Shopify Fundamentals

What is Shopify?

By Sally Nguyen on November 24, 2020 0 Comments

shopify-ecommerce

An eCommerce platform is a comprehensive software that allows companies to manage all operations related to online sales of products or services. E-commerce platforms create a centralized, digital hub for product and customer data, allowing eCommerce businesses to manage product information, personalize store content and layout, and process online transactions and payments.

Figure 1. Number of digital buyers worldwide from 2014 to 2021(in billions)

According to Statista, by 2021 there will be more than 2 billion people buying goods and services through eCommerce platforms. Online commerce platforms today offer easy setup and management, and some have an incredibly low cost. According to G2, there are over 370 eCommerce platforms available for businesses counted to 2020.

Why is Shopify a leader in eCommerce?

Shopify is one of the leading eCommerce platforms with over 1 million businesses across 175 countries in 2020. Shopify is designed for stores and businesses of various sizes, industries, and locations worldwide in order to follow a dream, which is to make commerce better for everyone. That’s why it has pioneered a user-friendly, flexible, and comprehensive online shop builder that doesn’t just allow sellers—referred to as merchants—to get their store up and running quickly, but also equips them with the tools they need to rapidly grow their companies. Merchants can find Shopify as an all-in-one commerce platform because it handles everything from marketing and payments, to secure checkout and shipping so that they can focus on growing their business.

Shopify ecosystem is a win-win environment

The Shopify ecosystem consists of Shopify employees, merchants, partners.

  • Shopify employees are backed from themes, apps, and domains, to payment, reports, and shipping with a 24/7 support service and an extensive content library that can help merchants & partners troubleshoot all the technical and logistical challenges they face.
  • Shopify merchants refer to sellers who use the Shopify platform to sell their products. They may sell physical products such as clothing, tech accessories, and skincare. Some even specialize in digital products such as tools and plugins for digital creators and musicians. There are both B2C merchants (sell directly to consumers) and B2C merchants (sell to other businesses including wholesale companies). Merchants also can sell or buy online stores of another in the exchange marketplace of Shopify. They can share concerns as well as experienced in the Shopify community.
  • Shopify partners are a vast network of digital professionals—marketers, specialists, and educators can benefit from Shopify and contribute to the growth of their businesses through the Shopify platform. Shopify partners set Shopify apart from other commerce solutions and make Shopify the one-stop-shop. It creates a win-win environment for both merchants and partners to collaborate and thrive.

HappyPoints is one of Shopify partners. We serve Shopify partners outsourcing IT and support merchants in doing IT jobs.

How does Shopify help your business?

While Shopify is considered as the one-stop-shop as well as all-in-one platform, Shopify allows merchants to migrate their business into one platform and customizing in their own way. However, a migration process can be very complex for stores that have large amounts of data in multiple sets, which is often the case with enterprise-level businesses or stores with a higher volume of products. Customizing a store online also may require professional techniques. Additionally, business development activities extend across different departments, including sales, marketing, project management, product management, and vendor management. Networking, negotiations, partnerships, and cost-savings efforts are also involved. Understanding this situation, Shopify and Shopify partners offer services, which help merchants easily operate their business. It can be classified into 3 groups:

  • Storefront customization

The Shopify Theme Store offers over 100 beautiful templates without having a big worry of coding, you can choose to customize your stores. Moreover, you can add extended functionality and custom integrations to your online stores from Shopify App Store. The Shopify App Store includes a variety of apps with many different functionalities, including marketing, sales, shipping, and accounting. If storefront customization with Shopify Store does not make you satisfied, you can approach Shopify partners and Shopify experts to help you.
For example, DawnDenim, which has about 200 stores crossing 7 countries, got trouble presenting the store locator on its website. With a small investment for one time, HappyPoints helped DawnDenim grouping stores by country to deal with this problem.

