If you ask the average person where they shop online, they will mention companies such as Amazon, Ebay, and Walmart. Most probably have not even heard of Shopify, one of the largest ecommerce companies in the world. And this is exactly the point, according to CEO Tobi Lütke. In a letter to shareholders back in 2015, he said that Shopify is “virtually invisible,” and that “this is by design.”
The world has changed a lot since Lütke wrote his letter in 2015, particularly in the ecommerce space. In 2020, ecommerce’s share of all retail sales rose from 16% to 19%. More recently, U.S. retail e-commerce sales increased 7.7% in Q1 of 2021 from Q4 of 2020.
One of the main vehicles of this change has been Shopify. In short, Shopify is a subscription-based software that allows businesses to set up an online store. They offer templates for business owners to create a personalized look and feel, tools to sell in multiple places online, technologies for payment processing, and many others. In essence, Shopify runs in the background of companies’ websites and allows them to sell on their own without the help of large conglomerates.
Unsurprisingly, in 2020, Shopify reported an 85% revenue growth ($1.5 billion to $2.9 Billion). So, how is a company with this much growth invisible? Why do consumers not mention Shopify alongside Amazon? On Twitter, Lütke was asked if Shopify was the next Amazon. He responded, "Amazon is trying to build an empire. Shopify is trying to arm the rebels."
What Lutke means is that Shopify sacrifices its personal brand in order to allow small and medium sized businesses to thrive on their own. The COVID-19 pandemic has made many people want to “shop local” and “help the little guy.” Shopify allows companies to own their own online stores and not simply become a cog in the Amazon machine.
I have personally seen Shopify’s effects. We have helped many clients in the past year set up Shopify stores including a New York City-based company that makes refillable containers, Barcode sports drinks, and JUDY, an emergency preparedness company. In the midst of a global pandemic, Shopify allowed them to succeed and maintain their own brand.
My team and I are proud to work on the Shopify platform. If you and your business would like to be a “rebel”, let us know.