Shopify’s on Fast Company’s “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” List! / You Should Work With Us

Shopify Makes Fast Company’s “50 Most Innovative Companies” List

Fast Company / The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies - featuring Shopify

We’re in good company: along with Amazon, Square and Patagonia, Shopify made Fast Company’s “World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” list in the “Retail” category. Here’s what they wrote:

For democratizing and automating ecommerce tools. Shopify offers pre-made templates that allow people to quickly and easily set up an online store without needing to know how to code a website. Shopify creates tools and templates to power online storefronts. (Notable clients include Rovio, Angry Birds’ parent company, and GE.) Shopify has grown to almost 20,000 storefronts in 88 countries, which did a combined $275 million in online sales, up from $120 million in 2010. Up next: Making it as easy to buy sell to mobile customers.

Join Us, It’s Bliss!

Shopify standard issue gear: Apple 27" display, MacBook Pro, Apple Wireless Keyboard, Aeron chair, Apple Magic Mouse, Bag O' Stuff

Even more Shopify standard issue gear: Light grey Shopify t-shirt, dark grey Shopify t-shirt, light grey Shopify hoodie, neat pen, Moleskine notebook, Godiva chocolates, $100 restaurant gift card, $50 Apple Store gift card

If making the Fast Company list doesn’t impress you, maybe my earlier article about why Shopify’s a great place to work will. From the company’s success to interesting projects to the way we get stuff done to the cool gear that’s standard issue for Shopify employees (see the photo above; you get to pick between a MacBook Pro and MacBook Air these days), there are reasons aplenty to hitch your wagon to Shopify’s star.

We’re looking to fill these positions right now:

Software Engineer, Applications
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Shopify is looking to hire a Software Engineer for our growing Applications Team. The Applications Team is responsible for building supported Shopify Applications for the Shopify App Store as well as 3rd party applications. If you are interested in working on challenging Ruby on Rails projects with a team of highly motivated and talented individuals then this position is for you.

Software Engineer, Billing
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Shopify is looking to hire a Software Engineer to maintain and extend our sophisticated SaaS billing platform servicing over 20,000 merchants. The Shopify billing system is a core piece of infrastructure that handles millions of dollars of financial transactions. If you are interested in working on challenging Ruby projects with a team of highly motivated and talented individuals then this position is for you.

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.


Shopify Apps and the Shopify Fund

The Shopify Fund is a one million dollar pool of money that we’re using to encourage the development of apps built on Shopify’s ecommerce platform. We’ve funded the first four apps, which I’ve summarized in this article, and we’re on the lookout for more! The video above (4 minutes, 11 seconds) explains both Shopify apps and the Shopify Fund.

If you’re an app developer and want to get in on some of this Shopify Fund action, take a look at the Shopify Fund page and use the form to tell us about your app idea! We might fund it.

If you’ve already applied for the Shopify Fund but aren’t one of the first four to get funded, keep working on your app idea and submit it to the Shopify App Store! The fund isn’t just about getting new apps built, but also enabling developers to work on improvements to their apps. Submit your app, go to the Shopify Fund page and tell us about it! We might fund that development.

If you’ve got an app in the Shopify App Store already and you have ideas for a revision, go to the Shopify Fund page and let us know what they are – we might fund that revision!

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.


Your Faithful Scribes are Working Away at Fixing the Docs

Woodcutting of a scribe working on a text, with the thought bubble "WTF?"

This is just a quick update to let you know that yes, we know that the Shopify developer documentation needs work. There’s a fair bit of information there, but it could stand some improvement. There’s some missing information, it could be organized better, there are parts of it that are confusing and there need to be examples in languages and frameworks other than Ruby and Rails.

This update is also here to let you know that we’re actively working on it, bit by bit, every day. As I write this, David Underwood and are are working on a wholesale reorganization of the developer sections of the wiki and clear writeups of all the API resources, including explanations of the parameters they expect and the attributes they return as well as how they relate to other resources and what effects they have on shops. We’re also working on more example code, in more languages.

If you’ve got comments, questions and suggestions about the docs or what we’re doing with them, please let us know — feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line.

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.


