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No doubt that e-commerce is an unstoppable trend. In the United Kingdom, e-commerce sales reached a value of GBP 693 billion in 2019. Shopify, a leading e-commerce platform, is one of the favorite platforms among businesses. But is it the right fit for you? Here we are going to explore the pros and cons of Shopify and provide you with the best alternatives.

What is Shopify?

Founded in 2004, Shopify is a Canadian multinational company listed on the New York Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange. It is the largest online store system platform in the world which powers millions of businesses worldwide. According to Shopify, it made a total revenue of $2,929.5 million in 2020, with 457 million buyers. 1.75 million merchants are selling their products on Shopify.

ecommerce platform shopify

How does Shopify work? 

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows business owners to set up an online store and sell their products online with ease. Using a point-of-sale app called Shopify POS, which is accompanying hardware, they can also sell in multiple physical locations. 

If you have both online and physical stores, your inventory and stock will get synced and you can manage them through Shopify from the same account on any device as it is completely cloud-based and hosted. Shopify also allows you to manage all your business activities, including showcasing products, engaging with customers, getting paid, shipping a product, and overseeing your day-to-day finances and operations through one single platform.

How much does Shopify cost? 

New users can create a Shopify store for free and enjoy a 14-day free trial, without entering any credit card information. When the trial expires, you may choose from three of the available subscription plans, which are Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify, with a monthly fee ranging from USD29 to USD299.

Key features of Shopify

POS

Shopify POS offers a smooth shopping experience, in-store and online. With Shopify POS Pro, businesses can sell in store and ship directly to customers or sell online and accept exchange and return in store. Whenever a transaction is made, offline and online, the inventory will be updated instantly.

Abandoned checkout recovery

Shopify accepts credit cards and integrates with over 100 external payment gateways from around the world, from bitcoin to PayPal to iDEAL. Speaking of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, CoinSutra has shared that brands like Tesla, Starbucks, AXA, Amazon, Visa, PayPal, Air Baltic, Coca-Cola, Expedia, and many others have started accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment methods. What is better is that business owners can recover abandoned shopping carts automatically by sending an email with a checkout link, encouraging them to complete the purchase. 

person holding bank card checking out online

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Customer profiles

Delivering the best customer experience is always a priority. On Shopify, business owners can have a complete overview of their customers and their shopping habits, reviewing their contact information and order history at a glance. They can also categorize and export customer lists according to location, purchase history, and more.

Social media integration

Social commerce is changing the landscape of e-commerce. As more shoppers are discovering, exploring and purchasing on social media, the ability to integrate with Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr becomes more important than ever. Shopify even allows Facebook users to browse your products and make a purchase without leaving Facebook.

Shopify Tax Integration

Integrate your Shopify site with out-of-the-box tax-ready efficiency from Sage. When an order is placed in Shopify, you can automatically create an invoice in Sage Business Cloud Accounting.

Your team and your accountant can work off the same, live data. Plus, it's ready for Making Tax Digital.

Analytics

Shopify curates a dashboard showing your sales, orders, and traffic, which helps you make the right decisions for your business. You can also export reports to analyze and gain insight into your store’s growth. 

Want to sell more on socials? Talk to our experts to step up your social commerce game.

Pros and cons of Shopify

Shopify has its own strengths and weaknesses. Before making any decisions, it is crucial for you to have an overview of some key aspects and consider if Shopify is the best choice for your business.

person holding black Android smartphone shopping online

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

POS

Pros: Shopify POS allows business owners to sell their products and services online and offline. With a modern interface, Shopify POS is easy to use. It works in conjunction with the Shopify e-commerce platform, with features for managing products, orders, and customers.

Cons: Shopify does not offer free POS software, and pricing can be confusing. It is retail-focused, so restaurants or businesses that do not sell online may want to consider alternative options.

Customer support

Pros: Shopify has a dedicated support team which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can reach them by email, live chat, and phone.

Cons: Sometimes you may need to look for solutions in the forum if you have technical issues.

Ease of use

Pros: Designed to be easy to use, Shopify is an excellent platform for less tech-savvy people. Compared to other platforms, Shopify has significant advantages which include a clear interface and assistance with managing the store’s technological needs. 

Cons: Large companies have more resources and therefore tend to look for more functionality and more flexibility with theme customization. In such cases, counterparts like Magento, which is a self-hosted platform, may be a better fit.

App store

Pros: With over 1,200 different apps which facilitate automation, Shopify is here to assist you with accounting, customer service, inventory, reporting, shipping, and more, allowing you to focus on other important aspects such as marketing or increasing your sales.

Cons: You will need to pay a monthly app subscription. Otherwise, you have to spend more time inserting your data into your own software manually.

Shopify app store

Choice of themes

Pros: Shopify provides dozens of beautiful storefront themes which are categorized into different industries. You can apply filters to find the one that suits your business the best.

Cons: Only 15 theme templates are free. Other templates cost around USD250. If you want extensive customization you will need to understand Shopify’s Liquid code.

Should you go for Shopify or marketplaces like Amazon? Read this ultimate guide to online success.

What do the users say?

