Shopify launches first hardware product, new checkout process at Unite conference

 
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Shopify is bolstering its online and offline merchant offerings by expanding its reach into real-world retail with a new device and an interface aimed at streamlining customers' e-commerce purchases.

On Thursday, the Ottawa-based commerce firm unveiled a swipe and chip card reader for in-person retail and a new payment interface to expedite the checkout procedure. Shopify made the announcement at its annual Unite conference in San Francisco.

New and existing Shopify merchants without a point-of-sale solution will receive the card reader product for free, allowing its retailers to expand their offerings beyond the online storefront.

This first foray into hardware also signifies Shopify’s further expansion into brick-and-mortar retail. It's an attempt to position the company not solely as an e-commerce firm, but as a platform for commerce of every kind.

“Shopify is already known as an industry leading e-commerce provider, and with our new chip and swipe point-of-sale hardware, we are demonstrating our deep investment in the retail world,” said chief product officer Craig Miller in a statement.

Shopify Pay
A mobile interface for Shopify Pay.

The new checkout interface, dubbed Shopify Pay, aims to streamline the purchase process and, in theory, close more sales for merchants. Shopify says an average of 69 per cent of shoppers abandon their carts mid-checkout, a number the new system is hoping to reduce.

The average online checkout process has 16 fields for addresses and credit card information, which the Shopify Pay system reduces to two. After an initial purchase from a Shopify merchant, customers can click a sign-up button for Shopify Pay that will save their order and payment information.

The next time customers make a purchase on the platform, inputting their email address will send a six-digit code to their phone which can be entered to autofill the checkout fields with saved information.

The new system is designed and optimized for sales on mobile, which Shopify has identified as critical to the future of commerce. The company says that in early trials, conversion rates with the new system are 18 per cent higher than before using Shopify Pay.