Shopify or Wix

Shopify or Wix – Making an Informed Choice for Your Business

Trying to decide whether to use Wix or Shopify for your website? In this blog, we take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each platform.
Shopify vs WordPress

Shopify vs WordPress – Which One is Right for Your Business?

Last week, we took a surface level look at the different website CMS options available to business owners. In this week’s blog, we’re going a little deeper, comparing two of the most popular options: Shopify and WordPress. As we begin to compare the two, it’s worth mentioning both Shopify and WordPress are proven platforms that work for millions of customers. What distinguishes them from each other is how you plan to use them. Let’s break it down into some of the key ways people interact with these platforms. Blogging A regularly updated blog should form a central pillar of any digital marketing effort. In this area WordPress excels. The platform started life as a blogging tool that later implemented ecommerce as a feature. WordPress reportedly runs 65 per cent of all websites on the internet today. With its array of plug-ins and tools, it’s the industry leader from a blogging perspective. While WordPress is known for its blogging capabilities, Shopify is no slouch either. Though the focus is on ecommerce, each Shopify online store comes with the option to create a blog and the embedded capabilities will be plenty to meet your needs. All the blogging basics are handled in a smooth and elegant interface, covering common features like inserting images and video, automatic SEO and ability to schedule posts into the future. It’s not as robust a blogging platform as WordPress, but it should be more than enough for all but the most demanding of users. Ecommerce Ecommerce isn’t handled natively through WordPress. Instead, users install an extension called WooCommerce to conduct business. This free tool is made by Automatic, the owners of WordPress so it’s completely trustworthy and safe to use. Around since 2011, WooCommerce integrates seamlessly with existing WordPress sites. One area it falls down is design. To craft a beautiful WooCommerce platform the services of a web developer are usually needed. If you have the budget, great! However, it’s often not feasible for start-up businesses. Shopify’s strength is in its robust ecommerce offering. It offers dependable security and a range of beautiful templates that can be implemented without the use of a web developer. Shopify also offers a unique “ecommerce university” education platform, where users can avail of training, support and mentorship from a large community of users. Looking to add features to your store? Shopify has a convenient app store built-in to its platform. If you’re more focused on ecommerce than blogging, Shopify is the stronger platform for your needs. Hosting Shopify is a hosted web solution. This means your site will run on Shopify’s servers. Everything you will need to get your store up and running happens “off the shelf,” meaning no developers, no web hosting fees or the need to install specialized software. Shopify is offered as a service, so you won’t own the software. Instead, you pay a monthly fee to Shopify and everything is hosted in the cloud. As long as you have an internet connection you can manage your store or website. WordPress does things slightly differently. You can follow the Shopify model and host your website on WordPress for a monthly or a yearly fee. Going down this route provides a quick and easy way to get simple websites online. Unfortunately, it’s less of an all in one solution than Shopify, as you’d need to use a third-party tool (such as Shopify) to add an ecommerce solution to your site. Alternatively, you can self-host on your own existing server. This is more of an advanced solution, allowing users to customize pretty much every aspect of their site. Ease of Use We’ll finish by looking at an important factor that plays a huge role in people’s decision making – How easy is each platform to use? Shopify is the winner in this regard, with its off the shelf template and easy setup making it the platform of choice for everyday users. That being said, WordPress offers a deeper layer of customization for those willing to tinker under the bonnet, or employ a developer to do it for them. Overall, each platform has strengths and weaknesses. Shopify excels for those looking to find a robust ecommerce solution. While WordPress is aimed more at bloggers and casual websites. Which platform works for you is very much dependent on how you plan to use it. Find Out More As a Shopify Partner, GD Commerce can help you launch beautiful ecommerce stores for every size and budget. Contact us, and we’ll be happy to discuss your individual needs. Thank you to our GD Commerce Partners: Create Your Business Website Using Shopify Harness the Power of Drip CRM Software Set up Subscription Boxes, Recurring Orders and Payments Easily Using Bold Partners Boost Your Business Bookkeeping with Bench Learn How to Master Website SEO Using Mangools
CMS Options

A Guide to Website Platforms – The Different CMS Options

Thinking of setting up a website? There are plenty of CMS options to choose from but it can be tough to know which one is right for your business. In this blog, we take a look at four of the most popular CMS options.

Is Crowdfunding Right for Your Business?

