It’s a new year, which means we are in the season of change. Brick-and-mortar stores are increasingly moving online, while famed ecommerce brands like Warber Parker are now opening up brick-and-mortar stores. Up is down. Down is up. And nothing in commerce is the same it was a decade ago.
The distinction between online and physical retail is more blurred than ever as consumers seek out dynamic shopping experiences that adhere to their fast-paced 21st century lifestyles. At the forefront of this sea of change is the suite of ecommerce tools that makes online engagement and POS fluid: Shopify.
If you run a business in the 21st century, you know about Shopify. Yet despite the pervasiveness of this platform, few truly understand the significant ROI it offers. Born out of necessity, Shopify founders developed this flexible platform after discovering that current ecommerce options were inadequate for selling their snowboarding products. They built the platform using open-source framework and have since built out its capabilities to include marketing, POS, and user engagement features.
What, exactly, is Shopify?
Shopify is one of those solutions that is frequently brought up in marketing and ecommerce conversations. Everyone nods agreeably, but few actually understand the logistics of the platform. Put simply: Shopify is a suite of products used for ecommerce and online point of sale transactions. Put not so simply: Shopify is a platform that allows those with a limited budget to enter the ecommerce space, allows those with larger budgets to grow their brand, and, maybe most importantly, allows brick-and-mortar stores to bridge the gap between their online sales and in-person business, thanks to a proprietary POS system.
Shopify is a lot of things to a lot of different businesses, which is why it has become ubiquitous among successful ecommerce and online marketing this last decade. Sell products online, in a store, on social media, after concerts at the merch booth, etc. — the flexibility of the platform allows businesses of all sizes to sell the way they want.
According to Shopify, its suite of products and services are scalable to businesses of any size. Physical sales, digital sales, consultations, memberships, ticketing, lessons, and rentals — this platform is meant to be a one-stop “shop” for all things ecommerce. This is especially appealing to aspiring entrepreneurs who find it difficult to enter the industry, or for established brands looking to extend their reach.
Why platforms like Shopify are the future of ecommerce
Global ecommerce sales are projected to hit nearly $5 trillion in the next year. This represents a 265 percent growth change compared to 2014. This growth can largely be attributed to new opportunities in the global market. Over the next year, nearly 20 percent of ecommerce sales will be attributed to consumers overseas. Same goes for the domestic consumer base — as the Internet breaks regional divides and cultural boundaries, ecommerce gives consumers an opportunity to engage with foreign brands like never before.
Business is booming, and this business needs a strong infrastructure to support this unprecedented growth. Shopify is currently the competitive big dog in the ecommerce world, but it’s not the only game in town. Square Space, Wix, Big Commerce, and others also offer ecommerce site building features. However, what makes Shopify stand out, and makes it the most competitive option, is its versatility.
A cohesive ecommerce experience depends on the cumulative success of many factors. Branding, building an audience, cataloging products, support features, etc — all-in-one platforms like Shopify help to reduce the barrier of entry for anyone interested in buying a businesses by making ecommerce turnkey.
Whether you’re selling handmade jewelry out of your basement or designer dresses from Milan, ecommerce gives everyone a shot at establishing a customer base. Ecommerce is the great equalizer. No longer do deep pockets automatically equate to lasting business. Today, savvy strategy, a resonate brand, and even altruistic business practices can lead to repeat business. Thanks to platforms like Shopify, the barrier for entry into the ecommerce landscape has never been lower — anyone with a good idea, a strong work ethic, and a little luck can have success in the online marketplace.