Shopify is getting increasingly chatty. After releasing Shopify Ping, a centralized mobile app for customer conversations, last year, the company’s at it again with the new Shopify Chat, launched today.
Switching on a setting within Shopify Ping enables the chat feature on every page of a merchant’s e-commerce site. The goal is to make customer interactions ubiquitous and universally available.
“Shopify Chat is operating-system agnostic for the consumer,” Michael Perry, Shopify’s director of product, told WWD. “That means, anyone using any browser — whether it’s Safari or Chrome, on desktop or on mobile, Android or iOS — will have full access to Shopify Chat.”
Perry sees this agnosticism or universality as being key for retailers that operate across different channels and regions, as most Shopify merchants do. “At the core, Shopify is a multichannel commerce platform,” he said, explaining that more than half of its merchants sell on at least one social platform.
Another consideration is ease. Using a unique keyboard within Shopify Ping, merchants can call up products and discounts immediately without exiting the conversation. This way, reps can quickly recommend products, provide discount codes, paste checkout links and offer other customer service.
Ultimately, it all boils down to sales — even Chat’s tag line, “Turn visitors into customers,” speaks volumes. But it’s just one part of a complex matrix of features and services that have given the company a surge in the second quarter. Revenue skyrocketed 48 percent compared to last year, at $362 million, and earnings came in at $0.14 per share, decimating a consensus estimate for $0.02.
By percentages, Shopify’s revenue growth spurt topped both Amazon and eBay, and its full-year revenue guidance has now jumped $30 million.
The fuel for this ascension comes from various initiatives, from payments services and credit, to its premium Shopify Plus membership and fulfillment network. Against that backdrop, Shopify Chat looks like an effort to remember the fundamentals: The art of selling is really about the art of connecting with people.
“To bridge the level of intimacy often missing from online commerce, we want to ensure that the human element of shopping still continues to be a part of the end-to-end shopping experience,” Perry continued. “This is just the beginning for us, we will continue to invest heavily in conversational commerce, because we know that building genuine connections with customers is what sets today’s direct-to-consumer brands apart.”
And this latest offering is only the latest chat tool in a list of features ushered through Ping — including integrations with Facebook Messenger and Apple Business Chat. The company plans to “expand across many more messaging surfaces,” Perry promised.
“The success we’ve seen with Apple Business Chat is a positive indicator for what’s to come with Shopify Chat,” he said.