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The Pros & Cons of Using Shopify for Your eCommerce Store

August 10, 2023
Ryan Stogran

Summary:

  • Shopify is user-friendly and comes with a range of customizable themes. It also offers secure hosting, an extensive app store, and 24/7 customer support. However, it has certain drawbacks such as transaction fees and platform costs, customization limitations, and a learning curve for advanced features.
  • Other eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Magento, BigCommerce, and Wix Ecommerce also offer unique features—but each has its own challenges. For instance, WooCommerce and Magento offer high customization but require technical knowledge, while Wix Ecommerce is simpler but less scalable.
  • The choice of an eCommerce platform should align with your business goals, budget, technical requirements, and growth potential.
  • Despite potential drawbacks, Shopify remains a competitive choice for eCommerce, especially when you work with professionals like RS Creativ to maximize its potential. Contact us to find out how we can help.

Shopify is one of the biggest players in the eCommerce arena. Launched in 2006, this Canadian behemoth has powered over a million businesses in 175 countries and racked up a gross merchandise volume exceeding $200 billion. But what makes it tick?

Shopify’s subscription-based service makes it easy to create a website that sells, ships, and manages your products. It’s beloved by businesses of all sizes, from scrappy startups operating out of a garage to huge corporations selling worldwide—but it does have a couple of challenges, especially for newer users. Fortunately, our team at RS Creativ knows Shopify inside and out because we’ve spent years helping our clients make the most of its features. Join us as we go over its pros and cons and learn how to set up your Shopify store for success.

Miniature shopping cart with packages near person with smartphone and laptop to symbolize choosing a platform like Shopify for ecommerce

Why Choosing the Right Platform Is Your Key to eCommerce Success

Choosing the right eCommerce platform isn’t a decision to take lightly—it’s like picking the foundations for your digital store. The platform you choose will impact everything from your store’s appearance and functionality to the user experience you can offer.

Your eCommerce platform affects how you manage your store, the amount of sales you make, and even your ability to scale your business in the future. You’ll need a platform that aligns with your business goals, budget, and technical requirements.

Happy couple shopping online with smartphone and tablet to symbolize pros of Shopify for ecommerce

The Pros of Using Shopify

It’s no secret that we think Shopify has a lot going for it—that’s why we use it with our clients. It’s got some hurdles you’ll need to overcome as well, but let’s focus on the good stuff first.

User-Friendly Interface

One of the most prominent features of Shopify is its intuitive, user-friendly interface. It’s designed to be a platform that even eCommerce novices can navigate easily. The clean, minimalist interface makes setting up and managing your store a breeze, even if you don’t have a background in web design or coding.

Themes & Customization Options

Shopify offers a range of visually appealing, professional-looking themes—there’s something for every kind of store. You can choose from over 70 different themes (including premium themes), with a variety of styles and layouts. These are customizable to various extents, meaning you can tweak them to better fit your brand and product range.

Secure & Reliable Hosting

In eCommerce, security and reliability are paramount. Shopify provides automatic hosting with robust 256-bit SSL encryption. It has a 99.99% average uptime, meaning your store is always open for business. Plus, Shopify handles all software updates, ensuring your site always runs on the latest, most secure version.

Extensive App Store

Shopify’s App Store is an eCommerce treasure trove. With over 4000 apps available, you can add all sorts of functionality to your store, from marketing and sales tools to inventory management solutions.

24/7 Customer Support

When it comes to customer support, Shopify shines. They offer 24/7 assistance via phone, email, and live chat. Plus, there’s a vast range of documentation, community forums, and advanced tutorials available. And if you’re working with a studio like ours, you can always contact us for help as well.

Frowning business owner in front of laptop to symbolize cons of Shopify for ecommerce

The Cons of Using Shopify

Transaction Fees & Platform Costs

Every eCommerce platform has its cost, and Shopify is no exception. Depending on your subscription level, monthly costs can range from $38 to $389 CAD (there’s also an enterprise option called Shopify Plus, which bundles advanced features for larger businesses at monthly rates starting around $2,575 CAD). Plus, if you opt not to use Shopify Payments, you’ll face additional transaction fees on every purchase, which can add up over time.

