Is Shopify the Best Ecommerce Platform?

21 Apr

If you have products you would like to sell online, you need a venue. Do you think you should open an online store? If so, is Shopify the best ecommerce platform? Here is some information about Shopify that will help you make your decision.

man w/shopping cart in front of store
Own a virtual storefront

Product name: Shopify

Website: https://www.shopify.com

Price: Basic: $29/mo; Shopify: $79/mo; Advanced: $299/mo.

Owners: Tobias Lutke, CEO; Daniel Weenand and Scott Lale

Overall Rank: 4.2 out of 5

OVERVIEW

Shopify was founded in 2004. In 2015, Amazon selected Shopify as the preferred migration provider. Amazon now allows merchants from Shopify to sell on Amazon.

Shopify is an ecommerce platform that allows you to open your own online store. To learn if this product is a fit for you, there is a 14-day free trial.

HOW IT WORKS

With Shopify, you can set up your store by using a checklist of steps to get started. Here is a summary of the steps:

  1. Pick a plan
  2. Add a domain you purchased elsewhere
  3. Choose your design/template/theme
  4. Add products, page content, payment options, etc.
  5. Find customers

You will find instructions for how to accomplish all of these steps. A “menus and links” page teaches you how to organize products, collections, web pages, store sales or blog posts so customers can find them. Then, a section of pages and blog posts defines these and teaches you how to set them up.

Dynamic checkout buttons will accelerate checkout, with a “buy it now” and “buy with PayPal” button.

You can upload files, images and logos. There are instructions for doing so.

When you set up online store preferences, you can edit title and meta descriptions, add tracking codes, enable or disable the password page and enable reCaptcha for checkout protection.

A fully featured search engine is provided to allow customers to search your site.

A backup system is available.

FEATURES YOU WILL GET WHEN YOU SET UP YOUR SITE

Shopify uses free or paid themes, though there are a limited amount available. There are 10 free themes and 61 that you must purchase.

There is an assortment of free and paid apps available that you might need to expand your business and make it more functional.

A great feature is a free credit card service. Shopify allows you to accept credit cards directly. You will need to do no set-up and no third-party verification is required.

You can set up an online store or you can sell in person by using Shopify’s POS (Point of Sale) system.Bag with S; Shopify

Varied Training Avenues Available

There is a Shopify blog for business ideas, growing sales, product updates, and founders’ stories. There is also the Shopify Academy, which gives on-demand courses, live workshops, and has a library of free resources. The Academy has many training modules available on a variety of subjects.

I signed up for Shopify some time ago, though I’ve never opened a store. One feature I really like: Nearly every day I receive a post from the “Shopify Digest” that covers some facet of online ecommerce. They are on topics that all of us involved in online marketing can find interesting and valuable. This is a very nice feature.

The Shopify Academy has many training modules on a variety of subjects. There are expertsPeople, computers meeting in conference available to help you launch your business online or, if necessary, to do a seamless migration of your shop from another platform. Design experts can help you tweak a template or design your store from scratch.

There are video tutorials, a shop community, and webinars. In the Shopify Community Forum, an external group of merchants will share skills and experience with you. They can even give you great feedback on other stores.

Classes include in-person events such as workshops, ecommerce guides, free books and articles about selling online. Podcasts feature audio broadcasts for entrepreneurs. Success stories are available to help motivate you.

SEO

I watched a Shopify training video on SEO. The presenter started with an interesting statement. She said that 60 to 80%of all traffic starts with a search. She says, and we can agree, that keyword research is the most important factor for SEO rank; in fact, it is the foundation of SEO.

I found her explanation as to how to find keywords a little confusing. Shopify uses Googles “Keywords Everywhere,” which, when I looked at it, seemed incomplete. You can find many keywords, but it doesn’t give you figures for average number of searches per month, traffic, and QSR the way our Jaaxy platform does.

Shopping Features

The company has a number of good shopping features. They are as follows:

  • Bulk order fulfillment and label printing are both available
  • Every part of your order is tracked, so you do not need to copy and paste addresses
  • You can choose to show the exact rates from carriers or you can offer a flat rate
  • You are able to print labels from phone or computer using a thermal label and desktop printer
  • Shopify targets the full gamut of business sizes, from startups to enterprises
  • All you need is a computer, an internet connection and a good reliable browserChart showing price plans

Comparison With Similar Companies

Which ecommerce platform is best for your online business? Here are three that I found with comparisons from a couple of sources. The first two came from https://www.merchantmaverick.com/reviews/shopify-review/

In comparison to Big Cartel:

A customer comment from Rob Starkman: The difference between Shopify’s and Big Cartel’s customer service is “like night and day. Customer service was decent, but not always sufficient. Shopify’s customer service has been nothing short of incredible.”

