Is Shopify the ideal e-commerce platform for you and your online store? We’ll help you figure that out in this review which will break down the pros and cons, features, and pricing of Shopify.
Want to learn how to create your own website and online store? Check out our list of the best WordPress online courses to get started.
What is Shopify?
When it comes to e-commerce platforms, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one more popular or feature-packed than Shopify. With its many built-in apps and features, you can use Shopify to build your own online store without any deep tech skills, scale it, and grow your brand while increasing your bottom line. And, while you can make many sales directly through your Shopify store, the platform also gives you the power to sell through social media and other online marketplaces.
Advantages and disadvantages of Shopify
Where does Shopify excel as an e-commerce platform and where could it improve? Let’s see that now with these lists of pros and cons.
Benefits of Shopify
Here’s a list of what we consider Shopify’s pros for online store builders and web developers:
- Huge app library – You don’t need to hire an expensive programmer to give your online store all the bells and whistles you desire, because Shopify integrates with over 3,000 third-party apps and extensions to extend the functionality of your site.
- Sell on various platforms – There’s no need to limit your sales to your store, as Shopify enables cross-platform selling that allows you to expand your reach through other sales channels like Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and Instagram.
- A plethora of payment options – If your payment options are limited, you might be missing out on sales. This won’t be a problem with Shopify as it has its own gateway (Shopify Payments) and supports over 100 other payment options.
- Tons of templates – You can get started with Shopify’s massive catalog of free and premium templates that saves you from wasting a ton of time designing your site.
- Supports large stores – With Shopify’s robust inventory system and backend editor, you can scale and manage your online store worry-free.
- Superb support – Even the slightest hitch to the site could result in a significant loss of revenue. You can enjoy the peace of mind offered by Shopify’s 24/7 support in case something goes wrong.
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Disadvantages of Shopify
Here’s a list of what we consider to be the downsides of Shopify as an e-commerce and website builder platform:
- High transaction fees – Some of your profits could be eaten up by transaction fees if you choose to use something other than Shopify Payments to run your store. Add other payment gateway expenses and you could be in for sticker shock.
- Usability – The phrase “practice makes perfect” applies to Shopify’s editor, as it might take some getting used to, especially if you don’t have experience with similar software.
- Cost – On the surface, Shopify looks cheap. However, once you factor in transaction fees and the cost of using certain apps, Shopify can eat away at a good chunk of your store’s monthly budget.
- A need for applications – Shopify’s extensive integration with apps is one of the platform’s strengths, but it’s also a weakness. Why? Because you may find yourself depending on many apps to get the job done, and some of them have separate costs.
Although the full list of Shopify features is too long to list here, we’ll do our best to outline the main highlights and features.
It doesn’t matter how many features Shopify has if they are too complicated to use. Luckily, that’s not a problem since Shopify is, for the most part, user-friendly, provided you invest some time getting used to it.
The Shopify interface is simple and relatively straightforward. So even beginners shouldn’t have too much trouble finding their way around the platform. Setting up the basics of your online store shouldn’t be too difficult, although it probably won’t be up and running in less than 10 minutes. As long as you can get over the possible initial intimidation that comes with setting up your own online store, you’ll find Shopify user-friendly and not as difficult as it looks.
On the other hand, don’t be surprised if you get a little frustrated when using Shopify at first.
A common complaint is that the interface can be clunky when switching between front and back to change designs, change product displays, etc.
Shopify’s themes – or templates – look great and are diverse enough to make it easy to find the right fit for your brand. More importantly, they are highly functional and responsive whether your customers are browsing your store on a desktop computer or shopping on the go via a mobile device or tablet.
And, if you want to modify a Shopify theme to suit your exact needs, you can because they are customizable.
Although each theme has its own set of features to grab your attention, you can count on standard features such as free updates, free stock photos, diverse color palettes and styles, mobile friendliness, drop-down navigation, customizable content. sections and built-in SEO tools.
Shopify simplifies the management of your products via:
- An inventory management feature that allows you to update product listings, monitor orders, and track stock levels.
- Quickly customizable product variations that differ in color, size, material, weight, price, and more.
You can choose from over 100 payment gateways with Shopify to ensure your customers can purchase products without difficulty. To take advantage of the lowest transaction fees and sell in multiple currencies, you will need to choose Shopify Payments.
Shopify helps your store reach its full profit potential by allowing you to sell on various online channels like Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and Instagram.
You don’t need a physical product to sell to make money with Shopify because you can sell digital products and services through the platform once you install an app like Shopify digital downloads.
Speaking of apps, if there’s a feature you want to add to your store, you can probably do it through an app. Shopify offers over 1,000 free and paid apps in its store to extend your site’s functionality.
Abandoned cart recovery
One of the major built-in features of Shopify is its abandoned cart recoverywhich can entice customers to make a purchase once they leave your site by sending them emails, offering discount codes, and more. This feature alone can help you recover up to 15% of your customers.
An essential part of e-commerce is shipping, and Shopify makes it as easy as possible through partnerships with UPS, USPS, DHL, and more. Whether you want to change your shipping rates or print labels, you can do it all through Shopify’s shipping features.
Is your site performing up to its potential? Shopify’s reporting tools can give you that answer, so you can get insights into your sales, customer retention rate, and more.
Advertising by e-mail
If you’re not emailing your customers, you’re potentially leaving a ton of money on the table. Shopify integrates with third-party email apps like Klayivo and Constant Contact so you can run this essential part of e-commerce.
We have a great tutorial that highlights some of the best email marketing tips.
SEO and digital marketing
Your store won’t succeed if it’s hidden in search engine results or poorly optimized. Shopify solves this problem with a wide range of SEO tools to ensure your site is seen and positioned in the SERPs so you can make sales.
Want to learn more about search engine optimization? Check out our SEO section for a whole host of digital marketing tutorials and tips.
Point of sale
Do you sell more in person than online? Use the Shopify POS app to accept in-store credit card payments, sell gift cards, and more.
If your store follows the dropshipping model, Shopify will suffice as long as you install one of its dropshipping apps like Oberlo or AliExpress.
You don’t need to be an accountant to run your online business, because Shopify can help with its built-in tax calculator.
How much does Shopify cost?
Shopify offers five pricing plans designed to meet different needs:
- Basic – Gives you all the essentials to build your store, process payments, and ship products for $29 per month.
- Shopify – Offers basic features with additional employee accounts and professional reports to grow your online business for $79 per month.
- Advanced – Provides you with “the best of Shopify” while giving you the lowest transaction fees and personalized reports.
- Hall – An alternative solution that allows you to sell products online through messaging apps and social networks for $5 per month.
- ShopifyPlus – Another alternative solution designed for high-volume businesses looking for enterprise power. This is by far the most expensive Shopify plan, priced at $2,000 per month.
Again, remember that the actual price of using these plans can vary greatly depending on your transaction fees and the number of apps you decide to use.
Looking for an e-commerce solution or online website builder other than Shopify? Check out our list of Shopify alternatives for more online store options.
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