COVID 19 UPDATE - So...we needed to re-visit the original article we were writing since we are publishing this in 2020 now and we are in the middle of a pandemic that doesn't have a clear end in site. We have seen first hand the impact that this has had on many of the companies we work with and the ones that were in a place to weather the storm, and cautiously I say even thrive in the current scenario. Adding ecommerce to your businesses has been an inevitable shift that companies have already been benefiting from, and those that already had some basics in place were in a much better place the day the lockdown orders started coming down. How does your business survive?
From the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses and individuals did not know how significant the impact of the virus would be. With time, a lot has changed. The pandemic has resulted in a shift, as far as business operations are concerned. Many countries have had to put stern measures to ensure that they contain the pandemic. Some of these measures include setting curfews and lockdowns to minimize contact between people. Since most people have had to stay home, physical businesses have suffered huge losses because most people have turned to online shopping as their next resort. More customers around the world have now turned to online shopping to purchase the items they need. This has turned out to be a blessing for small businesses that had created a good online presence. Other businesses have had to learn the hard way and especially if they put little effort in their online presence. Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce website builder platform when it comes to small businesses. Read on to learn how it can help small business owners survive and thrive in today's environment.
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What Is Shopify?
Shopify is a subscription to a software service which offers small business owners a platform to create a website and use their shopping cart to sell, ship and manage their products. To start, you are required to create an account and then set up your online shop. It only takes minutes to set up and provides you with a payment solution so you can collect your money. This means that you can sell your product to the global market without having to limit yourself to a specific geographic area. Through Shopify, a lot of businesses have been able to gain global exposure and increase their sales, and all of the statics point to this continuing to move in this direction.
How Can Small Businesses Use Shopify To Grow?
Since most businesses have opted to do business online after the pandemic, the competitions between the many digital businesses have gotten tighter. Many vendors are selling similar products, and hence, the consumers have a variety of options to choose from. This means that you need to employ strategies that will make your brand more attractive to consumers. When you start using Shopify, don’t think that your sales will automatically grow. You will still have to go through the tough part of any business, which is marketing your products. Just because many people are online during this pandemic doesn’t automatically mean that they will buy your products. You have to learn how to effectively market your products on different social media platforms since potential customers can connect Shopify to various social media platforms. Below are some of the techniques small businesses can use to harness the power of Shopify.
Doing Your Research
For you to have a profitable business online, you need to do a lot of research, data collection and analysis. Fortunately, Shopify gives small business owners access to reporting features which allows you to see how customers interact with your page. Through the reports, you can do analysis and understand how your customers are behaving. Understanding what your target market is and how it behaves is crucial for any business because it allows you to know how best you can improve your services to keep the customers interested in your product.
Take some time to go through your site, and check for problem areas. Is there anything that is limiting the ease of navigation? Are all features working well? After you identify the problem area, proceed to write down the problem and then turn to analytics to confirm the problem areas and concerns. If there is anything that is preventing your visitors from buying, you need to address it as soon as possible. Also, check to see whether everything you put on the page is relevant to your target market. People will only buy what they relate to. If you have any irrelevant thing on your page, get rid of it.
Shopify also has a avery robust learning path for new store owners with a wide variety of resources directly available for you to help you with every stage of your journey.
Product Landing Pages
When customers enter a digital store, the first place they normally see is your product landing page. Since many vendors will offer the same product as you, you need to know how to make your brand stand out more. As a small business owner on Shopify, you need to be strategic on what you put on your product landing page as this will help determine whether or not clients buys from you. One technique to use is to include testimonials and reviews on your landing page. Ask your customers to submit testimonials about your product or service after they have purchased. When potential clients see that you have many positive reviews, they may want to purchase from you. Use the testimonials on your shopping store to increase the numbers. All of this is made very simple with the simple to use interface and easily available add ons.
Also, when you can, make use of the power of digital media. Digital media helps to close the gap between shoppers and online stores, in that it creates the same experience of what an actual shopping is. For your customers to know more about your product, you need to make use of visuals when it comes to marketing your products. Make use of videos and photos to create a better experience for potential clients. Ensure that your products are of the same quality you portray on your videos and enlist the help of an e-commerce professional when you can to help you see greater and quicker success.
Why Is Shopify A Good Option For Small Business?
Easy To Setup And Manage
Shopify is a no-fuss platform since it doesn’t require a lot of technicalities. It is easy to set up and manage. It, therefore, works for most small business owners who are trying to start online businesses. There are no technicalities when it comes to the development and hosting of the online store. Shopify provides the software and hosting that is required to launch the website. It also handles the security, software updates, and runs the servers, something many business owners wouldn’t want to handle on their own. Also, with the increased rate of cybersecurity crimes, it is good to have someone who understands the ins and outs of security. Shopify deals with all these issues to ensure that businesses can run with minimal complications. When it comes to payment, Shopify provides you with tools to access electronic payments, which has made things easier during this time.
