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Shopify Review – Pros & Cons of Using Shopify For eCommerce

Shopify ReviewShopify Review

By: Larry Ludwig

Up to date: Jan 31, 2022

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There are lots of choices for operating a web based retailer – Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce answer that I’ve used to run a number of on-line shops & seek the advice of with purchasers since 2009. Right here’s my Shopify assessment – with 11+ Shopify professionals and cons in your on-line retailer.


However first, a bit of background.

There are lots of choices for operating a web based retailer, and your selection of the perfect eCommerce platform can have simply as large of an impact on your enterprise as selecting a constructing or location for a bodily retailer. It’s not the end-all of the enterprise – however it actually could make or break your enterprise – and may both develop your alternative or severely kneecap your enterprise.

What Is Shopify?

Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform that gives every little thing you want from finish to finish (minus the product and enterprise know-how) to arrange and begin promoting your product(s) to the world versus you placing all of the items collectively your self (see Shopify’s plans). I’ve written a full publish on what Shopify is and the way Shopify works.

It’s type of like hiring a basic contractor to construct your home, over being the contractor and hiring sub-contractors your self. You’re nonetheless in management, however you let the overall contractor use their experience to make the challenge occur. My go-to analogy is with actual property.


Ecommerce Real Estate TradeoffsVariations in Shopify with Different Choices

There are professionals and cons to the method – which is what we’ll get into. However principally know that Shopify immediately competes primarily with BigCommerce and Volusion – all three of which offer turn-key eCommerce options, which in flip compete with non-turnkey options (like establishing your personal retailer with WordPress + WooCommerce).

And these hosted options type of compete with eCommerce “marketplaces” like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. I wrote extra about how Shopify can work with Etsy right here and the way Shopify competes with web site builders like Wix.

Apart – Shopify additionally has a “Purchase button” performance that means that you can use Shopify as a Level of Sale (POS) / Stock possibility – and let prospects click on to purchase your merchandise wherever on-line (Pinterest, Fb, WordPress weblog, Tumblr, and so forth) and wherever offline like Farmer’s Markets, tradeshows, and so forth.


Shopify Lite

I’ll be trying much less at that – and extra at Shopify’s full on-line retailer bundle. You will get the Purchase button solely as half of the Lite Plan, however it actually competes with PayPal & Sq. relatively than full on-line retailer choices.

Is Shopify Legit and Protected?

Sure, Shopify is a publicly-traded firm with audited software program and industry-leading safety.

Nonetheless, do remember of any get-rich-quick schemes involving Shopify. With Shopify’s ubiquity, it has attracted its share of scammers and fraudsters. The problem is primarily with consumers coping with dropshipping enterprise and chargeback points.

For legit Shopify retailer house owners although, Shopify is software program. It’s an eCommerce answer – not a turn-key enterprise. A profitable Shopify retailer nonetheless must do the work to discover a product and a market, and promote no matter it’s a must to promote. Shopify is a secure and legit solution to make the method simpler.

How Does Shopify Work?

Shopify is pretty simple – which is type of their complete promoting level. Shopify works as follows –

  • Choose a Shopify plan that matches your funds and have wants.
  • “Level” your area that you just purchased from a site registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap to your Shopify retailer. You may also purchase one through Shopify.
  • Select a design/template in your retailer. You may edit a free one through their drag/drop web site builder instrument or purchase a premium one or rent a designer.
  • Add your merchandise, web page content material, cost choices, and so forth.
  • Go get prospects! Right here’s an eCommerce advertising and marketing technique to get you began.
  • Now, Shopify has constructed a whole “ecosystem” round their platform. There are lots of methods to earn money with Shopify, however for now, I’ll concentrate on Shopify as a web based retailer platform. Study extra about how Shopify works on this publish.

    Is Shopify Value It?

    It relies upon! That may be a maddening reply, I do know. But it surely’s true. Shopify is a instrument. It may not be for you. If you’re promoting a single digital product in your weblog, then Shopify might be not price it.

