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Shopify Cuts 1,000 Jobs as Shares Plunge, E-Commerce Flounders

Dig into Shopify’s changing organizational chart following a 10% layoff wave earlier this week.

Editorial credit: Paul McKinnon / Shutterstock.com
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3 minute read

E-commerce platform Shopify laid off 1,000 workers – about 10% of its global workforce – as its stock price craters amid a rocky online retail landscape, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Though job cuts spanned departments at the Ottawa, Canada-based company, they were concentrated across recruiting, support and sales units. Affected employees will receive at least 16 weeks of severance, the report said. Prior to this mass layoff wave, Shopify had reportedly axed some 50 workers, delayed a planned compensation overhaul and rescinded some fall internship offers.

Shopify’s weak economic performance this year was a canary in the coalmine. Shares of the company, which helps businesses set up online stores, have plunged roungly 76% since January, outpacing the broader market decline. In the same timeframe, the S&P 500 index has dropped 17%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq index has fallen 14%.

It’s the latest tech enterprise to slash staff or freeze hiring as investors buckle down for a tightening economy marked by scorching hot inflation and interest rates and a cooling job market. Since June, Netflix has axed about 300 workers, Twitter has cut its talent acquisition team by 30% and Tesla has laid off about 200 people. In the e-commerce space, startups like Fabric, Spring, Nate and Enjoy have also laid off workers.

See changes to Shopify's org chart after this week's layoffs:

Shopify’s expectations outpaced reality

Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke blamed outsized expectations that the pandemic’s e-commerce boom would outlast a (relative) return to normalcy. Shopify grew its workforce from about 1,900 people in 2016 to roughly 10,000 by 2021, company filings show.

“It’s now clear that bet didn’t pay off,” Lütke wrote in a memo to staff, reviewed by The Journal. “Ultimately, placing this bet was my call to make and I got this wrong.”

The 16-year-old company also expanded its business beyond hiring. It recently rolled out new features for merchants, including a shopping app and a fulfillment center network. In June and July, it partnered with Twitter and YouTube to allow users to buy from their merchants on the platforms. Shopify also paid about $2.1 billion in cash and stock to buy U.S. order fulfillment business Deliverr earlier this month.

So what’s next for the e-commerce juggernaut? Shopify’s market capitalization now stands at about $40 billion, down from almost $175 billion at the start of 2022. With a discounted valuation and payroll trim, Shopify could be headed toward a takeover by Big Tech – or further layoffs, if e-commerce continues to flounder.

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