Five years ago I wrote about the Canadian company Shopify as an up-and-coming option for stores wanting to build an online shopping presence. The firm was already ten years old at that time (which, as I pointed out, was a ripe old age for a tech startup). But in the past five years it has continued to grow impressively from 100,000 businesses to 500,000. According to an article by Danny Vena for The Motley Fool, “The company is expanding its international operations, providing a host of tools for the unique needs of enterprise-level merchants, and providing software solutions to cater to both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce businesses.”

One of these new tools will be building its own fulfillment centers, which will be warehouses ready to store and shop merchandise for select merchants. This system will allow Shopify to compete with Amazon in speed of fulfillment, and some say that the investment in this new system will actually give Amazon a run for its money.

It’s not likely that the Shopify Fulfillment Network will be an option for the thousands of small retailers using Shopify. For them the platform provides a way to enter the e-commerce market fairly easily. Setting up an online store can in fact be done in less than 15 minutes, according to this video by Ecommerce Platforms (plus the 19 minutes it takes to watch the video, of course).

Shopify provides a range of themes for the design of the shop, some of which are free. Once you’ve added your products, customers can purchase them via Shopify’s secure online shopping cart. (In addition to a $30 to $300 monthly fee, Shopify makes money each transaction’s credit card processing fee.) Retailers in most cases need to fulfill the orders placed via Shopify, although a subsidiary called Oberlo offers drop shipping of certain products.

You have probably visited Shopify-connected stores online without even realizing it, because the platform allows for a great deal of customization. Check out the BePreview (opens in a new tab)eketing’s Top 25+ Best Shopify Stores article online for inspiration, and chat with fellow merchants to find out what the pluses and minuses are of using this platform. And before deciding whether Shopify is best for you, check out other options such as Wix and Weebly. Both of these are listed, along with Shopify, as the best ecommerce platforms for local brick and mortar in an article by ecommerceCEO.

Happy Retailing,
Carol “Orange” Schroeder