Easy to make e-commerce and dropshipping store with Shopify

A marketing manager writes a review on G2 and says the best about Shopify is that they can easily create their e-commerce or dropshipping store within a few steps. But the downside is that it is a little costly for beginners and they have to spend more in order to upgrade for better performance of the site.

Shopify is a great e-commerce tool

A CEO thinks Shopify, which is quick and easy to use, helps individual business owners get their website up in record time but users have to know some coding to add many features that fit well with the site design.

Sells your items well but…

A graphic designer has commented that she likes that Shopify has included great analytics, a clean online storefront, many sales channels as well as tips to help make the most of your online shop but the user interface is not very friendly and has quite the learning curve.

Alternatives of Shopify

While Shopify is one of the most widely used e-commerce platforms, there are other alternatives for business owners to choose from based on their own needs. Below are some examples:

  • Wix

  • BigCommerce

  • Squarespace

  • WooCommerce

  • Magento

  • Square

  • Sellfy

  • Ecwid

  • Volusion

Want to start your online business? Learn more about the best e-commerce platforms available.

Shopify VS Wix

ecommerce platform wix

Wix is another popular platform for you to create your professional website to showcase or start your own e-commerce store to accept online payments. Both Shopify and Wix are user-friendly but Shopify is more focused on e-commerce with solutions to scale and sell everywhere while what Wix offers is an easier and cheaper solution for building an online store.

ShopifyWix
Ease of useWell-designed user experience; need very few clicks to create a storeSuper easy to use with their drag and drop editor; Wix ADI available to produce a ready-made template
Themes and flexibility80+ modern and responsive themes are available but only around a dozen is free800+ free themes but they are not always fully responsive
Product presentation and featuresOnly 3 variants can be added for size, color or material but thousands of Shopify apps give more possibilities6 variants and up to 100 options can be added but only hundreds of apps are available
Payment optionsPayPal, credit card, POS, offline payment, Apple Pay/Google Pay; support multi-currency sellingPayPal, credit card, POS, offline payment; can only display in different currencies
POS capabilitiesSell in-store using iPhone or iPad; available in any country where Shopify has supported credit card payment providersCurrently only available in the US and only for supported businesses types; need to purchase Wix’s hardware
App store6000 apps available and all are related to e-commerce250+ apps available with some are industry-specific such as related to hotels or restaurants
PricesUSD29-299 per monthUSD17-35 per month

Shopify VS Squarespace

ecommerce platform squarespace

Unlike Shopify which has always been focusing on e-commerce, Squarespace was first started as blog hosting service and only added e-commerce tools in 2013. When comparing these two options, Shopify is still the ideal choice if you want a shop that will grow and expand to international markets while Squarespace is better for selling subscriptions and small stores with good-looking websites or blogs.

ShopifySqaurespace
Ease of useWell-designed user experience; need very few clicks to create a storeSlower drag and drop editor but what you see is what you get
Themes and flexibility80+ modern and responsive themes are available but only around a dozen is freeDozens of templates are available but not always fully optimized for e-commerce
Product presentation and featuresOnly 3 variants can be added for size, color or material but thousands of Shopify apps give more possibilitiesPrebuilt layouts available; can add videos and various kinds of content without installing any extra apps
Payment optionsPayPal, credit card, POS, offline payment, Apple Pay/Google Pay; support multi-currency sellingPayPal, credit card, POS, Apply Pay; does not support multi-currency selling
POS capabilitiesSell in-store using iPhone or iPad; available in any country where Shopify has supported credit card payment providersPOS via Square, only available for US customers
App store6000 apps available and all are related to e-commerceLimited extensions; mainly focus on e-commerce integrations
PricesUSD29-299 per monthUSD14-65 per month

Shopify VS WooCommerce

ecommerce platform woocommerce

WooCommerce is an e-commerce platform built on WordPress so if you are already using WordPress and not planning to migrate to another platform, WooCommerce may be a better choice. The upsides about WooCommerce are better multilingual support and SEO flexibility.

ShopifyWooCommerce
Ease of useWell-designed user experience; need very few clicks to create a storeNeed to install or update WordPress on your website before setting up
Themes and flexibility80+ modern and responsive themes are available but only around a dozen is freeNo own theme store but can use third-party service
Product presentation and featuresOnly 3 variants can be added for size, color or material but thousands of Shopify apps give more possibilitiesProduct page extensions available to add videos and extra display options such as AR demos like Shopify
Payment optionsPayPal, credit card, POS, offline payment, Apple Pay/Google Pay; support multi-currency sellingPayPal, credit card via Stripe, and more other options
Multilingual capabilitiesSell in up to 20 languages but still need to purchase a translation app to show translated contentWPML plugin available for a complete multilingual solution
SEO capabilitiesCan edit all the SEO settings but no full control over page URLs and need an app or coding to add rich snippetsSimple SEO plugin available with advanced features
PricesUSD29-299 per monthFree but extra features come at different prices

Shopify VS BigCommerce

ecommerce platform bigcommerce

Shopify and BigCommerce are quite similar in terms of features but the former has distinct advantages on dropshipping and app market. But when it comes to product reviews and customization options, BigCommerce wins.

