Shopify E-Commerce Application, Page 2
Secure Payments and Fulfillment Integration in Shopify
Integrating, let alone explaining, the various links in the online payment chain (SSL, payment gateway, and merchant account, among them) is often quite a laborious process. Shopify eliminates the need to purchase an SSL certificate (which typically cost anywhere between $89 and several hundred dollars), and supports almost 60 payment gateways in addition to PayPal and Google Checkout.
Following the sale your customer will require an efficient fulfillment solution, and may prefer to depend upon a third-party service such as Amazon Fulfillment. Support for Amazon Fulfillment and other services are integrated directly into the administration dashboard, allowing for automated shipment notifications to be sent to these services.
Extendability Through the Shopify App Store
Your client's glee over the deployment of their new online store will soon be replaced with requests to extend the website to suit new and changing requirements. Adding new features to such a relatively hefty bit of software can be an incredibly time-consuming process, one which could quite possibly quickly exhaust your client's patience and resources.
Shopify presents a great solution to this dilemma via its App Store, offering dozens of third-party applications which not only enhance native Shopify features such as providing customers with an easy way to lookup order status' but also integrate with popular email services such as MailChimp.
Shopify's Mobile Integration
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to receive a payment notification e-mail." Although I've been selling books via WJGilmore.com for years, receiving real-time payment notifications via my mobile phone remains a daily treat. It's likely your clients will also enjoy real-time access to sales data. Similarly, with mobile usage skyrocketing, customers are coming to demand, rather than hope, that an e-commerce website is optimized for non-traditional Web browsing devices.
To satisfy the former requirement, Shopify offers an iPhone app via the iTunes App store called Shopify Mobile which among other features provides the store owner with real-time access to product inventory, customer and order information, and new order push notifications. The latter expectation is assisted at the payment stage due to Shopify's automated application of optimized layouts for mobile devices.
Easy Customer Notifications in Shopify
Although newcomers to e-commerce might not consider convenient customer correspondence to be at the top of their online store wish list, several years of managing my own online sales dictates otherwise. Customers reasonably demand to be kept in the loop regarding all stages of the transaction process, receiving e-mails directly following the sale, following shipment, and following any changes to shipment such as an unexpected delay. The Shopify administration console offers a simple way to manage the templates used for these e-mails, structured with the same Liquid templating engine used for the website layouts.
Have you used Shopify to roll out an e-commerce project? Share your war stories in the comments for the benefit of other readers!
About the Author
Jason Gilmore -- Contributing Editor, PHP -- is the founder of EasyPHPWebsites.com, and author of the popular book, "Easy PHP Websites with the Zend Framework". Jason is a cofounder and speaker chair of CodeMash, a nonprofit organization tasked with hosting an annual namesake developer's conference, and was a member of the 2008 MySQL Conference speaker selection board.