Plus, Reflaunt, Fabric and Pipe 17 raise funds, and Amazon acquires Australian ecommerce platform Selz.

Canadian ecommerce firm Shopify Inc. said it will take advantage of “unprecedented opportunities” in 2021 to speed up innovation and expand into new markets, but warned that its growth rate will slow, according to its year-end earnings report.

Gross merchandise value—the measure of product sales flowing through Shopify’s platform—was $41.1 billion in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, up 99.5% from $20.6 billion the same quarter a year earlier. Soaring demand for online shopping during the global pandemic boosted these sales. Full-year GMV was up 96.0% to $119.6 billion from $61.0 billion the prior year.

Revenue will grow “rapidly” this year but not as quickly as in 2020, when it increased 85.6% to $2.9 billion from $1.6 billion the prior year, the company said Wednesday. It didn’t give specific guidance on earnings for the current year. Once consumers are vaccinated, they may return to physical stores and rely less on ecommerce, Ottawa-based Shopify said.

Shopify is investing in product marketing and in-country sales teams in countries, such as Austria, France and Belgium, where it already has a good foothold, president Harley Finkelstein said on a conference call. But Shopify intends to take a “meticulous and very strategic approach” to international expansion.

“Some other countries that we have on our radar, we don’t think it’s the right time to go really deep. That will happen in the future,” he said.

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Shopify is the No. 5 ecommerce platform provider in Digital Commerce 360’s Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 report, providing services to 37 Top 1000 retailers.

  • Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, acquired Selz, a Sydney-based ecommerce platform that helps small businesses create their own websites much the way Shopify does. Selz founder and CEO Martin Rushe announced the acquisition in a blog post: “We have signed an agreement to be acquired by Amazon and are looking forward to working with them as we continue to build easy-to-use tools for entrepreneurs. Nothing is changing for our customers at this time, and we’ll be in touch with customers as and when we have further updates.” An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed the acquisition, but no terms were disclosed.
  • Resale technology company Reflaunt raised $2.7 million in pre-Series A funding this week, led by the investment arm of luxury fashion distributor MadaLuxe Group. Reflaunt allows brands to resell their own pre-owned products through marketplaces once customers are ready to part with those goods, using Reflaunt to manage both taking in those products for quality checks and listing them on marketplaces. The technology not only allows luxury clients like Balenciaga, COS and Ba&sh to capture sales of their goods on the secondary market, but also provides insight into product longevity. Marketplaces using Reflaunt have access to authorized branded merchandise. The funding will be used to acquire talent for its technology and marketing teams.
  • Ecommerce platform provider Fabric raised $43 million on Feb. 9, led by Norwest Venture Partners. The “headless” system, which separates back-end systems like product databases from front-end systems that customers interact with, allows customers to plug Fabric’s 32 applications in where needed, and do it quicker than older products, the vendor says. The funding will help the company hire more leadership employees, expand its apps and build up its marketing efforts.
  • Ecommerce technology provider Pipe17 raised $8 million to fund team expansion and marketing efforts. Pipe17 provides automation software that connects various elements of an ecommerce operation, including ecommerce platforms, fulfillment software, financial systems and other software services to ensure all elements are working with the same information. GLP Partners led the round.

Bloomberg contributed to this report. Percentage changes may not align exactly with dollar figures due to rounding.

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