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EY Partners with Canada’s Shopify to Help Retailers Scale E-Commerce Businesses [Interview]

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EY is partnering with Shopify in a global alliance to help enterprises activate and scale their e-commerce businesses.

The EY-Shopify Alliance, founded in Canada, will help merchants get to market faster, at scale, increase revenue potential, improve cost efficiencies, reduce tax risk and provide customized experiences. 

EY and Shopify will train an initial cohort of 500 technical professionals around the world who will play a key role in bringing the unique strength of the alliance to enterprise customers at scale and add accelerated value to customers. 

The Alliance is also creating new secure options for the sale of regulated products such as pharmaceutical products and alcoholic beverages.

Image: EY Canada

Further support will be extended to those professionals by enabling up to 10,000 consultants through exposure to the Shopify platform. The alliance will also establish a set of first-of-its-kind EY wavespace x Shopify centres. Leveraging the global network of EY wavespace™ innovation hubs (in locations such as New York, London, Toronto, Sydney and Singapore), these centres will bring the power of Shopify, EY teams and their collective clients together to create improved online customer experiences and solutions, reimagine the future of e-commerce and unlock new markets for regulated products.

Ritu Khanna

“For modern enterprise businesses to compete in today’s world, they need scale, speed, flexibility and exceptional commerce experiences in order to drive growth. Bringing EY and Shopify together provides enterprises the ability to activate and scale their commerce strategies in new ways, leveraging the power of Shopify’s powerful commerce platform,” said Ritu Khanna, VP, Partnerships at Shopify.

“Together, we will help large-scale businesses meet the challenge of today’s rapidly changing retail environment. One of the unique areas of opportunity that EY and Shopify will focus on through our partnership is helping merchants who wish to sell regulated products, like alcoholic beverages and pharmaceuticals, through e-commerce.”

Image: EY

Warren Tomlin, Managing Partner at EY and Global Alliance leader with Shopify, said “we are genuinely as proud of Shopify as any Canadian should be at what they’ve been able to build out of Ottawa and out of Canada and the entrepreneurs and the businesses that they’ve enabled.”

“We looked at that and said we think they are legitimately ready for enterprise clients beyond the ones that they’ve started to test and experience. And so when we looked at them we thought we could help them in two distinct ways,” said Tomlin. 

Image: Warren Tomlin

“Way number one would be to have a global alliance with them so as big brands around the world want to either re-platform their e-commerce solution or go direct to consumer or rethink the way they deliver their offering online, that drives a lot of sophistication. You need to integrate it into back end systems, you need to integrate it into legacy systems and we wanted to be the first to bet on Shopify that they were ready for enterprise grade. And we’re very, very bullish that they are. 

“On the other branch, coming out of the pandemic, we believe that the complexity of selling whether it’s alcohol, cannabis, gaming, pharmaceutical, PPE, luxury products, needs a certain amount of rigour and compliance and regulatory approvals. And Shopify runs the Ontario Cannabis store and they have some experience there and we felt that with our audit, assurance, tax and consulting pedigree we’d be able to work with clients that are looking to sell regulated product online. So similar to the way we’re going to help them in a sort of stock enterprise client, we want to help them the same whether it’s a health provider or a controlled product or substance on that side.”

Image: EY-Shopify

Tomlin said that as we look to a possible recession where spend is scrutinized he’s very bullish that Shopify will come out as a potent way to rethink an enterprise commerce strategy. 

“We call it commerce transformation. So it’s not just simply thinking about a platform change to take out cost. Of course, that would be a key part of it but it’s the ability to delight clients in a better user experience at the same time,” he said.

Kristina Rogers, EY Global Consumer Leader, said enterprises and online merchants are re-evaluating their e-commerce strategies to provide better, more relevant and frictionless experiences to meet high e-commerce customer expectations. 

“This collaboration with Shopify will help brands enhance their customer journeys, explore new channels and ultimately grow their businesses — all while navigating the increasingly complex world of regulated retail,” she said.

Image: EY-Shopify

Jad Shimaly, CEO and Chair, Ernst & Young LLP (EY Canada), said the demands and expectations of next-generation conscious consumers will require a pivot to thrive in accelerated e-commerce environments — and fast. 

“The alliance with Shopify will provide a broad range of transformational services that help merchants comply with the complex regulatory landscape and build new operating models that deliver seamless, sustainable customer experiences. I am excited to see this partnership unlock opportunities for clients that allow them to grow at scale while creating long-term value for all stakeholders,” said Shimaly.

Harley Finkelstein, President, Shopify, said modern enterprises operate in a complex environment where scale, speed and flexibility are needed to drive growth. 

“We are excited to work with EY teams to bring the performance, customization and commerce expertise that our merchants know and love to more large enterprises around the world,” he said.

For more information, visit ey.com/alliances.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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