Read the details here.
  • Sales and operations

Selling in multiple channels may cause you to get many difficulties to manage. As an all-in-one platform, Shopfiy allows you to migrate all your channels with Shopify admin. As a result, you can easily manage where orders are processed, products are managed with prices, inventory, and shipping. Shopify partners with around 100 gateways (check available payment gateways in your region ) for you to accept many types of payment methods, which is easier for store owners who run businesses worldwide. In addition, you can set up Shopify to handle the most common sales tax calculations automatically and set up tax overrides to address unique tax laws and situations.
For example, in late 2018, Staples’s eCommerce for more than 300 physical stores across Canada needed to be reborn. Because for years, Staples had issues with basic things – running promotions, updating basic tools like checkout and search and payments. Staples chose to migrate to Shopify on a major re-platforming. Shopify integrates Staples’ huge catalog of product and customer data into Staples’ enterprise resource planning system that lay at the heart of both its retail and online operations. Uptime on the site has been at virtually 100% with no degradation of performance at a time when Staples customers need it most such as sale off day.

You can read the details here.
  • Marketing and administration

You can use Shopify analytics tools to stay updated with your daily total sales or how many customers are returning to your website and many other metrics, which are essential for further marketing plans. Also, if you already have social media accounts such as Facebook or Instagram, Shopify allows you to integrate them into your online store for selling directly on these channels.
For example, HiSmile’s products were launched into the stratosphere through a legion of popular social media influencers. Before selling globally or boosting its social business strategy, HiSmile had to secure its most basic web function, especially when flash sales drew a rush of shoppers looking to check out all at once. HiSmile turned to its Shopify backend, where information directly tied to its sales funnel was at the ready to be transferred and communicated across all apps in its eCommerce ecosystem to measure and strategize its social selling. Social selling and influencer marketing on Instagram with only one influencer alone scored a 5X return on ad spend.

You can read the details here.
  • Community support

Shopify community has many forums, which are full of experienced shop owners and designers who are eager to help each other out, and the Shopify internal development team regularly contributes to the discussions. There are many available learning resources such as Shopify Academy, Shopify blogs, webinars, meetups to help Shopify citizens deeply understanding and mastering this platform. Shopify support system stands by you 24/7.

How does Shopify charge you?

First of all, Shopify provides a 14-day free trial – you don’t need to enter any payment details, so there’s no risk, and no pressure to sign up. You’ll just need an email, and you can test out Shopify totally cost-free for two weeks. Shopify offers 5 packages for merchants. Each package is planned best for a business scale or stage of business development to optimize cost.

  • Shopify Lite: $9 per month – lets you add eCommerce to a Facebook page or existing website. 2% transaction fee, unless you use Shopify Payments.
  • Basic Shopify: $29 per month – cheapest plan to build your own store; provides all the essentials for a new online store. 2% transaction fee, unless you use Shopify Payments.
  • Shopify: $79 per month – for growing businesses; includes features such as gift card creation. 1% transaction fee, unless you use Shopify Payments.
  • Advanced Shopify: $299 per month – for big businesses wanting to scale up; includes advanced reports and third-party calculated shipping rates. 0.5% transaction fee, unless you use Shopify Payments.
  • Shopify Plus: custom pricing – for large-scale, enterprise-level businesses with huge budgets. No set pricing – instead, you request a custom quote.

All Shopify packages can access basic services of Shopify merchants such as online store, 24/7 support, joining Shopify community, and global selling. Other services will be adjusted depending on the package.

Final words

In short, Shopify is an all-in-one platform. Because Shopify allows you to integrate with social networking, post products, shopping cart, and payment features, order processing, all integrated with Shopify and offers almost solutions cover from Store customization, sales, and operations to marketing and administration. Especially, there’s no risk, and no pressure to sign up for the first two-week trial.

If you need help setting up a Shopify store, check out our tutorial series on “How to set up a Shopify store without tech”. Check out this tutorial!
For more consultancy, feel free to contact us!

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