How Shopify promotes competition through CSR

By pauline cameron

Shopify is founding a marketplace based on competitive economic culture in an industry demanding transparency and fair trade.

Between 2016 and 2018, Shopfiy has generated US$183bn across its global operations, comprising a network of 1mn businesses. These businesses have been empowered by the cutting edge technology Shopify has been improving its network with. Chat bots, streamlined transactional services, in house fulfilment centres and the ability for sellers to create and maintain an individual brand identity, all contribute to the success of businesses under the Shopify umbrella.

Shopify’s business model of enabling sellers through its e-commerce platform is an effort to foster more competition within the marketplace. According to its website, “Shopify is a catalytic engine for entrepreneurial activity, scaling businesses, and ultimately contributing to economic growth.”


Shopify has tried to cultivate a reputation of being a seller led platform, as brands are able to control its customer facing profile, its pricing and even its supply chain within the e-commerce sector. The awareness around corporate social responsibility has been a cultural shift companies cannot ignore without affecting its bottom line. Reports of customers cancelling accounts in the wake of fulfillment centre staff strikes and leaks around the workforce conditions on Black Friday only reinforce this. From a brand perspective, there have been instances where the e-commerce platforms it presents itself on have posed as the competition and in extreme cases have replicated a brand’s best selling products to undercut small businesses on price. 

Shopify positions itself as a competitor to the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, whilst making space for small businesses to flourish. It fosters an atmosphere of friendly economic competition where small companies are given the opportunity to reach a wider market, without relying on exploitative organisations determined to choke out potential competition. Consumers and businesses alike are able to benefit, as the industry becomes less of a monopoly and businesses must match the responsible behaviours the public are expecting from vendors.

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