We're delighted to announce that Bibliocloud integrates seamlessly with Shopify, the leading ecommerce provider with more than 120,000 shops implemented worldwide. We think that Shopify is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise fairly dismal market. Publishers often seem to have given up on making money from their websites, resigning themselves to having one because you "have to have a website", and treating it as a marketing spend, not a revenue generator.
What are the differences between the sort of website that publishers generally provide and the sort of sales-focused site that Shopify is all about? The answer, we think, is that publishers have largely given up on D2C sales websites, because "everyone goes to Amazon".
The challenges that are defeating them at the moment are:
* Lowering the barriers to making a sale (the need to provide credit card details and a logon, for example, and handling payments)
* Providing more advanced sales features (recoverable baskets, discount codes, cross-product discount, price drops)
* Keeping costs absolutely tight.
Unless publishers believe that they can do this, the web site becomes primarily a marketing tool that is paid for by marketing, and then it focuses on whatever marketers do -- and, more often than not, that means spending money without needing to account for results.
Publishers don't believe they can rise to those four challenges, so they give up on using their website as a revenue generation tool.
However, these are challenges that anyone who sells D2C also face, because Amazon competes with everyone other than those selling jet engines and submarines. Bicycles, handbags, pens ... it's all on Amazon nowadays, right?
So Shopify and its "ecosystem" actually focus on exactly the problems that publishers are beset by, and they are evolving to meet all of those challenges in a way that only the biggest publishers can currently afford.
It integrates to allow selling through Facebook, and will allow selling through Twitter when that is widely available. It integrates with 50 payment processing gateways, you can fulfill worldwide through state of the art shipping centres without going through a book distributor, use SEO and analytics, sell personalised digital downloads, and even let customers login with their Amazon credentials.
Most importantly, it does these really economically because there is now a very liquid market with aggressive competition among suppliers of these features.
We don't think that this is confined to trade publishers, either. Academics also have unique challenges, which is why they end up fulfilling journal and book orders through Metapress and the like. However, it is technically very easy to upload digital journals and their individual articles for sale on Shopify, and hand out discount codes, provide bundles and upselling promotions, and so on.
Shopify costs about £30 a month. There is a rich ecosystem of additional apps -- such as basket abandonment protector -- and the others you can see here, which tend to be anything between free and around $19 a month. And Bibliocloud's Shopify integration ships as part of the standard user license: no extra charges.
In other words, you can have a state of the art, revenue-generating, modern, beautifully-designed website for a tiny amount of money. Read more about how we work with Shopify on the Your Website page.