NEw hir­ing anD big­gEr of­fiCEs arE in thE works

Ottawa Citizen - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES MCLEOD

Cana­dian e-com­merce giant Shopify is on a hir­ing spree and plan­ning on ex­pand­ing its of­fices to make space for hun­dreds of new em­ploy­ees.

In Mon­treal, the com­pany aims to nearly dou­ble the work­force with 120 new staff in the next few years to add to its ex­ist­ing head count of 150. But those peo­ple will have a roomy of­fice space as Shopify is ex­pand­ing its Mon­treal foot­print to ac­com­mo­date as many as 450 peo­ple.

If it seems like a strange de­ci­sion to build of­fice space for nearly dou­ble the num­ber of planned em­ploy­ees, but it makes sense in light of Shopify’s rapid ex­pan­sion.

As of the fourth quar­ter of 2017, the com­pany had nearly 3,000 em­ploy­ees, a 50-per-cent in­crease over 2016.

Shopify pro­vides a plat­form for on­line mer­chants that al­lows for pay­ment pro­cess­ing, in­ven­tory man­age­ment, on­line mar­ket­ing and ship­ping sup­port. Cur­rently more than 600,000 mer­chants use the Shopify sys­tem.

The hir­ing spree isn’t con­fined to Que­bec. Last year, Shopify opened a Water­loo of­fice and an­nounced plans to hire 300-500 peo­ple in the south­ern On­tario tech hub over a few years. And in Toronto, Shopify is plan­ning to move its op­er­a­tions into a new of­fice downtown.

“We’re build­ing a big­ger of­fice there,” chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Har­ley Fin­klestein told the Fi­nan­cial Post on the side­lines of Unite 2018, Shopify’s an­nual de­vel­oper con­fer­ence where ex­ec­u­tives an­nounced new prod­ucts for the plat­form. “Right now we’re in two (of­fices.) We’re go­ing to com­bine and move in there, and that’ll prob­a­bly be in the next year or two.”

Shopify is mak­ing a big push in­ter­na­tion­ally, trans­lat­ing its mer­chant plat­form into French, Ja­pa­nese, Span­ish and sev­eral other lan­guages. As part of the in­ter­na­tional ex­pan­sion, Fin­klestein said the com­pany needs to in­crease the pay­ment meth­ods it sup­ports to al­low for re­gional pref­er­ences.

“For ex­am­ple in In­dia, cashon-de­liv­ery is a lot more pop­u­lar of a way to trans­act than credit cards,” Fin­klestein said. “So part of the trans­la­tion isn’t just chang­ing words, it’s fig­ur­ing out the cul­tural nu­ances.”

Shopify’s other ma­jor di­rec­tion is toward bricks-and-mor­tar re­tail, as part of an ef­fort to be­come an in­te­grated so­lu­tion for busi­nesses sell­ing across mul­ti­ple re­tail chan­nels.

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