Tap and Chip Reader
One of the key releases this year is of the new and improved Tap and Chip Reader. As you may be aware, Shopify provides a Chip and Swipe reader for free to its merchants (and will continue to do so). This year merchants will have to ability, for only $49, to purchase the Tap and Chip Reader. Tap payments, for the unaware, are when you just tap your mobile device or card onto the reader to pay. Tap payments are the fastest way of paying and allows the retailer to focus on conversation instead of credit cards. With it’s new sleek design, Bluetooth and wireless capabilities, the Tap and Chip Reader should lead to more conversions to those selling in person.
Augmented Retail, have you heard of it? This is Shopify’s vision for virtual reality in the real world and the online world of retail. Shopify’s Head of VR showed off an impressive display of how a customer can, for example, create a virtual flat lay of the clothes they want to buy. You have probably seen flat lays all across Instagram, it is when clothes are laid out on a flat surface and displayed as an outfit. Now, just by dragging and dropping products onto a flat surface using a mobile device, customers can get a 3D rendered display of the products. You may be wondering how good can this possibly look. Well, it may come to surprise you that it looks incredibly realistic. The demonstration showed how you can zoom all the way into the stitching of a purse, and how the reflection off of sunglasses and metal items move with you in a hyper-realistic way. 3D models of your products may be the future of e-commerce. 3D modeling technology has advanced so far now that renders of your products may even be used for product photography. And because it’s render you can alter the colorways easily and view the product from all angles. If used correctly this will save merchants a huge chunk of time, our most valuable resource.
Shopify Physical Space
You have probably seen the community workspaces in your city where entrepreneurs can go to work together. Shopify announced that it will be launching it’s first ever physical space this year. It is basically a community workspace but hyper-focused on helping Shopify entrepreneurs grow their businesses. There will be Shopify Guru’s on hand at all times including talks and demonstrations daily. Imagine being instantly connected, in person, with an expert at all times to help you grow your business. Pretty cool, right? We think so. Shopify is planning to open this workspace in the Fall of 2018.
New GraphQL Admin API
Six years ago Shopify merchants were only using one app on average. Today that has grown six-fold. As Brandon Chu, Director of Product Apps, stated in his Keynote speech, “Commerce is a deeply technical problem.” Thus the switch to GraphQL makes perfect sense since it extremely powerful right out of the box. GraphQL had Shopify’s engineers so excited that they completely rebuilt Shopify under the hood using it. GraphQL will allow developers to build faster and write less code and let Shopify do more of the heavy lifting. This new API is now available today, May 8th.
New Shopify App Store
Currently, there are over 2,400 apps in the app store. Although this is great, it can also make it difficult for merchants to sift through. The search tool can be helpful but it is limited by what the merchant already knows. So, the new app store is focused on becoming a platform for discovery. This means that apps will be suggested to merchants based off of data about their store. An app home card has also been added to Shopify admin dashboard to further help the discovery of new apps that are right for the merchant. Think Netflix but for merchant apps. The new app store releases this summer along with the Shopify Services Marketplace. Last year $100 million was paid to App developers and now the opportunity has never been bigger.
Shopify Ping is a bold new endeavor to unite all communication between your Shopify store customers, employees, and the upgraded Kit virtual employee – perhaps there will be no more need for apps like Slack. Ping will notice you, with a unique sound, anytime a customer messages any of your sales channels. No longer will you have to switch to Facebook or Twitter to answer messages there, instead all communications will be unified in Ping. Not only that, but Ping is where you can edit your Shopify store using conversation with Kit. For example, Kit will message you, “We are running low on stock of X. Should we order 50 more units of X?” and all you need to do is reply yes. The kit also can make changes to prices to products, create discounts, orders, and provide you detailed information on a multitude of questions all through the power of conversation. Ping – talk to a kit, talk to customers, talk to your team. Ping releases this summer for free and is one of the key new features we will keep an eye on.