Before this we wrote an article comparing eCommerce sites and which one is the best for you in Malaysia. In that article, one of the eCommerce platforms that we put up for comparison was Shopify. But seeing that Shopify is quite simply the biggest eCommerce platform in the world right now, we figured that Shopify deserves it’s own in depth review. So in this article, we’re going to be answering the question; Is Shopify really that good?
Popularity, Plans And Pricing
Now before we get to the meat of the issue, let’s have a look at Shopify as an eCommerce platform first. As mentioned earlier in the article, Shopify is without a doubt the biggest eCommerce platform in the world. According to reports, here are Shopify’s numbers;
- Used as the platform for more than 800,000 online stores
- Used by more than 1,000,000 people
- Generated more than $100 billion in sales
Of course, we should take these numbers with a grain of salt as there’s no way we can determine if this number is true or false without implanting a spy in Shopify’s headquarters. But one thing we can tell from these numbers, is that Shopify is popular. Wildly popular, some might say.
But why is this important? There are two reasons for that.
First, is that popularity is an easy indicator of how good the platform is. I mean, one million people can’t all be wrong can they?
The second reason is, it indicates the stability of the platform. With this many users and this many store, it tells us that Shopify is a really stable platform that is not in danger of shutting down or going bankrupt.
You might think that this is an irrational worry, but it’s far more common than you think. Plenty of other platforms offering the same services has shut down before, and this creates a problem for the users. When this happens, the users are forced to move their products and store to another platform on short notice. I’m sure you don’t need us to tell you what a hassle that is right.
So in conclusion, popularity is important. And in this regard, Shopify is right up there with the best.
Now that we have covered popularity, lets’ look at the Plans and Pricing Shopify offers.
Plans And Pricing
I’ve mentioned this before in my previous articles, but I’ll say it here again. Shopify’s not for you if you’re looking for a free plan. They offer no free plans at all, and their cheapest plan starts at $9.90/Month (RM 40.70), the Shopify Lite. But you can’t really call this plan an eCommerce platform at all, cause they don’t even provide you with a website.
What you get is a ‘buy’ button to help you turn any of your social media or website into a shopping website, where your customers can buy stuff.
Shopify Basic Plan
So it’s easier to say that Shopify’s true plan starts from the Shopify Basic plan, which costs $29.90/Monthly (RM122.93). So what do you get with this plan? Well, basically you get all the basic features that Shopify offers. You get your online website store, unlimited amount of products you can stock, 2 staff accounts, and everything else. Basically, anything you need or might need, Shopify has it. So the Basic plan is the best place if you want to start your own eCommerce business.
Now let’s look at the second plan that Shopify offers, the Shopify plan. The Shopify plan costs $79.90/Monthly (RM328.51). Some of you might be wondering, if the Shopify Basic plan already has everything that you need, then why would anyone ever go for the significantly pricier Shopify plan?
Simple. Although the Shopify Basic plan offers everything a new starting up eCommerce business might need, the Shopify plan offers everything a growing eCommerce business needs. This can be seen from the difference in some of the features offered.
One of the simpler examples is the number of staff accounts provided. For the Shopify Basic plan, they offer 2 staff accounts, which means that you can create 2 accounts with varying level of permissions for your staff to help you run your business.
But as your business grows, you might find that you need more staff accounts to help your eCommerce store runs smoothly. That’s why the Shopify Plan offers 5 staff accounts.
Another example is the absence of some features on the Shopify Basic plan, such as the Register Shifts feature. This feature is used so that you can hold each of your staff working at specific shifts accountable for the money they handle. For a smaller eCommerce store, this might not be needed.
But as your business grow and your staff counts grow, you might find this feature to be essential.
Advanced Shopify Plan
And if the Shopify plan is targeted for the growing eCommerce businesses, then the Advanced Shopify plan is for the businesses that is a significant force in their industry. This plan costs $299/Monthly (RM1229.64). Just like how the Shopify plan offers better features than the Shopify Basic plan, the Advanced Shopify plan offers better features than the Shopify Plan.
Some of the notable added features in the Advanced Shopify plan includes a higher number of staff accounts (15), and advanced report builder for your business, third party calculated rates for shipping, and more.
Other than these three main plans, Shopify also offers the Shopify Plus plan. But this is catered more towards large enterprises and wholesale businesses, so we won’t be digging too deep into this.
Features And Ease Of Use
I think I have mentioned this before, but for most people, the pricing is the main factor that decides if they’re going to use the platform or not. But coming in second after pricing, is the features.
