“Making a profitable e-commerce store is hard work. I love the fact that Shopify clients help each other in our forums. I love the fact that everyone feels like we are in this together and that we all will succeed together.” – Scott Lake, co-Founder, Shopify.
In November and December of 2017, there was a $691.1 billion total in domestic retail sales, with $108 billion of that completed online. 2018 is poised to see an even greater share of consumer holiday spending drifting to the online marketplace. Knowing this, e-commerce brands must ensure their chosen platform is able to scale and handle increasingly higher volumes of holiday traffic and holiday shopping online. A failure to do so will prompt customers to quickly migrate to retailers who have geared up and partnered with a trusted platform.
Shopify Plus has emerged as a leading option for e-commerce businesses who desire an integrated, reliable, and most importantly, scalable e-commerce platform to manage all facets of the virtual marketplace world. It is an e-commerce platform tailored toward larger online brands/retail sites. It is ideally suited for growing companies, too, because it offers the customization and scalability businesses need to quickly pivot in terms of sales volume.
How Does Shopify Plus Support E-Commerce Brands?
The benefit of a hosted platform is the integration between software and server. This helps ensure maximum uptime and a fluid user experience. The brand is then responsible for website design, marketing, and management of the customer-facing elements of the business. Additionally, it helps brands eliminate site disruptions, makes customer management easier, provides automation tools, expands a brand’s reach to multiple channels, and keeps customer data truly secure.
Eliminates Disruptions Due to Sales Spikes
During the 2015 Super Bowl, Death Wish Coffee ran a 30-second ad; it actually won the ad slot after entering a contest through tech-giant Intuit. The small e-commerce coffee business had seven employees and averaged about 6,000 visitors to its site on an average Sunday.
Within moments of the ad spot, Death Wish Coffee had 150,000 visitors to its site and set itself up to do 350% more in revenue the following year. Without the proper supporting platform, an immediate spike in traffic such as this can result in site crashes, poor user experiences, and ultimately, lost revenue.
Death Wish Coffee is a Shopify Plus partner, which has allowed it to weather the highs and lows of website traffic, market fluctuations, and customer preferences – all while minimizing most of the normal hassles of maintaining a high-profile online presence.
If an e-commerce brand uses flash sales or other impulse-buying incentives, a platform like Shopify Plus is a must. Lesser e-commerce support systems can inadequately support.
Makes Customer Management and Order Fulfillment Easier
Customers never see the inner workings of an e-commerce platform. They simply expect it to work perfectly all the time – and if it doesn’t, they’re quick to abandon the shopping cart and leave the site altogether. Shopify Plus helps e-commerce businesses scale-up for the holiday shopping by integrating several important systems including:
- Inventory management
- Third-party logistics
- Product data/information management
- Order management systems
- Enterprise resource planning
- Warehouse management systems
An additional strength of Shopify Plus is that it partners with numerous digital marketing agencies that can help brands with their own unique creative, marketing, and development needs. Technology partners and various integration/customization resources are just a click away when Shopify Plus is employed.
Provides Tools for Seamless E-commerce Automation
When sales spikes hit, e-commerce brands often shift their focus away from the fundamentals of their online businesses and tend to hone in on one key piece – fulfilling orders. The basic problem with just maintaining a focus on order management is that important tasks, such as reviewing and implementing marketing ideas, assessing business analytics, organizing upcoming campaigns, and segmenting customer data, often take a backseat to simply keeping the operations afloat.
Shopify Plus automates basic tasks to eliminate missed opportunities and can add value by:
- Automating inventory ordering and overall management of goods
- Adjusting product visibility on a web page based on inventory levels/availability
- Organizing search results and enhancing merchandise presentation
- Handling customer notifications and correspondence
- Review or even cancel high-risk orders
The overriding benefit to Shopify Plus automation tools is that it removes the need for a human to make a decision. This alone can save thousands of hours and potentially millions of dollars for an enterprise-level organization.