As any entrepreneur who has gone through the process will tell you, securing start-up financing is one of the most difficult parts of getting a business off the ground. The process begins with the creation of a well-researched and comprehensive business plan. For years, this document would be taken to a financial institution angel investor or venture capital firm, where your plans would be dissected to see if they merited investment capital. Like a lot of traditional business concepts, this tried and tested method of securing capital has been turned on its head, largely thanks to the internet and crowdfunding. What is Crowdfunding? Rather than receiving a large dose of financial support from one wealthy organization, crowdfunding spreads the risk among a collective of smaller investors, usually without any form of collateral. It allows friends, family, customers and individual investors to show confidence in you and your product by supporting you financially. This initial injection of financial support can allow an entrepreneur to take a product from the prototype phase all the way through to production, without having to provide the collateral needed for a traditional business loan. Instead, investors can be rewarded in a myriad of other ways, from equity to exclusive rewards or first access to the initial run of the product. The Benefits of Crowdfunding Crowdfunding presents a more flexible, easier and potentially lucrative way of securing start-up financing. Here are some of the key benefits of crowdfunding: More Eyeballs – Key crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are a well trafficked marketplace for investors. Launching your crowdfunding efforts here puts literally thousands of eyeballs on your product, while opening a direct line of communication with interested parties. The onus is on you to make sure you nail the… Presentation – While the platforms mentioned above receive thousands of visitors, they also host thousands of crowdfunding campaigns. You must ensure you present your product in an attractive and memorable way. Nailing the presentation early will be a huge advantage for your business, as you drill down into your unique selling point and how to best communicate it to potential investors. Marketing – Gaining traction in your SEO efforts can be a slog. Hitching your wagon to an already established crowdfunding platform gives you a built-in audience while you slowly drive traffic to your own website using tactics like social media, e-newsletters and blog posts. Instant Validation of Your Concept – Crowdfunding platforms perform the role of a digital shop window. Customers can provide instant feedback on your concept by voting with their wallet. It provides plenty of scope for A/B Testing until you find the right mix that’s attractive to consumers. Types of Crowdfunding Available Depending on what you hope to achieve with your crowdfunding campaign, there are several different options to choose from. Rewards-Based Crowdfunding Perhaps the most relevant to small businesses, rewards-based crowdfunding allows investors to hand over an investment sum in exchange for a reward. This can take the form of a pre-order bonus, a first-run copy of your product or some other unique perk not available to the general public. It’s advantageous for the business owner as it allows them to offer a tangible reward without incurring extra expense or giving up equity in return. Which brings us to… Equity-Based Crowdfunding Ever watched Dragon’s Den? Equity-based crowdfunding functions in much the same way, with investors receiving a small piece of the company for providing capital. It’s popular with capital-intensive start-ups, but isn’t recommended for smaller businesses. If you can get funding without handing over part of the company, why would you? Donation-Based Crowdfunding Looking to start a triple-bottom line business? A Donation-based crowdfunding model allows individuals to invest in your mission without receiving anything in return. This model has been popularized on sites such as GoFundMe, where charities and non-profits use it to raise funds, or individuals use it to cover sudden costs such as medical bills. Find Out More GD Commerce is well versed in advising businesses if crowdfunding can work for them. Contact us, and we’ll be delighted to discuss your individual circumstances. Thank you to our GD Commerce Partners: Create Your Business Website Using Shopify Harness the Power of Drip CRM Software Set up Subscription Boxes, Recurring Orders and Payments Easily Using Bold Partners Boost Your Business Bookkeeping with Bench Learn How to Master Website SEO Using Mangools
6 Ways Your Business Should be Automating

6 Ways Your Business Should be Automating

Business owners love when you make life easier for them. Whether it’s buying them a coffee, responding to invoices in a timely fashion, or just answering emails promptly, it’s just good business to spread a little positivity! The good news is, this blog is all about making life easier for business owners through to the power of business automation. In case you hadn’t heard, business automation is one of the biggest buzzwords in our modern world. Companies worldwide are discarding manual processes as enthusiastically as people consigned flares and disco music to the scrapheap in the 1980s. This movement has the potential to provide the next giant leap in productivity in the workplace and it’s time to get your business on board. And, while it’s not time to replace your staff with robots just yet, there are still hundreds of different ways you could be automating right now. Here are six ways your business should be automating.   Look for Repetition Let’s start with the basics. What tasks do you find yourself doing repeatedly? Write them down in a list and look for ways to automate the processes. Engage with your team and ask their opinion on how their working lives could be made easier. Very quickly, you’ll spot missed automation opportunities. Once you’ve taken steps to rectify, your team will have more time to handle big picture tasks and the efficiency of your business will skyrocket. Time Sheets Believe it or not, some small business owners are still processing staff hours manually. This busy work is a prime candidate for automation. Apps like Timely and TSheets allow staff to log their hours easily each day with a simple click. Do your staff work on billable hours? Both apps allow for projects to be added as “job codes” that staff can assign their time to. These two simple apps can massively reduce the workload surrounding time management. Lead Generation Ever entered data into a “contact us” page on a website and never received a response from the business? This happens more than you’d think. CRM platforms like Infusionsoft and Salesforce can automate these responses using a simple bit of code. Instead of becoming overwhelmed trying to respond to emails, this simple piece of software will enable you to craft an organic-sounding reply that will be auto-sent to each client that reaches out. Your clients will be thankful their enquiry didn’t disappear into the void, and your team can follow up on promising leads in their own time. Sales Funnel Even small sales teams can easily suffer from breakdowns in communication, leading to lost revenue opportunities. Business automation software can act as a project manager for your sales team, ensuring leads are distributed evenly and people are pinged with follow up reminders. To return to the earlier example of Infusionsoft, it assigns a flame score to your hottest leads, allowing your team to focus on the clients that will most likely result in sales. Ecommerce Your ecommerce efforts don’t end once you set up an online shop. Instead, it’s an area that’s ripe with opportunities to automate. Customers expect a tailored shopping experience. And, if they don’t receive it from you, they’re likely to shop elsewhere. An example of how this might work is if you sell a month-long supply of a product. Automation software can be used to send a reminder to customers to purchase again when their supply is almost finished. Elsewhere, platforms like WooCommerce allow for the creation of customized customer experiences that suggest products they might want to purchase, based on their previous spending behaviour. It also covers abandoned shopping cart emails that prompt customers to complete their purchase. Events If you’re in the business of running events, automation can make your life a breeze. An easy and quick way to achieve increased efficiency is to handle ticket sales through a platform such as Eventbrite. For a small cut, Eventbrite will handle all the time-consuming aspects of event planning – sales, confirmations and even event reminders. Running a free event? Use Facebook Events to share information on the event with your followers, and receive instant feedback on confirmed attendees, people interested, and those that have declined. Facebook will even automatically remind clients in the days leading up to the event. Thank you to our GD Commerce Partners: Create Your Business Website Using Shopify Harness the Power of Drip CRM Software Set up Subscription Boxes, Recurring Orders and Payments Easily Using Bold Partners Boost Your Business Bookkeeping with Bench Learn How to Master Website SEO Using Mangools
Business Automation

