Why We Partnered with Shopify Plus
It’s no secret that Shopify Plus attracts some amazing brands. With 5,300 high-volume businesses across the globe, Plus has been making waves in the ecommerce technology platform ecosystem since it’s launch in 2014. From humble home-grown Canadian roots, Shopify Plus is now powering mega-brands like MVMT, Gymshark, and Kylie Cosmetics.
But it’s not just Merchants that select Shopify Plus for their technical capabilities, reputation, market reach, and more. Shopify Plus’ Partner Network is a rich ecosystem of Agencies, Technologies, and Consultancies that have also been attracted to the platform for very similar reasons.
But it’s not often that we Shopify Plus Partners talk openly about why we chose Shopify Plus as the ecommerce platform to partner with. So we’re joining forces with our partners Half Helix, a Shopify Plus Partner and agency specializing in building, growing, and guiding the next generation of e-commerce companies, to share the three main reasons Half Helix and VL OMNI partnered with Shopify Plus.
Shopify Plus has the Market’s Attention
The origins of Plus come from Shopify core when Shopify noticed there was a need to provide high-growth merchants with a customizable solution without the need for large investments of time, money, or resources. Since that launch in 2014, Shopify Plus has been exponentially expanding in their Merchant base and geography.
Today, Shopify and Shopify Plus have a globally recognized name, and together they own a considerable amount of the ecommerce platform market. As of the posting of this article, Shopify currently has 23% of the ecommerce platform market share. Merchants migrating to the Plus are coming from all corners of the ecommerce platform world. Overwhelmingly, these Merchants are migrating from Magento Enterprise to Plus, but Merchants are also coming to the platform from another source, too: Shopify core itself, illuminating the growth merchants are able to achieve on Shopify to the degree that they need to upgrade to the enterprise-level platform.
For VL OMNI, Shopify Plus has been an amazing Partner that has exposed us to global markets even just by lieu of their brand reputation. Since we partnered with Shopify Plus in early 2017, we’ve grown our markets to include the UK, and UAE, and Saudi Arabia, and there’s no sign of a slow down.
But beyond the brand recognition, it’s really the features that sell Merchants on Shopify Plus—and keep them on Shopify Plus. For Half Helix, it’s about trust and longevity when advising Merchants that come to them for their services. “When evaluating platforms, we make it a point to always tell clients that there are other ecommerce platforms that might be cheaper or have comparable features,” says Mackenzie King, Managing Director at Half Helix. “But the ultimate decision should never come down to just that.”
Mac and Half Helix see it as it is, and just the way VL OMNI sees it, too: Shopify Plus is not going anywhere. They are winning, they are building for the long-term, and growing rapidly as a publicly traded company. No merchant wants to re-platform every 2-3 years when their platform no longer becomes supported.
For both Half Helix and VL OMNI, we love the security and stability that Shopify Plus offers for our clients.
A Powerful Partner Community
Collaboration is a beautiful thing, and the Shopify Plus Partner community is a glowing beacon of what can happen when so many talented experts come together for the common good of our Merchants’ success.
Most Plus Partners are in sync with their corporate cultures; a lot of us have moved well past the idea of ‘client ownership’, a concept that at its core feels disingenuous to the client itself. Instead, top Shopify Plus Partners like VL OMNI and Half Helix are niche experts that prefer to come together to pool our collective expertise. At the end of the day, the partnerships that form between fellow Plus Partners form out of us all have the same approach and mindset to Plus Merchants: we’re wholly invested in creating the best possible cohesive and unified projects for our common customers.
It’s no coincidence that Plus Partners have this shared collaborative mindset, focused on Merchant success, either. This stems directly from the culture of Shopify Plus:
“Something that potential investors must understand: we do not chase revenue as the primary driver of our business. Shopify has been about empowering merchants since it was founded, and we have always prioritized long-term value over short-term revenue opportunities. We don’t see this changing.”
–Tobi Lütke, CEO of Shopify
The richness of the Shopify Plus Partner community not only benefits Merchants, but fellow partners as well: Half Helix and VL OMNI alike are astounded by the quality and breadth of the Shopify Plus Partner network. Mackenzie King, Managing Director at Half Helix, and Jessica Thiele, Director of Marketing at VL OMNI, are both equally impressed with the Shopify team; we both commend them on doing a fantastic job at vetting agencies and technologies to work with their largest merchants. Shopify Plus is extremely picky about exactly what technologies and services are allowed into the Partner network, including the App and Shopify Expert network.
