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Shopify for beginners and how it can work for you

This week I’ve been working on Shopify and as it’s the Black Friday weekend I thought I’d write a bit about it and ecommerce sites in general.

Shopify is a great platform if you want to get a store set up quickly and easily, it’s got a lot of really good features but there’s still a few limitations and things you should be aware of to save time.

So what is Shopify?

Shopify let’s you create ecommerce websites or online stores. If you want to sell things online from clothes to fruit then you can easily register, load up your products and start selling!

In addition to that Shopify has a lot of cool features and apps which can help you and your customers such as:

  • Send out confirmation emails and texts to customers when they place an order
  • Integrate with Facebook Messenger
  • Connect your store to Amazon and eBay
  • Automatic invoices when you make a sale
  • SEO features to get your store noticed and found

Can Shopify host my domain?

The answer is Yes. Shopify works by providing you with a fully hosted store which you can then link to your domain or one you get when you register. You get all this for free – for 14 days – after which if you go with the basic plan you pay £29 a month.

Shopify vs Woocommerce which is better?

Shopify vs Woocommerce?

We are big fans of Woocommerce at StudioRav because it’s so flexible and it’s built on top of WordPress which itself is so popular and well supported. You might say Shopify has a easier to use interface and it also has dedicated customer service who you can call or chat to, which obviously with Woocommerce you don’t. It doesn’t mean Shopify is better than Woocommerce but it definitely suits some clients more than others.

When you register with Shopify you get ‘everything’ you need to set up a store. By everything I mean all the basics (cart functionality, SSL, customer management, integrations etc.) in a nice package which you can use to get your store up within days. No more weird coding errors or bugs or fiddling about with the database or server – just register and you can start.

Shopify does have limitations of course. Whereas with Woocommerce you can tinker with the code and install plugins at will and customise it, with Shopify you can’t do that. Shopify is provided as is, and although you can customise themes and develop custom apps for it, you are still limited in what you can do. For example some payment providers are not available on Shopify and there’s no way around that.

Another thing you might care about is that on the basic Shopify plan you will end up paying at least 2% per transaction (with Shopify Payments, with other providers like Worldpay there may even be another fee on top of this). This may or may not be a dealbreaker. Ultimately it depends on what you’re selling but definitely it’s worth knowing it before you start developing for it.

When to use Shopify?

If you are looking to sell online and you don’t want to think about hosting, SSL, website speed optimisation, installing files and getting your hands dirty then Shopify a great option. Of course factor in the costs to make sure your business can support it but for the features you get it’s pretty decent.

If you’re wondering whether Shopify websites are any good then you can take a look at a few examples such as Nightingale Collection or GymShark both of which are Shopify stores.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you start with a Shopify store:

Can I sell my products on Shopify? If you’re looking at CBD or emerging industries like that then forget it.

What features do I absolutely need on my store? Have a look to see if they are built into Shopify or will require additional apps which can be costly.

Can I afford the monthly fee and transaction costs and any additional app costs? And still make a profit?

Do I need the freedom to chop and change things on my store? Or am I willing to compromise for ease of use?

If you need help with your store or you’re not sure whether to go with Shopify or Woocommerce then get in touch to discuss and we can help you out.