Revenue grew 75 percent year over year, and the company’s gross profit also grew 83 percent compared to the same quarter in 2016. Total revenue beat expectations from Wall Street at $151.7 million, and its subscription-based business grew to $71.6 million, driven by a record number of new merchants signing up for the platform.
That led Shopify to cross the 500,000 mark for merchants on its platform for the first time during the quarter, a user population that’s spread across 175 countries worldwide.
The Shoptech platform is building out its bot component for smart speakers such as Alexa and text-based messaging platforms.
This effort is based on Kit, which Shopify bought in April:
Founded in 2013, and seed funded by Technicolor Ventures and Visionnaire Ventures, Kit CRM created “virtual marketing tools” that could perform a variety of functions, including running targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram, post updates to company’s Facebook pages, make recommendations to customers based on their store activities, and more. And all of of this could be done via text messages. It was heavily focused on letting merchants run particular aspects of their online businesses over SMS.
Speaking exclusively with VentureBeat, Shopify product director Brandon Chu said steps being taken to improve its Alexa skill continue a conversational computing strategy that has been carried out by the ecommerce platform for more than a year.
“Ultimately, any type of information merchants need to make decisions about their businesses, we want our Alexa skill to be able to serve, and then any types of actual operations they want to make on their store, we envision that they should be able to do it in voice as well,” Chu told VentureBeat in a phone interview.
Shopify offers an Alexa skill since January of this year. But this seems to have run in a testing phase first, as there was no marketing around it. Here’s the vision, via Venturebeat:
“We have a vision of really simplifying the way a merchant starts their day like getting up, having a cup of coffee and just being able to ask: What is the context I need to know to start my day off well, and how many orders do I need to fulfill right now? What are those products, and how many sales did I have the day before?” he said.
How much sense does a bot/Alexa skill integration at the backend really make?
Whatever the answer, Shopify is building up competencies on the bot front. Those will certainly not lay dormant after they have finished this project..
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