Is Shopify Good For ECommerce?

With a market share of 28%, Shopify is the biggest eCommerce platform in the United States. Oberlo reports that 1 in 4 merchants use it to power their stores. 

So, what is it about Shopify that makes it the eCommerce giant that it is? Are online stores that aren’t on Shopify missing out? Should they transition? Can your business afford Shopify? Can an eCommerce business of any size use Shopify? 

These are all great questions and we want to answer them all. Here is a rundown of what you can expect to see in this post.

  1. Shopify: An Overview
  2. Key Features of Shopify
  3. Advantages of Using Shopify for ECommerce
  4. Disadvantages of Using Shopify for ECommerce
  5. Platform Comparison
  6. Frequently Asked Questions About Shopify
  7. Should You Use Shopify for Your ECommerce Business? Our Recommendation

Shopify: An Overview

Founded in 2006, Shopify has grown steadily over the years and is among the top 20 largest publicly traded Canadian companies by market capitalization. 

Catering to an industry that is itself showing no signs of slowing down, the eCommerce platform has grown tremendously by empowering online retailers to create and manage their stores. Its comprehensive set of tools and integration capabilities make it one of the most commonly-used eCommerce solutions in the U.S.

Key Features of Shopify

The platform has an extensive and ever-evolving array of tools and features that eCommerce businesses can leverage. Some of its most popular features are:

  • Storefront Design: There is a range of customizable templates and themes for businesses to choose from.
  • Payment Processing: Shopify supports several types of payment options making it convenient for merchants and customers.
  • SEO Support: Shopify has built-in SEO features that help you optimize your online store and improve your eCommerce marketing efforts. 
  • Analytics and Reporting: Shopify provides users with in-depth analytics and reporting features, including sales reports, traffic reports, and customer data analysis.
  • App Integrations: Shopify offers a variety of third-party integrations and add-ons, such as social media integrations, email marketing, and inventory management tools.
  • Order and Inventory Management: Shopify allows users to easily manage their orders, track inventory levels, and receive notifications when stock levels are low.
  • Shipping and Tax Management: Shopify provides shipping and tax calculators that help users calculate and charge appropriate shipping and tax fees for their products.

With all these useful features, its natural to think that Shopify is by far the best eCommerce platform. You aren’t wrong! Let’s see what are some specific features that make Shopify great for eCommerce.

Advantages of Using Shopify for ECommerce

Easy to Use and Set Up

The sharp learning curve on many platforms is one of the biggest challenges for eCommerce business owners and their marketing teams. While we won’t call it a cakewalk, the platform is relatively intuitive. Setting up a store on Shopify involves just a few steps:

  1. Customize the design you want
  2. Add your products
  3. Set up payment and shipping options

In addition, Shopify has a large database of helpful resources, such as guides and video tutorials. Not only that, but the company is supported by its community which provides helpful tips to new users.

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Shopify’s ease of use is one of its key selling points.

Customizations Make it Useful for ECommerce Branding

ECommerce is a competitive industry. You aren’t just competing with other online retailers, but you are also competing with a neverending stream of online content in the form of news and entertainment. Add to this the fact that customers have limited physical touchpoints with your business and you’ll see that it can be extremely difficult for an eCommerce business to stand out.

This makes branding and consistency even more important to your business. While you can do this through photography and copy, Shopify provides both free and paid themes for you to select from. Use the theme editor on Shopify to adjust the look of your store to match with other marketing collateral and your brand’s identity.

Mobile Friendliness and Fast Page Load Speeds

You don’t need to be an eCommerce business owner to know that page load speeds have become more and more integral to your site’s success. While this is important for anyone who has a website, fast page load speeds are indispensable for an eCommerce business. On the other hand, a large number of product images and videos you may be using to give customers a feel for your product, can also cause your site to be slow.

Shopify’s clean code and infrastructure ensure your site isn’t a victim of slow loading speeds. In addition, Shopify hosts your online store on fast, global servers and doesn’t limit its bandwidth. 

The same applies to mobile friendliness. An Insider Intelligence report reveals that retail mobile commerce sales hit $359.32 billion in 2021, an increase of 15.2% from 2020. Shopify estimates that these sales should more than double to reach upwards of $700 billion by 2025. As an eCommerce business owner, making your website design mobile friendly should be a priority.

All Shopify themes are responsive, which means they can adjust to fit any screen, including mobile phones. However, not all themes are automatically mobile-friendly, so you should either pick one that is, or customize your theme to make it mobile-friendly. 

As an eCommerce marketing agency, our website design services team at Boxwood Digital prioritizes mobile-friendliness for our clients. In addition merchants can use the Shopify app to easily manage their store from their mobile devices too.

