I am writing this blog post right after coming back from the Shopify Pursuit 2020 hosted in Amsterdam. For someone who attended Shopify Pursuit outside India for the first, I sure came back with lots of stories to tell. But more importantly, a lot that I learned from Shopify partners, experts and other app developers.

For those who are new to Shopify Pursuit, it is a multi-day international event that Shopify designed to support Shopify Partners and developers, and make the ecosystem work as a community together. This year, the event is being hosted in 5 different countries around the world – Amsterdam was the first. But you could still attend the event in Mexico City, Melbourne, Tokyo and Bangalore!

The event attracts Shopify partner agencies, tech developers and experts from all across the world, and different walks of life – so I would highly recommend you put it on your list of must-do.

Now that you know what the event is all about, here’s what my Shopify Pursuit story looks like.

Getting to Shopify Pursuit, Amsterdam

To be honest, while I know the importance of this event, attending the one in Amsterdam was sort of a last-minute decision. We were working on improving so many of our Shopify apps at Expert Village Media, that I was in two minds about attending the event.

But after discussing it with my team and planning out the entire trip and what I wanted to do at the event, I reached Amsterdam on the 17th of February – 2 days before the event.

The idea was to not just prepare for the event, but also network with partners in the area and attend a few other local events on Shopify in Amsterdam.

Lesson learned: Always plan a little in advance and don’t forget to check the weather!

Exchanging notes over breakfast and coffee with PushOwl and Stilyo Apps

My networking began on the 18th of February, with the local event that was hosted by PushOwl. I met their team and the team from Stilyo Apps at Bocca Cafe, over breakfast and coffee.

A few hours into the session and we had all spoken about our Shopify apps, how we plan to help merchants in the coming time, what our growth plans looked like, the culture we were promoting in our teams and so much more. Shashank from Pushowl shared some nice tools that their team use for their app and it was amazing.

I also spoke with Ruth and Ariyah about the churn rate and how they work on reducing it in their apps. Later on, Chen Zissu from Zissu Ltd joined us and we shared some insights about his products and marketing.

Lesson learned: Work sessions with other Shopify Partners can help you understand how different teams work, and how you can implement different tactics to make yours better.

Attending the Shopify Partners dinner hosted by PushOwl and Shogun

On the same day, I got a chance to attend the dinner party hosted by again PushOwl and Shogun at a restaurant close to the Pursuit venue. The hall was packed with around 30+ partners and everyone was excited to catch up with the other!

I know the picture is blurry because we were all too excited. But here’s what the dinner night looked like:

Thank you again PushOwl and Shogun for this amazing dinner!

Lesson learned: Attending these little networking dinners with other Shopify Partners is a great way to ensure you don’t walk into Pursuit as strangers. You’ll all be there for one another to make the most of the event!

Making the most of Shopify Pursuit Day 1 (February 19, 2020)

The day started with Badge pickup and a scrumptious breakfast. This was another opportunity we all got to meet everyone on a casual note, before the workshops, networking and office hours at the event actually began.

To make the most of day 1, here’s what you should be doing:

  • Book your office hours a few days earlier to the event – You can easily do this online. You can choose the Shopify team members you’d like to meet as per the expertise you’re seeking – technical or marketing. The team gets fully booked. So try and do this as soon as you get the invite!
  • Network without hesitation – Don’t hesitate in walking up to absolutely anyone and speaking with them. Initiate the conversation freely by asking them about their business, their experience and sharing your story with them.

Lesson learned: Every Shopify Partner out there – no matter what stage their business is at, is working very hard. The ones that have seen success come soon, prioritize having processes for every team. It keeps your team members aligned and driven towards a common goal.

Some of the teams that I got to learn from are ReConvert by Stilyo Apps, Fosberg+two, Rise.ai, SMSBump and Loox. Of course, there were many others I took notes from as well!

BTW, day one ended with a cocktail party hosted by Shopify. It sure was a breather for everyone at Pursuit!

Doing more at Shopify Pursuit day 2 (February 20, 2020)

Day 2 of the Shopify Pursuit is all about presentations, followed up by lunch and networking.

