10 Reasons Why Shopify is the best option !!

In our 21st century, no one has time to physically go shopping, instead of that people are getting more and more attracted towards online shopping or E-commerce(in technical term).

And it’s not at all a bad idea if you are thinking of a startup or small business for selling your product online. All you need is a platform, which help’s you to establish your own brand. Shopify is one of that platform that you must have a look.

 

WHAT IS SHOPIFY??

Shopify is a cool E-commerce platform that allows you to set up an online store to sell your products. It is all-in-one web-based platform that let the entrepreneur run their own online store.

Those days are left far behind when people had to worry about setting up a website from a scratch, just to start an e-commerce business. Because Shopify had made that difficult task a cakewalk for us.

HTML, CSS, JS, etc are the programming languages which are used for appearance and designing your website. Don’t worry if you haven’t yet heard about these names, Shopify still allows you to have full control over the appearance and setup of your store(without having knowledge of those programming languages).

Now let’s know the features that Shopify provides and why anyone should opt for Shopify rather than any other platform.

 

10 Reasons Why Shopify is a better option!!

1)  Hosted Solution

Shopify is completely reliable as it hosts over 500,000 stores. Shopify was the first hosted e-commerce website solution to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

A CDN is a large network of servers placed across the world to ensure your customers can get your online store loaded quickly, no matter where they are. While choosing an E-commerce platform one of the aspects you must know is the difference between ‘Self Hosted’ and ‘Hosted’.

 

Self-Hosted

In ‘Self-Hosted’ e-commerce solution you download and run the software yourself.  You need to set up everything from scratch, also managing the hardware infrastructure and operating system on which your e-commerce website is going to work on.

In case if you need help when your website run into an error, there is no centralized support system you can contact. In terms of security, uptime and managing traffic self-hosted is usually less preferred.

Hosted

In ‘Hosted’ you don’t have to worry about managing the server, security, uptime, traffics, etc. Every technical aspect is managed by the platform provider. The hosted application can be deployed easily as compared to the conventional software.

These type of applications are managed by the service provider so, they are updated and patched with the most stable version and is backed by continual technical and customer support.

 

2) Supports Multiple Languages

Suppose you have an online store which is selling its product in Canada whose native language is English or French and you are planning to expand your business in Germany, then it would be preferable if your website appears to Germany folks in their native language (German).

Based on the data of Gallup survey of language preferences[PDF] and  Common Sense Advisory surveyed  2,430 web consumers in eight countries :

  • 9/10 Internet users said that, when given a choice of languages, they always visited a website in their own language.
  • 42% said they never purchase products and services in other languages.
  • 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language.
  • 72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language.
  • 56.2% of consumers said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.

Reference

In Shopify, there are many plugins available like ‘Langify’ (manual translate), ‘Panda Language Translate’, ‘Multi Lingo’ it allows the merchant to translate their storefront into multiple languages. Although it is preferred to use the manually translation app rather than the auto-translation app to translate your store.

Having the storefront in customers own native language creates a friendly impression, which in future can increase your business rate.

3)  100+ Professional Themes

“First impression is the last impression”

When any user visits your website the first thing that comes up is the design or look and feel of the store. So it would create favorable influence on the user if your store has a nice quality design and a good theme.

Shopify has a number of feature-rich, beautiful themes which are developed by professional web-designers. The design of your website always plays an essential role when it comes to e-commerce.

Thousands of dollars are being spent by the store owner to get their store designed by professionals. But if you are a Shopify user you get most of the themes designed by the professionals for free.

There is a range of free and paid theme in Shopify to find the right look and feel for your online store. Here are some of the examples of Shopify’s themes

  • Narrative (free)
  • Debut (free)
  • Jumpstart (free)
  • Brooklyn (free)
  • Boundless (free)
  • Parallax
  • Empire
  • Canopy
  • Retina

These themes are even categorized according to design or product your store is selling. Shopify makes sure that themes are modern, clean (no bug), easily customizable, responsive design, cross-border compatibility and many more.