ShopifyBigCommerce
Ease of useWell-designed user experience; need very few clicks to create a storeEasy to use; more flexibility so a bit harder for beginners
Themes and flexibility80+ modern and responsive themes are available but only around a dozen is free80+ responsive themes available; also around a dozen is free
Product presentation and featuresOnly 3 variants can be added for size, color or material but thousands of Shopify apps give more possibilitiesHundreds of variants can be added; enable product reviews; product carousel with video support
Payment optionsPayPal, credit card, POS, offline payment, Apple Pay/Google Pay; support multi-currency sellingPayPay, credit card, POS, offline payment, Apple Pay; support multi-currency selling
Multilingual capabilitiesSell in up to 20 languages but still need to purchase a translation app to show translated contentNeed to manually translate your website and edit the code to display numerous languages
SEO capabilitiesCan edit all the SEO settings but no full control over page URLs and need an app or coding to add rich snippetsFully customizable URLs
PricesUSD29-299 per monthUSD29.95-299.95 per month

Shopify VS Square

ecommerce platform square

Square Online is a product from Square and it is an ideal choice for budget-conscious sellers to get started while Shopify is useful for those who are ambitious and with big, long-term plans. In addition, Shopify is suitable for merchants who need a wider range of payment gateways.

ShopifySquare
Ease of useWell-designed user experience; need very few clicks to create a storeFaster and easier to set up
Themes and flexibility80+ modern and responsive themes are available but only around a dozen is freeOnly around a dozen of color palettes and a few style options are available
Sales toolsCustomizable checkout page and invoices; support customer login and omnichannel salesNo customizable checkout page and invoices; does not support customer login; limited sales channels
Payment optionsPayPal, credit card, POS, offline payment, Apple Pay/Google Pay; support multi-currency sellingPayPal, credit cards, Apple Pay/Google Pay
Marketing featuresSEO, email marketing and blogging features are availableGood SEO and email marketing tool but no blogging features
PricesUSD29-299 per monthUSD0-72 per month

Shopify VS Magento

ecommerce platform magento

Shopify and Magento are two of the most popular e-commerce platforms on the market but the latter, which is an open-source platform, is more suitable for enterprise-level businesses with their own development teams.

ShopifyMagento
Ease of useWell-designed user experience; need very few clicks to create a storeSteep learning curve; Need to use code in order to build the store you want
Themes and flexibility80+ modern and responsive themes are available but only around a dozen is freeBoth ready-made and custom themes available; can cost up to USD25000
Sales toolsMulti-channel selling as a built-in feature; abandoned cart recoveryMulti-channel selling options that come from installed extensions; abandoned cart recovery
Payment optionsPayPal, credit card, POS, offline payment, Apple Pay/Google Pay; support multi-currency sellingMore payment gateways but most of them are aimed at large businesses such as WorldPay
App store6000 apps available and all are related to e-commerce5000 extensions; some are free while some can cost up to USD2000
PricesUSD29-299 per monthEstimated starting cost to be USD15000

Integrate your Shopify store with SleekFlow to sell faster, better, and more

All your customer information can be synchronized instantly if you integrate your Shopify account with SleekFlow. Here are what SleekFlow can do with Shopify integration:

View your customers’ purchase profiles side by side with the chatbox order history by an upgraded CRM display

Purchase history and order status showed alongside the chat room

You can view the purchase profiles such as the order status and the purchase history in one single platform with SleekFlow. Imagine your customer service is handling a customer inquiry related to a recent purchase on WhatsApp, it would be difficult for you to check the order history and communicate with the customer by switching from tabs to tabs. However, by using SleekFlow, all the CS staff who are granted access to the conversation can easily check the customer's purchase history and understand the situation. They can handle the inquiries in a more efficient way.

sleekflow homepage inbox

Messages automation upon customers’ actions on your Shopify

Abandoned cart reminders as a remarketing tool

An abandoned cart reminder will be sent to customers automatically when the customer adds items to the shopping cart but does not push to the checkouts. For instance, a time-limited promo code will be triggered 24 hours later by setting up an abandoned cart reminder rule. The promo code will be an exclusive friendly reminder and be more attractive than any other ads showing on all the random websites.

Order status update automation

SleekFlow helps you consolidate everything from conversations, customer purchase history to delivery status. The team can view all the information alongside the chatbox with clients in one single platform. For example, a client asks for the delivery status of the order on Shopify through Facebook messenger. You can simply log on to SleekFlow’s platform and reply to the message after seeing the profile column. SleekFlow centralizes all the information for you and updates the status automatically, scaling up your business by the streamlined workflow.

Automatic users segmentation by their purchasing intent 

By integrating with SleekFlow, you can have your client’s whole purchase history on your Shopify website as SleekFlow will automatically sync everything for you. You can set some automatic labeling rules beforehand and they will be helpful to segment the customers for remarketing purposes. Customers can be segmented in accordance with their past purchases and a more targeted promotion campaign can be designed.

Shopify order history in the chat profile

SleekFlow upgrades its integration with Shopify. Learn how to utilize the native Shopify integration to reinforce your eCommerce ecosystem.

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