We don’t recommend Shopify. Why?

imgresShopify are heavily advertising their compatibility with drop shipping solutions. If you are going to use our service they may look like a good option to look after your ecommerce solution.

I am going to explain to you why they are not a good option at all.
Don’t be tempted!

If you are not aware what Shopify are or what they do. Let me explain. Shopify are a hosted ecommerce platform. What this means is they will run and host software on their own servers to allow you to have an online shop for a monthly fee.

Shopify Price.

You will be charged a monthly subscription. Unlike buying a website from a designer which will incur a one off design fee Shopify will bill you a subscription fee for ever. You will also be forced to incur PayPal fees in addition to their payment fees as they do not accept adult goods on Shopify Pay.

shopify pricesLets put that into perspective. If you want to use features that would be pretty standard for an online shop to have like Abandoned cart you will be paying nearly a thousand dollars a year to run your shop.

Hammered by additional costs for using PayPal

Fact. PayPal increases conversion rates on a website. We know this. We have traded online for 20 years.

  • These guys report 33.7% increase in conversion rate after adding Paypal.
  • A comment for this article confirms it does.
  • So does this blog.

Shopify will charge you a 2% transaction fee on top of your monthly subscription fee (See image above) to use PayPal. Don’t forget this fee is on top of the Paypal fees you will also receive.

You are going to lose 5% of your profit in payment fees alone before you have even paid for your Shopify subscription and paid for the stock you need.

Development & Design

You can’t do any. Your local web designer can’t do any unless he is a certified Shopify developer. Remember if anyone has “certified” or “developer” in their job title. Dig deep. It’s going to be costly to hire them.

As you grow as a business you will want to tweak, enhance and improve your shop. You will have marketing ideas, you will want to update and enhance your design and website functionality. Since Shopify is a hosted solution you can’t give your local web designer a call to quickly change some files for you or code the new feature you need.

Outgrow Shopify

You may think to yourself. “It’s cheap to start with. I can move to my own shopping cart software later”

This would be a critical mistake.

Picture the scenario. You have been running a Shopify store for two years. You suddenly realise you are sick of paying $80 a month and losing over 4% in payment fees from your profit. You decide its time to get your own website designed and host it yourself. You have done the investigation and you can host your own shop for £10 a month after you have paid for your new website design.

The problem you face is all the Shopify pages you have that are ranked in Google and other search engines will change once you move. Moving will make you would lose your rankings. Your website would have to be re-indexed. Overnight you would lose most of your traffic. Google would take 3 to 4 months to deal with the move. This is enough time to cause huge financial problems to an established company.

The key with a website is to invest and make the best decision at the beginning of the project. Trying to correct it later could be devastating to your business. It is just not worth the risk.

Service lock-in

Sure you can export your orders, customers and all that other data from Shopify, but chances are you won’t, because it’s a lot of hassle and you lose whatever custom setup you have on your site too. But remember Shopify is a hosted solution. As with all hosted solutions, your data and website is not 100% yours. If they decided to change their fee structure, come up with some unreasonable policy or to implement additional fees for close to standard features (social login anyone?), there’s not a lot you can do about it except suck it up and do what they ask. Once you’re in, you’re in for a long time. For this reason, I don’t really encourage clients to use Shopify as a short-term solution if they are planning to jump to another small business ecommerce platform sometime later.

To summarise the Shopify disadvantages

The cost.

Pay monthly for every little thing.

The CMS and blogging capabilities are weak. Remember content is king and in the new age of SEO, being able to build and develop your sites informational and blogs are a critical factor when working on SEO. Shopify lacks anything good.

Less customisability.

Inflexibility – unable to change anything other than the design.

Lacking some quite basic features.

Not suitable for custom functionality.

Not suitable for complex bespoke shops.

It’s not multi-language capable.

What do we recommend?

For any ecommerce website that requires custom functionality, OpenCart would be a better option.

shopify comparison

[1] Setup costs depend on requirements and range from £5.
[2] Hosting costs depend on traffic and range from £10 per month.
[3] Available with an extension.
[4] Depends on your payment gateway.

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