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Bloomberg has a story about how Shopify, a Canadian technology company that "has become the platform of choice for businesses seeking to get online quickly and cheaply," enabling many of the transactions not made on Amazon, is having its moment as the pandemic changes consumer behavior.

This year, the story says, "has given Shopify - and online retail - a huge push. Whether the behavior shift is permanent remains to be seen, but it’s put a tech company few had heard of into the spotlight."

Some context:

"In the U.S., the world’s biggest e-commerce market after China, any purchase not made on Inc. is probably done via a website powered by Shopify. The Ottawa-based company claimed the second-largest share of online retail sales in the U.S. last year. Globally, it powers more than 1 million merchants across 175 countries, from Victoria Beckham’s clothing line to megabrands such as Heineken and PepsiCo. All told, Shopify helped flog $61 billion of goods in 2019."

The story goes on:

"Early on in the crisis, Tobi Lutke, Shopify’s convention-bucking chief executive officer and founder, told staff to 'delete all our existing plans and re-derive them from this new reality.'  For three days, employees dropped their usual jobs and focused on identifying what small businesses needed most to survive. In subsequent weeks, Shopify rushed out features to help merchants set up curbside pickup and local delivery. It announced new partnerships with Facebook Inc. and Pinterest Inc. to expand social media as a shopping tool. According to Chief Technology Officer Jean-Michel Lemieux, Shopify was seeing 'Black Friday-level traffic every day' in April. As brick-and-mortar stalwarts such as J.C. Penney Co. and Neiman Marcus Group Inc. tipped into bankruptcy, Shopify saw a 62% surge in store creations over a six-week period.

“'The future of retail is everywhere,' says Shopify Chief Operating Officer Harley Finkelstein."

KC's View:

Seems to me that there are four advantages to how Shopify approaches the marketplace…

•  It is relatively fast and cheap, enabling brands to pivot nimbly rather than dither in place.

•  It supports companies' brand equity, rather than compete with it.

•  It actually may position some brands to disintermediate traditional retailers to some degree, which is what many of them would like to do.  

•  It ain't Amazon.