For as much as social media has thrust open the door of opportunities for people of all descriptions in respect to building followings for content and creative, effectively igniting what is now known as the ‘creator economy’, it is still thought that as few as four percent of the more than 50 million creators globally are creators on a full-time basis effectively monetising their content.
The data on this ‘creator economy’ is stark, though perhaps not surprising, as barriers to entry into the world of e-commerce and monetisation still exist in the form of intimidation factors compelling creators considering monetising their content into dismissing the idea.
Historically, these intimidation factors have taken shape predominantly as either the processes of monetisation themselves appearing too complex for ease of access, or a lack of resources and support scaring creators away from cashing in on their roles in the ‘creator economy’.
In more recent times, turbulence in the global economy stands out as a factor discouraging new entries into the world of e-commerce from ambitious creatives. But according to Shaun Broughton, Managing Director for the APAC region with e-commerce platform Shopify, this shouldn’t necessarily discourage creatives or anyone else from considering making the leap into the e-commerce world.
“Some of the most successful businesses started in economic downturns, and we’re confident in talented entrepreneurs finding new niches and business opportunities in any environment,” Broughton tells Power Retail, “That being said, we understand today’s concerns around inflation, consumer spending, cash flow and lingering supply chain challenges which can hold merchants back from investing in their business.”
The answer for this, and the original problems faced by creatives discouraged from monetising their efforts, is something Shopify particularly has sought to resolve.
In particular, the e-commerce platform’s newly announced ‘Starter Plan’ sees the perceived barriers of entry into e-commerce deconstructed, chipping away at concern both over price and complexity in the form of a US$5 monthly plan enabling creatives and other e-commerce aspirants to access their own ‘no-code’ digital shopfront.
“Through the launch of Starter Plan, creators and entrepreneurs won’t need to make a huge capital investment in their infrastructure, so they are able to build their business in a way that suits them,” Broughton says, “We’re empowering creators to own their relationships with customers, so they can increase life-time value and build high-impact communities— giving them greater control over their own economic independence.”
“This offering provides an affordable alternative for as little as US$5 a month, helping to ease any fears when starting off a new store or brand.”
The newly announced plan is designed to specifically address the barriers to entry once posed to aspirants of all descriptions considering entry into the world of e-commerce, simplifying the logistics and easing the burdens of price to better enable aspiring individuals to focus on their brand.
“With the launch of this plan, we’re lowering the barrier to entry, and empowering creators of all kinds to apply their creativity and passion to their commerce ambitions, so that they can build brands, businesses, and legacies,” Broughton explains, “It offers a lighter version of Shopify with a design-ready theme that merchants just need to add product images, details and descriptions [in order] to populate their minimalist online store.”
“Creators have continually utilised the power of social media to build an engaged audience, and with the huge variety of tools and platforms now readily available, they can create new ways to monetise that audience. By putting world-class commerce technology in the hands of all creators, with tools that meet their unique needs, we’re levelling the playing field to drive the next stage of growth for this new generation of entrepreneurs.”
The entry of this new generation of entrepreneurs into the world of e-commerce also has the potential to offer valuable lessons to existing e-commerce retailers, as the rise of the ‘creator economy’ forces businesses of all descriptions to understand the increased importance of their ‘brand’ in the modern societal climate increasingly powered by social media interaction.
“Successful creators almost all have an innate ability to understand the aesthetics their audience expects from their brand, but when it comes to commerce there is much more to consider. In the past few years, online retailers have found creative new ways to engage with their audiences, particularly with the rise of the creator economy,” says Broughton, “A quality retail brand seeks to meet consumers where they are — whether that be online, offline or on social media — allowing them to connect with your brand through multiple touchpoints. An enticing digital shopfront that appeals to your target audience has always been important.”
“Online this means creating a beautiful and seamless customer experience, applied consistently across all touchpoints, that makes it easier to convert ‘window’ shoppers into customers.”
Essentially, Broughton argues, the formula creators on social media are using to appeal to their audiences is the same that can offer them success in building appeal with customers in an e-commerce setting. The inverse is what retailers can learn from creators about how best to apply this same formula.
“By creating a strong and reliable brand, consumers in turn become less price sensitive when making purchasing decisions,” Broughton concludes, “providing businesses with the best shot to maintain margins in the long-term.”
All things considered, lowering the barrier of entry into the world of e-commerce for new aspirants has every opportunity to prove mutually beneficial both for these aspirants and those already within the same space. Each has the opportunity to learn from the other, with all ultimately benefiting from the cultivation and maintenance of ‘brand’.
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