Shopify Review (2020)
There comes a time when every budding company that sells something turns to eCommerce. Take you for example – you completely saturated the local market with your artisanal toothpick boutique. Time to share your artistry with the whole world.
What happens next? In order to help planet Earth dislodge bits of food from their teeth in style you need to find an eCommerce platform. Thank goodness for Shopify – not only can they help you fulfill your true calling – they want to.
Reasons Not to Use Shopify
There are only four reasons to not use Shopify.
- You are selling under five products and value complete simplicity over everything else.
- Your blog came first and you need WordPress (currently most popular CMS) in your life. SEO is your bread and butter and eCommerce is a slight afterthought.
- You have an insanely massive budget to throw at a web developer. Here’s a secret: There is a high probably of them using Shopify.
- You want to sell on only one channel. (Hint – Shopify lets you sell on every platform easily).
If you don’t fall under any of those categories then Shopify should be your first choice of eCommerce hosting platforms.
Pros – What We Like About Shopify
All of the positives for Shopify add up to offering eCommerce store owners the tools they need to build and manage a store. There aren’t too many pain points when it comes to the activities needed to be done on the platform.
The company was also founded by three Tim Horton’s loving Canadians and is headquartered in Ottawa. We have to support our country folk. 🇨🇦
Multiple Channel Selling – 48% of people begin their search for a product on marketplaces. That means that half the people out there are turning to Amazon, Ebay, or Etsy for products.
Shopify allows you to integrate your products with these marketplaces as well as social media channels like Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.
Inventory System – The inventory system on Shopify makes adding, organizing, and editing products easy and pain free. When it comes to organizing everything Shopify lets you make collections and allows you to organize your products in multiple groups at a time. Using Shopify makes it effortless to control your inventory from different suppliers.
Features – All the tools and gadgets you will need exist on Shopify. In the backend of the store there are options for many random aspects that are important such as customizing emails sent for order confirmations, updating privacy policies, and abandoned cart recovery.
App Store – If there is no feature for what you are trying to do then check out the app store. There are a bunch of apps that offer free and premium services to help with certain things store owners need.
Customer Support -Shopify will send you a credit card reader when you sign up with them so you can sell your goods in person. It’s rare for a software company to do something to make your life that much easier.
Beyond that – their customer support staff is around 24/7 to help and in higher payment tiers give you a specific point-person to contact specifically.
Cons – Things To Consider
Shopify does come with negatives as most companies do. The negatives associated with the service aren’t drastic but they also aren’t going to remedied at any point in the near future.
Cost – Shopify competes well with other eCommerce platforms as their pricing structures are extremely similar. The pricing compares poorly with other platforms not built specifically for eCommerce as well as free options hosted on WordPress.
For beginners, $29 a month could be a lot of money – especially when sales aren’t given. There are a lot of costs involved with starting an online business and everything adds up.
If enough sales are coming through even the most expensive option will be a negligible cost but at the beginning it definitely feels like a lot of money.
Backend Coding – There are some esoteric aspects of Shopify’s backend. There are some issues that pop up that will leave you scratching your head and Googling a developer service to help you out.
The community of Shopify users is rather large and a lot of the times there are fixes to issues in forums or even articles and videos.
If that doesn’t work finding someone that knows what they’re doing can lead to extra costs and delays in fixing your store.
The good thing is with the proliferation of the Shopify ecosystem there are a ton of online tutorials for literally anything Shopify related. If you’re willing to put in some elbow grease and get into it, you can DIY your own shop easily.
Building Your Store
Creating a beautiful storefront is one of the main priorities of an eCommerce operation. Imagine what happens when you walk into a physical store and shelves are flipped over and the cashier looks like they haven’t showered since Justin Bieber got his first tattoo.
When selling online it is even more important for the store to look good. People might look past overturned shelves and some suspiciously familiar stains in a store if they need to buy something badly enough but in this day and age people are not willing to overlook the equivalent of that on a website. They’ll just pull up Google and find an alternative.
Bad website design is a complete killer – 61% of users will not return to a website due to bad design. Luckily, Shopify is great at helping out in that regard.
How it Works
Shopify makes it simple to build a website. The way it works is you select a theme – either for free or pay for premium – then build your website within that theme. Shopify carries a very large assortment of free themes that have a great about of optionality.
In the backend there is inventory management among other tools like menus that will impact how your website is built but the majority of the store building will take place inside the theme.
Most themes are pseudo-drag-and-drop tools to move different elements like photos, text blocks, and other aspects into different places. Some themes are more menu-centric and built in less visual ways. Almost all of Shopify approved themes are easy to use with small learning curves.
Inside the themes are also where you’ll pick your colors, fonts, and other necessary settings.
Paying for Shopify is already a relatively large expense for a lot of new entrepreneurs. There are ten free themes on Shopify that can truly make a beautiful website.
Our favorite one to use is Brooklyn, best for medium-sized apparel stores, but each one is suited for specific types of stores. One specializes in edge-to-edge photography, one is great for crowdfunding, and one focuses on being easy to navigate.
If you want more functionality there are thousands of themes to buy for Shopify. There are a whole bunch of developers that create themes for hosting services like Shopify, WordPress, and BigCommerce. The best ones come with great knowledge bases and large communities themselves to help you along on your designs.
Shopify eCommerce Features
Shopify is as feature rich as it gets. Diving into a free trial can show all of the different options but here are a handful.
A necessary potential problem to think about when starting out is what happens if your store succeeds to an insane degree? Success does come with problems. Can the hosting service you’re on support your meteoric rise?
