Shopify’s Expansion is Great News for Retailers

Shopify introduces a fulfillment network to get their products to customers quickly

The e-commerce sector saw huge news recently: Shopify announced at its annual conference that it’s expanding from an e-commerce platform to a full suite of solutions for its audience of retailers. Already an industry leader for enabling online purchasing, Shopify is now essentially targeting every part of the e-commerce “value add” infrastructure – meaning this transformation has major implications for the entire online retail space.

Specifically, Shopify introduced the Shopify Fulfillment Network that will allow retailers to partner with a dedicated network of distribution centers in order to get their products to customers quickly. While solutions existed for individual merchants to do this before, the cost was almost always going to be prohibitive for all but the largest sellers. Now, thanks to Shopify’s scale, small and medium businesses will be able to get their products to customers faster, cheaper, and with customizations that help enhance the customer experience.

Which segments does this move affect and how?

If you’re a retailer, Shopify’s announcement is great news. There are estimates out there that Shopify’s combined reach across all sellers would make it the third largest e-commerce site behind Amazon and eBay. With that kind of scale, they are in position to execute this next offering well. And while there are plenty of existing third-party logistics providers retailers could use (Fulfillment by Amazon, UPS, FedEx, etc), Shopify is already plugged directly into retailers’ existing systems and will offer additional value adds that others can’t or won’t currently deliver. And since Shopify Fulfillment Network will support merchants who ship anywhere from 10-10,000 packages a day, this program will be available to some pretty small sellers.

For custom box makers like WestRock and Pratt Retail, this move presents a fresh challenge in a vertical where they previously saw huge opportunity. Shopify will now be able to offer custom packaging to merchants using Shopify Fulfillment Network, which will make the entire buying journey from purchasing to unboxing more connected for the customer and positioning the retailers as premium options. As these packaging companies are actively targeting e-commerce retailers, Shopify’s introduction of custom box options to go along with their existing selling, reporting, and now logistics offerings poses a real threat.

For Amazon, Shopify’s move presents more formidable competition in the ever-evolving world of online retail. Shopify will connect merchants with 3PLs who can fulfill packages in a similar timeframe as Amazon Prime, but with more customization options available to the merchant.

One way to think about this is that Amazon and Shopify are trying to lead the evolution of retail with two distinctly different strategies.

Amazon, through product selection initially but increasingly through value-add offerings like 2-day shipping, photo storage, and streaming video, has built up a massive audience of consumers. They use this scale as a bargaining chip against retailers, similar to how Walmart traditionally operated. As a company selling products, you feel like you have to go where the customers are, and with online retail that means Amazon.

Shopify, through an easy-to-use e-commerce platform that has evolved into a full suite of retail solutions like point-of-sale, online payments, and now fulfillment logistics, has built up a massive audience of sellers. Their bet is that by helping merchants offer more of the services that customers have grown to expect (payment options, fast fulfillment, premium unboxing, etc), those merchants will grow significantly thanks to the connection they’re able to maintain with a customer in a direct sales relationship.

Rather than building up a big following of consumers and then designing products that appeal to them (think Kylie Cosmetics or Rhianna’s Fenty), Shopify has built a huge following of businesses and are now innovating on new ways to provide value and extract revenue from them. And since Shopify owns the full cart, unlike some of the other e-commerce platforms, they own all of the data about customers, purchases, and velocity that they can use to identify more opportunities for these kind of solution expansions going forward.

Written by on June 24th, 2019 in Insight

Coca-Cola Launches Cokestore.com/1985

FortyFour leverages e-commerce expertise to create totally rad digital experience for Stranger Things x New Coke collection.

We’re proud to announce that our longstanding client Coca-Cola has launched Cokestore.com/1985 to celebrate an iconic year (like, 1985, duh!) and the release of Stranger Things Season 3.

Coca-Cola has partnered with Netflix’s Stranger Things to kick off its new season, which takes place in 1985, by creating a limited edition collection of bottles and merchandise. And what could be more recognizably 1985 than a can of New Coke? That’s right—while supplies last, New Coke is back.

Cokestore.com/1985 will be the official destination for fans who want to taste New Coke, purchase limited edition Stranger Things bottles and merchandise, and shop for authentic Coke throwbacks from the ‘80s. In addition to the e-commerce site, Coca-Cola will be hosting 1985 events at its stores in Atlanta and Las Vegas throughout the summer.

Launching the site was a truly collaborative effort among the Coke, Wieden+Kennedy, and FortyFour teams. To capture a sense of nostalgia for the bygone decade, we looked to 80’s computing and adopted an ASCII-inspired design direction. Then our designers, writers, and developers worked together to reimagine 1985 using bold neons, ‘80s slang, and a few Stranger Things Easter Eggs.

Since 2014, FortyFour has worked with Coca-Cola on the strategy, design, implementation, and evolution of their direct-to-consumer e-commerce ecosystem. The site began as shareacoke.com, an online destination for consumers to purchase personalized name bottles. Over time, Coke has expanded their platform. Now Coke fans can celebrate everything from sporting events to weddings to corporate events and more with the personalized bottles and officially-licensed merchandise available at Cokestore.com.

As Coca-Cola continues to grow Cokestore.com, we look forward to being a supportive and strategic partner every step of the way.

Written by on June 6th, 2019 in Uncategorized

Gaia Herbs launches newly designed site to coincide with brand refresh

FortyFour redesigned GaiaHerbs.com to bring the herbal supplement manufacturer into the 21st century

We’re proud to announce the launch of Gaia Herbs’ newly redesigned website. The final product is the result of collaboration between our design, UX, development, and content teams alongside the Gaia Herbs team.

Gaia Herbs is unlike many retailers in that they value transparency very highly. As a leading certified organic producer of herbal supplements, their commitment to quality is apparent in everything they create. This same commitment to quality is now evident in their e-commerce experience.

In the age of one-click-to-buy platforms, Gaia Herbs needed a complete site overhaul in order to compete for and effectively convert potential customers. We redesigned the site using a modular approach, which allows Gaia the ability to continue to update and add new products as they’re released. Built on Shopify, the goal was to create a rich, informative content experience that speaks to Gaia’s commitment to quality, while providing ease of navigation and intuitive design.

We look forward to continuing to work with Gaia Herbs and expand their market share in the herbal supplements category.

Written by on June 3rd, 2019 in Work

BASF Launches Newtrition, First Direct-to-Consumer Brand & Site

FortyFour builds new supplement brand from the ground up

We’re proud to announce the launch of BASF’s first direct-to-consumer supplement brand, Newtrition. Our cross-functional team helped BASF across all of our core capabilities, from designing a rich visual identity to developing an intuitive e-commerce experience to creating a thoughtful go-to-market strategy.

BASF is the largest chemical manufacturer in the world. While they’ve historically white-labeled their products, they had the concept for a direct-to-consumer brand: a line of Omega-3s and health supplements called Newtrition. To bring the brand to life, they partnered with FortyFour. We helped BASF distinguish Newtrition from other supplements by anchoring their brand in science. By engineering their products so that they’re easier to digest, Newtrition boasts greater absorption and faster results than their competitors.

Built on Shopify, the site functions as more than just an ecommerce portal. We integrated BASF’s laboratory API into the site so that customers can order test kits, register them with the laboratory, and receive a PDF with their personalized test results all within their user account. In addition to designing and building their site, we launched Newtrition’s social platforms and produced accompanying video and photography in-house.

As the Newtrition brand continues to grow, we look forward to launching additional direct-to-consumer products.

Written by on May 23rd, 2019 in Work