What is Shopify?
Shopify is an ecommerce platform that uses a subscription (SaaS) model that allows merchants to sign up for ecommerce functionality right out of the box. Here are a few quick stats on Shopify…
- Shopify powers 600,000 businesses
- Shopify has over 1,000,000 active users
- Over $82 Billion is sold on Shopify
In my review of Shopify we will cover a number of questions to help you make the best decision in selecting an ecommerce platform that suits your needs.
How Can Shopify Help My Business Sell?
The interesting this is that Shopify is an ecommerce platform but with that said they’ve positioned themselves in such a way that they offer solutions to fit a wide variety of business models including…
- Online aka traditional ecommerce
- Point of Sale (POS)
- Buy Button
- Facebook Shops
- Facebook Messenger
- Enterprise aka “Shopify Plus”
What Shopify seems to understand is that not everyone is going to have a need to have a full ecommerce site on Shopify and that is where the options that they provide business owners really help expand the way that people are doing business these days from adding Buy Buttons on a traditional CMS site or blog, through a Facebook Shop, selling on Amazon or having a POS option for a physical brick and mortar store or a mobile specialist like consulting agencies, delivery companies, self employed business owners and the list goes on.
How much is Shopify going to cost me?
Shopify is setup for beginners all the way up to enterprise businesses and offers a number of price points to suite each level of user including
Basic Shopify – Price: $29/month – This package offers a whole host of features that beginner merchants will find to be a very robust ecommerce platform including ability to sell unlimited products, 24 x 7 support, Sales channels, abandoned cart recovery, discount codes, manual order creation, fraud analysis, Shopify POS app,
Shopify* – Price: $79/month – This package offers all the one’s that Basic Shopify offers and more including gift cards, professional reports, up to 37% shipping discounts, online Canadian credit card processing rates of 2.7% + 30 cents, Online international/ AMEX credit card rates 3.4% + 30 cents, in person credit processing rate = 2.6% + $0, register shifts, hardware peripheral support
Advanced Shopify* – Price: $299/month – This package offers all the features of Basic Shopify and Shopify plus an advanced report building, Third Party Calculated Shipping rates, a shipping discount up to 40%, online Canadian credit card processing rates of 2.4% + 30 cents, Online international/ AMEX credit card rates 3.3% + 30 cents, in person credit processing rate = 2.4% + $0, register shifts, hardware peripheral support
If none of those options sound like you there is also a Shopify Lite for $9/month is a option that is targeted website owners and bloggers looking for a quick and easy payment processing option. And finally, Shopify Plus is their enterprise business package that scale to larger businesses.
What is Shopify’s support like?
Shopify is one of those companies that focuses not so much just a customer support experience but a customer success experience. Outside of resources being available around the clock to answer your questions they also have a great deal of self service options from guides, free tools, podcasts, success stories, an App Store, a Theme Store to the Shopify Academy, a kind of offering focused on setting up their customers for success that includes everything from live workshops, on-demand training, business tools and a community.
Does Shopify Offer Free Tools to Help Me Run My Business?
In a word, yes they do. But let’s dig a little bit deeper and define what Shopify offers in the way of free tools. The truth is that they are constantly working on building out their ecommerce platform capabilities so much so that they offer an option for people interested to stay up to date on the latest free tool offerings the ability to receive an email when something new is released. Cool! In terms of what exists today here is a list as of November 6, 2018:
- Logo Maker
- Business Name Generator
- Slogan Maker
- Pay stub generator
- QR Code Generator
- Terms and Conditions Generator
- Business Card Maker
- Gift certificate template
- Invoice Generator
- Purchase Order template
- Shipping label template
- Refund Policy Generator
- Bill of lading template
- Barcode Generator
- Image Resizer
- Business loan Calculator
- CPM Calculator
- Profit Margin Calculator
- Exchange Marketplace
How Easy Or Hard Is It To Design a Site for My Business in Shopify?
This is the million dollar question with any ecommerce or CMS. If you don’t have the ability to hire a web designer or developer to help you create a truly awesome ecommerce site naturally this becomes the next question. There are a few options available to you including…
- Buying a Shopify Theme and customizing it yourself
- Sticking to standard templates that Shopify offers its customer base
- Rolling up your sleeves that learning to design, code and develop with the best of them
If you have some technical ability and time (of course) to learn the basic ins and outs of Shopify I’d say learn how to develop an ecommerce site yourself. You’ll learn how to run your online business and fix potential issues. If that doesn’t work for you and you have the money to hire someone, Shopify is a pretty established platform that seasoned developers and designers should be able to help you configure to your business’ needs. With all that said, I’m still a fan of prebuilt and ready to go themes that require minimal setup to start using, you can usually get one for relatively little money when you compare to hiring a web designer or developer.
Does Shopify Integrate with Third Party Apps?
Shopify has a lot of integration partners so that you can focus on running your business. Some companies have built functionality that allows you to extend the functionality of their ecommerce platform thanks to Shopify’s App Store.
The Shopify App Store boasts a number of categories of apps for finding products, places to sell, store design, marketing, sales and conversions, orders and shipping, inventory management, customer support, trust and security, finances, productivity and reporting
What Does Shopify’s Backend UI Look and Feel Like?
As you can see below, the user interface that Shopify has in place is very clean and easy to understand at first glance. The left hand column has sections for order management, products, customers, analytics, marketing discounts and Apps and even dives into various Sales Channels you can have in Shopify. The right side navigation on the hand is more of a snapshot view of the health of your business including metrics on Total Sales, Total Sales Breakdown, Total Sales by Channel, Top Product, Activity. Another area to note as you see this for the first time is that in the middle section has a wizard for doing some of those key things that most store owners want to do including adding products, customizing your theme and adding a domain so you can personalize your Shopify store to suit your business.
What Are Shopify’s Customers Saying About Shopify?
The proof is in the pudding which is why if you can get your customers talking about you and evangelizing your product your gold. Shopify has produced a number of success stories built around various ecommerce stores including clothing, books, art & photography, pets, electronics, food and more. Here are a few stories that really stuck out but you can read any you’re interested here.