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Shopify Promises Big Reach for Small Sellers

Shopify Promises Big Reach for Small Sellers

Shopify has been enjoying a period of rapid growth as it aspires to become what an executive has described as the “world’s first retail operating system.”

But it’s not outgrowing the small sellers that have made it one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in the world.

“Micro-sellers, solopreneurs, SMBs — however you choose to refer to them — they are the foundation of Shopify,” explained Lola Oyelayo-Pearson, Shopify’s director of UX.

“Shopify was built as a scalable retail operating system for merchants, which means early entrepreneurs — or those that decide to stay small — have access to the same game-changing technology that empowers commerce for some of the world’s most-recognized brands,” Oyelayo-Pearson said in an email interview.

Indeed, the fundamental premise of Shopify is a low barrier for entry for small sellers, while offering the premium Shopify Plus service that handles ecommerce for major brands like Heinz, Staples and Molson Coors.

Basic plans with Shopify start at $29 a month, which buys a website and online store, unlimited product listings and multichannel sales options so sellers can reach customers on an array of online marketplaces and social networks. Shopify then offers two more robust plans, at $79 and $299 a month, as well as its enterprise-level Shopify Plus option.

For small and large sellers alike, Oyelayo-Pearson says that the company has been working hard on improving “discoverability,” aiming to deliver what she calls “multichannel commerce out of the box.”

A major part of that effort involves connecting sellers with buyers on social sites, and the company is planning to expand its partnership with TikTok in multiple regions of the world this year.

“Finding customers is a longtime pain point for merchants,” Oyelayo-Pearson said, noting the company’s partnerships with Facebook, Google, Pinterest and others “to empower our merchants to tap into the world’s largest audiences.”

“The ability to develop a direct relationship with customers is the superpower of Shopify merchants, but a business isn’t built with a single channel,” she said. “So it’s important that we enable our merchants to be wherever their customers are.”

Shopify is also planning this year to roll out Balance, its finance services tool that will offer banking, credit and a rewards program for merchants. The company is currently adding names to a waiting list for the service.

Oyelayo-Pearson did not directly address speculation that Shopify might launch its own marketplace, bringing it into full competition with the likes of Amazon.

“We believe merchants should have direct relationships with their customers, and everything we do is in pursuit of enabling that,” she said in response to a question about whether the company is thinking about its own marketplace. A company spokesman declined to comment further.

But one thing that won’t change about Shopify is its embrace of small sellers, Oyelayo-Pearson insists.

“Shopify operates on the premise that the world is better off with more entrepreneurs,” she said. “So we’ve built a platform that is accessible to business owners with varying levels of experience, without sacrificing the capabilities that are usually only afforded to enterprise brands.”

Kenneth Corbin on Linkedin
Kenneth Corbin
Kenneth Corbin
Kenneth Corbin is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He has written on politics, technology and other subjects since 2007, most recently as the Washington correspondent for InternetNews.com, covering Congress, the White House, the FCC and other regulatory affairs. He can be found on LinkedIn.

6 thoughts on “Shopify Promises Big Reach for Small Sellers”

  1. Shopify = DON’T BOTHER.
    It’s a Ruse.
    “Solopreneurs” are under attack .

    Ebay screwed us, Etsy screwed us, and Shopify is setting us up for a Royal Screwing.

    The only way to beat this Giant Money Sucking Machine is to :
    A) Have your own website with Search Engine Optimization YOU develop, Shopping cart YOU choose,
    and Payment Gateway YOU choose, or
    B) Get to work in the Private sector, ie. a Desk Job at an Amazon center, etc, or, in my case, go back to landscaping…….

    The Penalty for the mass commandeering of OUR selling options will have sobering consequences for the perpetrators.

    Google is fast becoming the “Mall Entrance”. Unique items with excellent feedback will be on or next to the Front Page of your search.
    By the Way, there WILL be a penalty for hiding our sites. A HUGE penalty.
    Rotating first page entries will be the norm. Customer satisfaction will be the deciding factor as to who gets top billing.
    “Solopreneurs” will have our own section / tab on the Google entry page.
    Corporate entries will be in a separate category / tab of search.