The Shopify Fund, Explained

"The Shopify Fund, Explained": stacks of $100 bills arranged into an "S" shape

Shopify, its API and the App Ecosystem

Every now and again, I get asked this question: “Okay, I’ve heard of Shopify, but what does Shopify actually do?” The answer I give depends on who’s asking:

  • The shortest, quickest, clearest, layperson-friendliest answer is something along the lines of “Shopify is a web app that lets you run your own online shop.”
  • I tell people interested in selling stuff online (as well as people whose inclinations are more towards business) that the stores for Angry Birds, Epic Meal Time, Evisu Jeans, Foo Fighters, General Electric, LMFAO, Penny Arcade and Pixar are all powered by Shopify.
  • And finally, for more technically-inclined people, I say “It’s an easy-to-use, themeable hosted ecommerce platform that’s extensible through an API.”

Let talk about Shopify’s API. It lets you write apps that add functionality to or extend the capabilities of a shop. Most of the things that a shopowner can do from the admin panel can be done programmatically via the API; the API also makes it possible for you to get information from a shop so that you can integrate it with other services. You can write an app that will be used only by your shop, or you can write one for use by any shop, which you can sell to shopowners at the App Store.

The API designed to be simple and straightforward. You can call it using either XML or JSON, and it exposes different parts of a shop – such as products (things you sell in a shop), orders (orders placed by customers) and collections (groups of products within a shop) – as resources, each with its own URL and you manipulate the resources using the HTTP verbs GET, POST, PUT and DELETE. We’ve made it as RESTful as possible.

Screenshot of the Shopify App StoreWhat sort of apps have been written? There are about 100 in the App Store, and they do all sorts of things. Apps that have been featured recently on the Shopify Blog and Shopify Technology Blog include:

The Fund

Last month, Shopify landed a sweet $15 million in series B funding, which we’re using to grow the company in all sorts of ways:

  • Some of it will be used to hire the best developers, designers and businesspeople out there.
  • Some of it will be used to fund strategic partnerships and make some acquisitions.
  • Some of it – one million dollars’ worth – will be used to create the Shopify Fund.

"Dr. Evil" from "Austin Powers", touching his lips with his pinky

That’s right, it’s one. Meeeellion. Dollars.

The purpose of the Fund is to encourage the development of Shopify apps. Apps make everyone happy:

  • Shopowners: because they extend the capabilities of their shops.
  • Customers: because when a shop is running well, they get the stuff they want.
  • You, the developer: because you write software for a living.

Joey deVilla on CTV News with the caption "Joey deVilla: Internet Software Developer"

Not only was I a software developer, I played one on TV!

Most of us at Shopify, myself included, come from a development background, and we’ve all done freelance and contract work. We know what it’s like to worry about where this month’s rent is coming from and to juggle and prioritize clients. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a nice big client that paid you enough to concentrate full-time on a single project?

We want to be that big client! We created this fund to create a mutually beneficial arrangement: you get paid enough to work full-time on a Shopify app for a few weeks without having to take on other contracts and still make a living, and we get apps that extend the capabilities of our platform.

How Much Money are We Talking About Here?

Jack Nicholson's "Joker", dancing in a storm of bills

We expect that most of the projects will range from a couple of weeks’ to a couple of months’ worth of work. We’re looking at a ballpark figure of about $5,000 – $10,000 per app. The amount will vary with the scope and complexity of your project.

How Do You Get In on Some of This Action?

Screen capture of the Shopify Fund page

There are two ways that you can get in on the Shopify Fund:

  1. If you’re a developer with an idea for an app and we think it’s a good one, we’ll pay you to develop it.
  2. If you’re a developer with the talent to build apps but no idea of what to write, take a look at our App Wishlist and see if there’s an app idea you’d like to implement. If you can prove to us that you can deliver, we’ll pay you to develop it.

If you fall into either one of these categories and would like to get funded, visit the Shopify Fund page and fill out the form. We’re accepting submissions until Wednesday, November 30th.

After the submissions close on November 30th, we’ll spend December and a little bit of January reviewing the submissions. App development and funding will start around mid-January.

What Happens If You Get Funded?

A scattered pile of $100 bills

I like to describe the funding as being "like the advances paid to book authors, but nicer".

Suppose your app gets selected (or you get selected to write an app) and we decide to fund your project with $5,000. Here’s what happens:

  1. At the start of the project, we’ll pay you the first half of the “advance”. In this example, that amount is $2,500.
  2. You work on your app. We’ll check in with you regularly during this time.
  3. When the app’s done, you’ll get the second half of the “advance” — the other $2,500.
  4. Your app goes into the Shopify App Store. For every sale of the app, the revenue share between you and Shopify will be 50/50; you receive 50% and we receive 50%. This 50/50 revenue sharing will continue until Shopify’s total of the 50% share equals the advance we gave you (or in other words, until your app rakes in a total of $10,000).
  5. Once our 50% share is equal to the advance we gave you, the revenue share changes to Shopify’s standard 80/20 ratio for sales in the Shopify App Store: you receive 80% and we receive 20%.

