If a small jam and marmalade company that makes its products by hand can utilize technology, then any small business can. Blue Chair Fruit, based in Oakland, Calif., is a team of six people that have found a way to use technology to optimize online sales while running their business and making their delicious product.
“Shopify does everything we need it to do,” said Kate Shaughnessy, sales and web manager for Blue Chair Fruit. “It’s a clean, accessible interface.”
Shopify is an online store and hosted e-commerce solution that Blue Chair Fruit has been using since it started having online sales almost three years ago. Shaughnessy said that the great things about Shopify is that it syncs up with the other programs that they use, such as accounting software Xero, and that Shopify tracks their inventory and their online sales numbers.
“Our work is labor intensive. We just don’t have the time,” she said. “Shopify has the functionality build right in.”
Beside jams and marmalade, Blue Chair Fruit also offers classes on jam making, marmalade marking, and flavor construction. Shopify also allows Blue Chair Fruit to keep track of those classes, and know when a class has filled up or not. However, Shaughnessy said that she does wish Shopify could keep track of who’s purchases what, which would make it easier for them to keep track of who’s in the class. She is hopeful, however.
“[Shopify] is only getting better,” she said. “Their new upgrades are responsive to their customer base.”
One of these new upgrades is the ability to create a unique url that can be provided to specific customers, or that can showcase certain products. Blue Chair Fruit uses this feature for their farmer’s market customers so they can redeem their discounts and look at the products that they are specifically interested in. Shopify also provides real-time carrier shipping, so the company know right away how much shipping is going to cost for a customer.
Since Shopify provides everything the company needs, Blue Chair Fruit doesn’t have to worry about designing their own online store, or taking on another vendor to do the design or to secure payments. For a small business, Shopify costs just $99/month, and setup is absolutely free. Each pricing plan also comes with a free trial, in case any other small businesses are interested.
“This is a cool time to be doing what we do,” she said. “Shopify allows us to focus on the jam making.”