Shopify ecommerce website builder – is it worth it?
Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms. It has a significant user base and is highly rated by users. There’s no question that Shopify is powerful and has a large customer base. But is the platform worth your money?
Easy to use
Plenty of templates & apps
Great for dropshipping
Built in SEO tools
14 Days free trial
Could be expensive with add ons
With its many subscription plans and options, it can be challenging to decide which plan would be the best for you and your business. To help you make a choice, we’ll go over the different features and plans Shopify offers.
How Does Shopify Work?
Because it’s “hosted,” Shopify website builder can be used by anybody. You don’t need to acquire web hosting or install software to use it because it operates on its own servers.
As a result, you don’t actually own the product. Instead, you pay a monthly price to use it, and you may do so from any computer or device with an internet connection.
When it comes to building and promoting an online store, Shopify provides everything you need “out of the box.” This includes layouts to payment processors to blogs and email marketing tools.
If you want to personalize your shop further, you may install applications or write custom code.
Easy to Use
This is one of the most frequent compliments Shopify receives. It is an excellent option if you don’t have the time or resources to deal with technical issues.
The platform’s features are great for those who aren’t tech-savvy. Customizing your storefront is made more accessible by a series of drag-and-drop boxes. With Shopify, you’ll quickly realize that their primary focus is making the experience as user-friendly as possible thus making it one of the most popular website builders in the market.
Shopify’s success can be largely attributed to its in-house App Store. It provides access to more than 1,200 plugins and apps. So whatever you’re looking for, you’re bound to find it here.
Automate and simplify your business processes using useful applications. For example, some programs can help you if you are unfamiliar with bookkeeping, inventory management, or shipping.
Shopify can provide all this support because of its partnerships with accounting software companies and other tool providers. Using the Shopify App Store, you may leverage various companies to better your e-commerce site. Hence, you can quickly implement marketing strategies in your online store.
You’ll need as many people as possible to view your business to succeed. To attract more people to your website, SEO is an essential approach. Shopify’s platform has a slew of built-in SEO and marketing features.
In terms of search engine optimization, Shopify is capable and effective. For example, a site’s canonical tag is produced automatically so that search engines don’t display duplicate content. In addition, you’ll find it significantly easier to market your store if it includes a sharing function.
However, there’s still room for growth. An SEO-unfriendly string is included in some URLs. Product pages and posts, for example, have the domain suffix “/products/” and “/posts/.” You cannot edit the Robots.txt and Sitemap files, making Shopify SEO challenging. Still, solutions can be found in the enormous app store, which provides countless optimization options.
You may offer discount coupons, link your products to many social media networks, and construct keywords to get the most outstanding results. Shopify’s add-ons allow you to go through your page’s data with ease.
Expansion and Development
It’s also worth noting how flexible the Shopify platform is for businesses wishing to grow. Whether you’re starting a tiny business or a massive enterprise, Shopify can help you succeed. Each stage of your store’s growth may be supported by the tools and applications provided by the platform. As a result, Shopify can offer an exceptional e-commerce solution for selling your products at any level of your company’s development.
You can also enhance Shopify’s reporting capabilities by purchasing additional subscription levels. For example, upgrades such as Advanced Shopify or Shopify Plus can give more thorough information through filters in addition to the fundamental analysis provided by Basic Shopify.
This means that shops may better understand their consumers, track store performance, and analyze transactions using Shopify’s analytics and reporting. With Basic Shopify or better, you may customize your reports to only show relevant information for your business. You may also add or delete columns from your reports.
To preserve your filtered and edited reports or to create custom ones from scratch, you must have an Advanced Shopify membership or above. Also, any filters or tweaks you make will only be temporary if your store is on the Shopify plan.
Shopify Payments continues to charge variable credit card fees for each subscription level. For example, each transaction will cost you $2.90 + 30 cents per transaction if you go with Shopify Basic. The Shopify plan costs $2.60 + 30 cents, while the Advanced Shopify plan costs $2.40 + 30 cents per transaction.
Using a payment solution other than Shopify Payments will result in an additional 2% transaction fee for Shopify Basic, 1% for Shopify, and 0.50% for Advanced Shopify.
Having Shopify as a hosted platform means all upgrades and security issues are taken care of automatically by the platform. For example, to process credit card or debit card information, a Shopify server with PCI Level 1 certification is there to make sure every payment is secure. Additionally, all Shopify stores use SSL encryption to further safeguard your customers’ personal information. Aside from that, Shopify offers SOC (Service Organization Control) and transparency reports for its users.
Hence, Shopify users are subject to their own set of standards, including those relating to the safety and availability of their services.
How Much Does Shopify Cost?
Shopify’s price structure is very straightforward. It offers five price plans, with names and features that are roughly identical across countries.
