Kubix Goes Global: Shopify Pursuit and Thrive.

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There’s no denying it: 2020 has already been a year full of surprises.

Not just for our team, not even for the UK, but for the entire world.

You’ve all seen the headlines. You’ve all heard the news. 2020 certainly won’t go down in history as the year for world travel, but it still didn’t stop our Kubix team heading out on a few business trips back in February.

Checking in with our clients is a big part of what we do, and little did we know how lucky we were to go when we had the chance. If the current newspapers are anything to go by, they might be the last global trips we do for some time!

From the bridges of Amsterdam to the cobbled streets of Dublin, our team spread their wings this spring to support our existing Shopify merchants, meet up with old e-commerce acquaintances and make new ones.

Take a moment to read through our team’s Shopify updates, indulge in some quirky travel stories and what we’ve learnt from going global this year.


The first trip of February 2020? Shopify Pursuit - hosted in the iconic city of Amsterdam. Bringing together some of Shopify’s most innovative minds with a wide range of talks and tips, Joseph, Liam and Bethany took a whirlwind of a trip over to the Netherlands to get to the heart of it all. The theme of the event was Turning Ideas Into Action, and this was the starting point for many of the day’s talks and panel discussions. The event was attended by agency experts, entrepreneurs and Partners, all anticipating the latest Shopify updates and looking to build their network.

Armed with a few basic Dutch phrases (Goedemorgen, anyone?), our trio headed to Birmingham International Airport on a murky Tuesday morning to catch their flight. Joseph and Bethany had the pleasure of accompanying Liam on his first ever plane flight, which made the whole experience rather amusing for fellow passengers. After a few loud exclamations on the runway - “This is weird. This is really weird!” - they were off.

The first day in Amsterdam was a chance to connect with other Pursuit attendees during a networking evening. After a quick stop at their hotel, the trio arrived at De Hallen - the location for the event’s proceedings - and spent a while exploring Amsterdam’s biggest and best street food venue. Rather like our very own Digbeth Dining Club here in Birmingham, De Hallen is Amsterdam’s answer to global cuisine - bustling with smells, sights and sounds of tastes from around the world. The networking event itself was hosted in a bar at the venue that night, and pictures sent back to Kubix Headquarters revealed just how packed the place was. To say that Shopify Pursuit was well-attended was an understatement: the world and his wife decided to show up to grab a drink and talk all things e-commerce. Our trio spent a while rubbing shoulders with Shopify’s finest Partners and CEOs, before the place filled up and it became a little difficult to wander around. After a relaxing couple of hours wandering through the quaint Dutch streets, (whilst simultaneously avoiding a certain ‘colourful’ area of the city!) Joe, Liam and Bethany returned to their hotel to prepare for the next day’s full event. The real Pursuit networking had yet to begin.

The next morning was the official day of Shopify Pursuit, dictated by various talks and panel discussions and broken up with various networking opportunities. Shopify themselves have been incredibly busy behind the scenes on their online store experience for merchants, and on that Wednesday they gave Kubix a little sneak peek under the curtain. The first - and arguably most actionable - talk of the day was given by Jean-Michel Lemieux, Shopify’s very own Chief Technology Officer and the most qualified person to deliver insights on the latest Shopify updates. Our team listened with baited breath as Jean-Michel, or JML as he’s often called, ran through important upcoming changes to the Shopify Admin section in 2020.

One of the most important updates was rebuilding the online store to have ‘Sections Everywhere’ - allowing for the easy structuring of the homepage across the entire site. Codeless customisation is going to pave the way for fast layout and content changes without the need to change the Liquid code. Liam’s eyes lit up as JML also introduced a new Liquid rendering engine, up to seven times faster than current speeds, which also works completely in the background with no change to developers’ workflows or how they code, due to be rolled out later this year. Later in 2020, merchants will also have access to a new ‘Performance Dashboard’, a section on the Shopify navigation to monitor certain website metrics such as site loading times and any ‘drains’ on speed such as bloated apps or themes directly within Shopify.

JML insisted that the benefits to merchants in 2020 won’t stop there. Speed and efficiency have been the name of the game for Shopify over the past year, and their latest statistics speak for themselves. Biggest Shopify merchants are now capable of processing upwards of 40,000 transactions a minute. JML proudly announced that Shopify are investing particularly in international apps, translating existing apps and bringing the platform truly into the global marketplace. They’re also working on a global fulfilment network to ensure that they can bring that seamless Shopify experience right to the customers’ door.

Of course, all of these changes have yet to be launched. Things can and most likely will change, but these announcements did identify that Shopify are taking merchants seriously and want the user journey to be as simple as possible.

