As regular visitors to our blogs will know, we are huge fans of Shopify as an eCommerce platform, but our clients often ask us ‘is Shopify right for me and my business?’ We will outline why we would recommend it over other eCommerce platforms and which eCommerce businesses and entrepreneurs it is aimed at.
A Gentle Introduction
Shopify launched in 2004 from their headquarters in Canada’s capital Ottawa. They set out to give eCommerce merchants who knew very little about programming, coding or web development the opportunity to create and establish their own online store. With a self-functioning store, entrepreneurs can focus on what’s required to grow their business by removing any technical headaches or concerns to do with their online store.
Shopify can adapt for any business model. It offers specialist features to help personalise and grow your business including numerous themes and applications. Shopify is a perfect choice for business tools and services like email listing, fulfilment and dropshipping.
Throughout this blog post we will highlight why a Shopify eCommerce store would be our recommendation and help you understand who the platform is mainly aimed at based on the services they offer. If you haven’t experienced Shopify, you’ll get a good feel for what it’s all about in this blog, so let’s get started.
Is Shopify for Small Businesses?
Shopify has the unique capacity to support small businesses run by entrepreneurs just starting out in business. Not so long ago, entrepreneurs were forced to invest thousands into their own brick-and-mortar shop. Beginning a business venture with huge personal financial risk attached can’t have been easy. Starting a business has always been a daunting concept, but fortunately nowadays things are very different and a business dream can quickly turn to reality.
Establishing an online presence should be the first steps for any startup business. Using online platforms like Shopify, entrepreneurs looking to start a new business can do so with ease and at an affordable price by making small monthly payments from £21 per month. This package includes a custom domain, unlimited products, customer support, Shopify Payments and more. Enhanced packages are available for more users and advanced features to grow your business. Immediate cancellation is always an option if the business doesn’t work out.
We have reviewed a number of eCommerce solutions on the market, but Shopify offers the best and most affordable options for small businesses. The fact it provides different packages for the various stages of the business lifecycle was a real clincher for us, meaning it could be tailored and targeted to a wide range of businesses.
Another huge incentive for small businesses are no hidden fees with Shopify. This means zero transaction fees which many other eCommerce platforms are jealous of (Note: Credit Card fees will apply).
Check out more about Shopify’s pricing here.
Limited technical knowledge required
Costs and the monetisation of a business is always paramount to the capabilities and opportunities for any entrepreneur, however there are other key aspects too. Shopify removes any backend technological expertise required by the user, understanding that most entrepreneurs will have little knowledge of web development and the coding arena. Despite this, they provide online stores which are secure, visually appealing with straightforward functionality.
Keeping track of everything as a small business is challenging, whilst also trying to grow the brand. Shopify makes life that bit easier by taking control of the maintenance of your store. The monthly payment for Shopify’s platform covers everything about managing the technical side of things, which enables the entrepreneur to handle the product development and business growth.
As a hosted solution, Shopify is recommended for people who are not tech savvy. This means:
- No set up is involved
- No security fears
- New or existing domains can be hosted through Shopify
- Unlimited bandwidth on all Shopify plans
- Automatic backups
- No coding experience required
- No technical experience required for running a website
Ease of Use
Creating a Shopify account couldn’t be simpler. It never requires any coding knowledge and adjustments are easily created to your unique eCommerce store. You have full control over all content changes and everything is easily navigated uniquely for each page.
Home Page Dashboard
The Shopify Home dashboard offers a detailed range of statistics and analysis of your store, including daily sales, daily visitors, recent activity and an overview of Shopify announcements. This helps provide a better understanding of your business and the audience you should market your products towards.
Shopify will track, manage and view orders. You can compare how different sales channels are performing and track where your visitors are coming from (by region or by a social media source). Orders are automatically added into this section making management simple.
Products can be added, viewed, updated and organised via the product dashboard with variants all changeable from one central hub. You can view your existing stock inventory, manage inventories and enable tracking.
When a customer places an order you can view their details and their purchase history. This helps you relate to your customers on a personal level. Everything on Shopify operates automatically in the background leaving you to take care of the shipping/delivery.
This is almost the most important section of your store to analyse its success and where areas of improvement and growth are required. In the reports dashboard you can receive an overview of your stores sales, refunds, taxes, payments and conversions over time.
Online Store Dashboard
The central customisation dashboard for your store is where you can make adjustments – editing pages, changing navigation and customising the theme.
As a newbie to the business world, and more specifically the online business world, its important that you can ask for help. Everyone needs to reach out now and again, and Shopify provide a range of resources to solve any problems with a helping hand. They have a dedicated support team who offer around the clock services through email, phone and a live chat facility.
Our experiences with Shopify as well as feedback from small businesses is the fast, friendly and accessible customer service they offer. Shopify advisors are normally available instantly, but at peak times there will be a maximum 10 minute wait.
In addition to communication services, Shopify also offer a library of self-help resources. Resources available include:
- An extensive FAQ’s list which will help give users the knowledge they require to solve problems themselves.
- A collection of user guides and tutorials from a Shopify Manual.
- Discussion forums to help associate you with the entire Shopify community to ask questions and receive answers from fellow Shopify users.
- An ‘eCommerce University’ filled with videos, e-books and webinars to help teach the key aspects for selling online.
- Shopify Experts, who are usually designers, developers or marketers have been approved by Shopify to guide inexperienced users through the journey of building their online store, boosting engagement and growing their customer base.
Shopify is always our first choice for eCommerce, but try it out for yourself. If you need any direction or help setting up your Shopify eCommerce store, please get in touch.
So, there you have it, we can now answer the titled question ‘is Shopify appropriate for small businesses?’ Shopify can make your small business idea into a small business reality and provide opportunities at an affordable price which many other eCommerce platforms couldn’t. This blog has detailed endless reasons why we think Shopify is the best option no matter what your business model is. The benefits of a system which is inexpensive, easily managed, already hosted and requires limited technical knowledge must tick all the right boxes for startup and small businesses. What are you waiting for…