Why Shopify is Easy eCommerce
eCommerce is a numbers games, a skills game and a perception game. And Shopify features highly on each count.
As of the middle of 2020, Shopify has over 20 per cent market share in the eCommerce marketplace and over 500,000 online stores. Total revenue across all its stores in 2020 will exceed $1.53B. These are serious numbers and that dwarf other featured contenders such as Adobe Magento, Big Commerce, Woo Commerce and Squarespace.
Not a bad run considering that Shopify was set up by a bunch of snowboarding enthusiasts in 2004 and now has over 1,000,000 businesses using the platform in 175 different countries (source: Shopify). The obvious question is why has Shopify been so successful in the easy eCommerce sector and continues to go from strength to strength?
Making it Easy
As an ‘implementor’ of multiple Shopify sites over the years, there is one standout feature – IT’S EASY TO IMPLEMENT!
This one feature will save you a lot of money.
The team at Shopify have done a remarkable job at simplifying the fundamental steps to get you up and going quickly. The only challenging issues are the optimization steps which take time, experience and trials to get right. But more about these steps later.
Shopify is hosted in the Cloud. This means that your eCommerce shop resides on their server infrastructure. This conveniently bypasses all the complex server setup, security certificate configurations and payment gateway issues. Just point your domain to a location on their Cloud and you are good to go! And they even provide a convenient wizard script for this task.
This preconfigured hosting and security setup will save you about $35 a month. Typically, half the cost of your Shopify monthly subscription cost.
Most of us don’t have cutting edge design skills as part of our skillset. Shopify makes it easy by including hundreds of free and paid themes (style sheets) that you can use to provide the framework for your eCommerce website. Installing a pre-existing theme can be done in seconds. This leaves you with the website styling. Change the images, tweak the copy and upload your product images and viola! Your new Shopify site is ready to go online.
This step alone makes Shopify real ‘easy eCommerce’. And be conscious of the fact that a paid theme can cost as much as $150. Free themes may not have all the same bells and whistles, but they are perfectly functional and will also leave you with dollars in your pocket.
The old adage of “if you build it, they will come” does not apply to the Internet. It has been suggested that there are upwards of 24 million storefronts on the Internet and of these only 650,000 make over $1,000 per year. Getting your brand and products found is of utmost importance to achieving success. Typical strategies include Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to improve the organic rank of our website; Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising based on your chosen keywords; Social Media Advertising to generate awareness and conversation about your brand on popular social media accounts.
Where Shopify comes to the fore is the huge breadth of choice in the Shopify App Store. With size comes competition. Many of the apps offer either a free trial or a reduced feature set of the product to test and see if the results occur. The try before you buy approach reduces the investment risk, allowing you to forecast a Return on Investment before you make the plunge. And importantly, the plugin app approach of Shopify eliminates the programming overhead and risk. Just like the App Store on your cell phone, a single click will install the app and provide you with a new level of functionality and purpose.
You can check out the Shopify Easy eCommerce marketing apps from within your Shopify account, alternatively, select any of the Shopify marketing blogs online and study the guided view of what is most effective.
Easy Payment Gateway
Thinking back, it was about 15 years ago when I set up my first eCommerce payment gateway. Back then it was a nightmare. You either worked with your local trading bank and needed to go through approval steps – very difficult if you were a small business new trader – or you worked with one of several international providers. These vendors were understandably risk-averse and forced you to jump through multiple hoops. Their charges were also very high, compounded by a lack of competition and hesitancy to contract with SME’s outside of their own geography.
Long story cut short is that I got there and experienced first hand why eCommerce was such a struggle in the ‘early days’ of the Internet.
Shopify includes Shopify Payments. This is their own payment gateway that integrates directly with their own management dashboard. This allows you to accept credit card and Paypal payments from over 100 international payment gateways. This list includes gateways such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amex, Visa, Mastercard, JCB etcetera. Basically, they have most of the major payment instruments covered.
From a daily operational basis, Shopify Payments shows the realtime status of your transactions and the payout schedule of when the money will be transferred to your bank. I can’t stress how important this is for monitoring your cash flow as all payment gateways hold the money their receive for several days prior to releasing the funds to the merchant. This is to protect against fraudulent transactions, returns and chargebacks. Understanding this rolling release of funds is clarified at a glance on the Shopify Payments Dashboard.
Get a Shopify Virtual Assistant
My consistent message in this post has been that building an eCommerce Store with Shopify is easy. But what happens when the build euphoria has passed? There remains the tedious task of continually monitoring the performance of your store. Creating new offers, uploading products, answering customer enquiries, developing new marketing offers, tweaking the layout and design of your content. While Shopify makes these task easy, after you have done these tasks 100 times, you will probably be asking if there is someone who might be able to do these tasks for me?
For a long time, I have sung the praises of the affordability and ease of hiring a Virtual Assistant (or two) from onlinejobs.ph. I have already blogged on the merits of this website, together with the wide choice of candidates and tips on how to hire effectively. The bottom line is that this approach will free you up to address other critical and perhaps more strategic tasks in your business.
Currently, we are in unparalleled times. The worldwide COVID-19 Pandemic is forcing people away from the Malls into the security of their homes. If ever there was a time for launching your own eCommerce platform, it is now. Shopify is Easy eCommerce and with the right products, the right niche and a complementary marketing campaign you will be able to launch your own online brand in days.
Keeping the store fresh and incentivising customers to purchase needs constant attention and vigilance. Seriously, consider the benefits that an affordable Virtual Assistant can bring to your new venture and don’t hesitate to drop us a note if you need some assistance on getting your store live or your eCommerce recruiting needs.