Shopify Review

Find Out If Shopify Is The Right Choice For Your Business.

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Shopify Review - The Best eCommerce Cloud Platform

Last Updated: 22/04/2022

Author: Tony Cooper

 

Shopify Quick Overview

Ease Of Use: 

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Designs:

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Support:

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SEO Factor:

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Shopify Website Builder Review

Are you looking to get your first eCommerce store up and running? Shopify will probably be your first port of call as it has an easy to use interface and a minimal amount of configuration options to get started. Unlike say, Magento, which has a bottomless pit of setup options.

If you only plan on selling a few products, or digital products, or want to take subscription-based payments, you might be better with Wix, and you should read my Wix review before making a decision.

Alternatively, if you want dedicated UK support and access to a client manager, consider reading my EKM review.

Whichever eCommerce platform you decide to use to start your business, you might like to consider a We Build Stores pay monthly website plan, which will help you build a professional-looking website at a fraction of the traditional website design cost.

 

Contact me if you need help choosing your platform.

Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, offering a suite of eCommerce services for small to medium-sized businesses, although larger corporations can also easily run their operations on the Shopify Plus platform.

 

Shopify merchants can sell online using the web, mobile, social media, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops. Shopify also allows businesses to manage their inventory, finances, customers, shipping, and analytics all from one platform.

 

In this comprehensive Shopify review, I will take an in-depth look at all that Shopify has to offer and highlight the good and bad points so that you can make a well-informed purchasing decision.

At A Glance Features

Name: Shopify

Year Established: 2006

Websites Built: 4 M

Trial Offer: Free Trial

Support Options:

Email 

FAQ 

Livechat 

Telephone

Pricing:

 

Basic £24 Pm 

 

Shopify £69 Pm 

 

Advanced £259 Pm

Quickly Grow Your Company Using Shopify

Get expert graphic design to help build your Shopify business

Shopify Pros


Ease of Use:

 

One of the main reasons people love Shopify is that it is so user-friendly. Even if you have no prior experience with website building or eCommerce, you will be able to create a beautiful shop on Shopify. The platform is highly intuitive and easy to navigate.


Beautiful Themes:

 

Another great thing about Shopify is that there are many beautiful themes from which to choose. Whether you want a simple, clean look for your shop or something more flashy and unique, there is a theme out there for you. And, if you can't find the perfect one, you can always hire a designer to create a custom theme for you.


Lots of Apps:

 

Many apps are available to help you customise and optimise your shop. No matter what features you want to add there's likely an app to help you solve the problem.


Excellent Customer Support:

 

One of the best things about Shopify is customer support. Whenever you have a question or run into a problem, you can easily reach someone who can help. They also offer 24/ seven support, so you're never left stranded.


Shopify Cons


Limited Customisation:

 

While Shopify offers many customisation options, there are limits to what you can do. If you want complete control over the look and feel of your shop, for example then Shopify might not be the right platform for you.

 

However, you have to consider the trade-off against using more server resources and increased development costs by using a more advanced self-hosted eCommerce platform like Magento.

Too often web development "experts" criticise the Shopify platform without considering the increased costs of an alternative, which can be considerable. At a typical rate of £65 per hour, a single Magento developer can quickly get into eye-watering financial territory that a small business simply could not afford and managing a small development team will require you to reach into very deep pockets.


Requires Some Technical Knowledge:

 

While Shopify is user-friendly, it still requires some technical knowledge to set up and use effectively. If you're not comfortable with technology, you might find Shopify a bit daunting, but there isn't anything else easier to use.

Yes, Wix uses drag and drop technology but inadvertently hiding layers or forgetting to group items means that Wix is arguably even more complicated to use than Shopify for Noobs.

Just as you can't have great graphic design skills and prodigious Photoshop chops overnight, it takes time to learn the Shopify eCommerce platform.

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eCommerce Website Platforms Explained

In this guide, I am going to run through the pros and cons of the best eCommerce website builders for building an online store and give you an overview of the capabilities of each eCommerce website builder platform.

Who Should Use Shopify

Is there a typical Shopify user?

There isn't a "typical" Shopify user as the platform is so versatile and used by businesses of all sizes in various industries.​

However, if I had to narrow it down, most Shopify users are small to medium-sized businesses looking for an easy-to-use eCommerce platform that doesn't require a lot of technical know-how.​

Shopify is also a popular choice for businesses selling products through brick-and-mortar locations and online, as it provides a seamless way to manage inventory and customers in one place. ​You can also add Point Of Sale (POS) terminals to aid with your stock control.

Additionally, many entrepreneurs who are just starting choose Shopify because it offers a low barrier to entry and has scalable plans so that you can easily upgrade as your business grows. 

Although Shopify uses its own "Liquid" programming language, it's not too dissimilar to HTML and CSS, so if you're familiar with coding, you can easily change your shop's design and functionality. Liquid is a template language created by Shopify and written in Ruby Rails and is used in all Shopify themes.

