Ecommerce Made Easy: What is Shopify and How Does it Work?

by | Mar 20, 2020 | E-commerce

Home » E-commerce » Ecommerce Made Easy: What is Shopify and How Does it Work?

Illustration of shopping cart inside of a shopping stall to show ecommerce and shopify solutions


When you hear the word ecommerce, you probably think of internet giants like Amazon and eBay. While these companies offer open access to their easy-to-use ecommerce market, there are plenty of specialized ecommerce platforms that are better suited for businesses looking for more flexibility and control over an online store. Today, we’re going to talk about a popular ecommerce solution: Shopify.


What is Shopify and Why Should I Use It?

Shopify is a subscription-based ecommerce platform that offers users the ability to create their own online shop. With this subscription comes a number of unique ecommerce tools and features, as well as greater control over the brand of your business. Because you’ll be hosting and curating your own ecommerce store, you don’t have to worry about battling with competitors and can neatly organize your catalog as you see fit.


What are the Main Differences Between Shopify and Sites Like Amazon?

The main thing to remember is that Shopify is a specialized ecommerce platform designed for starting and operating an online store, while sites like Amazon function more like an online marketplace. Integrating Shopify into your website (or using it to create your website from the ground up) is akin to renting a building and opening a storefront where you can personalize your brand and services, while selling through Amazon is more akin to opening a stall at a popular market. You’ll have access to a larger user base and more traffic through Amazon, but you’ll also have to contend with more competition and spend more resources getting noticed by prospective customers.

When people think of Amazon, they often think of its robust app support. For a long time, Amazon has had a leg up on its competition by providing multiple platforms for shoppers to engage with businesses. However, Shopify has recently released their own app, “Shop”, which has further closed the gap between marketplaces like Amazon and platforms like Shopify.

Shop serves as a digital interface that helps users discover Shopify stores more easily. Online shoppers can search the app for stores that are related to their interests and needs, and then follow the store to get access to their online inventory. This is nice for business owners, as it helps transform one-time buyers into repeat customers.


Is Shopify Right For Me?

Shopify is a great alternative for businesses of any size looking to take their first big step into ecommerce, while online marketplaces are better suited for individual resellers and small businesses. Shopify is generally preferable if your business prioritizes the following factors in starting their online store:

  • Ease of use: Shopify is built from the ground up to be user friendly and easily integrates into other platforms like WordPress.
  • Flexibility: because Shopify is designed for widespread integration, it can be seamlessly added into most existing interfaces.
  • Branding: if your business wants to retain more control of its brand while operating an online store, ecommerce platforms like Shopify are a must.
  • Low overhead: due to its tiered-subscription platform, a Shopify store is often relatively cheap to operate compared to other models.

Should I Start a Shopify Store Myself?

Yes and no. It’s a good idea to peek around on their website and look at the features that are offered. This will give you an idea of what possibilities are available through a Shopify integration – and if you don’t have a website already, Shopify will help you design your own. This is a good route for individuals looking to quickly start a small online store that is relatively simple in scope (limited catalog, established brand, etc).

But, if you already have a website, a lot of products in your catalog or even a relatively complex sales process, then it’s best to partner with a competent web designer. With so many moving parts, it’s easy for websites to break and orders to get messed up. A poorly designed Shopify website can actually hurt your business more than help.

If you’re ready to start your ecommerce website, then contact us at Comit Developers. We have years of ecommerce experience, so we’re fully equipped to find the solution best suited for your business needs.


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Michelle O'Neal

Michelle has worked in the web and digital marketing industry for over 20 years in various roles including website content development, project management, operations, and human resources. This mix of expertise allows her to think from a business-owner's point of view and relay that to her team. You'll find her writing about company news, ecommerce, and HIPAA compliance for websites.

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