 

4)  100+ Payment Gateways

A payment gateway is simply a software application, which conduit between your e-commerce website and the bank that authorizes(or declines) your customer’s credit card payment. It is the final step of the sales process, without it you won’t be able to securely charge your customer when they purchase any items from your online store.

Shopify supports all the well-known payment methods such as

-Credit & Debit Cards              – Cash on Delivery (COD)

-Net Banking                              – Wallets

-Bank Transfer                          – UPI

-EMI’s                                          – PayPal

 

Some of the well-known payment gateways supported by Shopify are:

[Link of all the payment] gateways Shopify supports

You get the ultimate freedom for choosing the right payment gateway options for your customer provided by Shopify. Shopify even has its own built-in payment system powered by Stripe.

Here are some of the reasons provided by Shopify for using their own Payment platform :

  • Shopify plan transaction fee is now free.
  • Lower costs with an online credit card rate of 2.4% + 20p (Basic), 2.1% + 20p (Professional), or 1.8% + 20p (Unlimited), and no hidden charges or extra fees
  • Managing of orders, payments and payouts can be done directly through Shopify.

 

5)  Manage store with your Smartphone

Are you worried about your online store while enjoying your holidays or trip with friends or family?

Not to worry anymore now onwards, because the Shopify mobile app lets you manage your orders, product, staffs, and customers from anywhere just with your smartphone.

Manage Products in-app

→  This mobile app will let you upload your products images.

→  Set the features and pricing details of the product.

→  Adding the products to collections.

Process your orders with few taps

→ Completion of order, refund to customers, or archive orders.

→  Manage tags and notes.

→ Conversion details can be viewed.

Respond to real-time information or queries         

→ See the live sales or visitors traffic

→ Get notified instantly when you receive the order.

→ Get in touch with your staff members.

 

6)  Unlimited Products and Bandwidth

→ There are no restrictions on the number of products you sell on your Shopify store. Which means if you start your store with just 100 products and if you want to add some more 200-300 product items in your store no one will stop you doing that.

→ No one will charge you if your online store is visited by hundreds, thousands or crores of visitors. There is no limitation on the how many online visitors go through your store, and also how many files or photos you upload to the store.

 

7)  Integrate with Dropshippers

Drop shipping is a method in which you don’t have to keep the products in stock. Instead, you directly get in touch with the wholesale supplier that stocks its own inventory.

So whenever you receive an order from the online store, you forward that particular order and shipment details to the supplier and they ship the goods or product directly to the customer.

Oberlo is the app for Shopify users, to easily import and dropship the product.

There are very few platforms like Shopify that provide drop shipping integration. Here are some benefits of drop shipping.

→ Investment is very less as you don’t have to set up an inventory.

→ There is no limitation on items you want to sell, you can offer thousands of items to your customer.

→ Nothing to worry about manpower, as it is all handled by the supplier’s side, which eventually frees up your time to concentrate on your marketing strategy, operations, and customer service.

To know more about drop shipping you can read the blog  “A brief Idea About Drop Shipping”

 

8)  24/7 Support

Shopify will always be there to help you and your customer whenever needed. Here’s how

Open Chat

Team Shopify is available 24/7 on live chat. Isn’t that convincing, if you or your customer get immediate answers to your questions and queries.

E-mail

Suppose you have some questions, but there is no requirement of getting that answer immediately. In that case, you can opt for their e-mail support option, just mention whatever inquiries or issues you have in an e-mail and Shopify will be at your service with all relevant information within 24 hours.

Phone Call

Don’t feel like typing up entire queries or problems?? Not an issue!! The “anytime” helping guys are always there, you can call them whenever you are facing a trouble, even if it’s 3 AM!

 

9)  Gift cards

It is a special type of product, whose value (amount) can be used as payment. You can also issue a gift-card to customers for free as a reward for using your store. Your customer can use the gift card to make a purchase from your store both online and in person.

Your customers can even send the gift-card to other users so that they could attract more users to their store. A gift card holds a balance (paid by the owner of gift-card), which could be spent over more than one order.

When making a purchase in your store, a customer can redeem the value of a gift card by entering its unique code at checkout, and if the payment amount exceeds from the amount in a gift card, then the customer will be prompted to choose a second payment method.

