Shopify and the Seamless Multi-Device Experience Michael Kwan September 30, 2014 When you want to connect with a faraway friend, you have several options. You can pick up the phone and make a long distance call. You can initiate a Skype video chat on your desktop computer. You can send an e-mail through your tablet and engage in an asynchronous conversation. Even though these are all viable forms of communication, they all offer significantly different experiences. More and more, though, companies and services are moving toward providing a more unified experience that is far less disjointed and more cohesive in its approach. From Smartphones to Tablets, Laptops to… Part of this has to do with the fact that we, as the general public, are using an increasingly broad range of products to access fundamentally the same information, services or accounts. Whether you check your email on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or even your smartwatch, you are retrieving the same messages. The challenge for providers is to make the same account feel similar across these platforms. Most of us, for instance, are most familiar with using an office suite of productivity software on a more traditional computer. That’s how we’re used to handling word processors, spreadsheets and presentations. That’s how it has been for years, but the nature of device usage is changing. That’s why Microsoft finally buckled down and now offers Office on the iPad. It’s still different from the desktop version, to be sure, but the experience is starting to look a little more unified. You can take your Office document from your laptop and edit it on your iPad with no real fuss. Back in the late 90s, there were very few mobile devices that could really access the Internet in any sort of meaningful way. As that market grew, we saw the development of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) as a means of making the web more digestible on smaller, more limited screens. Even today, many websites offer a “mobile version” that might involve getting redirected from example.com to m.example.com. That’s improving accessibility, but mobile sites can be more limited that their full-fledged counterparts. More recently, we’re seeing a rise in what’s called responsive design. In effect, you get to view the same webpage with the same elements, but the page automatically adapts to the configuration of the screen on which it is being viewed. Things get shrunken down for smartphones and blown up for desktops. For Shopify Merchants and Shoppers Alike This idea of having a seamless experience extends across all sorts of online (and offline) activities. Whether you’re checking Facebook on your phone, tablet or whatever else, you’re still getting the same news feed with the same messages and the same friends. When you go shopping, you expect to see the same products for sale for the same price online as you do in a physical store. That’s from the shopper’s perspective, whether it’s via a mobile site, a dedicated app or whatever else. Interestingly, the “responsive design” and “unified experience” is just as applicable and just as desirable from the perspective of the seller. That’s why the Shopify solution makes so much sense. You can still have your online store with all the great tools for inventory, customer management and the rest of it. At the same time, there’s an iPad-based point of sale solution for when you make sales in the real world. And when you do sell in real life, your real-time online inventory can be suitably updated too. Why should managing your online store be so separate from your offline store? With the Shopify system, all the data is in one place and the utility allows for all sorts of detailed reporting. Modern technology isn’t about having a giant truckload of discrete devices that all work in isolation from one another. It’s about working together in a cohesive, seamless and convenient manner that just provides a far more harmonious digital lifestyle. Share This With The World!