Shopify grows with you. The cheapest plan offers everything a beginner could want and their most expensive plan allows a fast riser to grow into a blossoming company. There are great cost saving features, advanced report builders, discounts, and there are even enterprise-grade solutions for high volume merchants.
Multi-channel Selling – Sell On Any/Every Platform
If you only showcase your products on your website you aren’t putting much effort in. People are shopping on Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Facebook, Jet, and Instagram just as often as eCommerce websites.
Shopify allows you to sell on 20 other channels making it easy to manage selling to potential customers anywhere on the internet. This is probably the feature that makes Shopify the most powerful. If you’re serious about building a viable Ecommerce store you just can’t beat this.
A lot of stores have a large product catalog. It can be scary trying to organize everything on your website in a way that would make sense to customers while also juggling inventory that comes from different suppliers. That is a lot to worry about.
On a store where some products come from Amazon’s fulfillment centers, some come from a print on demand service, some from a dropshipping service, and some from your Grandpa’s basement – you could be looking at a migraine. Shopify has you covered and allows you to have products that come from yourself and any other fulfillment center you may be using.
Shopify makes it effortless as each product can be set to being fulfilled from anywhere – even in the same collection.
What if I told you people were finding your store and checking out your products. You’d be like, “Cool!”
It is cool.
But don’t you want to know more? To be a successful store owner you will need to know more so you can learn from that knowledge and improve.
Shopify makes this effortless. First of all it comes with nifty charts that tell you useful information like total sales over periods of time, conversion rates, total store visits, average order value, repeat customer rate, and total orders.
Other aspects like where people are finding your site are very useful. If 28 people came to your website from Pinterest that day Shopify will let you know.
It is likely that seven out of 10 of your clients are going to view your e-commerce store using a mobile device. Unfortunately, a lot of platforms are built for use on desktops.
Here are two fun eCommerce website statistics for you:
- Poor mobile design alone is enough for 57% of internet users not to recommend your business to their peers.
- Almost 80% of consumers will stop engaging with your website if the mobile website displays inconveniently.
Shopify knows that people use their phones to shop online and made sure that all themes used on their platform are mobile optimized. They also offer views of your website from desktop, tablet, and mobile versions.
Other Fun Tools
There are multiple fun features and tools that are worth talking about as well.
Kit – A marketing automation tool that can send out emails, create ads, post on social media, and send you reminders.
Burst – Shopify’s stock photo tool that has high quality images that don’t look generic. All the images are free.
Exchange – Shopify has its own store marketplace. If you grow your business and decide you want to sell it then there is a built in environment to delve into.
Shopify has more than 2,000 apps and growing. If there is something for eCommerce that you want the app store will probably have a solution. The more specific the problem the more likely there will be a cost associated with the solution.
If you’re looking to create a dropshipping empire then you can use Oberlo. Want to create custom t-shirts? Check out CustomCat. Marketing options that upsell, improve SEO, or automate email marketing are prevalent as well.
The review system on the app store shows what other people think about the app as well. Some of the best ones even have free versions.
Shopify Customer Support
As Shopify has grown the customer support has actually improved. The large scale of the company has enabled the company to have 24/7 help lines in multiple parts of the world.
Shopify has a staff of self-proclaimed gurus that offer help in any area you might need it. They also offer live chat support and emailing is always an option.
If the customer support team can’t help you for whatever reason or you don’t feel like talking to anyone (we understand) you can always check out other mediums.
Shopify’s knowledge base is full of FAQ’s and in depth tips. They also offer an academy with free training courses full of videos and frequent webinars. On top of that there are text guides on specific topics that can be read.
One underrated part of Shopify’s general appeal is the community. This might be because the WordPress community is so massive and outshines any internet hosting community. The forums for Shopify – whether general Shopify, themes, or apps – are always teeming with useful information and help.
Shopify Pricing Explained
Each tier of pricing includes unlimited products, 24/7 support, the ability to sell in other sales channels, manual order creation, discount codes, SSL certificate, abandoned cart recovery, Shopify payments with fraud analysis, POS app, physical hardware, and robust app selection.
|Shopify Pricing||Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify|
|Features||Two staff accounts and discounted shipping||Five staff accounts, better discounted shipping, gift cards, professional reports, USPS Priority Mail Cubic pricing, and lower payment fees||Fifteen staff accounts, better discounted shipping, gift cards, professional reports, advanced report builder, third-party calculated shipping rates, USPS Priority Mail Cubic pricing, and lower payment fees|
Other costs involved on Shopify are paid apps, paid themes, and domain purchase. There are a large number of apps that are worth the cost as well as useful and beautiful premium themes that can truly elevate your store.
The great thing about Shopify is to have a fully functional store with some of the best features on the market it will only cost you $29 per month. As you scale up your store you can scale up expenses. Shopify also includes a custom enterprise level which allows more customizability for massive stores.
Shopify sole raison d’etre is to help you build a business. If you have the will then they’ve got the way. Other companies have tried to compete but Shopify’s sole purpose is to make sure you have everything you need to sell people products and services.
Our endorsement of Shopify is one that has come from hours of testing and working with as many eCommerce platforms as possible.
Which eCommerce platform is best for small business?
Shopify is the best platform for eCommerce. It’s designed for business owners who want everything at their fingertips with a thriving online community.
What framework is best for eCommerce websites?
The best framework is Shopify. The software has everything that enables you to grow an eCommerce website to the greatest heights possible as well as just run a small boutique shop
Which is the best eCommerce website builder?
The easiest eCommerce website builder to actually build a website on is Squarespace. However, with that initial easiness comes long term sacrifices with eCommerce functionality. The best mix of easiness and functionality is Shopify.
How much does it cost to sell on Shopify?
Plans on Shopify start at $29 per month.
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