When comparing platforms, it’s easy to get tied up in knots. What’s going to work for you now, in the future, and what can scale? In the world of eCommerce, when it comes to comparing platforms, features only matter if they perform for the client.
A customer, when online shopping, cannot pick up a product and scrutinise it. They can’t feel the product or smell it, nor can they pick out the individual item they are going to receive in the post. They rely on the virtual experience, the whole experience, from online search to shopfront experience to end-product satisfaction. If one of the customer’s expectations aren’t met, the damage could have a snowball effect on the client in the form of irredeemable trust. That’s why getting a platform right is such a challenge, and one you ignore at your peril.
Shopify as an eCommerce platform
Regarding performance, what can we say around Shopify? What features do they offer their clientele, and do they work?
According to a Shopify ad, ‘over 1,000,000 businesses trust’ their platform, they offer you ‘beautiful themes’ without needing to be a graphic designer. You are offered total control over what your website looks like, and starting price per month is affordable for any start-up.
But do their business management features stack up to your company’s management and brand’s needs?
Under the magnifying glass
You’ll need to take a closer look at certain features, such as how you can manage customer communications, what retail fulfilment method options are available, their branding and packaging consistency, and how you can predict product volumes, to get an accurate gauge
Managing customer communications
Email templates are offered as a way to automate store communication, and you can download the Shopify app to run your business while you’re out and about, from communicating with customers to managing your store’s inventory and filling orders, all from your mobile.
Order fulfilment options
Shopify provides a convenient platform and order management system for clients with dropshipping businesses to set up a storefront and manage orders, especially through its mobile application services. But you can also use Shopify to sell your own inventory that you hold in stock.
When it comes to the question of which order fulfilment model is better for revenue, it should be noted that dropshipping someone else’s products can be successful, but it’s often recommended that you use it to complement your real business as you won’t get rich fast from it alone. The plus side to dropshipping is the retailer doesn’t have direct inventory carrying costs or any of the supplier’s risks.
The downside? Quality assurance is ultimately out of your control. If there is trouble with product availability due to the warehouse selling out without notifying the retailer, product quality, or shipping, the customer will make contact and probably even blame the retailer.
Branding and packaging
Shopify’s online manual of product features admits the drawbacks of dropshipping, one of which is that you won’t have control over branding and packaging when your supplier ships your product direct to consumer (D2C).
Product volume predictions.
Shopify offers inventory management to track and adjust your product volumes through its Fulfillment Network, but this service is only available for ‘approved businesses’. It determines the amount of a merchant’s stock that’s available at a fulfilment centre and the product variant’s past sales to make predictions. If you are a dropshipping retailer, you will be at the mercy of your supplier accurately informing you of its available stock.
Don’t be too basic
Another downside to Shopify is their basic package features are known to be simply that – basic. You might find that you have outgrown your Shopify’s plan and you are unwilling to pay the rising costs and extra fees for features that other eCommerce platforms offer in their basic plans. For instance, Shopify charges transaction fees to all of its clients who do not use their few specific payment gateways.
Compare Shopify with BetterCommerce’s platform capabilities. What is an afterthought or a premium service for Shopify, is a key focus and basic offering for BetterCommerce, such as search engine optimisation, security, global commerce, and full access to a range of customer service benefits.
You can use their modules independently or the entire suite in their enterprise platform. Make the call what features you need based on what your customers want. BetterCommerce can either integrate with or replace all of your existing systems and plugins making headless architecture a seamless, effortless experience for your business. Also, we offer BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick up In-Store), so that your customers can still get the hands-on and sensory experience they crave. And more importantly, we will grow with you, forging a long-term relationship so you have no worries of outgrowing your eCommerce
The bottom line
Your business’s online platform should hold up to the magnified scrutiny when put to the test. You should be able to choose the products and services you require from your eCommerce platform provider and you should be able to offer your customers the peace of mind that they will be valued and looked after both online and in-store. Solid Commerce is about developing trusting relationships between all parties involved no matter what business model you have, and those relationships should last for the duration.
Prior to joining BetterCommerce Finlay was implementing same day delivery propositions for brands and retailers across the UK and Europe. With 16 years of commercial leadership experience across the media, digital, IoT and e-commerce industries he is playing a strategic role in developing and executing our GTM activities.