Remember the words ‘brick and mortar’ or ‘mom & pop stores’ (Stationery shop, kirana, cake shop, book store)? The new age of consumers probably encounters these terms much lesser in these fast-paced tech times. It’s probably a bit of a conundrum for many new-age consumers as many brick and mortar stores are already online with websites and mobile apps et all and then, there are online-only stores that are moving in what seems to be the opposite direction i.e. towards opening brick and mortar stores. 2020 is going to bring more changes in the e-commerce landscape and What is Shopify? Who can use Shopify? are questions you will come across often.
Growth of Digital Technology and Ecommerce Business Opportunity
I am sure as business owners you would have heard much about the blurring lines between the online e-commerce web stores and the physical stores. Much of the credit goes to the fast growth in technology supported by the rapid inroads made by mobile companies and hence the availability of fast data connections. In the world driven by massive social information exchanges, life without data seems incomplete. It is this data that makes exceptional eCommerce shopping experiences possible. The Internet is breaking regional and cultural boundaries, giving e-commerce consumers a never-before opportunity to interact with global brands and that, is among the next big e-commerce opportunities of 2020. While there are many established companies and startups who are providing on-demand ready-to-use e-commerce website solutions for business, what has been garnering attention these days is a ready-to-deploy e-commerce platform called ‘Shopify’. I have been asked What is Shopify? more than a couple of times so I decided to write about it for all aspiring e-commerce entrepreneurs.
Social Commerce Drives Ecommerce growth
Social commerce is a reality and when you look back a decade or even 5 years you realise that the world has changed dramatically for everything e-commerce. Today practically any business owner irrespective of size can start an e-commerce business in days. I really mean it – you can count the days it will take to get started if you have your business registration, products, and supply chain in order. Needless to say, there are many components to an e-commerce business plan that lead you to success, and social media selling or social commerce is up there on top of the list of go-to marketing platforms. To answer questions like, What is Shopify? I would say Shopify combines the ease of starting an e-commerce store with strong social commerce capabilities and that brings down the entry barrier for many a startup and store owner who wants to start selling online.
If you haven’t heard of Shopify it’s ok, like I mentioned many aspiring e-commerce enthusiasts have asked me this simple question – what is Shopify? I am going to help you out with this piece. First let me tell you a couple of things, a ready to use platform comes with its costs but saves you headache and the stress of getting your ecomm business store running. This cost results in time saved and that in turn is among the currencies we entrepreneurs measure our success in, isn’t it! Just like some of the great ideas which we are all happy to use in our daily lives, Shopify came into being driven by the need for a better solution than what existed, and have they done a good job? I would say they have done a wonderful job.
Getting to know Shopify. What is Shopify?
For someone like me who is a digital marketing professional, it is something that comes up frequently in client discussions about viable eCommerce solutions for a small and midsize business. I have realised that while many have heard about Shopify not many have understood what the platform offers and what it can help with. At a recent networking meet when I was asked: “Can you tell us what is Shopify?” I was pleasantly surprised.
Hmmmm… let’s say Shopify is a website platform with an online product management system for simplifying your business process on the internet. In the simplest form I would say – with shopify you can make your own online store with lesser stress and far lesser trouble than most other means. By the way the most asked question by those who have researched is Shopify vs wordpress + woocommerce – which is better? And then there are platforms like bigcommerce, Magento and more. More on those later.
So, Shopify is a flexible ecommerce platform that allows you to set up your Online Store, Sell Products Online, on Social media et al. You might ask what is “flexible” here? Perfect question. Shopify is an all-in-one online selling platform. What that means is that you can create your basic online store, develop it over time with added features and functionalities (there is a cost component here) and you can promote, sell, and ship your products using shopify shipping, use their payment gateway, shipping support and a solid 24 x7 support. You also get a proper admin panel to manage your online store and more than 1500 apps to add more features and functionalities. The low startup cost of Shopify (it’s $29 or approx INR 2000 per month) makes it a popular choice when you think Pricing. Coupled with that and easy interface lots of design templates have SMB’s talking about it.
Why Choose Shopify for your Ecommerce store?
- Well, you almost get a ready ecommerce store. Almost because you get a working online store structure. It’s like plug and play, just move the layout blocks and adjust them the way you like, and your store is set.
- No store design worries. Checkout other Shopify ecommerce sites and if you like any choose similar templates from ready-made design collection or simply choose a template you like and you are a store designer.
- All the Shopify store templates are responsive which means your online store website will be optimized for mobile devices and tablets.
- No headache of Online – Payments. They handle Online payments. You can opt for an external payment gateway too but there is a cost associated with this.
- Multiple Shipping options on the platform so you don’t have to go chasing shipping deals.
- Fairly easy store product management.
That is great, isn’t it? you might be wondering, what’s the catch? What are the cons of Shopify?
The only piece that needs to be understood and evaluated with a platform like Shopify the cost. You need to understand and compare the packages before choosing one and don’t forget to evaluate the processing fees per transaction as there are slabs. Ths cost of maintaining a store on Shopify is recurring in nature and that will add to your business costs and hence shave a bit from your profits.
So, Who can use Shopify? Which Business is best suited Shopify?
So let’s say you are a shop owner or a startup founder who has some great products (and the not-so great products qualify too) and want to try if ecommerce works for your products or let’s just say you want to see how ecommerce works as a first-time entrant. Is Shopify your route to enter the ecommerce space? Yes. Needless to say, if you have a bigger ecommerce store in mind, even then shopify could be in your consideration set of options for certain features it offers but then there are a lot of options once you have an investment plan. All you need to do is find a shopify developer or a shopify expert best suited to your needs and budget.
The future of ecommerce
Ecommerce sales are projected to grow in three-digit percentages year on year. What does that entail for the aspiring small & medium business entrepreneur? Sure, it calls for an online-led consumer-centric marketing approach to business, but what about the infrastructure that needs to keep up with the growth of online business and technology? The good news is that you need not worry about Infra and Tech upkeep with platforms like Shopify. Yes, there are many players and among them, Shopify gives a feeling of being the most competitive option given its many features and benefits.
Whether you’re selling cakes crafted at the home kitchen or creating home decor products from the basement garage or are a trader or manufacturer you could use Shopify. There are cheaper alternatives for sure and there are better high-cost customizable options too but If you are a new store owner, want a complete one-stop solution, and are not fussy about customization then Shopify would be the perfect place to start your online e-commerce store. As an established Digital Marketing Agency we will be happy to help you set up your e-commerce store on Shopify and help you with some good digital marketing and social selling tips and tricks to get your Shopify Store on the path to success.