Should I use Shopify for my website?

Your Questions Answered

May 14, 2024

Acommon question we hear a lot is “Should I use Shopify for my website?” And while this is a great question, the answer may not be as obvious as it seems.

First, we will explore what Shopify is built for. Then we will cover what Shopify can be when properly utilized. Last, we will cover what Shopify isn’t.

So, what is Shopify built for?

Shopify is a robust E-Commerce platform that enables businesses to build and grow an online storefront. These storefronts can be extensions of brick and mortar or festival/artisan store, or they can be more complex like subscription based/coaching businesses. And both are an adequate utilization of their suite of services available in their basic package.

What has Shopify gotten right? Well, with 20 years of E-Commerce history in the can, Shopify was able to look at what the most compelling and utilized features of E-Commerce owners were. They took everything that was a necessity in an E-Commerce provider and rolled it into their basic package. No longer did someone have to ask for things such as Variations/Options for products, Inventory Tracking, automated Customer Notifications, a Built In Fulfillment System, they were just native to the platform. This solved a huge headache for previous E-Commerce owners. In addition to the suite of daily necessities for E-Commerce owners, Shopify also simplified the hosting debacle. No longer did an E-Commerce owner have to sift through the mountains of hosts, both legitimate and illegitimate, and instead of worrying about website speed and up time, now all they had to focus on was growing and running their business.

What can Shopify be when properly utilized?

Shopify can be the engine of your business. You can run both digital and brick and mortar sales through your Shopify platform. They can act both as a fulfillment center, inventory tracker and payment system. And that payment system as the flexibility of being used in person, on the web or remotely.

Shopify can be your digital business, if you don’t have a brick and mortar physical location. But because of the quality and speed of their servers and their security features, you can spend more of your time on product development, design and marketing your wares online.

Not only that, but a host of app developers have grown up around Shopify to support the ecosystem, now their are plug and play features with Newsletter providers such as Klaviyo, Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, etc, there are Subscription Payment Apps, there are cross sell and up sell apps, there are ratings systems and even live chat enabled customer support. The list is endless. And once you have the perfect cocktail of supportive apps, it can make a visitors shopping experience rival that of some of the largest companies in the world.

In the past 20 years, these sort of upgrades were only available as “bells and whistles,” or expensive custom coding to add on to the likes of Magento, OsCommerce, 3DCart, etc. And the chances that they would even work properly after all the money was spent coding them was about 50/50. If they did work, they’d probably have to be patched and updated and that would just mean more coding time for your development team. It would in turn lead to additional costs and burdens on E-Commerce storefront owners. So, what did many of them do? They gave up on their own websites and just went the traditional route of selling their wares on 3rd party marketplaces like Ebay or Amazon, which you’ll soon see carried its own risk in and of itself.

So, the evolution of Shopify fills a much needed solution for the marketplace, it does so in a safe and secure manner and also streamlines many of the processes that business owners want and need into a single easy to use platform.

What Shopify isn’t.

While Shopify may be a very robust, accessible and capable E-Commerce platform, it isn’t necessarily a one size fits all solution. It certainly can be used for non E-Commerce businesses, especially since many of the app supported features can still benefit service based businesses just as much as digital storefronts, but they really are optimized for a seamless online checkout experience.

The code is written to enhance the speed and ease of checking out, they even have an entire network of customers that have previously purchased on other Shopify stores which they enroll in their shop pay ecosystem, which is essentially a google wallet or apple pay for their credit card information. It allows them to enter that info one time, save it to the Shopify servers and reuse it at their leisure when visiting other Shopify websites and allowing them to speed up the check out process.

So, would Shopify be the perfect fit for a local service based business? Possibly, but there probably are better alternatives such as the previous world leader in website stores and business footprints, WordPress. WordPress began as an expansive blogging platform and because of its popularity soon grew to overtake the E-Commerce and digital business space before Shopify. They still boast millions of active websites, but have slowly lost E-Commerce market share to Shopify.

The trick with wordpress is there is a bit more of a learning curve, you have to find your own host and have to secure and maintain your own website. So that carries with it a host of other variables. However, it does have access to many of the same app developers that work within the Shopify ecosystem. These cross platform apps, such as Klaviyo integration for newsletters, are beneficial to E-Commerce and Service based businesses alike.

Final Thoughts

We are happy to see the arrival of Shopify on the scene. It is a much needed iteration of past E-Commerce platforms and soles a lot of problems that previous E-Commerce business owners faced. It collected many helpful developers and apps in once space that could all work with and enhance the results of one another to create hundreds of thousands of successful storefronts. We are excited to see what the next evolution of Shopify brings and we are hoping that that will include some much anticipated upgrades to their platform and services and core features that many users have been requesting over the years.


Questions About an E-Commerce Storefront?

We are happy to discuss your options when considering moving or expanding your business online. Reach out to use via the contact us form and we will get back in touch with you as soon as we can!

In the meantime please view our articles as resources and check out our YouTube channel where we will be going over more of these topics in an in depth and visually educational manner.

Until then, here’s to your success!

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