Shopify is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and was first developed to individual business to sell products through its cloud platform. Shopify currently serves billions of dollars worth of transactions since with over 150,000 websites using the service. It is used by more than 120000 merchants worldwide.
Shopify is a hosted eCommerce software solution that deserves to be the #1 choice of the new merchant who wishes to kick off a selling portal in an anticipation of desirable results. Although the features on offer are not that comprehensive as those of the other famous hosted carts, Shopify is still preferable as it offers all the essentials in the most reliable and effective manner.
For attractive and easy designing of your selling portal, Shopify offers a variety of features on its offer list. A short and easy wizard takes you through the building process quickly. In case you are not an HTML geek, there are over 160 templates for you to choose from. There are a myriad of customization tools to make your site look unique and personal.
While there is a limit on the number of products to be included in your inventory; you are free to choose as many categories as per your choice. There’s a built-in store-builder interface for adding a variety of details for each product, including images and descriptions quite easily.
While the products menu makes you keep a watch on the inventory, the navigation menu will make you drive the appearance of the site. Apart from that, you will love to create several reports for analyzing traffic, sales, and inventory.
One of the pivotal features of Shopify is its security. Shopify’s secure 256-bit encrypted platform ensures that users shopping online will be safe. In addition, to keep Shopify users in the clear, the service has a fraud detection mechanism which flags high risk credit cards and purchases.
The themes feature is a bit of a mixed bag. While it does provide the option of completely modifying the interface by providing access to the CSS of the template, a lot of vendors may have little or no experience with web development. On the plus side, the themes are developed by well-established with new options constantly made available. The negative aspect is that in comparison, the variety of themes available are less in comparison to some of Shopify’s competition.
Free Ad Credit
Shopify has packaged some enticing deals with Google and Facebook advertising offering you a few dollars to play with and get your site off the ground in terms of traffic. Of course to make use of these free ad credits you will have to spend a small amount first.
The downside of having an ordinary web shop software is the limitation of features and depending on your niche and requirements for differentiation, you may be looking to incorporate a variety of unique attributes. Shopify has done a fantastic job with their store which gives them a major competitive advantage where developers have published over 1000 add-on apps available to achieve a number of isolated tasks not bundled with the original package. The issue is that some of these apps are not free which will be an additional investment apart from the price you pay for the Shopify software and the transaction fees you incur.
The POS feature is excellent if you have an offline store as well, which gives you the ability to integrate your online store and keep track of stock control from one central location. The downside is that it is only available as an iPad app so you will need an iPad to use the POS service, but it can be a lot more convenient than using a traditional POS solution.
You can give your customers a number of options during check out which may stir a larger sales volume. For example, you can waive off shipping charges beyond a certain bill value and alter shipping rates based on factors such as number of pieces or based on weight. Shopify easily integrates standard pricing of popular shipping services such as FedEx and USPS.
There are many payment options that Shopify supports, including eChecks and credit cards. Although there are automatic shipping and tax calculators, there is no in-house credit card processing due to which you have to seek another source for accepting credit card payments.
Shopify comes with unlimited bandwidth in an industry where most shopping cart software has certain bandwidth caps. This makes it ideal if you are expecting a large amount of traffic due to a viral social campaign or a heavy advertising budget.
They also perform daily backups, keeping your data safe. The website advertises a 99.94% uptime which indicates some thought has gone into that number.
SEO and Marketing Tools
Talking about the marketing campaigning tools, Shopify offers a customer menu for organizing customer information and the filter customer lists command to know your biggest spenders. Further, the tool facilitates easy access to Google Analytics to let you experience a full and successful marketing campaign.
The Shopify’s shopping cart platform is ideal for those who wants to drive traffic through SEO. On-page SEO practices have been heavily integrated into the website in order to give you that boost and edge over competitors running different or custom shopping cart software.
There are also many other features related to online marketing includes creating discount coupon codes, creating a sitemap, built-in email marketing or integration with third party services, Facebook store and much more. Apart from these, their third party apps also allow users to create datafeed for Google merchant center, bing and other leading comparison shopping websites.
Security is really commendable, which is a must for eCommerce carts. Shopify makes your store PCI compliant and implements a 128-bit SSL encrypted checkout for the security of your customers’ data. Further, there is a team of fraud-protection experts to ensure a consistent positive experience for your customers.
Shopify is the industry leader in providing eCommerce software with good reason; would be ideal if the service did not have any transaction fees.