By now, most entrepreneurs know that one of the most efficient ways to develop a business is to attend conferences to form in-person associations, build your network, and learn key improvements from the industry in which you work.

In fact, when those updates that will define trends for the predictable future are announced, there are major benefits from being within the room. At the end of this mid-week, we were fortunate enough to be at the center of one of the e-commerce world's most prominent events and its related activities: Shopify Unite

It's an event that every year hosts Shopify, the platform that allows suppliers to build an e-commerce store (and supports thousands of developers building apps for those merchants to use for their stores, as well as partners supporting those merchants as they develop their companies).

The event is an Apple-style tech conference equipped with the release of some of the e-commerce industry's most trend-setting updates.

To pick up a sense of how inescapable Shopify has gotten to be for entrepreneurs, consider the hundreds of Facebook groups committed to making money on the platform. Consider the businesses and consultancies that help entrepreneurs grow their Shopify businesses. And consider the whole app marketplace, where developers sell apps to vendors with stores on the stage.

As somebody who works closely with e-commerce entrepreneurs - many of whom have built inspiring businesses using Shopify. Shopify Unite is one of the foremost events we attend to remain on the beat of trends within the space. Without a doubt, these conferences are frequently defining minutes for their industries; and this year was no different. Here, we want to share the upgrades most critical to the Shopify merchant and app-store developer environment.

Marketing and design improvements to the core store

A few of Shopify's updates to the user interface declared at the conference were equipped toward making the lives of vendors simpler. There were, for instance, updates to the platform's no-code-required plan tools, to improve the user interface for vendors editing their websites.

These improvements to the tools used to redesign a storefront will make upgrading websites simpler, whereas videos and 3D models of products will make promoting products much more advanced for merchants. Through this final feature, Shopify is demonstrating a focus on customers’ product research and marketing.

The Shopify Fulfillment Network

One of the biggest torment points for merchants is shipping logistics. One of the most major declarations at the conference was that Shopify will be competing with Amazon within the dispatch of its distribution network. The Shopify Fulfillment Network will launch fulfillment centers that use machine learning to improve the shipping experience for vendors and clients alike.

Point of sale

Shopify is increasingly blurring the lines between online and offline shopping. Its new point-of-sale upgrade makes it less demanding for those who offer in a brick and mortar store to coordinate with online sales. Shopify’s POS experienced a total update for way better ease of use that will mean that details of loyalty programs become visible specifically within the cart. This will make the shopping experience consistent from in-store to online.

[Coming Soon] Checkout app extensions: Subscriptions

Shopify Partners will be able to access the first ever checkout app extension, which focuses on improving the purchase flow for subscriptions. The checkout app extension for subscriptions will be available later this year.

Shopify App Marketplace

One of the most compelling perspectives of the Shopify ecosystem is that it supports not only merchants with an online store, but also the developers building apps and extensions for those merchants to integrate into their online stores.

This symbiotic relationship implies there's room for numerous diverse types of entrepreneurs at the Shopify table. Key upgrades inside the Shopify App marketplace will mean developers can manage to distribute of alternate locales by means of the new Shop Locale API; they can offer in multiple languages through Translations API, and they can sell in multiple currencies (now also accessible around the world).

Back-office improvements

While maybe not the “sexiest” of updates, the improvements to logistics tracking, analytics dashboards and integration with point-of-sale payment frameworks point to a developing trend within the world of retail. With competition among e-commerce businesses ever on the rise, analytics following and data-based decision-making become more vital than ever.

Delivery Profiles API will allocate different shipping rules to different areas; a fulfillment API improves tracking and visibility into order fulfillment, and vendors can now alter open orders through the new Order Editing API. Moreover, 10 new languages have become available for the Partner Dashboard, and 11 new languages have become available for Shopify Admin.

While these updates from the conference were specific to Shopify, make no mistake that they point to upcoming patterns in selling online and in-store generally.

Seamless integration between different frameworks that work off one another is the future. Shopify is building an ever-growing environment of merchants, app developers, and referral partners working together to form entrepreneurship easier than ever, has demonstrated that it is at the bleeding edge of supporting entrepreneurs - who never envisioned they would be their own bosses - with a path to success.

For full updates, visit the Shopify Unite 2019 Announcement

Stay in the Loop!

With so many new products and updates, it’s important to stay in the know!

With so the new launches & enhancements, it’s important to stay in the know! Keep an eye on the HulkApps Blog over the coming months for content that dives more deeply into our biggest launches.