In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic - OPTASY would like to offer DRUPAL website support for any Health Care, Government, Education and Non-Profit Organization(s) with critical crisis communication websites or organizations directly providing relief. Stay Safe and Stay Well.

Is Shopify the Best Option for Your eCommerce Website? How Do You Know? 6 Pros and Cons

Is Shopify the Best Option for Your eCommerce Website? How Do You Know? 6 Pros and Cons

by Adrian Ababei on Oct 05 2017

To Shopify or not to Shopify? And why shouldn't you? It's an all-in-one, turn-key shopping cart solution after all: it takes care of all there's needed for your store to run smoothly, while you get to focus on those details that will make it stand out from the crowd. Yet, convenience does come with a cost (or several of them): a customization cost, the cost of having only basic discount and shipping cost models, per order transaction fees and so on. So is Shopify the best option for your own online store or not?

There's only one simple way to answer it: weighing its most tempting pros and its most discouraging cons. 

Here are 6 of each that our team at our web design company in Toronto, has selected for you:

 

6 Reasons for Running Your Online Store on Shopify

1. You Get an Impressive Collection of Great Looking Themes to Choose From

And you should, indeed, feel “spoiled” by such a wide collection of themes at your fingertip! Both free and premium.

If you're a start-up, stay reassured: your e-commerce website will still look sharp and professional with a free Shopify theme. This way, you can take off the table the costs of hiring a designer when you plan your initial financing.

As you grow, as a business, you can always jazz up your store with fancy, visually-arresting upgrades.

Note: The time you'd spend looking for a good and “not so expensive” designer you could invest in high-quality photography and other visual assets instead!

And the great thing when you start small and plan to grow your e-commerce business organically is that Shopify makes its theme system ideally accessible for designers. It will get easier for the design team that you'll choose, later on, to fine tune your virtual storefront.

 

2. It Provides Your Store With Security Features and Top Speed, By Default

Is Shopify the best option for me?” When asking yourself this question the security and performance factors should weight heavy in your decision-making process:

 

  1. you expect your online store to be 100% safe for your customers; it should inspire trust so that they get confident enough to enter their card details
  2. you expect it to load fast; online shoppers are remorselessly “stingy” when it comes to the time they'd invest in waiting for a page to load

     

Well, you hit the nail right on the head with your two-in-one expectation here: Shopify takes off caching, compliance, worrying about hackers etc. off your shoulders.

And it lets you focus on running and growing your business instead!

Note: Money talks and... gets your back covered! It's no news that Shopify's been investing huge sums in software and security engineering.

 

3. It's an “All-Features-in-One” E-Commerce Platform

Are you quite “greedy” when it comes to the features that you'd want your e-commerce platform to provide you with, right out-of-the-box?

No need to be “reasonably demanding”. And no need to look any further than... Shopify.

It makes the “Swiss knife” type of shopping cart solution that you need for setting up and running your store, fully fledged, in no time:

 

  • it has built-in payment gateways support 
  • its themes are easily customizable
  • it makes implementing Google Analytics effortless
  • it empowers you to add and to remove your products nice and easy

     

And there's so much more to this bundle of conveniences that Shopify “spoils” you with as soon as you “unwrap” it!

 

4. You Can Rely on Its Excellent Customer Support Services

Is Shopify the best option for my online store?should turn into “Is there always a Shopify expert to get my back whenever I'm facing a problem?”

Luckily, Shopify's customer service is simply... outstanding! And it's the platform's own users' reviews that support our opinion: there's always an easy to reach Shopify expert ready to help you out... fast.

And this aspect gets particularly critical when you're tempted with tons of upgrades which, at some point, risk to guide you towards a dead end. Then you just need to call someone to... save the day!

 

5. You Get to Leverage Its Pre-Built Marketing Essentials Toolkit

So Shopify “spoils” you with outstanding customer service. On the other hand, its built-in digital marketing tools aren't out of the ordinary! Yet, they do make the utterly effective essential kit to meet all your online store's marketing needs:

 

  • it makes putting together landing pages easy
  • it's perfectly equipped for SEO: it allows meta descriptions, title tags, it's written in a clean, easy to crawl code
  • it handles issues of critical SEO importance for you by default (sitemap, Search Console, SSL, canonicals etc.)