See what I mean by “like a literary advance, but better”? With a literary advance, you don’t earn any money until your sales have paid off the advance. With the Shopify Fund, you’re always taking in money, even while you’re “paying off the advance”.

How Do I Find Out More?

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop us a line at! We’d be very happy to answer your questions.

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.


Shopify Hackfest in Ottawa – Saturday, November 19th

hackfest 01

Hey, developers from Ottawa and parts nearby!

  • Are you interested in building innovative, novel apps on the Shopify ecommerce platform?
  • Have you got “the skillz to pay the billz”?
  • Are you available on Saturday, November 19th?

If the answer to that last question is “Maybe!”, we’d love to see you at Shopify’s Ottawa Hackfest taking place that day.

We’re celebrating our recent round of new funding. As my coworker David Underwood puts it:

Shopify is throwing an all day hack event the like of which has been seen several times before. That doesn’t make it any less fun though, I promise.

With a stunning endorsement like that, how can you possibly choose to miss this event?

hackfest 02

When and Where

  • The Date: Saturday, November 19th
  • The Time: 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • The Place: Shopify’s Offices, 61A York Street, in the heart of ByWard Market

View Larger Map

So How Does This Work?

Everyone shows up in the morning ready to start coding at 10 a.m.. We provide you with food, drink, and assistance throughout the day as you build the best Shopify app you can. At 5 p.m., work stops and everyone with a working demo presents what they’ve done. We pick our favourite projects and award fabulous prizes for them. Then everyone retires to a nearby pub and parties into the night.

Who Will Be There?

Shopifolk (Shopify employees) will be on hand to provide assistance throughout the day. And of course, your teammates/competitors will be there too.

Why Are You Doing This?

Because we can! We have to spend that $15 million we raised somehow, you know. We’re also always on the lookout for new talent to join the Shopify team, so don’t be surprised if someone takes a shine to you.

What Will Be Provided?

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Video games (Street Fighter 4!)
  • Workspaces with power and wireless internet
  • Fabulous prizes (to be announced)!

What Should I bring?

  • Laptop
  • Power supply
  • Your enormous intellect
  • Beverage container (e.g. travel mug)

What Should I Build?

Anything you want! The only restrictions are that it has to use our API and has to work for a demo at the end of the day. If you don’t have an idea or a team to work with, we’ll match you up with people/projects when you arrive. You can also have a look at our app wishlist if you’re stumped and want a head-start.

Ok, I’m Convinced. Where Do I Sign Up?

Go here to register. Spaces are limited, so don’t dawdle. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!


Pixel Union’s Beautiful Shopify Themes

pixel union - beautiful themes

pixel union“Pixel Union” is synonymous with “beautiful Tumblr themes”. Go take a look at their site and try out the demos of themes like Sticks and Stones with its hand-drawn charm, the retro-urban New Yorker theme or the simple but powerful grid of the Insider theme. Pixel Union themes turn Tumblrs into gorgeous sites that make you want to visit over and over again.

That same gorgeousness that goes into Pixel Union’s Tumblr themes can now go into your Shopify shop. Starting today, you can get your hands on Pixel Union’s new Shopify Themes and turn your shop into a place that customers will want to visit over and over again.

You’ll find the same magic that goes into Pixel Union’s Tumblr themes in their new Shopify themes: Carleton, Jitensha, Technophile and Vintage. They all come with a boatload of features:

  • The same beauty and craftsmanship that goes into Pixel Union’s Tumblr themes, for both your shop’s catalogs as well as its blogs
  • Lots of customizability to make the theme fit your shop: logo, fonts and colors
  • Ties to the big social media services so you can harness word-of-mouth for your shop
  • MailChimp integration so it’s simple to set up an email newsletter campaign to reach out to your customers
  • Pixel Union’s speedy, expert and personalized support

Here’s a closer look at Pixel Union’s Shopify themes…

Carleton Classic and Modern

The Carleton theme is reminiscent of those thick, high-end clothing catalogs and comes packaged with two similar but distinct “flavors”. First, there’s the traditional, clean Classic:

carleton classic theme

Carleton Classic: See its page in the Shopify Theme Store | View the demo

…and there’s the contemporary, bold Modern:

carleton modern theme

Carleton Modern: See its page in the Shopify Theme Store | View the demo


Jitensha takes its inspiration from Japanese culture: the word means “bicycle” in Japanese, and the theme takes its design cues from Japanese minimalism.

