If you’re someone who is new to ecommerce, or someone who is considering getting started, you’ve probably heard a few terms during your research.
The best way to be successful in digital sales is to have the right ecommerce platform to support your efforts. Ecommerce solutions come in many forms, but there are a few names that stand out among the rest.
These names have got their status because their features are conducive to success. They offer online merchants the support they need to provide solutions to their customers. One such name is Shopify – you’ve probably heard about it, seen it in action, and perhaps even shopped through this portal at one time or another.
Today we’ll provide the definitive guide to this ecommerce website builder. We’ll discuss what the Shopify ecommerce experience offers in terms of features, list the pros and cons, then finally wrap up with a conclusion on why so many people use it.
What is Shopify? Understanding the Modern Ecommerce Platform
When a person decides they want to try ecommerce, they likely do so for one of a few reasons. Maybe they’re new to a certain business endeavor and want a starting point that is quick and affordable.
Or it could be the case that a person has tried the brick-and-mortar workplace. Maybe they found this environment wasn’t the right fit for their business endeavors due to financial or logistical problems. In either case, the affordable, flexible nature of online shopping attracts them.
People are attracted to ecommerce because it’s effective, too. It’s a great way to meet buyers where they are, as the trend of digital shopping has grown steadily over the past decade.
This trend isn’t expected to stop, either. Therefore, it may not even be fair to call it a trend – at least not in the sense it will lose favor. There are about 1.92 billion digital buyers out there now, and that number is expected to bound past the 2 billion mark by 2021.
The best way to start the right way is with a good ecommerce website builder. These platforms aren’t just designed like typical web builders. They do offer domains, domain names, and custom layouts (more on that later), but they’re geared specifically toward sales.
Shopify ecommerce is one such option. It’s a platform designed to help upstart stores get going. There are enough tools to help with ecommerce marketing, sales, and fulfillment. The best part is you don’t need any coding knowledge to get started.
Ecommerce platforms like this one are built to support stores with product catalogs, payment processors, and all the other vital tools to an online store.
If you’ve seen or heard about Shopify, in any context, you probably already know about how popular it has become among merchants. Startups, enterprise, and everything in between – Shopify offers something for everyone.
Let’s examine the specifics of this platform, and see what it offers in terms of design capabilities, pricing structure, and beyond.
Shopify Ecommerce: Stores, Themes, & Pricing
We could go on and on about the reputation Shopify ecommerce has among users – both on the buying and selling sides.
Let’s delve into the specific features it offers and how these features are conducive to a good experience for both the merchants and their customers.
Capabilities of Shopify Stores
What’s the most important aspect of an ecommerce website? Since that could be called a synonymous term for an online store, store structure is paramount to success. A platform must be flexible, and geared toward the shopping experience – and that’s what Shopify offers.
Users can enjoy a drag-and-drop store builder so they can organize their catalog how they want to give users the best experience. This gives users the option to:
- Organize Product Listings: Users who have a lot of products to sell may feel the order they’re displayed in is very important. While some site builders can lock users down in terms of design options, Shopify lets users create a custom store with no coding knowledge required.
- Set Up Categories: For those businesses that have a lot of products, dividing them up into specific categories can be very helpful. Not only does using categories make the store neater, but it allows for shoppers to find what they want easier.
- Link to Outside Sales Options: There are many ways to sell – online, in person, and even linked through social media. Shopify offers all of these options and more. As far as the flexibility of the platform, users even can link their store to popular portals like Amazon. Since these portals are usually the first place shoppers go, this feature alone makes Shopify a great choice.
But beyond the ability to construct a great store with a custom domain for your business, what else does this platform offer? Design matters to – and that’s why Shopify is equipped with plenty of theme choices to make your store look any way you want it.
Shopify Themes and Design Capabilities
Shopify is the type of platform that is built for sellers – and the creators understand this is a very broad demographic to target. Sellers come in many forms and exist across multiple industries, and this means the right platform is a versatile one.
