Shopify has risen to the top of the eCommerce website builder rankings because of its user-friendly software and unique features.
There was no clear champion in eCommerce websites ten years ago— until Shopify emerged. Shopify brought user-friendly software and cutting-edge functionality to the table. They are now the market leader and the best eCommerce website builder.
The rise of Shopify may be seen in Google Trends:
Tobi Lutke, Shopify's CEO, has compared the eCommerce business to “what MP3 players were like before the iPod.” Competitors had a lot of “advanced” features, but they were “bulky, hard to operate, and looked ugly,” according to Lutke. It's an excellent analogy. Shopify provided clarity and simplicity to a sector that was previously notorious for bloated software and complicated interfaces.
Shopify At Quick Look:
- The App Store:Thousands of third-party apps enhance Shopify's basic capabilities (in comparison, its closest competitors have much less).
The rest of this study will show how Shopify encourages innovation with its App Store, Shopify Payments, and other features while remaining simple and easy to use. In the world of software, it's a rare miraculous balancing act.
The App Store
My friend and I established a Shopify store last year to sell toilet paper with a local politician's face printed on it. (I understand that this is a scathing product, but believe me when I say that the politician earned it.) We noticed after selling 100 rolls that many of our customers lived in our city, so we could deliver the parcels ourselves and save money on shipping.
Fortunately, there were various apps for presenting shipping addresses on a map in the app store. We were able to identify which consumers we could deliver to by hand using those apps.
What I'm trying to say is that eCommerce is full of strange edge circumstances like this. Only a few stores would require the feature I required. It wouldn't make sense to integrate an ordered map in the Shopify core because it would make the platform too large and complicated. That is why the app store is so crucial: it allows users to add features as they are required.
Volusion, a Shopify competitor, is a good example of what occurs when an e-commerce website builder doesn't have an app store. Volusion didn't have an app store for a long time, and over time, more and more functionality crept into the core, resulting in a bloated, unorganized interface:
Shopify now has a much larger number of apps than its nearest competitors:
Payments on Shopify
To take credit cards, eCommerce stores need a credit card processor. For a long time, third-party processors such as Paypal or Braintree were used, but in 2013, Shopify launched their own credit card processor, Shopify Payments.
Shopify Payments began as a simple way for businesses to get up and running quickly. Stores may start collecting orders right away without the trouble of setting up a third-party credit card processor. Everything just fell into place.
Since then, Shopify has increased its focus on developing new features for Shopify Payments. For example, Shopify implemented Multi-Currency, which allows consumers to pay in their native currency, which is a significant benefit in some locations and a unique Shopify feature (Multi-Currency is now only available to Shopify Plus members, but I can see it being rolled out to everyone eventually). Shopify also introduced Shopify Pay, which allows consumers to preserve their payment information across several Shopify sites for faster checkout.
It's all part of Shopify's long-term ambition for eCommerce.
Shopify is your unified back office—where you manage inventory, orders, and shipping—and your storefront can be on numerous markets through channels:
Ecommerce website builders are infamous for being clumsy and difficult to use. Their user interfaces are bloated with extensive lists of options, perplexing navigation, and cryptic language.
Remember Volusion's product editor at the beginning of the review? Do you recall how long the page was? And how many of the possibilities are tough to grasp? I've re-posted the video below:
Shopify makes a concerted effort to eliminate bloat. As a result, it's a lot more user-friendly and intuitive than other eCommerce platforms. Consider Shopify's product editor: can you tell how easy and tidy it is in comparison?
The app store is one of the reasons for Shopify's easy and clear product editor. Volusion does not have an app store, thus uncommon functionality must be crammed into the product editor. However, with Shopify, you can always add more functionality from the app store, keeping the core product editor simple and straightforward.
Consider product variants as an example (ie: sizes and colours). When you consider different SKUs, stocks, weights, and prices, variations can become complicated. To deal with the complexity, Shopify divided variations into two editors: the first editor allows you to rapidly handle variations, while the second editor allows you to drill deep into the details. This allows users to move swiftly while also allowing them to move in depth.
Throughout the interface, there are smart touches. The toolbar, for example, changes colour to signify unsaved changes. Most people won't notice it because it's subtle, but I found myself subconsciously intuiting that I had unsaved modifications as a result of it.
Another example of small details: when you update a page's URL, a checkbox for URL redirection appears underneath it. This is a small detail with significant SEO implications— I wish more CMSs did this!
Of course, not everything is designed with the user in mind. Editing customer emails, for example, will force you to dive into code, which isn't ideal. Squarespace and Weebly, for example, feature simpler interfaces that don't require you to know how to write.
