Shopify is one of the most popular digital retailing platforms available these days. The minute you decide to open an online store and eCommerce store, there are a variety of shopping cart platforms to choose from. So, what is Shopify?
Tobias Lutke created Shopify out of sheer necessity. He required an eCommerce platform that offers sufficient flexibility to be easily integrated with various other services. This idea prompted him to work with Scott Lake to develop an e-commerce platform.
Initially, Tobias was keen on creating a platform that helped him to sell his snowboards to an online audience. However, after a while, he wanted to help various other online entrepreneurs like himself by selling their products online. It is the primary motivation that leads to the creation of Shopify.
Lutke and Scott were primarily focused on creating an e-commerce platform that offered plenty of flexibility and was easy to use. Shopify was launched in 2006, and there was no turning back. After struggling for two years, both the creators came up with a new team to turn Shopify into the digital platform that we all know and love today. By 2008, Shopify managed to register its first profits, and it began to gather recognition as an ideal eCommerce platform slowly. Shopify managed to secure an additional $ 7 million funding in 2010 and $ 15 million funding than 2011.
A humble platform that started out with the idea of selling snowboards online soon developed into a vast eCommerce platform with over 500,000 registered eCommerce stores. Also, this platform isn’t just used by small businesses, but also various big and popular brands such as Red Bull, Angry Birds, 50 Cent, and Foo Fighters. It is believed that by 2017, Shopify managed to transact over $ 40 billion in merchandise as sales from all its stores. Shopify is an eCommerce solution that allows store owners to set up their online stores. While using Shopify, you don’t have to worry about any issues associated with server maintenance, hosting, or brand representation to the customers. The various auxiliary applications available can be readily used on Shopify and will help address all these issues.
Shopify offers plenty of customization options ranging from inventory management, tracking customer use, managing the online store, or even customer contact. The primary aim of Shopify is to help potential entrepreneurs and online store owners to set up their eCommerce stores even if they have no technical knowledge or background on coding. All the features Shopify offers are not only customizable but incredibly easy to use too. So, even if you have absolutely no technical skills whatsoever, you can easily establish your online store to sell products produced by others or your own products. The different challenges associated with designing and launching an eCommerce store are eliminated by using Shopify as the hosting platform.
Benefits of Using Shopify
Now that you are aware of what Shopify is about to let’s look at the different benefits it offers.
Easy to Use
Plenty of entrepreneurs have incredible ideas, but not everyone is tech-savvy. Such entrepreneurs might harbor fears about starting their own eCommerce stores because of all the problems they might run into due to their lack of technical knowledge. While using Shopify, you don’t have to worry about understanding or having any previous knowledge about coding. From servers to hosting, everything is taken care of by Shopify. All you need is a name or brand free online shop and the products you wish to sell.
Shopify provides plenty of tutorials you can go through before setting up your online store. Once you are aware of how it works, open the Shopify website, create an account, and register your store. As soon as this step is completed, all that’s left to do is customize the store, upload your product images, and start using it as a seller. Using Shopify is incredibly easy. After the product has been uploaded, you can customize the color schemes, the theme of the store, add titles to the images, and even edit the product descriptions. All the inventory you hold can be easily managed and monitored through the Shopify dashboard. You can also use it to track the sales orders, manage all the transactions, and even create offers for your customers. Pretty much anything that you can think of for establishing and running a successful online store is taken care of by Shopify.
Security and Reliability
Security matters in all aspects of your life, and an online store is not an exception. We live in a technology-dominated world where digitization has become the norm of different aspects of our lives. With the rise in technology, there’s also an increase in cyber threats. So, as an online store owner, you might be worried about the security and reliability of the hosting service, especially in the wake of an increase in cybercrimes such as hacking. Your online store will contain plenty of sensitive information that is not just that is not just yours, but also the valuable information of your customer. Therefore, security and reliability will be critical for establishing a successful online store.
Its reliable hosting system, coupled with the strong security it offers, makes Shopify quite endearing to eCommerce store owners. Once these issues are taken care of, you can concentrate all your resources on growing and expanding your business. Also, all online stores invariably end up handling sensitive customer information like their personal details and even the details of the debit or credit cards. Therefore, you must guarantee not only the security of your own information but also the information your customers provide while using your Shopify store. Handling credit card information and bank details is an important aspect of online business, and assuring security is your responsibility. Apart from all this, the customers also expect the store to be online all of the time and offer fast page loading speeds. With Shopify, all that’s left to you to do is concentrate on selling your products without worrying about the nitty-gritty of the online store.
