Need to Know
- At Shopify’s annual conference, Unite, the e-commerce platform announced a number of new features.
- Shopify Balance Account is a “one-stop-shop” account for small business owners and a feature several employees are referring to as Shopify’s bank.
- The online platform also announced Shop Pay Installments, Fulfillment Network expansion, and Local Delivery products.
- The conference emphasized the importance of strong digital tools and local commerce in COVID-19 retail climate.
E-commerce giant Shopify announced a number of new tools and programs at its online Reunite event on Wednesday, the biggest of which is Balance, a banking account tailored to the particular needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Balance, which will be made available to Shopify merchants in the US later this year, is a one-stop-shop within Shopify’s platform admin allowing sellers to track cash flow, pay bills, and monitor expenses. According to a press release from Shopify, 40% of merchants are currently using personal accounts for some business needs; Balance aims to provide tools that are designed for the needs of small business owners, where personal accounts might fall short.
Shopify Balance will also provide merchants with a physical or digital banking card, the Shopify Balance Card, which will allow merchants to make purchases or withdraw cash from an ATM, and a Rewards program offering benefits such as cash back and discounts. Shopify Balance will have no monthly fees and no minimum balance.
Also announced at Reunite was Shopify’s buy now, pay later, option, Shop Pay Installments, which exists within the company’s Shop Pay tool and lets merchants offer customers flexible financing options. Shopify joins a number of merchants and businesses offering buy now, pay later financing, including Visa, which announced a partnership with Splitit earlier this year. The tool, which will also be available later this year, will be launched with a partner — though Shopify did not specify whom.
In addition, the retailer revealed that it has begun rolling out a Local Delivery program, aimed at assisting businesses struggling with temporary closures of physical retail space during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the release, average daily local orders on Shopify grew 176% over the six-week period ending April 24. Local Delivery allows merchants to define a local shipping radius, and create optimized local delivery routes, among other functions.
In addition to the above, Shopify also released tools allowing merchants to collect tips at checkout; a new template, Express, that allows retailers to quickly open online stores; and expansions to the Shopify Fulfillment network, all in an effort to help merchants adapt to an increasingly digital-only retail environment.