Shopify’s Bharati Balakrishnan on why India is an important market

The number of merchants using Shopify’s platform has been growing and it has been constantly improving its products and services

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that helps merchants set up, manage, and market their online stores
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that helps merchants set up, manage, and market their online stores

E-commerce company Shopify Inc’s annual revenue rose 21% to $5.6 billion in 2022, as per its annual report. Within this, revenue from subscription solutions grew 11% to $1.5 billion, and merchant solutions revenue grew 26% to $4.1 billion. The company has further ramped up its products and offerings for merchants and claims to be focused more than ever in India. In a conversation with BrandWagon Online Bharati Balakrishnan, country head and director, India and Southeast Asia, Shopify talks about how India is an important market and its plans to ramp up the business (Edited Excerpts)

Can you give us some context about Shopify’s presence in India?

Shopify has been in India for 10 years now. We started operating meaningfully in India around 2010-2012, but for the first five years, it was really a partner ecosystem supporting merchants to go online. In 2015, e-commerce in India hit a $10 billion annual GMV sort of number and we saw the first D2C brands emerge, which are now iconic household names. In 2018, e-commerce became $25 billion market. As a result, two things happened — many new categories were born. That led to more D2C brands being born first online. So, categories like fitness accessories, costume jewellery, fitness, clothing, plus clothing, which were really niche, and did not really take what wouldn’t really consider large online suddenly started becoming big. In all this, the next thing that happened was a lot of traditional brands which were offline first started taking e-commerce very seriously.

How is Shopify different from other e-commerce platforms in India?

We are a product company and fundamentally, we’re the fastest commerce platform when it comes to innovation and development by miles. Shopify helps merchants take control of their online presence, while other platforms may focus more on stocking up products and selling them at a discounted rate. Our platform is easy to use and allows for a customised shopping experience for each individual merchant. Shopify is an e-commerce platform that helps merchants set up, manage, and market their online stores. We offer a range of plans for businesses of different sizes, from startups to large enterprises. Our platform provides various tools that enable merchants to sell their products online and offline, as well as manage their inventory, customer relationships, and more.

How does the partner programme work in case of Shopify?

Our partner program offers rewards, skills, and engagement opportunities to our partners, who further help merchants grow their businesses faster using our platform. For example, we offer increased revenue share for our flagship enterprise product, Shopify Plus, and we’ve recently doubled the revenue share percentage for our partners. We also offer badges and certifications for partners to demonstrate their skills and keep up with new product releases. And we host various events and educational resources to help our partners stay engaged and connected to our ecosystem.

How important is India for Shopify Inc?

India is an important market for us, and we’re seeing a lot of growth and potential here. The number of merchants using our platform in India has been growing, and we’re constantly improving our products and services to meet their needs. We’re also investing in our partner program in India, and we have many talented partners who are helping to grow our merchant base and ecosystem here.

What role does Shopify aim to play in India’s digital transformation?

We see a big opportunity to help merchants in India to adapt to the current environment and optimise their businesses for growth. Our platform provides many tools to help merchants improve their conversions, increase their customer base, and manage their businesses more efficiently. We’re also focused on providing local support and resources to our merchants and partners in India, to help them navigate the unique challenges and opportunities of this market.

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First published on: 07-03-2023 at 09:58 IST
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