An Introduction to Shopify
Shopify is an eCommerce website builder platform which currently hosts over 375,000 online stores. With Shopify’s simple and intuitive user interface and dynamic functions, you can easily set up all your products and customise your store’s appearance, make sales, control inventory and track orders without needing any special technical skills.
Who Can Use It?
Shopify is an ideal eCommerce website builder platform for anyone wishing to sell anything online. From single product marketers to specialty boutique stores, Shopify is an ideal and very practical choice for functionality, affordability and ease of use. No coding experience is required, and every feature is supported by beginner guides and helpful hints.
The Shopify User Experience
Shopify’s ecommerce builder has been created with its users in mind. From the time you first start building your store you’ll notice how intuitive and simple the process is. That simple functionality flows through to the further development and management of your store.
Some of the things that Shopify have done to make store building and management easier include;
- A drag and drop user interface
- Website wizard to guide you through your store set up
- Access to Burst, a free bank of stylish stock photography
- A great 24/7 support system with live chat, email and phone options
- A list of preferred partners and experts that are available if required
Shopify currently has 13 free modifiable themes with excellent features, all designed to make your store look awesome. Additionally there are well over 100 premium themes in a variety of product categories ranging in price from $140 to $180 to choose from.
Unsure whether to take the plunge and invest in a premium theme? Our advice would be to view your online store as though you are a traditional high street retailer. In the bricks and motor world of retail, appearance is everything. Visual merchandisers spend hours perfecting window displays and mapping out your in-store journey. Online retail is no different. If you are serious about your ecommerce store, we highly recommend investing in a paid theme – your customers will thank you for it!
Mobile Friendly Themes
Once again, Shopify takes the stress out of mobile ecommerce with its fully responsive, mobile-friendly themes. You are also able to edit your store directly from your mobile or tablet.
Shopify’s App Store
Shopify has one of the strongest app stores of all the ecommerce website builders. There are currently around 1,400 apps that can dramatically enhance the efficiency and performance of your Shopify store. Shopify invite app companies to integrate with their product, meaning users get access to an extensive range of professional apps. These apps allow you to do ecommerce tasks like:
- Manage your inventory
- Generate discount codes
- Auto-send emails to customers
- Track order shipping
- Create exit-intent popups
- Capture store visitor emails for marketing purposes
- Improve store SEO
Shopify’s vast range of apps mean you can quickly and easily extend your online store’s functionality – with no stress whatsoever!
SEO – How Shopify helps you draw visitors to your site
Shopify has a good range of SEO functionality. You can edit title tags and meta-descriptions for all your pages, and ALT tags for all images. You can also automatically generate sitemap.xml and robots.txt files and canonical URL tags for your Shopify site, which can significantly boost search engine results for your respective product pages.
The wide range of SEO apps in the Shopify apps store ranging from ‘free’ or $1.99 to $20+ per month can also greatly assist. Depending on your budget, you’re sure to find something to suit that will really help to simplify and streamline the entire SEO process.
There is no free plan on Shopify, but don’t let that put you off. With Shopify’s 14 day free trial you can explore the possibilities it offers without the need to submit any credit card details. Once your 14 day trial ends, the fees, which include hosting, and all the essential tools are as follows;
|Plan||Features||Credit Card Rates||Transaction Fees (0% with Shopify Payments)||Price*|
|Basic Shopify||Unlimited products, 24/7 Support, 2 Staff Accounts||2.2% + 20p||2%||£23/month|
|Shopify||Basic + 5 Staff Accounts, Gift Cards, Abandoned Cart Recovery||1.9% + 20p||1%||£62/month|
|Advanced Shopify||Shopify + 15 Staff Accounts, Advanced Report Builder||1.6% + 20p||0.5%||£234/month|
* approximate prices. All prices originally quoted in dollars.
There is also an enterprise plan, called Shopify Plus, for high volume retailers which is subject to application.
Depending on the plan that you choose, you will have to pay transaction fees for payment gateways using PayPal and Stripe, which range between 0.5% and 2% but these are nominal amounts that all payment gateways and carts will charge you. You can however use Shopify’s own ‘Shopify Payments’ in-house payment gateway which waives the transaction fee for all purchases.
On top of the transaction fees, Shopify charges a flat rate of 20p per transaction handled, plus 1.6% to 2.2% depending on which Shopify plan you choose. These are known as credit card processing fees and are applicable across all ecommerce purchases, without exception.
Help & Support
One of the comforting things about Shopify is the emphasis they place on providing help and support whenever it is needed. There are 3 basic forms of support:
- Live chat box – including indicators for ‘Current wait time’ and ‘Average wait time’
- Live phone call – available for UK, North America, Australia, New Zealand or Singapore
- 24 hour response email – for more detailed enquiries with attachments
Shopify takes support seriously, and this is reflected in the quality and depth of service you’ll get when you find yourself dealing with one of their support team. All team members have to undergo rigorous training in all aspects of Shopify so that they can answer your questions no matter what aspect of Shopify they relate to.
Shopify’s extensive support systems can end up saving you valuable time (and money!) if anything goes wrong.
- 14 Day trial with no credit card sign-up requirement
- Simple and quick to set up
- Built in hosting with fast page loads
- SSL site encryption with excellent inherent security
- Great Shopify website builder user guides and awesome support
- Free + over 100 affordable and attractive premium store themes
- Over 1,400 app extensions to optimise your store
- Built in cart with zero fees option
- External payment gateway options
- App inclusions can increase monthly running costs substantially
- Choice of free themes could be larger
- Editing of themes requires knowledge of Liquid coding language (difficult to master!)
- Sale processing fees can add up, depending on the package you choose
Shopify provides an ideal platform where you can get started quickly and run business on a protected platform with only nominal overheads. Shopify website builder is extremely hard to beat when comparing feature for feature and cost effectiveness with any other eCommerce website builder. Visit Shopify today and begin building your online store.
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