Shopify Unveiled AI-powered Fulfillment Network for SMB Merchants

Shopify Fulfillment Network

On Wednesday, June 19, 2019, Shopify introduced Shopify Fulfillment Network, a new way to get orders to your customers easily and quickly. This company work helps it differentiate its product portfolio from industry rivals. 

Now, let’s dive into this new feature.

 A series of new products for Shopify core small to medium business customers

After Shopify considered the small and medium-sized businesses as its target base, it has been steadily improving its core offering to these group. It seems that Shopify does not access the kinds of massive POS systems like other larger retailers. However, Shopify has to compete with a lot of formidable competitors such as Square, Clover, Toast, Stripe. The competition will be fierce in that space.

The fulfillment network is one of the Shopify product series for SMB merchants. According to Patrick Cadic, vice president of sales and marketing at UPS fulfillment platform Ware2Go, “Shopify’s addition of fulfillment capabilities is confirmation that we’re addressing an important challenge in the market”. He also added, “As consumer expectations for both B2B and B2C are set by the biggest players in retail, small and mid-sized businesses are under more strain than ever. A data-driven logistics solution is a critical piece of the puzzle to level the playing field. Going forward, the leaders in this market will be those that give every business the independence to pave their own way.”

Shopify Fulfillment Network

At launch, Shopify’s fulfillment services will primarily target small and medium-sized businesses, shipping 10 to 10,000 orders a day. And over time, the network will grow to support merchants of all sizes.

The advantage of a connected network

Manage inventory efficiently

Shopify Fulfillment Network uses smart inventory-allocation technology, powered by machine learning, to match orders, route inventory and negotiate rates. The fulfillment network predicts the closest fulfillment centers and optimal inventory quantities per location. That makes delivery experiences be faster and have a lower cost.

Deliver great unboxing moments

Shopify CTO Jean-Michel Lemieux said the fulfillment network, which will include a mix of Shopify-owned and shared distribution centers is a first for Shopify, as its merchants historically have had to work with third-party logistics providers to ship inventory. Now, with Shopify fulfillment network, merchants can control the entire customer experience from sale to delivery.

“In some ways, we are repeating our vision, in which merchants want to own their brand, and that drives our roadmap,” Lemieux said.

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Maintain a single back office

In addition, Shopify offers additional value adds like merchant-branded boxes. Plus, it will support purchases made across channels. Specifically, your order, inventory, and customer data syncs across warehouses and sales channels to reduce errors.


Shopify did not announce the price for its new fulfillment product. According to Ethan McAfee, CEO, and founder of Amazon outsourcing partner​ Amify, Shopify is not likely to be competitive with Fulfillment by Amazon. Because Amazon now is offering Amazon Prime with one-day or at least two-day shipping on many items. However, the level of control and transparency that Shopify is now offering is a rare differentiation among its rivals.

Other Shopify updates

The company also announced “Shopify Plus” for larger, fast-growing retailers. It provides enterprise brands with a “single view” of all their stores for better integration of their operations. Besides Shopify Plus, it also added support for 3D models. This new update allows merchants to display products in video, augmented reality and 3D models within Shopify.

“We are making it easier for people to upload and manage 3D models on their storefront,” Lemieux said. “One of the biggest pain points is product returns, and people returning items because they don’t fit. We also believe you can’t have immersive AR experience without 3D modeling.”

In term of developer, Shopify makes its most popular libraries available in GraphQL Through this, developers can build faster and more stable apps for merchants. Plus, with the new Shopify App CLI, developers can create an app within a few seconds by wrapping all app building steps into a command. App Bridge was also introduced. This new consolidated tool helps developers embed their apps directly into Shopify, including desktop, Shopify Mobile, and Shopify POS.

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