    A PayPal button or a WooCommerce plugin in your WordPress web site would work. But when you have to run a multi-product eCommerce retailer with stock, advertising and marketing instruments, buyer data, and so forth – then Shopify is completely price it…if the professionals and cons steadiness out for you primarily based in your objectives, assets, experience, and so forth.

    Make sense? Cool. Let’s dive into the precise Shopify assessment.

    Shopify Pricing

    There are solely 3 Shopify plans. As with many on-line providers, you’ll be able to improve your account as your enterprise grows.

    PlanPrimary ShopifyShopifySuperior Shopify
    Workers Accounts2515
    Stock Places458
    On-line Credit score Card Charges2.9% + $0.302.6% + $0.302.4% + $0.30
    In-Individual Credit score Card Charges2.7%2.5%2.4%
    Non-Shopify Fee Price2.0%1.0%0.5%
    Nation-Particular Domainssuresure

    Shopify Pros

    There are lots of Shopify opinions on-line – normally with user-generated opinions primarily based on anecdotes and private expertise. That’s positive however I take a distinct method. I’ve labored with Shopify not solely as a retailer proprietor but in addition as a advisor to shops operating on Shopify – plus, consulting prospects with shops operating on platforms starting from custom-built platforms to WooCommerce and dozens of others. There is no such thing as a such factor as a “greatest” selection – solely the precise selection in your retailer primarily based in your assets and targets.

    With that in thoughts – right here’s what I discovered to be the professionals of utilizing Shopify – not simply compared to BigCommerce and different direct opponents, but in addition as an total eCommerce answer.

    Constructed-in Pace & Safety for Internet hosting

    Listed here are the outcomes of a velocity check for my native espresso store that runs their retailer on Shopify:

    Shopify Speed Test

    One of the challenges of operating a web based retailer is that you’ve got twin wants out of your internet hosting: you want it to be screaming quick and also you want it to be tremendous safe in case you are processing bank cards.

    For each further tenth of a second {that a} buyer waits in your web page to load is a second that they could very properly go away and go to your competitors. In actual fact, most research present that individuals will solely wait as much as 4 seconds for a web site to load earlier than leaving – and this will get even tighter for eCommerce websites.

    On the flip aspect, you additionally must route your buyer’s bank cards by way of further layers of safety to stay PCI compliant and course of bank cards. Many shops outsource funds to a third-party vendor (akin to PayPal or Google Pockets), however even that connection will be slowed in case your retailer isn’t arrange appropriately.

    An all-in-one answer like Shopify means that you can flip that aspect of the enterprise over to the professionals and simply allow them to fear about hackers, caching, compliance, and a complete vary of points that include internet hosting a web based retailer. Shopify can do issues like pay bounties to safety researchers to hack-proof their programs. Shopify is secure and legit. They’re a publicly traded firm with large investments in software program & safety engineering.

    There are a ton of components that go into web site velocity, however, since Shopify can deal with velocity & safety at a “world” platform degree – they’ll do it particularly properly. They supply 100% SSL, hold their websites screaming quick, and combine with cost suppliers properly so as to at all times receives a commission, and prospects are by no means ready for his or her web page to load.

    All The Needed Options

    Shopify Features

    Whether or not you might be constructing your personal eCommerce answer or looking for an all-in-one answer, getting all of the items of a web based retailer collectively can really be a bit difficult.

    Positive, you’ll be able to strip the naked bones all the way down to having a product as much as purchase, and permit somebody to pay and offer you their info – however to do it proper – you’re going to need different options on prime.

    You’re going to need built-in funds; you’re going to need a straightforward manner so as to add and take away merchandise; you’re going to need to have the ability to customise the look of your retailer; and also you’re undoubtedly going to need to have stable, simple to implement analytics to trace every little thing (one thing that Volusion makes it powerful to implement).

    Every time I’ve run shops for purchasers or myself previously, Shopify had every little thing I wanted to run an incredible on-line retailer – with out being nickel and dimed in upgrades or unnoticed to dry with no key characteristic.

