Shopify Review – the Pros and Cons of Using This Online Shop Builder
A lot of people are interested in starting a little (or big) online business. There are various tools available online that can help you do this, allowing you to build stores with eCommerce facilities. One of these is Shopify.com, which allows you to handle all online sales. It is said to be one of the better solutions out there, and since it comes with a two week free trial option, I figured I had little to lose in trying it out.
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is designed to give you everything you need to have a running online store. The only thing you have to add to it, as such, is your stock and some business acumen. Essentially, it is about outsourcing those parts of a job that you are perhaps not as good at. If you were to compare it to a physical store, you would leave the design and build of the store to someone else, while you focus on getting stock, customers and staff in place.
Shopify wants to help small business to be able to grow in today’s difficult economy. They want to help them become successful by using state of the art technology that is accessible to anybody, even those with smaller budgets. The company is still kinda small, which makes it more personal, and everybody that works there has to be dedicated to providing excellence and to wanting to solve problems.
When they first started, they serviced just a single store. Because they were unable to find any eCommerce software, they decided to create their own. That store became hugely successful, which encouraged the company to focus on this software solution instead. Just three friends founded Shopify back in 2006. Since then, they have gained tens of thousands of customers, from small local businesses to huge multinationals like General Electric. They still believe in the same features: giving businesses the functionality that they need to run a successful business without having to be an expert in software development.
Shopify is now hugely successful and one of the biggest providers of its kind on the market. It continues to develop, providing newer technology as their customer database grows. The best part is they want people to try Shopify before they make a decision and that’s why you can get a free trial right here.
What Does Shopify Offer?
Shopify basically makes sure the hard parts of online retail are taken care of. Their packages include:
- Complete control over what your website actually looks like, with over 100 different templates and the option of working on a custom design.
- The ability to accept payments through credit card (AMEX, Visa and MasterCard) through secure payment options.
- Full SSL encryption so that customer data is always secure.
- Round the clock customer support.
- The ability to sync your physical store with your online store through Shopify POS.
Shopify Prices and Packages
Shopify offers five different packages.
- The Starter package, at $14 per month. This offers almost no functionality, but is sufficient to give you a bit more opportunity to try things after your trial period is completed.
- The Basic package, at $29 per month. This gives you unlimited bandwidth and products, as well as 1GB of storage. The transaction fees are set at 2% and you can also access a discount code engine.
- The Professional package, at $79 per month, which has the same unlimited bandwidth and products, but comes with 2GB of storage and a transaction fee of 1%. Besides the discount code engine, you also get gift cards, recovery of abandoned carts and professional reports.
- The Unlimited package, at $179 per month, which has unlimited bandwidth and packages once again, but also unlimited storage and no transaction fees. It has the discount code engine, the gift cards, abandoned carts and professional reports, but also an advanced report builder and real-time carrier shipping.
- The Enterprise package, which is a bespoke package.
- Shopify POS, which allows you to sync your physical store to your online store, costs an additional $49 per month and can be added to each of the packages.
What I Liked About Shopify
- It comes with a 14 day free trial. Access that trial here.
- It does not require any software and you don’t have to be technically minded to work it.
- The templates are really good and with so many to choose from, it is likely that you will find one that suits your needs. If not, you have the opportunity to design one yourself.
- It is easy to customize everything so that it suits your specific needs, even if eCommerce isn’t the main driver of your website.
- Spotify also has blogging functionality, which makes it far easier to promote your website through SEO purposes and other types of inbound marketing.
- It works really well with AdWords.
- You can keep track of all your orders and your customer data, essentially offering a CMS system.
- You can link your physical retail store with your online store.
What I Didn’t Like
- Some people would say that a company that has as many customers as Shopify should be offering more than 100 templates for stores. You can however find people to easily customize templates and built templates from scratch for you though.
- The prices of templates on Shopify are quite high, starting at $80.
- Some of the customization options, particularly adding text and subpages is really complicated and could be made easier. However, there is round the clock customer support, so you can get any help you need as you need it.
- There are a number of fees that you will have to pay in order to have real functionality. Each add-on will cost you a little bit more as well.
Shopify is one of the giants out there in terms of eCommerce and for good reason. Improvements could most definitely be made, particularly in terms in their shop templates. However, compared to what else is out there, I would say that Shopify really is the best one out of the bunch and I also believe it will continue to improve as customer demands become more stringent.
If you do want to set up an online store, whether linked to a physical retail store or not, I highly recommend you use Shopify.