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We’re here with another eCommerce platform opinion piece. This time we’ll unravel the true nature of Shopify and let you in on some of its strengths and some of its weaknesses, so you can make the right decision when it comes to this choice.

Read Magento’s Strengths & Weaknesses

Read BigCommerce’ Strengths & Weaknesses

Shopify’s Strengths

Shopify is definitely one of the best eCommerce platforms out there. Many people prefer it because it’s both easy to use and it comes with everything you need to start selling online.

Its convenience almost always wins when it comes to people comparing it to other platforms.

One of Shopify’s best strengths is the professional-looking themes it offers to its customers. Even without the knowledge of programming, you can still have an awesome eCommerce website. 10 of all themes are free.  To keep up its themes’ unique design, Shopify invites professional designers to create themes made just for their platform.

themes from shopify's website
Trending themes this week (Beginning of March 2018)

Shopify, just like BigCommerce and Magento, has an AppStore with eCommerce applications, too. You can browse through them and add many functionalities to your online business. Some of them are free and some are paid. We add it as a strength because an eCommerce solution almost never comes with everything we need, so the option to have more when you grow is always welcome.

On top of their 24/7 support, Shopify also offers 5 national telephone numbers where you can call depending on your area and get your customer support on a low rate.

And unlike Magento, Shopify is a fully hosted solution. This means that you do not have to pay for hosting and security.
This is definitely a strength because you can’t always think of every little detail when it comes to your store and having a hosting is definitely one less pain in the butt.

There is something else we find super awesome when it comes to Shopify. It’s the only eCommerce platform that offers something called a “Buy Button”. You have this in all plans but you also have it in the cheapest, Lite plan, which is 9$ / per month.

You can integrate the Shopify Buy Button into another website that can even be built by another platform (not necessarily Shopify) such as WordPress. So, if you’re having a blog, for example, you can add the Buy Button to your website just for 9$ per month. Selling easily on Facebook can also be executed with this pricing plan.

picture showing shopify's chip device
Shopify’s Chip Device

And with the rise of omnichannel in the eCommerce world and the demand of customers to have everything at the tip of their fingers, Shopify stands out with one unique feature. It’s called Shopify Point of Sale and with it, you can sell not just online but offline, too. Say you have a physical store somewhere. It can easily be connected to your online store with just one set of equipment and easily managed with an iOS or an Android device.

Read more about Shopify Point of Sale here.

Grasp the meaning of omnichannel here.

Shopify’s Dashboard

And last but not least, Shopify does come with a great user interface. It’s extremely easy to manage and it even lets you have control over all of your sales channels inside your dashboard. A lot of platforms are already offering the easy-to-use interface but little do it as Shopify does.

Shopify’s Weaknesses

Every platform, however good it is, has its weaknesses. We searched through forums, we spoke to web store owners and it turns out there are a few things people complain about when it comes to Shopify.

Green screen with dollars going out of it
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

One of Shopify’s setbacks is that it charges eCommerce owners transaction fees depending on their plans. This means that every time somebody purchases your products, you will be charged by Shopify a fee from 0,5% to 2%. If you are using Basic Shopify, you will be charged 2%, if you are using Shopify, you will be charged 1% and if you are using Advanced Shopify, they will charge you 0,5% of the sales value.

Shopify’s revenue is actually made from these transaction fees. Talk about an underlying business model, huh?

You can browse through Shopify’s payment plans here.

These transaction fees are only in case you don’t use Shopify Payments but you use another payment gateway. Still, even if you use Shopify Payments, you have to consider the credit card rates depending on where you sell from.

Read a bit more about Shopify Payments here.

From the first note in the article above, you can read the next weakness we just have to share. Shopify Payments is only available for users based in fixed locations, which are the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.

So, if you are based in another country, you are stuck with paying the transaction fees we mentioned above.

picture of the tool crop in photoshop on the cover photo of this blog post
Crop tool

Another thing many eCommerce store owners complain about is the missing option of pictures being automatically cropped once you upload them to the platform. Different aspect ratio pictures get uploaded exactly how they are and you end up with product catalogs that contain differently-shaped product pictures, which will definitely impact negatively on the design of your eCommerce website.

So, the solution is to crop them manually or… buy a tool that does this for you.

Jumping to another weakness, Shopify isn’t the platform for if your products are very specific and consist of more than three options because Shopify has a limit of three options per product.

For example, if you are selling glass bottles, your shoppers can choose a color, size, and style but you can’t give them the option to choose the color of the cap.

What’s good in this situation is that you can, at least, add up to 100 variants to every 3 options you already have.

Also, with Shopify, it’s very hard when you’re selling something that requires your customers to send you a message.

For example, if you are selling customized T-shirts or jewelry that can be engraved, people will be required to write in a field the engraved message or the text of the T-shirt or even upload a file with their desired result.

The line item property you need to add to each product can be only manually added with an HTML code to the template you’ve already chosen. This can also be done with a paid app. It’s a bit inconvenient, considering that BigCommerce already has this as checked boxes you can select and add to your products.

And lastly, if you want Shopify’s reports on your store, you can have this functionality only on their more expensive plans. Considering other eCommerce platforms which are offering this for free, this is definitely a setback.

Overall

Shopify does a wonderful job for starting businesses. It offers things that no other platform does, like its Lite pricing plan. It’s simple, extremely easy to work with and perhaps this is why a lot of people choose it.

It’s definitely a leader in the eCommerce world. As you read up on forums and talk to people, you will realize that Shopify is a favorite.

Consider all setbacks, consider its strengths, as well, which are immensely good and take your decision based on all of this.

And remember, nothing is irreversible whatever your choice.

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4 Comments

    • Katerina Nikolova Reply

      You’re welcome. I’m glad I could be of any help!

  1. Lars Bright Reply

    Very nice article, it’s totally what I was looking for as an opinion. Not at all biased, as well. You’ve explained very well Shopify’s strengths and weaknesses. According to me, it’s a lot to consider though it helped me a lot.

  2. I appreciate the valuable information you give in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and take a look at it again. I own an online store and it will definitely come in handy. Good luck in the future.

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