“The world wants innovation,” JML summarised his talk. “We want to empower entrepreneurs and take you on this journey with us.”

The overarching message was clear: the Shopify team is ready and willing to invest in the future. There are plenty of opportunities to be had with their new channels, and they’re keeping entrepreneurs at the heart of all they do.

The rest of our team’s time at Pursuit was spent in a similar vein - learning about the best developments Shopify Partners have to offer and hearing from those who have ‘turned ideas into action’ along the way. They listened to a lecture on headless e-commerce from two agency directors from AskPhill, and then the team split up to get talking to other attendees. Whilst Bethany went to connect with the likes of Facebook, Rise.ai and Paypal, Joe and Liam took a moment to catch up with Kieran Masterton - Shopify’s very own app developer and former Plus Launch Specialist. Since many of our Kubix clients are turning to Shopify Plus, it was important to catch up with the man who is the expert on making it happen.

One of the team’s highlights of the trip was a talk given in the afternoon by Moon-Suck Song, CEO and co-founder of Swedish digital agency Panagora. Moon talked about e-commerce branding trends, particularly how to utilise crowds and unique content to make a statement with selling a product. He talked through the supply/demand model, and how brands can build ‘hype’ around a product, and lifted the audience with his laissez-faire attitude to presenting. Many of his points we took home to our clients, who enjoyed our re-telling of Moon’s eye-opening stories.

After a full day of speeches and snacks, it was time to head back to the UK. The three carried their aching limbs and various Shopify event merchandise across Amsterdam to Schiphol Airport and flew home. The next few days were spent updating everyone on Shopify’s news and dividing up the free gifts, which certainly kept the rest of the team happy!


The second trip of the year was closer to home, but no less exciting. This time it was the turn of Kubix CEO Looay and his partner Layla to grab their passports and hop onto a plane out of the UK. The destination? Dublin, Ireland - home of shamrocks, pints of Guinness, and where many of our Kubix clients call home. The duo landed in Dublin for a whirlwind of a weekend, catching up with some of our Shopify merchants and supporting their growing brands.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants abound in Dublin’s city centre, but Looay and Layla were headed straight for Thrive - the annual wellness event held at the Convention Centre. Dubbed Ireland’s Most Dynamic Fitness, Lifestyle and Wellness Event, Looay was keen to get over to meet one of our current clients and find out which brands are currently taking the wellness industry by storm.

From pilates to performance nutrition, massaging to mindfulness, each representative at Thrive was scheduled to give talks, demonstrations and even workshops in their expert field. The entire event spanned multiple floors and was packed with upcoming fitness brands. Our team were pleased to learn that out of the 75 exhibitors at Thrive, 60% were in the Shopify ecosystem, making it the perfect event for Looay and Layla to discuss both the online stores and Point-Of-Sale systems. Of all the entrepreneurs our pair spoke to, many weren’t using Shopify to its full potential. They wasted no time in showing the benefits of data collection, email marketing and special offers for their customers.

But of course, educating entrepreneurs on Shopify’s capabilities wasn’t our focus of the weekend. Our main reason for booking into Thrive? Looay wanted to catch up with Noelle - owner of nutritional snack bar brand Supernature and one of our latest Kubix clients. (Check out the case study and website we built for them right here!)

Noelle first met Kubix back in the UK; this time at an event at London Olympia. Supernature had a brochure website, but didn’t have the capabilities of selling online, so our team built them a Shopify site and have enjoyed watching those first sales come in ever since. Noelle was delighted to see both Looay and Layla again - this time on her home turf - and wasted no time in showing the pair the sights that evening. Looay even had a lovely surprise on checking into his hotel room when he spotted Supernature bars stocked in amongst the tea and coffee sachets. A fitting example of how quicky a brand can grow with the right team behind it.

After a crazy couple of days attending Thrive, watching demonstrations and reconnecting with Ireland’s finest fitness brands, Looay and Layla hopped on a flight back home. Another event over, and another couple of days of getting the Kubix name out to new businesses and discussing our favourite subjects - Shopify, and online success.

Going global in 2020 has revealed one key thing for our Shopify Merchants:

Change is on the horizon.

Our team are ready for it. If your business needs a boost in time for these new Shopify developments, then get in touch. We can migrate you over from old themes, rebuild the architecture of your current Shopify site, or just make necessary tweaks to ensure that your online store is performing as it should.

2020 is an uncertain but potentially revolutionary time for every Shopify entrepreneur.

We want to help you make the most of it.

It only takes a conversation. Get in touch today.

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