A Variety of Secure Payment Integrations

BigCommerce reports that cart abandonment, or the act of adding something to a shopping cart but leaving without making a purchase, is one of the most significant contributors to lost sales in eCommerce.

Why does this happen? Why do customers spend a lot of time browsing on your store, select items, and then abandon a purchase? From surprise costs at checkout to a frustratingly complicated process to security concerns to limited payment options — there are a few reasons for an alarmingly large cart abandonment rate.

Shopify addresses this issue by offering several ways for your customers to pay online. Customers can choose to pay without using a credit card through services like PayPal, Meta Pay, Amazon Pay, and Google Pay. If you want to let customers pay via a credit card you can use Shopify Payments or go with a third-party provider. 

Integration With Other Tools

ECommerce business owners never sleep! Okay, that is an exaggeration, but only slightly. You are not only listing your products, managing inventory, and making sales. You are also building customer relationships and implementing various marketing strategies.

Shopify simplifies this process for you. You can integrate several external tools on the eCommerce platform to make the entire process easier for yourself. For example, you can integrate Google Merchant Center to Shopify. This will enable you to list your products directly from your eCommerce store so shoppers can find you on Search, YouTube, and more.

Improved Customer Experience

From improved site speeds to mobile-friendliness to secure payment options, there are several ways to ensure a positive customer experience via Shopify. 

An example of a Shopify feature that makes the shopping experience seamless for your customers is the Shop app. If your online store meets requirements, your store products will automatically be listed in the Shop app. This app enables customers to track packages, discover new stores and products, and make purchases easily. It also works as a marketing tactic for your business. 

Similar to the Amazon shopping app, Shop makes the checkout and shopping process extremely easy for your customers. 

Okay, so all of this sounds great! Should your eCommerce store use Shopify then? Let’s also take a look at some cons of using Shopify as an eCommerce platform.

Disadvantages of Shopify

The Price Can Add Up

To take full advantage of Shopify and its various features, you may quickly find yourself spending some big dollars. This is not to say that Shopify’s pricing isn’t affordable for smaller eCommerce businesses. In fact, we have helped several of our clients to transition to Shopify. Not all businesses need all the bells and whistles. 

You can always start with a basic plan and uplevel as your business needs change. It may be a good idea to start a 14-day free trial that allows you to explore the platform and see if you will need extra features.

Limited Options to Build Specific Pages

While it’s easy to get started on Shopify and the platform has built-in SEO features, if you want to customize your online store more precisely, you may want to enlist the help of a professional. It is also not easy to build specific landing pages on Shopify. For instance, if you want to build a landing page for a Google ad you are running, the process may be time-consuming and need more advanced skills.

Transaction Fees for Using Third-Party Payment Gateways

Another Shopify drawback is it charges transaction fees for using third-party payment gateways. This means that for every sale made through a payment gateway other than Shopify Payments, Shopify charges a fee on top of what the payment gateway charges. These fees can add up over time, especially for businesses with high transaction volumes or smaller profit margins.

Inability to Self-Host Reduces Control

Shopify does not allow you to self-host your eCommerce store. This means your website and all its data are hosted on Shopify’s servers rather than your own. While this may not be a big deal for some businesses, it does mean you have less control over your site. Not being able to self-host also means Shopify can take down or suspend your store if it violates their terms of service or acceptable use policy.

No Control Over URL Text

By default, Shopify creates URLs based on the product or page title. While this may work for some businesses, it can be frustrating for those who want to customize their URLs for SEO purposes or to match their brand’s naming conventions. 

This could hurt your SEO efforts as customized URLs often perform better in search results. Unfortunately, Shopify does not provide the option to edit the URL text, which can be a significant drawback for some users. However, workarounds exist, such as using redirect URLs or creating custom collections with the desired URL structure.

Compare with a few other popular platforms

There are more players in the eCommerce platform market than before, including WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce. How do they compare with Shopify?

ShopifyWooCommerceMagentoBigCommerce
Ease of UseShopify is an intuitive platform and the learning curve is easier to manage. You will only need a professional’s help if you want extensive customizationsWooCommerce can be challenging for beginners, requiring some coding knowledge to fully customize your online store.Magento has a steep learning curve. Building your desired online store requires familiarity with technical terms and coding skills. (You may need to hire a web developer to help create your store)BigCommerce is also easy to use for non-technical users. However, it does lose a few points in this regard when compared to Shopify.
OwnershipSite owners do not have full ownership of the platform.Fully owned by the site owner.Fully owned by the site owner.Site owners do not have full ownership of the platform.
ECommerce Business TypeSmall to medium-sized-business friendly, but also suitable for larger businesses. Better if you have a complex inventory.More suited for small- to medium-sized businesses.Suited for larger businesses with complex eCommerce needs and their own web development teams.Better for very large businesses that only sell online.

