What is Shopify?
Shopify is a content management system designed specifically for eCommerce retailers. It has a tonne of features and benefits that can help you grow your shop and customer base. It’s been designed with a user friendly interface that makes it easy for even the least tech savvy person to manage and use. Here we’re going to look at the ways your business can benefit from running it’s store on Shopify.
SEO & Marketing
Designing a beautiful store with lots of excellent products at fantastic prices is all well and good but unless customers know how to find your shop it’s pointless. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be a bit of a dark art but Shopify has some powerful features to help you get found organically. It also provides access to advanced analytics so you can tailor your site and marketing to your customers.
You can use a range of marketing tools including product reviews, discount codes, gift cards, email marketing and the most important of all, social media. Shopify has a lot of great features already built in and, where those fail, you have the trusty App Store to access more tools and extensions.
The Extensive App Store
The App Store is full of great apps that can add increased functionality to your site. Do you want to add a popup when a new customer visits your site prompting them to sign up to your newsletter? There’s an app for that. Wouldn’t it be awesome if a customer decided to abandon their cart at the checkout you could offer them a discount to complete the order? There’s an app for that too. Ever have problems with customers entering incorrect delivery addresses and then parcels going missing? I think you get the point.
The best part is that you can add these additional functionalities yourself. No need to go back to your web guy and ask him/her to add them for you at an extra cost. Of course, if you don’t have the time to set it up yourself, or just aren’t confident enough, you can always get your web designer (or me) to do it for you. This will still cost a lot less than if it was a new extension being added to a custom webstore.
Easy To Use and Maintain
If you’re willing to put in the time you can build your own Shopify store using a theme with relative ease. The Shopify admin panel is easy to navigate and has been designed specifically for a user-friendly experience for store owners not web developers. If you want something that’s not straight out the box, or simply don’t have the time to build one yourself, you can hire a Shopify Partner to develop your site for you. As a Shopify Partner I am able to build your store as a ‘Development Store’. A benefit of this is that you won’t have to pay the monthly subscription until the store is launched. To ensure this stays a balanced argument and not a sales pitch, I must mention that you do get a 14 day free trial. If you’re quick, you could get the store up and running before that expires. You can sign up for your free trial here or contact me below to talk about your requirements and developing a store for you.
The Shopify Facebook Store
There’s a reason that sellers are taking to Facebook to promote and sell their products…that’s where all the customers are. You can add all of your products to your Facebook page with order linked to your Shopify. This has some great benefits. First off, it will save you bucket loads of time. Once you’re set up, you can easily push products to your FaceBook as you add them to your Shopify store. Secondly, it will keep all your orders in one location and because Shopify is driven by eCommerce it’s exceptionally easy to navigate and manage. When you throw in the fact that 20% of U.S. retail shoppers said Facebook led them to buy a new product/service online. Here’s a great article on a report Facebook took into mobile shopping trends and expectations.
Abandoned Checkout Conversions
Every seller has experienced the frustration of looking at the comparison between initiated checkouts and completed checkouts on their store. Shopify has an excellent built-in feature to target those customers and send them an email prompting them to complete their purchase. The email reminder can be sent either 1 hour, 6 hours, 10 hours or 24 hours afterwards. You can also edit the email template to entice them to complete that purchase by including a discount code or free item. This is a massively important tool for any seller and sometimes isn’t utilised enough.
Unrivaled Customer Support
Shopify provide 24/7 support by phone, email or online chat to all customers on every subscription level. This is critical when running a business as instant access to support can minimise downtime caused by technical issues. Their support is provided globally with 8 dedicated international phone lines. The lines are all freephone and if you don’t want to wait in the queue you can request a callback. It’s important to consider the level of support you’ll receive before deciding on the platform for your site. Shopify offer an easily accessible, reliable and entirely free support service which is exactly what you should be looking for.
Inclusive Hosting with Excellent Speeds
Shopify provide you with high quality hosting for your site that is both fast and reliable. You also benefit from their Content Delivery Network which distributes your site and it’s content onto multiple servers around the globe. Your site will become more readily available across the globe, with drastically reduced page load speeds. Page load speeds have a strong impact on your SEO rating. Another benefit of your hosting being managed by Shopify and their CDN partners is the minimal downtime. Shopify spend vast amounts and lots of manpower maintaining and improving their network, so you don’t have too.
SSL & Secure Payment Processing with Shopify Payments.
Even the basic Shopify plan includes a free SSL certificate and your store will run through HTTPS. Customers are protected and their personal data will be kept safe so they will feel secure. With Shopify, you can take direct card payments on your site. Customers are no longer directed away to a third-party payment provider, such as PayPal. You can integrate card payments directly into your checkout through other payment providers. However, you must ensure you are PCI compliant. Shopify take care of PCI compliance for you as the card details are processed on their servers. Shopify payments is a hassle-free way to take card payments directly on your site.
Shopify’s credit card processing fee of 2.2% + 20p is inline with the market average. PayPal Payments Pro customers start on a rate of 3.4% but this reduces, as your turnover increases, in 0.5% increments. Their best rate of 1.9% is for sellers who turned over £15,000+ in the previous month.
Advanced Reporting and Measuring
Shopify includes some powerful reporting and analytics tools that can really help you understand your business better. It’s very easy to filter reports and see which products are under-performing and which ones are selling like hot cakes. There is one thing I would like to see Shopify include in a future development, the ability to input a cost price against products. This would make it virtually impossible for a seller not to use Shopify. Having the tools to track sales and revenue directly in your eCommerce store and to track your profit margins would be incredibly useful. I’m possibly asking for a bit too much here, but it really would be fantastic. All in all the reporting tools are very useful and could be the difference between a business failing and succeeding if used correctly.
Pricing That Is Better Value Than It Seems.
At first glance, the $29 monthly fee (about £20) may sound quite expensive, but when you look a little closer it’s much better value than it first appears and may even save you a few £’s.
First, we should see what you get for your money by recapping what’s included in the monthly fee.
- Unlimited Web Space
- Content Delivery Network
- SSL Certificate
- Integrated Direct Payments
- 24/7 Support
Now let’s compare that to a self hosted WordPress site. To get the same speeds and web space, hosting would cost around £80+VAT per month. We will base our costs on a standard eCommerce package. This includes VPN hosting, the recommended EV SSL certificate and PayPal Pro direct payments.
- Hosting – £10* / Month (Fasthosts Momentum)
- SSL Certificate – £149.99* / Year (GoDaddy EV SSL)
- PayPal Payments Pro – £20 / Month
The cost is £42.50 per month and doesn’t include any additional costs you may incur. These could include a web developer to install your SSL certificate and integrate direct payments.
*You may find discounts on these prices. We are looking at this as an ongoing cost so I’ve used the full price.
Shopify comes in at a very reasonable price with lots of added extras. You can buy additional apps to increase the functionality of your site. The downside is that you will have to pay for some of them. Shopify is the industry lead for eCommerce because of the benefits you receive you from their service. It’s time to take your eCommerce store to the next level and use Shopify.
Find out more about what I can do to help you move your current store to Shopify or create a new one from the ground up. Send me a message with your details and I’ll be in touch as soon as I can.
If you feel ready to take on the challenge yourself you can open your own Shopify account and get started today. Alternatively, a family member or friend with web design experience might be able to help.
I hope that whatever you choose for you eCommerce store that this article has helped you make the right decision.