Shopify is one of the biggest and leading giants in the eCommerce world. From a template-based site builder offering cheap Shopify web designs to a powerful analytics tool. It is your one-stop eCommerce platform providing just about everything you need to build and grow your web store. But is it worth it for UK business owners?
7 Reasons To Use Shopify
Easy to Use
The number one reason, most people love Shopify is because it’s easy to use and comes right out of the box with simple features which make getting started a breeze. You don’t necessarily need a to be a coder or hire a programmer to use Shopify. In a nutshell, the platform takes care of most of the standard web-hosting and coding issues faced by business owners who may host their E-Commerce sites on WordPress or Magento
Shopify is the epitome of the Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) rule of thumb. The admin interface is clean and user-friendly and pretty intuitive because all the features are logically structured. Moreover, owners will find entering product details, pretty simple.
By taking care of the technical needs and website configuration and shopping cart management, Shopify makes it easy for business moguls to focus on their business for more of the time.
When scaling up sales, you will generally find the need to implement additional features, this is where Shopify’s rich and vibrant app store comes into play. However, fair warning must be given that most desirable apps are additional costs and the most additional costs you have, the more it will eat into your profits.
Medium sized ecom merchants should hire a Shopify Expert to handle the integration of more complex features. In the long run you will save money and have a solution which is bespoke to you.
If you have a self-hosted solution, perhaps on WordPress then every second your website is not online means a loss of business, even as I type those words I get a shudder as I think about the times in the past where my very own eCommerce website was broken due to incompatible plugins. Holding your breath, crossing your fingers and throwing salt over your left shoulder everything you hit ‘update’ is no fun!
When it comes to reliability in terms of down times, Shopify is seamless. Updates are done in the background and new features are rolled out every so often without you ever actually noticing. The ease of keeping your website up to date makes Shopify worth it for some.
Server times are fast also, which helps with page load speed, although it can be hard to hit impressive page speed test scores on the platform. There are a number of speed work arounds which can be implemented and while much of it can be done yourself (think images), if you are a medium size merchant or larger I would recommend someone who knows what they are doing pops the hood so to speak to perform your optimisations. There is no roll-back feature if things go wrong, this is because Shopify takes care of hosting your shopping website and the experienced team over at Shopify ensures that your shopping cart is always available and online to serve your customers.
The monthly platform cost of Shopify can be covered within 1 to 3 sales per month depending on your price point and profit margin, this makes it a very attractive prospect for many merchants.
Shopify plans are charged in USD and for the UK market works out at around 22 – 25 GBP for the basic plan and around 60 GBP for the more popular plan which offers more features. There is an advanced plan for higher volume merchants and even a Shopify Plus program for enterprise level eCommerce.
Generous starter packages give startup merchants plenty in their toolbox before the need for additional paid for applications is needed.
As mentioned earlier, the Shopify app store is well stocked with applications which can take everything which Shopify has to offer and enhance it further.
When looking to hire a website developer to implement features on to Shopify, it would be worth using an official Shopify Partner in order to deal with people who have an intrinsic knowledge of the Open Source Shopify programming language called Liquid.
Essential Marketing Tools
The basic package of Shopify is integrated with SEO features and ‘good enough’ eCommerce analytics tools that deliver information about your business’s online popularity among customers.
In addition to these tools, Shopify is packed with marketing tools, such as discount codes, custom gift cards, social network integration, abandoned cart, store statistics & a coupon engine. Furthermore, the renowned Shopify App Store (yes, its worth mentioning again ) is filled with more advanced marketing features and contains almost anything an eCommerce website could wish for.
With Shopify, you get a well-oiled marketing machine with all the essential marketing tools at your disposal to instantly power up your E-Commerce website. All of that at a relatively low monthly cost.
Easy Web Hosting
Web hosting can often be a burden for startups, to say the least. As hosting your own shopping cart requires some level of technical expertise and a lot of spare time. The platform takes care of the common website issues such as a gateway, management, hosting and payment. This is the best-case scenario for a busy startup just getting off the ground.
WordPress + Woocommerce is a popular alternative to Shopify and is a feature packed robust content management system. The lure of cheap hosting is strong, however, cheap hosting is generally slow and you’ll find it very hard to get decent website speed performance from WordPress + Woocommerce unless expensive hosting is used.
Shopify automatically load balances your website meaning they are always prepared for a sudden spike in traffic. Connecting your domain is a simple task which saves you from getting elbow deep in your cPanel and/or DNS settings.
What's On Your Mind?
Shopify provides top-notch security. As, they handle security compliance, security upgrades, and hacker protection. Providing a safe haven for startups in particular as they are more vulnerable to hackers and data breaches, due to their focus on making money and marketing their goods and services to new users.
Additional security can be employed in the form of CloudFlare, which prevents denial of service attacks (DDoS).
Access to World-Class Customer Support
Shopify’s email, phone, and chat support are the safety net startups need to launch their site. Often the first stop prior to relying on your developers to do the job. The best part is the customer support is its availability round the clock.
Due to Shopify’s popularity, it is easy to find additional professional help in the form of a Shopify Partner. Hiring a Shopify Partner can enable many more advanced features for your website and makes sure that your website is the best version of itself.
So, is Shopify worth it?
In summary, Shopify has made starting up a business quick and hassle-free. To be successful, consider the level of support you require as your website will still need to be designed, set up and linked to many of the different external selling tools such as Google Merchant Centre.
If your technical level is low, then consider hiring an official Shopify Expert to help you.