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The Future of Commerce from Shopify Unite

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This week I’ve had the pleasure of representing Reload Media at the third annual Shopify Unite conference which took place in Toronto, Canada.

Over the course of the week, the world’s fastest growing commerce platform has made numerous announcements related to product improvements and how it will continue to shape and adapt to the changing retail world. It even featured a cameo from Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, discussing the importance of embracing change.

But, for myself and the team at Reload, the big takeaways reinforced our beliefs around where the future of commerce and retail is heading. Here’s my take on that below:

The Online vs Offline Shopper

It no longer exists. Multiple research sources have shown this to be true, as consumers fluidly move between channels, devices and stores to make purchase decisions using both online and offline touchpoints. And these touchpoints need to be tailored to how your customers want to engage, rather than forcing customers to use a particular approach because that’s what works internally for you or because of a limitation in your processes.

From Shopify’s own announcements around an expanded POS, multi-location inventory (able to power click-and-collect) and new retail spaces, it’s clear they’re embracing that direction too.

Think Globally

Over half the world’s ecommerce consumers now buy across borders, and Shopify’s announcements around multi-currency support as well as local payment options (eg: Chinese consumers being able to buy from Australian stores using Alipay or WeChat Pay) shows they’re embracing it too.

Australian online retailers need to leverage this trend further, and explore customer acquisition in Asia, North America and Europe at greater scale than ever before.

Blended Digital Retail

Think physical fashion stores that have your online cart items waiting for you in a change room when you arrive. Think augmented reality homewares retailers able to show you what products will look like in your own home through your phone’s camera.

The world’s best retailers don’t see online stores as competition for their physical ones, but are constantly exploring ways to enhance the overall shopping experience by blending digital and traditional aspects together.

Merging of Products and Services

As product differentiation becomes harder (particularly amongst lower value goods), the leading brands are looking at ways to combine both free and paid services as bundles with their products.

From hardware chains running DIY workshops to restaurants and coffee shops adding “coffee at home” products, the quest for a competitive source of differentiation means that this will continue, particularly in an era where Amazon and others like them will continue to capture a greater share of everyday essentials.

So that’s it, a week’s worth of content, talks and announcements boiled down to paint a picture of where commerce is heading.

Looking forward to doing it all again next year!

Reload Team
Reload Team

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