You had a good idea for an online store. You chose Shopify as the platform to set you up for success. You painstakingly input your products, set up your payment information, set up shipping details, and launched your site.

You’ve likely seen some success with your store, but the struggle to keep up with the big box eTailers like Amazon is very real.

Competing on price isn’t usually an option, but your value and customer service can pull you through. However, matching the shipping times and rates the giants get just isn’t an option — until now.

In June 2019, Shopify made a ground-breaking announcement when they told us all about the launch of the Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN).

What is the Shopify Fulfillment Network?

Shopify is using its power as the third-largest retailer in the United States to give merchants the shipping power of a single force. If you ship products, you can use the SFN’s AI-driven network to deliver your products directly to your customers faster than ever before.

The fulfillment network will use smart technology powered by machine learning. Which will allocate inventory to match orders, route it to its final destination and negotiate rates with shippers. Shopify’s network will be made up of a mix of shared distribution centers and Shopify-owned centers.

Their machine learning programs will analyze the data flow and help you optimize your inventory positioning and quantities. This will address the ebb and flow of product demand and save on shipping costs.

They are also providing you with the ability to ship your items in boxes that have your brand on them and support your purchases across all channels.

Who Can Use the Fulfillment Network?

In the beginning, merchants selling anywhere from 10 to 10,000 orders a day will be able to access their network. Shopify is targeting small and medium-sized businesses into their beta launch of the platform.

They hope to eventually expand their capacity up to 30,000 packages per day per customer.

The SFN will be able to process your returns and exchanges, facilitate custom packaging, and keep track of your inventory. By the end of the year, Shopify is planning to provide two-day shipping for “qualified merchants” — which they will assess based on your product types and fulfillment needs.

What Else is Coming?

The Shopify Fulfillment Network is certainly a big announcement that will shake up the landscape for store owners — but it’s not the only big change coming.

Shopify is doubling-down on its commitment to empower and enable small to medium businesses that seek growth on its platform. They unveiled all kinds of new things that are coming up soon at Shopify Unite 2019.

To see the full breakdown (including video), check out our article Shopify Unite 2019: A Look at What’s Coming.

Here are a few highlights:

  • An exciting new experience is rolling out to the page builder that is bringing in some much-needed and highly-requested features.
  • Shopify POS is getting an upgrade that makes checkout faster and easier for you and your staff.
  • The back office fulfillment center is getting easier for you and your developer to work with.
  • If you manage multiple online stores through Shopify, you are now getting a command center that will let you manage all of your stores, staff and channels from one location.
  • Developers are getting access to some powerful new features that will help do more for your store.

Meeting Your Sales Goals will Be Easier than Ever Before

Craig Miller, Chief Product Officer for Shopify, announced that they were planning to spend over 1 Billion dollars in the next few years on building out the SFN with the goal of democratizing commerce for small to medium businesses.

Miller explained how he thinks the SFN will benefit businesses like yours in his Keynote Presentation at Shopify Unite 2019:

“So this is another example of how Shopify is democratizing commerce by taking the warehouse systems, machine learning and other technologies that used to be reserved for only the largest companies in the world, and making them accessible and affordable to all merchants, including those that are just starting to take off.”

With access to the SFN, you can see some amazing benefits to your company, including:

  1. Shopify’s buying power across all their customers will allow them to negotiate better rates for shipping and warehousing than you could hope to achieve alone. In 2018, 63% of all cart abandonments were due to shipping costs — so this is a big step in the right direction.
  2. You’ll spend less time filling orders and more time on customer service, marketing, and adding new merchandise to your store with Shopify taking care of shipping, refunds, and exchanges.
  3. You will finally be able to compete with the shipping speed and simplicity of big stores like Amazon and Walmart and offer affordable 2-day shipping.
  4. You can custom-brand your packaging without having to stuff every box yourself.
  5. And a whole lot more!

Will You Be Ready?

Early access to the Shopify Fulfillment Network is by application only at the moment.

What will faster shipping and easier order fulfillment mean for your store? Are you going to be ready?

You need to start thinking about how you’re going to incorporate your new, faster, shipping into your website’s design and user experience. Also, how will your email automation and customer follow-up emails need to be modified?

At Future Holidays, we specialize in helping Shopify brands build a legacy through innovative digital experiences and smart design. Schedule a meeting, and let’s talk about how we can help you get your store ready competition-ready!