Shopify, a commerce company based in Canada was founded in 2003. The company changed its name to Shopify in 2014. Shopify offers a platform to merchants from which they can market and sell their products and a vast array of complementary services that can help these merchants operate their businesses efficiently. Over time the company has experienced enormous growth in its merchant base. Its continued focus on innovation and its ecosystem of patterns has helped the company attract merchants to its platform in larger numbers. Marketing has also played a critical role in helping the brand grow its demand and popularity worldwide. It has helped more than 1 billion businesses in its history generate more than $200 billion in sales through its platform. The company operates its business across 175 countries. The main source of its advantage is its cloud-based infrastructure.
Shopify had started operations at a time when merchants did not have multiple options to run their business online. It started operations with its own stores and grew it significantly to acquire a huge merchant base. By the end of 2020, it had a merchant base of more than 1.75 million merchants. Businesses of all sizes operate through Shopify including small, medium, and large businesses. Large businesses are also drawn to Shopify because of the excellent features available on the platform. The company is focusing on long-term growth and also investing in developing a sustainable platform with a positive environmental impact. While 2020 might have been a devastating year for a large number of businesses, it clearly established one thing which is that digital was the future of all commerce. Shopify experienced significant growth during the year as its revenue rose by around 86% compared to the previous year.
The company also announced several measures to help merchants emerge from the effects of the pandemic including a 90 days free trial on new plans.
In this marketing mix, we will analyze the seven Ps in the services marketing mix of Shopify and how these seven Ps have been driving higher success for the brand.
Shopify offers services for merchants all over the world. It offers them the tools and complimentary services they need to set up an online shop and start selling. Apart from sales and transaction tools, it also offers shipping and marketing services to run the business efficiently. Shopify offers the merchants a multichannel front end where they can easily display, manage and sell their products across a dozen sales channels including web and mobile storefronts, physical retail locations, pop-up shops, social media storefronts, native mobile apps, buy buttons, and marketplaces. More than two-thirds of merchants that sell on Shopify use two or more channels for sales. Shopify has developed its Application Program Interface to support custom storefronts through which merchants can sell anywhere in any language.
Shopify’s software offers the merchants a single integrated and easy-to-use back end from which they can easily manage sales and customers across various sales channels.
The Shopify dashboard, which is available in 20 languages allows the merchants to manage products and inventory, process orders and payments, fulfill and ship orders, build customer relationships, source products, leverage analytics, and reporting, and access financing.
Shopify offers merchants flexible infrastructure that enables them to handle massive spikes in traffic with ease.
Shopify is based in Canada. However, it has taken the form of a global company since merchants can operate their businesses from anywhere around the world with the help of Shopify. The company has 17 offices around the world in 12 countries including Canada, the U.S., Australia, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Lithuania, Singapore, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The majority of Shopify offices are located in Canada and the U.S.
Shopify has used a pricing strategy that allows its merchants to achieve more while paying less. It has introduced several plans that businesses can use depending on their size and ability. The basic plan costs only $29. The basic plan includes most of the features apart from a few that are available only with larger plans. It allows 2 staff accounts and free SSL but the professional reports, international domains, and international pricing are some of the features available with the larger plans. The platform also offers Shopify and Advanced Shopify plans that are available for $79 and $299 respectively. These two plans offer 5 and 15 staff accounts respectively. The basic plan is best for new businesses or online businesses that are new to in-person selling. The Shopify plan is best for growing businesses with one retail store and the advanced Shopify plan is suited for growing businesses with two or more retail stores. Shopify also offers a plan for large businesses that starts from $2000 and is called Shopify plus. Shopify charges variable fees for businesses selling in larger volumes. There are more than 10,000 leading brands that use Shopify Plus. This plan offers several additional enterprise-level features that are not available with the other plans.
Shopify depends on various marketing techniques and tools to grow its merchant base which is critical to the growth and expansion of the platform. The company has focused on product and brand marketing coupled with earned media efforts and ongoing content creation and distribution to grow its merchant base worldwide. The company is also investing in marketing programs that aim to inspire entrepreneurship and attract more customers to the platform. These marketing programs include awareness-driving brand campaigns, Shopify blogs, in-person educational and support interactions, such as those in Shopify’s Los Angeles-based retail space, as well as merchant affinity programs and documentaries featuring entrepreneur success stories through Shopify Studios. The company is also investing in additional sales capacity focused on acquiring larger merchants, as it continues to hire and train outbound sales representatives to reach certain merchant segments and promote specific offerings. The initiatives like Shopify blogs, Shopify Academy, Shopify community forums, Shop Class programs, and Shopify space in Los Angeles are aimed at educating the merchants and growing retention rate.
Shopify has found fast growth as a commerce platform and become one of the most recognizable brands in Canada. In August 2002, it became the most valuable company in Canada. During the pandemic, as more merchants moved towards digital commerce, Shopify enjoyed faster growth. It also introduced several features to help merchants during the pandemic which has helped it grow its merchant retention rates higher and establish itself as a merchant friendly brand. The company also spends on paid advertising to attract merchants and spent $177,607 on advertising in 2019 according to its annual report.
Shopify employs more than 5000 people in its offices in Canada, the US, and other locations in the world. As the pandemic spread and it became difficult to operate from the offices, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke announced that all Shopify employees will be working from their homes until 2021 and permanently thereafter if they liked.
Shopify has created an organizational culture of innovation and experimentation. The company has a team of highly talented, deeply caring individuals all working on making commerce better for everyone.
It values and attracts people who:
are impactful; are merchant-obsessed; make great decisions quickly; thrive on change; are constant learners; and build for the long term.
Shopify has two sources of revenue that include subscription solutions (SaaS) offering of the platform and merchant solutions. Shopify delivers its software to the merchants as a service. Its cloud-based infrastructure frees them from the obligation of running their own hardware. It also consolidates the data generated on a daily basis and then allows the company and the merchants to make informed decisions based on the data. The company uses a single cloud-based platform to deliver its services. The Shopify platform is a multi-tenant cloud-based system that is engineered for high scalability, reliability, and performance and hosted using cloud-based servers. The key attributes of the Shopify platform include security, scalability, reliability, performance, and ease of deployment. It has a dedicated team to constantly profile and optimize the delivery of the Shopify platform. The platform also leverages CDNs with global points of presence to make sure that data and content are delivered to the users across the globe faster. Shopify uses a technology called “containerization” to efficiently scale its computing resources across the platform. It has benchmarked the Shopify platform to handle at least 150,000 requests per second and 12,000 orders per minute based on platform load testing.
In the digital era, a large number of businesses run most of their business operations digitally which means a significant portion of their business operations is related to technology and carried out online. The rise of digital technology has led to growth in e-commerce and online streaming platforms utilizing cloud-based infrastructure for the online delivery of services. Consumers buy and utilize their services online. So, the relevance of physical evidence has kept declining in terms of marketing and sales. However, the Shopify logo, its offices, and other physical infrastructure act as the physical evidence.