Once in a quarter we look back and compare the installed based on top eCommerce platforms. Every time we do this, there is always a little surprise or a precursor of a trend to notice.
Shopify, Shopify Plus, and Amplience were the top 3 gainers in terms of merchant base. Amplience has a vastly different base to grow from and is in no way a fair comparison with Shopify. You still notice that WooCommerce has a vast user base. But what is interesting about WooCommerce and Amplience is that they point to the same underlying trend and so does the growth of Shopify Plus.
eCommerce merchants, as they scale, are not shy of experimenting with a universe of platforms, open-source frameworks, and plugins to deliver the unique experience that makes their storefront stand out. A significant portion of eCommerce websites powered by "custom eCommerce software" have a WooCommerce angle to them and they all have off-the-shelf plugins that are stitched together.
Though Shopify grew impressively in terms of the installed base, the growth is still on the lower end of the GMV spectrum.
But Shopify has embraced the headless movement with renewed vigor. The very announcement of 'Shopify Editions', their bi-annual product update is a departure from the past and a signal of maturing developer ecosystem focus. Enterprises need predictable platform rollouts that are well spaced out. They ship initiatives in quarterly or even longer cycles. The tech platform these enterprises build on should embrace a predictable cadence as well.
The latest 'Editions' announcement mentioned 'Hydrogen', their headless framework and the significant investments that the framework is expected to receive going forward. Days later, Sanity, an API-first content platform for brands announced that it raised undisclosed funding from Shopify and is building its content platform on the Hydrogen framework – making omnichannel content creation, optimization, and delivery easy for enterprise brands. The launch of 'Shopify Functions' and the much-awaited 'Checkout Extendability' are other sure signals that Shopify is finally eager to put the keys to the core platform customization in the hands of the customers that desperately need it.
The rise of Amplience, CommerceTools, Kentico, and a host of other headless platforms and the redirected focus of BigCommerce towards headless experience – all point to a market consensus that mid-market and large eCommerce companies are where the money is going to be and the enterprise segment needs flexibility and extendability as core tenants for the eCommerce platform they would adopt.
While Shopify is in the news a lot for their Shop App, Shop Pay, Shopify Capital, and SFN, none of these is quite focused on the mid-market and the enterprise segments. The Deliverr acquisition is in some way directly relevant to the growth stage eCommerce customers of Shopify. But first and foremost, Shopify is a technology platform and it needs to be enterprise-ready notwithstanding how Shopify approaches all other aspects of the commerce value chain. Shopify's continued focus on building in-house experiences competing with apps on its own marketplace on one hand and shifting to predictable launch cycles and platform extendability on the other hand signals that the organizational muscle is being trained to think for the enterprise first.
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