What is Shopify?
Shopify is a web application, created for the sole purpose of allowing merchants to build and launch their own online store. Its main strength is also its weakness. Their focus on usability comes at a cost: flexibility and customizability.
(Recommended for small and medium businesses)
Technical knowledge needed
The self-hosting platform makes the set up of your e-commerce store easier. All you have to do is to visit Shopify.com, sign up, and configure your webshop in a few clicks. Any website building or design skills won’t be necessary for Shopify. It is a ready-to-go solution, as it is very easy to use and manage on a daily basis. The dashboard, where you will manage your products, sales, and orders, is easy to understand and intuitive.
Ability to customize
It is a closed platform. It means that you can only customize it within the 71 store templates available on the Shopify Theme Store. Nevertheless, the platform offers a theme editor for customization and each template still has many variations to it. Allowing for a somewhat unique look, within the lines of their own templates.
Shopify offers different subscription plans so that each of them is suitable whether you run a small, medium or large business. You can also switch to another plan as your business grows. Remember that Shopify charges a percentage of each sale as well as a monthly subscription fee, scaling up can be quite expensive.
Compared to other CMSs, it offers around-the-clock customer support: 24/7 customer support through chat, email, and phone.
As a hosted platform, Shopify offers fast loading pages, helping the customers get an overall better experience, contributing to a higher conversion rate. It has a mobile-friendly structure, which means that your e-commerce shop will be highly optimized for mobile. The CMS also offers unlimited file storage as well as unlimited products.
Shopify takes a weight off your mind regarding SSL, as it offers a free SSL certificate. It also offers daily backups of your webshop.
Shopify uses technologies such as Ruby and MySQL. As shown in the following diagram, Ruby is used by 2.6% of all the websites whose server-side programming language we know. That means Shopify can be programmed by plentiful Ruby programmers (even though not as many as PHP or ASP.NET programmers) and in a cheaper way, if compared to Java for instance.
The initial cost of a Shopify webshop is very low compared to other CMSs, as you can easily create a shop in a few hours. However, Shopify’s subscription plans range from around €29/month to €1700/month. On top of that, Shopify charges between 2.9% and 2.15% of all sales. Meaning the price of a Shopify webshop, grows more or less directly with your sales, making it extremely expensive for bigger webshops but very cheap when starting out.
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