About a month ago I was approached by artist management company ABI Management needing a solution to a very common issue for touring artists:
How do we link online merch sales with sales from tour?
Essentially they were looking for a way to run reports and manage inventory for their internationally-touring artist Tommy Emmanuel, but all under “one roof” and very simple.
At the time, Tommy was using a combination of WooCommerce for online and Square Readers for day-of-show sales. Reports and inventories were completely separate - creating headaches for accounting and stock numbers. While each solution worked great on it’s own, the combination was unnecessarily complicated to maintain as Tommy traveled the globe.
Shopify looked like the best bet to achieve all features ABI was looking for.
It was clear that a transition was needed and Shopify looked like the best bet to achieve all features ABI was looking for. As a bonus there were some features they had not requested (like a Facebook integration), but are included in all Shopify subscriptions - why not utilize them?
The first step was to develop a store that matched the look and feel of the former to ensure a smooth transition for fans. Aesthetically things remain virtually identical, but the sales process on the fan side is much more smooth and secure. Fans can even use Apple Pay to simplify the payment process further.
Behind the scenes inventory stocks are updated in real time and fan contact information is fed directly into a MailChimp account (if they opt-in) for future marketing purposes and announcements. Refunds, invoicing, sale pricing - all of the admin features one would expect from a commerce platform are there and very user friendly.
The Shopify POS app has replaced Square for tour sales and includes inventory syncing - no need to recount merch once tour is over! Taxes are calculated automatically based on device location and fans have the option of opting-in to the mailing list by being emailed a receipt.
Obviously not everything that is available in the online store is available at the merch booth - carrying that many CDs internationally would be very expensive. Thankfully artists can segment which items are available on tour, online, or both - avoiding any accidental sales.
Tommy Emmanuel now has a full-featured storefront on his Facebook Page.
Easily the best added benefit is their integration with Facebook. After a simple app approval, Tommy Emmanuel now has a full-featured storefront on his Fan Page. Fans can actually purchase merchandise without leaving the his Page or Facebook itself.
At this point it is safe to say that Shopify has won me over when it comes to commerce platforms. They have focused on making product management and sales reporting as simple as possible while baking in a TON of features that artists can use to their benefit.