Remember, this starts from the assumption that Shopify’s merchants are highly differentiated destinations with DTC relationships. They have significant brand goodwill, so they don’t need Shopify’s (unknown) brand to unlock incremental sales. What they need is opportunistic capacity — the ability to throttle production to meet regular and irregular demand spikes like seasonality or hypergrowth.
On the Q2 2019 conference call, Shopify’s COO explained how Fulfillment Network ties in with Shopify Capital and the entire operating system ecosystem:
“[I]f we know how much inventory they have… we can make faster, smarter, more intelligent capital decisions. But all these things fit together… We’re beginning to see what we have been talking about [with] this first global retail operating system where merchants come to Shopify and whether it’s housing their inventory, shipping out their products, capital, shipping labels or payment opportunities, we want to do more for these merchants once they come onto the platform and so you are seeing more of that now.”