By Nivedita Balu
– Shopify Inc has launched new tools to help its merchants sell to other businesses and on Twitter, as the Canadian tech giant attempts to shore up sales to counter a post-pandemic slowdown in online shopping.
More than a 100 new tools were unveiled on Wednesday, including ones to support its plans to push into business-to-business, for shoppers to connect their crypto wallets to a store and Apple’s “Tap to Pay” feature on iPhones.
Shopify, which helps businesses set up their online stores, hit the jackpot during lockdowns as global brands and mom-and-pop stores alike turned to selling online directly to consumers while their shops were shut.
With the economy reopening, however, investors are starting to question Shopify’s future, sending the company’s stock down 76% this year and erasing a big chunk of its pandemic gains.
Shopify’s answer to the slowdown is expanding into the wholesale market, a far bigger avenue than direct-to-consumer and with “billions in untapped revenue”, according to President Harley Finkelstein.
Businesses are looking to move from direct-to-consumer to “connect-to-consumer”, which makes it easier for people to shop through social media platforms and pay using their phones, Finkelstein said in an interview.
“This is the next phase of retail … In many ways, shopping has become a vote with your wallet to support that brand … And that’s what I think connect-to-consumer is all about.”
The post-pandemic world has thrown up challenges for Amazon as well, Shopify’s biggest rival, as it fields massive losses after building more warehouses than needed during the boom.
In a podcast earlier this month, long-time Shopify investor Mawer Investment Management’s Vijay Viswanathan said it was exiting the stock on concerns of slowing growth and competition.
“The internet is getting crowded… It became harder and harder to justify the valuation.”