Shopify is a good choice for businesses of all sizes and industries who want an easy-to-use platform with plenty of features and integrations.​

 
The cost of building a website

The Cost Of Building A Website – How To Get An Accurate Quote

Before you start commissioning a new website design you want to know how much it is going to cost, but before I give you the in-depth answer let me ask you a different rhetorical question – how much is a new car?

 

How Easy Is Shopify To Use?

Shopify is designed to be easy to use, even for those with no prior eCommerce experience. 

The platform offers a wide range of features, yet the interface is straightforward. Even complex features, such as setting up shipping rates or managing inventory, can be efficiently completed without any headaches. 

The standard Shopify plan will likely suffice for most small businesses just starting an eCommerce store.

 

Overall, I would say that Shopify's ease of use is one of its major selling points and gives it a leg up on some of its more complicated competitors; however, there are a couple of essential points to look out for.

The user interface is split into two distinct sections. You have the back end management (orders, products, inventory etc.) at the top of the menu and front end management underneath (themes, navigation) but it's not made immediately clear that this is how things are separated. 

Once you understand how the internal site navigation works, your Shopify experience will become a lot easier!

The second point is that you don't link menu items to folders in the traditional way, so you will first need to set up your "collections" of products before you can point to them, and this fools even experienced developers the first time around.

Generally, you will find Shopify easy to use, but it has its quirks, so again, be prepared to put in some learning time.

Using Shopify As A Blogging Platform

You already know that blogging increases your search engine visibility and is one of the best ways to rank your website higher on search engines, right?

The inbuilt Shopify blogging platform is a scaled-down stripped-back acoustic version of WordPress, and it certainly does not have the number of blogging features that WordPress has.

But if your goal is to gain traffic as quickly as possible with as little time spent on the technical side of things, then the Shopify blogging ecosystem will be perfect.

Over the years, there has been a lot of discussion about whether to have the Shopify platform deal with eCommerce and then build a separate WordPress site on a subdomain for blogging purposes.

 

Don't do this. 

For a start, the blog on the subdomain will not pass as much link juice as it would if it were a folder on the main domain, and secondly, you are getting yourself involved in maintaining a self-hosted platform that will require maintenance and upkeep. 

Much better to spend that time writing another blog post!

The Shopify blogging platform is not the greatest, but it does the job and with some app add ons and developer help, you can make it look nice.

It's preferable to use that time on your blog rather than spending it on technical support.

 

The Beardbrand Shopify Blog Is A Great Example

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Getting Started - Shopify Templates

I would estimate that around 50% of all Shopify websites use the free "Debut" template theme that was available with the earlier versions of Shopify because it is visually simplistic and sufficient for almost any type of business.

There are currently eight free themes available and they all include the following features:

  • Customisable content sections 

  • Drop-down navigation support

  • Free theme updates

  • Responsive design

  • Preset Styles and colour palettes

  • Free stock photos by Burst

The free themes are a great starting point for your store, but I'd suggest that you invest in one of the many available commercial themes because they offer more advanced features.

For example, the "Warehouse" theme that we used for Henry's Ladders has a beautiful "mega menu" where you can add images to the navigation menu and customise it.

Another of the warehouse themes' great features is that you can use drag-and-drop sections and blocks to create custom pages throughout your store without special coding. 

Warehouse comes with flexible, well-designed blocks for images, products, videos, quotes, and a lot more, and that's why I think investing in a quality premium theme is worth the money.

 

Using a premium theme will save you a fortune in developers' fees in the long run.

One of the neat features of Shopify is that you can customise your theme and get it the way you want and then only pay for the theme once you have published it to your site.

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Shopify Free Themes

Shopify free themes

Shopify Graphics And Image Manipulation

Dealing with images and graphic design is generally where the novice website designer comes unstuck so let's have a quick discussion about how Shopify handles images.

First of all, for product images, Shopify uses the 1:1 aspect ratio or a square for the layman.

The image aspect ratio is the calculated ratio of the image width to its height.

 

For example, a product photo with dimensions of 250 x 500 has an aspect ratio of 1:2. If the Shopify image has dimensions of 300 x 900, the aspect ratio is 1:3.

 

The image aspect ratio is important because it controls how to display the image on different devices. 

An image with a 4:3 aspect ratio will print as a square, and a 16:9 aspect ratio will print as a rectangle.

Product images should be at least 1200x1200px. This will ensure that they appear clear and sharp on high-resolution devices like Retina displays.

 

Collection images should be at least 1024x1024px. This will help them load quickly on your site while still providing a high-quality image for visitors to see.

 

Blog images should be at least 800x800px. 

 

Logo images should be at least 400x400px.

The hero image that goes in the slider should be 1200x310 px

Bear in mind when creating your site that from the outset you need access to product images in the same aspect ratio, if you mix and match the sizes then your store will look like a bomb site.

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