If you’re thinking of starting or upgrading an e-commerce store it can be difficult to know where to start. Here at Serene Media, we have a lot of experience working with different e-commerce platforms and Shopify is certainly one of our favourites; here’s why…
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how the older generation lived without the internet. I mean, the internet has brought with it so many opportunities that people are spoilt for choice.
Enter Shopify; an eCommerce platform that is of Canadian origin. Shopify offers multiple solutions to its clients besides the eCommerce system; it also offers a point of sales systems along with a computer software platform. Shopify’s turn-key solutions have helped improve business for thousands of startups and other eCommerce businesses across the globe.
The platform takes care of the common website issues such as a gateway, management, hosting and payment. Moreover, the platform allows users to classify client information for marketing while keeping an eye on their stock.
On a global scale, each year, eCommerce industries generate billions of dollars in revenue. The number one key issues for startups is how to reach the heart of their target audience. How accessible, captivating and feature rich the store is for their visitors comes first for startups. In this end, Shopify plays a very vital role in helping startups that want to promote their products or services appealingly. In this blog article, we are going to discuss why Shopify stands out as an eCommerce solution platform for startups.
The Birth of Shopify
Shopify’s journey started like most businesses of today. You realise a need in the market, but the solutions are either below par, expensive or don’t suit your immediate need.
This is the situation Shopify’s founder, Tobias Lutke, found himself. He had an amazing line of snowboards that he wanted to sell, but there was no efficient way for him to sell his products online. Being a programmer himself, he found the available eCommerce solutions too rigid and limiting in terms of flexibility when it came to integrating them with other services
One Friday evening, after so much frustration trying to find solutions that he would use to sell his snowboards, he found himself thinking of creating a software that would suit his needs as an online eCommerce store. And so, he partnered with his friend, Scott Lake, and begun the work.
In the months to come, they found themselves more motivated in creating a business that revolved around the eCommerce software they had built to help other businesses sell their products online and less motivated in selling their own snowboards. The two spent the next one and a half years on expansion and making updates to their platform with the key focus being on flexibility.
In 2006, the two launched Shopify, an online customizable storefront builder after an angel investor gave them $250,000 while they raised $200,000 from family and friends.
The beginning was rough, and they were forced to go without salaries for close to two years. After a while, Lake left Shopify, and he had to bring in more people. At the same time, people had begun noticing their product and how good it was.
The efforts of the new team paid off when the Ontario-based organization became profitable in 2008. In 2010 and 2011 respectively, investors got attracted to Shopify, and they ended up securing $7 million and $15 million in funding. The struggles at the beginning now seem like nothing. To date, Shopify has helped power more than 500,000 online stores selling different merchandise. Besides, Shopify not only serves small-business owners but has big brands like Red Bull, Angry Birds, 50 Cent and Foo Fighters. Business owners using Shopify have so far sold more than $40 billion in products as of 2017.
Why Shopify For Startups
As a shopping cart solution to eCommerce business’, business owners using Shopify don’t have to worry about server maintenance, hosting their shopping cart and above all, how to present their brand and wares to potential clients.
Shopify’s auxiliary apps that are available to its users help business owners manage their complete eCommerce cycle from stock management to customer contact management to shipping.
The humble journey born out of a need to design an eCommerce platform that isn’t rigid to the needs of business owners is what makes Shopify stand out as an eCommerce solution for startups. There are multiple of reasons why Shopify’s eCommerce platform is suitable for startups. In our post, we explore five reasons why startups would benefit a lot from using Shopify.
Easy to use
The number one reason that most people love Shopify is that they don’t have to be coders or programmers to use Shopify. In short, the platform takes care of the web-hosting and coding issues faced by business’ owners on their eCommerce sites.
As such, users don’t need any technical expertise before launching their online store with Shopify. All that’s needed is just the inventory and the business know-how. Shopify exemplifies the Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) rule of thumb. By taking care of the technical needs and website configuration and shopping cart management, Shopify makes it easy for business moguls to focus on their business 100 percent of the time.
Although Shopify has kept it simple, that doesn’t mean they are a basic shopping cart. Besides around the clock customer phone support, a detailed FAQ page and email support, they also offer users a Shopify Manual. The manual consists of guides that help users make the most of their shopping carts.
The comprehensive manual gives users an introduction to their Shopify user interface, ushering them through the procedure of capturing information and database management, answering the how-to questions of product display, discount use, collections, sales to the most trivial issues such as shipping and payment. Furthermore, Shopify has a Help Wiki that’s built as a collective effort between its developers and users.
With all the materials that Shopify has made available to its users, getting your shopping cart up and running will only take you a couple of minutes or more depending on how you want to customise it.
No hosting issues
How about an eCommerce platform that requires no web hosting, no software installations on your laptop or server?