One of the things that most physical business locations appreciate about the Shopify Platform, outside of the simplicity of its use, is that it has a robust library of integrations, especially a stores Point Of Sale platform. Shopify also has a native option called Shopify POS. It allows you directly integrate into the Shopify platform which gives you time saving benefits such as inventory control, multi-location management and pricing synchronization, while also giving you the flexibility to treat each sales channel differently. So if you want to offer a different price for your instore purchases, or offer a product only on your ecommerce store you are able to do that from one platform.
Low Cost Of Entry
Small business owners can access Shopify because the entry rates are low, as compared to other options. As much as there are many low-cost e-commerce platforms, you will find that most of these platforms usually have hidden costs which, when summed up, end up being expensive on the side of the business owner. Shopify is different because it provides you with high-quality services at a reasonable cost. You don’t have to worry about security issues, backups, redundancy, server updates and compliance if you have signed up with Shopify because they ensure that they deal with all these issues without placing too much burden on the business owners. Also, Shopify doesn’t require long term contracts or really any commitments of any kind. They don't even charge a fee to get started. That mixed with our simple store setup package let's you get online for much cheaper than you would imagine.
Visually Appealing With Over 70 Official Themes
Shopify has a variety of professional templates which allow the creation of unique and attractive online stores. It will come with a minimum theme and enables designers and developers to customize and create a store with exceptional UX. You can even customize the appearance to fit your needs and goals. Customers will also be attracted to a visually appealing store. When it comes to sales, remember that it all goes down to your brand. What does your brand say about you? Shopify allows businesses to create their brand. It also provides powerful marketing tools such as custom gift cards, email marketing and store statistics.
User Friendly for You and Your Customers
Since the numbers of mobile shoppers are increasing over time, and especially during this pandemic, e-commerce stores have to ensure that potential customers can navigate online shopping platforms with ease. Shopify has managed to work on the mobile responsiveness to ensure that online shoppers can easily use the site without having issues. The Shopify mobile responsive themes are even free on Android and iPhone apps, making it affordable for businesses. Besides, Shopify has also invested in reliable infrastructure along with optimized software and hardware. This enables the platform to have a breakneck loading speed which allows the content to load within seconds. Customers can easily navigate your site and find whatever it is they need within a few minutes.
Great Customer Support
When you choose Shopify, you can sell your products at any time without having to worry about losing customers. The sellers are also provided with round the clock support through email, live chat and phone. This means that in case you encounter any problem, you can quickly get help and proceed with the operations. New business owners are also provided with resources and online documentation to help them know how to use the Shopify platform to grow their business. Shopify comes with various tools which are helpful to every business owner. Such tools include calculators, which are offered for free.
Built-In Support To Sell On Social Media, Amazon, Walmart, and many other sales channels
One of the least understood tools by many Shopify newbies is the ability to create multiple sales channels for your products off of one platform. While managing your store only, you have the ability to list your product on multiple marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and others allowing you to access millions of potential customers. You also can easily tie into other sales channels you control such as your social media channels as well. All of this while still only managing your inventory, products, and pricing on the Shopify platform.
Once your store has been set up, it is always good to ensure that it is search engine friendly. When your business is SEO friendly, it means that potential customers can easily find it when they search for products online. This should be the aim of any business, and mainly if you aim to grow your brand and improve sales. New SEO strategies are coming up every so often, and hence, business owners need to be fast to implement them. SEO is also essential to ensure that the website is easily accessible by potential shoppers who are searching for similar products. Shopify frequently improves the design landing pages for the campaigns, something which other E-commerce platforms rarely do. Therefore, you can benefit from great landing pages and attract more customers . It also supports SEO parameters such as meta tags and custom title tags.
Reporting and Tax Time
Getting reports from your sales channels can be extremely time consuming and also difficult when your data is listed in multiple places and the systems are not set up to share the information that is required to get things live. This becomes important during the year when you are trying to make decisions about your business but especially during tax time when you need to make sure that you have a complete and solid record of the sales, taxes, and cost of running your business operation.
The other reason to choose Shopify for your online business is that it strives to update and improve its services, by making use of innovations and cutting edge technology that other e-commerce platforms are yet to employ. With Shopify, you are assured that you will still be at the top of your game even when new ways of shopping are rolled out in the future. An e-commerce platform that values innovation is what you need.
During this pandemic, you need to increase your online presence if you want your business to continue operating. Many online vendors are competing for the same clients as you. Getting a store setup on Shopify is a very simple way to not only get your store online quickly and efficiently but make it so that in the long term you have the ability to easily manage and grow your store without worrying about the technology that you are building it on and the headache that can come with achieving success in that arena.
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