So you want to step-in the world of e-commerce and looking for a perfect solution that can help you in doing that?
Well, today in this article I will talk about one of the best platform available out there that can help you in setting up your own successful online store in no time.
Yes, I’m talking about Shopify!
In this Shopify review, I will highlight the factors that will help you in deciding whether Shopify is the right platform for you or not.
Here’s what I’m going to talk about:
- Key features of Shopify
- Ways to sell with Shopify
- Shopify Pricing
- Payment Gateways and Transaction Fees
- Shopify Templates
- Customer support
- Shopify Pros and Cons
Ready? Let’s get started.
1. Shopify key features
From showcasing your products online to processing payments and check out, Shopify will provide you a number of tools to help you get started. Here’s what I’m talking about:
- You don’t need to worry about creating your own designs for your store as Shopify will provide you built-in templates that will give your store a complete professional look just the way want.
In case if you are having trouble in using their platform than apart from their great customer support there are so many members just like you in Shopify community that will help you in solving your problem.
Their drag and drop tool will help you in arranging the images and description of the product in a very easy way.
To extend the functionality of your store you can choose from free as well as paid apps from Shopify app store.
If you are not comfortable in creating your store by yourself then Shopify will provide you a team of experts to get your work done.
Have a look at their introduction video to understand how easy it can be for you to sell online even if you are starting from the scratch.
2. Ways to Sell
Not every business has the same needs, right?
With Shopify, you can sell your products in various ways through different sales channels.
Shopify makes it easy for you, here are some of the ways you can do that:
Selling through online store
This is a no-brainer, if you want to sell your products through your own e-commerce store then you can go with this option.
All you have to do is log in to your Shopify admin panel, and then you can set up your store in minutes and bring your brand to life and showcase it to your customers.
If you want to sell your products in person, and accept credit cards on the go, you can go with Shopify POS.
With POS system, you will get an online store included in your plan.
Here are some of the things you can do with Shopify’s POS
- Track and manage your inventory
- Accept any form of payment (credit, cash, check, store credit, Gift cards)
- Apply discounts or customize taxes
- Email or text your customer with receipts
- Process refunds
- and much more.
Here are some testimonials from happy customers.
And here’s the video that explains it all, I highly recommend you to watch it.
Shopify Buy Button
With Shopify buy button, you can add your products to any site or blog in minutes for only $9/month, all you have to do is just create the link of your product and add it to any website you want.
With Shopify sell on Facebook option, you can sell your products to billions of Facebook users.
Your customers can easily browse your products and collections using the new, always visible, shop section on your Facebook Page.
Since more than half a billion people access Facebook solely from a mobile device. Therefore, the Facebook Shop has been designed with mobile users in mind, so that you don’t miss out any sale.
Selling on Pinterest
Be among the first merchants to sell your products to millions of Pinterest users.
All products pinned from your Shopify store will automatically become ‘buyable Pins’ and when your customers are ready to make the purchase, they can check out even without leaving the Pinterest app.
Selling on Twitter
After Pinterest, be among the first to sell your products directly on Twitter also.
Any product that’s tweeted from your store will automatically include a buy button, and shoppers can buy your products even without leaving Twitter.
3. Shopify Pricing
Now depending on the type of business industry, you belong to and the way you want to sell your products, your requirement for features and functionality might vary.
But when you are with Shopify you are always in right hands, they offer a number of subscription plans that have different monthly fees, transaction fees, and store features.
In the image given below, there’s a complete breakdown of Shopify pricing plans.
Shopify also offers one cheaper plan to sell your products online with its starter plan Shopify Lite, costing you $9/month. This plan will allow you to :
- Sell via Facebook
- Shopify Buy button
- Point of Sale
As you move up the pricing scale, you first encounter the ‘Basic Shopify’ for $29/month, the ‘Shopify‘ plan for $79/month and the ‘Advanced Shopify‘ plan for $299/month.
These plans “do” allow you to host a fully functional online store, unlimited file storage, and bandwidth.
Shopify also offers ‘Shopify Plus’ plan – an ‘Enterprise Grade’ solution which is designed for big business, it offers advanced features regarding security, APIs, and fulfillment.
I will suggest you don’t pay for plans on the monthly basis as Shopify offers a 10% discount on annual and 20% discount on biennial plans if you pay them upfront.
But it is worth paying such a heavy amount when you are pretty much sure that Shopify covers all your business needs and you’re likely to have store over the next 1 to 2 years – otherwise, choosing a monthly plan is a safer bet.
4. Payment Gateways and Transaction Fees
Shopify offers two ways to accept payments, first is Shopify’s own built-in payment system, which is powered by Stripe.
If you Select this then you don’t have to worry about any kind of transaction fees.
However, there is still a ‘credit card rate’ to consider – you can expect to pay a rate of between 1.6% and 2.2% of each credit card transaction plus 30c (Exact rate depends on the type of plan you are on with)
At the time of writing this ‘Shopify payment’ is available for users based in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
So If you’re not from the countries that I mentioned above then you have to use external payment gateway provider (such as PayPal).
There’s nothing to think about as Shopify works with an extensive range of well-respected payment gateways which is far more than their competitors.
