Yesterday for the first time Unite, the annual Shopify conference dedicated to partners and developers around the world, opened its doors to merchants. For the occasion it has been rebranded Re(Unite) - global live streaming event during which all new features and plans by the e-commerce platform have been announced.
Many of the features covered have currently been released only in the US: we have therefore created a selection of the most relevant points for the Italian market, with a special focus towards restaurants and cafes willing to start selling online and towards the Made In Italy brands that are looking at foreign markets for the first time.
1. NEW EXPRESS THEME FOR FOOD AND RESTAURANTS
Shopify just published a brand new free theme called Express, particularly suitable for cafes and restaurants and for those merchants that need to go live as soon as possible. Designed to provide a simple and fast experience, the Express theme makes the entire customer journey happen in one single page and it is highly optimized for mobile.
This new theme, together with Shopify brand new pick up in store and delivery features, can create a solid alternative for those restaurants that decide to sell online without passing through the big food delivery services, which are efficient but impact deeply on the merchant revenue share.
2. PICK UP IN STORE, HOME DELIVERY, TIPPING
Shopify managed to respond quickly and efficiently to many merchants requests during the Coronavirus pandemic. Features that used to require third party apps are now natively integrated in all Shopify plans, making the local stores lives easier and giving many new delivery options to the final users.
More specifically, Shopify is implementing the pick up in store option (also for multiple locations) and the home delivery option. Merchants will be able to personalize such options with different fees, delivery ranges to limit the specific delivery options and plan the daily deliveries through a specific app.
To finish with, it is now possible to select tipping at the checkout, and, thanks to the fully customizable text, the same function can be used to also collect donations (we cover this topic here).
3. NEW SHOPIFY POS
Shopify has recently renewed their POS system, making the admin panel completely customizable - including the option of adding third party apps - and is soon going to implement 100% contactless payment solutions through QR codes, a valuable tool to keep the social distancing required by authorities.
Soon not only merchants but also end users will be able to verify which products are available in a specific physical store, integrating even more the offline and the online experience.
4. A NEW INTERNATIONALIZATION: LOCAL DOMAINS, DIFFERENT PRICES FOR DIFFERENT COUNTRIES AND CUSTOM DUTIES
Some of the most pressing requests around a higher internationalization of online stores seem to have been heard: Shopify has in fact announced the possibility to assign local domains to a specific country or currencies. This, thanks to the html tags href lang, will contribute to a correct SEO indexing for each country.
Moreover, the new feature Custom FX will allow merchants to personalize their prices depending on country/currency, creating ad hoc rules to convert and adjust their product listings. The earnings will though still reach the merchant in the main currency chosen.
It also seems that the automatic calculation of custom duties for cross boarder commerce is about to be finally rolled out. All these are crucial features for the Made In Italy brands, that most often witness the highest demands overseas.
5. OTHER IMPORTANT UPDATES
Now that we have covered what we consider the most relevant updates for Italian merchants, we also wish to quickly cover the other key elements announced during Unite that will be available in Europe within a few months.
- Gift cards are now available on all Shopify plans
- Theme sections, currently mostly usable in homepage only, will be usable on all store pages (product pages, collection pages, static pages...). This is a revolutionary announcement for all those that wish to have a complete control over their website look.
- It seems that a native solution for subscriptions and membership at the checkout is getting closer. We'll keep you updated on this.
- Recently Shopify Email has been launched, an email marketing service provided by Shopify which will offer 2500 free emails per month per merchant until October.
- Facebook, together with Shopify and other big e-commerce platforms, just launched Facebook Shops, even if the Facebook checkout is currently only available in the US.
- For medium-big businesses two interesting functions have been introduced: Purchase Orders, which traces orders to suppliers and allows a joint inventory management, and a way more versatile client orders interface, where many actions will be possible from the general orders overview, without clicking on each single order to edit.
- To conclude, Shopify just improved its performance and speed once more. The dashboard itself will make performance changes way more visible, creating a clear correlation between actions taken on the stores and speed variations.
Definitely a year rich of great announcements, that we are looking forward to seeing turning into reality in the next few months. If you are a business trying to go online to face the post-COVID-19 scenario you can try Shopify here for free. If you have questions, doubts or you need a hand in setting up your Shopify store you can write us through our contact form.