Shopify – the most successful startup story in e-commerce

Ecommerce is an industry on the increase. It’s a powerful market, with hundreds of billions of sales made every year in the world. Most brick and mortar stores have established themselves in the online environment as well, because of the demand, and the changed customer behavior. Shopify is one the e commerce success stories that proves this. Though statistics show that in 2011 only 7% of the actual purchases were made online, there is no doubt it’s still room for massive growth.


The story behind Shopify

The story that stands behind the company is really brief, but proves the fact that when there’s nothing on the market that will please you, it’s best to build it yourself. The founders, Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake, couldn’t find an ecommerce software that was easy to use, so they decided to built their own. Their store proved to be a success, so they thought they would help other people sell their products online.

What is Shopify and how does it work?

It is an Internet startup, that was born in Canada. Until now, they managed to raise $122 million from investors.

I’m pretty sure that most people have heard about Shopify, which was founded in 2006. But how many of you know the story behind its one of the greatest e commerce success stories? Setting up an online store is not something you can do overnight. It’s a project that needs time, and money to design.

But what do you do when you don’t have either of those? You set up an account on Shopify. What’s great about it is that it offers you a two week trial, so you can try it and see if you like it or not. After the 14 days are over, if you decide to keep using the platform, you will be asked to choose a plan that fits your business. You can choose the starter plan, the basic, the professional, or the unlimited one.

The people working at Shopify are passionate about ecommerce, and so they were able to provide an amazing tool for retailers, or people who just want to sell stuff online. Running and designing an online store from scratch is not easy, and the company knows that. When you open a store on their platform, you have full control on customizing its design (you have over 100 themes to choose from), uploading products, credit cards you accept, and view incoming orders and completed transactions.

Over 100,000 companies have chosen to open an online store with the help of Shopify, including big names like Tesla Motors, General Electric, or CrossFit. They also have a special section on their website, dedicated entirely to the success stories of people, or companies that decided to share their story.

Shopify is a great place to start your own boutique. If you already have a physical store, you may want to consider being present in the online environment as well. There are tons of stores that sell fashion items, home and garden, accessories, clothes, or art. Or you can be successful with your online store, and then decide to open up a physical one. Darn Good Yarn is a good example here.

Shopify’s Blog as a Business Resource


Not everyone who wants to open an online store knows what online marketing is, or how to create a successful store, and become one of those ecommerce success stories everyone talks about. You can find ecommerce marketing advice on their website, which will help you build a successful store.

Aside from this, Shopify has a blog, too. It’s a great read, covering topics on how to start your own business, how to sell online, trends in ecommerce, ecommerce inspiration, e commerce success stories, or even physical retail. Over 21,000 entrepreneurs are already receiving online marketing advice from them. They also have free guides about crowdfunding, business plans, sales, ecommerce, of course, and one that is my personal favorite, about content marketing.

Customer Care Oriented Culture

Patrick Speijers, the founder and CEO of ROBIN (a premium customer service app that integrates with Shopify, and is one of 750 apps in their app store), wrote an amazing article in which he talked about his visit at their HQ, highlighting the success ingredients of the company.

Patrick’s first impression was “nothing less than awesome, amazing, and insanely great.” The first thing he addresses is the company’s culture, which he thinks is what drives success. I cannot do anything but agree with him. I recently wrote a paper for college about the importance of culture and climate in an organization, for a motivational and creative environment. The culture of a company is what will define the climate, and the way employees work together and visualize the development of the company. When, as a company, you have an amazing culture, you want to make sure that you do anything you can to keep it that way, and the key to that is hiring the best people you can find, who will embrace your culture and perpetuate it inside the company.

According to Patrick, even the offices have their own culture, because they are decorated based on what every employee wants. It’s a pretty cool practice to let your employees decide how their office is going to look.

Shopify has a very interesting mechanism of rewarding someone for helping their colleagues. They get a shout-out every time this happens. This must feel really good, because it’s a motivational practice, too.

You don’t find websites that offer customer care service 24/7, 365 days a year very often. Well, this one does. People live in different time zones, so it’s always a good idea as a company to make sure you’re at your customers’ service at any time, day or night. If I live in Europe, and I may be experiencing a problem in the morning, most likely people living in the USA will be sleeping at that hour. With 30 calls in 4 hours per agent, Shopify is the KING of customer care service. Patrick was present during some calls, and he was stunned “by the level of energy, positivity, and helpfulness they maintained”. The company also aims to double the size of their business every year, and so far, they have greatly succeeded.

Continuous Development, and Adapting to Customers


There are so many businesses that started small on Shopify, but managed to grow big, and extremely successful. The company’s targets are small to medium businesses, and according to Darrell Etherington, who wrote an article on TechCrunch, the platform wasn’t designed to hold large businesses. The company decided it was time to launch something new that would fulfill the needs of big retailers, and so Shopify Plus was born. It is a plan that is more expensive ($999 p/m) than the ones that already existed, but nevertheless, it’s far more advanced, giving businesses access to a “project manager, an account manager, personalized support contacts, negotiated Shopify Payments rates, increased API calls, and early access to beta features.”

With such great customer service, an easy to use platform, resources to learn about online marketing and ecommerce, and many plans to choose from, their objective, which is to let businesses focus on manufacturing the best product while they handle the technical part, is definitely met. The customers are also the proof of this.

My Favorite of All the Ecommerce Success Stories Out There

Shopify proves the fact that anyone, no matter how inexperienced they are, can build their own online store without having to spend a crazy amount of money. And when you choose a platform that will provide you with all the help you need, it becomes even easier.

What do you think about this ecommerce solution? Have you tried their services? If you did, what was your experience with them? And if you didn’t, would you be tempted to try out Shopify? Who knows, maybe you’ll become one of those ecommerce success stories!