Shopify Editions Summer 2023 — Part 4: Ecommerce Third-Party Logistics (3PL) and Operations

Shopify Editions Summer 2023 Part 4: Everyday Operations and Fulfillment

This article is the fourth of Coalition Technologies’ 6-part series tackling Shopify Editions Summer 2023 updates.

If you’ve been keeping up with this series, you’ll know that Shopify has brought in some remarkable changes to make the platform more developer- and B2B-friendly. However, it’s also done a whole lot to improve the day-to-day experience for ecommerce owners, including streamlining operations and order fulfillment.

With shipping and third-party logistics (3PL) particularly, Shopify has introduced some game-changing updates that are likely to give its merchants a competitive edge over non-Shopify retailers. 

Here’s everything you need to know.

Shopify Order Fulfillment

Shipping and order fulfillment consistently rank as among the most critical elements of ecommerce management. A recent survey found that 96% of consumers consider delivery a deciding factor when buying online and as many as 59% prefer to shop with a retailer with a range of delivery options. 

With its Summer 2023 Edition, Shopify has simplified 3PL for its retailers and provided them a range of fulfillment options to improve customer service and reduce cart abandonment. 

Shopify Shipping

Shopify Shipping home page

Source: Shopify

Shopify Shipping is a new product that you can buy to completely streamline your order fulfillment process. It helps you deliver faster and for a fraction of the usual cost while helping you avoid the hassle of multiple platforms and providers.

This creates tremendous competitive advantages for you. Consider that 74% of customers say free shipping is among the most important factors influencing their decision to buy. And 63% of them will simply abandon their carts if shipping is too expensive. 

Shopify Shipping offers you industry-leading discounts of up to 88% with a range of domestic and international carriers, including UPS, USPS, and DHL. You can track all these shipments and their delivery status from your Shopify portal, regardless of which carrier you’re using.

With Shopify 3PL, you can manage a host of shipping-related tasks, including, automatically creating shipping forms, arranging pickups and dropoffs, printing labels, and more, saving you a ton of time during the fulfillment process.

Shopify Shipping also lets you expand internationally, fulfill orders in bulk, and optimize ecommerce operations with deep insights. Best of all, you only make one simple payment each month on the same bill as your Shopify subscription. You can then pass on these savings to your customers to create a competitive advantage for yourself.

Customized Fulfillment

Shopify’s 3PL platform also lets you complete your own orders without a fulfillment service. Here too, Shopify makes it easier on you by allowing you to fulfill multiple orders at the same time to save on shipping time and cost.

You can also split orders into separate line items or merge different orders going to the same location to get them out to your customers faster. You can further customize your delivery strategies using Shopify’s Fulfillment Constraints API. This lets you build in specific constraints into your fulfillment process to optimize shipping.

Smart Order Routing

Order routing is determining which location fulfills each line item in a cart. For instance, you can route items to the customer from a warehouse, a retail store, or a 3PL provider. Shopify’s smart order routing lets you do exactly that. 

This feature offers you multiple routing logic options to efficiently fulfill a customer’s order. It’s flexible and easy to configure and is a great way to scale your business as your order volumes grow. Brands like Element Brooklyn have used Shopify’s shipping platform to reduce delivery time by an average of 1.2 days and offer next-day shipping on 94% of orders.

Shopify 3PL also has an Order Routing Location Rule Function API — currently in early access — that lets your developers provide their own ranking of preferred fulfillment locations for each cart line item.

Carbon Neutral Shipping 

Shopify’s Planet app lets you easily offer carbon-neutral shipping on all your orders. It automatically calculates the estimated shipping emissions on each order and lets you pay a small fee ($0.035-0.15) per order to decarbonize the atmosphere. 

Customers are increasingly eco-sensitive, with 71% reporting a modest to complete change in favor of sustainable shopping practices. The Planet app is a great way to use Shopify’s 3PL services to capitalize on this trend and showcase your carbon commitment to eco-friendly shoppers.

Ecommerce Operations

Aside from 3PL functions, Shopify has also made improvements to its interface and to the Shopify admin to make everyday store management much easier for you. This includes changes like a new visual design to enhanced data reporting and analytics.

Revamped Shopify Admin

The most visible change is likely to Polaris, Shopify’s design system. It has shifted from a traditional flat design to a more tactile layout that helps you easily locate relevant options and offers a satisfying feel as you use it.

The admin has also been improved along a number of other lines:

  • Bulk Editor: The bulk editor is more facile with easy-to-manage tags and adjustable column width, helping you analyze information better.
  • Search: An improved search function now makes it easier for you to quickly find what you’re looking for, whether that’s settings, apps, or products across your store. 
  • Home Cards: Home cards are a new feature that basically gives you actionable information about your store. This can be updates on new Shopify features, store-related insights, and advice to help you get the most out of Shopify.
  • Alerts Feed: The alerts feed has seen a revamp as well, making it easier for you to spot and understand time-sensitive information, including Shopify 3PL updates.
  • Languages: Shopify help and support is now available in over 20 languages, making global merchants less dependent on developer assistance.

Powerful Analytics

The Analytics page gives you lots of information about your business, including orders, key sales, and visitor data. The metrics displayed are the ones Shopify deems most valuable for you to judge store performance.

However, you can now customize your reporting and analytics to give you the insights that you’re actually looking for. This includes being able to benchmark your store data against that of other comparable brands on Shopify to see their 3PL performance, sales figures, conversion metrics, and more. 

Shopify benchmarks dash

Source: Shopify

Rather than being limited to industry-specific standards, you can now see how you’re performing in a league of your peers. This gives you a much more accurate idea of where and how you need to improve.  

You can also bring data from other surfaces into ShopifyQL Notebooks using Python code blocks. This lets you visualize the data in Notebooks, leveraging some of the most powerful data libraries out there.

Custom Automations

The Flow app is now available to more Shopify subscription plans. You can use it to build custom automations, helping align store management with your business processes. This includes creating unique workflows, without coding, that improve efficiency and productivity for you.

Shopify’s app store boasts over 8,000 apps that you can use to further improve control over and revenue from your store. It’s worth noting that some Shopify APIs are rate-limited, simply to deliver a more stable experience for everyone on the platform. 

However, Shopify also offers you considerable freedom in building your own apps and APIs using the GraphQL Admin API. You can use this to further improve functions like Shopify 3PL and customize the experience on your store.

Multi-Store Organization

Managing a large-scale ecommerce operation is now much easier on Shopify. You can easily navigate between stores, add or remove locations, handle billing, review organizational performance, and streamline global 3PL using the Shopify Plus admin.

Navigation is also much improved on mobile interfaces, in addition to product creation and interface design. Mobile is expected to drive close to 50% of sales in 2023. The Shopify Mobile app helps you capitalize on this evolution by building a mobile-optimized store to impress all your prospects. 

Accelerate Shopify Sales With Coalition

With the number of features and customizations on offer, Shopify can be a complex ecosystem to navigate. Work with proven experts to launch or level up your Shopify store. Streamline 3PL, ecommerce operations, and customer experience across your website with our help.

Coalition has generated over half a billion dollars in earnings for some 800 companies worldwide. Schedule a consultation to see how we can help you too. 

Keep up with our blog for parts five and six of our Shopify Summer 2023 Edition series. 

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