Shopify Review – An All in One Solution?
Here at Workonlinefromhome, I usually write about making money online through affiliate marketing. It’s by no means the only way to earn a living via the Internet, but I think for many people, affiliate marketing represents the easiest path to online marketing success. It’s not for everyone, however, and there are still a lot of people who would prefer to make money online using a more traditional method -retail. Retail’s great, but building an online ecommerce site can be difficult. That’s where Shopify comes in.
Shopify says they can streamline the often-difficult process of building an online store, regardless of the size of your business. They can give you the tools to make sales both online and offline and they can handle design, shipping, payment, and more. That’s a lot to offer, so I thought I’d take a closer look to see what Shopify is all about. Read on for my full Shopify review.
I own a retail site and I can tell you that it’s a tremendous amount of trouble and very time consuming to set up a fully functional retail store online. It has become easier over the years; when I build my first retail site back in 2000, the only solutions available were those involving custom-written code. Today, there are a lot of solutions, including many that come in the form of WordPress plugins. Those work (I use one), but they do require quite a bit of “hands on” work, as you still have to administer WordPress itself, which can sometimes be a headache.
Shopify makes that easier, as their solution is complete. When you set up an ecommerce Website with Shopify, you don’t have to add something on to WordPress or any other platform, because Shopify is the platform. You can build your site using their software and their completely integrated product display system, shopping cart system, and shipping and payment systems. It’s all complete and it’s all integrated, so you don’t have to worry about plugins not being compatible with one another or some of the other problems you encounter using WordPress-based shopping cart solutions.
To use Shopify, you just sign up and pick your plan, based on your needs. Prices currently start at $29 per month, plus a small fee for credit card transactions that’s quite competitive. You can use your own domain name, or you can host your site on the Shopify site as a subdomain, where your store might have a name like yourstore.shopify.com.
You can build your Shopify store using more than 100 different templates, allowing you to customize the look of your site to suit your own tastes. These templates have been created by a number of well known design firms, and you’ll be surprised at how professional they look.
Adding products to your store is easy and can be done with a few clicks of your mouse. You can also use Shopify to sell products via Twitter, Facebook, or just about anywhere else where you can upload a product photo and a buy button.
There are three areas that can create a lot of trouble when building an ecommerce site – inventory management, payment and shipping. Inventory management ensures that you are only offering products for sale that are actually in stock, and the Shopify system makes sure that sales and inventory are in agreement with one another. You’ll be notified by email when you make a sale. Shopify even works with external fulfillment centers such as Amazon, Ordoro and other dropshipping companies to make it easy to sell products while having them fulfilled via third parties.
For payment, Shopify will allow you to work with 70 different payment processors, including PayPal or Bitcoin, among many others. Transactions are handled securely, for the safety of both you and your customers. Once the transaction is complete, your Shopify store will record the transaction, notify, you and handle changes to the inventory for you.
For shipping, Shopify works with all major carriers, and allows you to access their APIs for current, up-to-the-minute rates. The system will also help you with foreign shipping, including complex issues such as tariff codes and customs forms. You have the option of offering free shipping if you like, and you can define the circumstances under which free shipping will be offered. You can also have sales, discount codes, coupons and more.
Your Shopify store is designed and optimized for search engine optimization, making it easy to create a store that is likely to be indexed by major search engines such as Bing and Google. While Google sometimes frowns on sites that look like retail sites but are actually just affiliate sites, Google loves sites with direct retail and Shopify makes it easy to optimize your content so that the search engines will index and rank your site and your products.
To make it easier to rank your ecommerce site in the search engines, Shopify sites also include a blog option. That will allow you to regularly inform your site visitors about changes to your site, new products, new promotions, and more. Search engines love good content on retail sites, and Shopify makes this easy to do.
For hosted sites, Shopify offers tight security, including SSL encryption. They offer 99.98% uptime and updates to the software are done in real time and are transparent to users. Sites are backed up daily, so you’re protected in the event of a server crash.
As a store owner, you’ll want to know about how your store is performing in ways that are incidental to sales. Shopify offers a user dashboard with traffic and referral reports, access to Google analytics, and detailed product reports that show what is and what isn’t working within your store.
Mobile access is important today, as many people shop via portable devices. Shopfiy stores are all responsive and mobile friendly, allowing people to buy from your store using just about any type of Web-enabled device.
Support is available 24 hours a day by email, chat and even telephone, making it easy to fix problems quickly at any time of day.
There is a lot of money to be made through retail on the Internet, and that’s true whether you’re selling through a dropshipper or selling products that you’re shipping yourself. Setting up a fully functional ecommerce Website can be a lot of trouble, but Shopify offers an easy to use, complete system that takes care of site design, inventory management, payment, and shipping. All you have to do is provide the merchandise and the content. If you’re thinking about opening your own online store, Shopify is an effective and affordable way to do it.
Shopify is highly recommended.