    Right now, Google is eating Etsy, Ebay, and Amazon’s lunch.
    Google needs to step up and AMERICANIZE the entire US shopping experience.
    A) Don’t try to take over our businesses. That’s a HUGE red flag for the government watchdogs.
    B) Refrain from raising our cost of doing business. Ever. 3% is the sweet spot. The difference between making it worth it for us or not.

    The temptation to snag as much of OUR MONEY (23% / Etsy… YES IT’s TRUE) as possible is poisoning the eTail landscape.

    Right now, put a hold on your selling activity until the money sucking leaches have been neutralized.

    As for the “It’s their sandbox, play it their way” bullsh*t, I’m here to tell you, LEGALLY, when they invite the public in to set up shop, it is NO LONGER “their” sandbox.
    That whole notion flies out the window.
    In effect, when they arrive, they take a BIG SH*T in that sandbox, WHILE WE’RE IN IT.
    They Will be put in their place.
    Takes a minute to build a case.

  2. Great reply and as someone who has used shopify for a few years now it really is shocking how they first dropped the customer call centre and now when my store has bugs which it has currently they just give same useless reply oh we done a test order everything is fine, demand for technical support not a customer service agent week now and they refuse, its sad now its owned by share holders they don’t care.

  3. @The End

    Thanks for the shopify feedback.
    Well written, especially the last ANALogy. : )

    Personal Question.

    How much computer exp. would you think I should have to not use places like Big Commerce, Wix, Square etc.?
    I fear that eventually these ‘new wave’ of commerce sites ( different style of venues) will eventually revert to the games of ebay, etsy ,amazon.

    Those a-holes have been treating ‘the business’ more as a promotional site rather than a platform in which to grow businesses. Too many gimmicks, scams, thievery, and favoritism to stymie real progress.

    Selling has been on hold since Nov. ’20.
    Just cant seem to find a better place…

  4. Hi postbuster,
    I am completely self taught in making a website using a popular web creation software.
    Google the options…..pick one……look it up on YouTube to see what’s what….
    Remember : It’s O.K. to experiment your way through the software….it won’t blow up :o)
    Study different options for your Shopping Cart. An HTML cart is nice. Go to “YouTube University” to study all things relevant to putting a cart on your site and then choose your payment gateway…Stripe is Easy Peasy…….
    Every night, and maybe daytime too, nice quiet study….take notes…..create a glossary of terms or definitions of various words you don’t know….get familiar with things…..
    I always say : Homework doesn’t stop when you get out of school, it’s an ongoing thing
    You’ll need a Web Host, your .com domain name, and an SSL certificate the host installs for you.
    All of the up front cost will be under $1,000. Now that NO ONE is taking any money from us, it should pay for itself in a while.
    You MUST research Search Engine Optimization.
    Type keywords or phrases for Your Product(s) into the browser search window and see what’s on page one. Then, right click on a site’s home page (View page source) to see what words they use in the Title Line, the Description line, and the Meta-tag line. And see how many times they use that word or combination of words on that page.
    I could go on but I’d have to bill you :o)
    Make it Fun above all else.

  5. wow I read the article thinking something good must be happening over there (ever the optimist) then I read the comments and had my reality check. I have no problems with Big Commerce but let’s face it – if you don’t have some whopper advertising slush fund – well I’m happy if it pays for itself. I call it storage. But realistically I’m happy to have all my work saved somewhere besides ebay.

  6. Thanks The End.

    It’s encouraging to know that if/when I apply myself, it is possible to make my own site.
    Your last statement is key!

    Your advice is very helpful in pointing me in the right direction.
    So glad to hear that you were able to break free from etsy’s fee gouging scheme. It encourages all of us that we do not have to live in any Big Commerce Dictatorship.

    Like you, I also work first, aside of doing online selling. It’s always good to have some kind of backup when venturing into selling online (or even an expensive hobby).
    It often makes me wonder how far our businesses would have gone without Corporate Cheating and Stealing from the very Providers for their platforms.
    If they have suits, and ties, with nice cars, they are more than likely Parasites.
    Kicking around boot lickers to do even more dirty work, all of them have been poison to our economy.

    I could go on, but I have to sit on my toilet to ‘Fire’ more executives and shareholders.

    Thanks again!

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