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Is Shopify right for you?

Shopify is a popular ecommerce platform which powers over 600,000 businesses across the world. It has some great features and a very well designed admin that makes running your store a breeze.

I'm Ketan, a consultant, designer and developer with 20+ years of experience in creating websites and web applications. I've spent the last eight years focusing on designing and building ecommerce websites, products and systems for clients.

In this article, I'll explain why I like Shopify, its essential features and its limitations.

How can I help?

Choosing the right ecommerce platform is an essential step from the offset. I can help guide you in the right direction.

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.

Top 5 Shopify questions I always get asked

Can my storefront be designed to match my brand?

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.

Does the admin have the necessary features to manage my store?

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.

Can Shopify be extended?

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.

Is there support?

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.

What about hosting and SSL?

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!

What are the core features of Shopify?

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.

Bulk inventory editor

Shopify provides a spreadsheet style editor that enables you to edit product details quickly.

Collections

These are categories, but can either be manual or dynamic products. Dynamic products can be selected by type, tag or keyword.

Order management

The order screen allows actions to be applied on multiple orders through a few clicks. You can even save filtered order views.

Abandoned checkouts

Quickly see who didn't complete checkout and send them a follow-up email if necessary.

CSV product import

Ecommerce databases are naturally complex, so the import feature is a huge time-saver.

Discounts

Shopify provides a good set of discount features from the standard percentage off to "buy X get Y free".

What are Shopify's limitations?

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.

So, what can Shopify do for you?

Shopify has many features, so I'd recommend signing up for a free trial to experiment with. Or, get in touch if you'd like to discuss your project.

Get a free website audit

Read my case study The audit analyses your current store to see whether Shopify has all the features and functionality to match it or whether another platform is more suitable.

If you would like a website audit or a quote for a new ecommerce website, please get in touch.

© Ketan Mistry, 2018. Handcrafted in pixels and text.