There are a lot of options for running an online store – Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce solution that I’ve used to run several online stores & consult with clients since 2009. Here’s my Shopify review – with 6+ pros and 6+ cons of using Shopify for your online store.
But first, a bit of background.
There’s a lot of options for running an online store, and your choice of best eCommerce platform can have just as big of an effect on your business as choosing a building or location for a physical store. It’s not the end all of the business – but it certainly can make or break your business – and can either expand your opportunity or severely kneecap your business.
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform that provide everything you need from end to end (minus the product and business know-how) to set up and start selling your product(s) to the world as opposed to you putting all the pieces together yourself (see Shopify’s plans here).
It’s sort of like hiring a general contractor to build your house, over being the contractor and hiring sub-contractors yourself. You’re still in control, but you let the general contractor use their expertise to make the project happen. My go-to analogy is with real estate.
There are pros and cons to the approach – which is what we’ll get into. But basically know that Shopify directly competes mainly with BigCommerce and Volusion – all three of which provide turn-key eCommerce solutions, which in turn compete with non-turnkey solutions (like setting up your own store with WordPress + WooCommerce).
And these hosted solutions sort of compete and integrate with eCommerce “marketplaces” like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. I wrote more about how Shopify can work with Etsy here and how Shopify competes with website builders like Wix here.
Aside – Shopify also has a “Buy button” functionality that allows you to use Shopify as Point of Sale (POS) / Inventory option – and let customers click to buy your products anywhere online (Pinterest, Facebook, WordPress blog, Tumblr, etc) and anywhere offline like Farmer’s Markets, tradeshows, etc. I’ll be looking less at that – and more at Shopify’s full online store package. You can get the Buy button only as part of the Lite Plan, but it really competes with PayPal & Square rather than full online store options.
How Does Shopify Work?
Shopify is fairly straightforward – which is sort of their whole selling point. The broad process is as follows –
- Pick a Shopify plan that fits your budget and feature needs.
- “Point” your domain that you bought from a registrar like GoDaddy or NameCheap to your Shopify store. You can also buy one via Shopify.
- Choose a design/template for your store. You can edit a free one via their drag/drop tool or buy a premium one or hire a designer.
- Add your products, page content, payment options, etc.
- Go get customers! Here’s an eCommerce marketing strategy to get you started.
Is Shopify Worth It?
It depends! That is a maddening answer, I know. But it’s true. Shopify is a tool. It might not be for you. If you are selling a single digital product on your blog, then Shopify is probably not worth it.
A PayPal button or a WooCommerce plugin on your WordPress site would work. But if you need to run a multi-product eCommerce store with inventory, marketing tools, customer records, etc – then Shopify is absolutely worth it…if the pros / cons balance out for your based on your goals, resources, expertise, etc.
Make sense? Cool. Let’s dive into the actual Shopify review.[Read more…] about Shopify Review: Pros & Cons of Using Shopify For eCommerce
Shopify is a hosted ecommerce platform that allows anyone to setup an online store with hosting and support included. If you are looking for an all-in-one solution for your online store, Shopify is a great way to go.
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Application Category: Ecommerce Hosting