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Shopify revamps platform with new checkout and storefront tools

The news: During its Unite 2021 conference, Shopify announced platform enhancements that give merchants more control over the look and functionality of their online storefronts.

Shopify also updated the payments process: Shopify Checkout, its payments and checkout platform, can now handle tens of thousands of purchases per minute. It will also launch Payments Platform, which lets payment providers create Shopify apps that merchants can use as payment gateways.

With the introduction of Online Store 2.0, merchants can add new design and functional attributes—like a cart tool to estimate the cost of products after taxes and discounts—that give them more control over their brands. And starting August 1, developers will keep 100% of the first $1 million in revenues they make on Shopify’s app store, after which Shopify will charge 15%—down from the previous 20% rate.

The opportunities: Shopify’s platform updates give merchants more ways to enhance their online stores to attract customers and boost sales.

  • Enhancing the payments process can increase sales. Making Shopify Checkout faster can reduce customer friction and let merchants handle more sales in a shorter period of time. And letting payment providers create payment gateways as Shopify apps makes it easier for sellers to choose solutions that fit their business needs—like pricing or the global markets they serve.
  • New customizable features make Shopify more attractive to sellers. The updates give merchants more freedom to market and sell their products with Shopify. Other ecommerce sales channels, like Amazon, don’t offer as many customization tools—most sellers have a hard time standing out because their storefronts all have the same look and features.
  • Reducing developers’ revenue share rate might incentivize innovation. Developers will likely welcome the rate change—they’ll keep a greater portion of their revenues, which may encourage them to churn out new integrations and solutions that help Shopify enhance its platform and reach new clients.

The big takeaway: Shopify benefited from the surge in ecommerce last year. But now, ecommerce growth is normalizing: US ecommerce sales are set to grow 17.9% year over year (YoY), according to eMarketer forecasts from Insider Intelligence—down from last year’s 32.4% YoY surge. Shopify’s platform upgrades can help keep merchants tied to the online platform, solidifying its role as a “need-to-have” partner instead of a “nice-to-have” partner even as the pandemic subsides. Keeping sellers tied to its platform also helps Shopify maintain gross merchandise sales volume, which is set to hit $81.56 billion in the US this year, per our forecasts.