     

In a few words: Shopify's marketing “toolbox” is limited to the essentials, the critically important ones, that it handles to perfection! 

 

6. It “Bundles Up” Tones of Add-Ons In Its App Store

Here's another strong pro to help you come up with a quick answer to your “Is Shopify the best option for my business?” dilemma: The Shopify App Store itself!

It's online store owners' “Wonderland”. An impressive collection of fancy apps that they get to plug right into their online stores.

It's also the meeting point between third-party developers and business owners looking to enhance their stores' out-of-the-box functionality. To make them stand out in their respective industries.

Some apps are free and some of them come with a price tag on.

Is there an app perfectly tailored to your online store's needs that you're searching for?

 

  1. you could search for a developer to build if for you
  2. but not before you've dug through the wide collection of add-ons already available in the Shopify App Store

     

Note: by far the most intriguing add-on that Shopify “tempts” you with” is its Buy button itself:

  • the idea of selling your products outside your online store might be... puzzling you at first
  • and still, it provides you with so much flexibility: you get to sell your products wherever on the web without the need to actually set up an online store

     

Is Shopify The Best Option for My Business?” 6 Reasons To Doubt It

1. It Limits Your Customization Options

Out-of-the-box convenience does come with a price when using Shopify as your e-commerce platform! And this price is given by all the restrictions imposed on your site's architecture.

And implicitly by the customization limitations deriving from there!

It's true, though, you can still hire a good developer to tweak things on your store, yet... this comes with a risk, as well: that of messing up the core code.

A major con, indeed, when you expect to get unlimited freedom for fine tuning your e-commerce site's functionality to your liking!

 

2. Customization Does ComeBut At a Cost

And your legitimate question, “Is Shopify the best option for me?” becomes “Is Shopify, in fact, a restrictive, risky and costly e-commerce solution?”

On one hand, you have a huge community of third-party developers ready to get any “tweaking job” done for you.

Yet, on the other hand:

 

  • Shopify comes with its proprietary code language, Liquid: so the chosen developer(s) will need to know Liquid to be able to customize anything about your store; they can't “get away” with using PHP when “maneuvering” templates

     
  • needless to add that overly specialized developers are more expensive

     
  • you can't make just small tweaks: you need to engage in full customization processes 

     
  • getting your hands (or your developers' hands) dirty in Shopify's base code does interfere with the software's warranty

     
  • by tweaking your Shopify's store base code you run the risk to ruin it and to find it challenging plugging in future add-ons (which call for the out-of-the-box Shopify code to work)

     

Decisions, decisions! 

 

3. Its Built-In Blogging Features Are Simply... Unremarkable

Can you imagine your content strategy without a blog?

Unfortunately, Shopify's out-of-the-box blogging capabilities could be better. If compared with Wordpress's, for instance, they seem... basic. 

So, if you have big plans for your blog:

 

  • to turn it into a true organic traffic “magnet”
  • into a “channel” for informing customers about your products and about your brand's values
  • into a tool for increasing social shares
  • … and for building customer communities

     

then Shopify's blogging software is not built to properly “fuel” your plans.

Just make sure you're prepared for this inconvenience!

 

4. It Can Handle Basic Discount Scenarios Only 

Don't expect Shopify to cope with all your upsell scenarios, with all those complex discount models that you might have in mind. 

For it can handle “one discount per order” models only. So, it's pointless to put together all kinds of complex (“buy one get one free”, multiple discount codes per order etc.) types of structures.

Not only that Shopify's not built to handle them, but you might be tempted to “adapt” your discount models to this inconvenience. To create several variants of a product, each one with its own price.

Don't! You will only end up messing your inventory system!

 

5. It Charges a Per Sale Transaction Fee

These fees add up to your monthly store plan and come on top of the credit card fees. 

