How I'm betting on Shopify for the Long-Term

Shopify's on an absolute tear right now.

With all that's going on in the world with COVID-19, they've quickly become the poster child of doing what's right by merchants everywhere.

But hidden in plain sight is an opportunity that I think even more developers should jump on:

Building for their App Store

In a previous article, I wrote about how to find saas ideas. One of the methods for doing so is centered on app stores - I call it the App Store method.

As more businesses use Shopify for both eCommerce and/or retail, they will encounter more problems unique to them. This gap between merchant needs and what the platform offers lies the opportunity to build products that help real people.

The plan

Recently, I launched a few apps on their app store:

ReviewNudge ‑ Request A Review – Ecommerce Plugins for Online Stores – Shopify App Store
Automatically request a review from your customers via email
Localivery ‑ Set Order Status – Ecommerce Plugins for Online Stores – Shopify App Store
Manually set order status to delivered for local deliveries

It's early, but merchants are already installing and purchasing subscriptions to these apps. The apps themselves are pretty self-sufficient as is, save for some support emails.

But I plan on taking this a step further.

As I build more products and as profit grows, I've decided to use the majority of profits per month to buy shares of the company. I'll decide on what % at a later time when profit reaches a sizeable amount. Not entirely sure what the best way to do this is, but that's all part of the learning.

The rest will go towards a small treat like a nice dinner out once a month (once the pandemic is over). Or for something mundane like a phone bill or gym membership. Who knows!

So in a way, I'm buying into the ecosystem and reinvesting into it in an automated way. Here's the flow:

Build an app ➡️ Shopify brings customers to the app ➡️ % of profits go towards stocks in Shopify

Where I make the most impact is in the first step: building apps. As time goes on, the platform & ecosystem grows (the bet), more capital is generated by the apps which is then reinvested back into the ecosystem. I view it as an experiment in building and buying into a loop of value creation.

The motivation for doing this

It's mostly a question of "Why not?"

Shopify's enabling people around the world to make a living online. Not just for people that want to sell physical goods online and offline, but for people like myself that build software products. Their partner ecosystem is gigantic and the overall value Shopify is allowing to be created on all fronts is staggering.

I'm betting that if this continues, Shopify wins over a long period of time. This is inspired by this piece.

I wish I thought of this back then. Oh well!
I wish I thought of this back then. Oh well!

In terms of timing, yes, I might have missed the mark where they've grown quite a bit in market cap, but it's better late than never. I also like to keep in mind that the Internet economy itself is a relatively new phenomenon and we're just getting started.

In addition, aside from the potential financial upside, there's more reasons why I want to do this. Consider the human capital I get to develop in the process: building products, learning new technologies, and talking to real people and listening to their problems. That's where the real gems lie.

Hopefully I get to look back on this 5-10 years down the line and see how far I've come.

micro saas businesses SaaS Ideas

👋🏽 Hi, I'm Tom!

I'm the founder of Vocalmatic, an automatic transcription platform for converting audio and video to text. I write about online business and growth.