Where to begin? Still wistfully reminiscing about the amazing inaugural Shopify Unite Conference. Considering how successful Shopify’s initial public offering was in May of last year, the conference was electric to say the least. Program Lead & Head of Shopify Experts, Dan Eveleigh, said it best when he described walking into the Herbst Pavilion as an “emotional experience.” We’ve been working closely with the company for five of the ten years they have been in operation, were among the first businesses to enlist in their Partners program, and now attribute approximately 70% of our overall business sales to the platform. So, we definitely shared in Dan’s sentiment (and had a lot of necks to hug and hands to shake).

But enough of all that. You didn’t click through to this post to read a fangirl’s diary entry about her favorite CMS of all time. You want to know what all you missed! So, without further adieu, here are the top announcements from the conference:

Online Store Editor & Scripts

The newest store editor is created with the merchant in mind. Similar to the game-changing Neapolitan drag and drop editor Mailchimp rolled out in late 2012, the new editor will allow users to ‘build’ pages such as the homepages using a series of ‘blocks’ (think collection, product, etc). We were pumped to see how our own workflow would be improved through writing side code using Shopify Scripts. We’ll be able to develop some really cool functionality, store centrally in the cloud, and easily deploy to a merchant’s storefront on an as-needed basis! Although Scripts is currently only available for Enterprise level Shopify Plus clients, our hope is that Shopify will extend Scripts to all storefronts at some point.

Interested in learning more about Shopify Plus? Click here to start learning today.

Sales Channel SDK

We’ve seen this in action already — Pinterest’s buyable pins, announced in June 2015, was one of the first additional third-party sales channel added to Shopify’s roster. Turns out this wasn’t just a cool feature release, but heralded a much bigger development and pushed us all even closer to the oft-predicted shift to contextual commerce (so cool!). The Sales Channel SDK is Shopify opening up the technology they used in order to create Pinterest buyable pins so that developers can utilize the codebase to create even more options for selling ‘out in the wild.’

On a related note, Shopify representatives were on hand at the conference to demo the VR (Virtual Reality) selling capability they’ve been working on and it was very very cool.

Javascript Buy SDK

This new feature will allow for Shopify selling features to be added to virtually any website, mobile app, or marketplace. Gone are the days of building a Shopify store to supplement an existing WordPress website. The Javascript Buy SDK will allow for a single product, a collection of products, a cart, and a checkout sequence to be added to any existing website with a script or two. This is great news for prospective Shopify merchants who are reluctant to make a costly platform switch or for anyone who’s interested in experimenting with ecommerce functionality without making a significant investment upfront.

iOS and Android Buy SDKs

These SDKs will allow for easier development of native mobile shopping experiences (for existing Shopify stores). The announcement is also a great example of how Shopify doesn’t only roll out cool new developments, but how they also do the extra work to make sure new technology is within reach of their many merchants. The Mobile SDK will come pre-fit with wireframes which will exponentially speed up the process of creating companion apps for Shopify stores. I just love that the Shopify team saw a bottleneck in app design (or rather, lack thereof) and decided to address the problem by providing building design resources directly into their new Mobile SDK.

And after the party was the after-party.

As per usual, I flew solo to the conference. So imagine my delight when I ran into some friends from Mailchimp’s strategic partnership office. This, of course, meant automatic multiple dates for the Unite after party. There might have been dancing involved, but we will never tell. Seriously though, considering both companies pride themselves on collaborative enterprises, it really came as no surprise. And continuing the conversation with the Mailchimp team back here at homebase has been really exciting!


Feeling inspired? Good. Our next stop is the Atlanta Shopify and ECommerce Meetup. Hope to see you there!