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Shopify App ‘Shop’ Spotlights Black-Owned Businesses

Adriana Lee

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The social unrest rippling across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police leaves virtually no sector unmoved or untouched. That includes retail — and Shopify seems to be taking the matter to heart, on Tuesday unveiling a change to its Shop mobile app to feature Black-owned businesses.

Shopify’s mission has always been to help all people — no matter their race, religion, gender, sexuality or otherwise — achieve independence by making it easier to start, run and grow a business,” the company wrote on its blog. “We are committed to elevating the awareness of black-owned businesses to support more voices in entrepreneurship, democratize commerce and reduce the barriers to starting a business for everyone.”

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The app’s landing page now includes a black box situated in the center of the screen, with the title, “Shop Black-owned Businesses.” One tap on “Explore shops” takes the user to a list of brands, including BLK MKT Vintage, Coco and Breezy Eyewear and Golde, among others.

Shopify’s goal with the update is to raise the visibility of these brands and help them reach more customers. Inclusion hinges on an opt-in model, so the businesses themselves can choose to be featured.

Having just revealed a major new partnership with Walmart, June has turned into a rather busy month for Shopify But apparently not so busy that the company couldn’t acknowledge the social current of this moment. It’s not the only one.

Earlier this month, the photo- and video-sharing network Instagram — whose platform has been steadily developing shopping features of its own — put together and shared lists of black creators, businesses, organizations and related hashtags, including #BlackLivesMatter, #SupportBlackBusinesses and others.

Instagram honcho Adam Mosseri quickly drew attention for tweeting his support, largely because of the fraught issue surrounding its parent company, Facebook. The latter platform has been taking fire for allowing President Trump’s “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” message to remain untouched on its network. Some of those most upset about it are Facebook’s own employees, who staged a virtual walkout over the matter.

Mosseri didn’t take sides, per se, but he made his feelings known. In other tweets, he acknowledged people’s pain, “especially [in] our Black community. Now and always, we encourage employees to speak openly when they disagree with leadership,” he wrote.

“We don’t just want their honesty; we need it,” he said.

Shopify’s support looks far less controversial. And, to put its money where its mouth is, the retail tech company pledged to donate $1 million to NAACP, Black Health Alliance Canada and Campaign Zero.