Click the link to learn more about Shopify Gift-Cards and how it can boost up your E-commerce business.

 

10)  14-Days Free Trial

You cannot learn swimming unless you jump into the water and try once yourself. That’s why Shopify gives you 14 days free trial to have a personal experience with them. So one should try Shopify platform at least once if they are planning to start an e-commerce business.

Click this image to get started.

It hardly takes a couple of days to start and set up an online store with Shopify.

So why wait and watch other reaching and achieving heights of success from e-commerce business, get a start now by registering yourself in Shopify.

 

 

 

 

 

Top Considerations While Accessing New Global Markets

It is easier than before to leverage global markets today. Social media scales geographic borders, highlighting brands in international markets more easily than ever. Although gaining visibility is comparatively easy, SMBs need to establish a strong foundation in place for long-term scalability in global ventures.

 Merchandise Products for New Markets

Neglecting merchandising process is a huge mistake for those entering new markets. With local elements in creative visualization, customer service and order processing, merchandising needs to be accorded huge importance too. Investing in people and collaboration tools can help entrepreneurs strike good relationships with the new markets.

When merchandising, the top considerations should be:

  • Climate – Be sure to account for the climate of the target market
  • Competition – Look at how the competition has positioned itself with the products they are selling through different channels
  • Consumer Trends – A product that is popular domestically doesn’t always succeed internationally. Do thorough consumer testing and surveys in the region before launching the product there. Most businesses target regions where they have witnessed sales before they launch the product, specifically in that region.
  • Religious Affiliations– Religion in some markets play a huge role in using some products. The products should not be in way marketed to offend religious sentiments

A Sound Cross-Border Commerce Strategy for Success

Some factors need to be respected and aligned with, for consistent success in cross-border commerce for accessing certain geographies for business. Some of those factors include:

  • Hire International Support

Hire high-value team members, in-house or freelance. Outsource the support work to them for competent international support services. Likewise you might need language support in some countries, especially if the local language is something else than English.

Support your lean business when it goes global, maintaining brand standards elsewhere too. Hire competent freelancers only for your business tasks.

  • Double Check Product Restrictions in each Country

While most products are inherently safe to sell across borders, double-check to see if there are any product restrictions in any country.

Some verticals like apparel, beauty and cosmetics, consumer electronics and health goods have particular restrictions by country.

  • Ensure the Technology is Scalable

Make sure that you have an e-store powered by technology that is scalable and not at all cost-prohibitive. One should select a platform that features out-of-the-box attributes required for standard processes in cross-border commerce without having to incur additional monthly costs.

The technology should be able to incorporate basic functionalities that can process discounts, coupons, emails for abandoned carts, analytics, customer groups, shipping, and payment etc. Going global without having the support of a strong technology platform is the onset of a huge disaster. You may be able to sell products, but rising costs, inefficiency in efforts and even result in lower margins would hinder you consistently.

  • Divide Processes and Hire Resources

For SMBs, going global is a big step and as they grow, the workload grows too. SMBs are usually lean and managed by a handful of stakeholders.

One needs to take ownership of the business but one should also understand it is not a one-person job. Do not restrict bringing on help for scaling processes and one can use assistance where the internal team lacks in terms of skills and resources.

While exploring cross-border opportunities, the right manpower and resources in the local areas are extremely important in getting the business major visibility

 

Cross Border Commerce Taxes when selling to the US and China

Most countries embrace a VAT or GST tax system that defines how cross-border commerce works there. It is essential for entrepreneurs to get the tax rules and regulations sorted before doing business in a particular country.

Taxation for cross-border commerce in the US

United States is an OECD country that embraces a final sales tax system wherein sales tax is consumption tax based on the final transaction of the offerings – product or service.

More than 12,000 taxing jurisdictions apply sets of rules for specific products and buyer location. This makes it difficult for enterprises elsewhere to promote trade of their offerings in particular locations.

  • In US tax laws, ‘NEXUS’ describes a situation that showcases an out-of-state business with a physical presence in a US state and is required to pay income taxes and collect sales taxes within a particular state.
  • The Nexus determines the actions that a company needs to pursue in a state before it is supposed to pay taxes. As a foreign seller, exceeding $20,000 turnover or more than 200 orders is a requirement.

