are the only commerce platform on the market that says yes to doing both those things in one place, and does it well.
  • Sell domestically or and internationally: Most people start selling in their home country, but when they choose to expand internationally, Shopify Markets and Markets Pro help you sell globally as easily as they do at home.
  • Sell to consumers or and to businesses: You get B2C and B2B, without launching two different websites. It’s all in one, with shared inventory, orders, returns, logistics…
  • Sell on your own website or and other channels: Commerce is multichannel, so Shopify help you sell on your website and your POS, as well as through hundreds of social and marketplace channels.
    All these individual solutions are part of one system. They’re not just multiple pieces glued together with an integration. They’re part of a whole, and you can feel the difference when things belong together.

3) Be the best developer and platform ecosystem

Shopify solve a lot of problems for our merchants, but we don’t solve everything in the box. That’s why they built our developer platform and ecosystem, so that partners can build solutions to the needs that aren’t met directly within Shopify.

They start with the world’s best primitives and APIs for commerce, and make them extensible so app developers can use them to solve unique problems. They provide great development tools that are a pleasure to use. After building, developers can apply to be listed in the Shopify App Store and Theme Store so they can market to merchants who become their customers.

There are more than 10,000 apps in our store—it’s the richest app ecosystem with the most solutions of any commerce platform. Becoming a member of their developer ecosystem has become the best possible choice for devs.

For our Winter ‘23 Edition, Shopify rolled out a new badging system for the App Store called Built for Shopify. This program sets a new standard for quality and integrations of apps built on our platform. 10% of all app installs in Shopify stores are now certified Built for Shopify, and we expect this to keep rising. The benefit to you is that these apps are so tightly integrated to Shopify that they feel like a core feature of the product. They belong there.

4) Uphold technical and design excellence

Each Shopify Edition, more than 100 improvements are shared. Any one of those updates could potentially be the entire six-month roadmap of another company. Shopify 100x that.

The quest for technical excellence comes directly from Shopify’s founder and CEO Tobi Lütke. He is deeply passionate about this, and has built it into the company’s DNA.

The result? The Shopify admin is one of the most performant, beautiful, and delightful-to-use products on the planet. This matters a lot, because you spend a lot of time using Shopify’s admin. In some cases, you spend all day managing your business there.

It matters that every pixel is handcrafted. It matters that it’s a joy to use, because this is a big part of why merchants love and default to Shopify for their current business. And their next business. And the next one after that, and the next one after that.

– Glen Coates, VP of Product, Shopify Core

This level of design excellence doesn’t only create a positive user experience, it also leads to killer performance. And in commerce, performance is king. Performance is conversion, which adds dollars to your bottom line—this is why we spend so much time on infrastructure.

Shopify have 300 points of presence around the globe, which puts them within 50 milliseconds of everyone on the planet. 350 infrastructure engineers work on this every single day, so that you don’t have to.

They say that Shopify Checkout converts 15% better on average than the competition. That’s 15% more dollars to the bottom line of every merchant using our checkout. Turns out, technical and design excellence actually makes people more money.

5) Create leverage from scale

Millions of businesses are on our platform. Hundreds of millions of buyers purchase from them every year. Billions of dollars are processed through our platform each week. Shopify take all of that scale, all of that data, and put it back into the product for the benefit of our merchants.

They do this in many ways. The one you’re most familiar with is probably Shop Pay—you know, the purple button that you maybe click a bit too often? Shop Pay is the #1 accelerated checkout method on Shopify.

Why? Because it converts at least 10% higher on average than other accelerated checkouts, based on a 2023 study in partnership with a Big Three global management consulting firm. It converts 50% higher than guest checkout. Weirdly, the mere presence of that purple button on the page, even if you don’t click it, can increase conversion by 5%.

Other ways they leverage scale include Shopify Audiences for merchants who opt into sharing their (anonymized) data so Shopify can help them buy better ads on the internet. In some cases, cutting customer acquisition costs by up to 50%.

Then there’s Shopify Capital. Because they work with so many businesses, Shopify know more about them than banks do. As a result, they can underwrite loans more effectively and efficiently than banks can. They have a 70% renewal rate on Shopify Capital from first loan to subsequent loans, which is kind of unheard of.

Essentially, Shopify take the scale of a massive enterprise, and we offer its advantages to businesses of all sizes.

When you add up these five foundational pillars, it becomes clear why merchants and developers love and default to Shopify. They say that they are the easiest place to start a business, and once you start scaling, will solve more problems for you than any other provider, and their app ecosystem will solve the rest.

Shopfiy say that they will give you a product that is fast and a pleasure to use, and that keeps you on the cutting edge. It’ll make you more money because of its performance. Plus, they reinvest in the product for your benefit.


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