Evita Blog

Community Review: Shopify

Community Reviews
Shopify is an e-commerce behemoth with a $200B peak market cap (now $47B). Do they have a thriving community? Let's review it using 🌸 Evita Community Cult Scorecard.


Metaphysical Thesis

"We help people achieve independence by making it easier to start, run, and grow a business." It sounds awesome because it focuses on humans and the community. But let's leave 100s for religions 😜 75/100

Clear vision of the bright future

"We believe the future of commerce has more voices, not fewer, so we’re reducing the barriers to business ownership to make commerce better for everyone." Also good, but lacks rivalry and sounds too corporate. Plus, they don't have any significant documented cultural artifacts depicting their future vision (books, movies, etc.). So, 25/100


They have a Sustainability Fund with ∼20 investments, which is good, but looks put aside (youtube videos of their partners about the Shopify collab have only 1k views). And there are no cultural artifacts like books, movies, or other. 25/100

Giving hope

Shopify gives hope of becoming independent through online entrepreneurship, which is good. While the whole brand feels primarily commercial. 25/100

Emotionally supportive community

The community looks a bit abandoned: most of the messages have zero-to-no views and comments. 10/100


There was an awesome shoutout performance on Black Friday 2022: Shopify showed up their users on huge billboards around the world. What a generous move! And there's a separate Shopify Partners account for shoutouts to devs. While the major brand's channels are barely mentioning users. 25/100


We have yet to find any mentions of secret events or content available only for the partners. 0/100

People feel the power

The only way people can potentially feel the power is to post a ton of reviews or feature requests 🤷‍♂️ 5/100


Amazon was a vivid antagonist for a while, but the fight got calmer over years. 25/100


We don't know any iconic people from Shopify. Tobi Lutke is a great entrepreneur, nice person, and a billionaire, but he is not a celebrity. 10/100

Internal motivation

Shopify's service feels more like a commodity. And online marketplace merchants are one of the toughest and rational people on the planet: margins are getting thinner, everything is easy to copy, and it's hard to stand out from the crowd. So, the whole vibe of their network is more mercantile than emotional. 0/100


The visual perception of the brand is more like "online service from 2005": complex & geeky. Far away from religious symbols and even from the fashion industry. 10/100

Communication architecture

Active peer-to-peer collaboration to solve vital issues

There's a Slack community and a strong-looking LA chapter where people meet IRL to learn more about effective sales. But it feels chaotic for a newcomer to understand how to get into the most active community and ramp up. 25/100

Active peer-to-peer collaboration to have fun

Can't find any of these. 0/100

Structured network of ambassadors

There's a strong-looking LA chapter and some events in Toronto. Italian community was active 2-3 years ago but is fading. 25/100

Celebrity + followers

Can't find any of these. 0/100

Local physical chapters

The only active ones are Canadian and LA. 5/100

Global outreach

It's hard to find any significant activity beyond North America. There were some annual events in Dublin, but they were stopped a few years ago. 5/100


System of achievements / ranks / social statuses

Can't find these, even inside the admin app. 0/100


Can't find these, even inside the admin app. 0/100


They have hundreds of online courses with great production quality and celebrity speakers. But there's no homework or community engagement. Plus, the Open Learning page shoots us with a 404 error. 75/100


Can't find these, even inside the admin app. 0/100


There's an annual Shopify Commerce Awards event. While the publicity of it is pretty tiny: less than 1k views. And it looks like it was paused in 2020. 10/100

User-generated content

Shopify Partners is a separate account for shoutouts to devs, while the outreach is tiny. 25/100

Random events (raffles, lotteries)

Can't find these, even inside the admin app. 0/100

External motivation

There's an affiliate program with 40k+ partners globally. Plus, a Shopify Partnership program helps third-party service providers to get customers from the pool of Shopify's merchants. While the directory of the partners looks empty: 0 partners were found for Sales & Marketing. And the case studies are 2 years old. Feels a bit abandoned. 50/100



