According to AmericaCommerce, eCommerce is a $220 billion dollar market in the U.S. alone – and growing by nearly 17% every year. By 2017, online retail sales are predicted to reach $370 billion.
Shopify for eCommerce Startups
For many, the allure of digital retail has become too lucrative to resist. If you’re in the camp of entrepreneurs who are looking to branch out into the eCommerce space, we recommend using Shopify to power your store.
There are countless shopping cart platforms to choose from, but Shopify has some powerful advantages for startups. Here’s why:
#1. It’s affordable. The number one rule for startups in any industry is to keep costs low without cutting corners. And when compared to other shopping cart platforms, your money goes farthest with Shopify. For a relatively low monthly cost, you get everything you need to power a fast and reliable eCommerce website.
#2. It presents a visually appealing online store to the world. Your store’s success depends heavily on its looks – especially in the startup stage, when the market is still getting to know your brand.
Shopify’s bare minimum theme design options can get a store out of the starting gates, and it’s easy to improve upon the look and feel. Like with WordPress, Shopify allows for developers and designers to build unique storefronts. Shopify developers can build on top of the eCommerce platform and customize the user experience entirely.
#3. Shopify has all the essential marketing tools – and then some. Shopify was built for marketing – especially for startups looking to keep costs down and spread the word fast.
Their basic package includes SEO features and advanced eCommerce analytics that tell you how your customers are finding you online – information that can inform your inbound marketing efforts. For example, let’s say you discover that the majority of your unique visitors found your site by searching for “the best red wines from France”. You could then create a blog series about that topic, and feature your best-selling French wines on your homepage. See how that works?
In addition to integrated SEO tools, Shopify provides some essential marketing tools, such as discount codes, custom gift cards, social network integration, targeted email marketing, store statistics & a coupon engine.
And if you ever need a more advanced marketing feature, such as a custom pop-up window to capture emails or an easy way to track affiliate sales, their renowned Shopify App Store likely has what you’re looking for.
#4. Web hosting is taken care of. Hosting your own shopping cart requires some level of technical expertise and a lot of spare time — something startup founders are notoriously short on. Web hosting can often be a burden for startups to say the least. Problem solved.
Shopify maintains your site’s servers, pays for hosting, maintains the software, and handles the payment gateway, so all you have to do is run your business and sell your products. This is the best-case scenario for a busy startup just getting off the ground.
#5. Security is taken care of. Startups are particularly vulnerable to hackers and data breaches, because they tend to focus more on raising money and signing up users – and less so with data security.
When Shopify powers your eCommerce site, they handle security compliance, security upgrades, and hacker protection. Some of the world’s biggest brands trust them to protect their sites – including Tesla Motors, General Motors, and CrossFit – so should you choose to go with Shopify, you’ll be in good company.
#6. You have access to world-class customer support. When you build and run an eCommerce site yourself, your developers are your only – very expensive – form of support. Shopify’s email, phone, and chat support is the safety net startups need to launch their site and know that managing it long-term won’t break the bank.