Shopify is a web application that lets you create your own online store, and is accessible to more than 100 countries across the globe. With a wide range of customisable templates, you should be able to meet any of your branding needs, to allow you to sell physical and digital products. Ideal for beginners who do not have any coding experience.
6 Pros of Shopify
1. Easy to use, with over 90 available templates
Designed for a non-technical audience, and you don’t need any additional software. Shopify has a user-friendly interface and it’s easy to build a professional looking online store. This is great news if you want to set up quickly. The drag and drop functions let you customise your story very easily.
Shopify has a good range of free, responsive templates, which will show nicely on any device. There are approximately 90 ready to install, and it also has a wide range of premium options to buy, if you can’t find what you need for free. These templates are easy to customise, so you can represent your brand how you want it. Each will be equipped with unique features such as quick-views of products, age verifiers and store locators.
2. Marketing and advertising tools are built-in
A great functionality of Shopify is the ability to run campaigns through marketing emails and newsletters to your subscribers, Facebook Ads and Google advertisements. Through its dashboard, you can also take advantage of building your search engine optimisation (SEO), receive real-time insights, and ultimately, build relationships with your customers.
3. Abandoned cart saving
This is available on all Shopify plans, and lets you identify visitors who nearly bought something, but for whatever reason, changed their mind at the last minute. Shopify has the facility to email them, and also offer a discount code to entice them back to your store. It’s absolutely key to give these browsers a reason to come back.
4. Great for dropshipping
This lets you sell products without keeping any of them in stock. You take the order, which goes to the supplier, and they handle the delivery. Shopify stands out there because it has many dropshipping apps available, which in turn gives a wider choice of suppliers, and therefore delivery methods.
5. International selling and automatic tax calculations
Shopify makes it easy to sell internationally. It has features that will manage multiple currencies, languages and domains. You can sell in up to 5 different languages in the basic and advance plans (up to 20 with Shopify Plus).
When you sell online, you can easily end up selling in places with different tax rates. You’ll need to reflect this in the pricing of your products. Shopify will adjust the tax for you, accordinging to what can be very complex looking, EU guidance.
6. Can be used in physical locations
Shopify has one of the most comprehensive point of sale features available. By installing external hardware such as card readers, barcode scanners, bluetooth receipt printers and tills, this will allow you to easily sell products in retail outlets, pop-up shops or market stalls.
6 Cons of Shopify
1. Easy to use can also mean limited
A common sacrifice with making a platform easy to use, is by having limits on what you can do with it. This may work well as a pro, but also a con, depending on what you want or how you want it to look.
2. Only 3 options per product
This can be quite restrictive but depends on the type of product you’re selling. For example, if your product comes in many shapes and sizes, 3 may not be enough, meaning Shopify won’t be right for you. You would have to pay for an app that allows more than 3.
3. Not easy to add custom fields
Capturing personalised information such as engraving or stitching isn’t easy if you’re the non-technical type. Custom fields like this will require some knowledge of code, or you’ll have to pay for another app to add on.
4. Further additional costs
Professional reporting will depend on what type of sales data you wish to analyse, but it’s likely you’ll need to pay extra for the more expensive plans for something in-depth.
It will also cost more to use a third party payment gateway. To use something other than Shopify’s own payment processor, you’ll end up being charged a transaction fee for each sale. This gets more expensive when selling to countries where Shopify isn’t available.
Point of sale features such as staff and customer management, retail reports inventory management and omnichannel selling also require the pro plan. This is really starting to add up.
When selling digital products that require GDPR compliant cookie banners, and allowing users to upload files when buying your products, will require further app purchases.
5. Limited as a blog host
Shopify does have a blogging interface however, it’s far too simplified when compared with the likes of WordPress. Reviewers have labelled it as, ‘buggy,’ ‘plain’ and ‘boring.’ It has limited features and isn’t as user-friendly as some of its competitors. Considering how important blogs are in bringing in customers with engaging, conversational content, Shopify hasn’t prioritised blogging in its design.
6. It’s not easy to migrate away
It’s not as easy as simply exporting code files to move your Shopify website to another platform like WordPress. The coding language for Shopify is unique, meaning limited compatibility with other sites. Transferring comes at costs in money and time, as it’s likely you’ll either need a redesign, or spend time duplicating the work you’ve already done
Shopify is fantastic if you want a simple online business, to start up quickly, and doesn’t overwhelm. But the more you grow the business, the likelihood is that you’ll need to start paying for additional features, or eventually need to migrate to another platform. Careful research will be needed to ensure Shopify will do enough for you and your business.