Shopify has grown to be one of the most well trusted ecommerce website building platforms. But before you start your million dollar ecommerce website, there are a few things to keep in mind that are worth knowing. I'm going to show you an in depth review of Shopify from firsthand experience.
Does Shopify work to build your online store? We're going to find out by reviewing the pro's and con's of the internet's largest ecommerce website building platform.
Shopify Website Overview
Product/Service: Ecommerce website building platform & services
Founder: Tobias Lutke, founded in 2004, headquartered in Ottawa, Canada
Price: 14-Day free trial, prices starting at $29/month (click here to start your 14-day free trial with Shopify)
My Overall Shopify Rating: 8/10
What is Shopify and who is it for?
Shopify is an online ecommerce company. They assist small businesses in building an online website to be able to sell their products and services on the internet.
Their website building platform allows you to list products and services for sale online, with the ability for your customers to purchase those products and services over the web. You can integrate your ecommerce website with multiple third party wholesale companies, as well as give access to product shipping centers to process orders as they come in.
Shopify works with many of the largest payment gateway companies, allowing you to process debit and credit card transactions safely and securely over the internet. They even have their own payment gateway processor that is heavily discounted should you decide to use, in comparison to paying high transaction fees for integrating with others.
Overall, shopify has been designed for both the new ecommerce entrepreneur who wants to start his or her own business, as well as the well-established local retail store wanting to build an online presence.
No coding experience is needed, nor the ability to build and design websites. Their platform has pre-made website templates that you can choose from and design and organize yourself in a “drag and drop” manner.
Does Shopify work?
For anyone willing to put in the time and effort of choosing a niche, building their easy to build website, and doing a little bit of SEO (search engine optimization), then yes shopify is a great place to start.
They are known to give anyone the ability to build a professional looking website and sell products and services over the internet in a very successful process.
How does Shopify compare to its competitors?
When testing the Shopify website building platform, and comparing it to their closest competitor BigCommerce (follow link to see in depth comparison of BigCommerce vs Shopify), I would have to say that Shopify has won the vote here.
I started as a brand new ecommerce entrepreneur selling vitamins and supplements with no prior experience. In no time my website was up and running and looked as clean and professional as can be. When working with other companies such as BigCommerce, I had a harder time understanding how to put my website together and organize the layout.
As we compare Shopify to the industry as a whole, they have the largest share of the market, and thus the trust of the majority of ecommerce retailers.
Benefits of using Shopify
As with any company, Shopify has its competitive advantage as well as some downsides to be aware of.
- Easy to use for beginners and experts
- In-house payment processing software with large discounts
- In-person POS (point of sale) credit card reader that works with most smart phones
- Thousands of integrations ranging from email services, payment processors, shipping, wholesale companies, label printing services, marketing and search engine optimizations, and many more.
- Budget friendly starting price works for most small business companies, and options to more products and services for a small added cost
- Ability to synchronize your ecommerce website with large retailers such as Amazon. Just sync your website with Amazon and your products will be listed on the internet's largest retailer platform as well.
- Thousands of free ecommerce trainings, tools and resources including website name generators
- Easy to read and simple reports give you a breakdown of your daily sales and profit
- Thousands of template themes to choose from (both free and paid)
- Dropshipping integration capabilities are easy to set up
- Excellent customer support for website issues and broken links
A few things to keep in mind:
- Focused on online retail companies, not the best option to use as a general blogging platform
- Added costs for transactions if you don't use their payment processor
- If you sell only digital products, it is not as evident how to set things up
Clearly the pro's weigh out the con's of working with shopify, but the cons are definitely worth noting if you fall into any of those bullet points to keep in mind.
Should you use Shopify for you ecommerce store?
From firsthand experience, I can honestly say Shopify is an excellent starting point for any small business looking to go online. Their membership pricing is more then generous and their ease of use allows for even a brand new online entrepreneur to overcome an otherwise steep learning curve.
However, if you are a blogger or plan on selling digital products only, there may be better options to start with. You can always easily transfer your website to Shopify if your digital products website or blog begins to sell multiple physical products.
A great place to start for bloggers and those wanting to sell mainly digital products is Wealthy Affiliate. Wealthy Affiliate is an online entrepreneur platform that gives you access to all the tools and resources necessary to start a digital product company online, or go build an attractive blog.
They teach you how to attract website traffic the proper way. You get free access to 20 free courses and 2 free domains that will teach you everything you need to know to build your company online.
And if it comes to it, you even have the capability to sell physical products with your website as it expands. They integrate directly with the internet's largest website builder, WordPress. Last but not least, they give you access to all this for free, with the optional access to thousands of more added courses and websites for a small monthly fee.
If you don't sell physical products, I recommend starting with Wealthy Affiliate.
What best practices, products or services have you found helpful in building your ecommerce store?