And from this point of view Shopify can be discouraging both for a start-up business owner and for one already selling in a high volume on his/her online store:

 

  1. as a start-up, you don't know, from the start, how much you'll end up selling on your e-commerce website
  2. as a business already selling in high volumes the calculation of these transaction fees changes, so fees will start to add up gradually

     

In short: you can't avoid transaction fees, no matter how much you're actually selling on your Shopify store; still, if you want to save a percentage point you'll need to increase your sales to make those “savings” count.

 

6. It Can't Handle Complex Shipping Cost Models

Unfortunately, it's true! Since Shopify's built primarily as a shopping cart solution for small to medium-sized business, it's designed to handle basic, single orders only.

In other words, it's not well equipped for all the complexities that wholesalers' orders involve:

 

  • calculating real-time shipping cost
  • orders that include multiple product sizes, multiple boxes

     

In conclusion: Shopify's out-of-the-box shipping models can handle basic shipping needs only. If you're dealing with more complex ones on your online store, you might consider having a third-party app developed for you!

The END! What do you say? Have we succeeded, through our Shopify pros and cons list here, in helping you find the answer to your valid question: “Is Shopify the best option for my business?”

Development

We do Web development

Go to our Web development page!

Visit page!

Recommended Stories

Magento vs Shopify 2020: Which Platform Should You Use for Your eCommerce Store? And Why?
A bit stuck? Are you looking to roll out your online store, but… you’re struggling with a Magento vs Shopify 2020 dilemma? Which solution works best for the size and the type of your eCommerce business? Which one covers most of your feature needs? In today’s post you’ll get your answers to the following questions: How are they different? Why would you choose Shopify over Magento? What are its strongest selling points? What are the cons of Shopify? What are the pros and cons of Magento vs Shopify? Which eCommerce platform works best for your type of business? 1. What Are the Major Differences Between Magento and Shopify? The main reason why you’re torn between Magento and Shopify is that: You don’t have a clear picture of the essential differences between them. So, let me expose them to you: 1.1. Magento is an eCommerce solution for enterprise-level online stores. It’s robust and flexible enough to power fully customized eCommerce websites, built from scratch — that you can further expand to fit your growth plan — by teams of Magento developers. 1.2. Shopify, on the other hand, is self-managed.  You don’t need any specialized skills — or server-side techs — to set up a Shopify store.  A front-end developer and a designer, at most, will do. “How easy is it to use Shopify?” Shopify is best-known for being beginner-friendly.  In short, the “Magento vs Shopify” dilemma comes down to: Flexibility and customization vs Ease of use. Which one's more important to you? 2. Magento vs Shopify 2020: Why Would You Choose Shopify? What makes Shopify a candidate for the title of “the best solution for creating an eCommerce website in 2020"? Here’s why Shopify could be the better choice for your online store: you have no (or limited) coding skills the idea of having a huge app marketplace at your disposal to browse through sounds tempting to you you need to get your e-Store up and running… now: the drag-and-drop website builder allows you to set up a new store in… minutes it’s an end-to-end eCommerce solution that you’re looking for, one that enables you to roll out and manage your online store with no technical experience it’s easier to use: its interface is famous for being particularly user-friendly you run a small or medium-sized eCommerce business page loading time is critical for you: Shopify’s just… fast Overall, it’s much less of a headache than Magento and usually the go-to option for small eCommerce business owners, with no web development experience, who need to get their websites rolled out fast. 3. What Are the Cons of Shopify? What could make you hesitate to choose Shopify for your eCommerce website? For there are, indeed, some limitations to consider before going for this particular platform:   You’d be trading some of the control over your online store for… ease of use and the convenience of setting up your eStore quick and easy, with no technical expertise   You do get a huge collection of plugins to choose from but… they all come with a price tag on; one that you’ll need to consider when planning out your budget   You won’t be able to customize every single aspect of your website. By comparison, Magento puts no limitation on the configurations that you can make to your site   Shopify provides you with weaker SEO features   It charges a transaction fee per… sale   4. Why Would You Choose Magento over Shopify? When dealing with a Magento vs Shopify 2020 dilemma, what could make you opt for Magento? Lots of reasons... Here are the strongest ones:   It enables you (or your team of Magento developers in Toronto) to customize everything about your eCommerce website, from theme to checkout process, to main menu, to email template, to...   