I think this is highly interesting. There are a few historical analogues we've seen of aggregating supply to build a consumer-facing portal. OpenTable and Mindbody have both done this (moving from supply-facing SaaS to aggregating/commoditizing supply in a consumer-facing portal). Mindbody customers, for example, were rightfully apprehensive about the Mindbody consumer marketplace, as it commoditized their offerings (just making them one amongst many). This was great for the best Mindbody customers, as it acted as free demand-gen, but undoubtedly hurt some customers . Shopify merchants may feel similarly, although this interface seems more like a TaoBao rather than a standalone marketplace (e.g. Amazon). I haven't spent enough time on the Shop app, but interested to see where it goes.
It's an interesting strategy. This seems to side step from the Shopify core value of creating a platform for merchants and is now competing with them.
This is a smart move from them! But the smartest thing they could do is to partner up with Instagram and offer the option for Instagram influencers to sell stuff from Shopify and earn affiliate commission. Now that Amazon has decreased their aff commissions, it's a great move to offer an alternative option
Smart move from Shopify, and - to be fair to them - a pretty obvious one.
They already have full visibility into all the products available across all their merchants, including pricing/availability/location/etc.
Through the previous version of the app, they also have visibility into what consumers are buying from them. And now, if you sign up/in with Google, it will have a deeper understanding of that as they ask for perms to connect your emails to it.
I see a few ways this will evolve:
a new ads business for Shopify (Shop app = B2C ad inventory)
local click and collect (the end game for POS customers is to also act as delivery hubs for other customers)
same day delivery (competing with Amazon) for the same POS reason above
If this is meant to compete with Amazon's marketplace, it'll take a long time before it reaches any sort of critical mass. I wonder who they'll target outside of their merchant base.
Merchants on Shopify spend a lot of time and effort to build their brands - this will decrease the advantage well-established brands have and open them to competition from smaller brands selling similar products.
On the flip side, Google's already helping Shopify compete with Amazon, no need for the Shop app per-se. Google's recent announcement and Ben Thompson's accompanying blog-post explore this really well.
Shopify will have to tread carefully.
The clever thing about this is Shopify originally built Away, a package-tracking app (which would be useful both for customers of Shopify stores and everyone else)—and then pivoted that app into a Shopify shopping app. That gives it a massive install base out of the gate.
Interesting shot at turning Shopify into a broader marketplace than just individual stores powered by the same software.
The next obvious step for the proliferation of direct to consumer businesses is aggregation business models. What got the e-commerce businesses today, i.e underpriced marketing channels and lack innovation from incumbent brands, will not get these businesses to tomorrow especially the landscape is changing. Enter 'Shop' and subsequent aggregation models.
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