    Nice Buyer Help

    Shopify Support

    After I distinction my experiences between constructing an eCommerce retailer myself (with one thing like WordPress + WooCommerce) and operating it with one thing like Shopify – buyer help is one of my prime causes to go together with one thing like Shopify.

    If you end up constructing it and operating it your self – you don’t have any one to show to, besides $$$ builders and infrequently unresponsive on-line boards. With Shopify – you get solutions quick. And all my buyer help experiences with Shopify have been actually quick, appropriate, and useful – from each a developer and storeowner perspective.

    They’ve an enormous database of FAQs, e-mail/chat help…and cellphone help – with an actual, educated rep on the opposite aspect.

    If you end up targeted on operating your on-line retailer – this security internet of at all times having somebody at your again with solutions is principally definitely worth the Shopify subscription worth alone. And on this level, Shopify particularly shines.

    Advertising and marketing

    What good is a web based retailer for those who can’t get anybody to indicate up? That’s what advertising and marketing is for – and it’s one thing that Shopify actually excels at. Shopify doesn’t supply the fanciest advertising and marketing instruments on the planet (as half of the primary bundle – they provide extra within the App Market) – however they do embrace the necessities – and so they be certain they do the necessities very well. For instance, search engine optimization:

    Shopify Category & Product Content Editor

    For advertising and marketing campaigns (akin to e-mail, Google Adverts, Fb Adverts, and so forth), Shopify means that you can shortly and simply create touchdown pages, which is a key differentiating issue between different all-in-one platforms (and a few DIY platforms).

    And for search engine optimization – Shopify creates 100% crawlable, clear code. They permit {custom} Title tags, and meta descriptions (see screenshot) – even on collections, along with different necessities like Search Console, sitemaps, and the prevention of the perennial bane of eCommerce search engine optimization…duplicate content material (for search engine optimization geeks, they use canonicals correctly).

    Regardless that they don’t enable “root” or FTP entry, as an search engine optimization advisor, I’ve at all times been in a position to implement even technical objects through their front-end code editor. Or – they really have already got all of the superior technical objects are accomplished for me (e.g., Schema, SSL, Canonicals, Sitemaps, and so forth) in order that I can concentrate on issues like content material technique.

    When you’re searching for an all-in-one platform that does good advertising and marketing for search engine optimization, Google Adverts, and anything up your sleeve – Shopify is a superb selection in my expertise.


    Shopify Review Design Options

    I feel that good internet platforms ought to at all times supply not less than 2 ranges of customization: first, it ought to look positive out of the field; second, it ought to be simply improvable with out having to make use of {and professional} graphic designer or developer.

    WordPress is an effective instance of this – it seems to be nice out of the field; it has tons of {custom} themes which you could purchase and apply, however it additionally has the flexibility to be wielded by an expert designer to create a extremely high-end web site.

    Shopify has this skill as properly, and I give an enormous professional to Shopify for that. Shopify runs off a theme system. It has a default Shopify theme plus just a few free Shopify themes bundled out of the field to select from, and all kinds of custom-built themes to buy by way of their market. As well as, as you’ll be able to see within the screenshot above, Shopify makes its theme system obtainable so {that a} designer or developer can customise it and create any sort of store you need – whether or not you’re a tiny area of interest boutique or a multi-million greenback enterprise.

    If you’re simply beginning, you may make do exactly positive with a free theme and improve as you’ll be able to justify/want it or you need to use their drag & drop structure instrument in case you are extra comfy there.

    Add-Ons / Plugins (Shopify App Retailer + Purchase Button)

    Shopify Apps

    Shopify comes with a ton of options built-in. However no platform can probably accommodate all of the options wanted by retailer house owners. So, Shopify took a web page from Fb, Apple, and Android by beginning an App Retailer.