With the breadth of the community and the diversity of Partners and their specialities, Shopify Plus Merchants not only know that Partners with the Plus stamp of approval are some of the best of the best. Plus Merchants know with confidence that there’s a community of Plus Partners that can help, no matter the project, goal, or strategy.
The Best Ecommerce Technology for Agencies and Technology Partners Alike
We’ve saved the best and most important for last: both Half Helix and VL OMNI were ultimately drawn to partner with Shopify Plus because of the core technology of the ecommerce. At the end of the day, of course it’s the actual Shopify Plus platform itself that makes all the difference to Partners and Merchants alike.
Although we have slightly different perspectives, VL and Half Helix agree that it’s the technology built into the Shopify Plus platform that makes it so attractive to us Partners.
As an iPaaS point-to-multipoint serverless data integration platform, VL OMNI values Shopify Plus for its webhooks and APIs. When we joined the Shopify Plus Partner ecosystem in 2017, Shopify Plus was the only ecommerce platform that had webhooks, which allow for real-time data movement. Today, Shopify Plus still has more webhooks than any other ecommerce platform. Plus also has more stability in their APIs, which are thorough and well-documented. To the observer these two technical capacities might not look like much, but to a data integrator like VL OMNI, these functionalities make a world of difference in what we’re able to do for the Merchants on our platform.
The entire approach that Shopify Plus has taken on ecommerce platform technology has also changed the game for Merchants and Partners alike. Compared to other ecommerce platforms, Plus has a front-end that’s easy and straight-forward to work with that’s highly functional. This means that less budget has to be allocated to getting the front-end of your Shopify Plus instance tailored to your brand, strategy, and needs; instead, the budget that would have been earmarked for front-end heavy design lifting can now be reallocated to other more strategic objectives. This may be why you see so many Shopify Plus Merchants knocking it out of the park on things like branding, UX, unified customer experiences, and more, they’re not bogged down with front-end development spend. The traditional role of ‘agency’ is now, more than ever, ‘agency + technology’ in the Shopify Plus Partner ecosystem; considering what objectives need to be achieved, and marrying powerful front-end design with the back-end technical mechanisms that allow for meeting complex but highly critical elements like customer experience, no matter how Merchants’ customers buy.
And this is perhaps why the Shopify Plus Partner ecosystem is so outstandingly unique. From VL OMNI’s and my own personal perspective, it’s never been easier to team up with an incredible Plus Agency like Half Helix to pull together amazing projects with incredible long-term results.
Half Helix’s approach has always been to go with the best technology on behalf of their Merchants:
“Eight years ago, we built on the industry standard of Magento; when things shifted, we moved to custom Ruby on Rails ecommerce websites. Now, by far and away, the industry standard is Shopify Plus. For Half Helix, the decision to specialize on Plus was simple: it just works. Plus is easy for our clients to manage. With the flexibility of the platform, they can always find a way to achieve the desired result.”
–Mackenzie King, Managing Director at Half Helix
And just to drive home that the Plus Partner Community is of a different breed that leads with technology first, even Half Helix appreciates Shopify Plus’ APIs as a technology-forward agency. Plus’ robust and well-documented APIs alongside a suite of developer tools and support directly from the Shopify Plus team are appreciated by Half Helix and VL OMNI alike, irrespective of the fact that we’re an Agency and Technology Platform respectively.
Some Final Words
Shopify Plus is unquestionably on a tear: the ecommerce platform has great traction in North America and is gaining steam internationally at an increasing rate. Plus has some of the biggest, most recognizable brands already on the platform, with even more eyeing the technical capabilities of the platform itself in junction with the incredible talent of the Plus Partners that are equally as attracted to Plus for much of the same reasons.
About Half Helix
Half Helix is a digital agency that is building, growing, and guiding the next generation of e-commerce companies.
We make websites and apps with a focus on eCommerce for clients all around the world, ranging from self-funded entrepreneurs to multinational corporations.
About VL OMNI
VL OMNI is a cloud based, EU-GDPR compliant platform for agile and scalable iPaaS Data Integration. We consult to create strategic data integrations that maintain a central point of data truth. Business agility and scalability is enhanced while incorporating business rules to maximize efficiency and actualize on core strategies.