Having an e-commerce business is much more than setting up a website. From accepting payments to analytics, there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing an e-commerce platform. And depending on your comfort level, experience, and knowledge, you may need a platform that can do some heavy lifting.
These days, several platforms provide an all-in-one solution to your e-commerce needs, allowing you to focus on other parts of running your business. If this is what you’re looking for, then Shopify may be a good option for you.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that provides tools and solutions to small businesses of varying sizes and stages. From those just starting out to those readying for rapid growth, Shopify has different tools to support your ever-changing goals. Founded in 2006 and based in Ottawa, Canada, Shopify is used by more than 1 million product-based businesses in the world.
What are Shopify’s main features?
Customizable websites. You don’t need to be a web designer whiz or hire someone to build your website from scratch. Shopify features a handful of customizable templates that help you showcase your products, and are in step with your company’s brand.
Marketing tools. Want to create an online marketing campaign? Or roll out Facebook ads? You can do both through Shopify. If content marketing is part of your business plan to grow and scale, Shopify has a feature to create a blog.
Analytics and reports. Pull data about your sales, learn about your visitors, and glean insights on your site’s activity. Plus, you can look over sales transactions to help discover patterns and trends. Shopify also makes it easy for you to generate reports to help you chart a course for your e-commerce business.
Get paid. You can receive payments with a credit card or other payment methods, such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. The payment feature is built-in to the platform.
Sell at brick-and-mortar locations. If you’re setting up shop at a physical location, such as inside a store or at a fair or outdoor market, Shopify has hardware and capabilities for you to sell your products in person.
Track shipping and manage inventory. As managing your inventory, fulfill orders, and track your shipping are all key parts of running your small business, you’ll want a handy way to stay on top of everything. Shopify offers the capabilities to do all of the above.
Product integration. Through its e-commerce App Marketplace, you can access thousands of plugins to help your small business succeed. Some of these plugins are free while others are paid, and they can help bolster your marketing, sales, social media strategy, site design, or dropshipping and inventory.
Easy to use. Shopify is known for being easy to use and implement. Because it’s a one-stop shop of sorts, its convenience and simplicity are major draws, especially for those just starting out.
Who is Shopify for?
Shopify can be a solid choice if you want an easy-to-use platform to help you build and scale your e-commerce business. With customizable templates, reporting, and web analytics tools, and the ability to track inventory and sales, it makes it easy to get the ball rolling as a merchant.
However, at $30 a month, or $360 a year, Shopify is for those with a budget to invest in e-commerce services and are ready to launch or grow. Before signing up, you could start with a 14-day free trial to test out the waters and see if it’s worth the investment.
Who isn’t Shopify for?
For those small businesses that plan on relying on search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing to boost organic traffic and get more leads that way, Shopify does have some limitations. It’s not the most SEO-friendly e-commerce platform out there.
Another disadvantage is that it charges transaction fees for a third-party payment gateway, a tool that declines or approves transactions.
And because Shopify’s pricing starts at about $30 a month, it might not be for you if you don’t have the resources to invest in such a subscription plan. There are other e-commerce platform options that you can get started with for free.
There are three tiers:
Basic. This plan is designed for small businesses that are starting out. It includes all the main features, and you can set up a shop in up to four locations. You can receive up to 64% discount on shipping. It costs $29/month.
Standard. Shopify’s standard plan includes everything in its Basic plan. However, the payment processing fees are slightly lower. Plus, you can set up shop in up to five locations and up to five staff accounts. Plus, you have the ability to generate more sophisticated, professional reports. Shopify’s standard account is $79 a month.
Advanced. The advanced tier includes all the bells and whistles for small businesses that are positioned to scale in the near future. For $299 a month, you get lower payment processing fees, the ability to set up shop in eight locations, and up to 15 staff accounts.
Shopify is a well-regarded, popular e-commerce platform. Its different features and ability to integrate with a variety of plugins makes it easy to implement when you’re starting out. And when it’s time for you to grow and scale, Shopify has the features and support to help you get there.