Shopify Review (2020) – Is Shopify The Best Platform for eCommerce?
Is Shopify worth the money or not? Find out as you scroll below!
eCommerce can be a difficult industry for a lot of people thanks to the learning curve and general competitiveness. You need to learn how to sell, marketing platforms, and the different platforms and software you’ll want to use.
Luckily, Shopify aims to reduce at least one of those worries, providing you with a full featured and nearly automated platform for your eCommerce, which you can use to ease your store creation.
However, does it succeed? Or does its expectations fall short? Let’s find out!
Starts at 14-Day Trial
Shopify is an eCommerce online platform, which aims to let vendors around the world show their products and sell them with an online store, and it’s a great way to make something extra on the side.
It’s a fully equipped platform, and it works somewhat similar to WordPress. The plans are as cheap as $9 (but features become unlocked the more expensive the plan), and you can have a store up and running in less than an hour.
Shopify lets users either choose themes or upload ones they already own. It comes with a site builder that you can use to change all the visual elements at your leisure, including colors, social media buttons, and more.
You also have access to different statistics and reports on your site’s performance: visitors, the stages of making a purchase, abandoned carts (which they filled but never bought), and your most popular products.
Shopify is a simple yet powerful alternative to people who know nothing about HTML, SSL certificates, hosting, and other annoyances people often list on other means. Not to say WordPress and similar platforms aren’t good; Shopify is just simpler and faster.
What can you sell on Shopify?
It might sound as an exaggeration, but “anything” comes extremely close. Take a look at the Shopify marketplace listing different stores; you’ll find pet stores, music sites, clothing, art, and even office supplies. Almost every niche is available here.
The only limit here is your imagination and legal status of your items. That is, you can’t sell anything illegal, but other than that, everything is game here.
If think you have an excellent idea, have experience selling stuff, or you want to create an online front for your retail store, then Shopify is a great way to open up a new income stream.
Of course, not everything has to be physical. You can sell digital products as well, like workout regimes, cooking recipe books, photos, your own music, guides, eBooks… As I said, “anything” is a fairly accurate description.
It’s particularly great for artistic people who don’t want to spend too much on plugins but still get a front to sell their work.
How does it help you?
Shopify has an entire suite filled with tools for your marketing, and you can exploit them without too much difficulty to get people to know your store and products and scale it once sales start coming in.
You can modify posts on Shopify as well as your product pages, and you even have a blog section in case you fancy some written content marketing. You can change headlines, descriptions, titles, images, and that meta stuff so loved by SEO enthusiasts.
It all build up to good search engine rankings!
Besides, you have access to customer reviews, which not only means more trust and that social proof stravaganza, but it’s also even more information for search engines.
You can use Shopify to create professional looking product pages, in which customers can easily see large images, clear descriptions, and enticing cart products. You can also integrate it with Facebook to get your store in front of even more followers and huge audience, importing all the information from your site.
It’s a great way to get your business into social media marketing quickly and without too much effort. You should always remember that social media sites are paramount in eCommerce, and if you want to succeed and build a profitable business, you simply can’t forget about sites like Facebook.
Besides, you also have access to several report tools keeping tabs on statistics like live and returning visitors, their location around the globe, and lots more. You can put all this data into good use by taking it as the foundation for your future improvements and optimizations.
It’s important to see what you’re doing right and wrong, which products succeed and which ones fail, and where your customers decide to leave your site.
Addons and Shopify
Like everything in life, Shopify can’t give you everything you need from the get-go. With so many people, it’s impossible to fit everyone’s needs. However, Shopify is filled with additional programs (from its community) that definitely solve those issues.
In fact, you might even save money by grabbing a couple addons instead of upgrading your Shopify subscription.
There are countless addons, including report kits, additional features, design options, and even some interesting ones that think outside the box. Some are free, yet some can cost several hundreds per month.
To give you an idea of how varied this is, there are gamifying plugins that let you make your customers have fun while shopping in exchange of discounts and other benefits. You can use these apps to offer discounts for their emails.
Take the Wheelio App, for example. Users can give you their email to play on a wheel game for the chance of winning discounts. After they had fun (and potentially become more of a recurrent client), you can use their emails to keep them posted on new offers, promotions, and even giveaways.
You can also get tools for more detailed reports, including your most valuable products and which target audience is more likely to buy from you and spend more money than the rest.
One of these tools is Semantics3 Analytics, which gives you all of those reports I just mentioned. Besides, it has over 16 different reports for you, and they’re all free. That’s why, even if you don’t plan on spending extra money on addons, you still should take a look at the marketplace.
Finally, while technically not plugins, we have themes.
Why am I including them here?
Because you have apps offering additional customization options, abandoned cart recovery, autoresponders, etc. If these are considered addons, why shouldn’t a plugin that includes all of them?
There are themes like Shoptimized and eCom Turbo that feel more like a brand new platform than just a visual theme, and these are very often much less expensive than getting several plugins separately to get the same functionality.
Now we come to one of my issues with Shopify. There are several different factors that decide how much you end up spending, and that can become annoying.
First off, you have the monthly subscriptions, and they start with $29 and climb all the way to $299. $29 works for a single store, and it’s definitely affordable.
But wait, it keeps going.
You then have your credit card rate, which is charged with each transaction. It varies depending on how you take the payments. Speaking of payments, if you use merchants like PayPal, that means yet another fee on top of the previous ones.
Now that we’re done with Shopify, let’s go into additions.
Each addon you add will most likely cost you something each month. Luckily, they tell you how much it is before you get it, but if you get carried away with plugins, get ready for a hefty bill at the end of the month.
Finally, the free themes are bad for your store, so add a premium theme to that.
Shopify Pros and Cons
- Setting up stores is quick and straightforward. In about an hour, you can have your store ready, and some people take less than that.
- You have many customizable themes you can use to give personality to your store without hardships.
- The marketplace for plugins and apps is huge, and it has lots of great integrations to improve your store.
- You can try the platform for 2 weeks entirely free.
- Besides the monthly costs, they also charge fees for each transaction, which could admittedly be lower.
- Payment gateways are limited. You might also have to pay additional fees depending on how you take payments.
- Shopify owns your store in the end.
- You have to pay monthly fees for integrating most apps, so you might end up paying a lot more than you expected.
Shopify is by far my favorite eCommerce platform right now, and even while the pricing system can be a bit offputting for some, it’s nothing that you can’t get used to within a few months.
Besides, you can skip a lot of the plugins necessary by installing full-featured themes like eCom Turbo, which include functions from those plugins into a single package. For instance, there are several people who make a stable income just by running Shopify with a premium theme, and they haven’t seen the need to install any plugin.
So, yes. To me, it’s the best eCommerce platform.