How Shopify plans to help entrepreneurs 'sell anywhere they want'

Shopify may be a Canadian business, but it's well aware the United States is where it needs to bolster its presence.

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Shopify COO Harley Finkelstein joined FOX Business' Jack Otter on "Barron's Roundtable" to discuss the company's motives and how it plans to continue to differentiate itself from other online retailers. 

Finkelstein reminded Otter Shopify is already a global company, with a presence in more than 175 countries, but the majority of its merchants are in the U.S.

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"We realize that one pain point was fulfillment, and there are all these warehouses all over the US.," Finkelstein told FOX Business. "There are all these warehouses all over the U.S. that are sitting empty ... or have some capacity, but there's not able to access customers and brands who may want to use their fulfillment warehouses."

With this knowledge, Shopify decided to create a fulfillment network.

"We're going to aggregate third-party warehouses all over the United States and, using our own warehouse management system, and some robots, we're going to help all these entrepreneurs better fulfill their orders."

- Harley Finkelstein, Shopify COO

Shopify has been doing this sort of thing for years. The company got its start, Finkelstein said, by realizing entrepreneurs were having a tough time building online stores because it was "too expensive, too complicated."

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"The idea is that if you know how to use email, you should be able to start a business on Shopify in, like, 15 minutes," Finkelstein said.

So, in 2006, Shopify created a piece of software that allowed businesses to build online stores.

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"For a long time, Shopify has been the brand behind the brand," Finkelstein said. "We've been really trying to make entrepreneurs, small businesses, now, big businesses, look really good by helping them sell anywhere they want."

And they've succeeded. Recently, they helped brands, like Kylie Jenner and Allbirds, scale the online shops as the company expands.

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"The idea, really is that today's Shopify is really the world's first retail operating system," Finkelstein said. "Tell us where you want to sell; we make that easy for you."

Finkelstein said Shopify is different from companies like Amazon or eBay because "they're renting customers to these brands."

"They are saying to you, 'You can use them if you want, but, at a certain point, you have to pay for them,' or 'If we actually want to compete with you, you can't have those customers anymore,'" Finkelstein said.

"We actually believe that independent businesses are much better, and consumers, I think, are dictating and demanding that they want to buy directly from the brands, from manufacturers of these products."

- Harley Finkelstein, Shopify COO

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