5. Shopify Templates
Shopify provides you a wide range of templates (or ‘themes’) to select from, on the basis of your industry.
They provide 10 free themes to choose from apart from offering paid themes starting from $100 to $180.
They all come with the extensive features such as:
- Integration with PayPal
- Blogging functionality
- Importing and exporting of customer data
- Ability to edit HTML and CSS
- Adding ‘buy now’ button that you can use to sell goods on an existing blog or website
- Point of Sale integration
- Discount coupon
- Content Management (CMS) functionality
- Search Engine Option (SEO)
Apart from these if you’re on the Shopify high plans, you will also get:
- Advanced report building
- Free SSL certificate
- Real-time carrier shipping
- Gift cards
- Professional Reports
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
- Advanced Report Builder
6. Shopify Customer Support
Shopify’s customer support is highly appreciable, you can contact them 24/7 by email, live chat, telephone or even by sending a tweet.
I personally have a live chat conversation with their team many times and each time the support provided them was incredible.
There’s also a discussion forum available so that you can connect with other entrepreneurs and discuss all things related to commerce.
7. Pros and Cons of using Shopify
Let’s start with the pros of using Shopify.
1. Full control over the store design – Surely, as it is your own store, you would want to make it unique and if possible, something that would reflect your personality.
Well, that is very much possible with Shopify, you will be given full control over everything regarding the design of your website, all of the templates are fully customizable and responsive.
You can even edit the CSS and HTML on your own if you want.
I personally love the fact that it has a flexible layout and that we would be able to change it in the way that you wanted.
2. Provides convenience to online shoppers – One of the most important things that you need to consider is to provide convenience to your customers.
Tell me, will you ever want to shop from an online store where you are having a hard time in finding the items that you are looking for?
Of course not!
With Shopify keyword tags you can truly help your business a lot, this would aid your customer as they browse through your store and search for an item that they can purchase.
3. Notify the shop owner about the new orders – Surely, it is important for you to check your online store from time to time to see if someone has placed a new order but there are times when your busy schedules restrict you from doing so.
This may result in additional delay in proceeding the orders, but with Shopify, you will be notified whenever someone places an order via SMS, RSS, and email.
It simply means that you will be able to process the orders of your customers as soon as possible, what makes it even great is that the notifications are sent real-time.
4. Detailed reports are given – For me, tracking the payment is important for the store owner, this is because without it, no order would be processed and no deal would be made.
On the other hand, if I am a customer then I would also want to know the shipping status of the items that I have ordered.
Through the detailed reports that they provide, one would be able to track the payment made by the customer and the customer would know the status of their order.
Also, the cancellation of orders comes with an automated chargeback option.
5. Guaranteed rankings on the search engine – Being visible on search engines is very important.
Without it, there will only a few people would be able to get to know about your business.
With the fact that the CMS of the Shopify platform is designed by SEO experts, there is an assurance that your online store would rank better on search engines.
This also means that more people would be able to see your store and the more sales you would get.
6. Add-on – As I’ve mentioned earlier, there are plenty of add-ons available from Shopify, so that you can expand the feature set if you need it.
It also means you don’t have to worry about hiring a developer to make any changes to your store. You can quickly add new features and functions to your store within minutes.
Now let’s have a look at cons of using Shopify.
1. A little bit pricey – To be honest with you, if you are looking for something free, then Shopify is not for you.
Shopify costs money (both in terms of transaction processing fees and monthly rental)
If in case you are just starting up a small online store, then it is not ideal for you to use it because it can be a bit pricey.
It would be quite a risk to use it, especially if you are not confident that your business would be successful.
However, doing business is all about taking risks.
2. Email hosting is not included – It would have been truly great for Shopify to have this amazing feature but unfortunately, external email hosting is needed while the domains can still be purchased in the Shopify’s interface.
Nevertheless, it would be quite difficult to find a platform capable of setting up an online store that has it all.
3. Transaction fees – If you are using ‘Shopify payments’ to power your transactions then there are no transaction fees.
But, If you are using a third-party payment gateway then you have to pay the transaction fees.
Well, this might sound high initially, but in reality, it’s not!
Because you will be paying 0.5% to 2% for every sale you have done.
Let’s say, you have made the sale of $5000 in a month, then you will be paying something between $25 to $100.
If I were you and I’ve made $5000 in sales then I would gladly pay $25 or $100 to Shopify to power and manage the transactions for me.
4. Crop ratio – Sometimes product images are displayed in different aspect ratios which may lead to the messy presentation of products,.
So I will suggest you crop all your images in advance before uploading them to Shopify.
8. Shopify Review – Conclusion
After discussing all the features, pros and cons of Shopify. I can say that it is one of the best solutions for those who wish to create their own online store.
Specifically, I’m impressed with three things:
- The pricing is affordable and suits everyone needs
- Their interface is very easy to use
- Professional level templates, which is must for every online store
Of course, the only way to find out whether Shopify is best for you or not is to see for yourself (I’m certain you will not be disappointed)
Shopify provides you a risk-free 14 days trial so that you can try their platform even before paying them.
Create your store on Shopify (No credit card required)
So what do you think of Shopify? Let me know your opinion in the comment section below.