Shopify debuts new retail hardware – owns multichannel retailing
Shopify has long been known as the market-leading platform for building online stores, giving small businesses everywhere access to the transformative power of ecommerce. But it’s increasingly looking to become a player that specialises in the connection of online and offline retail operations – and that means digging into brick-and-mortar. This month, the company has made in-roads into that environment with the unveiling of a range of new hardware for physical retail spaces.
Shopify’s overwhelming run continues: share price up more than 104% year to date
Source: Yahoo Finance
Shopify offers point-of-sale software for physical stores, and a few years ago, it released a card reader. Now, it’s giving customers access to a range of new hardware designed to make brick-and-mortar operations easier to integrate with its online platform. The new collection includes a redesigned Tap & Chip Reader, as well as the Dock and Retail Stand.
Chief product officer Craig Miller describes this moment as a “tipping point” where the traditional logic of the last few years – if you’re a retailer, you should go online – has started to work both ways. Now, there is an industry-wide trend where online retailers have realised “the next step to scale your business is opening an offline store.” Many of those businesses are Shopify veterans – and the company has no plans to lose them in the brick-and-mortar world.
Miller is under no illusion – Shopify’s selling point here is that its offline solutions can integrate seamlessly with its online one. That might mean, for customers, that inventories can be tracked in one place, or retailers might be in a position to offer click-and-collect (order online, pick up in store) to their customers.
“Consumer expectations are just going through the roof,” he said. But while these kinds of capabilities “might be available at some of the larger stores, when you think about smaller retail, they don’t have access to that enterprise stuff. We’ve been able to create one package that does it all.”
Miller also noted that Shopify isn’t the first company to offer this kind of solution – but that won’t stop it from doing it better than competitors: “We’ve always been a believer that first-to-market is not always the winner. Just as a company, we’re philosophically inclined to taking our time just to understand what the market is looking for, to challenge some assumptions — like whether there even needs to be a checkout counter.”
Dominion holds Shopify in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.
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