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June 17th – Arriving in Toronto

The impressive skyline of the city stretched out across Lake Ontario and made for a warm and inviting welcome for our journey to Shopify Unite. As the largest and one of the most diverse cities in Canada, Toronto certainly did not disappoint. Though our time was largely spent at the conference, we were able to find a few special moments that helped the trip brim with excitement as well as success. 

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After several business meetings, we decided to explore downtown Toronto to see the city sights and catch the tail end of the beloved Raptors’ parade. We pushed through a massive crowd of nearly two million strong into the heart of the celebration at Nathan Phillips Square. As we approached the venue, we came across the unfortunate news that earlier in the day gunshots had been fired and four people had been hurt, though thankfully no one was killed. 

By the time we had arrived, the crowd had already settled and everyone was able to go back to celebrating the day and embracing the communal love of the sport. The resolute nature of the people there really helped us to appreciate the strong sense of community to be found throughout the city. Just like the very name of the conference we were there to attend, the people of Canada were able to unite and rise above the situation in order to continue celebrating together. We were able to make the most of our visit that day as well, taking in all the sights and capturing pictures in front of the Toronto signs before heading back to prepare for Shopify Unite the next day.

 

June 18th – The First Day

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As Shopify Unite started it’s first day, there were many different educational sessions to attend. At first, we looked into joining the Facebook group, but it filled up so fast that we were unable to join due to its popularity. We ended up heading over to an event at Shopify’s Toronto offices instead. Luckily, it turned out to be a great event, as we were able to learn more about design and meet key players in the Shopify ecosystem. 

After our successful first session, we had the chance to join one of six networking events in the area. We ended up choosing Boehmer as the location, and this also turned out to be a really great event. Not only did we connect with several technology partners, but the food they served was excellent. The two drink tickets we were allocated also helped us to unwind from the long day of concentrated learning. With so many new pages of notes in hand, it was certainly a very productive first day of the conference!

 

 

June 19th – The Second Day

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This would be considered the main day of keynotes and announcements for Shopify Unite, and we started it off by attending an engaging two hour keynote after enjoying a nice hot breakfast. Harley Finkelstein, COO at Shopify, began his speech by explaining the history of the company and sharing the overall direction they are taking for the upcoming year. 

It was noted that Snowdevil was the very first merchant onboard with Shopify, and now there are over 820k merchants on the platform. This shows the incredible journey Shopify has been on and the impressive track of their growth since their inception. Today, the GMV is up to $4.2b in revenue. Not only is Shopify doing well, but the payouts to all their partners have surpassed even the revenue of Shopify itself.

 

 

They kept the momentum going and the electricity high with announcement after announcement, leaving little room to blink in between each piece of impressive news. Tobi Lütke, CEO at Shopify, came out to talk more about all the announcements and discuss the future of commerce in an intimate sit-down. With every new product update, the crowd had cheered in excitement as they surely felt their job as an agency become easier with each release. It’s easy to see that Shopify goes above and beyond to take care of their partners and responds really well to feedback.

Here are some of the biggest announcements well deserved of the applause:

  1. Sections on every page
  2. Edit multiple pages at the same time
  3. Native 3D support for all merchants
  4. One login across multiple stores
  5. Multi-currency available for all Shopify platforms
  6. Multi-language API 
  7. POS tablets
  8. GraphQL
  9. App CLI
  10. API versioning

 

 

The After Party

After such a packed event, it didn’t seem possible to be any more impressed with Shopify. The after party they hosted did just that, though, impressing us with an amazing array of activities and entertainment laid out for the united crowd. The event was at Rebel, a venue that held similarities to a Las Vegas pool club, offering spectacular views of the city that sparkled over the lake as night set in. They served hors d’oeuvres and endless drinks, offered VIP lounges to catch our breath, and multiple gaming stations of ping pong, billiards, shuffleboard, and foosball, which we fully enjoyed!

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As the night grew darker, the lights burned brighter, and finally it was time for the special guest to grace the stage. Grammy Award Winner, Lupe Fiasco, came out to an amped up crowd and gave an exceptional performance, winning everyone over with his hits “Superstar” and “Kick Push” in particular.

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Final Thoughts

Shopify Unite was full of excitement and provided leaps forward to an even more promising future for everyone in the industry. From the amazing city sights to the massive conference and its exciting after party, we left with a better sense of the whole environment, the accomplishments that are possible, and looking forward to furthering our relationships in the Shopify community. 

The all new product updates and networking events left us itching to get back and share everything we learned with our team. We also have to say, we really appreciate all the efforts being put forth by Shopify to empower the entrepreneurs in the ecosystem. Entrepreneurs powering entrepreneurs is an important aspect found in the community, one that inspires us to spread this mantra even further and energize the ecosystem.

 

 

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