Angela Mader’s business, Fitlosophy, began in 2008, when she started printing fitness and nutrition journals for men and women. Over the years, as sales grew steadily, she expanded into food scales and more journals, among other products. But one number scared her: Fifty-six percent of her online sales were coming from mobile, and yet her website was ancient and unreliable. “Without a mobile-friendly website,” she says, “we were seeing a lot of lost sales.” Still, she had only a staff of five and annual revenues over $1 million. Could she afford a slick solution?
Mader talked to a lot of web-savvy colleagues, and many of them suggested a service called Shopify. It’s a simple e-commerce platform that companies can use to build their own online stores. She loved hearing that it’s easy to maintain, and that it can manage her site, inventory and mobile sales needs. In June 2015, she switched everything over. “The transition wasn’t easy, but I had to do it,” Mader says. She had to rebuild her entire catalog on the site’s back end. But once she did, she also discovered that Shopify easily integrated with QuickBooks (her accounting tool) and her email-marketing platform. That would save her time in the future.
Fitlosophy’s website instantly became cheaper to operate: Maintenance fees dropped from $1,000 to $250 a month, and that includes Shopify’s $79-a-month cost. More impressive: Fitlosophy’s month-over-month online sales jumped 65 percent in the first six months. That’s in part because Shopify integrates with apps that help steer visitors toward purchases; when Fitlosophy posted a press release, for example, the product photos could also serve as buy-it-now links. Mader also enjoys Shopify’s robust, real-time dashboard. “For the first time, I can see our site traffic, what portion comes from mobile, and which products and pages are driving sales,” she says. And thanks to Shopify, she expanded the business to sell digital content and e-books through her site.
A Second Opinion
Shopify’s easy setup makes it a great choice for novice to intermediate-level e-tailers, says Travis Romine, an e-commerce growth consultant at Sharp Commerce in Spokane. “You don’t need a lot of online experience to get going,” he says. But a word of caution: “If you’re a larger retailer with a big product catalog requiring advanced filtering, product presentations and flexibility, Shopify isn’t ideal. Depending on how big you grow, you’ll eventually need to explore a fully customizable platform like Magento.”