We already spoke about how the platform gives users the ability to organize their store however they want it, but there are many impressive starter themes that users could choose with some store organization already in place. Remember – more people are now taking a holistic approach to their shopping. Even the company themselves admits the multi-channel online/offline strategies are no longer considered separate. Giving users multiple ways to shop is a proven way to increase sales.
The number of stock themes on the site divided up into easy-to-browse categories. This lets you see where your perfect starting point is. While some of them cost extra, there are also free options out there. One strategy is to choose a layout that is close to what you want, then customize it accordingly.
You can also browse by industries. Admittedly, a sports store may have a different feel than a tech store if you visited them both in person. Since online stores could be thought of as extensions or even digital versions of their brick-and-mortar counterparts, they should have the same feel.
Shopify Pricing Structure and Cost Analysis
Features are one thing – but what about value? It’s not only about what your store can offer in terms of features and design. It’s how those perks tie into the cost. Comparing features to price can help you determine whether Shopify or one of its competitors is right for you.
Luckily, even if you are thinking of Shopify, there are a few different product levels you can choose. In addition to a 14-day free trial option, you can choose from the following price levels:
- Basic Shopify: This entry-level model comes at a price of $29/month. It features the online store with room for unlimited products, two staff accounts, 24/7 support, sales channels, manual order creation, discount codes, cart recovery options, and a complementary SSL certificate. Users can also get up to 64% off as a shipping discount.
- Shopify: This mid-tier version shares the name of the brand itself, and is priced at $79/month. It comes with all the perks of the basic version with three more staff accounts, gift card options, and even professional reports to help you manage your ecommerce platform with data-driven insights.
- Advanced Shopify: This model which is suited for enterprise organizations costs $299/month. It has all the perks from the normal version with a total of fifteen staff accounts. There’s an advanced report builder included, and users can enjoy shipping discounts of up to 74% off.
A person’s shopping experience will not usually be made or broken by your decision to go with one pricing option over another. The variety here demonstrates that Shopify understands the needs of startups may be different from those of established chains.
Choosing the right pricing option helps buyers get what they need without going over budget. Since we’ve covered a lot of those perks, it would only be fair to weigh them against the cons.
Pros and Cons of Shopify Ecommerce
No ecommerce platform is perfect. Where one excels, it may falter in another area. Comparing the solution’s respective pros and cons is a great way to decide how it stacks up to the competition.
Starting with the pros, Shopify is one of the faster builders you’ll find. Load times matter a lot when people are shopping online. If they can’t get a store to load, even if the store has a product they wanted, they may be inclined to take their business elsewhere.
In addition to being fast, the platform is also extremely secure. This is vital for shopping platforms, as they facilitate transactions and handle confidential data processing daily. Coupled with a seamless design, this makes ecommerce stores on Shopify a one-stop solution where users can find what they need.
Along with this, there are enough add-ons to help you add the new features you need for your site as the needs arise.
Of course, Shopify is also one of the more expensive platforms in its class. There’s the monthly costs, plus the fees for processing transactions if you don’t choose to use Shopify payments. While the coding architecture is robust, it is proprietary – this means if you ever have a problem, don’t count on figuring it out yourself unless you’re a programming expert who is familiar with Shopify’s design.
In that case, you’d be more inclined to rely on support for your fixes, but for those who prefer to fix their own issues, this is a big mark against Shopify.
There are plenty of pros and cons to consider when you are learning about Shopify. Overall, why does this platform still see so much use and remain one of the top choices on the market?
Why Shopify Ecommerce is a Top Choice for Digital Sales
Ecommerce is something more people are involved in than ever before. As newcomers enter the market for digital sales, they need a platform that does it all.
This is why Shopify remains a top choice. It’s holistic in that it has all the perks necessary for when you’re starting. While a little on the pricey side, it’s fast, customizable, and scalable. As far as an out-of-the-box solution, it’s about as good as you can get.
Shopify isn’t without competition – but it’s robust and proven in the field. It can stand up to any of its competitors and offer a great experience for buyers and sellers alike.
What are your experiences with Shopify ecommerce? Have you heard about it, shopped through it, or built a store yourself?
Share with us in the comments below!