Customization Limitations

While Shopify does offer some customization options, it may feel limited compared to platforms like WooCommerce, which run on open-source software. To significantly alter the site structure or functionality, you’ll need a solid understanding of Shopify’s own coding language, Liquid. Working with an experienced design studio can also help you get around these hurdles by showing you how to make the most of the themes and custom features that Shopify comes with.

Potential Learning Curve for Advanced Features

While the basics of Shopify are user-friendly, the platform’s more advanced features can have a steeper learning curve. Mastering elements like SEO settings, managing customer databases, or understanding analytics may require a bit more time and patience—these are some of the areas our clients count on us for help with most often.

Some Design Limitations with Templates

Even though Shopify’s themes are aesthetically pleasing, they can be restrictive. Specific design elements might be fixed depending on the theme you choose, and making changes could require code tinkering, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Browser window open to Shopify page

Comparing Shopify to Other Ecommerce Platforms

The issues above shouldn’t be deal breakers when you’re considering using Shopify—but you should prepare for them and know how to overcome them. If you can, you’ll find that the platform still stacks up admirably compared to a lot of the other options out there. Let’s look at some examples.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a free, open-source eCommerce platform built for WordPress. It’s highly customizable and offers extensive features, but it requires more technical know-how than Shopify.

With WooCommerce, you’re responsible for hosting, security, and backups, which can be a double-edged sword. Essentially, you have complete control, but it requires a lot more hands-on management.

Magento

Magento, like WooCommerce, is an open-source eCommerce platform. It’s a robust and flexible solution, particularly popular among larger businesses with access to development resources. However, its complexity can make it less suitable for beginners or small businesses without a dedicated tech team.

Compared to Shopify’s simplicity and ease of use, Magento demands more technical skills and time. If you’re looking for the most efficient way to run your online business, it may not be for you.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a close competitor to Shopify. Like Shopify, it’s a hosted platform that’s user-friendly with lots of out-of-the-box features.

BigCommerce doesn’t charge transaction fees, which is a plus, but it does impose sales thresholds on its plans. In terms of ease of use, both platforms are comparable, but some users find Shopify’s interface slightly more intuitive.

Wix Ecommerce

Wix Ecommerce is a platform designed with small businesses and solopreneurs in mind. It’s known for its intuitive drag-and-drop design interface and a wide array of templates.

While it’s arguably easier to use, it’s not as powerful or scalable as Shopify. It lacks certain advanced eCommerce features and also has a smaller app store.

Smiling business owner making list of Shopify pros and cons before choosing ecommerce platform

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Ecommerce Platform

Thinking about available platforms isn’t the only thing you’ll need to do before choosing one. You also need to think about your business and the position it occupies in your landscape.

Business Goals & Objectives

Every eCommerce business has a different plan, so consider yours. Are you trying to grow rapidly, or is it a side hustle? Do you need advanced features or is simplicity more important? Understanding your goals will help determine which platform suits you best.

Technical Requirements & Functionality

What features do you need? Are you planning to sell a wide range of products, offer subscriptions, or sell internationally? Not all platforms support the same tools, so make sure the one you choose aligns with your requirements.

Budget & Resources

Ecommerce platforms vary in price. Consider the cost of the platform itself, transaction fees, and potential additional costs like apps or premium themes. Also, consider your resources. Do you have the time or staff to manage a more complex platform, or do you need something simple and straightforward?

Scalability & Future Growth

Think about the future. If your store grows, will the platform be able to accommodate that growth? Shopify, for example, offers a range of plans, allowing you to upgrade as your business expands.

Getting the Most of Shopify with Design & Development Services

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to eCommerce platforms—but there are strategies you can use to benefit from any platform’s pros while preventing its cons from holding you back.

At RS Creativ, we work with our clients to maximize their Shopify potential. This includes setting up Shopify stores for new users, helping existing businesses migrate to Shopify from other platforms, and optimizing existing Shopify stores by overcoming the challenges presented above.

Our work doesn’t stop there—we also offer ongoing support and maintenance services to ensure the stores we partner with alway run smoothly. To learn more about the best ways to use Shopify to your advantage, contact RS Creativ. We’ll be happy to help.