If you need help developing an online sales platform, there are are several types of shopping cart software (a.k.a. ecommerce websites) that make creating a successful online store easier than it was just a few years ago. One of these websites, Shopify, has steadily risen in prominence since its creation in 2004. Today, the site hosts over 60,000 retailers in various industries, including Budweiser, Pixar, CrossFit, and thousands of local small businesses.
Shopify can be a great site for hosting an online store, but it’s far from the only option available. Coalition Technologies has years of experience helping companies select the right ecommerce platform and get the most from the platform they choose. If your business is in the market for shopping cart software and needs help assessing what Shopify offers, check out our Shopify review where we discuss the commonly cited benefits and drawbacks of using the website.
Pro: Use-Friendly Interface
Shopify hosts websites for some big companies, but the website’s interface is so easy to use that Shopify is considered an ideal platform for fledgling online businesses. After you complete the set up process, you’re presented with the site’s new admin panel (updated in June 2013) that presents the six steps necessary to get your store up and running fast. At every level of functionality, from inventory management to SEO, the site really couldn’t be easier to use.
Con: Transaction Fees
Shopify’s transaction fees are often seen as its biggest drawback. You pay a Merchant Service Provider (MSP) a fee for each credit card transaction, so why use a platform that charges transaction fees? Considering that other platforms don’t charge transaction fees, Shopify apparently didn’t have a good answer to this question. That’s why it created Shopify Payments, the only payment processing solution that allows you to avoid paying double transaction fees.
Pro: Design Templates
Almost every Shopify review is quick to mention the website’s excellent looking design templates, and Shopify likes to brag on them as well. With great looking creations from designers like Happy Cog, Clearleft, and Pixel Union, it’s easy to see why. Unlike some ecommerce platforms, Shopify’s design templates look anything but dated. If you envision the aesthetics of your website to be an extension of your personal style, Shopify won’t disappoint.
Con: Design Template Pricing
Have you ever walked into a store and instantly fell in love with the most expensive item before you knew its price? That’s what can happen as you browse through Shopify’s collection of design templates. Some of the templates are free, but those you have to pay for will increase your startup cost. Shopify’s pay design templates range in price from $80 to $180, with the former being higher than the lowest price for templates on some other ecommerce platforms.
Pro: Customer Support
Shopify offers 24/7 customer support, which can be a huge benefit if you run a small business out of your home, or your business doesn’t have in house technical support. Some ecommerce platforms offer customer support through community forums, but depending on forums for good advice when you need it is a bit chancy. Shopify’s year round, around-the-clock customer support is another reason why it’s considered a great ecommerce platform for small businesses.
Con: Cost of Ad-Ons
In terms of features, Shopify is designed for simplicity. This is a big reason why the platform is so easy for practically anyone to use. However, unlike users of more complex, feature-rich platforms, Shopify users often need to buy ad-ons to optimize their store. For an idea of how much you might need to spend on ad-ons, check out the Shopify app store. On the flipside, if you’re someone who wants to customize your store, you might enjoy this aspect of Shopify.
Pro: Payment Gateways
Websites need a payment gateway from an MSP to accept payments. Because there are many MSPs, and finding one that offers the best fee structure for your sales volume is crucial for maximizing revenue, you want a platform that lets you choose from a range of MSPs. Shopify supports gateways from 70 MSPs. However, it is important to remember that using Shopify Payments is the only way not to pay two transaction fees: one to Shopify and one to an MSP.
Con: Checkout Redirection
One of the more quizzical aspects of Shopify— and one that a Shopify review often fails to mention— is how the site redirects customers from an online store to a Shopify domain (checkout.shopify.com) when something is purchased. One of the main principles of good retail web design is making the buying process as simplistic and visually unencumbered as possible. Ideally, the checkout redirection is a step in the purchasing process that should be removed.
Pro: Built in Blog
Onsite blogs have become an important way to spotlight products and services, release company news, and attract refined web traffic using keyword strategies. Unlike some ecommerce platforms, Shopify has a built in blog option that lets you add as many blog entries as you want. If you need help developing blog content, the Shopify experts at Coalition Technologies will create dynamic content that articulates your web presence.
Contact Us Today
Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms. As our Shopify review points out, there are many reasons to consider using the website, as well as some reasons to consider using a different one. In particular, one benefit our review doesn’t mention is “plan pricing.” While the base prices for Shopify’s three service plans are quite affordable, the fact that many businesses need to purchase add-ons makes the true cost of using the platform somewhat vague.
With that said, Shopify has proven to be a cost-effective ecommerce solution for many businesses. If you need an ecommerce platform, and you aren’t sure which one to choose, Coalition Technologies will help you make the right decision. As a Shopify partner, we will also help you get the most out of your Shopify website if you choose to use the platform. For more information, contact us today at , or click here to use our contact form.