Shopify Is Expanding With a U.S. Fulfillment Network

One of several new initiatives aimed at gaining market share

Part of Shopify's announcements include letting merchants show products in video and 3D models. Shopify
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At Shopify’s annual developer conference, Shopify Unite, the ecommerce SaaS platform rolled out a series of new features for its merchants and partners: its own fulfillment network for its U.S. merchants, an improved Shopify Plus experience, a new Shopify point-of-sale system and a few other updates to its online store design experience.

Taking a page out of Amazon’s playbook, Shopify is introducing the Shopify Fulfillment Network, a network of distributed fulfillment centers (currently in an early-access mode). To begin, Shopify is working with fulfillment partners in Nevada, California, Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Customers check out normally, and Shopify chooses the closest fulfillment center to process those orders to provide low-cost and fast delivery. Pricing varies per merchant and is based on factors such as distance or the type of product.

On the retail side, Shopify is starting out by completely revamping its point-of-sale system, integrating apps onto the home screen and starting a closed beta of buy-online-pick-up-in-store. Some other new features include surfacing loyalty and promotion rewards at checkout. Shopify is also introducing a new tap and chip case later this year—which lets merchants accept credit card and contactless payments in-store. (The company unveiled a new tap and chip reader earlier this year.)

Additionally, Shopify Plus, the company’s paid offering for merchants, is receiving a number of new features—namely, giving merchants more information, such as seeing sales numbers of all stores in one area. It’s also expanding on Shopify Flow, the commerce automation tool the company introduced at last year’s Unite conference, which is now built onto Shopify Plus. Merchants can automate tasks occurring in one store and replicate it at another.

Other product updates include upgrading the online store design experience, such as the ability to edit multiple pages at the same time, bringing sections to every part of the store (as opposed to just the homepage) and rolling out video and 3D capabilities to showcase products. Cynthia Savard Saucier, director of user experience, said customers are twice as likely to complete a purchase after interacting with a 3D model. Checkout is also evolving, with partners now able to build apps that extend to the checkout experience, such as integrating subscriptions into the checkout flow.

These moves signify that Shopify is taking its newly cemented status of reaching $1 billion in revenue in 2018 and taking on bigger competitors such as Amazon, while shutting out partners as it closes up its ecosystem.

@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.