Shopify is a hosted e-commerce platform. It’s super popular, with over 3 million websites worldwide, and brands such as Heinz, Deliveroo, Redbull and Kylie cosmetics counted amongst their users.
It offers fixed price plans, is incredibly intuitive with lots of free design templates, and easy integrations to make selling online incredibly simple. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular, but in this article we will have a look at the pros and cons of the platform to hopefully allow you to make a more informed decision on your platform choice.
Shopify allows you to sell across multiple platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, eBay and Amazon, which is really helpful and can save a lot of time and effort doubling up on product listing and can help with inventory control.
Shopify has an abundance of design templates, some free (a LOT payable) - but they can really save you time and money if you are on a budget. Agencies like us are often brought in to either tweak these templates so that the website becomes more bespoke, or to build a bespoke shopify site - but for many start-ups, these templates can be lifesavers.
The app library for shopify is rivalled only by WordPress.There are apps for everything from, instagram feeds on your homepage - to setting up recurring monthly payments, loyalty referral programs and even personalised product plugins. The possibilities are endless.
There’s no denying that Shopify has seamless payment gateway integrations. It has every conceivable payment method for your customers, and all super easy to integrate with most coming as standard and within your pricing package.
If you are looking to build your own shopify store with no development experience then most likely at some point you are going to require support. Shopify’s support is second to none, it’s quick, helpful and easy. They have an enormous library of FAQ’s, help sheets, live chat and also phone support.
Shopify’s interface has been built with a store owner in mind, and not a developer. It’s super intuitive and really easy to understand. They even have an app which you can use for tracking and dispatching orders on the go.
The basic shopify site platform is powerful, but there are lots of ‘nice to have’ additions you’ll likely want on there, many of which come in the form of an external, chargeable, app. You’ll find 1000’s of these at the Shopify App Store, and it’s a treasure trove of super cool additions which can transform your website, but the problem is - they usually come with a monthly fee. Enough of these added on can really bump up your monthly website fees.
There are only 10 free theme templates on shopify, if you don’t want to use one of these for any reason, you’ll need to pay a one-off fee for one from the shopify store. You can of course use an agency to build you a custom theme, but again - this would have cost implications.
The monthly payment fee is quite transparent and includes everything you need to get going. But the fees don’t stop there, shopify charges transaction fees, which is a percentage of sales. They used to charge this fee for every plan, now it doesn't charge you - but only if you use Shopify Payments.
If you want to allow your customers to pay via other methods (such as Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Paypal, Klarna etc) then you will be subject to paying a 2% transaction fee on every purchase.
On Shopify you cannot use multiple discount codes, you are only allowed 1 per order. So if you had a 10% off code, and a free shipping code - the customer would have to pick which one they wanted to use.
Shopify is an easy to use, powerful platform for e-commerce shops. It isn’t without its problems, but that is the same with any out of the box hosted solution. It’s built for the masses - and so you may find that you come up against some issues using Shopify which are specific to you and your business - but overall, with the apps available, it should be able to do whatever you need it to do.
As a solution for businesses it’s flexible, and offers you the ability to grow your online store. It isn’t the cheapest solution, but in our opinion, it’s the best out of the box e-commerce solution out there.
If you need any help getting your shopify store up and running,just get in touch!