- Shopify launched a new mobile shopping app last week which provides small businesses with access to mobile shopping tools and infrastructure that allow them to compete with major retailers.
- While the app had long been slated for a spring launch, additional features focused specifically on local businesses were expedited in response to the coronavirus.
- “A local shopping feature, initially planned to release later this year, became a priority for inclusion at launch, as we saw the increasing importance of brands being supported by their local communities,” Carl Rivera, general manager at Shopify, told Business Insider.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Shopify is making it easier than ever for shoppers to find and make purchases online from local businesses — while giving small, independent companies a leg up to compete with major retailers.
The e-commerce company launched Shop last week, a mobile shopping app “designed to create a more intuitive online shopping experience from product discovery to package delivery,” according to the company. While the app had long been slated for a spring launch, additional features focused specifically on local businesses were expedited in response to the coronavirus, according to Shopify general manager Carl Rivera.
“We revisited our strategy to see where we could make improvements to address the current situation,” Rivera told Business Insider. “A local shopping feature, initially planned to release later this year, became a priority for inclusion at launch, as we saw the increasing importance of brands being supported by their local communities. We wanted to ensure Shop had an option to help make this easier. “
In essence, the app provides independent businesses with mobile shopping tools they may not have had the resources or infrastructure for previously, creating a more level playing field to compete with e-commerce behemoths like Walmart and Amazon.
Within Shop, users can search using local filters to identify nearby businesses offering shipping and pick-up in the area before paying directly in the app using Shop Pay, Shopify’s own checkout system. The app allows users to make purchases from Shopify’s more than 1 million partner brands, both major national brands and local companies, and then track them using Arrive, which uses proprietary technology to provide real-time status updates of packages.
The app is also designed to provide personalized recommendations, including sales and new products, based on order history. Rivera said users will be able to see recommendations from companies they’ve made purchases from in the past, as well as follow businesses directly in the app.
“Almost all shopping platforms are about finding or discovering new brands,” Rivera said. “As a shopping assistant, Shop is focused on making it faster and more convenient to check-out and track orders from the brands you love, and get updates tailored to you when they launch new products.”
Rivera said enhancing the functionality of mobile shopping is now more important than ever, as stores around the country remain shuttered to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. For the Shopify team, finding ways to support local businesses was “increasingly top of mind during COVID-19” as it became an increased desire among consumers.
“As we imagined our latest move, we found that the best way to really support our merchants is to enhance the shopping experience for the buyer, and that was the starting point for Shop,” he said. “We’ve seen a shift in buyer behavior from going online to going mobile to using native apps as they shop.”
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