Business in the 21st century has been greatly influenced by e-commerce. It’s helped create new opportunities for businesses to grow and expand worldwide. There are a lot of platforms to run an online business- one of them happens to be Shopify. But is Shopify the best ecommerce platform to run a store? That will be the topic of this review.
Shopify was one of the first big players in the e-commerce space. Although there are other options for running e-commerce stores, Shopify continues to be a standout from its competitors. Throughout this Shopify review, I will cover all the features this platform offers to businesses.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that helps businesses (of any size) launch an online store. They offer a variety of services, ranging from payment processing, marketing, and customer engagement tools.
Founded in 2006, it started out as Snowdevil, an online store for snowboarding equipment. Dissatisfied with other existing e-commerce services, the founders decided to create their own platform. One of the founders (& CEO), Tobias Lutke, was a computer programmer who applied his skills to building what eventually led to building Shopify.
Over the last 16 years, it has become a powerhouse e-commerce platform around the world, competing with companies including Amazon. It likely will continue to have massive growth in the years ahead.
As of May 2021, it has more than $1.7 million stores operating on the platform. On a similar note, it has 1.58 million websites running through Shopify. Out of most of the stores operating through Shopify, over $300 billion have been generated in sales over time.
Setting up a store in Shopify: A brief rundown
Getting your store up and running through Shopify doesn’t have to be rocket science. The nice thing about Shopify is it provides services needed to maintain a website. For instance, Shopify handles the hosting and security of your store.
Here’s what you get when starting out your online store (my step-to-step guide to getting started).
Add your product(s)
Whatever you’re selling, you can add your product easily. While editing the listing, you can write a brief description and list your price.
Design your online store
Shopify has plenty of themes to choose from. You can get up to ten free themes, while the rest of them are paid versions to get. But there are plenty of choices to choose from (70+ themes).
For customers to learn more about your business, you can insert as many pages as you need.
Add a domain
If you own a domain (or are looking to buy one), you can add or transfer your domain for setting up your store.
Convenient set-up for shipping and delivery options
Once you have added your product, price, and page listing, you can set up your own shipping and delivery rates. There are multiple options for getting this set up, whether it’s local delivery or international shipping.
Once you go through these initial steps, you’re ready to open your store through Shopify. From there, your store can be found via search engines (i.e. Google) or through social media (i.e. Facebook, Instagram).
An overview of some of their key features
Shopify has so many things that they provide for business owners. But for the purpose of this review, I’ll cover some features that are worthy of discussing.
Large selection of themes
As mentioned earlier, there are more than 70 themes available to choose from. You have up to 10 free themes to choose how your online store looks.
Web-based website builder
Full hosting is available- it comes with a full-featured content management system (similar to WordPress).
Within your Shopify account, you can publish articles related to your products and services. Also, it can encourage discussion about how your products can help your customers’ needs. Building trust and confidence with your clients is important.
This one is helpful and easy for customers to shop using their phone or tablet.
Shopify provides a dashboard for store owners to look over their stats. That can range from sales, orders, and traffic. You can also connect a Google Analytics account to see where your traffic is coming from.
Integration and app store
Shopify has integrations with other marketplaces, including Google Ads, Facebook, and Instagram. Within the last few months, they’ve also integrated with Microsoft Ads as well. Consequently, you’re given great marketing opportunities to promote products through your Shopify store.
24/7 customer support
Shopify is known for having top-quality customer support. Whether that’s via phone, email, or chat, you can count on reaching out to a representative in a timely manner. Also, they have discussion forums where people can ask and answer questions.
Hire a Shopify expert
If you’re in a position to invest more money into your store, hiring an expert can be beneficial. If you feel that it’s best to have someone work on specific areas of your store (SEO, creating specific pages, coding), it may be worth it for saving you more time.
As part of your Shopify subscription, it’ll cost more. Even so, hiring an expert can save you more time if you’d rather focus on other aspects of your business.
Can Shopify make your business more efficient?
If you’re someone who owns a brick-and-mortar business, expanding your business on a global level brings more business opportunities. Or if you’re someone who’s tried other e-commerce platforms (but not getting results), Shopify might be a better choice.
