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Why Shopify?

Whose brand do you want to build?

That is an essential question that many sellers don't think about, many just think about where and how they can sell items quickly. It's true that you can sell items quickly on eBay and Amazon but whose brand are you building? Will buyers remember that they bought from you or just that they got it from eBay or Amazon? If your account gets suspended for some infraction will your buyers follow you to a new platform? No, as long as you sell on someone else's site you're building their brand, not yours. In the long run, your business will be dependent on the decisions of faceless mega-corporations who view individual sellers as entirely expendable. Small changes to search algorithms or feedback and shipping policies can and have ruined many small businesses. The task of building your own secure, professional, and unique eCommerce storefront may seem daunting but is necessary for long-term success.

Building Your Own eCommerce Store Front From Scratch

Many sellers are discouraged from building their own sites because of the amount of time and money required to get one up and running. Building your own eCommerce site is no small task. Here are just a few of things that have to be done:

  • Website Design. Building an attractive modern website from scratch is not an easy task and is virtually impossible for someone without any technical expertise. Outsourcing the design portion can easily cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. An ugly or amateurish looking design will turn off buyers and plummet conversion rates.

  • Website Functionality. Beyond the design component, there is the need for functionality. More than likely you'll want some added features like user profiles, product reviews, wishlist, and email integration. Unless you're a computer programmer or know someone who is then this is an added cost as well. A functional stable website is essential to build trust with your buyers. On top of all of that, you'll need to know what type of hosting is best for your site and how to monitor its performance.

  • Website Security. With your own site, you're also responsible for keeping your customers' information secure from hackers and spammers. Even large corporations have had problems keeping up with technology and have had to deal with bad publicity from insufficient security.

  • Credit Card and Cart Integration. In addition, you must find a reliable and cost-efficient payment gateway to allow you to accept credit cards. Last but not least you'll need to find a web cart solution that can integrate seamlessly with everything else that has been designed.

With so many things to worry about it is easy to see why many small businesses never get their sites up and running but there is another way.

Building Your Own eCommerce Store Front With Shopify

Shopify's platform takes away many of the headaches that come with building your own eCommerce storefront. Building your own site from scratch is fine if you have the resources and a team to do it, most of us don't have that luxury. Here's how Shopify simplifies matters:

  • Website Design. Shopify offers over 25 free themes to choose from and many more premium themes that cover almost any niche possible. Each theme is very flexible without the need for any technical know-how or coding. Backgrounds, colors, logos, and fonts can all be changed without entering a line of code. This ensures that you don't end up with a cookie cutter website or need to spend hundreds of dollars tweaking your website.  Shopify also has a healthy community of designers that are willing to customize themes and add functionality for less than you may think.

  • Website Functionality. Shopify stores have all the functionality needed to get a store up and running in minutes. That functionality can also be extended through free and subscription-based apps. Hundreds of apps are available for things like exit pop-ups, digital products, email integration, loyalty programs, and product reviews. Developers are constantly working with the Shopify API to make sure has the most features of any e-commerce platform.

  • Website Security. All websites powered by Shopify are PCI compliant. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is an information security standard for organizations that handle credit card and debit card information. Defined by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, the standard was created to increase controls around credit card data to cut credit card fraud via its exposure. Shopify also supports SSL certificate technology which encrypts user data and provides a secure shopping experience.

  • Credit Card and Cart Integration. Shopify stores come with their own payment processing called Shopify Payments which allows buyers to purchase using their credit cards directly. Sellers then have their payments distributed to them once a month to their bank. Sellers can also choose to use to use PayPal or their own credit card payment gateway but will pay an extra transaction fee of up to 2%. Every storefront is automatically integrated with Shopify's web cart, Shopify apps can also extend the functionality of the cart to add desired features.

As you can see Shopify is a great solution for small sellers who want to build their own brand online. Instead of paying thousands of dollars for a custom-built site you can get the same functionality and design for a fraction of the price with Shopify Stores.

Shopify Stores and Social Media

The internet was abuzz when three of the biggest social media outlets decided to allow companies to sell directly on their sites. Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook have all made the move to allow buy buttons on their sites. This move was likely made to boost advertising revenue and discourage affiliate marketing and spam. Shopify has taken full advantage of this feature allows you to integrate your store with your social media accounts. Imagine selling from a store directly in your Facebook fan page! Or customers being able to purchase your items directly from a Pinterest Pin or Retweet! It is possible and very easy to set up.

Unlimited Items and Bandwidth

Even with a basic plan, Shopify stores will not put a limit on how many items can be in your store or the amount of bandwidth that your store can use. Some other e-commerce platforms cap your bandwidth and make you pay an upgrade fee once a certain limit is passed. This can be an unexpected expense right when the business is starting to grow. The more people visit your site the more bandwidth is used. If your site is image intensive (as many e-commerce sites are) that also puts that more strain on the bandwidth. One gigabyte may sound like a tremendous amount but if you have a popular site you can easily exceed that. With Shopify, you don't have to worry about that technical aspect at all.

The Shopify Dashboard and Ease of Use

Simplicity is important at Shopify and nowhere is that more apparent than with the Shopify dashboard. All the settings for your Shopify store are clearly laid out and easy to find. For new store owners, there is even a sort of checklist of things to do to get the store up and running. While it is a powerful system it is still easy to use and intuitive for beginners. You can easily get a new site completed and ready to take orders in a few hours. That includes uploading products and writing descriptions, the system really is that easy.

Now Is The Time

The e-commerce market is still growing at an incredible rate. More people shopped online in 2015 than ever before. In the USA online sales topped $300 Billion for the first time ever. Now is the time to build your brand for the future. With the Shopify platform, you don't need massive resources or know how just the desire to work hard and a vision. Get your store up and running today.

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