I'm not here to sell you Shopify; I'm here to help you in making the best choice for your business.
I built an ecommerce platform seven years ago due to limitations with all the off-the-shelf systems at that time. So I know about ecommerce systems, what's required and essential features. I'm aware of what Shopify offers, its features, limitations and restrictions and therefore can provide you with valuable guidance.
I like the way Shopify is built. It's a very polished piece of software, but looks aren't everything. From a design/development perspective, there are many features I like about Shopify that make it easy to work with. But, if it doesn't have all the features you require, systems like WooCommerce, Magento or BigCommerce might be a better fit.
Shopify is a platform that offers complete customisation. A good designer can make your storefront look unique, professional and styled for your brand.
There is also a good selection of pre-made themes available.
The admin has a well-built user interface that makes it easy to manage inventory, stock, orders and customer details as would be expected. No technical skills are necessary.
Email templates can be styled up and customised. There is a good level of reporting and analytics too.
Absolutely. Third-party apps can easily extend your store with additional features.
Ecommerce is an evolving industry. Over the years I built all sorts of features for my ecommerce platform to extend my clients stores - things like "customise and buy" options, blog integrations and category level shipping options.
I've had the pleasure of using support a few times over the last couple of years, and every occasion has been a pleasant experience. The Shopify "Gurus", are very knowledgeable about the platform and are available 24/7.
There is also a large community forum for store owners, designers and developers to get help and discuss features and requirements.
A feature that is often overlooked is that Shopify takes care of all the hosting and SSL certificates.
Hosting costs and SSL can easily amount to over $1,000 per year, but with Shopify, this is all included in your monthly payment which provides access to the entire admin and 24/7 support too!
Shopify has a lot of features, but rather than list them all here, I've picked out the main ones that my clients can't work without.
Shopify provides a spreadsheet style editor that enables you to edit product details quickly.
These are categories, but can either be manual or dynamic products. Dynamic products can be selected by type, tag or keyword.
The order screen allows actions to be applied on multiple orders through a few clicks. You can even save filtered order views.
Quickly see who didn't complete checkout and send them a follow-up email if necessary.
Ecommerce databases are naturally complex, so the import feature is a huge time-saver.
Shopify provides a good set of discount features from the standard percentage off to "buy X get Y free".
For me, the most significant restriction about Shopify is that the checkout cannot be altered (unless you are on Shopify Plus). So, if you have unique tax or shipping requirements, then you are out of luck.
However, some changes can be made to the shopping cart and passed through to the checkout as additional data. So, quite often workarounds can be found.
Shopify has many features, so my advice is to have a read through their website and if you like what you see, sign up for a free trial.