Why we like to build e-Commerce websites with Shopify

There are more and more website platforms available, and choosing the right one for your business can feel really difficult.  We have tried them all so and our top choices are Shopify and Wordpress, depending on what your business  needs are.

Firstly, lets debunk some myths about Shopify:

1. Shopify is for small businesses only.  False! There are massive international and local brands using Shopify including: Heinz, Nescafe, Crabtree and Evelyn, Penguin Books, BBC, Redbull, Gymshark, Lindt, Adele, Lady Gaga, KKW Beauty (Kim Kardashian West’s beauty store), Kylie Cosmetics, David Beckham Eyewear and the list goes on.  There are over 1 million active Shopify stores.

2. Shopify websites are not cusomizeable and they all end up looking the same. False! Although Shopify is template based (like most platforms these days including Werdpress) it is completely customizeable.  Each website we make looks unique and is made according to our clients specifications and objectives. 

Note: The only time you build websites without a template base these days is if there is very specific, unusual functionality required.  The template base is the reason why websites are much more affordable than they were years ago.

3. You could inadvertently loose your Shopify store and it would be gone for good.  False! You can pause your Shopify website (and the monthly billing) at any point and reopen it as you left off.  In fact it is more secure than some of the local hosting solutions available.  There are lots if instances of small marketing agencies going belly up and websites being lost for good - this is not a risk with Shopify.

4. Shopify websites aren't 'Google friendly'.  False! Shopify has lots of great SEO tools already built in.  We also put lots of additional optimzation in for all our websites (Wordpress and Shopify).  When we go live our websites can easily be found in Google and other search engines.

The 6 top reasons we love Shopify:

1. It's easy for our clients to use (for uploading and changing products, receiving orders, swapping pics etc).

2. The sites look great and are work really well!

3. Clients take ownership from the time they go live and have full control.

4. For most small businesses, using Shopify payments is more cost effective than other using third party payment providers (and it's a simpler solution).

5. The sites are completely secure with no risk of being hacked.

5. Shopify provides 24/7 support and we are there to assist clients too.

Contact us to have a chat about a new website.

 

Lets take a look at Shopify’s pricing, features and functionality, and help answer key questions like:

  • What is Shopify?

  • How does Shopify work?

  • Is it good value?

  • Are the templates any good?

  • What are the selling features like?

  • What are the alternatives?

 

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a web application that builds an online store and allows you to sell either physical or digital goods.

How does Shopify work?

Shopify is a ‘hosted’ solution — this means that it runs on Shopify’s own servers and you don’t need to worry about buying web hosting or installing software anywhere. You are the store owner and pay a monthly fee for your Shopify site; and, so long as you have access to a web browser and the internet, you can manage your store from anywhere.

How many people use Shopify? And why does this matter?

Shopify was founded in Canada in 2004 by German-born entrepreneur Tobias Lütke. It now has over 1,000,000 users, and in recent years has generated over $183bn in sales.

These numbers matter because when you choose a hosted solution to build an online store with, you are placing a huge amount of trust in the company providing it.

There have been instances in the past of similar services closing down in the past — Magento Go being a key example — resulting in serious problems for their users, who had to migrate their stores over to a different platform at relatively short notice.

So Shopify's strong market position and large user base should make the prospect of financial difficulties for the company less likely, which in turn makes the prospect of a store you host with them suddenly disappearing less likely. 

Shopify pricing

There are five Shopify plans available:

  • Shopify Lite — US$9 per month

  • Basic Shopify — US$29 per month

  • Shopify — US$79 per month

  • Advanced Shopify — US$299 per month

  • Shopify Plus (enterprise plan) — fees are negotiable, but generally in the region of US$2000 per month

If you pay upfront for a year, you can avail of a 10% discount; paying for 2 years upfront gets you a 20% one.

For users who wish to use advanced point-of-sale (POS) functionality — where you use Shopify to sell not just online but in a physical location too — an add-on fee applies. Although basic POS features are included as standard on all Shopify plans, you will need to pay an additional $89 per month to access features like multi-location selling, click and collect, receipt printing and more.

A cheap way into online selling?

Shopify represents one of the cheaper ways into selling online, with its starter plan, "Shopify Lite" costing $9 per month and allowing you to sell an unlimited number of goods.

However, it's important to note that the ‘Lite’ plan does not actually allow you to construct a fully-functional, standalone online store.

Instead, it:

  • lets you sell via your Facebook page

  • allows you to use Shopify in a physical location to sell goods or manage inventory

  • gives you access to Shopify's Buy Button, which allows you to sell goods on an existing website or blog.

Let's take a look now at how Shopify actually lets you accept payments for your goods.

Taking payment using Shopify

There are two ways to accept credit card payments on Shopify. 

The most straightforward is to use Shopify Payments, Shopify’s built-in payment system. 

If you use this, you don't have to worry about transaction fees at all. However, there is still a 'credit card rate' to consider.  For most small and medium sized businesses this is the most cost effective solution.

Alternatively, you can use a third party ‘payment gateway’ to process card transactions — of which there are over 100 to choose from. If you use a payment gateway, Shopify will apply a transaction fee as well — between 0.5% and 2% depending on the Shopify plan you're on.

Whether or not it works out cheaper to use Shopify Payments or a payment gateway will depend very much on the kind of payment gateway you’re thinking of using, and the Shopify plan you’re on.