jitensha theme

Jitensha: See its page in the Shopify Theme Store | View the demo

Technophile Dark and Light

If your shop is about gadgets and gear, you should check out Technophile. It pays homage to Apple’s legendary interface design and comes packaged with two styles. There’s Dark

technophile dark theme

Technophile Dark: See its page in the Shopify Theme Store | View the demo

…and if you prefer the white iPhone, there’s the Light style:

technophile light theme

Technophile Light: See its page in the Shopify Theme Store | View the demo

Vintage Theme

If you have a shop that specializes in hand-made, artisanal products, you should check out Vintage Theme, with its letterpress-on-high-grade-paper look and boutique “feel”.

vintage theme

Vintage: See its page in the Shopify Theme store | View the demo

See Pixel Union’s Themes and More at the Theme Store!

theme store pixel union

Shopify gives you lots of options. If you’ve got the time and know-how, you can create a theme that’s your very own. You can also find the right “look and feel” your shop with a free or paid theme at the Theme Store, whether it’s one created by Pixel Union or any other of the wide range created by shopowners and designers.

We’re very happy to welcome Pixel Union to the Theme Store, and we think you’ll love their themes!

This article also appears in the Shopify Blog.


Featured Shopify App: Kwantify QR Campaign Manager

Welcome to another Featured Shopify App article, where we put the spotlight on a Shopify app and ask its creators about what it does, what its features are and why shopowners should use it. We plan to do this for every app in our App Store, to make sure that shopowners know about all the goodies available to them and to make rock stars out of the developers who build apps on the Shopify platform!

Today’s featured app: Kwantify’s QR Campaign Manager.

What does Kwantify QR Campaign Manager do?

Kwantify’s QR Campaign Manager application is designed to take advantage of the explosive growth in popularity of QR codes as a tool to drive mobile users to online websites. With this application you can quickly and easily generate QR codes that link to any aspect of your Shopify storefront. These codes can be generated in any size and your choice of Black, Purple or Red and are easily downloaded to be printed in your offline marketing initiatives.

Sometime before the holiday season we will be launching version 2.0, a free upgrade for existing users that will bring enhanced features and more customizable elements including location aware reporting (and that’s all I’m going to say on that:).

What are the key features of your app?

The Key feature of Kwantify’s QR Campaign Manager is that it’s easy to use interface and Code image customization options. Shopify retailers can setup a campaign linking to any product, category, blog of custom page in just three easy steps.  QR codes can be generated in any size need and 3 different colours.

When scanned by a mobile QR code reader, the user is redirected to the specified page while prompting the user to share their location.  When shared, Kwantify logs the time and location of the scan resulting in a clear picture of the campaign success.

Why should shopowners use your app?

Any Shopify retailer that uses printed marketing material should use this app to create scannable codes to add to the offline marketing material.  QR Code readers are quickly becoming the “must have” application for the mobile device with more and more handset makers building them into their next generation mobile devices.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

We started Kwantify in July of 2001 shortly after becoming Shopify and launching, a digital content download store featuring the life’s work of world famous speed and strength coach, the late great Charlie Francis.  We started to tinker with Shopify’s API interface and were instantly hooked!  We quickly came up with a list of potential applications that would make our experience as a online retailer better so we decided to go for it.

Kwantify is dedicated to building sleek, easy to use application that we, as a Shopify retailer would use ourselves to grow our business and offer them to other likeminded Shopify retailer’s at a fair price and with great support.  We want to listen to our customers and help them achieve their online goals both easily and cost effectively.

Where did you get the idea for your app?

We got the idea for our app when we launched a business built on Shopify’s e-commerce platform of our own. We wanted to offer our customers an easy to use tool to take advantage of the explosive popularity of QR codes as a means to interact online with offline marketing campaigns.  The team at Kwantify is quickly getting addicted to snapping a scan of QR codes we see everyday living in Vancouver, BC Canada.  From ads in the newspaper to billboards and posters on the Skytrain, QR codes are popping up everywhere and it is clear the mobile public is eating it up! On our own Shopify website, we have utilized QR codes in all our printed marketing materials and the response is impressive!

Where can I find out more about Kwantify QR Campaign Manager?

You can find out more about Kwantify QR Campaign Manager on its page in the Shopify App Store.

Kwantify also have another app in the store: Kwantify Contact Manager, a contact management tool that captures and processes customer inquiries received from your Shopify storefront.

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.