Why Choose Shopify for your E-commerce Website?
Originally I was put off by Shopify, as it was the name I saw on the bottom of so many amateurish looking websites. However, after some research, I began to understand that the problem was with the design and poor photography, and not the platform.
After a few months of research, I concluded that Shopify is the platform I would recommend for setting up an e-commerce shop. It is the platform of choice used by many successful fashion brands including All Birds and Victoria Beckham use Shopify and these online stores look beautiful too.
Shopify’s business model allows third parties to develop applications, know as Apps, that integrate with Shopify and expand the range of functions available to users.
Shopify - The Platform
As a business owner Shopify is a good choice over other platforms because of the following ADVANTAGES:
- Shopify is built for e-commerce, therefore making this secure place for dealing with financial transactions.
- Small business owners can easily manage their own Shopify store without needing technical knowledge.
- It is a hosted platform, you don’t need to be concerned with dealing with a separate website hosting company as Shopify does this for you.
- Built to deal with the changes in traffic that might occur. For example, say you had a spike in visitors because of a mention on social media or a flash sale, Shopify is built to handle this. A cheap hosting service that is fine most of the time could crash if put under pressure by visitor numbers unexpectedly.
- As your business grows, Shopify will scale with you.
- Smooth workflows with lots of software integrations available and possible via Apps and automation. More about Apps below.
- If you want to change the look of your site this can be done with little disruption.
- Basic analytic and SEO (search engine optimisation) tools are built in.
- Opportunity to sell on Instagram and Facebook
- Unless you opt for a custom build store, which will be expensive, the shop could look similar to other online stores.
- Paying for Apps to add functionality could make it more expensive than originally budgeted for, Apps may require store owners to pay a monthly recurring fee.
- Shopify may not be the cheapest option – but it depends on if you set the shop up yourself or need to hire help for this.
- Shopify and MailChimp have fallen out and it is not as easy as it was to integrate them as it was.
- With SaaS software the actual website is sitting on their servers, if you have a self-hosted website you have full access to the actual website.
On a budget the designs are not as easily modified as a WordPress website for example, but for ease of use and security, Shopify comes out on top.
Personally I think the photography can help you stand out and don’t see the similar appearance to other stores as something too negative. I think it is more important for users to be able to easily navigate an online shop, so making something very different might cause friction..
I would recommend starting with a paid Theme rather than a free one simply because they have more flexibility and features. For example, none the free themes include an Instagram feed option. Themes are purchased for a one time fee which is about $180 from the Shopify Theme Store. I wouldn’t recommend purchasing a budget theme outside of the official Shopify them store – if there were problems or clashes with software the support may not be available.
When you are purchasing a SaaS (software as a service) product such as Shopify you are paying for the support and updates. Shopify is a large, established business with many customers relying on them. As a business, they are likely to remain stable and maintain a good product.