Convenient Mobile Access
Long gone are the days when using the Internet was restricted to bulky desktops. These days, most of the Internet users access it with their smartphones. Therefore, plenty of websites are being designed such that they are equally responsive to smaller and larger screens. Since most people are accessing the Internet via their phones, your website must be mobile-friendly. If your potential customers cannot easily access your website, then you will start losing more of your business to other competitors present in the niche.
Ensuring that the website is mobile-friendly improves the overall customer experience and might eventually lead to an increase in your overall sales. If you’re worried about how your website can be optimized for a smaller screen like mobile phones, then you have nothing to worry about. Why not? Well, Shopify does it all for you. According to any of your requirements for website responsiveness, Shopify will keep updating the website to keep up with the new updates. This simple service offered by Shopify is in sync with the platform’s goal of managing all the technical aspects involved in managing the online store. Once all these things are taken care of, all that you are required to do is concentrate on maximizing your sales.
Easy App Installation
It’s not just about the website is easily accessed or optimized for mobile use, but your online store will also need a mobile application. Since a lot of people use their phones for online shopping, the mobile app allows your potential customers to access your site directly. Also, it gives you the option of managing your Shopify store on the go. So, regardless of whether you are at home or on vacation, you can easily track your orders, edit, or update them, and also manage the online store through your phone using the app.
Not just mobile applications, there are various other applications quite similar to plug-ins, you can install and activate on the online store for improving the overall flexibility. There are several apps available on Shopify that are designed to help you do various things on the online store essentially. There are apps that you can install, which allow the customers to leave a review or use an app that allows you to track any inquiries you receive from the customers. By installing and activating all these applications, it gives your website the desired flexibility for improving the overall customer experience.
As an online retailer, opting for a secure and reliable payment gateway is quite important. The payment gateway you choose must provide the customers with a variety of payment options. A payment gateway is usually a critical issue for various self-hosted eCommerce websites, but when it comes to Shopify, it is not an issue. Setting up the payment gateway is quite easy while using Shopify. The stripe payment option offered by Shopify enables you and your customers to make various transactions on your eCommerce website without incurring any extra fees. A merchant account isn’t compulsory to use the stripe services.
Even if your customers don’t have a credit card, they can use other payment gateways, like PayPal, for transacts on your Shopify eCommerce store. Did you know your Shopify store name would appear on your customer’s statement whenever they make a transaction with your business? This is a great opportunity to work on your branding to increase brand loyalty subtly.
Unlike the bricks and mortar store, your customers cannot visit your store at its physical location. They cannot see the products in real life or the way your store looks. So, the website you create for the eCommerce store or the online layout is as important as the physical storefront of a conventional store. If you wish to become a successful eCommerce business store owner, then the store must be visually appealing to your target audience.
Whenever someone visits your eCommerce store, they will see the various images or pictures used for displaying your products. Therefore, it’s quintessential to make the eCommerce store look visually appealing. Shopify thoroughly understands the importance of making an online store visually appealing. Therefore, they offer a variety of layouts and themes to create a professional yet visually attractive store. Shopify also offers a variety of customization options. So, each store on Shopify can be as unique, special, different, and specific as you wanted to be. You can also change or edit the product descriptions, images, and even the titles.
Creating an eCommerce site by hiring the services of a web developer can cost anywhere between $ 3000 and $ 5000. This is a significant expenditure, especially when it comes to small businesses and startups. Any entrepreneur aims to minimize the costs of operation while maximizing the returns. Because of its affordable pricing structure, Shopify has become a popular option among online retailers across the globe. Shopify offers a subscription model, where you pay a predetermined monthly fee for using the platform. When compared to all the benefits you stand to gain from Shopify, the costs involved are quite low.
Setting up an online store doesn’t mean customers will start flowing in. So, you need to concentrate on marketing your business. One of the marketing techniques you cannot afford to overlook is optimizing the online store for search engines. It is known as search engine optimization (SEO). It ensures that your website is easily found by anyone looking for specific keywords associated with your products. Shopify helps enhance the ability to develop effective landing pages for your marketing campaigns. This marketing feature effectively distinguishes Shopify from various other online shopping carts and eCommerce platforms. Shopify also allows you to customize the Meta and title tags for better search engine optimization.
Recovering Abandoned Carts
Not all those who browse through your website need to end up making a purchase. Most visitors often browse through the website, build a cart, and then abandon it without completing the purchase. Shopify has a rather interesting feature that allows eCommerce store owners to send email reminders to all those visitors who didn’t complete their purchases or who have abandoned their carts. By doing this, you can increase your overall conversion rate. At times, all it takes is a gentle reminder to nudge a potential buyer to become a paying customer.
Good Customer Support
An important benefit offered by Shopify is the customer service it provides. Shopify offers a variety of tutorial videos that allow you to understand how to use the platform, tips for getting started, and basic troubleshooting techniques. Also, they offer 24/ 7 customer support. Regardless of the time of the day, you can always reach out to someone at Shopify if you need any help or support.
