Shopify reveals partnerships with Apple, Google and Twitter, introduces encryption

The Ottawa headquarters of Canadian e-commerce company Shopify on May 29, 2019.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Shopify Inc. The Ottawa-based company unveiled more than 100 new e-commerce products on Wednesday, including a variety of partnerships with Apple AAPL-Q, Google GOOGL-Q and Twitter TWTR-N, along with a new feature that allows customers to unlock customized versions of stores via Internet through cryptocurrency wallets.

In a pre-launch interview, Shopify president Harley Finkelstein described the products as part of the company’s broader consumer-oriented focus to help merchants connect with customers on platforms they might feel more comfortable with, such as social media sites. According to recent estimates, Shopify provides tools for nearly two million merchants globally to run their online stores.

“Back a few hundred years ago, trade was taking place in the town square. This is where the baker sold bread and cobbler’s shoes. The reason for that is because people take their time,” Mr. Finkelstein told the Globe and Mail. “If you think about where people are spending their time now, it’s everywhere. I mean, it’s on TikTok, it’s on Pinterest, it’s on Facebook and Instagram, it’s offline in stores, it’s at farmers markets.

“So, basically, we want to be the commerce, the retail operating system that makes it easier for merchants to sell across any of those spaces.”

Shopify’s new offerings are announced as tech companies face a global slowdown after booming during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first quarter of 2022, Shopify posted its slowest quarterly growth in seven years — missing analyst expectations for earnings, revenue, and overall merchandise volume.

Big tech companies, including the ones it now shares Shopify with, have completely lost trillions of dollars in market value this year as many investors sold their shares and the US Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate.

Some of the new Shopify products will only be available in the US before they are launched in other markets. This includes a partnership with Apple Inc. which allows Shopify merchants to accept payments directly from their customers’ iPhones without using POS devices.

The company is also launching a local shopping feature on Google by Alphabet Inc. Which will allow customers anywhere to search for a product and view a product available nearby, listed on the Shopify merchant website.

In addition, Shopify is the exclusive global partner of Twitter Shopping Mall, which will provide merchants with a built-in feature to present products to customers through their social media app and website.

Earlier this year, Shopify confirmed a deal to buy Deliverr Inc. San Francisco-based startup for $2.1 billion, which was the largest Shopify acquisition to date and part of the push to expand Storage and delivery services. Since then, the company has offered two-day delivery and six-month free storage to its merchants. On Wednesday, Shopify launched shipping services to France and Britain.

Mr Finkelstein said he is particularly looking forward to Shopify’s new “tokenged” feature that will allow merchants to create exclusive benefits, such as unique products and collections for customers, that can only be accessed through crypto wallets and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). He called it the “golden ticket” for customers.

Shopify’s new entry into cryptocurrencies was announced as digital assets like bitcoin fell to multi-year lows, while the defeat of the broader industry caused major crypto companies to cut large portions of their staff and one major player indefinitely halt all transactions.

“Our mission as a retail operating system for brands around the world is that no matter what a merchant wants to do on Shopify, we have to make that available,” said Mr. Finkelstein.

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