Exploring the Shopify Web Store Platform

Thursday August 19, 2021 | Posted at 4:02 pm | By Paul Dicken
August 19, 2021 @ 4:02 pm

In this post we talk about one of the most popular web store platforms in the world and explore why you should consider making it one of your multiple online selling channels.

The promise of multichannel ecommerce is essentially twofold. Firstly, in general terms, the more places where you’re visible the more you’ll sell, providing each channel is a good fit for your business and you can service the business efficiently and profitably. Secondly, you build resilience for the long term welfare of your business because you don’t have all your eggs in one or two baskets.

There are several advantages to selling on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and OnBuy. Many of them give you access to a global or at least regional buying audience. They’re generally attuned linguistically and culturally to international markets. They do all the marketing and traffic building, collect payment from buyers, and in some cases will also do the warehousing, order fulfilment and shipping for you too. You need to focuses on optimising your listings, updating your inventory and stock levels, and making sure you adhere to their specific rules and selling standards.

Selling on your own web store gives you more control over the buying experience and your buyer relationships. You own the customer, not the marketplace. Your margins are better. It’s all you, and therein lies the trade-off. You’re responsible for driving visitors to your site and converting them into happy, returning customers. When it comes to web store platforms which help you design, build, run and maintain your website ecommerce presence, there’s no shortage of providers, and perhaps none more popular than Shopify.

Shopify is a Canadian company, based in Ottawa, Ontario. Two keen snowboards Tobias Lütke and Scott Lake experienced difficulties launching their own online snowboarding store. Lütke, who had the good fortune to be a software programmer, built the store himself and they ended up launching the it as the Shopify platform in 2006. Shopify now boasts over 1.7 million merchants using its platform to sell their products. Here are a few more statistics on this Canadian ecommerce behemoth:

  • Shopify processed over $5.1 billion in sales in 2020, with total historical platform sales in the region of $200 billion
  • The company employs over 5,000 people
  • It’s the 3rd largest retailer in the US and the largest web store platform in many countries
  • There are over 65,000 live Shopify stores in the UK

WebsiteBuilderExpert summarises Shopify as follows: “Shopify is the best ecommerce platform on the market today. It’s designed to help people build their own, scalable online store with hundreds of built-in features, and tons of apps. You can sell products directly on your website, and across multiple marketplaces and social media.”

Shopify provides itself on being very easy to set up and get trading. Indeed, if you’ve done any research into the platform you’ll soon be bombarded by ads reminding you of that fact. Of course, you could argue the same for many other web store platforms as well, but the sheer volume of Shopify-powered stores and its popularity make it the stand-out choice for many. There are three pricing levels, Basic Shopify at $29 per month, Shopify (for more established ecommerce businesses) at $79 per month and Advanced Shopify at $299. Advanced comes with more reporting, but you’d get that anyway if you were a Volo customer through our complimentary Vision analytics and reporting module.

Then there’s Shopify Plus, essentially for very large brands and enterprises. Shopify and Shopify Plus share the same dashboard and ecommerce functionality, but with Shopify Plus you get access to more support options and your store’s software code, which gives you more control, for the increased internal overhead. Shopify Plus also comes with a minimum monthly sticker shock of $2,000.

So, Shopify is affordable, simple and with a good user interface. You can be up and running with a few products in a couple of hours. Volo has Shopify integrated within our multichannel platform. This means you can centralise your Shopify work with your other marketplace activities, and you’ve one place to manage your business – with Origin for your end-to-end operations, and Vision collecting and presenting your operational and selling data.

To discuss your requirements for selling on web stores, as part of your multichannel strategy, please get in touch here.

(This post leans on research and stats from this page, and this one.)

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