Shopify Plus created a tool called Launchpad specifically designed to support e-commerce businesses that want to ensure smooth, trouble-free product launches, flash sales, or other website events. The tool uses data such as inventory levels, the number of unique site visitors at any given moment, and other important analytics to perfectly time sales and/or promotional events.
In 12 months, Launchpad has supported Shopify Plus businesses and helped them earn more than $1.5 billion in sales – all done on autopilot.
Helps Brands Reach Their Customers via Multiple Channels
Omnichannel marketing and sales activities can and generally do drive increased revenues versus sticking with one basic sales model. For example, brands that sell via website, social media, a third-party retailer (Amazon, eBay), direct-to-consumer, telemarketing, television sales, email marketing, and other channels are more likely to capture the attention of their target customer and close a sale.
Shopify Plus clients have the ability to sell across two dozen unique channels, all managed on the business side via an easy-to-use dashboard. Channel examples include:
Shopify Plus also supports brands by enabling seamless transitioning from e-commerce only to online and brick-and-mortar selling strategies. This scalability is attributable, in part, to the built-in Shopify Plus POS system that keeps all business-relevant systems linked up and working in perfect harmony; whether that includes sales being made 100% online, or through a combination of in-person retail/online transactions.
Keeps Customer and Brand Data Truly Secure
Yahoo, 3 billion. eBay, 145 million. Equifax, 143 million. Target, 70 million. Home Depot, 56 million. What do these figures represent? The number of individual records stolen by data hackers during large cybersecurity breaches over the past several years. With information security concerns front of mind, e-commerce brands must make online safety and security a priority. One data breach can dissuade shoppers from visiting an online store – and the odds they’ll ever return is slim.
Shopify Plus helps e-commerce retailers protect and safeguard crucial customer information by operating in full compliance with Level 1 PCI DSS – or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. PCI compliance improves the security standards of virtually any company that accepts electronic forms of payment – like credit or debit cards and mandates the business enacts stringent safeguards to minimize the likelihood of data breach concerns. Shopify Plus actively integrates PCI DSS in its hosted platform, allowing customers to shop with total confidence and retailers to operate responsibly.
One unique way that Shopify Plus works hard to thoroughly protect the customer is by using a series of safeguards throughout the buying process, not only at the checkout phase. Most e-commerce sites only encrypt customer information during the checkout process, leaving them vulnerable during the entire shopping experience.
Shopify Plus is Amazing, but What About Cost?
What do Audi, Kylie Cosmetics, General Electric, KSwiss, and Unilever have in common? They’re all enterprise-level examples of companies that have adopted Shopify Plus as their preferred, hosted e-commerce platform. These businesses are all quite different, yet they’ve individually identified Shopify Plus as a reliable, economical and innovative technological support piece to bolster their respective back ends.
The pricing structure of Shopify Plus is variable and depends on the volume of the business. The minimum monthly license fee is $2,000 and stays at that rate unless the e-commerce business achieves monthly sales of $800,000 or more. Increase that number to $1,000,000 a month and the fee goes to $2,500. The maximum license fee for Shopify Plus is $40,000 – but any e-commerce business realizing the $40k fee would be doing nearly $200 million a year in revenues.
There will always be startup costs involved in building out the site, but the two main areas of expense relate to the monthly licensing fee, as mentioned above, and any potential monthly payment processing costs. Payment processing refers to the charges levied on the e-commerce brand as a result of taking electronic payments online. Most purchases result in a small (10-20 cents) charge per transaction plus a percentage of the total ticket (1-2% is normal).
Shopify Plus permits merchants to use their own preferred processor, but there is a 0.15% fee if the brand decides to do so. Instead, retailers may opt to use Shopify Payments, an integrated payments system that is quite cost-effective and incredibly secure – thanks to the PCI DSS compliance built into the entire Shopify Plus platform.
Shopify Plus was created to scale, and considering today’s e-commerce sales trends, it can help nearly any business transition up and down the seasonal sales rollercoaster like a champ.