Shopify: Easy to use, packed full of features, cloud hosted e-commerce platform!
If you have reviewed all the technical considerations for creating an online store, you will find that there are many facets involved, all of which have to work together seamlessly to run a successful store.
Shopify is a Software as a Service (SaaS) which provides a platform for running a complete online store with all required modules seamlessly tied together. You can setup a simple store within a few clicks and all modules like taxes, shipping, customer tracking, sales, payments, etc. have pre-configured functionality to ensure you are up and running in no time. All you have to do is customize and create the settings to fit your needs.
The user interface for the store owner is extremely intuitive and support and available documentation is excellent.
Since Shopify is a service, it is always improving and more features are added all the time.
1. Setup a beautiful Responsive website in no time
➤ All Free themes and Premium themes available with responsive layouts.
➤ Themes can be customized using CSS, HTML and Shopify’s own programming language Liquid. Usually by a designer.
➤ Setup a store and launch instantly to accept orders.
➤ Responsive Checkout so anyone can shop at your store from any device.
2. Easy to manage User Interface
The Shopify Admin Panel is extremely user friendly. It is very intuitively setup with some similarities to WordPress. Much like WordPress, Shopify makes content management very easy.
3. SEO Optimized
Shopify is designed optimize your content for Search Engine Optimization if you follow some basic guidelines. Documentation makes this very easy to follow.
You can also independently edit title and description meta data.
4. 24/7 customer support
Included in the monthly fee, Shopify offers 24/7 support by chat, phone and email. Phone support not available for all plans.
5. No IT worries
Using a reputable SaaS ensures that your e-commerce site meets all the security and performance requirements of a good online store:
➤ servers are secure and up to date with the latest software.
➤ website is backed up on a regular basis.
➤ fully PCI Level 1 compliant, for taking payments through your own checkout.
➤ great site performance as they server is optimized for speed
You also don’t have to worry about scalability because even if you suddenly receive a spike in traffic the servers are built to handle the load.
6. Canadian Based
For Canadian store owners, one of the biggest advantages of using Shopify is that it is a Canadian Based company. Because of this, many of the barriers of using SaaS for Canadian online retailers are a not an issue when using Shopify.
7. Options for Payment Gateways
There are dozens of reputable payment gateways integrated into Shopify and ready for your use. Authorize.net, PayPal and Stripe are just to name a few.
8. Shopify Payments for reduced rates
Shopify offers its own payment gateway, which can replace any other gateway. If you don’t care about offering payments via PayPal, this is a good low cost option.
9. The Shopify Point of Sale (PoS) iPad app
The very exciting part of selling online using Shopify is the ability to also use your existing store with a complete PoS station for on site sales.
For additional fees, a Shopify card reader and an official iPad app enable you to accept payments from Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. The PoS sales also reflect on the inventory in real time. You can use other devices like receipt printers and cash drawers with the Shopify PoS system.
10. Easily add powerful features from the app store
One of the most useful elements of Shopify is the ability to add functionality to your store not offered with the Core Functions of Shopify. This is done by adding Third Party Applications via the App Store.
NOTE: Some Third Party Services come at additional fees.
11. Features for tracking everything
Shopify makes keeping track of your data a breeze. It keeps information about all of the important data on the store database in an easy to navigate user interface. Most data is auto generated and updated in real time based on your settings.
➤ Customer details
➤ Sales details for products
➤ Payment details
➤ Shipping details and status
➤ Inventory details in real time
➤ Coupons and Gift Cards
12. Powerful marketing features
Some powerful features are included in the core of Shopify to help you:
➤ Market your products (Coupon Codes, Gift Vouchers)
➤ Market your products with additional features (Third Party Services)
➤ Increase conversion rates (Abandoned Cart Recovery & Usage Tracking)
➤ SEO optimized out of the box!
➤ Integrates easily with Social Media channels to increase Sales potential
13. Other features to get you up and running quickly
Shopify offers features like the bulk CSV upload to allow you to setup or move stores easily.
Shopify links to Shopify Experts who for a premium fee will help you in setting up a professional store.
14. Easy social media integration for additional Sales Channels
You can integrate your Shopify store with Facebook, Pinterest, WordPress.com and other platforms to sell your store items directly from your social media channels, using Shopify for checkouts.
Drawbacks of Using Shopify
There are a few drawbacks to using Shopify vs. running your own hosted store:
➤ In some cases, depending on the theme and your abilities, it is hard to add unusual/custom functionality. (example checkout has some limitations)
➤ Some retailers consider the transaction fees high.
➤ Multi-currency fees not final until checkout for international shoppers.
➤ Not designed for building content heavy sites with lots of pages and posts. You may want use WordPress tied into Shopify if you need a powerful online store with powerful content based site put together.