If you are reading this article, it is likely that you have read somewhere or have at least heard about the kind of success businesses have achieved by launching e-commerce stores.
You might be already aware about the huge potential that the online medium presents businesses. Perhaps you already have a business that has a strong physical presence, with little or no online presence due to a lack of time on hand.
Furthermore, you may have a great idea for starting an online store but still looking for a website developer who can develop it for you.
In any of these cases, you will be glad to know that it is now possible for you to get your customized online web store created to help you start selling your products online. And yes, this can be done without coding required.
A popular online shop builder like Shopify could prove to be your ideal partner for fulfilling your online store goals.
If you have been searching online and have been reading about e-commerce, you would have read about Shopify or seen its ads on some websites or even on Facebook.
Shopify has gained in popularity recently and is dubbed as one of the easiest e-Commerce shoe builders around – it allows you to build your site without any technical skills or coding required.
In this article, we review the features of the Shopify as an online shop builder, its pros, and cons, along with the various plans it offers, and much more.
You can read further to learn if Shopify is the platform for you to take your existing business online or to maybe start a new e-commerce business altogether online.
Rest assured that we provide honest feedback here, based on our own experience for building several online stores catering to a variety of industries like apparel, electronics, photography, and much more.
Pros of Using Shopify
Built-in Speed & Security for Hosting
Below are the results of a Speed Test on Shopify Store:
If you have an online store, you have dual needs from your hosting. First, you need it to be ultra fast and you need it to be secure if you are processing credit cards.
For every tenth of a second that your customer waits for your page to load is a second that they might leave and go to other websites. In fact, studies show that people only wait up to 4 seconds for a site to load before leaving –his gets even tighter for e-commerce websites.
Also, you also need to route your customer’s credit cards through extra layers of security to be PCI compliant and process credit cards. A lot of stores outsource payments to a third-party payment gateways (such as PayPal or Google Wallet), but even that connection can be slowed down if your store isn’t set up correctly.
Shopify allows you to do all the things I have said above – so you won’t have to worry about hackers, caching, compliance, and a whole range of issues that come with hosting an online store.
It Comes With All the Necessary Features
If you’re building a shopping website, getting all the pieces of an online store together can actually be a daunting task.
Yeah, you can strip the bare bones down to having someone to buy your products, and allowing him/her to pay and give you their information – but to do it right – you’re going to want other features on top.
You need integrated payments, you need an option to easily add and remove products, you need to customize the look of your store,and you’re definitely going to want to have solid, easy to implement Analytics to track everything.
Shopify had everything you needed to run a successful online store – without being nickel and dimed in feature upgrades.
Awesome Customer Support
Shopify has a huge database of FAQs, email/chat support, as well as phone support – with a real, knowledgeable representative on the other side.
When you are too focused on running your own online store – this safety net of always having someone at your back is really worth it – you can achieve it with the Shopify subscription price alone.
For me, web platforms should at least have 3 levels of customization. First, it should look good out of the box; second, it should be scalable without having to employ and professional freelancers; and lastly, it has tons of custom themes that you can buy and apply.
Shopify has it all, and I give it a huge pro for that. It runs off a theme system with free themes bundled out of the box for you to choose from. It has a wide variety of custom-built themes that you can buy through their marketplace. Moreover, Shopify makes its theme system available so that you can customize it and create any type of shop you want.
Cons of Using Shopify
Pricing is “con with caveat” for Shopify. It’s built-in credit cards & no transaction fees are huge, but the monthly price & add-on fees can really add up. But if you will sum it up, Shopify is slightly pricier than Volusion & slightly cheaper than BigComerce. But then again, it still depends on your payments, apps, and other factors. The price differences are close enough that you should be comparing based on main features & customer service.
Shopify just like other hosted platforms is going to be consistently more expensive month to month than a self-hosted store you run yourself. However, Shopify tends to have really $$$ development needs occasionally – especially if you’re running a bigger online store.
If you know how to code or you’re technically inclined and have a smaller shop, Shopify pricing will be expensive. If you want to focus on just running & marketing your online store, then Shopify’s pricing will actually be a pro.
Hacking around customization
Earlier, I made the point that a pro of Shopify is that it looks awesome out of the box. It has great custom themes available, and can be fully customized by a developer/designer.
Now to the con of their customization setup – Shopify uses a unique setup to customize their themes versus using something like PHP for their templates.
It may be a huge plus in some ways, but for those users who love to tweak things without doing a full-on customization, it can be annoying.
I’m used to tweaking WordPress templates because they use PHP, while the Shopify Liquid setup is a bit foreign to me and most likely will be the same case for other first-timers.
Content marketing is a huge for e-commerce. This helps you boost your organic traffic, increase social media presence, grow your brand, and educate your customers. For me, a blogging software is a must for an online store.
Shopify comes with built-in blogging software, but it’s not the best – especially if you are familiar with WordPress. Yeah, it gets the job done, and it’s better than its competitor’s options, but compared to WordPress, it is definitely something I’d love to see improved upon.
Shopify is a good e-commerce platform to grow with. They have the features, support, and pricing to cover your needs whether you are new in the business – or if you want to be the next Amazon.
However, if you were to ever want to leave, the best thing that you could get would be a CSV export of all your product information. Everything else will be gone. It’s the same thing with BigCommerce as well as with Volusion, but it’s still a con to consider when looking for an online store platform.
If you are looking for an all-in-one e-commerce solution provider for your online store business, and you are looking to add products every once in a while – and you have a little bit of technical know-how, then Shopify is your best bet.
If you are looking for something cheaper that’s easier to setup , then you might want to consider BigCommerce.
If you are a brand looking for an enterprise solution, then you can opt for Shopify Plus!
If you have any comments, questions, or experiences – please let me know in the comments!