The list of plans is as follows:
- Shopify Lite — $9 per month
- Basic Shopify — $29 per month
- Shopify — $79 per month
- Advanced Shopify — $299 per month
- Shopify Plus — around $2,000 per month
With an annual subscription, you’ll receive a slight discount on the monthly rate for any plan. When you sign up for an annual or biannual plan, you’ll receive a 10% and 20% discount. There is also a 14-day free trial that allows you to try out any plan beforehand.
The Lite plan falls somewhere in the middle in terms of cost. However, this option doesn’t let you build a fully functioning, stand-alone internet store with all the tools you need. As an alternative, you may use Shopify in a physical location to sell products, manage inventory, and sell through your Facebook page. The Lite version also offers a built-in buy button that enables you to sell products on your blog or website using it.
The goal of Shopify Lite is to add e-commerce capabilities to an existing website, such as a blog or informational resource. It does not work by acquiring a hosting subscription. As a result, you’ll need a pre-configured webpage that includes a domain name, web hosting, and more. Shopify Lite, for example, maybe installed on a WordPress site.
Shopify will host your shop with the Basic Shopify plan, which is a terrific place to start. It’s also an excellent option for those who don’t expect to sell large quantities of merchandise. However, if you sell a wide variety of goods, this is the most cost-effective pricing strategy. You may sell as many physical or digital items as you like with Shopify since there are no storage or product limits. A bilingual store, abandoned cart recovery emails, and gift cards are all included in this package. Support options include email, live chat, and phone calls.
Credit card costs (2.9% + 30 cents) and transaction fees (2%) on this plan are greater than on the Shopify or Advanced plans. Professional reports and third-party-calculated shipping rates are not included in the package.
Compared to the Basic Shopify Plan, which costs $79 per month plus 2.6% and 30 cents per transaction, the Shopify Plan offers almost all of Shopify’s features for a considerably higher monthly price.
With this option, you can create as many items as you like and use all the features of the Basic Shopify Plan. Shopify POS, gift cards, expert reports, and abandoned cart recovery are also included. The abandoned cart feature is convenient because it’s one of the most effective methods to collect contact data from consumers who abandon their shopping carts. This feature is a significant selling point for the Shopify Plan.
As a result, you may follow up with them later to see whether they’re still interested in purchasing. The abandoned basket tool can also send these emails automatically. For example, within six hours, you can select to send a promotional or reminder message to a user who has abandoned their cart.
Since almost two-thirds of buyers abandon their shopping carts on average, this feature is a must-have. These customers spend 55% more when remarketed to.
With its infinite goods and unlimited storage, the Shopify Plan is an excellent choice for businesses that anticipate rapid growth. It’s also a smart option if your site generates more than $5,000 in revenue per month, as it reduces transaction fees. In addition, you can be sure that with the abandoned cart tool offered in this plan, along with other necessary Shopify tools, your business will continue to grow.
It costs $299 per month (+ 2.4% and 30 cents per transaction) to subscribe to the Advanced Shopify Plan, which offers an advanced report builder and shipping prices generated by a third party to the previous options. You may still upload an unlimited number of products and reduce your transaction % costs by using an external payment method.
Since everything in the Advanced Shopify price plan is limitless, you’ll never run out of storage space. You may sell as many items, videos, and photographs as you need and bring in as much traffic as you like. With the Advanced package, you get abandoned cart recovery, ensuring that you can meet sales metrics that justify the higher plan price.
Managing clients who have abandoned their baskets early and checking whether an email has been sent is made easy with the abandoned cart function.
With this plan, you may provide 15 users dashboard access, and you’ll get the biggest savings on shipping compared to the other options.
The Advanced Shopify Plan is for businesses that choose to outsource their delivery. Advanced reports that enable testing and predicting are a plus for high-revenue enterprises. In addition, customers that make more than $10,000 per month can benefit from reduced transaction costs and higher Shopify shipping reductions.
Shopify Plus Pricing
With Shopify Plus, you can free up staff to work on things like advertising and design instead of order administration. In addition, you pay no transaction costs because your website is entirely hosted by Shopify. For even the most substantial stores, the 200TB of space is more than enough.
You’ll need to speak with Shopify for a price, but expect to pay roughly $2,000 per month. Having many staff members and not wanting to spend much time on order management is an excellent reason to use this plan. However, it can also be a good option for some smaller businesses.
If you want to enhance your Shopify experience, you’ll need to budget for additional expenses beyond what your plan covers.
Adding more functionality to your Shopify store may cost you a fee from third-party app suppliers in the Shopify app marketplace. In addition, some additional plugins and applications will require an additional fee, such as apps that can sign clients up for memberships.
When you’re using Shopify, you’ll need to factor in the cost of your domain name. There is a one-year fee of $14 to register a unique domain name straight through Shopify. Alternatively, you may buy your own domain and transfer it to Shopify.