For example, if a particular buyer and seller are located in a US state, the seller can collect taxes for the buyer and remit them to the state. This applies even if both parties are in different US states, and the seller has some presence in the form of a warehouse or office in the buyer’s state. If buyer and seller are in different states, the buyer is required to pay sales tax to his state only.

Taxation for cross-border commerce in China

The Chinese Enterprise Income Tax (EIT) is levied on income gained by any Chinese enterprise that has been initiated and managed in China. This fact includes physical presence and even websites of foreign enterprises and any income sourced in the country.

China has invested in different rules related to new business dynamics so that it does not lose tax revenue. Online stores are required to register and disclose identification for taxation of e-commerce by the government.

  • In general, VAT is levied in China at 17%.
  • Other taxes applicable to goods sold in China include consumption tax along with taxes mentioned by PwC. One can look for a breakup of taxes from the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China website.
  • The State Administration of Taxation administers VAT, while the customs collect import VAT on their behalf.

While importing goods, the taxes applicable as mentioned by Dutycalculator.com include:

  • Duty Rates – Duty rates range from 0% to 100%, with average duty rate levied at 12.47%. Laptops and some electronic products are free of duty.
  • Sales Tax – Imported goods are subject to VAT at 17% or reduced rate of 13% for specific products
  • Minimum thresholds – Duty and VAT are charged when together they take up RMB 50 or the import is exempted from both taxes.
  • Other taxes and customs fees – Consumption tax is imposed on alcohol, petrol, jewelry etc. The rates vary from 1% to 45%. The taxes are calculated based on CIF value and its duty.

In recent years, the importance of cross-border commerce in China has grown drastically thus boosting online trading in logistics, customs, and shop registration. Several barriers have been significantly eased in many respects.

  • The government has launched pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce, in Hangzhou, Shanghai, and Chongqing. The Pilot Zone in Hangzhou tries to reduce online transaction costs by making use of VAT, postal tax and even export tax refund in some respects.
  • The country’s regulations for foreign investment in e-commerce have been liberalized off late. The regulations council has set a deadline in 2020 for China to achieve unified, competitive, and reliable e-commerce market. The government strives to lower the barriers to market accessibility, reduced tax burdens and proper streamlining of registration processes.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has eased foreign ownership restrictions in cross-border commerce according to a note in 2015. To view a detailed report and rules and regulations of promoting cross-border commerce in China, check out the PWC China website.

The Cross-Border Commerce Boom – What will Matter in 2018!

Now we can buy anything from nearly anywhere in the world just by clicking a button on our smartphones. Yes, cross-border commerce is actually booming, and one can expect the juggernaut to continue in 2018 and beyond until the foreseeable future.

Smartphones have made shopping easier. One can expect more shoppers coming out of their self-imposed abstinence from online shopping owing to minimal security concerns nowadays. A Forrester study revealed that cross-border commerce is expected to double by 2021 with staggering revenue of $424 billion expected by that time. Cross-border sales shall include 15% of online purchases too. China’s cross-border market is expected to grow to a whopping 40% in 2021 and the country can easily fuel growth in the domain.

The McKinsey report revealed that most wealthy people in China, buy foreign clothes and gadgets that are mostly not available in China. Baby formula is quite popular here.

Why? Because cross-border shopping helps them in deriving better prices, and good protection from counterfeit goods too. Now that is a major point!

The Leader in Cross-border Commerce and the Future Prospects

The US is touted as the world leader of cross-border commerce trade – including imports and exports. The country has a trusted cross-border market worldwide and known for its product quality too. A DHL survey revealed that 75% of respondents who make foreign purchases selected the US as their ideal destination for online shopping. Now that says a lot about the US as a major cross-border commerce.

How does it augur for other countries though? Pitney Bowes recently disclosed its Global Online Shopping Survey that reported 66% of shoppers who shopped the web locally have made purchases from other countries in their recent past. Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong are top countries with most number of cross-border shoppers. On the other hand, Japan has grown its cross-border confidence tremendously in the recent years.

