Unite 2017 Shopify Plus Q&A: Interview with Jeff Tompkins and Sean Ruiz

IMI shopify plus ecommerce partnershipOur VP of Business Development, Jeff Tompkins and our Lead Web Developer, Sean Ruiz attended Unite 2017, April 20-21, 2017 in San Francisco, CA. Although the City by the Bay experienced a power blip – 90% of the city was left in the dark – they came away with what has everyone buzzing in the e-commerce world: Shopify Plus.

Shopify Plus has elevated its platform to include features and capabilities to run e-commerce for clients whose online retail shops are rapidly expanding. With 400,000 merchants already using the platform and one million active users, it’s becoming the next best thing for both e-commerce companies and those who want to expand their digital presence using a comprehensive platform that is customizable in its functionality.

In a Q&A with Jeff and Sean, they gave their firsthand insight from the event followed by the possibilities for e-commerce clients in the future.

Q: Did Unite have any big announcements for attendees?

Jeff: The big news was the point of sale product, which they’re now rolling out for free to clients. How these card readers differ than similar options in the industry is that no matter where you are or who is using it, transactions will be linked up in one spot. Shopify Plus now has a full mobile app, in addition to its desktop and mobile integration. You’re looking at one big CMS to merge online and offline systems. That’s huge for retailers.

Q: So, you can essentially have a “mini store” everywhere?

Jeff: Yep, exactly. Whether it’s at an event, a pop-up shop, or if you’re wanting to test new locations for an eventual brick-and-mortar store, that little card reader links up to your centralized inventory under the Shopify Plus CMS.

Q: Who’s on the platform currently?

Sean: One of the biggest brands they mentioned was Kylie Jenner’s makeup line. Oreo, Budweiser…top brands have already started utilizing the platform’s capabilities. Tesla is using it for pre-orders; the Lakers use it, Boll & Branch, GoPro, Google, Wikipedia. These bigger brands need something that scale for new traffic.

Jeff: It’s great if your [e-commerce] company is experiencing growth, but what if your current server can’t handle the influx of traffic? Your site goes down; you lose customers, it’s a mess. That doesn’t happen with Shopify Plus. With the Shopify Plus platform, it’s scalable. You don’t have to use a third party server.

Q: How does this benefit companies?

Jeff: Besides growth opportunities, their scalability allows for flash sales. If you have a sale that’s promoting a product for a limited time, which you know is going to double or triple your traffic for a limited amount of time, if you’re not set up on the backend, you’ll lose those sales. You’ll break your site, if it’s not set up properly.  

Sean: Companies are really taking advantage of the customization of the site. Say, for example, Oreo has a special flavor they’re marketing for the holiday season. Rather than building a new site or selling the product in the marketplace, they’re using Shopify as a way to market the short-term demand; similar to a microsite. In this instance, the platform would be used as a marketing ploy.

Q: How does optimization work within the platform? Reporting?

Sean: As a client of Shopify Plus, you have a dedicated team in place. They have an eye on conversion rate optimizations so you don’t have to worry about if you’re maximizing user experience opportunities. For example, if you check out on one Shopify Plus store, the platform will remember you, making it easier for the user to purchase again. Because Shopify Plus is a SaaS, it can expand and contract with the flow of demand as well. Maybe your product surges in summer months; you’ll want a platform that knows how to scale for that. Clients don’t have to constantly check in on these things; the team takes care of it.

Jeff: Reporting wise, you just download the revenues straight from the platform. It doesn’t have to be information pulled from different locations. Your mobile, desktop…all transactions are pulled into the same database.

Q: Any final thoughts to share?

Jeff: What are the three biggest e-comm barriers? Time, money, and logistics. Shopify Plus provides solutions for all.

IMI has recently become a Shopify Plus partner, which means we can help medium enterprise retailers reach their next level of business and revenue. Learn more about the IMI + Shopify Plus partnership experience today.

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