Every ecommerce platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. While Shopify is quickly becoming the most popular ecommerce solution, it has a number of specific pros and cons that separate it from the crowd. Because of this, we often get asked, “is Shopify right for me”? As with anything, the answer depends on a number of factors — but most likely, the answer is yes!
What is Shopify and Is It the Right Solution for My Problem?
Shopify is a subscription-based ecommerce platform that offers users the ability to create their own online shop. With this subscription, ranging from $30 to $300 monthly, comes a number of unique ecommerce tools and features.
While the base features are fairly simple to understand, the more advanced customization options and reporting tools can get complicated without guidance. When it comes to deciding if Shopify is the right solution for your ecommerce problem, you should ask yourself a few simple questions:
- What features are necessary for the success of your online business?
- How quickly do you want to launch your ecommerce store?
- Does your business model differ greatly from conventional models?
Take some time to think about these questions while reading the rest of our blog, and we’ll answer them at the end to help you decide if Shopify is right for you and your business.
Benefits of Shopify:
Your New Digital Storefront
If you’re looking to design and launch a digital storefront as fast as possible, Shopify is a great option. With over 100 themes to choose from, an easy to understand user interface and a robust customer support center, it’s fairly easy to design a simple online shop that reflects the basic aspects of your brand. This is great for small businesses needing quick turnaround times, but its simplicity does present one major issue.
It’s entirely possible and increasingly likely, given the rising frequency of Shopify stores, that your customers will encounter other online shops that look visually similar to your own. For some businesses, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing—but if your business depends on its distinct brand, this will cause significant brand confusion. For markets that have a lot of competition, this can be a pretty big issue.
Luckily, Shopify offers WordPress integration at a cheaper cost than its normal monthly rate through Shopify Buy Button. This means that businesses can take advantage of WordPress’ design flexibility by building out a complete website along with more powerful features, while still using Shopify to accommodate the need for an ecommerce platform. This is a great option for bigger businesses looking to exemplify their distinct brand, but it also presents a lot of unique design challenges that are better handled by professional web designers.
Facilitating Commerce and Simplified Checkout
The biggest selling point of an ecommerce platform is its ability to handle online transactions competently. Compared to other platforms, this is something Shopify excels at. Some basic features with Shopify include:
- It provides access to Shopify Payments (also known as ShopPay), a platform that accepts most major credit cards.
- It accepts a large selection of external payment gateways (including Paypal and Bitcoin).
- It offers shipping cost control, automatic shipping cost calculation and integrated shipping functionality for all major carriers (including FedEx, UPS and USPS).
- Shopify supports over 50+ languages, broadening your digital reach extensively.
- It also offers automatic state and federal sales tax calculation.
For all that Shopify offers in the way of ecommerce functionality, it does have one notable issue. While it does everything it can to simplify the buying process, the checkout and payment process is not entirely customizable. This shouldn’t be a major issue for most businesses, But for businesses with unorthodox models or those looking for greater control over the checkout process, Shopify’s base features may not be right for your business.
Managing Your Shopify Store
One of Shopify’s greatest strengths is the ease and speed in which store owners can manage their digital inventory. From store management to order fulfillment, Shopify is built to make day-to-day handling of ecommerce platforms simple. For example, the Shopify Mobile App allows shop owners to easily access pertinent control features on-the-go, such as adding or removing inventory or viewing an order’s status.
Additionally, Shopify has plugins for common fulfillment services like Amazon, Shipwire, Superlogistics and Rakuten. However, Shopify does offer custom fulfillment options for businesses that use in-house fulfillment—but integrating custom fulfillment options should be handled by expert web developers who understand the nuances of web app integration, lest you run into issues with shipping orders!
Along with the ability to easily ship your products through Shopify, the platform also offers comprehensive drop shipping integrations through standard drop shipping services (eCommHub, Inventory Source, Ordoro). Store owners will have access to a comprehensive order fulfillment service that will allow them to easily track the status of orders and communicate with customers through a number of appropriate channels (namely email and sms).
Answering the Big Question: Is Shopify Right for Me?
Chances are for most businesses, the answer is a resounding yes! But there are a few things to consider before diving into the wonderful world of ecommerce. To put this into perspective, let’s revisit the questions we asked earlier.
What Features Are Necessary for the Success of Your Online Business?
If you just need basic features that are common to most ecommerce platforms, then Shopify is an excellent choice for businesses looking to open their own online store.
If you need complex features in the form of order fulfillment, specific checkout functionality or greater control of brand design, chances are you can still benefit from Shopify through WordPress integration. However, we wouldn’t recommend doing this yourself—you’ll be better equipped in the long run by hiring a competent web developer.
How Quickly Do You Want to Launch Your Store?
Simply put, Shopify is the right ecommerce solution for businesses that need quick turnaround times. Because of its ease of use and templated design, it’s a great tool for launching online stores quickly and effectively.
Businesses with larger inventories and more nuanced ecommerce needs can still utilize Shopify successfully, though they may have to temper their expectations for speedy launch times. Additionally, the added time of development caused by larger infrastructure may mean that it’s worth exploring other ecommerce options better suited for larger stores.
Does Your Business Model Differ Greatly From Conventional Models?
If your business utilizes a traditional business-to-consumer (B2C) model, then Shopify is right for you. This is Shopify’s bread and butter, meaning you’ll fit neatly into their primary audience and be catered to with tools designed to facilitate the success and strategic growth of your business. Not only that, you’ll have access to Shopify’s retail POS system (at an additional cost), which means you can further bridge the gap between brick and mortar and digital storefronts.
If your business utilizes non-traditional sales models, or is primarily business-to-business (B2B), Shopify may not be the right choice for you. While it’s a cheaper option than other platforms that cater to B2B sales, you’ll have to invest more time and energy to make it work for you. With a web developer, this is a doable endeavour–without one, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Comit Developers Is Here to 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.