Smoothening the path of commerce locally!

Although the predictions are fantastic and rightly so, cross-border e-commerce is far from easy, for retailers owing to huge competition and diverse trade laws in every country. A 2016 survey by Paypal revealed 30% of consumers from different countries buying from the US, abandoned their cross-border purchase midway since they were unaware of the taxes or customs fees involved in the purchase. Here is what every cross-border commerce provider should know:

  • The exact kind of taxes and fees incurred through cross-border sales
  • Right communication to local customers in the country about the products.
  • No customers should get lost along the way, so multiple processes should work in harmony – the ordering process on site and payment methods along with calculation of taxes and alignment of government regulations
  • Communication of returns should be in clear words including the fulfillment clauses and delivery mode.
  • The return process should look seamless. For the seller, problems arise from the fact that each of the parties involved has a different level of understanding, motivation, and sense of urgency when it comes to getting the goods from one country to another.

Getting fulfillment right is the key to successful cross-border commerce and retailers know it. According to the Chinese Cross-Border Sellers survey by The Payoneer, 71% said fulfillment is highly important and logistics play a major role in this respect.

If 2018 is the year you plan to initiate cross-border commerce, ensure that the products are available locally with a good distribution in place in an international market. Also, ensure that your logistics partner is clear about the bigger picture. While consumers are driving the demand for cross-border e-commerce, get the right add-ons for your e-stores and the right domain experts to everything runs smoothly at the local level.

What is Page Speed and Why it is important

People usually get irritated if the website takes too long to respond. No one has got a spare time, especially when it comes to web pages that take much time to get loaded.

When the user gets his/her desired web-page loaded quickly it creates a favorable influence on his/her mind.

Waiting for a website to get loaded be like…

Tech giant Google considers website’s loading speed as a ranking factor and that’s why we should work to reduce our websites loading pace. Slow sites are likely to pay the price in terms of lower search ranking.

Also, nowadays in this competitive environment, page loading speed becomes one of the essential factors for all the websites.

Further discussion is about, why each second is essential for a web-page to get loaded?

 

IMPORTANCE OF EACH SECOND :

Here are some facts and stats from well-known sources :

  • A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
  • A 1 second delay in page load time means 11% loss of page views.
  • 47% of user expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.

  • Just guess if an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay could potentially cost $2.5 million in lost sales every year.If your website takes longer than three seconds to load, you could be losing nearly half of your visitors, according to data from Akamai.

It is clear from the above paragraphs that why page-speed is important for a website. Now let’s see what precisely page-speed is and how does it work.

 What is Page Speed?

Let’s suppose you type a URL xyz.com and clicked enter, now the time your web page takes to fully display the content (images, videos, design…) on the requested web browser that is referred as “Page-Speed”.

The basic definition says Page-Speed is a measurement of how fast the content on your web-page loads.

HOW?

How can we measure website’s page-speed?

-Several tools are available on the internet, in that you just need to enter the URL, then the tool will analyze the content of webpage by its own algorithms and will give you results out of 100. Results are based on the how fast is the webpage on the requesting web browser.

Here are some well know web-page speed tools available. Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, GTmetrix and many more.

Let’s know in short how Google’s analyzing tool works.

Gif of “Google’s” website page-speed score

-First, open the link.

-You will be asked to enter the web-page URL.

-Once it is done, then click the “Analyze” button.

-After analyzing it will provide you the results.

 

Score            Review

80-100           Good

60-80             Needs Work

60>             Poor

The results are calculated for both Mobile and Desktop viewing. This tool will suggest you some possible optimizations, for making it more rapid.

Everyone loves a fast site. Here are some ways to speed up your website:

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  Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML

Optimize your code (by removing spaces, shortening up the long variables names into a single variable, and other unnecessary characters), you can effectively increase your page speed. Also remove code comments, formatting, and unused code.

 

CSS(Cascading Style Sheets):- It is a simple design language, which is mostly used to make the web page fit to be seen.

JavaScript:It is a light-weight dynamic programming language, whose implementations allow a client-side script to interact with the user and make dynamic pages.

