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Shopify Review

Review of a Fast-Growing Online Store Builder: Shopify

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating
User Rating 1 Star Rating (1 Review)

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One of the many advantages of ecommerce is the speed to market. While a physical retail business would take months and years to fructify, an ecommerce business is expected to be up and running in days and weeks.

As a natural consequence of the ecommerce paradigm, we have seen the emergence of online store builders, also called hosted shopping cart providers. These store builders offer what could best be described as an ecommerce website out of the box. The premise here is that many aspects of an ecommerce website are pretty standard. So why would anyone want to go about reinventing the wheel. Instead, a standardized solution would do the trick.

One such store builder is "Shopify." It is one of the fastest growing hosted ecommerce solution providers and has, in fact, spawned a small ancillary industry around its offering. A couple of years ago a plug-and-play ecommerce website would have been difficult to imagine. But as ecommerce is maturing, several features and processes are getting defined clearly. This allows for templated ecommerce websites.

What Is Shopify?
Shopify is a hosted ecommerce solution. This means that it is a web-based software, so there is no software installation required either on your desktop or on your server. Shopify takes care of all the usual aspects of running an ecommerce website, such as hosting, logistics management, payment gateway, and the like.

Shopify Hosts the Ecommerce Website

Shopify integrates hosting into its offering. That means your website will reside on Shopify's servers. On the one hand this could give you the feeling of not being fully in control. On the other, it takes care of all server management related issues, as well as software upgrades.

The Appearance of Your Ecommerce Website Can Be Customized
The last thing you want to do is give your customers the feeling that they have landed on a generic ecommerce website. Since Shopify presents a standardized solution, one could fear that the resultant website will seem cookie-cutter. This is why Shopify, like many other online store providers, offers you a wide range of customizable "themes."

In addition, you can create your own themes too. I have come across designers who offer Shopify themes. This is an example of the ancillary industry I referred to at the beginning of this article.

Shopify Apps: The Best Feature of Shopify

We are reaching a point where detailed comparison charts are required to help us distinguish between different hosted ecommerce solutions providers. This is why I regard Shopify apps to be an important feature. I agree with detractors when they say that the out of the box Shopify offering is too basic. But the features that are missing in the basic offering, are more than made up by the apps available in the Shopify App Store.

Shopify Charges You a Transaction Fee
This is one feature that you will not enjoy at all. Except for the most expensive plan, Shopify charges a 1-2% fee on all transactions. If you start generating huge volumes, this fee could add up over time.

Ease of Use

The primary driver of using a hosted solution, such as Shopify, is that one is averse to getting into the grind of technology. Otherwise licensed software such as Magento could be a good choice tooo. So it is of paramount importance that hosted solutions themselves do not require extensive configuration or coding. This is where Shopify wins the race hands down. No one can fault Shopify in its organized backend.

Final Word on Shopify

Shopify is easy to use, and one of the best platforms to get a basic ecommerce business up and running immediately. It takes away a lot of your headache. Especially given the wide range of apps, I rate Shopify as one of the best hosted shopping cart providers. But if you are a high volume seller who has access to technology talent, then you could consider licensed shopping carts.
This is a rapidly evolving space, and what is true today may not be true tomorrow. As a result, you must visit the official Shopify site to get the latest information.
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 1 out of 5
Shopify for ecommerce, Member annatr123

I used Volusion for my ecommerce and decided to try Shopify. I lasted 2 weeks! Shopify charges a percentage off your sales, which I did not know and it must be written in very small print. Also, they have many features that are missing that you have to add by paying for apps (some are free)! All these features are included with Volusion. I wasted time and money trying Shopify! I will never switch from volusion.

2 out of 2 people found this helpful.

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