Ecommerce is booming. For the first time in history, consumers made more purchases online (51%) than in-store, according to a survey by comScore and UPS. In 2017, it is estimated that more than 55% of global Internet users will make a purchase online. Based on the projection, the percent is expected to grow steadily year over year.
A recent study by Deloitte revealed that most consumers have interacted with your business at multiple points digitally, before ever setting foot in-store. Close to 8 in 10 consumers (76%) interact with brands digitally before arriving at the store. When they do come to a physical location, they may have already decided which items they are going to purchase because of those digital interactions.
As more people go online to research brands, browse merchandise and purchase products, the website experience is held to higher expectations. Today’s consumers demand high-performing, secure, intuitive and fast websites that also are appealing to the eye.
It is important to have a website that not only serves as your virtual marketplace, but enhances the digital shopping experience. For ecommerce, we recommend Shopify. At 10twelve, we have built ecommerce websites for clients and our own businesses with the platform.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a website building platform designed to make it easier to create a fully-functional ecommerce site. You don’t need to be a seasoned coder and developer, but it is wise to have professional expertise. Although the process is simpler than if you were to code a website from scratch, some parts require a little technical knowledge.
There are now more than 377,500 active merchants using Shopify to power their websites. Since the platform launched in 2006, it has helped facilitate over $29 billion in ecommerce sales. Both startups and large brands, ranging from Tesla Motors and Red Bull to Budweiser and Tattly, are using Shopify for their ecommerce websites. Here are some of the top benefits of using the platform that have made it so appealing to brands:
Benefits of Shopify:
● An app store so you can integrate and include functions not available directly through Shopify
● A Point of Sale feature that allows you to process and sync your in-store and online purchases.
● Over 100 premium design themes to choose from
● Affordable pricing (starts around $29/month but can rise to $299/month and up)
● A free custom subdomain and the ability to register a customer domain.
● Built-in reliable security and speed
● Payment processing service
● 24/7 customer and tech support
● Inventory management system that updates with customer orders
● User-friendly interface and features
● Mobile responsive websites, which is critical to your sales (62% of Shopify traffic originates from mobile devices)
As you can see, there are dozens of advantages and benefits for retailers that want to launch an ecommerce site with Shopify. It has fair pricing, an array of features and was built with ecommerce in mind. Some of the top reasons we use it for our businesses and recommend it to clients are:
Seamless Shopping Experiences
Consumers today have high demands for retailers, particularly when it comes to their digital interactions with brands. A survey of Millennial consumers by Accenture found that they increasingly expect to have a seamless experience--and they are influencing their parents to expect the same.
The entire customer journey influences their purchasing decisions. They want everything to flow smoothly, whether they are communicating with a brand on their website, using their mobile app or visiting in-store. With Shopify, it is easier for brands to create a seamless experience, both online and offline. Along with built-in plugins, businesses can add plugins and integrate services into their website.
One of our favorite options on Shopify is the ability to sell directly through social media. You can integrate a Facebook store and create buyable Pins. Customers can even buy products through Twitter or anywhere else with the use of Shopify’s “Buy Button”.
On the business side, it makes the workflow seamless as well. You can process payments, management inventory, track orders and perform all the functions common for ecommerce sites.
Better Data Management and Organization
Data has revolutionized the retail industry. In fact, improvements in how we collect and use data are some of the primary drivers of ecommerce growth. Brands need to have a reliable system of collecting data and using it to improve their processes and user experiences. Real-time data and updates are also important to the modern customer. In the Accenture survey, 89% of respondents said that access to real-time product availability updates would influence their buying choices and brand loyalty.
Shopify makes it easier to sync valuable data across multiple business channels. One of the key features that make this possible is the Point of Sale (POS) mentioned earlier. A few years ago and even now, you may go to a local shop and the only method of payment that they accept is cash. It is becoming increasing less common, however, thanks to mobile devices, payment processing apps and innovations like Shopify.
With the POS option in Shopify, you can accept credit cards in-store. That data is then collected and integrated with your online store. This helps businesses make sure that their inventory is up-to-date and helps them make more strategic choices about which items to restock.
Shopify is equipped with many of the basic tools and built-in features for ecommerce companies to build a website. However, will those baseline features meet all the needs of every business owner? No, this is why Shopify has an app store, where you can find plugins to use with your online store. Some notable app integrations to consider are for:
● Social media - Boost sales, traffic and engagement between your site and Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds.
● Sales - Add customer recommendations, wish lists, product bundles and other offers that entice customer to complete a purchase. Sales channels are also great if you sell your products on other marketplaces like Amazon.
● Customer service - Answer customer questions through live chat or email.
● Design tools - Create banners to promote holiday and limited-time promotions and encourage sales, as well as, product video and image galleries.
You can also customize select features and designs to fit your business needs, but proceed with care. Adding features and customizing your website on the Shopify platform can make the process more challenging.
Putting all of the pieces that go into building an online store can get incredibly complex, even for those are tech-savvy. Shopify is the platform of choice for building an ecommerce website, because it was designed specifically for it. The platform has everything that today’s store owners need to sell online--and more.
Business owners with little to no technical or Shopify experience can definitely benefit from professional advice and guidance from our team at 10twelve. Even if you have some technical background, you may still want the benefit of having an experienced team that has built websites on Shopify before to help you develop your own ecommerce website. To discuss your website strategy or learn more about building and growing your business with solutions like Shopify, contact the 10twelve team today.