Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 32 seconds

If you’re buying from an e-commerce shop this holiday season, they may be powered by Ottawa-based company Shopify. Shopify, an e-commerce platform enables small businesses to create their own branded store without having to rely on Amazon or other big marketplaces. Small business owners who have sold their products on Amazon have complained that Amazon controls their product’s price, their supply chain and even their company messaging. Some companies have even gone so far as to accuse Amazon of creating copycat versions of their products only to sell them at a cheaper price on Amazon.

Platforms such as Amazon, Etsy, and E-bay became popular with small businesses because they offered a way for small companies to sell their goods without having to purchase additional software to power their businesses. While an e-commerce shop is less expensive than a brick and mortar store – it still comes with a hefty price tag.

An e-commerce store must also think about production costs; shipping costs; and where to store already made goods etc. From a web standpoint – a website needs to be created, developers are needed to maintain the website etc. These responsibilities can be daunting for a small business that have a limited number of head count.

Going up against an e-commerce giant like Amazon can seem intimidating to some companies but Shopify is determined to disrupt the e-commerce space. Being toted as the “fairer” alternative to Amazon marketplace – Shopify helps businesses sell their products by offering them the software they need to build a website, invoice orders, and manage their overhead.

To date, Shopify powers over one million e-commerce shops around the globe and account for $183 billion in global economic activity. Besides providing them with the tools they need, Shopify offers guidance to small business owners when it comes to their website, supply chain structure, or business model. According to the Shopify’s Global Economic Impact Report- “Shopify is a catalytic engine for entrepreneurial activity, scaling businesses, and ultimately contributing to economic growth.”

Shopify recently introduced their Fulfillment Network - another way that Shopify plans on making it easier for e-commerce stores to grow and succeed. According to their website, US stores that apply for access receive, “a dedicated network of fulfillment centers that will ensure timely deliveries, and lower shipping costs, for a superb customer experience.” The blog went on to state, “we are now taking this one step further — making the fulfillment systems and technology that used to be reserved for the largest companies in the world accessible and affordable to every merchant, even those just starting to take off. “

By doing this Shopify hopes to level the playing field between a small business owner and a corporation. According to the Shopify’s Global Economic Impact Report, Shopify makes, “…enterprise-level commerce tools accessible to everyone, so even small businesses can make a big impact.”

With the introduction of the Fulfillment Network and the various platforms available to small business owners- Shopify hopes to solidify their place in both the e-commerce and supply chain industries.

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 Danielle Loughnane

Danielle Loughnane earned her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and has currently been working in the data science field since 2015. She is the author of a comic book entitled, “The Superhighs” and wrote a blog from 2011-2015 about working in the restaurant industry called, "Sir I Think You've Had Too Much.” In her spare time she likes reading graphic novels and snuggling with her dogs.

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