Even if you work solo or have a small business, you don’t have to know everything about building websites or understanding coding. It does take a lot of time and effort to get a store up and running. So you do have limits if you were to do it all on your own.
The one thing about Shopify is they take the headaches out of the small things in building a store. The small things may include coding and HTML language. Twenty years ago, that may have been the case when there were not a lot of platforms for building an online store.
Shopify is a good “all in one” solution to getting an online store up and running. This reduces the amount of burden on people who are starting from scratch.
Can Shopify help grow your business?
As mentioned before, going online and reaching a global audience gives you more exposure for your business. Whereas if you stayed local, you have a limited number of customers to serve.
Or if you’re just starting out in business, it’s easier by not investing so much time in building a store on your own. Platforms such as Shopify can help you get started, grow, and scale to the next level of your business.
My experience using Shopify
A few years ago, I used Shopify to run a dropshipping store. I have to say I was impressed with a lot of the features I could use to get a store running.
After my first month of launching a store, I made some sales and took advantage of learning how to use the platform efficiently. So anyone running a store through Shopify can make sales and grow their business.
Although I don’t have a dropshipping business anymore, I’m glad I used Shopify to help make my business operations run smoother. There’s a lot of potential for growing a store and looking into other business opportunities within Shopify.
Shopify has several options available for your online store. Whatever plan you choose from, you get to try it out for a free 14-day trial. The plans include the following.
|Basic ($29 per month)||“Shopify” ($79 per month)||Advanced ($299 per month)|
|Best for new businesses and those who make occasional in-person sales||Best for growing businesses exclusively; also good for established brick and mortar businesses that make regular in-person sales||Best for businesses that are scaling, and require advanced reporting|
In addition to their regular plans, Shopify comes with two other options.
Shopify Lite is a plan for those selling in-person, or who may not want to take advantage of all features that are part of the regular plans. This plan starts at $9 per month.
This plan is designed for large businesses with high-volume merchants, and it’s more expensive (starting at $2000 per month). Shopify Plus is a whole level up from the other plans that it’s worth discussing in a separate post. This plan is designed for businesses with annual revenue over six-seven figures, so I will address it separately in a future post.
Pros & Cons
- Basic & simple user interface
- Multiple themes available (70+ themes)
- Neat commerce tools and app integration
- Simple to add and manage products
- Transaction fees are high (i.e. Basic Plan has higher ones to pay for)
- Costs of plans are high for those starting out
- No drag and drop editor
- Built-in blogging lacks some basic features to work well
Is Shopify worth it?
Shopify is by far one of the most well-known e-commerce platforms today. There are a lot of people who start their first online store using Shopify and eventually scale it into a profitable business.
It has a simple user interface when it comes to designing a store. Being able to add and manage products (while using shipping and delivery options) is simple to use as well.
It may not be for everyone, especially if you’re starting out in business. I think the traditional Shopify plan (starting at $79 per month) is the best option, but it can be too much for someone just starting out.
But if you think Shopify is worth looking into, you do have other options. If you want to start out with the basic plan, you can work your way through as you build the store and start to make sales.
Or if you’re someone who may not take advantage of all their features, Shopify Lite may be a great alternative as well. That’s one of the good things about Shopify- having other options available. No matter where you are in your business journey, Shopify can provide great solutions to fit your needs.
If you want a solution that brings fewer headaches and frustrations, Shopify can be a great place to get your online store started. Going back to expanding your business worldwide, Shopify has helped many businesses expand to other audiences around the world.
Shopify has come a long way, especially with so many stores running on the platform. The company remains a major player in e-commerce and will remain competitive for years to come.
If you feel that Shopify can help grow your business, consider giving it a try. You can start with a 14-day free trial to see if it’s a good fit.
Since I have previously used Shopify, I believe you will enjoy its features. Your business can grow with its help, whether you are just starting out or scaling it.
Your Turn: Is Shopify a winner to help grow your business?
I would like to know your thoughts on Shopify. Have you used Shopify to sell products online? Do you know of anyone who has had success using it?
Are you looking to expand your business online? Have you tried other e-commerce platforms, but feel that you have not had any luck?
Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading them, and I’m glad to help answer any questions you have.
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Eric is the owner and chief editor of notimekillers.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. You can also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.