Canadian startup success story Shopify is continuing its market expansion with a new product rollout today: Shopify Plus is making its debut, as a one-stop, white glove e-commerce solution that’s designed to be used by large companies and high-volume customers. It reads like a departure from their core market of small- to medium-size business customers, but in fact this is more of a side project designed to help companies that grow with the platform, and Shopify tells me the overwhelming primary focus will remain on SMBs as usual.
What Shopify found, according to Shopify Chief Platform Officer Harley Finkelstein, is that some of its larger clients, including DODOcase, which started off on the platform, were scaling to large business sizes. While Shopify wasn’t necessarily designed to handle high volume business, the platform held up with demand – to the point where some big brands were switching from existing enterprise-grade solutions including the likes of Magento.
“Over the last couple of years, what we’ve noticed is that some of our stores have actually grown really big on Shopify, kind of going from zero to hero,” Finkelstein said in an interview. “GoldieBlox started last year on Shopify, after a Kickstarter project, and on Sunday they had a Super Bowl ad. It turns out that a lot of companies actually grow really big on Shopify, and Shopify is able to not only handle their growth, but really help them with their growth.”
As for the big retailers who have come over from other platform providers, the list is impressive: The standout is Google, but it also includes the L.A. Lakers, Patagonia and more. To cater to this new class of users, Shopify designed to form a small team aimed specifically at addressing their unique needs. What that means in practice is that customers on the new Plus plans (which start at $995 per month, vs. $179 for the most expensive standard Shopify offering) will get access to a dedicated project manager, an account manager, personalized support contacts, negotiated Shopify Payments rates, increased API calls and early access to beta features.
Finkelstein is keen to note that this in no way means Shopify is rethinking its approach to commerce: The mission remains providing the best possible support, both offline and online, to small and medium-sized business owners and merchants. But it is a shot across the bow of some of the biggest players in the e-commerce world, and one that could end up having a significant material impact on Shopify’s business.