The Future of Commerce Featured Image

The Future of Commerce

We’ve attended our share of events over the years, but nothing has rivalled Shopify’s Unite – a conference tailored specifically to Shopify Partners to collaborate and explore the future of commerce as a united front. As we descended upon the inaugural event last year none of us knew quite what was in store, but the moment we arrived we realized this would be something we’d not soon forget. The energy and excitement were contagious and only gained momentum as the two-day event went forward. To say we’re excited about Unite 2017 would be selling the conference short, because we’ve been waiting anxiously since the day we stepped out of the conference last year.

If you're heading to San Francisco next week to take part in the excitement, we'd love to connect. Representing our team will be our CEO, Chris Pointer, Director of Commerce, Mack Johnson, and our Director of Design, Ryan Blaind. Take a minute to get to know them so you know who you're looking for in a sea of Shopifolk (or linger around the bar area for long enough and you're likely to run into one, if not all, of them).

CHRIS POINTER, CEO

What do you love about working with the Shopify Platform?

I love working with Shopify merchants. They are hardcore entrepreneurs who push us to do great work, and I’m always impressed with the ideas they are coming up with. I’m also a huge fan of the incredible Partner program Shopify has created. We wouldn’t be where we are as an agency without that ongoing support and partnership.

What is your favourite shop you’ve worked on?

Recently we worked with Beantown Roasters to develop a new brand identity and new commerce site, and the end result is beautiful. They were a relatively obscure brand on Amazon who decided to diversify and increase their direct to consumer business on Shopify. I’m really excited to see the growth associated with our work.

What are you looking forward to seeing at Unite?

Shopify always puts on a first-class event. I’m excited to hear what Tobi and Harley have to say about what’s coming up this year for Shopify, and the Tracks look pretty killer. I am also looking forward to Atlee’s talk about Apps and Themes as that is an area we are slowly expanding into. I’ll try to not be as hung over this year as well.

Are there any other Shopify Partners you would like to meet at Unite

All of them! Honestly, hanging out with the group of Shopify Partners is the best part of Unite. The folks at eHouse Studios are doing some cool shit that I'm really impressed by, and it'd be great to connect. I also love seeing all our buds from BVA, RocketCode, Diff, Fuel Made, Bold, Simplistic and Pixel Union.

When you aren’t at the conference, where can we find you that week?

Probably sipping Irish Coffees at The Buena Vista or on a boat out to Alcatraz. I would love to see a bit more of the city this year, so if anyone has any advice ping me on social media!

MACK JOHNSON, DIRECTOR OF COMMERCE

What do you love about working with the Shopify Platform?

As someone whose background lies mostly in the development world, what makes Shopify so easy to pitch as a platform is what an open sandbox it is for designers and developers alike. From a dev standpoint, while it may sound clichéd, after working on hundreds of Shopify stores over the past 4 years there has literally never been a problem we haven’t been able to solve on this platform.

What is your favourite shop you’ve worked on?

A personal favourite for me would be MotionRC - a company selling remote-controlled aircraft, drones, and accessories. This project, a migration of over 10,000 products from BigCommerce, stretches the platform to the limit in terms of building a product page that incorporates native fields, metafields, and a ton of customer information that changes from product to product. Along with a comprehensive filtering system (with about 30 different variations of filter options across different collections), we handed off a turnkey site that has allowed the client to continue adding and updating their extensive product line without the need for any additional investment.

What are you looking forward to seeing at Unite?

Although the pageantry of the whole event is something to behold, it’s a pretty euphoric feeling to see a company that you’ve grown alongside in Ottawa hold their own and command respect in the heart of Silicon Valley. Amidst the sea of Partners and Shopifolk, there is a bigger feeling that Shopify is a dominant player in the Commerce space and that the best is yet to come.

The various parties and events organized around the conference itself really bring a ton of value. Now developers and designers from Sweden and Australia are not only more than a couple lines in a Slack window, but part of this tangible community of like-minded individuals and agencies sharing similar experiences and advice. I would like to think from the onset of the Partners program this is what Shopify was looking to create, and Unite gives you an opportunity to get immersed in the culture.

Are there any other Shopify Partners you would like to meet at Unite?

I had a great time last year with team members from BVA, Loyalty Lion, and Diff. It’s also always fun to run into Gavin from Disco and hear about how he’s traveled more in the past week and a half than I have in my entire life.

When you aren’t at the conference, where can we find you that week?

Sitting outside AT&T Park lamenting why the Giants are always on the road every single Unite. Is it too much to ask from a Canadian baseball fan?!

RYAN BLAIND, DIRECTOR OF DESIGN

What do you love about working with the Shopify Platform?

As someone with both a design and development background, I especially love that the platform is continuously evolving and adding new features and benefits that support merchants and agencies alike.

What is your favourite shop you’ve worked on?

To date, the New York Times Store has been one of my favourites in terms of sheer scale. This is the first company we’ve worked with who has internal project teams, RFP processes, and strict design rules. It has been really fun collaborating with their design team in NYC and learning how an organization of that size operates behind the scenes.

What are you looking forward to seeing at Unite?

I am stoked for the VR demos that the Shopify VR Team has been working on. Recently we got a chance to stop by Shopify HQ and get a sneak peek, it’s pretty dope.

Are there any other Shopify Partners you would like to meet at Unite?

I’m really excited to reconnect with the folks from BVA and they are a great team and think they are doing some pretty awesome work. I am also looking forward to catching up with Jamie Sutton.

When you aren’t at the conference, where can we find you that week?

With all of the parties, I’m just hoping to stay outta jail!

Connect with us on Instagram to follow our Unite 2017 adventures. We are anxious to update you on all the excitement when we’re back in Ottawa - and fully recovered.

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