After going through all the different benefits Shopify offers, you might be quite excited to build your online store!
Shopify vs WordPress
A common question a lot of entrepreneurs have while creating an e-commerce store is whether they should use Shopify or WordPress. What platform should you opt for? Are there any fees payable? Can I sell physical products, or is it only for information products? Can I sell private labeled items? Can I drop-ship? Well, do these questions sound familiar to you? If you are considering opening up an e-commerce store, then you have probably asked these questions.
Let us look at what WordPress is, the times when Shopify is a better option than WordPress and the reasons why you should consider using Shopify. WordPress has always been incredibly popular. WordPress is a versatile platform, and you can use it to make your website easily available and accessible to the rest of the world. However, an e-commerce store is quite different from a regular blog or a news publishing website. WordPress is all about content, and most of this content is published with the intent of being consumed for free or at a minimal charge. By using WordPress, you can publish videos, pictures, blogs, etc. Still, its basic principle is that all this content will be available to anyone who stumbles upon the specific URL.
If you take a moment to think about it, an e-commerce store is quite different. Whatever an e-commerce website platform offers is secured behind a paywall. The entire site needs to be careful when dealing with important data, such as the customer’s credit card or personal information. The website must be secure, and it should be capable of handling, processing, and delivering all the orders that it receives. Simply put, when compared to regular publishing platforms, an e-commerce store is quite different. So, it is time we all accepted the simple fact that WordPress isn’t always the answer. If you wish to launch an e-commerce website, then you need a hosting platform that caters specifically to e-commerce stores.
So, what is the difference between Shopify and WordPress?
The one factor that differentiates Shopify from WordPress is that the former is an Internet service or tool while the latter is a software that needs to be installed. If you wish to use Shopify, then you merely need to visit their official website- Shopify.com, to create and register your profile. Once you complete the registration, quickly set up your profile, and you can start building your e-commerce store.
If you want to start using WordPress, then there are a couple more steps you must follow. The first step is to purchase a domain and a web hosting profile that allows you to install the default version of WordPress. The next step is to select a theme and design for the website and install a couple of plug-ins for social media integration, SEO, and so on. Once all this is in place, you should opt for a plug-in that provides all the e-commerce features not provided by WordPress, such as WooCommerce. The final step is to complete the configuration process of the e-commerce store. By including details, such as the payment gateway integration, product details, store details, and so on.
Another factor you must weigh up when deciding about using Shopify or WordPress is the customer support available. Shopify provides a 24/ 7 customer support system that you can use if you run into any trouble. On the other hand, WordPress doesn’t provide any such service. Here is a simple example of putting things into perspective. Using Shopify is like visiting an IKEA store and purchasing a bookshelf. Once you are home, you merely need to assemble the bookshelf, and that’s about it. Now, using WordPress is similar to visiting a hardware store, purchasing the planks, glue, nails, tools, any other things you require, and then coming home to build the bookshelf from scratch.
Shopify is the one-stop e-commerce solution you can use to easily build an e-commerce website. You can do all this without any technical knowledge, coding skills, and without hiring any professionals. The monthly fees payable for Shopify can range from $ 9 to $ 2000. You can sell any goods or services, including both physical and digital ones on Shopify. You can also use it as a drop-shipping platform. Shopify offers more than 100 online store designs, and every new website created on it gets a custom subdomain free of cost. This platform also offers 24/ 7 customer support.
You can use WordPress to build a website too. However, to do this, you should be able to handle technical setup such as installing software, themes, plug-ins, and an e-commerce plug-in to get started on all your online store operations. If you want to use WordPress effectively, you must have some website building knowledge and skills. According to the level of customization you want from the e-commerce store, your design and coding skills will differ. The software you use for WordPress is available free of charge, but to use it, you must sign up for a web host and purchase a domain name. The monthly cost using WordPress can be as low as $ 5. This platform offers plenty of content management features and thousands of free and paid themes to choose from. WordPress doesn’t have any dedicated customer support, but it does have an extremely helpful community.
When is Shopify better than WordPress? Shopify offers tailor-made e-commerce solutions that are ideal for anyone who has absolutely no idea about coding or building a website. As long as you have a good business and a product idea in mind, you can leverage Shopify to build an e-commerce store without any hassle. One of the major benefits of using Shopify is that you can set up your online store within a couple of minutes, and once a store is up and running, you can open the store for business. It’s not just coding or building the website, but you also don’t have to worry about various other aspects of running an e-commerce store such as managing the inventory, shipping, or the taxes. Also, Shopify is an extremely affordable option.