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A lot of people are shopping online and ecommerce is on an unstoppable trajectory across the globe. With around 100 000 stores, and a projected revenue of more than US$4-billion in merchandise this year, Shopify is changing the way small business differentiate themselves in the ecommerce space.
Speaking at the ecommerce conference in South Africa, Head of business for Shopify Brennan Loh put forward the idea that the future of online retail is not with big enterprises but the curators and creators.
Loh says that Shopify explores new technologies in retail from an international perspective to offer its customers the same benefits that big business has.
When you think about the future of online retail, he reckons the first thing to think about is how has ecommerce evolved.
“Consumers are expecting the same things from small businesses that enterprise competitors can give to them,” says Loh. “Consumers feel that small businesses should look and feel like enterprise stores.”
Most small businesses do not have the same budget as big business to do that. The opportunity then comes for platforms like Shopify to give small businesses opportunity that big enterprises have to build a platform that allows them to reach a bigger audience than before. A platform that allows craft retailers to showcase their products.
Always mobile first, seriously
Asking retail businesses to create a mobile strategy is becoming redundant. There is no need to ask anymore because consumers are using their mobile devices to access your stores. According to Loh, 50.3% of all ecommerce traffic to Shopify stores come from mobile devices. Around 40% of that traffic comes from smartphones and 10% tablet.
“Mobile spikes when people are going home from work and the weeks,” says Loh.
His advice is to go mobile first. That’s why all Shopify stores are responsive — it means consumers can experience the platform on any device.
He does, however, concede that “people are still not purchasing on mobile” because there is still not viable mobile payment gateway.
“We haven’t really been able to solve the mobile payment problem something that I hope Apple, Google and Paypal can sort out soon.”
Build up your social credibility
Social media has taken over most accepts of our lives so it stands to reason that it will affect our shopping habits as well. Loh says that Facebook represents 63% (23.3m users) traffic to Shopify stores and he says there are a number of orders coming through the platform. When it comes conversion of users to stories he says videos are great tool for ecommerece.
“Videos are great, because the consumers has actually spent some time with the product through a demo,” he says.
There is an enormous amount of potential with visual platforms for ecommerce players. Pinterest and Instagram represent great opportunity for creating a shoppable feed.
“Imagine if you could link a url to a selfie and an outfit in a photo?” Loh asks.
He reckons that building up social credibility is important when it comes to attract new customers and retaining old ones.
In this regard, he feels small businesses have the advantage of big businesses because they are more agile.
“There is more agility and freedom to adopt new ideas than bigger enterprises as the red tape is a stumbling block,” he argues.
“The future of retail belongs to creators and curators there is no longer a gap between big business and small business. The same tool exists for all.”
If you can collect and create then, you may well end up on top of the retail game.