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But when you aggregate, when you take a lot of tiny little lights and you bring them together, you get the sun. When you aggregate those merchants, you actually start seeing, wow, there’s some scale here, and now you can actually offer affordable two-day shipping. So SFN, it’s about a five-year plan, we’re about a year and a half or two years into it now. We think that we can connect third-party logistics warehouses, 3PLs, all over the US using great software, to the effect that a merchant starting on Shopify, after 30 days of sales data, we can say, “Send your products to our node in Atlanta, our node in Reno, Nevada.” And then on your behalf, we will ship out your products with your own branding, in your own boxes, not in some sort of third-party logistics, branded boxes.
So the reason that SFN, the fulfillment network, is important is the same reason the payments product is important, the capital product’s important. These entrepreneurs on their own cannot necessarily compete at the level they need to. But when we aggregate them, we talked about, some companies are building empires, we’re arming the rebels. When we arm the rebels, the result of it is that the rebels become the most beloved brands for consumers and that, I think, is what’s happening.
So you’re actually building fulfillment centers, shipping, you’re doing all that work?
We are. Our business model around fulfillment is we believe that there are tons of empty warehouses all over the US, that’s where we’re starting right now. Think of the 3PLs that used to supply J.Crew, or used to do all the logistics for Forever 21. You have all these buildings all over the US with great people there. In fact, some of them are actually small businesses that run these fulfillment warehouses. The problem is none of them are connected. And so [what] we’re trying to do with SFN, with the fulfillment network, is connect them all using software.
We also acquired a company called 6 River Systems out of Waltham, Massachusetts, which makes robots to make these warehouses more efficient. We think we can actually make it so that it feels like you’re buying from a really, really big marketplace, even though you’re buying from an entrepreneur who’s a single mom and runs the business from her kitchen table.
But the fulfillment center, is that owned and operated by Shopify, or is that a franchise agreement? How does it work?