The Globe and Mail reported several results from a survey conducted by Ipsos MediaCT last month, 72% of Canadians are planning to research their gifts online this year and 31% of the respondents would prefer to shop and buy from a small business. However, independent retailers in Canada have not been able to capitalize on this, the Retail Council of Canada shared that 61% have no online presence.

In our travels we’ve encountered many ecommerce solutions. Most recently, we’ve had very pleasant experiences with Shopify. This platform would be a great fit for independent retailers looking to redesign their current websites in order to up their web presence and ecommerce shopping experience.

Here are a few of the pros we found while working with Shopify:

Ease of Setup
Getting up and running with Shopify is a breeze. Everything from initial account registration, getting your first products entered, setting up payment gateways and opening up shop. Things are straightforward, you can be up and running technically in minutes so you can concentrate on enhancing your brand and business strategy online.

Themes and Apps
There are good looking out of the box themes as well as premium paid themes that can help give your website a jump start. Everyone knows that having a solid visual experience for customers will result in more sales. Many apps are available as well to round out features and functionality for customers as well as site administrators.

Being a Shopify Partner and developers ourselves, we found Shopify to have very good online documentation and resources. It was straight forward to find answers online for routine items. For the tougher questions, Shopify support was great. Whether we used email, online chat or a telephone conversation we have been greeted promptly and have always been pointed in the right direction by real people.

Shopify is highly distributed and serves an average of 100,000 page views per minute with peaks at 500,000. From a security standpoint, Shopify is certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant. With constant core upgrades and a robust API, possibilities are endless. Shopify’s full-featured platform will help to drive down traditional IT hardware and labor costs.

Last but not least, Shopify is “fun”. It’s intuitive and easy to use. If you’re on social media like Facebook/Twitter or have done any web publishing with tools like WordPress, Shopify will be a very easy transition. Additional features like the Shopify Mobile app and free credit card reader gives you the edge to feel confident about selling online and offline.

With Google Canada, Shopify and the Retail Council of Canada getting together to promote ecommerce and create of programs like Retailspark, Canadian independent retailers will be up and running in no time.

Check out our very own Director of Business Development, Honrio Cham’s motorcycle blog and shop, Throttle. We helped to get the grass roots store redesigned and up quickly right before the holiday season.