Shopify Pay: What is it and Why is it so Important?

  • Technology
  • May 5, 2017
  • by Piers Thorogood
  • 3 minute read

At the recent Unite conference in San Francisco, Shopify made several big product announcements. But the biggest by far was the announcement of ‘Shopify Pay’ – their game-changing new checkout feature.

What is Shopify Pay?

Shopify Pay lets customers save their credit card, shipping and billing information so they can check out faster the next time they visit your store.

For return visitors, it reduces the checkout process from 16 fields down to 2. Yep, just 2. This will have a significant effect on mobile conversion rates.

So far so good. But it gets better…

As well as being able to checkout faster on your store, they’ll also be able to checkout faster on any participating Shopify store. This is a very powerful idea that will benefit merchants and their customers across the board.

Why is it such a big deal?

Shopify currently has around 400,000 stores running on its platform. This number is increasing at around 50% year-on-year. So it won’t be long before the number of merchants on the platform is in the millions.

The more merchants on the platform, the more powerful Shopify Pay becomes.

Even more crucially, at the enterprise end of the market, big retailers are now taking Shopify seriously. At We Make Websites, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in household name brands moving onto Shopify in the last year. This is only going to increase as Shopify’s enterprise offering (Shopify Plus) gets better and better.

Why is this important? Well, if big-brand retailers use Shopify Pay on their stores, it’s not only them that will benefit. Smaller retailers will also benefit, as visitors to their stores will already be setup to checkout quickly. It helps democratise commerce.

How can retailers get started with Shopify Pay?

The first thing to note is that Shopify Pay is currently only available on Shopify Plus. That said, I’d expect it to trickle down to regular Shopify relatively quickly.

The second thing to note is that Shopify Pay is only going to be available for merchants using the Shopify Payments (Shopify’s payment gateway). If that’s you, then great. You can enable it from the Settings > Checkout page of your Shopify admin. Easy peasy. More details on enabling Shopify Pay here.

If you’re not using Shopify Payments – and using an external payment gateway like Sagely, Worldly or Realex – then you’re out of luck.

For UK merchants, in particular, this is a bit of a conundrum. The transaction fees on Shopify Payments aren’t typically as competitive as external payment gateways like Realex, Sagepay, WorldPay etc., so you’ll need to weigh up whether the potential increase in conversion will outweigh the increased transaction fees.

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Piers Thorogood

Piers is Co-founder at We Make Websites, the go-to Shopify agency for global commerce. We Make Websites design, develop and optimise e-commerce websites for the fastest growing brands on the planet, with teams in London and New York.

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