You get to build custom functionality for your website, that’s not available on the market   You have lots of extensions available to choose from — Magento being open-sourced — and to customize your online store   You benefit from its strong SEO capabilities   You get to tap into its multi-store functionality: Magento enables you to manage all your online stores from one central dashboard   “In fact, according to eCommerce Platforms research Magento SEO scores 95 out of 100, and that is great result!” (source: Cart2Cart ) In short, you’d want to go with Magento because it enables you to build pretty much anything that you might need for your eCommerce website. 5. What About the Cons of Using Magento? For you need to be aware of the disadvantages of using this eCommerce solution, as well, before you make any decision. Now, here are the most… discouraging ones:   Building a fully customized website in Magento takes time and requires web development experience and Magento expertise; you can’t get away without a team of back-end Magento developers to handle the whole process and all the customization wok   You do have a large and thriving community to rely on, but no 24/7 dedicated support (like you have with Shopify)   You’ll need to optimize your Magento website on a regular basis to make sure it keeps performing at its best   You’ll need to take into account the cost of all the extensions that you might want to add, of the web hosting service, and the Magento expertise needed   6. Magento 2 vs Shopify vs... Shopify Plus: Which One’s the Best Fit? Considering that, starting June 2020, Magento 1.0 is no longer supported, your Magento vs Shopify 2020 dilemma turns into: “Magento 2 vs Shopify”. What new features does Magento 2 bring to the debate? simplified navigation (even) better customization capabilities better performance a more admin-friendly panel drag-and-drop layout editing improved checkout  “And what about Shopify Plus?” you might then ask yourself. Here are some of the enhancements that Shopify Plus ships with, so you can see for yourself whether it’s the best fit for what you’re looking for:   It gives you greater control over your online store: you gain more customization freedom   It’s robust enough to handle more than 10,000 transactions per minute, which makes it a viable alternative to Magento 2 for enterprise-level eCommerce businesses   You’re free to edit your checkout page (a feature that’s not available in Shopify)   You get your own launch manager: basically, a dedicated Shopify Plus team will handle everything for you, from implementing the custom Shopify theme that you need to code writing   7. Which Commerce Platform Works Better for Your Type of eCommerce Business? Now that you have a clear(er) picture of the pros and cons of Magento vs Shopify, how do you know which one’s the best fit for you? For your business goals and size? It’s simple: just pick the answer(s) that best fits your scenario from the following ones: You’ll want to use Magento if: you have a large product catalog your customization  needs are… above the average (i.e. complex product configurations): you want a fully customized online store built from the ground up you need a commerce platform robust enough to support your entire network of vendor/supplier fulfillment channels you have qualified Magento developers in your team (or the budget to hire some professionals, who know what they’re doing) You’ll want to use Shopify over Magento in 2020 if: it’s a small to medium product catalog that you need to set up being able to integrate/cross-sell on multiple platforms is a crucial feature for you you need to get your storefront online as quickly as possible Does this head-to-head help you with your Magento vs Shopify 2020 dilemma?  No matter which one’s the “winner”, the next question stays the same: “How do I get my Shopify/ Magento website built and suited to my needs?" Just drop us a line and we’ll have either our Shopify or our Magento expert team assigned to your eCommerce project! Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 18'2020
5 tips to pass your Acquia Site Studio (Cohesion) Certification Exam
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to take the Acquia Site Studio (formerly Cohesion) Certification exam. In this post we are going to discuss why I took this exam and more importantly, how I passed it and became an Acquia Certified Site Studio Site Builder. Optasy and its commitment to quality through knowledge You already know that quality is part of the corporate culture of Optasy. For us quality is a key factor to protect our clients' investments and guarantee them a high ROI. But having a good QA department is not enough. Actually, it's often too late when the QA team detects an issue. At Optasy we prefer to ensure quality at the early stages of our projects, analyzing deeply the needs of our clients and transform them into effective digital experiences but we also know that the quality of the code we produce comes from the experience and the skills of our developers. That's why Optasy has an internal 'skill knowledge acquisition program' to help its employees (optasians) to acquire new skills or improve them. This program gives to each optasian one day off per month (paid by the company) to study a particular field. As a way to ensure knowledge acquisition and validation, optasians also