Shopify stores look nice and probably have some of the best free themes available to ecommerce merchants. It is easy to use and get up and running quickly. This makes for a good cart for people who only need to sell a few products where presentation is key and budget does not allow for custom design. The pricing on Shopify is a bit deceptive though, so be careful. They have monthly plans in which they charge you a percentage of your transactions. Not cool! You already need to pay for transaction fees with your credit card company. You shouldn’t need to pay a monthly fee and a transaction fee for a shopping cart. Not only that it seems their cart isn’t a complete solution. In order to compensate for their lack of completeness, there is an app market on Shopify, where you have to pay to have additional functionality for your store.
Shopify Store Management
The Shopify admin is clean and easy to use with a modern look. When first logging in to your admin, you will be prompted with an on page wizard to help get you started with step by step instructions on getting your store running. It really is a huge help for new store owners who are new to ecommerce. You will need to complete all these steps in any order you wish before you want your store to go live.
Adding products is pretty easy with Shopify. You have the ability to bulk upload products via csv file which is always important to have in a shopping cart. A sample import file is provided to show you the mappings of all product information. Otherwise adding products one by one can be done in a single page and is relatively quick. Product descriptions can use full html which allows you to embed pictures and video directly into the description.
Search Engine Optimization and Shopify
SEO has got to be one of the most important factors for serious entrepreneurs. SEO on shopify out of the box is amost down-right horrid, which makes this shopping cart pretty lame for making money. For one you do not have the ability to create custom META titles or descriptions. A serious flaw in development, and hopefully they get their act together and incorporate this. Another thing you cannot create custom URLS, sure they say they can make them SEO friendly, but it is not as good as being able to create your own. There are definitely better shopping cart options out there for this.
There is a saving grace though, and there looks to be some paid applications on the shopify app store which take care of some of the SEO drawbacks, for those who are gung ho about using shopify as their shopping cart of choice.
Designing for Shopify
As with any modern ecommerce platform, Shopify uses a standard template or theme system to allow users to change the look and feel of their store.
What is nice about shopify is that their designs seem to be a cut above most of the competition and they also have a premium selection of paid themes made by independent designers which are also nice. I have seen paid themes by other ecommerce solutions, which are a joke.
Of course themes are great but generally you are going to need more level of control to really make your store unique. With Shopify, you are able to access the templates and have control over the css files so editing the store is easy to do, once you figure out how their template works.
Shopify Content Management
The problem with these hosted shopping carts like Shopify, is that you cannot add any other software, such as WordPress. These companies do not allow access to the root directories which is needed to add these types of softwares. For SEO purposes having a blog on the same top level domain is highly preferred over a subdomain. With Shopify, they have a built in CMS system which can be adequate enough to create new content in a blog-like format.
As mentioned before their pricing seems pretty standard at first, but when you look closer they sneak in a percentage of your total sales each month. Anywhere between 1% or 2% unless you take their highest level package, but if you need their highest level package, you definitely wouldn’t want to use shopify anyway.
Final Thoughts on Shopify
Shopify is a good option for small niche market store owners, while I feel there are better solutions out there, I can see shopify filling the need of ecommerce owners who want to start a decent looking store quickly and with the minimal time and cost. The percentage of store income, is something you need to look out for since most other shopping carts do not do this. If they offered their shopping cart for free, I would say that is a perfectly legitimate reason to do so, but it seems like they are just trying to take advantage of business owners with these extraneous charges. Shopify maybe a good option for some, but if you are seriously looking at Shopify, definitely look at a few other options to weigh the pros and cons.
Marketing Your Shopify Website
Contact us today or call 888-275-5301 for help marketing your Shopify website. Search Placement is an Ecommerce Marketing company specializing in SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay per click) marketing, and SMM (social media marketing) for online stores. We've helped hundreds of ecommerce stores take full advantage of the web and have experience working with every major ecommerce platform.