E-commerce is increasingly becoming a potent avenue of sales for retail businesses. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, e-commerce as a percentage of total retail sales has risen from just under 2.8% in 2006 to nearly 8% of total retail sales by the end of Q3 in 2015. Some predictions have e-commerce accounting for 20% of total retail sales by as soon as 2019. And with mobile commerce rapidly coming into the scene, a smooth transition between a website and its mobile-friendly counterpart should be a goal for any retail business owner. By having an e-commerce site, you will ensure that both of these potential sales avenues are not neglected. So let’s get started with one of the titans of e-commerce: Shopify!
The first step is to create a digital storefront. Choose a domain or get started with your current domain and move over to Shopify! Build the foundation of your e-commerce website by browsing through hundreds of professional themes that are ready to be customized to fit the style and image of your brand. Editing HTML and CSS can give your store the exact look that you need to start catching the eyes of potential customers. Shopify supports mobile commerce also! Every store is optimized to make checkout easy for customers on mobile devices, allowing you to showcase your products or services the way you need to. A built-in blogging platform also allows the creative writer in you to deliver compelling stories or relevant information to your customers!
Shopify is the most secure way to start accepting payments online. Using the same level of security as the nation’s top financial institutions and banks, a 256-bit SSL certificate, you’ll rest easy knowing that all transactions and sales are secured. Easily accept payments from all major credit card companies, too: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. Use Shopify automatic taxation to tax in your location. PayPal as a mode of payment can be quickly enabled with the flip of a switch, as well! Start selling online and shipping with ease with major shipping carriers like UPS, USPS, and FedEx.
Managing your store is also facilitated with the many tools offered by Shopify. Customer profiles let you understand your customer’s shopping habits and the total orders that they have made on your site. Customers can also create their own account on your website for easy checkout. Managing your store on-the-go is also a breeze with Shopify’s app, allowing you to manage, update, upload, or remove products and services, and even fulfill your orders. Process refunds with the tap of a button and have your inventory automatically updated! You can even customize Shopify’s order detail email templates to fit your brand.
Marketing and SEO
Shopify allows you to easily integrate Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr with your website. These options allow your business to engage with the online community, further expanding the reach of your business. Enable features like Facebook’s “Shop” and Twitter’s “Buy” button to make sales on social media. Easy-to-make discount codes and gift cards can be provided to help boost your marketing campaigns or promotional offers. Shopify is completely SEO-friendly, as well. Fully customize headers, titles, descriptions, and much more. Your sitemap.xml is generated with your products, webpages, and blog posts to get your site ranking on popular search engines, like Google. Set options that will allow your customers to leave SEO-friendly reviews of your products and services, too!
Product and Inventory Management
Listing your products on Shopify in an organized fashion is the key to running a successful e-commerce website. Stay organized with product variations, weight, SKU, and inventory tracking. Inventory management is available to all Shopify users. Instantly track inventory levels and automatically stop selling when your product inventory reaches zero. Organize products by category, type, size and much more. Add multiple images to your listing to showcase every angle of your product or product variations. Use Shopify’s smart collections to automatically place products in the right spot based on vendor, price, or inventory level.
Shopify provides web hosting when using their e-commerce platform. The unlimited bandwidth will keep you from ever getting charged due to the amount of traffic on your site. Shopify will not penalize you for being successful! Shopify runs daily backups and keeps your information safe with a 256-bit SSL certificate. Stay up-to-date with instant updates to your shop to keep you selling every day! Shopify makes sure all servers are running and will keep your web store online with 24/7 monitoring.
Shopify’s seller dashboard is undeniably one of our favorite features. See instant updates of sales, traffic, and pending orders. Daily product reports give you a glimpse of your trending products or services, letting you know detailed information such as the amount of views received and even amount of times added to cart! Get all the data that you need, presented in an easy-to-digest format with simple and straight forward graphs. Shopify’s dashboard also monitors overall traffic and ranks visits to your page based on source, giving you valuable information pertaining to how customers found your site.
Here are some additional Shopify features that we have come to deeply appreciate:
Shopify Mobile Support
Quickly manage your store on the go with the Shopify mobile app!
The Shopify support team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by email, live chat, and phone.
Abandoned Checkout Recovery
Recover lost sales by automatically sending an email to prospective customers with a link to their abandoned shopping carts, encouraging them to complete their purchase.
Digital Product Sales
Shopify allows instant downloads from your store.
Import and Export of Products
Import or export your products using CSV files, or one of Shopify's importer/exporter apps. Quickly make edits to a large inventory and upload it back to your store!
With trends in e-commerce and mobile commerce showing no signs of slowing down, the time to expand your retail business to e-commerce is now! Some of the top retail brands, like Starbucks, are even enlisting the help of other giants, like Uber, to provide mobile commerce and delivery of their products to customers!