Future. Shopify is preparing for a tech-powered commerce future by investing heavily in the blockchain, NFTs, and even AR/VR capabilities. The company may know that giving buyers and sellers the ability to turn any space into a storefront (that can accept any currency for transactions) gives it more of a chance to potentially grow into an Amazon challenger.
Breaking the Web2 wall
Shopify is making some room on the shelf for the new toys of the internet age.
- Shopify launched its NFT program in beta late last year, which allows merchants to mint and sell their own NFT collectibles on various blockchains. Buyers can, but aren’t required to, use crypto in order to purchase them.
- High-profile brands like The Chicago Bulls and Superplastic have already started using the feature.
- The feature is currently only available for Shopify Plus customers.
- Shopify plans on integrating AR into every aspect of the shopping experience. It recently acquired the team behind Primer, an AR home-design startup, and is on the search for an engineer to lead its AR and 3D ambitions.
- Since 2018, the company has integrated AR-selling functionality for digital storefronts, and brands like Allbird and Instant Pot have already taken advantage of its offerings.
Shopify CEO and founder Tobi Lütke and president Harley Finkelstein are very bullish when it comes to the worlds of Web3, the metaverse, the blockchain, and everything in between.
They’ve shown off their NFT bonafides with cryptoart Twitter handles — a CryptoPunks NFT for Lütke and an Adam Bomb Squad NFT for Finkelstein. In addition, Lütke also joined Coinbase’s board this January, while Finkelstein said last year that “I think the future of retail, the future of commerce, is going to happen everywhere, on every surface area. That may be online, in the metaverse, AR, or VR. It may be offline at a beautiful boutique or a great farmers market.”
With NFT sales hitting $25 billion last year (according to data from DappRadar) Shopify seems to be simply following the money.