From Leo Wolff: “Shopify is the bees knees of ecommerce platforms. There is a lack of customization available in Big Cartel.

In comparison to Bigcommerce:

A commenter felt that with Bigcommerce, there is not enough help for those who don’t have HTML or CSS knowledge.

Another person didn’t feel like questions were answered when they contacted support. They felt like the staff was anxious to “close the deal.” The staff seemed to be motivated by earning commissions (comment from Brian.)

These comparisons between Shopify and Volusion came from https://www.stylefactoryproductions.com/blog/shopify-vs-volusion

Shopify’s user face is much easier to use

Shopify provides a wide range of free templates and has more apps available

There are no limits on products or sales to worry about

The drop shipping system is better, as well as the SEO features

PROSMan reaching out of computer; handing item

Basic plan at $29/month is quite affordable

With a 14-day free trial, you can set up your store and pick out a payment plan later

Built-in speed and security

Excellent customer support; team is available 24/7

You don’t have to build a whole website

There is a built-in credit card transaction program, with no transaction fees

Their buy button allows you to use Shopify as a Point of Sale (POS)/inventory option

Awesome add-on apps

CONS

Requires a little tech knowledge

Limited ability to change checkout page

Not many themes

Does not have Jaaxy

Not worth it for selling a single digital product

SEO less complete than with WA

You don’t learn the process of building a website from scratch

Monthly price and add-on fees, especially advertising, can add up

You can’t do much customizing of your theme: What you see is what you get

MY OPINION

I think the Shopify platform is a good one, and if I still had my store and wanted to sell my merchandise online as well as in a brick-and-mortar, I might well use it. However, I like being able to advertise other peoples’ products and not have to order, store, and deal with merchandise. Been there, done that.

I’m especially impressed with their training. Though Shopify does not have the interactive community that we do at Wealthy Affiliate, they do have many training offerings, designed to answer as many questions as they can. They also have a great shipping platform, designed to make that part of your job simpler.

Now that I am active on Wealthy Affiliate, if I wanted to open an ecommerce store, I’d do it right from the Wealthy Affiliate platform. Other platforms expect you to pay for advertising. At Wealthy Affiliate, that is not necessary if we choose not to buy ads. Our method of building SEO ranking takes us longer, but when we finally reach success, we’ll make more money.

In Wealthy Affiliate, we offer products and then use content marketing to draw traffic to our site. Because we have no advertising expense, we will make more profit per sale. When we write our content, we have the best keyword tool available, Jaaxy, to help us improve rankings. What’s not to like?

===>Become a Wealthy Affiliate member and multiply your advantages.

 

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4 Replies to “Is Shopify the Best Ecommerce Platform?

  1. While Shopify looks good and is somewhat simple to use as a new e-commerce seller I fear it lacks the extendability of WooCommerce and with Woo you don’t have to use their credit card processing. What I like least about Shopify is they decide ultimately what can be sold. I saw one dealer of refurbished factory condition cell phones lose their ability to use Shopify Payments because used items are restricted in many cases. With other systems you can use any processor and not have big brother Shopify telling you what to sell, but for most standard products they have certain advantages in terms of cost to get started and the ability to streamline your path into Amazon and E-bay, Facebook Merchants and other partnerships. They also work well with several top autoresponders to automate e-mail marketing.

  2. Shopify sounds like it has some reasonable features and may be fairly easy for a new website owner to set up. But I have a difficult time believing it’s the best e-commerce platform. Having used WordPress, which is the most popular website building software available on the Internet, I would be very leery of using proprietary software for my business.

    In my opinion, you would be better off installing the WooCommerce plugin for WordPress. I have to agree with you on the many advantages of starting your online business through Wealthy Affiliate. Even though the primary focus of training through WA is affiliate marketing, there is a lot of training available for installing WooCommerce because many people want to sell their own products in addition to promoting the products of others.

    I see WordPress as a more robust long-term solution.

    • Thanks for the excellent comment, Linda. Yes, it does have some reasonable features. I played around with it for a while and found it easy to use. However, I’m inclined to agree. I think I’d rather use a plugin from WordPress on Wealthy Affiliate.

      It continues to amaze me how much the Wealthy Affiliate program provides so much excellent training and is always adding some improvement, for example, the new feature that helps us find new affiliate marketing companies with products in our niche. I don’t think there are any other affiliate companies that do such a thing. Just another indication that Wealthy Affiliate is the best one out there.

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