On this day, Yotpo, uAfrica and other companies gave presentations on what they’re building, how it’s going to help merchants grow and insights into their industry expertise.

Here’s Danika Uhlmann, the Marketing Coordinator at uAfrica, sharing her insights:

While some choose to attend the presentations, I attended only one and moved to network – that’s the best way to learn more about the industry and build connections, after all.

The networking area was rearranged by Shopify. There were sponsor tables with their branding – which I absolutely love. The sponsor tables were broken into two categories – community and regional. I made it a point to catch up with all the sponsors and partners!

shopify pursuit networking area

I met Bjorn here, which was truly an amazing moment for me. And I’ll quickly tell you why – he’s the one who inspired me a lot in our early days. Today, our apps business has grown exponentially but still uses his expertise as the core foundation.

To make the most of day 2 – NETWORK!

While moving around the networking area, I also met a Shopify team member from Germany – Hagen Meischner, who is a Partner Manager. Learned a lot about how partnerships work during a quick chat with him. Talking about partnerships, I also met with Ridvan T., who is also a Partnerships Manager at Shopify.

During the same time, I also bumped into the Founder of Milk Bottle Labs, which is a known Shopify agency. Meeting with Keith Matthews gave me more perspective on how merchants work with agencies, and how agencies are evolving.

But your hard work at making the most out of Shopify Pursuit actually begins before the event. It’s important to let partners know you’ll be there, set up meetings and more. So here’s a quick list for you for the upcoming Pursuit events.

Preparing for Shopify Pursuit

1. Let everyone know you’re attending the event (and where)

Since Pursuit is being hosted in 5 different locations, it is important to let your network know which one you’re attending. A quick social media post on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn can do the trick!

One post can help you schedule meetings from the day you land and also let those who want to meet you in person, reach out to you.

Here’s a post we made:

shopify pursuit post

2. Plan and schedule meetings ahead of time

While Shopify Pursuit will give you a platform to network extensively, also make it a point to meet others in the locality.

Take a look at partners who are in the city, reach out to them and schedule meetings if you’re reaching a day or two early. You could have a quick coffee session with them or grab lunch/ dinner to catch up. The casual meetings can actually turn into massive opportunities for you to grow!

3. Host a pre- or post-event meetup

If there are a number of people you’d like to catch up with, you can also host an event. This also gives you more time to catch up with partners after the event is over – since everyone’s short on time on the 2 days, this gives them an opportunity to connect with you too. It’s also a great way to discuss new announcements and presentations from the event.

You can do this independently or with a Shopify Partner.

Hosting such an event is equal to sponsorship from Pursuit. So remember, it’s something that could really add value to your brand!

Ps. We wanted to host an event. But because everyone else had already announced theirs, I simply chose to attend them.

Well, now that I’m back with a lot of learning, it’s time for me to get back to implementing those in our team.

But to summarize it all, if you’re attending any of the Shopify Pursuit events coming up, here’s what you should be doing.

What to do at Shopify Pursuit – My summary!

  • Speak to everyone at the event – initiate conversations freely and without hesitation.
  • Share about your business and everything you’ve learned to see others do the same.
  • Add people you meet at the event on LinkedIn immediately with a quick introductory message so that they remember who you are.
  • Talk to the sponsors of the event to identify opportunities for collaboration and partnerships.
  • If you have an app, seek out partners you could integrate with – it’s a growth hack you don’t want to miss!
  • Remember to speak with the Shopify team members to get industry insights that may not be available otherwise.
  • After the event, remember to send all your new connections a follow-up message to build relationships.
  • And most importantly – PLAN AHEAD!

Ps. I met Jeff Hega from the Shopify apps review team. It was truly amazing to know that he had heard of Expert Village Media and the apps we were building. We spoke about our future apps and how we could make them even better. Thank you for the insights, Jeff!

Are you headed to any of the upcoming Shopify Pursuit events or were you there in Amsterdam and we didn’t get a chance to connect?

Well, let’s do it now. 🙂