“Amazon is building an Empire, but Shopify is arming the rebels” – Harley Finkelstein – Shopify’s COO
I am starting with a quote that is dear to my heart as a merchant and Shopify employee because, from my own personal experience, I can tell that small and medium-size businesses around the world have had to become the rebels against one of the most difficult periods in economic history.
Many designers, manufacturers, and handcrafters – who traditionally sold their products in person and fell behind in technology – had to suddenly wake up to a reality-check during the crisis. They were forced to digitally transform their business to be able to compete online and keep their business alive while coping with uncertainty for the future to come.
Now, in just six weeks between March and April we saw new stores created on the Shopify platform grow 62% compared to the prior six weeks, driven by the shift of commerce to online.
But, what did actually happen?
At the beginning of the Pandemic, Shopify realized that our “rebels” needed more tools and resources to win this battle, and so we provided them with a series of products and services to allow them to take their business from off to online, fast and steady.
In Italy, we started with the certification of 2 Educational Partners: Emilio Lodigiani and Niccolò Golazzo who launched 2 comprehensive online courses that include a complete store set up according to Italian Law, branding, online advertising, and more.
We continued with a worldwide announcement of the 90-Day free trial period (instead of 14 days) in all of our plans to allow new merchants to set up and launch their stores, as well as additional features such as gift cards on all plans and In-store pick up.
It has been an intense period of product and feature launches, but we have seen a positive impact on our merchants in all sectors, including fashion and apparel; which found a new window to the world with Shop, Shopify’s new app that brings over 1 million merchants to the hands of mobile buyers.
As a company, Shopify is devoted to help and support entrepreneurs, and we continue to do so in local language by organizing weekly virtual meetups with experts in different areas of knowledge of Ecommerce; and narrating the success stories of some of our merchants like Velasca and Blowhammer.
When I am asked how can Ecommerce help my business? I think of my own experience and reflect on the times of scarcity when I started my 1st Shopify store with minimal resources. I was not able to sell in person, nor I could afford to open a physical store; all I had was technology to help me.
Soon, I discovered that Ecommerce allowed me to show my products outside my own community and city, as I started making sales in Europe, North America, and Asia. It also allowed me to keep my store open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and I found that selling online was the opportunity to use different channels to grow my business.
The first half of 2020 has brought many lessons, consumers have also changed their habits and the way they buy. Companies have had to adapt their message to bring the best of their mission and values to their relationship with their customers, and the future of commerce is shaping as more empathetic, relatable, and 100% customer-obsessed where brands are offering solutions to their buyers on and offline needs.
Market Development Manager – Italy