    Shopify gives the platform and all of the core options, plus it permits third-party app builders to supply hyper-specialized merchandise that plugin seamlessly to Shopify’s platform. These choices embrace free and paid theme choices that transcend the default Shopify template. The Shopify App Retailer consists of apps for every little thing from dropshipping to gross sales options to cost gateway to social media integration to product assessment apps.

    With this setup – you don’t have to fret about discovering a developer each time you need a sure characteristic as a result of it’s most likely within the Shopify App Retailer…and shall be lots cheaper and can work precisely as marketed.

    And over the previous 12 months, this has become one of Shopify’s “killer options” that places them forward of a lot of their direct competitors. So many corporations combine immediately with Shopify that it’s simple to buy the precise answer for no matter you want (ie, for e-mail, retargeting, CRM, and so forth).*

    *This additionally extends to hiring contractors. Shopify has a Shopify Skilled and Shopify Accomplice program the place a Shopify service provider can discover curated assist to work with every little thing from establishing a Shopify account to search engine optimization to constructing a product web page to designing a whole web site.

    Moreover, Shopify has actually invested in its Purchase button. On one hand, it’s a bit complicated to promote any product separate out of your web site. However, it provides lots of flexibility for manufacturers which have a presence throughout the net – or for retailers that simply don’t need to arrange a full eCommerce web site on a site (obtainable on the Shopify Lite Plan).

    Not all platforms have the size to tug this off appropriately, however Shopify does – and so they have a enterprise growth crew that particularly works on creating new apps and bringing new builders to resolve issues. The App Retailer is a large professional for me with Shopify.

    Firm Construction & Measurement

    Shopify is a publicly-traded firm on the New York Inventory Alternate (SHOP). They’re quickly rising with tons and much of development initiatives.

    Now, Wall Avenue earnings stress can create some downsides for patrons (see Pricing part in Cons). But it surely additionally signifies that the corporate is mature with a concentrate on all issues eCommerce and entry to capital and assets.

    Now that issues as a result of of the large elephant of eCommerce…Amazon.

    Amazon could be a blessing and a curse for impartial eCommerce sellers. They provide an enormous market…however promoting on Amazon is finally a feudal association. It’s significantly better to steal worth from Amazon to construct your personal model & on-line retailer.

    That’s the place Shopify’s eCommerce heft is available in. Shopify doesn’t have a market like Amazon (and that’s a great factor – you are attempting to construct your personal gross sales channels). However Shopify does have cutting-edge instruments that can assist you compete with Amazon. Along with Shopify’s gross sales channels (which really embrace an app to sync stock with an Amazon vendor account), they’re always rolling out new instruments and even big initiatives like third get together success, POS programs, and enterprise branding instruments.

    Shopify Cons

    Not each platform is ideal although, and a Shopify assessment wouldn’t be full with out overlaying the cons of utilizing Shopify for a web based retailer. Let’s dive into the 6 cons of utilizing Shopify for eCommerce.

    Shopify’s Pricing

    Shopify Pricing

    Ecommerce pricing will be extraordinarily complicated. Between the charges right here and subscriptions there – it might probably get irritating quick.

    Now, in some ways, Shopify does significantly better than opponents with pricing transparency and total worth. When you absolutely purchase into the Shopify platform, you may get the perfect pricing within the {industry}….however there are just a few caveats to think about. And it’s these caveats that put Pricing into the cons / damaging tradeoffs.

    Right here’s a rundown of 4 parts of pricing it is best to contemplate.

    First, your month-to-month worth – the sticker worth you pay each month for a sure degree of options. Shopify’s plans begin with the Lite Plan at $9 USD per thirty days and go up from there. However be aware that the Lite plan is just for Purchase button sellers. Actually, I’d say that Shopify begins at $29/mo for the Shopify Primary Plan and goes up. This worth is the best to check to different suppliers.

    Second, your platform transaction charges – the extra charge you pay to a platform as a p.c of gross sales. Shopify used to cost a transaction charge on all their plans, however now not does…for those who use Shopify as your cost processor.

