You discover a lot during a nationwide lockdown. Zoom meetings are requested on mornings you haven’t tamed your mane. Bottles evaporate in beer fridges the same way socks vanish in washing machines. Rude drawings will always appear on a work-from-home whiteboard when there are boys in the house.

Kiwi business owners finding their way during the ‘not-normal, new normal’ are doing a lot of rapid adapting right now. Not only to achieve work-life-family balance when worlds collide, but also to stay visible, relevant and in service to housebound customers.

The lockdown highlights the importance of being online for every business – but particularly for retailers. When foot traffic comes to a screeching halt, brick-and-mortar stores don’t drive sales. Online stores – in a space that never sleeps – do.

Most retailers know they need to get online, but worry about the cost, the learning curve, and another priority being stacked on their To Do list.

In our agency, we help a lot of ecommerce newbies add this string to their sales bow, and while some retailers require complex custom builds to meet their needs, this is the exception rather than the rule.

Like most things in life, the sweet spot is where simplicity meets efficiency – and that sweet spot for retailers is Shopify.

Designed for eCommerce

Designed specifically for retail, Shopify puts sales front and centre to keep things simple. Unlike other options, this platform does one thing – and it does it incredibly well. Its’ sole retail focus means every element of Shopify’s offering is packaged neatly to support even the most reluctant users. Shopify

Ease of Use

One of the best things about Shopify is that it’s super intuitive – which means it’s easy for retailers (and customers!) to use. The behind-the-scenes ‘dashboard’ is simple to navigate, and loading products, photos and descriptions is technophobe-proof.

To retailers worried the wrong click of a button will result in their store being permanently deleted; you are not Kim Kardashian, and you will not break the internet.

Marketing & Business Integration

Want your email marketing and accounting software to ‘talk to’ your online store? Shopify makes light work of that too – integrating seamlessly with popular marketing and business platforms such as:

  • Facebook
  • ActiveCampaign
  • Klaviyo
  • Google Shopping
  • Xero
  • Quickbooks

Brains and Beauty

Like a physical shop, appearances matter. No one wants to browse a brick-and-mortar store that’s cluttered, dusty and dreary. The same applies to the online shopping experience – which is why Shopify offers dozens of beautifully designed native themes to choose from, all of which can be easily customised to your brand style.

Not only are Shopify themes aesthetically appealing, they’re also mobile responsive to ensure customers can shop with you whatever device they’re using.

Seamless Stock Management

Shopify makes it easy to manage stock and track inventory. Retailers with a physical store can also integrate their online shop with in-store point of sale hardware such as Vend – ensuring their real-world and online sales ‘speak to each other’ to avoid double-handling.

Rich Functionality

Though Shopify is designed for simplicity and comes with all the functionality you need straight out of the box, retailers have the option to level up these features with free and premium apps from the in-built app store. Want to answer customer questions from your smartphone while you’re away from your desk? There’s an app for that.

There are also apps to help you…

  • Send automated emails to customers who abandoned items to their cart
  • Create a loyalty programme to reward your customers
  • Allow customers to add items to a wishlist
  • Collect product reviews to build trust
  • Translate your entire store to sell to global customers
  • Streamline your shipping and delivery process

You can add as little or as much as you want. The key thing here is that Shopify does the hard work for you, without the expense or downtime of custom coding.

Risk Free

Shopify has always offered new users the option to website a website and trial the service risk-free. Right now, they’re extending their free trial period to a whopping 90 days – giving businesses in lockdown the chance to build an online store and start selling essential items now, and non-essentials once lockdown rules have been loosened.

If you’ve been considering online sales, there’s never been a better time to take the plunge!