Strategy

Shopify Unite Review: Should You Attend?

You might have heard about Shopify Unite if you’re a developer, Shopify partner, or are involved in setting up eCommerce businesses on Shopify stores.

It’s a three-day event held annually in Toronto and brings the entire Shopify community together. It enables them to network, discuss the future of eCommerce, and celebrate their successes.

Ever since the first Shopify Unite in 2016, the event has been growing exponentially as Shopify itself crossed over 1 million stores. With over a million Shopify merchants, Shopify Unite 2020 is expected to be the biggest Shopify event to date.

Read on to understand the event better, get a recap on last year’s event, and what you can expect in 2020 and beyond.

Best Alternative to Shopify Unite: DTC DAY

If you’re looking to attend any one conference and are considering your options, you might want to start with DTC DAY.

DTC DAY is single-handedly the largest direct-to-consumer conference in the United States. With more than 1,000 attendees every year, over 524 brands from all over the globe, and more than 30 sponsors, it’s the biggest collection of retailers, eCommerce enthusiasts, and brands in North America.

Founders, CEOs, and managers of top companies come together to provide valuable insights and knowledge related to growth, strategy, and sustainability while discussing DTC trends.

DTC DAY 2020 will take place from October 14-16 at Hudson Loft in Los Angeles, California. You can register for the conference here.

What Exactly is Shopify Unite?

Shopify Unite is a 3-day developer conference held in Toronto, Canada. The annual conference is used as a way of introducing new features while building the future of commerce technology.

With new and exciting topics popping up every year (such as machine learning) the coming weeks after the event sees most attendees revitalize their online stores.

The conference is intended to help everyone involved with Shopify, which includes merchants, marketers, and web designers, as well as, front and back-end developers.

Shopify invites industry leaders, success stories, and high-level professionals from successful eCommerce businesses to share their experiences and ideas on topics related to product, tech, and marketing.

Usually, the conference is attended by everyone who’s involved with Shopify, including Shopify Partners, experts, merchants, and developers.

The conference is also a great opportunity for people to develop new connections and discuss possible solutions to some of the problems faced by those that use the eCommerce platform.

Shopify Unite 2019 Recap

The 4th Shopify Unite was held in June 2019 and had a ton of attendees from many high-level names in the Shopify ecosystem. The conference also invites several developers and partner agencies to discuss design, development, business strategy, and more.

Over the three days, there were several keynote sessions, networking sessions, workshops, and an after-party. This first day was Partner Day where participants can simply network and attend social events.

The second and third days featured the rest of the events, including keynote sessions from the following industry leaders:

  • David Mollenkamp, Director of Product at Shopify
  • Lynsey Thornton, Vice President of UX and Core Product at Shopify
  • Cynthia Savard Saucier, Director of UX Channels at Shopify

Other than that, there were several other speakers with interesting sessions, the most notable among them were the following:

  • Craig Miller, Chief Product Officer at Shopify
  • Arpan Podduturi, Director of Product at Shopify
  • Katie Cerar, Product Lead at Shopify Plus

You can find the other sessions and AMAs here.

Major Announcements for the eCommerce Platform 

The 2019 Shopify Unite had several new announcements with regards to new features and product launches.

With better cart extension apps, the POS (point of sale) interface was redesigned which has put Shopify POS in more physical stores than Apple and Walmart combined.

For the Shopify app on the App Store and Google Play Store, there were GraphQL improvements and a command-line interface tool was introduced. The company also introduced the Shopify App Bridge library that holds all your data in one place.

As for updates on the admin side of things, order editing for introduced and new shipping profiles can now be assigned for product-specific shipping rules.

Shopify Store

The Shopify store received several upgrades including content portability, which now ensures that all content is separate from the theme. As a result, any theme changes have zero effect on the content. This is done through master pages where changes to the master page are applied throughout the site.

The store now has 3D model and native video support on product pages. To improve the customer experience, checkout app extensions were introduced for things like subscriptions, and multi-currency checkout support was introduced for all merchants.

Merchants can now create entire storefronts without having to write any sort of code.

Shopify Plus

The new interface offers a centralized view of different stores and acts as a multistore dashboard for orders, customers, and Shopify Flow automation.

It also enables you to manage multi-store staff in one place and lets you clone and sync your stores.

Shopify Fulfillment Network

With its own fulfillment centers, Shopify’s fulfillment network is a direct competitor of companies like Amazon. The network takes 2 days to deliver, at most, with 99.9% order accuracy since there’s only one back office.

There is multichannel support, return and exchange support, and you can opt for custom branding and packaging at an additional price.

Shopify Unite 2020

Shopify Unite 2020 is supposed to be held from May 6-8 in Toronto. The event has the same setup as last year and aims to bring in more than 2,000 Shopify partners and developers.

COVID-19 Update

Due to the novel coronavirus, Shopify Unite 2020 was supposed to be held virtually in the spirit of social distancing. However, it was decided by Shopify management that this year’s conference will be canceled due to the health concerns of all parties involved.

You can get updates on the conference on the site (unite.shopify.com) and you can expect information on the next Shopify Unite in a few months.

Upcoming Shopify Unite Conference

Currently, there’s no information on whether the conference will be held later in the year. However, it’s safe to assume that the next Shopify Unite conference will be held in 2021.

When the time comes, you can become a speaker at the next conference by submitting a pitch. If accepted, you will get a chance to speak, share your story, and your insights.

If you’re more interested in sponsoring, you can apply to sponsor the conference, an event, or any part of the conference and get exposure from over 2,000 Shopify partners.

Should You Attend Shopify Unite?

Whether you should attend Shopify Unite or not largely depends on your affiliation with Shopify. If you’ve never used Shopify in any capacity, then this conference may not be for you.

However, if you’re part of the Shopify ecosystem in any way or plan on entering the Shopify eCommerce space, you should consider giving Shopify Unite a chance.

It’s a great opportunity to learn from other Shopify experts and get updates on not only Shopify but the overall eCommerce industry.

It may just provide you with the right information and insights you need to get your eCommerce business off the ground.