    Shopify Transaction Fees

    It is best to take note of these when cross-comparing. If you have already got a third get together processor like Authorize.internet or Sq. – then Shopify might grow to be dearer than different choices. However – for those who use Shopify Funds, they could be cheaper. The purpose is to fastidiously evaluate.

    Third, your bank card charges – these was fairly standardized – and for essentially the most half nonetheless are. Nonetheless, Shopify Funds runs its personal POS & processing community so that you don’t must undergo a third get together processor. Which means charges go to Shopify Pay relatively than a processor like PayPal or Authorize.internet. It could possibly prevent a bit of cash and a **ton** of problem.

    Shopify Credit Card Rates

    It may be complicated to check, and there are some lock-in points to think about with Shopify. However Shopify Funds saves lots of time in problem for those who don’t have already got a processor…and should add some prices for those who already do.

    Fourth, your add-on and plugin charges – these are third get together apps, plugins, or bits of software program which you could buy to make your retailer higher. Often, these are one-time purchases, however typically they run off transaction charges. Shopify has an enormous app retailer. Many are free, however some are paid. Make sure you funds for these when planning your retailer.

    Shopify’s apps are virtually at all times higher than native options constructed into different platforms – however can simply improve prices in comparison with native options…particularly for stock administration & wholesaler options. If you need extra native options, examine Volusion, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce as Shopify options.

    Pricing is a “con with a caveat” for Shopify. The built-in bank cards & no transaction charges are an enormous constructive, however month-to-month worth & add-on charges can add up. Mainly, Shopify is barely pricier than Volusion & barely cheaper than BigCommerce as a basic rule…until you lock into Shopify Funds – at which level the scales can tip again. The value variations are shut sufficient that you ought to be evaluating primarily based on options & service.

    Shopify, like all hosted platforms, goes to be constantly dearer month to month than a self-hosted retailer you run your self. Nonetheless, self-hosted shops (like WordPress + WooCommerce) are inclined to have actually $$$ growth wants often – particularly for those who’re operating an even bigger setup.

    You probably have some technical know-how and a smaller store, Shopify pricing shall be costly. If you wish to concentrate on operating & advertising and marketing your retailer (and like recognized month-to-month prices), then Shopify’s pricing will really be an unimaginable worth. You don’t have to rent builders or a technically savvy search engine optimization advisor to take care of issues like Google Service provider Heart or Schema.

    Hacking round customization

    Shopify Editing Screen for Shopify Review (2016)

    I made the purpose earlier that one Shopify professional is that it seems to be good out of the field, has nice {custom} Shopify theme choices obtainable, and has the flexibility to be absolutely personalized by a developer/designer.

    Now to the con of their customization setup – they use a singular setup to customise their themes versus utilizing one thing like PHP for his or her templates. It’s an enormous plus in some methods, however for somebody who likes to tweak issues with out doing full-on customization, it may be annoying.

    I’m used to tweaking WordPress templates as a result of they’re in PHP – which is a typical language and thus has tons of boards and help, whereas the Shopify Liquid setup is a bit overseas to me and every other first-timers.

    It’s pretty simple to choose up, and so they do supply wonderful help within the Shopify boards, however I nonetheless contemplate it a bit of a con to must develop into conversant in Liquid to tweak my retailer’s theme.

    Content material Advertising and marketing

    Shopify Blog Functionality for Shopify Review

    Content material advertising and marketing is a large advertising and marketing medium for eCommerce. You may enhance your natural visitors, improve social shares, develop your model, and educate your prospects.

    Shopify comes with built-in running a blog software program…however it’s not the best – particularly in case you are spoiled for WordPress. It will get the job accomplished, and it’s higher than their opponents’ choices, however is certainly one thing I’d like to see improved.

    My rule of thumb is that for those who run a weblog that now has a retailer – then including WooCommerce to WordPress is smart. However – in case you are primarily a web based retailer with a weblog as a advertising and marketing instrument, then Shopify works properly.