For all stores, Shopify provides ten complimentary themes. All 10 are clean, modern, and represent the standard look and feel of most eCommerce sites: large product images and plenty of whitespaces. Some Shopify themes have different functionality than others, such as product filtering, video, and broad layouts, for example.
The most popular free Shopify theme is Brooklyn:
Another free theme to consider is Simple:
The ten free themes are Shopify official themes, which implies Shopify will give official support. You can also obtain 60 minutes of free design support for theme alterations if you follow their criteria, but keep in mind that they don't cover every assignment.
Themes from third-party theme vendors are also available. Official theme suppliers and unauthorised theme providers are the two types of providers.
Official theme providers are allowed to sell on the Shopify theme store and have been validated to guarantee that theme creation is their full-time occupation (that way their themes are kept up to date and they can provide ongoing theme support). Official theme vendors provide roughly 70 themes, with prices ranging from $140 to $180.
Template Monster (312 themes) and Theme Forest are two unofficial theme marketplaces where unofficial theme vendors offer their themes (830 themes). Unofficial theme providers aren't vetted by Shopify, so do some research before buying their themes (you'll want to make sure they give solid customer care in case something goes wrong, for example).
Shopify's theme customization tool is called Customizer. To be honest, I find it a little clumsy—theme customization in competitors like Squarespace is far superior.
Customization fields are vague and tough for me to comprehend. There are also a few options—for example, if you want a specific font colour for your navigation, you'll have to alter CSS, which most people don't want to do.
If you want to become more advanced with Shopify theme customization, you'll need to learn Liquid, Shopify's open-source framework. It's not as frightening as it appears. Tags and objects are the two most significant components. It may appear frightening at first, but you may be surprised at how simple it is to adjust.
Pricing on Shopify
Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify are the three major Shopify options to choose from. (There is also a Shopify light plan, which is a little hidden on the pricing page, but it's not really for developing a full website.)
All essential features, limitless products, unlimited bandwidth, fraud analysis, and support are included in each package. They also work with Shopify's point-of-sale system, albeit the point-of-sale hardware (card reader, receipt printer) is extra.
Most stores should start with Basic Shopify and upgrade only if necessary. So, when is it time to upgrade? Gift card support, reporting, 3rd party delivery rates, staffing features, and the credit card transaction charge are the key variations between programs (the more expensive the plan, the better the credit card transaction fee is).
A 14-day free trial is included in all plans, and I'm delighted to say that it's an honest 14-day free trial (unlike many SaaS providers…). You may try Shopify without worrying about forgetting to cancel it later—if you don't upgrade during the 14-day free trial, your account will simply freeze at the conclusion (rather than automatically opting you in).
There's also Shopify Plus.
Shopify Plus is designed for larger businesses that require more scalability; it presently powers over 5,300 stores. Shopify Plus has the same interface as regular Shopify, but it also includes unlimited staff accounts, wholesaling, customisable checkout, a few extra tools (such as the Script Editor), and a “launch engineer” who assists with one-on-one support.
With Shopify Plus, there is no predetermined price; instead, costs are determined by a quote and range from $2,000 to $40,000 each month.
Keep in mind that certain Shopify apps and themes are paid. If you're not careful, these extra expenditures might mount up quickly. Unfortunately, Shopify isn't alone in having a “death by a million paper cuts” problem—every eCommerce website builder with an app store has the same issue.
Fees for Transactions
In Shopify, there are two possible fees for each transaction:
Credit Card Processing Costs – Credit card processing fees are inescapable, and Shopify offers two options: utilize Shopify Payments (Shopify's in-house credit card processor) or use a third-party processor like Braintree or Paypal.
Shopify will not charge an additional transaction fee if you use Shopify Payments to handle credit cards. However, if you choose to use a third-party credit card processor, Shopify will charge a fee on each transaction (on top of the credit card processing cost you already pay the third-party credit card processor).
Is Shopify a Scalable Business?
At this point, it's unquestionable. “Besides Amazon, I don't know of anyone who processes as many transactions as Shopify,” said Richard Lazazzera, founder of A Better Lemonade Stand, when I asked him about it. Last year, Shopify processed over $1.5 billion in Black Friday sales.
Shopify Plus is in charge of the next generation of online shops, including Kylie Cosmetics, Bombas, MVMT watches, and DeathWish Coffee.
When Should You Use Shopify?
Case #1: If you want an eCommerce and content website, I prefer Squarespace over Shopify. Shopify is wonderful for eCommerce, but the WYSIWYG editor isn't as user-friendly or powerful as Squarespace's drag-and-drop page editor for content management.
Case #2: You might not want to utilize Shopify if you're trying to migrate an existing WordPress website to Shopify. In that situation, I recommend using a WordPress eCommerce plugin—both WooCommerce and BigCommerce are excellent options..