Unite 2017: Take the Path That Leads to More Entrepreneurs (and Other Keynotes)

Unite 2017 the path to more entrepreneurs and keynotes

We are a community of entrepreneurs helping other entrepreneurs. And we’re investing now, more than ever, in your success.

Harley Finkelstein, Shopify's COO

This year, attendees left Shopify’s Unite with a lot to think about, and we don’t blame them: many of the announcements will not only empower partners to continue growing with Shopify, but will also help partners enable others to build their businesses with Shopify, too.

New developer tools, new resources, new techniques and strategies for Shopify-specific projects — everything Shopify Partners and Developers need to prepare for the future of commerce. Together.

We want you to be able to use this information to inspire your business, too. So, in case you’ve missed them, below are the opening keynotes from Day 1 of Shopify Unite.

Shopify Unite 2018

Tickets for Unite 2018 are sold out! In the coming weeks, we’ll have more information on how you can take part virtually in Shopify’s third annual Partner and Developer Conference, running May 7-9. In the meantime, relive the magic of last year’s conference.

Watch last year's keynotes

Welcome to Shopify Unite — Harley Finkelstein, COO

We want to create more value for you than we do ourselves.

Did you know that over 100,000 Shopify merchants were brought onto our ecommerce platform by Shopify Partners? Or that nearly two-thirds of Shopify merchants use third-party apps to power their business?

In his keynote, Shopify COO Harley Finkelstein examines the Partner Ecosystem by the numbers, and shares his enthusiasm for the partner economy and all of the opportunities it has to offer web designers, developers, and other Shopify Partners.

Take the Path That Leads to More Entrepreneurs — Tobi Lütke, CEO

If you need creativity to solve a problem, the way to do this is to get a smart and committed, diverse group of people under the same roof. And then get out of their way.

Here’s a simple heuristic for you to use when growing your web design and development business: if two business paths present themselves to you, always take the one that leads to more entrepreneurs.

In his keynote, Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke explores the concepts of simplifying commerce, entrepreneurship, and enabling others to build their own businesses — as well as technology’s impact on it all. Watch the video and learn how, as a Shopify Partner, you can help Shopify flatten the learning curve of online selling, and make commerce better for everyone.

Insights on Shopify Merchants — Lynsey Thornton, Director of UX

In order for us to change things, we need to understand what challenges merchants face on a day-to-day basis.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: we can’t do everything on our own — we need Shopify Partners and Developers to build on our platform, and to make the merchant experience as personalized and seamless as possible.

In her keynote, Shopify’s Director of UX Lindsey Thornton uses Shopify’s user research to discuss the demographics of Shopify users, the trends in entrepreneurship, the intersection of desktop and mobile ecommerce, and more. Use this data to ensure you’re making the right UX choices for your clients, engaging merchant pain points appropriately, and positioning your brand as a leader in ecommerce.

Today: Shopify Merchants and Consumers — Satish Kanwar, VP of Product

We need to make Shopify amazing for every kind of entrepreneur, no matter what channel they sell on.

New APIs, Unity Buy SDK, Chip & Swipe Card Reader, Shopify Pay — these are just a few of the exciting products announced at Unite 2017.

In his keynote, VP of Product Satish Kanwar goes indepth into the past, present, and future of Shopify’s products, giving you the direction you need to build your business for the long term, and continue creating empowering Shopify projects for your clients.


  • More Channel Integrations: You’ll be able to help your clients sell in more places like Wish, Kik and soon, Buzzfeed!
  • New Chip & Swipe Reader: Take your client’s brick-and-mortar business to the next level with Shopify’s new card reader, which allows Shopify merchants to accept credit cards securely from anywhere they do business.
  • Shopify Pay: We’ve brought the mobile checkout process down from 16 fields to two, creating less friction for your client’s customers. Shopify Pay will be made available to every store using Shopify Payments, at no additional cost.
  • In-Game Purchases: The Unity Buy SDK will make physical product purchases possible in-game, too — allowing you to diversify your service offering by building more apps for more platforms.

Solving Complex Problems, Simply — Chris Lobay, Director of Product

Our promise to you is this: No matter how complex the problems of the future become, we will always find the most simple, most powerful solution.

There are fundamental features that act as pillars when running an online store: discounts, inventory, and order management and fulfillment. If one of these pillars isn’t up-to-date, the rest of the customer experience can be negatively affected, as well.

In his keynote, Director of Product Chris Lobay shares how Shopify is enhancing core features to stay true to our promise: to maintain simplicity and continue to be approachable, while working to alleviate complex merchant problems.


  • Enhanced Discounts: With this Shopify platform improvement, you’ll be able to create and manage discounts more easily, get a new discounts report, and more!

Shopify Platform and App Extensibility — Atlee Clark, Director of Apps and Theme Partnerships

The path to entrepreneurship, and more entrepreneurs at Shopify, is across the entire platform: Merchants, app and theme developers, and partners.

So far in 2017, Shopify has seen over 40 billion API calls. The majority of these calls will help merchants run their business, and enable Shopify App Developers to extend the functionality of Shopify’s platform.

Just think of how many calls will be made by the end of the year with the official release of Draft Orders API, Marketing Events API, Reporting API, and Resource Feedback API.

In her keynote, Director of Apps and Theme Partnerships Atlee Clark discusses these new Shopify development resources, and gives Shopify App Developers direction for building the future of third-party apps.


Other important highlights from Unite 2017:

We’ve also released the following Shopify Plus-specific features:

Start getting excited for Unite 2018

Unite-2017 the path to more entrepreneurs and keynotes: networking

Each year, Unite gets better and better: there are more features to empower Shopify merchants and partners alike, and more communities built throughout the Shopify Partner Ecosystem. We hope that this year, you were inspired to take the path that leads to more entrepreneurs, and make commerce better for everyone — and that you continue to do the same for others.

Take it from Atlee:

We believe that doing [Unite] will make it easier to start, run, and have a successful business on Shopify. But what I hope you also see, is that all of this, is to help you start, run, and have a successful business with Shopify.

Want to watch more videos from Shopify Partners?

Subscribe to our YouTube for more advice to see the rest of the talks from Unite 2017.


Grow your business with the Shopify Partner Program

Learn more