Jun 16, 2020 - Technology

Shopify goes after Amazon with new Walmart deal

Data: Yahoo; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Yahoo; Chart: Axios Visuals

Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify, having sealed major deals with Facebook and now Walmart, is seizing the pandemic moment to put together a challenge to industry giant Amazon.

Driving the news: On Monday, Walmart said it will open its online marketplace, which reaches 120 million monthly visitors, to Shopify's more than 1 million business clients. That means Walmart shoppers will be able to find goods from some Shopify merchants.

Between the lines: Shopify now has deals with the largest social network on the planet and the company that calls itself the largest retailer in the world.

  • Last month, Facebook said it would partner with Shopify, among other e-commerce platforms, to launch a new online shopping marketplace called Facebook Shops.
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlighted Shopify's participation during the video announcement, a nod at the importance of the partnership.
  • At the time, he interviewed Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke, who said that by pairing Shopify's e-commerce capabilities and Facebook's reach and scale, "we are reducing the barriers to entrepreneurship and advancing the future of commerce.”

The state of play: With its latest deals, Shopify is moving more directly onto the turf of Amazon's Marketplace, which lets third-party retailers sell through Amazon's online store.

  • Shopify also relaunched its consumer-facing shopping app earlier this year, putting it even more squarely in competition with the Seattle e-commerce giant.
  • Unlike Amazon, Shopify only charges payment fees to merchants on its Shop app, which the company says is less of a marketplace and more of a way to help customers shop from the merchants directly.

Yes, but: Amazon has a big head start, with what it says are more than 300 million customers worldwide.

  • Shopify merchants will have to meet a variety of criteria to qualify for inclusion in the Walmart marketplace.
  • By the end of the year, Shopify says it expects more than 1,200 merchants to be able to sell through the Walmart marketplace.

The big picture: The pandemic has forced many retailers to quickly shift their business online, and Shopify has been selling them digital tools to do that.

  • In this short period, it has introduced new features, like the ability for customers to add tips when ordering from restaurants and curbside pickup. It has also expanded services like Shopify Capital (its financing business for merchants), which is now available in Canada and the U.K.
  • Between March 13 and April 24, new stores created on Shopify grew 62% compared to the prior six weeks, COO Harley Finkelstein tweeted in early May.

The bottom line: Investors, well aware of Shopify's opportunities, boosted its stock roughly 150% since the start of the stay-at-home lockdowns in March.

Our thought bubble: There's a silver lining here for Amazon. When antitrust regulators are snooping around your business, it's always nice to have a credible competitor or two you can trot out.

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