A full Shopify Review, the pros and the cons, from the perspective of a UBC Student – Layman’s terms
So, what’s the deal with Shopify? There’s definitely some buzz about it… but does it live up to the hype?
My experience with Shopify has been a bit of a funny one. At first, I heard it was the best e-commerce platform on the web, but I figured it was just a passing trend. They usually are. However, when push came to shove and it was time for me to design a site for a new passion project, and I was going to need to sell products directly off the site… I decided to give Shopify a try.
I can now confirm that, in my opinion, Shopify is my preferred e-commerce platform. I’ve tried a few e-commerce website builders for projects in the past, and this is the best platform that someone like me— who isn’t exactly brimming with technical know-how— can put something impressive together at a rate I can afford.
But Shopify is for a whole range of people. It’s not just small business owners with tiny budgets choosing Shopify, but some larger companies are also adopting the platform due to its low maintenance upkeep, aesthetically pleasing themes and design options, smooth operation, and how easy it is to manage and keep your information organized. Engaging with a builder like Shopify effectively allows a company of any size to run ‘that much’ more smoothly and experience growth.
What makes it the best?
The smooth, intuitive interface makes everything so easy. The inventory infrastructure is a breeze to use and is mighty effective, for one. Sometimes, this can be a real hassle to take care of with other platforms. Shopify simplifies things without jeopardizing quality, and that is something I really respect. I’m a student, not a full-time entrepreneur, but I feel like Shopify has allowed me to elevate my project to a professional state, even though I don’t have any idea how to code, and don’t have the money to afford to work with someone who does.
Web developers are just a wee bit outside of this student’s budget, and there’s no chance I could afford to pay IT professionals for the necessary maintenance. Put simply: it’s just easy to use. The interface is self-explanatory, well-organized, and not at all challenging to engage with.
Another perk is that Shopify lets me sell from multiple different platforms and channels. My site seamlessly integrates with Facebook, Instagram, eBay, Amazon, and more. So convenient.
There are all sorts of apps that help you customize your project, too, and seemingly endless options as far as built-in features.
Is it too good to be true?
Not quite. It’s excellent, but not without its imperfections.
When it came to putting my storefront together, I thought it could have been a little more efficient, for a few reasons. For example, when I’m creating a storefront, I have to continuously change from the editor back to the dashboard and so on— this is a little bit annoying and time-consuming, but not the end of the world. Other platforms are even worse; I just thought that Shopify could probably amend that reasonably easily?
Similarly, when I edit my theme, the content on the edited page does not format itself to suit the theme— so it’s just a bit of extra time reformatting that I’d rather not spend. Still, editing text on the page is straightforward and convenient, and this is not something that would be worth choosing another platform over, in my opinion.
Probably the biggest knock is to do with using the site without using Shopify Payments. Unlike a lot of Shopify’s competitors, the platform has a transaction fee which gets tagged onto every single sale that’s made. This helps explain why such a great platform is relatively affordable, but it’s still not ideal, and I do hope that this changes in the future. Should you choose to use Shopify Payments, you won’t have to pay the fees, but there are a few more strings attached. Still, credit cards, PayPal, and Bitcoin are all payment options, as are more uncommon alternatives like bank transfers and cash on delivery. Not bad at all.
There are several categories, in terms of payment and services offered. You can start with a month-by-month plan if you’re non-committal, or you can save some serious money and dive into a 1 or 2-year plan, saving 10% or 20% accordingly.
On top of this, you can choose from “Shopify Basic”; “Shopify”; or “Shopify Advanced.”
Depending on what you require, one of these will likely be perfect, as each option offers a distinct range of features and benefits. The basic version still offers Shopify’s online store services, a POS system which is quite good, the modules required to sell directly on Facebook and Pinterest, and a “Buy button” which is precisely what it sounds like. As you scale up in price, this is all included, and so much more. But, if you’re like me and just looking for the basics, the basic version is really, really good.
Conclusion: What are you waiting for?
I really have no complaints with Shopify, and I fully endorse it for basically anybody. Unlike a lot of the competition, the “easy” interface is incredibly user-friendly for anyone. The ready-made design templates are top notch, everything functions smoothly and looks good, and the price is entirely reasonable.
The best thing is that, in regards to everything from aesthetics to functionality to finances, there are just so many options to choose from, which is empowering. Even if you’re working on a budget, there’s a tremendous amount of innovation which Shopify enables that just can’t be matched on the e-commerce market at the moment.
It’s definitely the best place to start if you’re just getting into launching a new e-commerce site, and many find it to be an excellent place to stay, too. The load times are fantastic, the security is trustworthy, the design options hold the potential to make your site look amazing, and the add-ons really allow you to customize without working with a coder. In case you couldn’t tell, I really can’t say enough good things about how this site has won me over.
Shopify is the most cost-effective option, customer support is 24/7 and comprehensive, and it makes the complicated process of e-commerce about as easy as it can be.