When launching an online store, selecting the right eCommerce platform is crucial. Shopify has become popular among entrepreneurs and businesses seeking a user-friendly and robust solution—and for good reason: Shopify started as an eCommerce platform, and it’s remained true to its roots.
Instead of starting as a content-based platform (like WordPress) or a WYSIWYG (like Wix or Squarespace) and then adding on eCommerce functionality, Shopify has always focused on building high-powered online stores.
Still, it’s not 100% perfect. In this article, we will dive into the pros and cons of Shopify we’ve discovered through our Shopify Website Design Services, helping you determine if Shopify aligns with your specific eCommerce requirements.
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Pros of Using Shopify
Here are some of the biggest benefits of using Shopify as your go-to eCommerce platform, as we regularly discuss with our clients:
1. Easy to Use
Shopify’s intuitive interface makes it remarkably user-friendly. You don’t need any coding or design skills to set up and manage your store. Basic drag-and-drop functionality allows you to customize your store’s appearance, and beginners can launch their store quickly.
It’s so easy to use, we sometimes use Shopify for the eCommerce piece of otherwise WordPress-built websites!
2. Versatile Design Options
Shopify offers ample design flexibility with a wide range of themes and templates. Whether you prefer a minimalist, elegant look or a vibrant and eye-catching design, you can find a piece that suits your brand image. Moreover, if you want a unique and tailored design, you can hire Shopify website design services to create a custom store design.
There is some nuance, however.
For years, Shopify’s free templates were ugly, and that inspired third-party designers to build and sell their own Shopify templates. While these are wonderful tools to have, Shopify will only offer support on these websites when it comes to the customer’s shopping experience. If you have trouble with a shipping label or the cart checkout, Shopify will help—but they won’t lend a hand if you’re having issues related to the template.
Fortunately, Shopify’s free templates have gotten much, much better, and you can still make really cool websites with a little patience and by placing modules on top of a standard template. Plus, Shopify has some basic WYSIWYG functionality to make building in Shopify a little bit easier.
Our friends at Americat, for example, have built inside Shopify and use a variety of apps and modules to create a beautiful, easy-to-use website.
For even more examples of Shopify in action, check out our eCommerce case studies!
3. Secure and Reliable
Shopify handles all the technical aspects of your website, including hosting, security, and software updates. This ensures that your store remains secure and accessible to customers at all times. The platform’s robust infrastructure and reliable servers contribute to a smooth and uninterrupted shopping experience for your customers.
Like we said before, Shopify is really good at eCommerce. We’ve seen nightmare experiences with platforms like Squarespace, where customization and troubleshooting can be really tough to manage—even with tech support. That’s rarely the case inside Shopify.
4. App Integrations
One of Shopify’s most significant advantages is its vast app ecosystem. The Shopify App Store offers a wide range of apps and plugins to extend additional functionality to your store. You can find apps to streamline various business operations, from marketing and SEO tools to inventory management and customer support.
A great example: You can send an email campaign directly through Shopify—and then track the exact purchases made through that specific campaign, giving you an immediate measurement of your campaign ROI.
In many cases, companies that are already inside Shopify aren’t even aware of all of the functionality available to them. That includes store boosters like Abandoned Cart features and built-in Customer Review options.
5. Opportunities for Growth
If you’re an online store, there’s really no better platform for long-term growth. Shopify is equipped with the right mix of apps, integrations, UX, and customer support to ensure your company is primed for consistent growth.
Plus, Shopify makes it easy to scale. With their multi-tiered subscription plan, you can grow your business inside Shopify without fear of ever having to “graduate” into another web platform.
Cons of Using Shopify
Despite the long list of pros to using Shopify, there are some drawbacks to be familiar with.
1. Limited Customization
While Shopify offers a range of design options, some advanced customization may be limited. You might need help with particular design requirements or want to build complex features from scratch.
And remember when we said Shopify has some limited WYSIWYG functionality? It’s really limited. You’re certainly not going to find the level of drag-and-drop capabilities you’ll find in Wix or Squarespace (or even WordPress if you’re using a tool like Elementor).
However, the available customization options are more than sufficient for most businesses.
2. Transaction Fees
Shopify charges transaction fees for each sale made through third-party payment gateways in addition to the regular subscription fees. These fees can add up, especially for businesses with high sales volumes. You can use Shopify Payments to avoid transaction fees, but it may not be available in all countries.
3. Monthly Costs
Although Shopify offers different pricing plans, it’s essential to consider the ongoing monthly costs. While the fundamental goal is affordable, additional features and scalability often require higher-tier procedures, which can be more expensive. The monthly expenses should be factored into your budget depending on your business size and requirements.
As an example, one of our clients has built a variety of automations into his website, and his monthly Shopify bill exceeds $10,000 with his apps and integrations added in. While that may sound excessive, they’re helping him earn more than $1 million per month—so it’s definitely worth the price!
4. Not Great Outside of eCommerce
Shopify is the ruler of the eCommerce kingdom. Outside of that? Not so much.
Just a small sample of the shortcomings we see inside of Shopify:
- Its templates don’t offer great page functionality or flexibility
- Custom pages are sometimes unwieldy inside Shopify
- Certain blog standards (like the ability to categorize blog posts) are missing or incomplete
If your website needs an eCommerce component but does a lot outside of online shopping, you could be better off inside a different platform, like WordPress. Learn more by checking out our WordPress Custom Design Services.
5. Variant Limitations
One of the biggest hurdles we’ve tackled lately was for an online store that sells a variety of highly customizable fasteners.
That level of customization meant you could have dozens and dozens of variables inside a single product, which sometimes means the need for hundreds of SKUs for a single product.
By default, that doesn’t work inside of Shopify. Instead, Shopify caps its variants at 100—so serious workarounds were necessary!
Weighing the Pros and Cons of Using Shopify
At this point, you may be wondering: Is Shopify worth it?
As agency that works inside of Shopify every day, we’re here to tell you: Yes, definitely.
Shopify is an excellent choice for beginners. Its user-friendly interface and comprehensive documentation make navigating easy, even for those who need more technical expertise. The platform offers extensive customer support through live chat, email, and phone, ensuring you receive assistance whenever required.
It’s also advanced enough that experienced users with sophisticated stores can build right inside of Shopify while driving an increase in revenue year-over-year.
Finding Support for Shopify
If you’re ready to explore Shopify, contact us! Our experienced team of developers and designers can bring your vision to life—and your value to the market.
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