Which makes sense really. You want to get your money’s worth, after all. But another factor that has to be closely related to the features offered, is the ease of use of the features. Who wants features with a steep learning curve after all right? So this is why in this next section of determining is Shopify good, we’ll be looking at both these things.
In my opinion, the features of Shopify is precisely the reason why Shopify is so largely considered the best eCommerce platforms out there in the world.
With a single usage, it’s apparent just how much thought have been put into the creation of their backend and their interface. You can literally just feel how everything is designed to make the interface as helpful and easy for their users. And this can be seen clearly from their dashboard.
As you can see from the image, everything you need and want is right there on the left sidebar, so it is always within your reach. The moment you login, you are presented with all the important information about your business.
Another noteable feature that Shopify boasts is their ready made reports for you to see.
In this report, Shopify helps you see just how many sales has your website made, how many visits did your online store receive, and how many repeat customers your website has. And the best part about it is, it’s all packaged in a simple and easy to understand manner.
Here’s where you can really see if your marketing campaign is reaching your customers, and see if there is anything you can do to help your business thrive.
Multi Channel Integration
One of the best features from Shopify is how they integrate multiple channels for you to sell your products in. This means that with the click of a button, your online store is no longer the only option for you to start your business.
With this feature, you can sell your products through multiple channels like Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and more seamlessly. No more having to set up a specific store for each channel.
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Another one of Shopify’s amazing feature is their Abandoned Cart Recovery feature. Some of you might not know what is this and how it helps.
You know how sometimes some of the visitors on your website add your products in their carts but never checked it out? Maybe they forgot, or maybe they had something to do, the reasons for this is varied.
But with the Abandoned Cart Recovery feature, it allows you to send emails or notifications to your customer, reminding them that there are products in their cart that they did not check out.
Does this really help? According to SaleCycle, nearly half of all abandoned cart emails were opened and a over 1/3 of them led to purchases back on their site. So this helps a lot.
Ease Of Use
In terms of ease of use, Shopify is right up there with the best of them as well. Right from the start, Shopify’s main goal is simple; get your online store running the way you want it to be running.
Shopify also allows you to pick how you want to start your own eCommerce business, whether you want to create your own website, or you want to start selling on a Facebook page first.
According to Websitebuilderexpert, people found Shopify significantly easier to use compared to other eCommerce platforms, such as Big Commerce or Wix.
So if you’re asking yourself is Shopify good, well in terms of ease of use, it’s really good.
Themes And Design
Now let’s look at the themes that Shopify offers and the website designing process.
As per our observation, Shopify boasts 10 free themes and more than 50 paid themes, all ranging from $140-$180 (RM575.78-RM740.29). I understand if that price might be a little steep for some of you, but don’t worry, there’s no problem with using the free themes.
The free themes are expertly designed, and the best part is it’s also mobile responsive. This means that your customers can go to your website on their laptops, PC, smart phones, tablets, it doesn’t matter. Every theme is crafted so that your website is viewable through any screen you can think of.
Using free themes for your website usually is a cause for worry for most online store owners. Why? Because they’re afraid that their website will look generic, and that will have an adverse effect on their sales.
Generic websites have been proven to have negative effects on an online store, due to the many factors. One of them is that they can’t create a lasting brand impression with a free theme.
But fortunately, Shopify has managed to remedy this with their design functionality.
With their website creation page, you’re able to edit your website according to how you want it to be. Adding original images, adding or removing several components, social media, all of it can be edited through this page.
This helps you create brand recognition, which helps you secure your customers. Especially in Malaysia, where brand recognition is very important. With this, using a free theme is no longer seen as a disadvantage.
Another factor that has to be taken into consideration when we’re considering is Shopify good, is their Customer Service. This is due to the fact that almost all of us will run into some problems, major and minor while using Shopify.
Which is why it’s great news that Shopify offers 24/7 live chat and phone support to their customers. But the real star of the show is Shopify’s excellent Help Center.
Shopify’s Help Center is designed so that no matter what your question is, the Help Center will almost always have the answer. This helps you avoid taking up precious time to engage in their livechat or phone support.
After looking at all the features, functionality, and advantages Shopify has, it has to be said that you simply can’t go wrong with Shopify. It quite simply is one of the best eCommerce platforms out there right now, and it’s a great place to start.
It’s easy to see why Shopify is the most popular eCommerce platform out there. So to answer our own question; is Shopify good? The answer is yes, it really is that good.