    Shopify Jargon


    Each eCommerce platform goes to have a studying curve, however I discovered that Shopify has a barely steeper curve simply because the jargon they use is barely off. Whether or not it’s their Liquid theme arrange, utilizing “collections” over “classes”, or numerous different small edits – I discover their retailer arrange to not be precisely how I’d set issues up.

    As soon as you determine Collections, I feel they work properly – however I’ve had readers write in particularly mentioning Shopify’s categorization as a difficulty, particularly in comparison with Volusion which tends to focus extra on stock options.

    The Shopify Dashboard just isn’t super-intuitive till you understand that it’s arrange as an eCommerce enterprise view – not as a web based retailer view. Your retailer administration is one degree down as a channel (see video beneath).

    It’s not an enormous con – however different options like BigCommerce are a bit extra simple with their “consumer expertise.” This con is way improved although with the discharge of Shopify 2 (as seen within the preliminary setup video beneath) – however remains to be there.


    Big Decision

    Lock-in is one thing I needed to embrace in my Shopify assessment, though it’s a con for all-in-one eCommerce usually. Right here’s the deal – for those who ever determine to maneuver your retailer to a distinct platform – it’s not going to be easy. This makes selecting an eCommerce platform particularly tough as a result of it’s a must to plan for the longer term – and never simply contemplate prices proper now.

    For my part, Shopify is an incredible platform to develop with. They’ve the size, options, help, and pricing to cowl you whether or not you’re a model new one-product store – or if you wish to be the following Amazon. There’s no upsell to the following plan degree – every little thing is clear and clear.

    Nonetheless, for those who have been to ever need to go away, the perfect you could possibly get could be a CSV export of your product info. All the pieces else – gone. It’s the identical with BigCommerce, Volusion, and any “hosted eCommerce platform”, however it’s nonetheless a con to think about when searching for a web based retailer platform.

    Preliminary setup

    The final con of utilizing Shopify in your on-line retailer is their preliminary setup course of. With the discharge of Shopify 2 – Shopify has undoubtedly made the preliminary setup of your on-line retailer a lot simpler – however it nonetheless isn’t a “simply add water” step-by-step. It’s simple in a way, however I feel they oversell it a bit. It requires somewhat bit of technical know-how (particularly to get your area title redirecting appropriately).

    For anybody who buys into Shopify anticipating to be earning profits in quarter-hour goes to be disillusioned. The rationale it takes a bit longer and requires a bit of technical information is that Shopify does do it proper, and doesn’t let you lower corners – and so they don’t make actual choices for you.

    Shopify Video Review

    Shopify Options

    Ought to You Use Shopify?

    If you’re searching for an all-in-one eCommerce answer in your on-line retailer, and also you need to develop and add merchandise – and your main focus is advertising and marketing & development, then Shopify shall be an ideal match for you.

    If you’re searching for one thing somewhat bit cheaper, and somewhat bit simpler to arrange – then I might additionally contemplate BigCommerce (see my Bigcommerce assessment). Take my eCommerce platform quiz that may assist you determine.

    If you’re solely trying to promote just a few merchandise (relatively than constructing a complete on-line retailer), then try this publish for the perfect web site builder for promoting merchandise.

    If you’re a model searching for an enterprise answer, I wrote about my expertise with Shopify Plus – Shopify’s enterprise answer.


    Sure, Shopify is an effective eCommerce platform for many on-line retailer house owners. However like several firm, they’ve tradeoffs. I’d run by way of some of the disadvantages listed above (ie, no market, content material advertising and marketing, and so forth) to see in the event that they match you. In any other case, sure, Shopify is the market-leading eCommerce instrument for a motive.

    Is it higher to promote on Amazon or Shopify?

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim advert minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

    How a lot does it price to promote on Shopify?

    Shopify’s plans begin at $29/mo and go up relying on totally different options. They don’t cost a transaction charge, however bank card corporations do cost their charges (although much less for those who use Shopify as your cost supplier). Many sellers might select to buy paid apps or premium design themes, however none of these are obligatory to start out.

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