5 Reasons Merchants Choose Shopify
Those of us in the eCommerce industry know full well that Shopify is one of the best and biggest shopping carts out there. Over the past year or so, Shopify has become a household name (partly due to the recent controversy regarding a few of Shopify’s more notorious customers).
Here at Merchant Maverick, we love Shopify for its ease of use, web design, integrations, and affordability.
But, we wanted to hear about real merchants’ experiences with the software. In particular, we wanted to know why online retailers chose Shopify and if they were happy with their decision.
So, we asked.
Last week, we invited Shopify merchants to answer a few simple questions about their decision to power their online store with Shopify. Surprisingly, the answers we received focused almost exclusively on five key topics. Here’s what merchants had to say about their experiences with Shopify:
Why Do Merchants Choose Shopify?
1) Shopify is the cheapest way option.
Because Shopify is a hosted platform, merchants are billed monthly for their services. The price of a basic subscription covers all aspects of the service, including customer support, access to the software, web hosting, and security. After that, prices vary depending on the features you’d like to access, and, for some, this monthly cost is a pain.
However, it appears that most merchants think the services they receive with their subscription package are well worth the cost. In particular, Shopify users appreciate how much money they save on web developers and designers.
Christine Quigless of grâce à toi dress explains it this way:
“Okay, actually, the best thing about Shopify is that I get a professional-grade website without spending thousands at the outset and at least a thousand per month had I worked with a programmer to build the site.”
Fortunately, Shopify’s design tools are comprehensive enough to allow you to build your own site without recruiting any additional (expensive) assistance.
Lindsay Narain, the woman behind VAUGHAN, had a similar experience. She was considering building a custom site on Magento when a friend gave her some guidance:
“His advice was to start small with a Shopify site and upgrade to a custom site later – once I knew who my customers were and what their needs are. What great advice that was. I saved thousands, maybe even tens of thousands and 5 years on, I haven’t seen the need to upgrade. I’m still with Shopify.”
In general, users claim that building a site on Shopify saved them time, frustration, and buckets of money. It seems that, at $29 a month, Shopify might well be the cheapest way to build a decent site.
2) Shopify is easy to use.
This one is no surprise. Shopify is perhaps best known for its user-friendly admin panel and design tools.
Shopify is also continually updating those tools. Last year they released Sections, a new drag-and-drop editor for storefront design. And just a few months ago, Shopify unveiled their new and improved admin panel.
While most of these changes are simply aesthetic, I’ve always appreciated Shopify’s continued ease of use throughout updates. So have other customers.
Galleon Co’s Nicole Martins Ferreira says:
“The platform is really intuitive even when they make updates or changes like they have recently.”
Alex Reichmann and his team at iTestCash chose Shopify specifically for its usability. Here’s what he says to say:
“One of the biggest [reasons for choosing Shopify wass] that their pricing was fair to us and their platform is very easy to use. We’ve tried out a number of different e-commerce platforms before coming to our decision and thought that Shopify seemed like the easiest to use out of all them, while providing deep functionality and features that we wanted on our website.”
Sign up for a free, 14-day trial to test out Shopify’s user-friendly software for yourself.
3) Shopify can grow with your business.
With such high usability and affordable plans, it’s natural to think that Shopify is best suited for smaller businesses. In fact, I’ve always been more likely to recommend Shopify to merchants who make under 250K in annual revenue.
However, much of the feedback I’ve received indicates otherwise. The merchants I communicated with said that Shopify was well able to handle their business’ growth.
Ostap Bosak, the manager at Marquis Gardens, says that switching from WordPress to Shopify let them manage their large inventory more easily:
“As soon as we hit more than 5000 SKUs we started to have technical and management problems. We…switched to Shopify in early 2016, and our problems disappeared.”
Shopify helps businesses grow in other ways as well, primarily by providing secure, reliable web hosting and by giving users access to over 1,000 integrations they can use to expand their platform.
4) Web hosting and security are taken care of.
As an SaaS solution, Shopify supplies web hosting for all of its clients. That hosting has a 99.9% uptime record and is secured with daily backups and 24/7 monitoring.
This secure hosting ensures that your site stays online, even during times of high traffic. Ferreira comments on the benefits of a reliable server below:
“Having a reliable server is really important in ecommerce, one of our sites has had over 170,000 visitors in about 9 months. Shopify doesn’t crash often so we don’t miss out on sales like you might on another platform.”
Shopify users also receive access to a free shared SSL certificate, which they can use to secure their own sites.
5) There are tons of integrations.
One of Shopify’s biggest downfalls is their limited built-in functionality. Although Shopify has plenty of features for new merchants, expanding merchants may feel a bit restricted by what the platform can do.
To remedy this issue, Shopify created an app store which has grown to include over 1000 integrations and applications. These extensions let users improve their platforms to keep up with their expanding business’ new needs.
Kirsten La Greca of Rosa Gold puts it like this:
“…I found Shopify to be the most user-friendly [cart] that also came with great, FREE themes that looked amazing. Plus you have the option to customize with upgrades, apps and integrations, so your site can grow and optimize as your business does.”
I typically refer growing merchants to a platform like Zoey or Miva Merchant (which both offer more extensive built-in features), and I was surprised by the number of merchants who reported “the ability to grow” as one of Shopify’s best features.
Are Merchants Happy With Their Decision To Go With Shopify?
I was also surprised by the general positivity of the responses I received. When I asked users if they regretted their decision to sign up with Shopify, 100% of those I polled said they did not regret their choice in the slightest.
We see a lot of negative comments on our Shopify review here at Merchant Maverick (primarily due to the phenomenon of negativity bias) so it was encouraging to see that many Shopify users feel as positive about the platform as we do.
Now, that isn’t to say that Shopify is perfect. We’ll be the first to tell you that the platform has its flaws.
In particular, we’re frustrated by Shopify’s limited functionality (especially when it comes to checkout options) and spotty customer service. Here’s what we mean:
- Limited Functionality: Shopify is built light. Advanced functionality for B2B selling or high volume selling is only available as add-ons. And add-ons have their own price tags. Shopify can become a rather expensive platform, depending on how many extensions you need.
- Lacking Checkout Features: Using Shopify’s shared SSL certificate means that your customers will checkout on a subdomain of Shopify’s website. Your checkout URL will read something like the following: www.shopify/yourstore.com. While this hasn’t been proven to scare away customers, site owners typically like to keep all of their pages on their own domain. You’ll need to purchase an SSL certificate in order to do that. What’s more, Shopify does not offer any one-page checkout options.
- Mixed Reports on Customer Service: I’ve read comments that claim Shopify’s customer service is next to none. I’ve also read comments that mock Shopify’s team of “gurus” for not living up to their name. It seems that customer service is far from consistent.
Despite these flaws, we still think Shopify is an excellent solution for many merchants. With over 400,000 users on board, they must be doing something right.