Shopify is perhaps the best known ecommerce company in the world. Based in Ottaway, Ontario, Canada, they develop retail point of sale systems and computer software for online stores. Founded in 2004, it was based on software that was written specifically for the snowboard online store that its owners used to run. Today, some 275,000 shops use Shopify, and they exceed $10 billion in gross merchandise volume.
History of Shopify
Scott Lake, Daniel Weinand, and Tobia Lutke founded Shopify after trying to open Snowdevil, through which they sold snowboarding equipment online. They could not find an ecommerce product that they liked, so Lutke, who is a computer programmer, created a unique one. To achieve this, he used Ruby on the Rails, launching it two months later. In June 2006, the Snowdevil founders launched it as Shopify.
Three years later, Shopify launched the App Store and the API Platform. The latter enables developers to create apps and sell them on the App Store. There are many large companies who have created apps that can be integrated.
A free Shopify mobile app was launched on the Apple App Store in 2010. This enabled Shopify clients to manage their stores using mobile devices. They also started a Build-A-Business competition to encourage more people to use their platform. Those who won the competition received mentorship and cash prizes. Some of the mentors who signed up with Shopify include Eric Ries and Richard Branson.
In 2012, Shopify started its acquisition strategy, purchasing Select Start Studios Inc. in February of that year. They kept on 20 of the designer and engineers already employed by the mobile software developer. The following year, in August, they acquired Jet Cooper, a Toronto design studio with 25 employees.
That same year, Shopify launched Shopify Payments. This enabled customers to accept credit card payments without having to sign up to a third party gateway. Additionally, they launched the POS system that was fully iPad centric. This means that iPads can now be used to accept credit card payments. Shopify received Series C funding with a value of $100 million in December 2013.
In 2014, it was reported that some 120,000 online retailers were hosted through Shopify. Canada’s Deloitte’s Fast50 listed the company in third place. They were also listed seventh in Deloitte’s Fast 500 of North America. The company reported $105 million in revenue earnings, which was twice as much as the year before.
The Shopify IPO was filed on April 14, 2015, on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. Their symbols are SH and SHOP respectively. On May 21, 2015, the company went public. When it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange, they opened at $28, which was 60% more than their offering price of $17. The IPO raised in excess of $131 million.
Amazon.com announced that they would close the Amazon Website in September 2015, no longer servicing merchants. They stated that Shopify was the best provider to migrate to for those who had a webstore. Instantly, there was a 20% rise in Shopify share value.
From the moment Shopify launched, tech people loved it. CNET, for instance, has called it easy to use, simple and clean. It had also had mentions in publications, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Post, The Vancouver Sun, Mashable, and TechCrunch.
Featured on the Most Innovative Companies of 2012 list by Fast Company and on the Distributor 50 List of CNBC in 2013, the company seems to be going from strength to strength. Tobia Lutke, the CEO of Shopify, won the 2014 CEO of the Year from The Globe and Mail.
Shopify offers an all in one ecommerce website builder solution.
Features of Shopify
Shopify is known for a range of different features. The first is their Storefront, which include:
- Hundreds of professional themes
- Full mobile commerce readiness
- The ability to work with Shopify Experts to create a customized site
- Access to a full blogging platform
- The ability to edit CSS and HTML
- The opportunity to customize and brand an online store
- The availability of a personal domain name
- A completely web-based website builder, which means no software has to be installed
Another strength of Shopify is its shopping cart. Features include:
- A free SSL certificate for added security
- The ability to accept credit card payments directly through Shopify
- Over 70 different payment gateways to access
- The opportunity to offer free shipping methods
- Checkout availability in over 50 different languages, as well as the option to translate the theme in its entirety.
- Carrier shipping rates set automatically for carriers such as FedEx, USPS, and UPS
- Recovery of abandoned shopping carts
- Ability to set flexible shipping rates
- Automatic taxes based on country and state
Shopify also provides store management options, which include such things as:
- Customer profiles
- Customer accounts
- Customer groups
- Fulfillment centers
- Order fulfillment
- Dropshipping opportunities
- Processing of refunds
- The ability to manage the store on the go through Shopify Mobile
- A range of email templates that can be fully customized
Shopify also offers a range of marketing and SEO functions. Features include:
- Full search engine optimized templates
- A generated sitemap.xml
- Discount coupons and codes
- Gift cards
- Full social media integration
- Google Adwords credits
- Product reviews
- Email marketing
- The ability to sell on Facebook
Next, there is a focus on products, for which Shopify has a number of excellent features available, including:
- Inventory management
- Product variations
- Product organization
- Multiple images
- SEO product tags
- Digital products
- Import and export
- Unlimited products
Shopify also offers web hosting with the following features:
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Daily backups
- Email forwarding
- Full level 1 PCI compliancy
- SSL certificate
- Instant upgrades
- 24/7 monitoring
- 99% uptime
To help people manage their stores properly, they also offer analytics. This has a number of specific features, including:
- An easy to use dashboard
- Product reports
- The ability to export reports
- Full Google analytics
- Traffic and referral reports
Shopify Mobile is the latest addition to Shopify and that has some fantastic features as well, including:
- Order fulfillment
- A full mobile dashboard
- The ability to manage inventory
- The opportunity to call or email customers
- The ability to have all data synced with Shopify
Lastly, Shopify offers 24/7 support, which includes:
- A dedicated support team
- The Shopify Help Center where almost all questions are answered
- Access to Shopify Experts who can help design, develop, and market the online store