receive paid leave to study and give their Acquia certification exams. This includes the exam cost too, that’s why many of the optasian developers are actually Acquia Certified developers or Acquia Certified site builders All things considered, it was a pretty easy choice for me to take the exam, not only do I get to improve my skills, but I get paid for it too! What are the Acquia certification programs? Acquia is a preferred Optasy partner that delivers a cloud-based digital experience platform built on Drupal that enables organizations to build experiences that scale. Acquia is committed to facilitating certification programs allowing developers to validate their Drupal skills year after year. Acquia certification exams are administered at Kryterion Testing Centers in more than 750 locations across the globe. Exams are also available as online-proctored tests and are often offered at DrupalCons across the world. What is Acquia Site Studio? Acquia Site Studio (formerly Cohesion) is a low-code solution for building and editing Drupal sites. As an Acquia partner, our team got the chance to become an early adopter of the technology.  Acquia Site Studio is a sort of layout builder on steroids without writing any line of code. Not only can you build layouts or templates, but also you can build whole websites from the headers to the footers, and everything in between, like components and widgets, just by using the interface. No code required! It's a kind of atomic design system (like Pattern Lab) where you can create and preview CSS style guides, components, template layouts, page layouts or view layout from a visual user interface with simple “drag and drop”. And all of this within your Drupal site! To be fair, Acquia Site Studio is an amazing tool allowing designers and marketers to create and modify any layout component without calling the development team. If you’re a designer with no coding knowledge you’ll be able to create totally unique layouts based on your designs using intuitive drag and drop layout builder. If you're an editor, you may choose the layout you want to use and add all the pre-designed components you wish. Want to add a slider or a 'Related Articles' block? You drag and drop it in your layout! 5 tips to successfully pass your Acquia Certified Site Studio exam As other Acquia Certification exams, the Certified Site Studio exam requires both experience and knowledge. Though the test is not difficult, it’s not something you want to run into unprepared. From my experience, the questions ranged from a very low to medium range of difficulty, there were barely any difficult questions. This exam validates your ability to: Understand the features and functionality provided by Site Studio Install and configure Site studio environment on new or existing websites. Build a website using Site Studio style builder, components and website structure design elements. The official description of this exam can be found on Acquia's certification overview page. But in short: The tests are all multiple choice. They don't require that you actually configure a Drupal site or write any code. They are available in person at a testing center, or at home by installing the exam software on your computer. The price was $155 (In my case, Optasy paid for the test) Get a good understanding of Drupal Layout Builder As I mentioned earlier, Acquia Site Studio is a Layout Builder on steroids and many concepts are the same, so having some experience with this Drupal module will help you a lot, like the inline editing tools or the concept of drawing element into the layout. This is not mandatory, but I felt really comfortable with Site Studio having this previous experience. Read carefully the contents of the exam On Acquia's certification overview page you'll find the blueprint of the exam like the following: But below it, you'll find the content itself. Read it carefully and repeatedly. This should be your guideline during your study. This will help you focus on what really matters but also to recap and structure your notes. Read and study the documentation While there are really good videos on the Acquia Academy site about Site Studio, watching all of them won't be enough. If you don't have prior experience with Site Studio, it's a good starting point. But it definitively won't give all the knowledge you need to pass the exam. Reading the documentation should sound obvious, but you'll really need to read and study all the documentation in depth. Don't leave anything behind cause the exam covers all the aspects of Site Studio, from the basics to more advanced topics. This will also give you the right vocabulary to understand the questions of the exam, since sometimes they can try to trick you changing just one word. So the technical vocabulary has an important role, and that's where the documentation comes into play. Write down some notes after reading each section. This will help you a lot during the recap! Train on the Acquia Site Studio demo environment You can request an online demo environment for free at the bottom of this page The main benefit is that you won't need an API key or an Agency key, so you can test Site Studio for free, the environment acts just like a normal Drupal website. and the site will be all yours to experiment on. This site will be your friend during your study, you should test everything you