Why Shopify is still the best ecommerce platform for larger merchants

Shopify App

It’s no accident that Shopify is the cream of the crop in the world of enterprise ecommerce. But what do Shopify’s major announcements last week mean for the platform’s growth going forward?

To remain on top, Shopify must continue investing in areas of opportunity and customer need. That’s exactly what they’re doing, including major investment in an independent fulfillment network, multi-currency and multiple-store/multi-site improvements for Shopify Plus, and a stunning new range of developer-friendly APIs.

In this post, I’ll look at:

  • Which types of ecommerce merchants are using the major platforms
  • Shopify’s announcements at the Shopify Unite conference 2019
  • What these announcements mean for larger retailers, Shopify experts and agencies

Who’s using what: ecommerce platforms by size and use

I’ve been crunching the numbers in several different ways these past few weeks, and my findings were consistent: Shopify is the platform of choice for mid-sized to large stores globally.

Last week at the annual Shopify Unite partner event, Shopify announced the plans that will keep Shopify leading the pack (Magento, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, BigCommerce, etc.).

Shopify’s recent announcements confirm my research findings. Shopify will continue to be the ecommerce platform with the strongest growth in larger stores.

shopify net installs data by platform

At first I looked at trend data from BuiltWith that showed the number of net installs on each platform over the past year. Only the top 1 million websites were measured (as defined by BuiltWith.com).

When it came to pure volume of installs, WooCommerce came out on top. However, the average WooCommerce store is much smaller and less active than the average Shopify store.

I confirmed this by looking at our own data set of over 4,000 stores on these ecommerce platforms:

range of shopify stores by platform data chart

The bars represent range from the bottom to top quartile of store sizes, with the purple marker representing median store size.

While Magento 2 and Salesforce Commerce Cloud had higher median store sizes (32k and 107k monthly visits, respectively), Shopify had a very consistent interquartile range of 6,000 to 60,000 monthly visits.

By contrast, WooCommerce only had one quarter of stores receiving over 10,000 monthly visits — and zero stores doing more than 2.5 million visits in our data set.

In other words, if this trend continues, Shopify is positioned to take on a big share of the stores migrating from Magento 1 over the next year or so.

And that’s not all.

What this means for merchants using Littledata

These larger stores will need a range of robust apps to extend Shopify’s platform, especially when it comes to analytics.

We’ve responded to this need in a many ways, including:

In other words, Littledata’s commitment to Shopify’s ecosystem has only continued to grow. We hope the pattern continues as we hone our popular Shopify integrations like ReCharge for subscription analytics, and continue to improve our better smart connections for other popular apps (CartHook, Refersion, Bold Cashier) over the coming months.

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What this means for Shopify users

Enterprise-grade features

In the past, global brands running a network of stores in multiple countries have been frustrated by the simplicity of Shopify’s setup.

The launch of features such as multi-currency, multi-language and multi-store login from a single Shopify Plus dashboard will go a long way in quelling those user frustrations — all while making Shopify Plus an attractive alternative for current users of Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

Fulfillment network to compete head-to-head with Amazon (FBA)

Fulfillment is the biggest headache for DTC brands selling globally, and FBA is currently the only game in town for end-to-end purchasing and logistics.

However, as ecommerce brands scale, more and more are looking to “own the experience” from start to finish. This includes branded packaging and visibility of delivery on the customers’ end.

Both of these things may very well have a better solution in Shopify Fulfillment Network:

Amazon vs Shopify. @aobtweetz says Shopify is like retail entertainment: consumers who want to read the blog, engage with the brand and then buy – not just buy a commodity on Amazon @debriefevent #ShopifyUnite

— Edward Upton (@eUpton) June 21, 2019

shopify fulfillment network

The network will start in the US. While it will take time to scale, early looks indicate it will be a sensible way for Shopify to spend its large pile of cash while pulling itself away from the crowded pack of SaaS ecommerce.

Developer-first attitude

We developers love companies that don’t forget their product-first roots.

Much of Shopify’s growth has been due to making the platform easy to extend while encouraging a vibrant yet curated app store.

Shopify continues to exercise caution when offering its existing app partners access to new core features (subscription billing, opening up new APIs for partners to develop on). A staggering 11 new APIs were announced at this Unite alone.

While Shopify clearly believes that core experiences like checkout and payment should be owned and developed by Shopify itself, many non-core features (including many types of reporting) are actively pushed to partners with a relevant app or service.

A living example of Shopify’s developer-first approach? Their new Shopify app CLI, which speeds up timetables for new app launches.

Where does Shopify go next?

After more than doubling its number of active stores over the last two years, Shopify’s current haul of 820,000 active stores is in good position to surpass 1.5 million stores within the next two years.

For many larger Shopify partners, perhaps the more important pattern of growth isn’t Shopify’s standard offerings — it’s Shopify Plus.

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At a recent Commerce Plus event in London (organised by Shopify Plus), the main “complaint” was that Shopify’s sales reps “can’t onboard shops fast enough”.

With a newly revamped, user-centered design, Shopify Plus is an exciting platform to be a part of right now. It’s only going up from here.

If you didn’t get a chance to read about everything Shopify announced last week in Toronto, don’t worry. We have you covered! Check out our full recap of announcements.

Also, check out our award-winning Google Analytics Shopify app. With AI-based tech, the app fixes your Shopify analytics by providing:

  • Website benchmarks by industry
  • Ecommerce benchmarking
  • Shopify reporting
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Average order value
  • Other crucial data metrics

Wondering how your site compares? Check out our list of essential benchmarks for Shopify stores.

Everything you need to know from Shopify Unite 2019
littledata at shopify unite announcements 2019

Everything you need to know from Shopify Unite 2019

It’s been a busy week in Toronto

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