Shopify is quickly becoming one of the biggest e-commerce platforms in the world. The Canadian company, headquartered in the nation’s capital of Ottawa, processed over $5B in sales last quarter. This is second only to Amazon’s retail sales, outside of the Chinese market. According to Datanyze, Shopify’s technology currently captures nearly 11% of the market share.
Founded in 2004, the company now has over 500,000 merchants using the platform to sell their goods. In May of 2015, Shopify was listed publically and has reached a $10B market cap. The platform is used primarily in English-speaking markets, with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US making up the largest segments of their customer base.
What Shopify offers their customers
Most of the merchants on Shopify are small retailers operating businesses with under 10 employees. The platform provides them with an easy way to power online sales, including everything from their online storefront, to marketing efforts, to inventory tracking, billing management, shipping logistics, and more.
As soon as a merchant signs up for Shopify online, they are able to go through the fully automated sales and onboarding process directly, helping them get set up and started in one sitting. The platform offers a 14-day free trial upon sign up. Merchants can use Shopify to grow their business and Shopify’s various offerings makes it easy for them to continue using the platform as they scale up. As well, the company’s blog and numerous resources provide merchants with a (free!) wealth of knowledge to help them make better business decisions.
Shopify Lite is geared towards businesses that are just starting out, selling on social media channels, in person, or through an existing website. There are various price points for Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify services as well, allowing merchants to make use of the types of features that best suit their particular needs.
The company also caters to larger businesses through its Shopify Plus offering. Focused on high volume merchants, Shopify Plus is an enterprise-grade solution that can be customized through its application program interface (API). Enterprise sales and onboarding teams in Waterloo, Canada serve the more than 2,000 large companies, which include the likes of Tesla, Death Wish Coffee, 100% Pure, and more, that use Shopify Plus.
Opportunities for SaaS businesses
Shopify’s research and development efforts focus on meeting the needs of their customers by addressing features and functionality within the platform itself. About 80% of merchant needs are met through the platform’s internal design and functionality, with the other 20% of features being offered through third-party vendor solutions.
The company partners with over 1,500 application vendors through the Shopify app store to provide marketing automation, customer engagement, shipping and logistics, and unified communications solutions, without having to build these internally.
Software as a Service (SaaS) vendors can update their offerings to fit into Shopify’s rapidly expanding marketplace. In fact, some Wesley Clover and Alacrity Canada companies have already begun working with the Shopify platform to meet existing customer needs.
Focusing on growth
Growth is a critical aspect of any business and finding ways to get more consumer eyes on a particular brand is an important part of a company’s trajectory.
Referral SaaSquatch offers referral programs to help businesses grow their customer base. Referral marketing is one of the best ways to increase a brand’s reach and SaaSquatch’s versatile platform focuses on helping companies expand quickly through referrals from existing users.
Similarly, CreatorDen is another growth tool that’s designed for social media and influencer marketing programs. It can be used to amplify the reach of a brand sold through a Shopify-powered online store. By combining marketing efforts with the potential range of influencers, companies and brands using these platforms can increase their exposure and, ultimately, their sales.
Focusing on engagement
Another important aspect of a growing business comes in the form of customer engagement. Providing more ways for customers to connect and communicate with a brand can boost loyalty and provide valuable feedback to further a product’s development.
Pisano provides a way for businesses to collect feedback from various channels, analyze that feedback, and transform it into information that drives actionable decision-making. Pisano also makes it possible to engage with customers in real time.
Talkative is another engagement tool that enables Shopify-powered brands to provide voice, video, chat, and cobrowsing support to potential or existing customers. Whether it’s used to provide answers and extra resources during the sales process or to provide ongoing support once a deal is done, Talkative can help brands quickly transform their engagement into a personalized customer service experience.
A valuable ecommerce platform
The value Shopify presents to the current ecommerce space comes through its scalability. Shopify merchants are able to take advantage of the service’s various offerings to fit their business’ particular needs from start to finish. The option to begin with Shopify Lite can help even the smallest of businesses grow and the versatility of the platform will allow them to scale up without having to find, learn to use, or transfer data over to a new service. Shopify Plus provides solutions for enterprise-sized companies as well, empowering businesses of all sizes to expand.
Shopify’s increasing market share makes it an attractive partnering opportunity for SaaS businesses that focus on brand growth and customer engagement. By working together with other innovative tools and solutions, it’s no wonder that Shopify has quickly become the go-to ecommerce tool for many businesses, both big and small.