While Shopify does not offer internal email hosting, you may set up email forwarding to your Shopify domain using a third-party hosting solution. Typically, you’ll have to pay for email hosting as an element of your website hosting plan.
Ways to Reduce Shopify Costs
Credit card and transaction costs will go down as your plan price increases. The higher monthly price associated with Shopify and Advanced plans can save you money in credit card fees.
You won’t be able to gauge your sales for at least a few months if you’re just starting out with your store. So, as a general rule, we recommend starting with the Shopify Basic plan.
To avoid the Shopify transaction costs, use Shopify Payments. Because Shopify Payments is an in-house payment processing service the company provides, it offers cheaper transaction costs. This option is available for many regions. In addition, using Shopify Payments, which accepts all major credit cards and other standard electronic payment options, will cost you nothing extra.
In other words, even if your customers pay through PayPal or Amazon Pay, you won’t be charged any surcharges by Shopify if you use Shopify Payments. An external payment method will no longer handle credit card fees for Shopify, which means they’ll instead be paid straight to the platform. Therefore, you should use Shopify Payments wherever possible.
Without Shopify Payments, transaction fees will be either 0.5% (Advanced Plan users) or 1% (Shopify Plan users), or 2% (Basic Plan users), which can build up to a large sum each month.
You can also purchase a domain name from a different source. There is no domain or email hosting provided in all Shopify plans, which is standard across the board. Although you may purchase a domain name from Shopify for $14 a year, this does not include email hosting. We advise you to shop around by comparing the costs of different domain registrars.
It’s also possible to install applications from the Shopify App Store or create a custom template for each plan. Most of them are free, but if you want a particular feature, you’ll have to pay. Hence, we recommend that you thoroughly evaluate Shopify during the time of your free trial.
The Shopify Point of Sale system is an option if you want to take your Shopify approach to a new level. For example, offline retailers that also wish to have an online presence can use Shopify POS to sell their goods in person and online at the same time.
The Shopify POS integrates seamlessly with your e-commerce platform so that you can do business both on and offline. The real kicker for today’s company owners is that Shopify POS is relatively straightforward to access. A free Lite version of the software is available for all Shopify subscriptions.
Shopify POS Lite is included in all of Shopify’s plans, and you may use it on your mobile and desktop devices. In addition, to keep track of sales, orders, and products, you may utilize Shopify POS Lite’s customer profiles. Credit card rates beginning at 1.5% are also supported in person.
If you want to take your business to the next level, consider Shopify POS Pro. Shopify POS Pro costs an additional fee on top of your monthly Shopify fee. In addition, there is an additional $89 a month charge for each additional site that you need to service.
In addition to all the capabilities of Shopify POS Lite, you’ll get many additional options. These include infinite records, as many workers as you need, inventory optimization using artificial intelligence, employee roles and permissions, data gathered and analyzed in-store, and omnichannel selling features.
Some Shopify Disadvantages to Consider
Despite the platform’s flexibility, it does have certain limitations. For example, several functionalities are inaccessible because of how the site is coded. In addition, at the expense of several hours of coding, some Shopify competitors provide more customization than Shopify.
It’s possible to develop 100 variations of a product, but you can use only three of these variations. You’ll have to pay for an additional app to get around these restrictions. Moreover, to get some of the features you may expect to include in your shop, you must install third-party software. This can make things a bit more confusing or slow down your site.
While you can upload files or add text boxes or other fields for customization, the process is cumbersome or necessitates that you buy an additional app. Additionally, only the costliest subscriptions provide access to more sophisticated reporting tools. Finally, Shopify Payments, the platform’s integrated payment processor, restricts your ability to sell internationally.
Visitors to your store will need to use a currency selection if you have enabled the integrated multi-currency option, solely accessible using Shopify Payments. When using a third-party payment gateway, you cannot circumvent transaction fees.
You must submit all product photos with the same dimensions for them to display correctly, which can be a significant disadvantage or even a deal-breaker for some. Another disadvantage is that it isn’t easy to know if your selling items are ethically sourced when utilizing dropshipping software.
Finally, in countries where “Shopify Shipping” is not yet accessible, or if you don’t have access to it, real-time carrier rates may become expensive or require you to purchase the annual membership.
Is Shopify the Right Choice for You?
There are cheaper e-commerce solutions, but Shopify may be the ideal choice for business owners who are willing to make a significant investment in their company’s future growth. Shopify’s charges aren’t outlandish or unreasonable when you consider what you get in return for your money. A smaller company may use them, but they aren’t appropriate for startups with a limited budget for a web presence.
You can add Shopify Payments to any of the higher-tier plans. If you have the money, you can still get a lot of functionality and ecommerce store capabilities for a reasonably low price.