How to Create Efficiencies Through Business Automation

Looking for ways to make your small business more efficient? Business Automation is one of the quickest and easiest ways to find efficiencies.
Advances in Business Automation

Upcoming Advances in Business Automation

Automation is set to revolutionize the way we do business. As part of our series on business automation, here are some of the upcoming advances in technology to watch out for.
future proof your business

How to Future-Proof Your Business

Change is coming for Canadian businesses. From business automation, to the rise of millennial workers, here are six ways you can ensure your business is future proofed.
12 Weeks as a Student in an E-Commerce Firm

12 Weeks as a Student in an E-Commerce Firm

In my second year of undergrad, I found myself in that sweet and sour spot right between being a kid and an adult where you’re confused about the direction of your life, and searching rather desperately for inspiration, professional experience, and a mentor who knows what they’re doing. So naturally, at this amorphous time in my life, I felt launched into what I dub: “the mid-degree crisis” (I know, the name is a bit derivative). Everyone experiences this to some extend, and everyone deals with it differently. My way of dealing with it was applying to jobs outside of my sector, so I could understand a world that was different from work I’ve done in the past, and explore my own interests in a new way. And so I ended up at GD Commerce - a firm about which I knew one thing and one thing only: Gabby Dickert was a powerhouse. The rest was all a surprising, challenging, and inspiring experience that has fundamentally altered my life direction, and pushed me to re-examine the things I want to develop in myself, professionally and personally. After 12 weeks of working full time for GD, here’s the takeaway.     The things I expected I knew that I was walking into a company run by a woman who knows how to hustle, and that she would push me to develop myself, call me on my mistakes, and work on ways to help me grow. Gabby has a hands-on approach as a boss, and made it clear from the beginning that she was people-first. I felt like I could be honest with my boss knowing that it would be received and framed with a mentality of how we could improve the imperfections together. I expected to be pushed, and to gain a new world of technical and professional skills, and I was not disappointed. The things I never saw coming But what I didn’t expect was to form a personal stake in the success of the merchants like I did. The entrepreneurs we work with are special - each has a unique story, and each is working hard to make a difference in their field. Very quickly, I became a fan of the brands we supported, and started to care about them and their visions. Each of our merchants excels in a broad range of sectors, and somehow, I found myself connecting with each of them, learning from them, and wanting to help them succeed. The lesson Why you do things matters. I was talking to someone the other day and he asked me if I was proud of the work that GD does for our clients. The question surprised me, and I realized it was because that was never a question I’d thought of myself, because it has always been a given. And that was when I realized what a privilege it is to work for a company whose services, standard, and mission is one that you believe in so subconsciously that you never have to question it. Why a company does what it does makes all the difference, both in the success of its sales, and in the success of its employees. In retrospect, less than three months of full-time work is not a lengthy amount of time. But the growth I feel like I’ve experienced, and the things I’ve learned about myself, the e-commerce space, and how entrepreneurs succeed, feels like the result of far more than just twelve short weeks. Taking the leap and joining GD has paid off so much more than I could have anticipated - I will take the lessons with me through every professional experience. From Gabby, from my work, and from our lovely merchants, I’ve learned the value of finding why you do the things you do, and letting that inspire your actions from the inside out. Thank you to our GD Commerce Partners: Create Your Business Website Using Shopify Harness the Power of Drip CRM Software Set up Subscription Boxes, Recurring Orders and Payments Easily Using Bold Partners Boost Your Business Bookkeeping with Bench Learn How to Master Website SEO Using Mangools