Launching your own business can be a daunting undertaking. Any resources that can help make this process easier will be in high demand by both existing and new business owners. So, today we are looking at Shopify.
The internet is now flooded with countless eCommerce platforms, offering various solutions to opening your own online store. From etsy, to Squarespace, Magento, WordPress. How are you supposed to sift through all these options and find what’s right for your business?
We’re here to help you get started. Hailing from Canada, Shopify is one such platform that recently exploded in the eCommerce industry to become one of the most popular choices for starting an online shop. You can even find a Shopify Agency to help you get set up. Let’s consider its pros and cons!
It’s incredibly important to understand how the world of eCommerce works – and how it’s rapidly changing – if you want your online business to succeed.
Shopify: Ease of Use
Pro: we may all be glued to our smartphones, and one day maybe the humble pen and paper will become obsolete – but until then, there are still many people out there that are not all that tech savvy.
That’s where Shopify comes in handy. It’s an incredibly user-friendly site that allows you to setup your shop very quickly and easily. Shopify offers some stunning templates to serve as your digital shopfront, to help your online store look attractive and professional.
So you don’t need to be a graphic designer or site building pro to have a functional and desirable online shop in no time at all.
Con: for those that remember the joys of clipart, you’ll also remember that kids’ homework all rapidly started to look the same. The drawback of using a template is that it significantly diminishes the options for customisation.
If you are actually adept with modern technology and web design, you may find the structured approach of something like Shopify very limiting in making your store look unique and really stand out to your chosen demographic.
Also, there is a relatively small selection of free templates – so if you want something more interesting, you will need to pay a fee.
Keeping your business organised
Pro: the thrill of starting your own business and seeing it thrive comes with a big, oft hated downside. The bookkeeping. Thankfully, Shopify has many inbuilt functions that help manage the admin and transactional side of things.
Whatever you need to focus on – inventory, shipping, invoices, or customer service – Shopify will have an app for it, so you don’t need to be a qualified auditor in order to have a well-maintained, systematic business.
Con: this is a con, of sorts. Just as with extra templates, these apps come at a price. Having said that, if you choose to do your own admin and accounts, you’ll need to consider the time and other resources needed for all that data entry and reporting, as well as the costs if you need to hire someone to help you with this.
Shopify: Helping your business grow
Pro: while many other competitor platforms are tailored to be better suited for business based on size and scope, Shopify works really well for both small and large businesses and allows for a pretty seamless transition as your store expands.
Lots of platforms may be found guilty of hidden fees and additional charges, but Shopify is pretty great with cost transparency, so you can see exactly what the needs of your shop are, accurately calculate your monthly expenses and choose the plan that’s right for you.
Furthermore, Shopify offers lots of payment options, from Paypal to Amazon Pay to simple debit/credit card purchases and accepts payment in many different currencies, so your business can easily expand to international markets.
Cons: The larger your shop and wider the customer base, the more additional apps and plugins you might need – all of which will cost you.
While the simplest plans start at $29, the highest go up to $299, which doesn’t include the additional costs of all the extra apps you’ll need to keep your business functioning efficiently.
And while accepting many payment methods, there are still many countries that have to rely on third party gateways, with additional fees of up to 2% per transaction. While this may not seem like a lot, for a small business or just starting out, these costs can really add up!
So, all in all, Shopify offers a terrific user interface, with 24/7 customer support and an easily attainable, professional shop model that can be easily used by anyone and help a new business develop into a truly successful commercial venture.
However, with all the frills come lots of additional costs that could make a small business owner think twice, not to mention the broader impact on traditional retailers and independent highstreet stores.
But the world is evolving and becoming more and more digital every day, so a platform like Shopify can help bring your business into the future.