Eva Pascoe | Digital Retailer

December 20th, 2017
Shopify comes of age


In the battle of David versus Goliath, Magento ecommerce platform was the giant that everyone wanted to beat. Late with their 2.0 development, Magento is increasingly looking like a struggling gazelle and the wolves of E-commerce are beginning to circle.

Both Hybris and Demandware are busy developing a lower end of their offer to pick up the unhappy Magento customers. However, a new kid on the block has emerged, and while not so much of a wolf but a small and agile cheetah, Shopify has now moved on the kills so fast that the wolves were left behind wondering what has just happened.


On the latest Shopify Xmas Meet Up (no carols but a few Xmas jumpers spotted thanks to We Make Websites) at London’s Huckletree, we had a chance of combing thru the upcoming features from the Canadian upstart that is beginning to show their coding mettle. The breath of the offer is pretty impressive, considering that only a few years ago Shopify was just a glimmer in Toby Lutke’s (@Tobi) eye. A new team of 300 developers and a whiff of Canadian fresh air did wonders and the offer is now almost fully matching Magento capabilities.


Life in the fast ecom game is never a bed of roses so there are still some missing gaps in the Shopify offer and we have gathered on the cold December evening to grill the representatives of Shopify developers, integrators and app developers to get a peek into the alchemy of ecommerce from the Canadian wilderness. What will we see in 2018?


High returns are still a curse of online fashion sites, with a typical return rate running at about 38-42%. To solve the problem, Shopify has brought in partnership with Rakuten Fit Me that combined a feed from shoppers data (customers need to enter height and weight) with a feed from garment data (provided by the retailer).


FitsMe algorithm then can provide a visual feedback with arrows showing the part of the garments where the fit may not be ideal, and with suggestions what size may provide a better match. The costs of FitsMe probably point to higher price point brands (Hawkes and Curtis are customers), or workwear (Rentokil) but worth keeping an eye as Rakuten is investing heavily into improving the solution and more SME-friendly costings.

Fit Me is getting some traction but there is also an alternative solution. For premium or luxury product with average order values of above 250 pounds, the risk of getting it wrong is high. Customers do not relish the notion of having to park their money with the retailer, order 2 sizes and return the one that does not fit – but which point it could take up to 3 weeks to see the funds back in customer’s account.


Shopify has invited Dividio.com to offer a Try-At-Home-Pay-Later solution which makes sense for luxury products. It offers a free period of ‘trying at home’, and when the product fits, the customer has 2 weeks to settle the payment. Looks promising, as there is no risk to retailer with Dividio taking all the credit checks and associated risks on their chin.


For those who offer Next Day delivery, it maybe useful to install Order Tagger app from Shopify partners UnionWorks.co.uk. This London based app development team has gone to town with their fancy orders tag function, so the retailer can now tag orders by value, by country of origin, by weight and frankly everything that you can think about. Our favourite is tagging by type of Shipment as in a busy warehouse, every little helps if the orders flow in pre-selected for Next Day versus standard. Nice and also note that Progressive Web Apps framework https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/codelabs/your-first-pwapp/ has been adopted by the company and their apps are really cutting edge solutions.


When you send a Happy Birthday card to your VIP customers, with a gift in a form of special birthday Discount, the conversions usually reach 60-70%. Happy Birthday app from UnionWorks is a nice new Shopify tool to get the data in a low-key way and then integrate into a once-a-year special birthday discount and an editable message. A word of warning: for the ladies, don’t go into details on how old the customer (as 39th birthday may be a sensitive time in customer’s life) so a nice and vague Happy Birthday message will be just fine.


Thanks to WeMakeWebsites team for hosting the event, congrats to Bluebella.com (a Shopify site) on winning Lingerie Brand of the Year and to HelpForHeroes.org.uk for a very successful migration to Shopify from a proprietary platform.


Merry Xmas to all Shopify retailers and developers, wishing you a successful festive trading period and a very code-creative 2018!


Eva Pascoe

The Retail Practice







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