Spare Change, 04/22/08

Spare Change, 04/22/08

Welcome to the Earth Day edition of Spare Change. And you, online merchants, can pat yourselves on the back this Earth Day: According to an article from Green Living Online, online shopping has a slight edge over shopping at storefronts, environmentally speaking. While shipping can be a concern, the reduced requirement for physical space for online stores, as well as the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when consumers don’t get in their cars to go the mall, means that online shopping is a bit healthier for the planet. When you further consider that online shopping reduces the requirement for printed materials (if your entire inventory’s online, who needs signage, flyers, a catalogue?) ecommerce is definitely on the side of a planetary “win”. As far as Shopify goes, one of the steps we take to be planet-friendly includes lake source cooling at our data center, using water from lakes to cool the building, saving tons of carbon emissions each year.

In other news, an article on ashop commerce talks about Using Shopping Comparison Sites as a New Sales Channel. “Shopping comparison sites serve as a powerful tool to connect buyers with products. Additionally, these sites enable merchants to feed a list of their products and prices, which are displayed alongside similar products from other merchants when a buyer searches for an item online. For instance, if a buyer visits and types in “Cell Phones,” he’ll see various styles of Cell Phones from a variety of vendors—from major retail stores to smaller players. A buyer can easily compare products, prices, ratings, and shipping costs before settling for the best deal.”

One of the biggest challenges for the online vendor is the issue of the customer wanting to touch or try on or inspect a product – so far not possible online. Read about one company’s innovative approach – sort of a combination of ecommerce and Mary Kay parties. talks about the decline in growth of Google’s paid ad clicks and what it really means.

And finally… Shopify was in the news yesterday. “This system, designed using the dynamic Web language Ruby on Rails, is designed with simpler sites in mind.” Read more at the Globe and Mail. Great work, Shopify gang!