If you’re looking for an easy-to-use platform for an online shop, Shopify might be a great option for you. It allows you to design a professional website that works on desktop and mobile devices. It has everything you need to help you set up and run your next business idea. You can start today with a 14 day free trial with no credit card to see if you like how it works. This way you have nothing to lose if you don’t like it and everything to gain if you do.
Gone are the days when websites had to be designed from scratch when making an online shop would cost a lot of money. Shopify is inexpensive if you’re a profitable business looking to sell existing products. It’s easy to use, has great support with a good all-round user experience out of the box.
I’m able to recommend it as I’ve designed a website on there myself and the level of support is great. I’ve designed an e-commerce store for people looking to go backpacking.
I have to start off by mentioning that it was not as easy as you might think. You need to know about how to create great content, marketing, SEO and User Experience. Shopify cannot run your business for you but is a great eCommerce platform that I can help you with. Here I will discuss why Shopify is a great platform and why you might want to consider it over WordPress: –
- Less hassle setting it up
- It grows with your business
- Long term business investment
- Support for non-developers
- More visitor tracking
- Social media linking
- Works well on mobile
- Free SSL certificate
- Security & Reliability
- Better payment systems
- Thousands of layout designs
- Point of Sale Features
1 – Less complicated
Shopify is good as there is less work involved with hosting compared to WordPress. You can sign up, set up a theme, content apps and you’re away. This is something I can help you with as it can take some time to get right.
WordPress is a great blogging platform that you can use for a wide range of small business websites. The problem is that transforming it into a shop is not as slick as Shopify. On WordPress, you have to install a platform like WooCommce to take payments and link it to a payment system. This means there is more software involved which means it can be slower for you and can cause more problems.
If you do need help setting up on Shopify …or WordPress there is a web designer in Bournemouth that can help.
2 – Scalability
You can get set up and running with all the tools you need to scale and grow your business from the start. It has a range of packages from a basic plan all the way to an advanced plan for large businesses. Even with the basic plan, you can set up two different staff accounts to work on the website.
There are no restrictions on the number of products you can sell on your Shopify store. Which means you can start your store with only one product if you want to. Then when you want to add some more products, nobody will stop you adding hundreds in there. If you need any more than you can always upgrade your package.
3 – Better Investment
WordPress can be a less expensive way of making an online shop, especially if I’m hosting it for you. Although, I recommend investing more on a platform designed to work as an online shop from the ground up. If you want everything to be a bit more streamlined this might be a better option in the long run.
After your 14 days free trial, Shopify charges about £22 per month for the basic package. For this, you get a whole load of great resources and support to help you create an online shop. Whereas with WordPress, you can pay £22 a month for your own server but you have to rely on developer support.
Basic hosting you need for WordPress can start off cheap often £5 a month but it’s not that fast or 100% reliable. Web hosting companies attract you with good offers that go up the next year anyway. But for a bit more, Shopify has a much smoother experience and might have to migrate it later on.
4 – Better Support
The Shopify help centre is always active and happy to help. All you need to do is give them a call or message in the chat and a Shopify guru will help you right away.
As WordPress is a free community project, the support is only good if you are a web developer. It’s a great way of allowing everyone to build a website for free, only it might not be right for your business goals. This is because once you install it you are pretty much on your own to work it out unless you hire a developer like me.
“WordPress is open source software that is both free and priceless… People with a limited tech experience can use it “out of the box”, and more tech-savvy folks can customize it in remarkable ways.”
With Shopify, they give you chat support and offer you advice on how to improve your store. There are a lot of useful support guides on marketing and on how to create great content, even if you’re not a writer. I’ve read a useful article on how to write an “About Me” page and I use it as a reference all the time now.
5 – Better Visitor Understanding
I would also recommend them for creating an online shop, as you can view lots of analytics from the toolbar. This along with using Google Analytics can help you see what your visitors are doing. This can also run reports for you to learn what it working on your website and what isn’t. It makes it easy to add in Google Analytics and use more advanced tracking features, such as abandon cart.
Once I’ve helped you to design the site and made the first sale, you can run reports to see the customer journey. There are a few ways that a customer may have arrived at your shop. This could have been by social media or Google search, which is good for learning what is working well for you.
As your business grows and you upgrade to the next package, Shopify will offer you more tracking data. This is good because it allows you to make better marketing decisions. For example, you can see which items on your store people are visiting and which ones they are not.
6. Abandoned Cart Recovery
More than 50% of the customers fill their carts with products but then don’t actually buy the products. This is often because of the website’s user experience, or they realised the price was too high. Shopify has a great article on abandon cart recovery emails.
More importantly, they may have never attempted to abandon the cart at all. 24% of customers cite “Website Crashed,” and 15% cite “Website Timed Out” as reasons that they didn’t complete a purchase.
This is a great way to recover customers during an issue with their customer sales journey. This might be something you can use to improve your website, as it might not have been enticing enough. It’s easy to forget that people might be doing other things while on your site and they got distracted. This helps to recover what could have been a sale.
7 – Social Media Integration
Any business today is expected to be on social media. This is something that Google is now advising you to help you rank well. This allows you to reach more people online and it a good way of sharing information.
Know about social media sites
Sites built around user interaction and sharing have made it easier to match interested groups of people up with relevant content.”
From within the Shopify dashboard, you can set up a range of tools to link with your company Facebook page. Facebook pages are set up from with personal accounts. As a preference, I don’t mind linking up my personal account and then my business page as it’s makes it less work for me. As your business grows you can swap your accounts round without affecting your page. This is easy to do both from within Facebook and Shopify.