learned in the documentation here. Do it several times and try different cases. The night before the exam, after reading back your notes, try to build a site from scratch in this environment to recap all the main concepts. This is key! Don't forget the 'Miscellaneous concepts and features' part These three concepts are not placed in one section, they are dispersed in the documentation. Study and practice all of them because you'll have a question about each one. They are only three, it doesn’t sound like a lot but they are worth 15% of the exam! That is a quick and easy win! A bonus tip What really worked for me was to read a section, practice the concepts of this section in the demo environment, read again the same section and take some notes. The day after, read all the notes of the previous day, do the same 7 days later, reading back your notes and practicing again on the demo site. That way, 80% of what you studied will stay forever in your memory. Conclusions Acquia Certification Site Studio Site Builder can be a good way to validate your skills and knowledge There are barely any difficult questions Study all the documentation because the exam is based on it, but also because the exam will cover all of it. Practice a lot, recap a lot. ... Read more
Karim Boudjema / Aug 27'2020
Why Cloud-Native Apps? How Exactly Can Cloud Native Applications Benefit Your Business?
For it all comes down to this: what's the return that you'd get from switching to this new way of developing applications? Why cloud-native apps? How does migrating from cloud-hosted to cloud native applications translate into clear benefits for you? For your own business? We've listed them, then... shortlisted them to the 6 biggest benefits that you can expect from developing cloud native apps. Or, if you wish, the top 6 reasons why you'll want to use a cloud-native architecture from now on. But First: What Are Cloud Native Applications More Precisely? They're collections of independent, loosely coupled microservices, each one performing a single service or business function. Unlike the traditional "monolithic" app architecture, where you have a single... block. So that whenever you needed to apply even a small change, you had to interrupt the entire app. And it's precisely this intrinsic constraint of the monolithic approach — translating into limited scalability and flexibility — that has made the cloud-native model so "tempting": it allows you to develop and deploy each microservice independently so, whenever you need to apply changes, you're no longer constrained to wait first for all the components to get updated you can incorporate the new features (in many cases, suggested by users themselves) and deliver the app to your audience right away #1: You Get to Incorporate User Feedback into Your App in... Real-Time Why cloud-native apps? Due to their high availability: You get to make real-time changes to your applications... on the fly. ... to respond to users' expectations of specific new features and functionalities faster than with the traditional app development model. "Continuous improvement" is the key phrase here:   You're free to add and roll back new features and enhance its performance... constantly. On the go. #2: You Benefit from a Higher Developer Productivity And this is another one of the key cloud native application benefits. The cloud-native architecture: speeds up the development process helps your team save time, that they'd otherwise need to spend trying to solve various infrastructure issues and handling critical business requirements instead enables easy remote access to their system, irrespective of their location #3: Why Cloud-Native Apps? Because You Can Build, Update, and Deliver them Faster The cloud-native approach enables you to scale your resources and comply with user demand way faster than the monolithic approach: You get to bring new features online — requested by your users — more quickly. To roll out changes and start marketing your app much faster. In short, you get to be more responsive to user demand and more relevant with the updates you make to your app in… real time. #4: You Save Time and Money From all the cloud native applications advantages, cost-savings must be the most tangible one. And it’s pretty obvious if you come to think of it: Since the cloud-native approach to developing applications allows you to build and release them much faster, you’re practically left with more time. More time to focus on your other revenue-generating tasks. #5: You Can Make or Roll Back Small Changes Without "Freezing" the Entire App Why cloud native applications? Because you can minimize downtime when you need to update your app. #6: You Get to Run Your App on Multiple Platforms Cloud native applications run on both public and private platforms without you being forced to make any major changes. For “flexibility” (along with “efficiency” and “high availability”) is another word for cloud-native. So, Why Cloud-Native Apps? It’s simple: You get to innovate faster and to react to users’ changing needs and trends... faster. Do you already have an app idea and you just need the right team to, ask the right questions, grasp your vision, and… make it happen? Just drop us a line, let’s hear all about it and let's... build it! Image by Ashish Bogawat from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Aug 15'2020