At April’s CreativeMornings/Ottawa, Shopify Chief Platform Officer (CPO) Harley Finkelstein spoke on the future of retail. Hitting upon several trends and changes he has observed, Harley breaks down the ‘Pillars of Retail’ to talk about how technology is democratizing the retail economy.
Any retail endeavor requires some amount of seed funding or capital—not a lot—but definitely some amount. Through crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter, raising that funding has become easier than ever and that barrier to entry has been lowered.
After raising your funding, you need a sample or prototype to share with others. Having something tangible allows others to both envision your idea, as well as give feedback. With desktop 3D printers, prototyping is much cheaper, easier, and attainable.
Selling your product is easier too! You don’t have to sell something to a storefront or large company to get your product in stores. Shopify is a wonderful platform for doing just that—making a direct relationship from producer to consumer.
There are no more minimums when it comes to shipping and fulfilling your orders. Multiple companies exist that will process and send out your product to people around the world.
5. Customer Service
Customer Service is being democratized, too! And not just abroad. Small business exist, locally, that will take your calls and answer your emails—covering all of your customer bases.
With these lower barriers to entry and democratized retail pillars, however, Harvey says it also brings on new challenges. “Because it’s easier for anyone to do it, everyone does it,” he said.
This, he predicts, brings the rise of the small business. “It doesn’t matter how much money you have, it matters how creative you are.”