Yes, that is how much Shopify wants to save you time and the hosting hurdles that are a common occurrence with most eCommerce solution platforms. Shopify hosts all the shopping carts for its users. The platform takes care of the common website issues such as a gateway, management, hosting and payment. Moreover, the platform allows users to classify client information for marketing while keeping an eye on their stock. Regardless of the kind of products you are selling, Shopify will enable you to do all that without needing any coding to calibrate your eCommerce store.
Besides the technical benefits, Shopify also helps your startup’s bottom line. How, you may ask. Simple. Having Shopify take care of your web hosting dilemma means there’ll be no hosting costs, no software’s to update and no servers to maintain. All these will help save you money and time that you can use to invest in more stock and time that you can use to focus on your business fully.
Who doesn’t love a platform that is reliable? This is what Shopify has over other available eCommerce solutions.
For instance, if you opt for a self-hosted solution, every second that your server is down means loss of business. This is because your customers are unable to buy your products. Research from both Google and Amazon have shown that delayed page loads even for a fraction of a second cause a notable revenue loss. On Amazon, for example, a 100-microsecond load time delay meant sales decreased by 1 percent. In the case of Google, a half second difference in loading a ten-page result that takes 0.4 seconds and that of a 30-page result that loads in 0.9 seconds meant a 20 percent decrease in revenue and traffic. Bottom line, users browsing the internet in search of products are impatient.
Now, we aren’t saying that Shopify is immune to downtimes and page loads. However, that headache will not be on you as they’ll be hosting your shopping cart.
As such, their experienced team will take care of all the needed server upgrades and maintenance to ensure that your shopping cart is always available and doesn’t suffer from slow page loads. Best of all, should anything stop working, they have a team that works 24/7 to ensure that all emergency issues are dealt with in the shortest time possible therefore taking all the stress from you.
Don’t believe us? Well, believe their client list. Shopify has a full list of clients who affirm how reliable and dedicated they are: GitHub, General Electric, CrossFit, Foo Fighters, Tesla Motors, Amnesty International, Encyclopaedia Britannica and some 500,000 more. Shopify’s infrastructure allows them to handle all your business needs more reliably and cost-effectively.
The visual appearance and design of any online store is of significant value to any business owner. If a store is shabby and tiresome, the business will end up with abandoned shopping carts.
Startups looking to build a platform on Shopify have the freedom of choosing from multiple readymade templates and themes. If after a while you need more themes, you can still be able to hire a freelance developer to customise it for you for less as Shopify will have already provided you with the needed tools and they won’t be starting from scratch.
With over 500,000+ online stores successfully hosted on Shopify and providing them with solutions that they can’t find anywhere else, there is no reason your business shouldn’t feature on Shopify regardless of the products or services you offer.
Shopify’s App Store Integrations
As is common with most successful products in the tech space, Shopify has a full community of experts and designers who have created apps that startups can add to their eCommerce options.
Even as Shopify works on adding more suitable features to enhance the user experience and may not be the perfect solution in the market, its App Store gives it an upper hand over its competitors. The added value from the App Store makes it more reliable and more accommodating than other eCommerce solutions available in the market.
There are various types of apps available on Shopify and that help boost Shopify’s functionality. Below are three apps that have gotten great reviews from Shopify’s users on their App Store.
Yotpo Social Reviews
The App has gotten more 5-star review than any other Shopify App. Currently, the App has a 5-star review from 1024 users. The Yotpo Social Reviews App works in such a way that leverages the social media market and connects a business’ shopping cart to their review. The connection automatically prompts customers to leave a review which is then integrated into your site. In addition, business owners have the freedom of connecting positive reviews from different sources available on the internet to Yotpo and to their cart. This helps boost confidence in shoppers and generate traffic to your online store.
Developed by Bold, Product Options App allows users to customize the Shopify stocks and categories interface so that they can determine how their products or services get displayed in a quick and easy way. This takes care of the limitations that the built-in Shopify interface has. This enhances the user experience of buyers making it easier for them to find the products they need and for business owners to better customize, display and describe their inventory.
SEO Meta Manager
We all know the importance of an optimized website. Now, how about having your own brand or products optimized for search engines such as Google, Bing or Internet Explorer? This is what the SEO Meta Manager gives you. It gives you the control and power to choose how you want your products or services to be displayed and appear on the different search engines available. Furthermore, the SEO Meta Manager provides support for blogs and homepages so that they can be optimised for searches and help with brand visibility, revenue generation and page views.
With a wide range of Shopify Apps available, users are able to get an App to suit their own unique needs. This also means that the functionality of the different apps are suitable to your stock, customers, target market and work as per your terms.
Shopify has evolved through the years sticking to their mantra of flexibility for their clients. When it was launched, Shopify was designed for small to medium size business but later launched the Shopify Plus to cater for big retailers.
This goes to show how flexible they are and the importance of putting the needs of the client first. Moreover, the ease of use makes it suitable for most people as there are no coding or programming skills needed. Anyone can build their website in the shortest time possible without the need to spend a huge sum of money.