Want to start an eCommerce store with Shopify? Well, it is good to know what features the platform provides. Is Shopify good for small businesses? Here I am listing the important points that you should know before starting a Shopify store for a small business.
It’s a peak time to take your business online and grow your customer span. And many local businesses have already started creating their online presence.
Recently, I created a Shopify store for one of my clients. It was my first time encountering the Shopify platform. And today I’m sharing my experience of creating an eCommerce site with Shopify in India.
I made mistakes and learned a lot from them and in this post, I am sharing that so you can avoid them, and start your Shopify store hassle-free.
E-commerce site parameters:
- Product listing/ Inventory management
- Customer Management
- Order Management
- Discount and Promotion Coupons
- Analytics Reports
- Language and Currency Settings
- Site SEO
Shopify Dashboard: Userfriendly interface
Shopify’s dashboard is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. It provides video tutorials and articles that will help you to get started. I watched few tutorials and selected a theme and started listing products.
Because of Shopify’s user-friendly interface, the process of product listing, creating product categories, and manage the inventory is straightforward. Unlike Etsy, Shopify allows you to list unlimited products to your store without charging you the listing costs.
In Shopify tracking your order is very simple. You can check customer’s orders and track them. You can check the status of abandoned checkout and can take actions like email reminders.
Discount is an important item that every eCommerce store owner offers to attract customers. With Shopify’s user-friendly interface you can create custom and automatic discount coupons.
The automatic discount coupon type is like customers will see this in the cart and at checkout. You can share this coupon with your customers through emails and encourage them to buy the products.
Your website’s design and layout is the first thing that your customer interacts with. And the theme should be responsive for all the devices with easy to navigate structure. Shopify provides free simple themes that you can start with but it has some limitations.
To know how your site will look, you need to list few products and create a product category. You can not customize and add any custom sections to the sites. And Shopify uses .liquid style to build website themes so you can’t edit the theme code unless you have proper knowledge of coding.
As I was creating a store with the free plan, Shopify’s theme support is not available. Therefore, according to my client’s needs, I selected the basic plan for a month. Shopify’s theme support team provides only 60 minutes of limited support to customize your theme design.
The support team was responsive and helped to modify small things like changing the colors of social icons. But when it comes to customizing the navigation menu they said it is out of their support limit and advised to hire an expert.
This is the place where my client and I get disappointed by Shopify, cause after building the whole store changing the theme is difficult.
But if you’re happy with Shopify’s built-in theme, you don’t need to worry.
Third-party apps add on:
Shopify app-store provides free and paid third-party apps that you can integrate with your store. It is similar to WordPress plugins, you can add the required functions to your site using these apps.
Shopify cost comparison:
Shopify offers three different plans for starting an online store. Its Basic Shopify plan starts at $29 and is suitable for small businesses or beginners. And as your store grows you can upgrade your plan later.
Shopify offers 14 days free trial without asking for payment information. I recommend that you use this trial offer before purchasing the plan, so you can have the user experience.
After signing up, select a store theme from Shopify themes. You can customize the theme’s typography and colors according to your brand style.
But there are some limitation of the free trial, like
- Your site will be password protected so visitors can’t open your site if they don’t have the password.
- You can not connect your domain name
- You can not add the payment method so can’t sell the products.
- Limited customer support
So after setting up your store go with the plan and make your store live!
Includes eCommerce website and blog.
Staff members with access to the Shopify admin and Shopify POS.
Sell on online marketplaces and social media. Channel availability varies by country.
|Manual order creation||yes||yes||yes|
|Free SSL certificate||yes||yes||yes|
|Abandoned cart recovery||yes||yes||yes|
|Advanced report builder||–||–||yes|
|Third-party calculated shipping rates
Show calculated rates with your own account or third-party apps at checkout.
As an eCommerce store owner, you need to add a payment gateway to receive payment securely from customers. Shopify provides you ‘Shopify Payments’- a built-in payment processor. It also allows you to add a third-party payment gateway to easily integrate other payment gateways according to your ease.
Shopify charges you transaction fees on a third-party payment gateway,
With Shopify you can scale your business easily and anytime, you can upgrade your existing plan and have advanced features without losing and changing the current settings.
With Shopify, you can add various marketing apps and from there manage the campaigns, and view its reports. Shopify also provides ready-to-use templates to showcase your new products or promote the sales event across channels.
Shopify’s store owners with a paid plan have 2500 free emails to send at the beginning of every month. This is enough for a small business owner who is just starting out. You can send additional emails at the cost of 0.001 USD per email.
Shopify charges transaction fees on each purchase made by customers. The charging rates vary based on which plan and payment method you select.
It is important to calculate transaction fees and then determine the selling price to avoid a cut in your profit margin.
SEO is an essential factor to rank your site on Google and other search engines. Shopify provides guides and tutorials on how to increase your SEO score. And recently Google partners with Shopify on online shopping expansion, which makes it easy for Shopify merchants to show their products across Google with a few clicks.
Shopify support is quite impressive, you can contact the support team using live chat, email, and phone calls. After trying all these contact methods, I can say their support team is responsive and helpful.
Email response could take 24 hours so if you want a quick response go with the live chat and phone call. When I wasn’t able to change the store currency then I reached out to them through live chat and they tried all the possible ways to help me and resolved my query.
As I mentioned earlier, in Shopify you have limited theme customization options and my client wants some changes in the theme. So I reached out to the theme support team and mailed my requirements and issues with screenshots.
Amy, one of the theme support members helped me through this. Sometimes you’ll receive suggestions like add a third-party application to fill your requirements. It is because at the beginning you are guided by the level 1 support team members. You can tell them to forward your query to the theme support expert and if it is possible then you might get a solution.
Here are screenshots of the Shopify Theme Support team’s email. It was about customizing few elements of the theme.
You can go with Shopify’s basic plan to start a fully functional eCommerce site.