HTML(Hyper Text Markup Language):- It is used for creating web-page, it also describes the structure of web-page. HTML elements are represented by tags<>.

Google recommends HTMLMinifier to minify HTML, CSSNano and csso to minify CSS, Closure Compiler, UglifyJS to minify JavaScript. Alternatively, the PageSpeed Module integrates with an Apache or Nginx web server to automatically optimize your site, including resource minification.

Improve server response time

The amount of time required to load the HTML document of a website from   a server is known as server response time

First, let’s see few factor that affects the server response time:

Poor web hosting  — One of the aspects of running a website is making sure that the website has a good uptime (availability). Slow Load Times, Low Security are also some of the characteristics of poor web hosting.

 

Increased trafficIf your website gets hits more than the capability of the server, it may be possible that user will experience slower response from the server or even error codes such as bandwidth limit exceeded.

 

 

Bloated webpages — It simply refers to the contents of a webpage which are not optimized properly. For ex: Oversized images, non-responsive images (compatible with both mobile and desktop), non-minified CSS/JS files etc.

 

Lack of caching — Cache memory stores data in volatile memory and delivers the content quickly. So if there is an issue in caching the content it decelerates the server.

 

 Ways to Improve Server response time:

While Apache is well known and attractive option, there are many other better options using something else, such as Nginx or OpenLiteSpeed.

There are pros and cons to each web server although Nginx has been known to offer better performance in many circumstances.

Putting in a bit of time, in the beginning, might seem troublesome task, but it will pay off later as you are better able to handle changes in your server needs.

 

Optimize Your Web Servers

Once you have chosen your web-server successfully, the web-server can be configured to increase performance. There are numerous techniques including web server caching, enabling gzip compression and setting cache headers that help reduce load per visitor.

 

 Improve Database Performance

There are various ways of optimizing database performance and it can potentially turn into a large undertaking depending on the current state of your existing database. In order to increase performance, you will need to monitor your database first. You can trace and then load it in SQL server profiler to find out which are the slowest queries. After that, you can concentrate on them.

 

  • Reduce redirects

What is redirect?

Redirects are instructions or methods that robotically take user of one file, to another file or location. Which means your page-speed would get affected.

How does it affect page speed?

“Have you ever asked someone where a restaurant is and when you reach the location you find that, the mentioned restaurant has been shifted to some other location? ” It is just like that.

Redirects cause your pages to load slower because it is a wasted effort to go to one place just to be redirected to another.

Everything has its own pros and cons. There are many good and legitimate reasons to have redirects but it should be kept in mind that redirects cause substantial performance and speed issues.

 Use a content distribution network

content delivery network (CDN) is a system of distributed servers (network) that deliver pages and other Web content to a user, based on the geographic locations of the user, the origin of the webpage and the content delivery server.

 

CDN improves the performance, security, and reliability of a website. CDN is useful for distributing the static content of your websites like images and videos and put them in a location closer to the people you are serving the content.

Optimize Image

As a general thumb rule, larger file takes a longer time to load than the smaller files. Yes, that’s true high-quality images makes the good visual experience on the website, but at the same time it degrades the page speed and agitating visitors eagerly waiting for the web page to load.

Some of the ways to optimize images are as follows:-

-Choosing Image

-Images that you select for your content must be related to the text of the article.

-Good quality, with correct aspect ratio and size large enough to be visible on all the device’s screen.

     –Decrease the size of the image

There are numerous offline and online tools available for image editing, which decreases the image file size.

Adobe’s online image editing application photoshop.com doesn’t have all the capabilities but it covers all the basic of image editing and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Other impressive online image editing tools are PicMonkey, Pixlr, FotoFlexer.

Use Image sitemap, How to handle your thumbnails, Know Which Image File Type to Use for the Right Situations are some ways to optimize the image.

 

Conclusion:

Now I hope, it would be pretty much clear about, why page load speed is an important criterion for your web page, what happens if your page speed is slow, and how you can improve your page-speed.

If you haven’t optimized your Web page Speed yet, start on it today.

 

Which of these techniques are you going to use, to increase your website’s page loading speed?