So back in SE3 EP02, I talked about Why I was wrong about Shopify. My key takeaway was to Focus Less on Tech and more on Marketing by using a hosted ecommerce platforms such as Shopify to scale your sales. Other key benefits of a host ecommerce platform are:
The lowdown was that you do a lot less technical tinkering and get on with marketing and selling products. With that being said, at scale or the mid-tier, you may require some more flexibility or customisation and automation. This is where Shopify Plus comes to mind. I have been trying to find out more about Shopify Plus as a platform for mid-tier and enterprise retailers.
I finally got hold of their Direct of Product, David Moellenkamp. He oversees, feature sets that will be implemented in the short term, medium term and long term. He is pretty much in charge of Shopify Plus’ feature-set roadmap.
Initially, there was only the standard Shopify Platform. But when the team started to notice that merchants with complex processes were not being catered for, there was a need to have a platform that would accommodate all their needs and that is where Shopify Plus came in.
After the launch of Shopify Plus, the first few months were busy as most merchants were upgrading to Shopify Plus from other Shopify Subscriptions and other platforms. Currently, there are several merchants on the platform and the Shopify Plus team is striving to improve their services to ensure all their needs are taken care of. This will give merchants more time to focus on important aspects of their businesses that will help them grow.
Although the Shopify App eco-system is open, Shopify and Shopify Plus are a closed platform. David argues that being a closed platform actually enables Shopify to improve due to the company’s full control of its developmental direction. With that being said, its open app eco-system gives developers an opportunity to bring in new ideas and add-on features that enhances overall user experience. Doing so helps app developers cater for the needs of merchants allowing Shopify to focus on more important things.
If Shopify Plus engineers made everything themselves, they would end up with products that are scattered and not up to their standards. With the app eco-system, engineers can come together and provide better extensions for merchants to use. Customers and merchants can go to the app eco-system to find solutions to the problems they are experiencing on the platform without having to look for developers or do the coding themselves.
Companies like Bold Commerce are thriving on Shopify’s App eco-systems because they can cater to the needs of Shopify’s thousands of customers.
To be a part of the Shopify Plus app eco-system, merchants need to be Shopify Plus subscribers.
There is the plus technology program where other providers can provide technological solutions for merchant problems.
The plus partners program is where they ensure agency partners are able to deliver solutions to Shopify Plus merchants.
The main challenge merchants experience is difficulty finding time to run their businesses. They have a hard time scaling their business in a smart way because they have a lot of tasks to carry out. With Shopify Plus, their work is made easier through automation. They can automate several tasks and end up saving time and money that they can use to do other important things that will help them grow and scale their businesses.
Launchpad is an application that is useful in launching different campaigns. It allows you monitor everything that happens over the course of a campaign including customer traffic, inventory among other things and helps automate all the processes involved in launching and running campaigns.
Flow is a backend customizable tool that helps in running processes in the back and front end of businesses. For instance, using Flow, one can automate the processes involved after an order is made.
Contrary to popular belief, Shopify Plus is very customizable. Even though it is a hosted platform, it is still customizable as that is how it is able to cater to the needs of customers. Through the platform, customers can get what they need to help them scale their businesses.
The reason for having applications is to give users a better experience. While most Shopify Plus applications are web-based, there some mobile applications that work as well. These apps make it easier for merchants to run the business on the go and any data taken through the mobile app directly goes to the platform.
The aim of the omnichannel feature is to have merchants interact with their customers in an easier way. In 2018, there will be more investments in channels that will look for better ways customers can be reached. since Shopify Plus is continuing to expand, there will be more channel partnerships that will ensure that their reach is everywhere.
Retailers who want to get into wholesale can subscribe to Shopify Plus’ wholesale channel. The channel is aimed at providing an amazing buyer experience for buyers and will help merchants scale their business and interact with their customers in a better way.
Entrepreneurs should focus on building a feature set, pipeline, and workflow that will make their businesses grow. They should focus on the main areas of business. They can use technology to help them automate some of the repetitive tasks that take up most of their time.
10.55 The roadmap of Shopify plus to date
15.25 Open source vs Closed platforms
19.18 App eco-system
23.00 Technology challenges Shopify plus merchants have
26.40 The difference between launchpad and flow
28.58 How customizable is Shopify plus?
32.10 Mobile apps or web apps
36.12 Omni-channel feature sets expected in 2018
38.35 Wholesale expansion opportunities for retailers
41.00 Growth tips for entrepreneurs