The onboarding process is neither sexy nor human-touching. You just receive an email, and the platform insists on picking dropshipping items to sell. 10/100

Daily rituals

Shopify users log into their accounts daily to track sales, which is great and sticky. 100/100

Weekly rituals

Shopify has an "Events" page, but it says there are no events. When we dive into the local chapter, like SF, there's nothing there either. 0/100

Monthly rituals

There's a Shopify Monthly In-Person meetup, but only 42 folks applied at meetup.com (meaning there were ∼20 IRL). 10/100

Quarterly rituals

No events found. 0/100

Annual rituals

There's a Shopify Unite in Toronto, but the number of views is less than 1k, and the offline attendance looks less than 50. 10/100


Collaboration with governments

There was a single collab with the Canadian government during the Covid, but it looks like a technical promotion. Nice try, and a whole lot of room to grow further. 25/100

Collaboration with media/culture

There's a tool for content creators to find a Shopify-based store to collab with. 25/100

Collaboration with large businesses

Lots of collabs with different brands, even beyond North America. Most of them are technical, but some provide some real added value to the users of Shopify, like this Youtube in-stream shopping one. Feels like B2B collaboration is the super power of the brand. 75/100

Collaboration with science

Have heard nothing about it, except some partnerships and ventures of Sustainability Fund mentioned above. 10/100

Collaboration with other communities

They have lots of collabs with charity, entrepreneurial, and educational communities. It's awesome, but many of these initiatives look a bit local, with modest outreach (more examples here). We're not dunking on Shopify's efforts, but a $200B peak market cap corporation can definitely make way more significant steps. 50/100


Revenue / Marketing budget rate

According to the financial report, Shopify spends 24% on Sales & Marketing during the nine months of 2022, which is big compared to Tesla's 0%. And they mentioned increasing the marketing budget (boosted +50% YoY) to engage more merchants. 25/100

YoY revenue growth rate / Marketing budget rate

Shopify added +50% YoY in marketing expenses but got only +19% YoY revenue growth. Looks weak compared to benchmarks. 5/100

5-year retention rate

No data was found on 5-year retention, but it will definitely not be bigger than the 1-year. So it's 5-23%, which could be better. As the benchmark is 80%, Shopify gets 25/100 here.

1-year retention rate

It's about 5% or 23% at best, which is far from great. While we can understand that small businesses are not the best in survival rates. 25/100

60-days retention rate

It's about 30% which is significantly lower than the 90% benchmark. 25/100

Community growth YoY in number of people

Shopify got a massive influx of merchants during 2020 thanks to Covid. But the number of forum members didn't grow in 2022: this Dec-2021 snapshot has 911k members, and this page says, "we have 900k+ merchants" in Dec-2022. And if we consider a 19% YoY 9-month revenue growth, the community is growing slowly. 10/100

Summary: Shopify is a great Team, but far from being a Cult

Overall Evita Score: 5,575 out of 27,400.
Evita Community Grade is: 🐥 Team.

Shopify makes billions in revenue and has a huge user base, but the overall work with the community feels abundant, and their branding looks geeky/corporate.

The sales grow only 15% YoY. It's okay for companies of the size of Google/Microsoft but not for Shopify, which is 40 times smaller in revenue.

We believe there's a vast potential to grow the Cult-ness of Shopify because their mission is very human. They need to:
— build a vibrant narrative around the brand, the community, and the icons by writing books or making a movie
— revamp the community and make it feel alive
— build more IRL chapters
— set up a strong Ambassador network
— make the onboarding more human and engaging
— invite celebrities to promote the brand
— build a social status ladder, leaderboards, raffles, etc.
— build weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual rituals.

Here's the Evita Radar for Shopify:

Would love to discuss this on Twitter.
Feel free to join the free online 2-week mastermind about building cults in business and you'll know more about making vibrant human communities.