iZest

Stealth v. Simplicity.

The rise of Shopify for eCommerce.

2018 saw Shopify, the hosted eCommerce solution, really stake their claim to be a serious player on the provision of advanced online selling solutions for small to medium-sized businesses.

Our Managing Director, Alan McGovern, tells us why he thinks Shopify is the new way forward for online merchants of varying sizes.

Simplicity

Traditionally one of the biggest restrictions faced by SME’s when trading online has been the complexity of the systems they are using to manage their eCommerce websites.

Take Magento for example, a complex brute of a system. In my opinion, Magento should never be used for anything other than an enterprise client. It is costly to run, host and keep updated. Although improving, the User Management Interface is difficult to navigate and the integration of simple marketing tools and functionality can be onerous and costly.

On the plus side, it is true that when used effectively Magento can manage complex communication between large product files and warehouse management systems. However, you need deep pockets, programming expertise and robust hosting to make it hum.

The fact of the matter is that most online retailers in Ireland are not running large product files (In excess of 20,000 products) backed up by complex warehouse and inventory management systems. In actuality, most are running product files less than 5,000 SKU’s with relatively simple inventory and warehouse setups.

Throughout 2018 we saw a sizeable shift away from complex eCommerce systems like Magento. Systems like Shopify allow the merchant to focus on a slick user experience that encourages conversion while not having to worry about hosting, security and software updates.

I see big opportunities for Irish eCommerce merchants to tidy up their act by switching to hosted solutions like Shopify which will allow them to focus on using the already integrated marketing tools to build traffic and encourage conversions.

Shopify can easily handle semi-complex automated fulfilment processes that allows as much automation as you would require from a system like Magento.

Marketing

Shopify has an advanced suite of native marketing tools that means you can focus on increasing relevant traffic and conversions to your eCommerce site. To achieve the same level of functionality on a traditional platform would mean extra design, development and implementation costs.

For example, the following functionality is readily available to any Shopify merchant:

  • Discount and Promotion Module:

e.g. Discount Codes, Buy Y Get X Free, Spend X get 10% Off

  • Abandoned Cart Emails

With the ability to use the provided template or personalise the template. The reporting module allows you to see at an instant the conversion rate of your abandoned carts emails and compare to similar industry standards.

  • Facebook and Instagram Integration:

Shopify allows simple integration to Facebook Ad Manager and Instagram Shopping allowing you to sell your product file easily and in real time across multiple social channels.  

  • Google Shopping Integration

Google Shopping has been a curse to integrate to traditional eCommerce platforms. Shopify has teamed up with Google to make this integration easy and seamless, its free to install and Google bills your ad account similar to a PPC campaign.

  • Exit Intent and Conversion Tools:

Exit intent and personalised shopping experiences are the latest buzzwords in the eCommerce industry. Shopify has teamed up with several providers of such software and they all offer a plug and play solution for your Shopify store. What this means in reality for the user is that I can be shown a different set of products and pages than the person sitting beside me all depending on my search and purchase history. Personalised shopping is contributing significantly to increased conversion rates for online retailers that are engaging robustly with the new technology.

Software Security and Platform Updates

We see our customer’s faces light up when they hear that they will no longer have to deal with expensive unreliable hosting plans or tricky software version updates. Shopify includes the following as standard:

  1. All software updates and patches happen in the background without you even knowing.
  2. Security is second to none. If you get hacked it means Shopify have been hacked. The likelihood of this happening on a hosted solution such as this are much more minimal than a traditional hosting environment.
  3. Your website is instantly PCI compliant.
  4. Your SSL certificate is included.
  5. New modules are rolled out automatically.
Benefits of Shopify as an Ecommerce platform - izest Marketing

Design / UX

The user experience in Shopify tends to be very slick. We approach the design and build in the very same way that we would approach any eCommerce project. We wireframe out the UX and we design a bespoke look and feel for each client. The checkout experience is largely fixed with Shopify, meaning you can’t change much. But then again why would you want to change what has already been proven to increase conversions.

From a limitations point of view there are a few but generally, we are asking clients to adapt to these limitations and concentrate on marketing their products and fulfilling their orders with exemplary customer service.

For example, one limitation is that Northern Ireland is part of the UK and therefore UK shipping rates will apply to orders from Northern Ireland. There are messy workarounds but until Shopify allow us to adjust the boundaries of a country then we are stuck with this limitation. By no means a game breaker.

My faith in robust eCommerce solutions has been restored in recent months. There is now a solution that doesn’t choke the resources of SME’s and allows them to embrace the daunting world of trading online.

Check out these cool Shopify Stores

 

To talk to us about your eCommerce strategy and website development requirements call us on +353 1 685 4610 or email hi@izestmarketing.com