Shopify helps retailers socially distance

A leading digital commerce platform is running several initiatives aimed at helping retailers adapt to new shopping protocols in the wake of COVID-19.

Shopify is making local in-store /curbside pickup and delivery available for all retailers using its POS platform. In addition, the company is making gift cards available on all plans and for all retailers. 

Other services Shopify is offering its users include online resources on where to secure government funding and where to find community forums, live webinars, online meetups, and tutorials to assist in establishing and maintaining an online presence. In March 2020, Shopify terminated thousands of retailers charging unfair prices or making false claims about COVID-19-related items such as face masks or hand sanitizers.

Shopify is also offering an extended 90-day free trial to all new standard plan signups, and committing $200 million for its Shopify Capital funding arm while fast-tracking expansion to core geographies working with partners and governments, including in the U.K., where Shopify Capital launched on March 30, 2020.

In addition, Shopify is analyzing the data across its platform for insights into how COVID-19 is affecting retailer operations. Some of the changes relative to patterns prior to March 8, 2020 include early signs indicating that brick-and-mortar businesses, impacted by the drop-off of foot traffic resulting from stay-at-home policies, are pivoting to online as consumer demand shifts.

Other trends Shopify is observing include retailers heavily leveraging discounts to boost sales, and sales trends aligning to specific industries based on the evolving environment and consumer concerns and needs.

Shopify also provided some financial guidance. The company says it will report revenue and adjusted operating income for the first quarter within or ahead of the range of expectations provided on Feb. 12, 2020, despite the global economic disruption that emerged in March triggered by COVID-19. Given the uncertainty surrounding the duration and magnitude of COVID-19, Shopify is suspending the financial expectations provided for full year 2020. 

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