If you’re planning to start an online business, choosing a platform is a big part of the decision. There are plenty of platforms to choose from, but Shopify offers some of the best features for payment options, integrated apps, customization, marketing features, and more.
It’s no wonder that Shopify is one of the most popular platforms for both startup businesses and enterprise businesses looking to scale. The platform keeps developing at a fast pace and adding more tools and functionality, which is why over one million stores currently operate on the platform.
Why Choose Shopify?
Here’s why Shopify is the best choice for your eCommerce store.
1. Hosting and Maintenance
Shopify is a hosted platform, so you don’t need to find a provider to host a website and configure server settings. The platform is built on a Software-as-a-Service model and handles the maintenance and upgrades for you. In addition, you have a fully functional store with optimized web page speed and load times. Unlimited bandwidth, and regular updates.
As a self-hosted platform, Shopify has a reliable security solution and strict policies to protect both merchants and customers alike. Users can’t interfere with the server configuration, ensuring that hacker attacks and unauthorized users are kept to a minimum. It’s also Level 1 PCI-compliant hosting for the safety of your data and customer information.
3. User-Friendly Backend
Shopify is known for its simplicity of use, especially with the backend interface. It’s straightforward and intuitive, allowing users with minimal technical knowledge to configure settings without specific skills. The platform offers a drag-and-drop wizard to quickly and easily adjust all the elements of the website and preview them before going live.
4. Flexible Pricing
Perfect for startups and enterprises alike, Shopify offers different pricing options with numerous features included. Starting at $29 per month for the basic plan, Shopify has multiple tiers of plans to suit your needs. All plans offer unlimited products, fraud protection, and learning resources, but you get more features and functionality from the higher tiers.
5. Multiple Store Themes
Shopify boasts hundreds of themes and templates so you can choose the best option for your brand. There are free and paid templates that are fully customizable and responsive on all devices.
If you want more customization, you can hire a Shopify developer for a completely unique design that reflects your brand and makes it stand out from your competitors. Generally, more customization is better, but Shopify offers options for startups to create appealing websites without putting a lot into a developer.
If you want to make a template fit into your theme, you can easily change the layout, content, colors, and more without design skills. You also have control over the look and feel with HTML or CSS code facilitated by Liquid, a templating language used by Shopify.
6. Shopify App Store
You can elevate the functionality of your store even further with plugins from the Shopify App Store. The store offers thousands of apps, such as React.JS, that are available for free or with a subscription to help you achieve your business goals, whether you want to improve marketing, integrate with different sales channels, or efficiently manage inventory. No matter your need, there’s an app for that.
7. Inventory Management
The intuitive and straightforward interface makes it simple and fast to add products, fill out the details, upload photos, and categorize your inventory. You also have the option to import and export product-related information via Excel or CSV. Inventory syncs across multiple channels, keeping your order fulfillment and sales streamlined and centralized.
Shopify is a centralized platform for all your sales, complete with integrations to additional sales channels like Amazon, eBay, Instagram, and Facebook. You won’t be limited to just your website and can boost sales with social commerce.
9. Payment Options
Shopify supports over 100 payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, and Google Checkout. There’s also Shopify Payments, the platform’s own payment system that eliminates transaction fees from third-party payment processors. This helps customers feel more confident in making a purchase on your site if they trust in the payment processor.
10. Fast and Straightforward Shipping
One of the best features of Shopify is the precise shipping rate calculation that aligns with your shipping strategy. The live shipping rates connect your site with carriers and automatically calculate the right rate at checkout.
If you want to use dropshipping for order processing, Shopify can connect to fulfillment from Rakuten, Shipwire, and Amazon, among others. The Oberlo app is also available.
11. Built-In Analytics
Shopify allows you to get in-depth insights into your business operations from a centralized dashboard. You can monitor information like sales, orders, shipping, payments, product views, site views, and more. The platform integrates with Google Analytics for a comprehensive overview of performance and opportunities to improve your results.
12. Customer Support
With any plan, Shopify includes 24-hour customer support through chat, phone, and email. Users have access to forums and tutorials in the Shopify Help Center to find information on common issues or questions.
How to Get Started on Shopify
Shopify allows business owners to launch an eCommerce store quickly and easily. Whether you’re opening your first store or looking for opportunities to expand your business, Shopify helps you launch with just a few steps.
The platform offers a variety of free tools to build your brand, including a domain availability checker, a logo maker, and a business name generation. You can also choose a custom theme for your store from a variety of options in the Shopify Theme Store and personalize your website with high-quality images from Burst photo stock.
Once all that is done, you can add products and choose your payment gateways, then you’re up and running. You can sell and market products anywhere, whether on your store itself, on online marketplaces or in a brick-and-mortar location.
What Does Shopify Cost?
Shopify prices start at $29 per month for the basic plan and go up to $299 for the Advanced Shopify plan. You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel your plan at any time, as long as you choose a monthly subscription and not a long-term contract.
There are fees associated with Shopify, however. The platform charges fees on turnover, between 0.5% and 2.0%, and another for payment gateways.
Here’s a breakdown of the Shopify plans:
- Basic ($29/month): Includes unlimited products, telephone support, and fraud protection. This plan doesn’t offer advanced features like reports or abandoned cart recovery.
- Shopify ($75/month): Includes additional features like professional support and lower rates for credit card payments.
- Advanced ($299/month): Includes third-party shipping integration, an advanced report builder, and the lowest credit card payment rate of the three plans.
- Shopify Plus: This enterprise-level solution starts at $2,000 per month, but you have to request a quote from Shopify. But with that price, you get 24/7 support. Customization, clone storefronts, customizable checkout, and much more.
Naturally, these tiers go up in price and functionality to suit different eCommerce store owners at different stages of growth.
Shopify is free for 14 days so you can get a feel for the platform and see what its features offer for your business.
Should I Choose Shopify or Shopify Plus?
As mentioned, Shopify has a number of plans to suit businesses at different stages of growth. The regular plans increase in price and functionality, and they’re most appropriate for smaller eCommerce businesses looking for competitive payment processing fees and inventory management.
Shopify Plus is the top-tier plan and most expensive of the lineup, but it’s designed for enterprise businesses with a focus on growth. This plan is based on a quote, not a flat rate per month, and depends on your business needs.
With that higher price, you have access to all the features of the lower-tier plans and some exclusive extras, such as unlimited user accounts, customizable checkout, better omnichannel sales features, and more.
For example, if you want to expand into the international market, Shopify Plus offers several store variants – all run from the same dashboard – with their own currency and marketing campaigns to target international customers. Otherwise, you’d have to run individual stores.
Another example is high-volume transactions. During high-volume sales periods, large enterprises may experience site issues that prevent customers from completing transactions, possibly costing them a customer for life. Shopify Plus can process 10,000 transactions per minute, ensuring you’re prepared for Black Friday and the holiday season.
Finally, Shopify Plus boasts personalized, dedicated help and support to guarantee that you’re getting as much as possible out of the plan and its features.
Get Started with Shopify
The Shopify eCommerce platform is a robust solution that allows eCommerce owners to successfully launch and run their online businesses. If you want to sell goods online, both online and from a brick-and-mortar store, Shopify is the right choice to have control over your design, integrate with popular channels, and access a variety of payment processors. Shopify is designed to scale, so it’s ideal for your business needs both now and in the future.
Author Bio: Sean Richards
Sean Richards is the VP of Strategy & Partnerships for Vincit. Richards provided business development, React-Native Consulting, digital marketing strategy, and partnership development at several reputable companies and marketing agencies in both California and Arizona. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Design Management from Arizona State University.