Shopify’s Clicks Need More Bricks

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Shopify ’s investment mode is going to be ugly. It was also inevitable.

The Canadian e-commerce upstart has found fortune by pulling off the seemingly impossible task of competing with Amazon.com , but on its own terms. Shopify’s business of helping merchants and brands run their own online stores was growing well before the pandemic and has positively blown up during the outbreak. The company closed 2021 with revenue of $4.6 billion, up 57% from the previous year and nearly triple its 2019 level. And its asset-light model has regularly kept gross margins above 50%, which is more than double what Amazon managed in the years before its cloud business grew large enough to help offset the low margins on its retail side.

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