FAQs about Shopify

Q: Is Shopify good for small businesses? Is there a specific stage at which a business should consider Shopify?

A: Yes, Shopify is a good option for small businesses. In fact, Shopify was specifically designed to be an accessible and user-friendly eCommerce platform for businesses of all sizes.

Shopify is a great option for businesses at any stage of development. Whether you’re just starting and launching your first online store or an established business looking to expand your eCommerce presence, Shopify offers features and functionality to meet your needs.


Q: Is it easy to integrate an existing brand/store into Shopify? Can I migrate my existing eCommerce store to Shopify? (tricky process)

A: Yes, you can migrate your existing eCommerce store to Shopify. However, the process can be tricky. The ease of migration will depend on the complexity of your existing store and the level of customization you have implemented. It’s helpful to work with a Shopify expert or developer to ensure a seamless migration.

Shopify provides various tools and resources to help, including a migration tool that can transfer products, customers, and orders to your new Shopify store. If you have an existing site, you can integrate your Shopify store into your website using Shopify’s Buy Button or other embedded commerce options.


Q: Is one platform better than another when it comes to search engine optimization?

A: While each eCommerce platform has its SEO strengths and weaknesses, Shopify is generally considered one of the most SEO-friendly platforms available because of its built-in optimization features, such as customizable title tags and meta descriptions, clean URL structures, and automatic sitemap generation. 

Additionally, Shopify’s website architecture is optimized for speed and mobile responsiveness, essential SEO factors. However, it’s important to note that SEO is a complex and ongoing process. Your strategy’s success will depend on factors such as content quality, industry competitiveness, and the effectiveness of your backlink strategy.


Q: What are some customer relationship features on Shopify and how easy are they to use? 

A: Shopify provides a range of features that can help you connect with and engage shoppers. One of the platform’s most powerful customer relationship tools is its built-in email marketing platform, Shopify Email. This feature lets you create and send customized email campaigns directly from your Shopify store. You can also use the platform’s customer segmentation tools to target specific shopper groups based on their behavior or purchase history and track campaign performance with detailed analytics. 

Shopify also offers other customer relationship tools, such as customer accounts, reviews/ratings, and social media integration. These features are generally simple to use and require little technical expertise, making them accessible to businesses of all sizes.


Q: Can I use my own domain name with Shopify?

A: Yes, you can use your own domain name with Shopify. Using your domain name can help you establish a strong brand identity and make it easier for customers to find and remember your online store. 

You can purchase a new domain name directly from Shopify or connect an existing domain name to your Shopify store. If you already have a domain name, you can transfer it to Shopify or connect it through a third-party domain registrar, like Bluehost or Google Domains. Once you’ve connected your name to the platform, you can use it for website, email, and other online communications. Overall, using your domain name with Shopify is a simple, effective way to enhance your brand’s online presence and drive more traffic to your store.


Q: Does Shopify provide customer support?

A: Shopify offers 24/7 support through email, live chat, and phone, allowing users to get help whenever needed.

The platform also provides resources (such as an extensive knowledge base, video tutorials, and a user forum) to help users get started and troubleshoot common issues.


Q: Shopify comes with a lot of additional costs (apps, plugins, transaction fees). How should someone go about selecting a plan? Does Shopify help with the selection?

A: Yes, Shopify offers guidance to assist users in selecting the most appropriate plan for their business requirements. Helpful resources include a pricing calculator, a feature comparison chart, and support from the customer service team.

Conclusion

Shopify is an excellent option for businesses launching or expanding their eCommerce presence. It offers an intuitive platform, a user-friendly interface, and robust features that can help streamline your online business operations. While there are some drawbacks, such as transaction fees and limited control over URL text, the benefits of using Shopify far outweigh the disadvantages. We have helped several of our clients migrate their online stores to Shopify and helped build brand-new Shopify websites. 

If you’d like advice on your eCommerce business website, schedule a free consultation with us. We will be glad to answer any questions.

ABOUT VASUNDHARA MOHAN

Vasundhara is the content manager at Boxwood Digital Marketing. Interested in a range of subjects that include immersive travel, heritage arts, and psychology, Vasundhara enjoys identifying how brands can stand out and deliver solutions to customers. She primarily writes about website content strategy, content writing, and content marketing. When she isn’t helping clients develop their content, Vasundhara enjoys freelance travel writing.