There is also chat support that you can set up on your website that links to Facebook Messenger. This way you can also set it so visitors can make orders without leaving the chat!
You can also set it up so that it only goes to a Spotify Chat App, at the moment is only on iPhones. I found these to be good to have on the site, they have good load time and they are good for customer experience.
You can also add links to all your social media platforms on the site from Facebook to SnapChat. There are also a range of apps for adding in social media content to your website. This is a good way of updating your website while on the go.
8 – Mobile compatibility
If you want to know if Shopify works on mobile, then rest assured, Shopify works as well on mobile as it does on your computer. This is the case for both your visitors and for you running the website. All Shopify themes come designed “out of the box” to change their layout for mobile and tablet devices. Shopify also has a mobile app so you can edit your website on your phone – imagine updating your site while on the beach.
Ok, WordPress has a mobile app too, but it’s a blogging platform app good for writing articles. If you want to do things that are more complicated you need to log into the back of the site, this is where it is not easy to use. The Shopify app has more features and it’s more user-friendly to use for running your website. This is something I recommend, as it’s cool to run a business from your phone while in a coffee shop, or even while abroad., or even while abroad. This is a good way to run a business if you’re always on the go or want to run an online backpacking website.
It’s also a great user experience for your customers on mobile too, without too much work. There is still a lot you can get wrong if you don’t know about design but you don’t need to know how to code to set up the basics.
Mobile use is not something you can ignore as people are just as likely to browse your website on a mobile device. With more people than ever browsing on their phones, there are things to consider. The most important things for me are the speed of how it loads and the user experience. Along with having great content and everything else you need).
According to the Shopify blog, “64% of mobile users expect pages to load in less than 4 seconds.” The good news is that I’m a web designer can help you make your site load fast, whether that’s Shopify or WordPress. I can help reduce your file size and make it load in 1-3 seconds. I’m becoming more knowledgable using Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) for 1-2 second speeds.
On a mobile, users thumbs don’t always reach the top, so it’s important to consider user experience. At the same time, the screen is smaller than a desktop or laptop and crowded with notifications. Either way, if you get user experience wrong on a mobile device or the layout doesn’t fit, people will swipe back. If this keeps happening, Google sees that your site is either not well designed or its marketing is wrong.
9 – Includes a Free Security Certificate
This is the green padlock you see on your address bar to keep your details safe and secure. This is essential for having an online shop unless payments happen elsewhere e.g Paypal. When websites don’t have it now, it’s pretty clear as it says ‘Not Secure’ in the address bar.
You can get this for free on WordPress but not out of the box and you need to set it up with CloudFlare. This isn’t a simple one-click setup but you don’t need to know any code for it at least. With Shopify, it has a better SSL on there from the minute you sign up, leaving you to focus on what matters – your shop.
Having an SSL certificate keeps your website and sensitive details safe and secure. It’s also good for helping you appear in search results as it’s better trusted by Google.
“For these reasons, over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”
10: Security & Reliability
Shopify is a global hosted service so they are able to give you 24/7 support in the event of an attack. All the resources and apps they have are safe to use on your website. Other platforms like Wix do offer this as well. You may find that they can’t offer you this level of support, security and reliability for the same price.
At ‘BWR Web Design’ we support your business Monday to Friday 10am – 6pm at a reasonable charge. As a web design and hosting service, we also provide out of hours support for £20 per hour. This could be due to your website getting hacked, your site being down or your emails stop working. To avoid these issues, all my clients use strong passwords and I host their website on a reliable server.
11 – More Informative Charges
Don’t you hate it when you see a transaction from a company but don’t know what you ordered? Shopify has it so that you get the brand name of the website you brought it from.
This is something I have set myself from my own travel website. I like this is it helps me feel more like I’m running my own website with my name on it. It helps to extend my brand visibility over Shopify, (sorry for stealing your credit guys). It helps the customers to see what they ordered and prevents them from emailing in asking me later on. This makes for a better customer journey.
Shopify is steaming ahead when it comes to compatibility with payment gateways. They have over 100 gateways, such as PayPal, Stripe and Apple Pay – payment for everyone around the world.
On my travel website, I have setup Klana, which is a way you can ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ as they put it. It’s pretty clear how it works from this statement. You can set it so you can order the item before payday and then make the payment afterwards. Also, you can use it to spread the cost of items into smaller payments. This is something that Amazon has recently introduced as well.
12 – POS Feature
A feature that Shopify offers which leaves competitors behind, is the point-of-sale option. This allows you to take card payments face to face with customers.
It works on an iPhone, iPad or Android devices by downloading it from the app store. You can process payments face-to-face, with the Shopify Tap app. This turns your device into a cash register. Ideal if you want to sell at an event, market or a pop-up shop. To make life easier it works with your inventory, orders and customer data. in real-time with every POS transaction. Sounds good right? Why not give it try?
I’ve discussed all the features Shopify has and how it can help you create a professional website. It’s less complicated, more secure, better on mobile and for social media. The price is fractionally more but for all these extra worthwhile features, it’s probably worth it.
Having said that Shopify still has it’s limitations and you do need a web designer or web developer to help you. This is because while the themes are great, you need code to stray outside the lines. This can be annoying if the theme doesn’t allow you to insert content in a bespoke way.
It’s a great place for you to think about setting up your business, all the more because they offer a 14-day free trial. This is risk-free without a credit card so you can mock up how you want it to look to get a good idea of how you like it.
Please contact me by phone or by email if you have any questions or want help setting up your Shopify website. I look forward to hearing about your next business idea.