Shopify – The Future Of Simple Ecommerce

ShopifyI have seen the future of SME Ecommerce and it’s Shopify. Having built custom ecommerce stores now for the best part of decade for my clients there is a common question – “Is this going be difficult to run?”. The answer to that question is always “Well – that depends on you.” Ecommerce systems have not been easy to use – it’s a fact. You need a certain level of IT skills and confidence to run an online shop. Most small retailers like the idea of having an online shop to supplement their business as a sideline source of revenue. A nice to have – that was until the COVID19 outbreak. It has suddenly become an essential tool and the difference between being in business or not. But when introduced to what it actually takes to setup and run an online shop – most SME’s recoil in horror. From setting up product catalogues, to gathering price lists, stock inventories, quality images, etc  – it can be a daunting time consuming task.

Then comes Shopify

Don’t get me wrong I have built Ecommerce platforms before and they work – but Shopify is built primarily from the viewpoint of the reatailer who is going to run the shop not the developer who builds it. That’s what makes it different and has no doubt been its key to success. This has been my first year to take a serious look at Shopify as I had always confidered it to be a emerging competitor to my Ecommerce Development business. But as clients have come thick and fast with COVID19 I had to consider a platform that was simple and fast to setup. Simplicity is its strength.

How simple is Shopify to setup ?

Extremely. I can setup a shop in about a tenth of the time that it would normally take to setup a custom Ecommerce platform. The interface uses an intuitive page builder which means that once the shop is configured the retailer can manage the products, orders and change the look and feel without any developer assistance. The product catalogue upload is the simplest I have seen – believe me I have tried them all. Product images, stock, pricing, categorisation and crucially variations are a breeze as it take less than 30 seconds to add each product. Bulk uploads are also facilitated.

How clever is Shopify ?

It’s as clever as a fox. There are little intuitive touches built into the dashboard that only a techy like me would probably appreciate. But features like automatic product cataloging, image centering (always an issue) and  SEO previews all take the pain from tasks later on. Integrated gift cards come as standard – whereas they need to be separately installed in other systems. Analytics also comes built in with many of the main features we all look for in Google Analytics. There are also a range of free and paid Shopify apps that can connect to your store for enhancements.

So whats the drawback with Shopify?

Shopify is not free. There is a generous 3 month trial (not with live payments) so you can play with the store alot before going live. The basic plan starts at €29 per month and commission on payments is about 2%. The range of themes is limted to about 200 so other platforms have thousands. But I expect this selection to grow and as developers becomes enticed. Email newsletter integration is has only just arrived although you can still connect 3rd party systems like Mailchimp. One major drawback is that Shopify is a shop – nothing else. So if you need to do anything custom like a Booking System, Members Portal, Brochure Style website – this not the solution for you and you should talk to a web developer.

So what’s the verdict with Shopify?

Shopify is a game changing powerhouse for online Retailers. If you are selling in Fashion, Jewellery, Electronics, Food, Health and more … this is the platform for you. Far from seeing it as a threat I have now adapted my approach to become an implementor and as of May 2020 am an official Shopify Affiliate. For a certain section of my clients Shopify wont be a solution but for a growing retail sector Shopify will emerge possibly as a direct impact of COVID19 as the market leader for Ecommerce Solutions Worldwide.

So where do I sign up for a free trial?

Jascom Ltd are official Shopify Affilates and as a trusted partner can help you can setup on Shopify.