Three takeaways from Shopify Unite Conference

This is a thank you post to the Shopify team, particularly to the Apps, Shipping and Checkout teams.

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Over 100 Shopify employees and 1000 partners / developers met at the first-ever Shopify partner and developer conference Unite at San Francisco on Mar 22-23, 2016.

The word Unite could be a strong word for those who are not familiar with the Shopify eco-system. Well for eCommerce app developers like AfterShip, Shopify is a platform where developers connect with online retailers. Shopify has an awesome app and theme store that helps partners and developers to reach online retailers frictionlessly. Shopify developer teams also keep improving their APIs and shipping new features to allow third-party developers to build cool functions for Shopify stores. In the next post I will explain why we chose Shopify to launch our apps first before other platforms.

AfterShip launched its shipment tracking app at Shopify since 2012, and now 17,000 stores have installed the app.

3 key takeaways from Shopify Unite

Unlike other eCommerce conferences, Shopify Unite conference is very down to earth; it is about sharing, learning and partnership (aka Unite). The conference settings, agenda and slides are designed with perfection. There are no standing booths with people doing a sales pitch or fakes smiles. Speakers presented well with no bull sxxt, and the presentations are consistent across different teams. For me it is an introvert friendly event, which I feel open to talk to people.

1. Learned from other app developers and partners

This is a chance for developers to meet up with top app developers in person, learning how they stand out from over 1,500 apps in the app store. And I can explore collaboration with other apps as cross promotion. Cool people I met at the conference? Alt Text, Better Coupon Box, Sweet Tooth, Shipstation, Brightpearl, Klaviyo, Compass, Retarget app, Jetti, Rare.io, Ordercup, Recharge...and more.

2. First-hand tips and updates by Shopify team

Shopify brought 100 employees to the event (mainly from Canada - aka United States for Europeans according to Shopify CEO Tobias), and invited only 1000 partners/developers. This 1:10 ratio ensures you get to meet with key Shopify contacts, and ask any questions you want. Yes, you can also meet with Tobias easily.

Shopify also announces new APIs and conducts workshops to explain importance of existing APIs at the conference - this helps me think of new features for our products, and I can ask Shopify team directly for immediate feedback. Sweet. Free user validation.

Favorite sessions

  1. How to Succeed in the Shopify App Store by Blair and Todd
  2. Post-order Opportunities by Rita and Valmer
  3. New APIs for Your Next Shopify App (Carrier Service API) by Richard

Favorite tips

  1. Tobias - hire highly potential people, and test how they react to things they don't know.
  2. Blair and Todd - Provide great customer support, focus on helping new stores and two (apps) is better than one. An shopify store install 5 apps in average in 2016 (vs 2 apps in 2012), and app discovery page will be available at store admin page.
  3. Shipping & Checkout team - aim for sub-second response time for shipping rates calculation. 40% customers are unsatisfied after purchase, and 30% customers recommend a store based on good post-purchase experience. And so much more...

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3. Learned how to build a company with trust

As a Co-Founder of a startup with 28 people, I looked at how Shopify constructed the team and whom they hire (check out people's Linkedin profile). One word strikes me most during the conference is Trust - trust between store owners and Shopify, trust between apps developers and Shopify, trust between partners and Shopify, and i think most importantly trust within the Shopify team.

Shopify developers gave really outstanding presentations in the event, with confidence and passion. I think an employee can learn to be confident with repeated practices and the help of good slides, however, one can't learn to be passionate with training. In order for developers to be passionate about what they build, he/she needs to know WHY they need to build and make decision on what to build (i.e. not coding machine) - and the company needs to trust the decisions developers make. Good job Shopify.

A great developer eco-system is built on trust, and revenue share is just one part of the stories.

What's more? - Shopify Unite conference provided awesome-healthy-maybe-organic-non-vegan food, and gave out free $100 voucher which you have a choice to get free Shopify bag, watch and some cool gifts.

Shopify Stock - buy or not?

Buy

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Andrew Chan

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