Shopify hosts over 500,000 stores on its platform with a combined sales volume of $45 billion meaning the average stores generates $90,000 in revenue. Shopify had a humble beginning when one of the founders, Tobias Lütke, was unsatisfied with the current e-commerce providers back in the early 2000’s. So instead of complaining, he used Ruby language and Rails framework to develop his own.
Along with Scott Lake and Daniel Weinand, the trio officially launched Shopify in 2006. After 3 years, they released their API and App store which allowed users to develop apps to sell or use them. The business was named the fastest growing company out of Ottawa, Ontario in the Ottawa Business Journal during 2010 as well. This same year, they were able to raise $7 million in a series A round of venture capital financing. The next year in the series B, they received $15 million.
As time went on, Shopify kept advancing from improving their payment processing, headquarters, customer service, features, and everything in between. It should be no surprise they are one of the most chosen e-commerce providers these days. If you want to sell online but are stumped with all of the options, you may just find your answer with todays Shopify pros and cons breakdown. Enjoy!
Shopify Pros and Cons
Shopify is what is known as a turn-key or out-of-the-box store front. Most of the hard work like front end and back end development is all done for you. This means you need to spend less time, energy, and money to get the same results as other platforms. Most of your job will be focusing on product sourcing and marketing, besides that Shopify takes care of the rest. Of course there are advantages and disadvantages to this which will be diving into in a moment.
The overall process of getting a Shopify up and running literally takes a matter of minutes and is very easy. The steps include:
- Signing up for their free 14 day trial which you can do here.
- Choosing a paid plan once you know it’s for you.
- Adding products.
- Touching up your theme and adjusting settings.
- Buying a Domain through Shopify or pointing an external one to your store.
- Making lots of money!
Easy enough right? Exactly, so lets get into exactly what we like and dislike and Shopify.
Pros of Shopify
We personally have years of experience across several stores and ones for our clients using Shopify. Along with experience on WooCommerce, BigCommerce, SquareSpace and Volusion, we have quite a bit to compare to over the years. Lets talk about the most important factors of an e-commerce store and how Shopify squares up.
Security & Speed
Every Shopify store is equipped with a free SSL, or secure socket layer certificate. Other platforms pay charge you an annual fee to get one where you won’t with Shopify. An SLL adds an extra layer of security between the customer and the website which protects sensitive data like credit card information. It is mandatory for an e-commerce business which we appreciate because it shows Shopify is thinking about its customers. On top of this, to get payment gateways to work on your store, an SSL is usually a requirement anyways.
On top of this, Shopify stores are made to be lightning fast. Google has even said that any page speed more than 2 seconds will experience a very high bounce rate. What this means is that users will exit out quickly if it isn’t loading properly. We’ve always had fast load times even with many users on the store at once.
The Perfect Amount of Features
No matter if you are a veteran or newbie to selling online, no one wants to feel swamped with features and options. Shopify has the perfect amount of features that gets all the jobs done but doesn’t overwhelm you. For example, you can easily add products and group them into categories. You can enable various different payment gateways in a flash and offer several different ones for your customers. Google Analytics which is a key tool in the e-commerce realm is easily integrate-able too. They also give you detailed reports to show where you traffic is coming from, what products are selling the most and more.
Friendly Customer Support
When dealing with Shopify, our experience always consisted of friendly and helpful staff whether it was on the phone, through email or in live chat. Along with this, they offer a large FAQ that may solve your problem and improve your knowledge so you don’t even have to contact them. You never want to feel alone in business and with Shopify, you’ll always have a team behind you to help you every step of the way.
Marketing Made Easy
As we mentioned previously, a big role of yours is to get customers and that means proper marketing! Shopify is made to cover all of the essentials like SEO which in turn increases your organic traffic. Right below any product or content, you can edit your meta description and title to include keywords you’ve researched. Shopify also creates easy to read and crawl-able code that search engines love. Pair that with a generated site map and you’ll be improving your SEO very quickly.
Templates and Design
If there is one thing they do right, it’s design. Shopify stores just look so clean compared to other platforms out there like WordPress. This is such a critical component too of e-commerce because you need to look professional and trustworthy. It also just makes the overall experience for your customer better since they don’t feel like their shopping on a website from 1998. Once you have chosen a theme which many great ones are free of charge, you can customize the design, colours, and details.
Another lovely area of Shopify is their app store we touched on earlier. If you can think of a feature you’d like your store to have, we bet you can probably find an app to do it. From email marketing campaigns, live chat, to banners and anything imaginable, there’s an app for it. A lot of the really good apps are free to or will at least offer a free version you can use before upgrading. Look at it as an investment for your business that will aid in getting you more sales.
Cons of Shopify
Okay enough of stroking Shopify’s ego, lets talk about what we think needs some critiquing. There is no perfect platform out there and they are not an exception to this rule.
Getting a Shopify store up and running will come at a fee, the minimum being $29 a month assuming you want a storefront. They do offer a a $9 plan but that only gets you a buy button you could implement onto your social media page for example. If you are looking to be a real store owner, you’ll be dishing out a bit more money. Their two other plans are $79 and $299 but of course to come packed with more features that make it worthwhile. Your credit card and transaction fees are also different across all plans with of course the latter being lowered. Compared to options like WordPress+Woocommerce, this platform is definitely a bit more costly.
Yes you do get a lot of control over you design and what not but it lacks control that a real developer would probably want. Instead of the common language of PHP being used, Shopify uses Liquid which if you are not experienced with may cayuse some issues. It may not be a huge inconvenience forsome and can be picked up pretty easily but it had to be mentioned.
Maybe Too Little?
Yes having the basics is good and at times all you need but if you’re looking for extensive content marketing tools or easy store migration, you’re a bit out of luck. Creating content on Shopify gives you the basics like headers, links, and images but is no where close to WordPress for example. As well, if you ever wanted to move your Shopify store to a different provider it is going to be quite difficult.
Shopify Pros and Cons Conclusion
I believe we looked at the good features and talked enough smack for today. Overall Shopify is one of the best for a good reason, they truly offer an awesome product that e-commerce store owners can rely on. It’s especially good for beginners or those you don’t want to be bothered by excess tools and features. The bottomline is, if you want to sell physical products on a professional looking store with great support, we recommend Shopify. Click below to get your 14 day trial and get started today!