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Shopify is a one-stop-shop for anyone who wants to set up their internet store and get an online presence.
We all know how the dynamics of the world are changing. From brick-and-mortar shops to e-commerce stores, the shopping industry is seeing a significant shift in the way shopper discover and purchase products. Even though people still prefer buying goods offline, more and more people are spending time online researching their purchases. Hence, it is very vital for wholesalers as well as retailers to get their products online and expand the reach to online shoppers.
Shopify facilitates store owners to do just that. Shopify incorporates different avenues of business such as product inventory management, payment platforms, order tracking, shipping, and return, etc. Shopify also helps store owners promote their products online through easy integrations to advertising platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Bing Ads, etc.
There are other platforms that offer the same resources as Shopify. However, Shopify is preferred over the rest, for, the minimal startup cost, quick integrations, and very easy-to-use interface. You can set up your Shopify store in less than a week and run the store for less than $30/month.
Shopify, undoubtedly, is a perfect place for many wholesale and retails merchants who are trying to catch up with the shifting trend of product discovery and online shopping. But not everything about Shopify is perfect, naturally. Let us learn more about the benefits and shortcomings of Shopify.
What is Shopify?
In simple words, Shopify is a cloud-based, SaaS (software as a service) online shopping solutions provider. For a monthly fee, you get access to your own Shopify dashboard where you can do tons of stuff from maintaining your products data, advertising them, take orders, process them, and also ship them.
You will also be able to get hold of themes for your store, and various apps for different business requirements. These themes and apps are sometimes free-to-use and sometimes you need to purchase a subscription.
Shopify hosts your website and this cost is included in your monthly subscriptions. Shopify is one of the most secure web-hosting service providers. You needn't worry about hackers or crashes.
Shopify also provides you with 24x7 customer support via email, live chat and on the phone. Not just that, Shopify also has an exhaustive database of self-help content which can help you fix your problems yourself.
What are the benefits of Shopify?
- Ease-of-Use: The easier the software to use, the better the reception is. And Shopify is one such software which is very simple from the very start. You can add products, offer discounts, and fulfill orders with the greatest of ease. You can also customize your website faster with the new drag-and-drop tools.
- Minimum Setup Cost: As we have discussed earlier, with less than $30/month, Shopify's basic plan is one of the most popular subscriptions that users go with. And $30/month is very competitive pricing.
- Appealing Aesthetics: Shopify offers a plethora of responsive, mobile-friendly themes. You can design your website the way you want it. While most free themes are good, you can unlock more amazing themes if you are willing to pay a small premium.
- Dropshipper's Dream: Drop shipping is a relatively new business idea that has gain popularity amongst the millennials. Shopify acts as a catalyst in promoting this trend. Shopify has the perfect apps that integrate with Ordoro or Oberlo and make it easier for the store owner to get the ball rolling.
- 24x7 Support: Store owners needn't necessarily be well-versed with coding and website technicalities. But when they run into some trouble, they need help to fix their problems right away. It is must for an online store to be up and about the majority of the day as shopper flock in whenever they feel like. Shopify helps store owners maintain their online shops and thus, facilitating them to provide a seamless user experience on their web stores for shoppers.
What are the shortcomings of Shopify?
- Inadequate Functionalities: Shopify is the perfect place for small merchants with inbuilt tools that cover all the basic requirements of an online store. However, businesses have unique requirements, and Shopify doesn't meet those requirements. Shopify has been open for third-party app developers to tackle these special business requirements. There are a number of apps for each function you can think of. But they all come at a price. And these costs are at the top of Shopify's monthly subscription.
- Expensive Apps: As I was saying, the third-party apps often cost a fortune. Considering the stage at which merchants turn to Shopify, it would be very difficult for them to take advantage of the paid apps on Shopify.
- Transaction Fees: You must have noticed from your recent purchases that most online shops are striking off the transaction fees. Sadly, Shopify isn't one of those stores. Shopify still charges a fee ranging from 0.5% to 2.0% from merchant depending on the plan they are subscribed to. Again, this is a very huge turndown.
How to take advantage of Shopify?
This article has been a mixed bag of information on both the pros and cons of having a Shopify store. I understand that the cons overpower the pros, and must be skeptical about going forward with Shopify. But let me tell you that there are some hacks to take advantage of Shopify.
Interested? Continue reading!
As you understand, Shopify is a subscription-based platform. And depending on the subscription, you get the benefits. The best approach to make the most of Shopify and your subscription is to play with the strengths of the software.
Let me explain this further with the example of transaction fees that Shopify charges on your every transaction. Using Shopify Payments (a native payment processor), you can skip paying the additional transaction fees. Shopify Payments also offer reduced processing fees if you subscribed to a higher Shopify monthly plan.
Note: Shopify customers have faced some problems with Shopify Payments. Please read all the Terms and Conditions of Service before you opt-in or opt-out of using Shopify Payments.
I would also recommend you to go through different third-party payment apps on Shopify as there is a chance that you could find better deals.
Shopify Themes and Templates:
Another example of taking advantage of Shopify is using their themes and templates wisely. I have already mentioned the new drag-and-drop editor that Shopify introduced recently. It is called sections. You can read more about sections or watch the explainer video here.
I am sure you loved the video. It is really easy to arrange and rearranges the elements on your website (homepage) to give users very rich and satisfying shopping experience.
If you are actively selling on different channels (offline & online), you are in luck. I have another wonderful Shopify tool that you can take advantage of. It is called Shopify POS system.
Shopify automatically registers you to Shopify POS when you buy a subscription. Shopify POS helps you with in-person (offline) retail transactions by processing credit card payments. The POS system will be integrated and synced with your online store. Any changes offline will be reflected online and vice-versa with this integration.
Shopify Digital Products:
Another lesser-known Shopify feature that you can take advantage of is Shopify's digital products promotion.
Logistics (order processing, shipping, delivery, returns) is a costly and chaotic affair. It is true for all online store owners. But not if you are selling digital products.
Shopify's digital products promotion is a feature for digital products such as music files (MP3), printables, video content, and eBooks. There is no shipping. You can send the downloadables directly to your customer's email.
Digital Downloads app on Shopify automates the process of selling digital products. You install the app, fulfill some basic requirements and the app will provide download links upon successful payment, and it also sends emails on your behalf.
Last but not least, take advantage of Shopify's apps! There are some premium and some free apps. The key is to explore as many different apps as possible for each niche business requirement and decide which best suits you.
Here is a list of best Shopify apps of 2018 I have compiled that you must check out right now!
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