At its virtual event Reunite, Shopify announced the launch of major products and updates, including a new money management solution called Shopify Balance.
Scheduled to launch in early access later this year in the U.S., Shopify Balance comes with a business account, business card, rewards and no monthly fees or minimums. The solution will allow merchants to manage their business finances and cash flow all in one place.
“Shopify Balance will give independent businesses the tools that are typically reserved for only the largest businesses in the world,” said Harley Finkelstein, the chief operating officer of Shopify, during the virtual event. “But right from the Shopify admin, you’ll be able to pay your bills, track your expenses and make smart decisions for the future of your business. And if you need more funding, you can get that right there without any delay. Your money from your sales will land right into your balance, much faster than it would with any legacy bank, and you will not have to pay any minimum fees or any or maintain any type of minimum balance. You will also get the Shopify card so you can make payments in person and online, and even take out funds from an ATM.”
The company says two in five Shopify merchants are currently using their personal bank accounts and cards for business, meaning they’re combining their personal and business finances, making it difficult to measure the financial health of the business.
In addition to Balance, Shopify revealed a new “Buy Now, Pay Later” option offered through the Shop Pay Installments feature, local delivery options, online store improvements to help affected businesses get online faster, and increased availability of the Shopify Fulfillment Network for merchants.
“These are unprecedented times. This is going to be one of the most challenging chapters in all of our lives. But entrepreneurs are the kind of people who make the most out of what they’ve got. They’re the people who can see opportunity when everyone else sees despair,” said Tobi Lütke, chief executive officer of Shopify during his virtual keynote. “Right now, we’re dedicating ourselves to helping as many small businesses as possible survive this. We’ve looked far and wide into our roadmaps for everything that might be helpful right now, and have tried to pull as many things forward as we could, shipping them and getting them out the door for our merchants.”
The Shop Pay Installments feature will let merchants offer more payment choice and flexibility at checkout, giving consumers the option to split purchases into four equal payments over time, interest-free and with no additional fees to consumers. Working with a partner, Shopify said it will launch Shop Pay Installments later this year in Canada. It will be available to U.S. merchants eligible for Shopify Payments.
Shopify says average daily local orders on Shopify for the six weeks ending April 24 grew 176 per cent, compared to the prior six weeks, coinciding with the introduction of physical distancing measures. As of April 24, six per cent of brick-and-mortar merchants in Shopify’s English-speaking geographies were using some form of local pickup and delivery solution, compared to just 2 per cent at the end of February. The company has begun rolling out its local delivery product for merchants globally to offer an improved and simplified local delivery experience.
Shopify Fulfillment Network, which launched in 2019, has graduated from its early access stage, and is actively accepting merchant applications. Shopify Fulfillment Network continues to take away the complexities of fulfillment by investing in technology and a collaborative robotics workforce, allowing merchants to join, scale and evolve their fulfillment strategies through its growing partner network. Shopify opened its first research and development hub in Ottawa for the trial of new robotics and fulfillment technologies, iterate and improve on warehouse operations, and fulfill Canadian-based orders.
In October 2019, the company acquired 6 River Systems, Inc., a provider of collaborative warehouse fulfillment solutions. Together they started adding 6 River Systems’ cloud-based software and collaborative mobile robots called “Chuck” to the Shopify Fulfillment Network with the aim of increasing the speed and reliability of warehouse operations. The robots helped with inventory replenishment, picking, sorting and packing.
Coming soon, the company said during the event, its new Shop Channel will let merchants control how their brand appears on Shop, which will be first available to merchants in Canada and the U.S.
On May 19, Facebook introduced Facebook Shops in collaboration with Shopify, which allows merchants to build branded versions of their online store within Instagram and Facebook.