With the internet becoming an ever more popular place to hang out and complete tasks, it’s no wonder more people are choosing to shop online, especially during the recent Coronavirus pandemic.
Whether you’re a small business or large entrepreneur, you’ll need a way to create your online store – this is called an eCommerce platform. There are many ways in which you can do this; you can build basic online stores for free, use a platform like Shopify, or delve into the open-source world of WordPress and WooCommerce.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to sell a service, jewellery, clothes, hair products, or anything else, an online storefront will allow you to sell your products safely and securely.
UK Shopify Review
There are plenty of eCommerce website builder platforms available, however, Shopify is sliced from a different kind of loaf. In this Shopify review, I wanted to show you exactly why Shopify is a great choice if you’re building your first, or next, online store. It’s an honest opinion of my own experience.
I’m going to take you through the pros and cons in my Shopify review, learn about their key features, pricing, website themes, and more.
Shopify Pros and Cons
- Multi-channel selling: In a world where social media is so popular, it’s helpful for an eCommerce platform to offer multiple ways in which you can sell your products and services. Shopify allows its customers to sell on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Facebook, etc. If a potential customer sees an item they like on a different platform, they can click it and land straight on your website (and hopefully purchase more).
- Inventory management: Inventory can be a laborious task, and anyone that’s worked in retail will know that dreaded word. However, Shopify’s built-in inventory system means you can add and edit items whenever you like, wherever you like. You can make groups to ensure you are as organised as possible, making the task somewhat easier and more pleasant.
- App store: Everyone loves an app store, and with Shopify’s app store you can browse free and premium apps to give your online store the edge above the competition.
- Customer support: Shopify’s customer support has been nothing but great in my experience. When you’re taking the leap and opening up an online store, it’s really important you have the support around you that you need. When you sign up for a Shopify account, they will send you a free credit card reader along with how to use it, without even asking – how cool is that?
- Pricing: There’s no doubt that there are other eCommerce platforms that are much more cost-efficient than Shopify. Shopify’s cheapest plan starts at just under £30 per month which can quickly add up, especially for first-time online store owners.
- Coding knowledge: The idea of website builders is that they are easy to use, making it possible for every kind of person to create a website or online store. Unfortunately, there are some issues in Shopify that require backend coding that your average Joe won’t understand. This means you’ll need to hire a developer to figure it out which can end up costing more money.
Shopify has three pricing plans, starting from $29 per month and going up to $299 per month. I’m going to cover the main features each plan offers, as well as individual features that are available on selected plans.
- Online store
- Unlimited products
- 2 staff accounts
- 24/7 support
- Sales channels
- Up to 4 locations
- Manual order creation
- Discount codes
- Free SSL
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Gift cards
All the same features as Basic as well as:
- 5 staff accounts
- Up to 5 locations
- Professional reports
All the same features as Shopify as well as:
- 15 staff accounts
- Up to 8 locations
- Advanced report builder
- Third-party calculated shipping rates
In addition to the above features on Shopify’s pricing plans, the following are included under Shopify payments, point of sale, and global selling.
|Online credit card rates||2.2% + 20p||1.9% + 20p||1.6% + 20p|
|In-person credit card rates||1.7% + 0p||1.6% + 0p||1.5% + 0p|
|Shopify POS Lite||✓||✓||✓|
|Sell in 133 currencies||✓||✓||✓|
|Manual foreign exchange rates||✓||✓|
|Sell in multiple languages||Up to 2||Up to 5|
Basic Shopify Plan
This plan is ideal for small businesses, offering 2 staff accounts and a transaction fee of 2% of gross sales. You’ll be able to host unlimited products on this plan as well as receiving a free SSL certificate, abandoned cart recovery, and 24/7 support.
This plan is quite a step up in terms of price, coming with five staff accounts, unlimited bandwidth and products, abandoned cart recovery, and gift cards. The transaction fees are lower and you’ll get added benefits that the Basic plan doesn’t offer.
Online stores and growing businesses will be able to make solid use out of Shopify’s mid-level pricing plan.
Advanced Shopify Plan
The Advanced plan is only recommended for businesses who are already well established, considering the price and additional benefits. You will get a lot more in this plan, but of course, you’ll pay the price. You’ll be able to build professional reports, automate third-party shipping rates, and lots more.
Shopify’s app store has over 2000 applications to enjoy. There’s a range of free and paid apps, with the idea that they can enhance your website beyond the base capabilities that Shopify offers.
If you’re looking for a feature that a specific theme doesn’t have, or you’re trying to find a solution to a problem you’re having, the wealth of apps that Shopify offers should help you.
Whether you’re looking for dropshipping apps, interactive maps, social media apps, etc. there’s something for everyone, very similar to WordPress’s plugin market (though they offer a lot more).
Shopify’s POS system is easy to use and more importantly, effortless in the way it takes payment. In a lot of cases, business owners report horrendous experiences using POS systems with slow and sluggish systems that make customers (and owners) unhappy.
With Shopify, you can take cash or card payments without having to worry, and if anything does go wrong, there’s 24/7 support on hand to help. You can take multiple types of payment as well as issue refunds or exchanges quickly and easily.
Shopify’s POS is not only easy to use, but it’s helpful. You’ll get regular updates of your stock level and inventory so if something isn’t available, you’ll know about it ASAP. You can even create individual customer profiles for your customers, as well as the option to create loyalty programmes.
The POS Lite is included with each of Shopify’s pricing plans, so you won’t have to fork out any extra ££ to enjoy the privilege.
Shopify currently offers 9 free themes and 64 premium (paid) themes. You can filter by the number of products you want to sell, layout style, and additional features like slideshows, etc.
There are a good selection and variety of themes, covering a range of industries. Whether you’re into modern and sleek styles or artsy and fun, there’s enough for most types of websites to enjoy.
In my personal opinion, I don’t think there are enough themes to warrant the price tag, compared to the likes of WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace. However, like those mentioned, ThemeForest has a wide selection of hundreds of Shopify themes for you to enjoy. From shopping to fashion, health and beauty to technology, you’ll be able to browse some well-designed and unique themes.
Starting an online business can be an exciting experience, yet at the same time, it’s admittedly overwhelming. Whether you’re starting your first eCommerce store or you’re wondering how to improve your existing, well-established business, I hope this Shopify review shows that it is an easy approach and solution to something otherwise daunting.
Shopify comes ready with enough themes to get your website started, plenty of features to enjoy, and an app store to enhance your website. There are three pricing plans available to suit every size business, as well as a 14-day free trial if you want to test the waters beforehand.
Whilst researching and experience the platform myself to write this Shopify review, I wouldn’t say it’s the best eCommerce platform around, but it certainly does the job, and for some, it might be right up your street. However, I feel other website builders like Wix and SquareSpace are a little more cutting edge and user-friendly.