It’s an exciting time to be a Shopify merchant. From massive year-on-year growth on the platform, to all the announcements at Shopify Unite, the future looks very bright for everyone in the Shopify community. If you keep up with news around the platform, you’ll likely have come across the term “Shopify Ecosystem”, but what exactly does this mean, and what does it mean for merchants?
The Shopify Ecosystem - A quick summary
The Shopify ecosystem is made up of merchants, the Shopify Partner Program, and the Shopify App Store.
The Shopify Partner Program is a network of agencies, app developers, designers, and more who are all approved by Shopify. Also known as Shopify Experts, they all range in a variety of skills and specialisms all centred on ecommerce. The size of the partner can also vary, from small teams of developers working on apps, all the way to large international agencies building storefronts. As a Shopify merchant, you have access to this network meaning you can get advice from or work with an Expert in any category of ecommerce that you need help with. Whether you’re starting from scratch and need a full store build, or you’re just looking for a new app to integrate into your store’s tech stack.
The other side of the ecosystem coin is the Shopify App Store, where all of Shopify’s thousands of apps are cataloged and available for merchants to integrate into their stores. These are made by a wide variety of developers from single freelancers to large development companies; the uniting factor being that they’re all constantly innovating and designing apps that are all tailored to improve the Shopify experience. The ecosystem connects merchants with these Partners and app developers to enrich their stores and make running their businesses easier and more efficient.
At Unite 2021, Shopify made some big announcements around the ecosystem and specifically the Shopify App Store - the most significant being around revenue share. Previously, Shopify would take 20% revenue share but will now take 0% on the first $1 Million earned by developers on the app store regardless of the size of the team behind the app. Moreover, this $1 Million cap resets at the end of each year, and if a developer goes above that then Shopify takes a lower revenue share of 15%. Outside of that announcement, Shopify runs a number of projects designed to foster the developer community such as the Shopify App Challenge.
How this ecosystem benefits merchants
Between Partners and apps, there is a huge catalog of resources available to Shopify merchants. This catalog spans the entire ecommerce merchant experience, from building your store to custom app development and more. Meaning if there’s something you want to develop for your store, chances are you can find a solution through the Shopify ecosystem. It saves merchants time and money by matching them with experts and developers who are already well versed and specialized in Shopify stores and experiences, rather than searching around other app marketplaces and trawling through agency websites to find a good fit.
When it comes to the announcements from Unite around revenue share in the app store, the benefit to merchants might not be immediately obvious. After all, it sounds like it benefits the app developers more than anyone. However, the more investment Shopify puts behind the App Store the more talent it will attract from around the world of ecommerce development. The Shopify App Store is being made even more attractive to all sizes of developers, giving them further incentive to focus on the Shopify platform, and create new tools that will inevitably benefit merchants. The end result of investing in the ecosystem is that it drives innovation on the platform, pushing the limits of what Shopify can do for merchants.
While the ecosystem as we’re discussing here focuses on Partners and app store developers, it’s much wider than that. It encompasses every point of interaction with the Shopify platform, including merchants and brands that use it, as well as the customers who shop with it. In this way, the ecosystem is rich, diverse, and always evolving as it grows. It’s an exciting community that empowers merchants to deliver the experiences they want for their customers, and drives forward innovation through its Partners and developer community.