Spotify’s objective is to “help as many SMBs survive as possible,” said CEO Tobi Lütke, in opening remarks on the virtual event. “We looked deep into our roadmap to find anything that might be helpful now and pull as many things forward as we could.”
The big trend that Shopify is facilitating is the sudden transition of local brick and mortar merchants into online businesses.
The company said since the lockdowns it has seen a 45% increase in the number of people who are buying from a business they have never patronized before.
Here are some features and products Shopify announced on the live stream hosted by Shopify Chief Product Officer Craig Miller.
The biggest announcement on last week’s event came at the very end when COO Harvey Finklestein unveiled Shopify Balance, which is basically a merchant bank account and debit card that has no minimum balance requirements.
“Today’s banking products are built from a traditional banking point of view. They are designed for large businesses and they do not move as fast as our merchants do,” Finkelstein said.
“Shopify Balance will give local merchants tools normally reserved for the largest businesses in the world.”
The new banking service lets merchants pay bills, track expenses, and request funding right from their Shopify admin page.
The service includes a new card, which merchants can use physically and virtually. It includes a rewards program with discounts on services like shipping and marketing.
The bank will launch for U.S. merchants “later this year” with plans for eventual international expansion.
Shopify Local Delivery
Shopify reports that local orders were up by 176% from mid-March through the end of April.
The company is now rolling out a curbside pick-up ordering option for local merchants. They’ve launched a basis version already, with a more feature-rich version coming soon, the company promised on the live stream.
Noting the importance of email as a means of connecting with customers, Shopify fast-tracked the launch of its email solution and has made the product free until October 1.
Email marketing has been seeing a surge during the pandemic, as consumers and businesses have more time and are often looking for answers from the businesses they interact with on how to acquire service during lockdowns, how refunds or credits will be handled, what the plan is for re-opening and so on.
Shopify Capital has been lending cash to US merchants since 2016. However, in April Shopify expanded the service to the UK and Canada. To date, the service has loaned out $1 billion to merchants in amounts ranging from $200 to $1 million.
The company uses the merchant’s cash stream rather than personal credit as the basis for lending decisions.
Shop Pay Installments
On the consumer side, Shopify announced it would roll out Shop Pay Installments “later this year.” This service will allow consumers that are purchasing through Shop Pay to opt for an interest-free installment plan of up to four payments.
You can view the entire event here:
Shopify Surges During Lockdowns
While the current environment has been an existential challenge for many of Shopify’s customers, it has been a boon for the company’s valuation.
Shopify closed at 322.29 on March 16, the first trading day after President Trump declared a state of emergency in the U.S. over the pandemic. This was actually down from the beginning of 2020 when the company traded at 407.81. Shopify closed at 768.95 on May 28, a 138.6% increase since the state of emergency began.