Have you been thinking about starting your own business and selling products online?
Shopify is one of the more popular eCommerce platforms, offering many features to help you set up a shop and sell your wares to the world. It includes eCommerce software, attractive themes, and unlimited hosting space.
But is Shopify good for small businesses with a limited budget and a brand just breaking through in the market?
In this guide, we've reviewed its features to help you decide if this platform is the right fit for your startup.
Take a look at how Shopify works, its pros and cons, and whether it's suitable for small businesses in the long term.
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Is Shopify Good for Small Business: Platform Overview
The digital age has brought about a new wave of business owners and entrepreneurs willing to go the extra mile online to succeed.
If you are looking for a way to sell your products without putting in all that time and money required for local stores, an e-commerce solution could be what you exactly need.
Shopify is a leading cloud-based e-commerce platform that lets you set up your online store quickly and easily.
Founded in 2006 as a way to sell snowboarding equipment online, the site soon expanded into a full-fledged e-commerce platform that small businesses of all types could use.
It now hosts roughly 4 million live websites worldwide, and 2.05% are among the top 1 million. And it's now worth more than eBay.
According to Google Trends, Shopify is the most searched e-commerce solution, with 3.3 million search volumes.
The platform has generated more than $543 billion in sales throughout its operation, with 2022 most likely to witness half a trillion dollars.
How Does Shopify Work?
Shopify has a wide range of features that make it easy to set up and use, so you can start selling your products in no time.
It's a good option for small businesses because it offers all the tools necessary to run an online store with less technical knowledge or experience than other platforms require.
You can either use their ready-made themes and designs for your store or customize them using their drag-and-drop customization tool.
The best part is that Shopify is you can try it for free for 14 days. And because it’s a cloud-based e-commerce platform, it’s accessible on any device and operating system. You won't have to worry about buying expensive hardware or software.
Pros of Using Shopify for Your Small Business
Huge and Growing Market
The vast e-commerce market is expected to grow even more in the future. It means good news for online sellers because there is much room for growth, which could mean more sales for you.
One reason Shopify is great for small business owners is its growing market.
According to the company's website, over 350,000 active online retailers are using the platform. And over 5,000 new businesses are also launching on the platform each month.
That's an incredible number of potential customers to reach when considering how many people use the internet today.
In addition, Shopify's revenue growth rate is about 80% annually, which shows how successful this platform can be in terms of profit for your business.
Wide Range of Customers
Another key advantage of setting up an e-commerce business is that you can sell your products to customers globally, which is a great way to expand your business. You can choose to target only a few countries or try worldwide distribution.
Easy and Quick Setup
Setting up an online store on Shopify is easy and quick. You can use one of Shopify's ready-made themes and designs or fully customize them using their drag-and-drop customization tool.
The user interface is clean and intuitive, making it simple for a beginner to learn how to use it.
It's ideal for business owners who want to start their own online business but don't have much experience building websites or running an online shop before now.
Another advantage is that there's a better chance of increasing your sales and building your brand with an online store compared to setting up a physical store.
People can buy products 24/7, so you can increase your customer base significantly by going online.
You can also get better sales with an online store because you can reach more people in different geographic locations.
Shopify is a website that offers a wide variety of themes and designs for your store, making it easy to find the perfect look. They also provide several different templates you can use to customize the design even more, so you can make it your own.
Shopify offers various support services for their customers that small businesses can take advantage of. There are Shopify Experts who are in charge of providing personalized help to all small businesses.
The experts are experienced in different areas, and they will be able to guide any questions, queries, or technical problems you might have with your store. They'll also offer advice on your decisions and how to grow your business efficiently.
Shopify also offers support services. This includes 24/7 phone and email support for any questions or issues that you may have.
A customer service team is available around the clock to help troubleshoot problems with your store or provide advice on how best to use its features.
One of the essential features of any small business is inventory management. Shopify offers various options for managing your inventory, making it very easy to track and keep tabs on everything from products to orders.
This feature is excellent for small businesses that want to maintain an accurate count of their products at any given time and easily manage how many are in stock and how many need to be ordered.
Allowing you to see how many items are needed or how much space is left in your warehouse/storage area can help ensure that you're never caught off guard by a last-minute order or running out of product unexpectedly.
Shipping and Returns
The shipping process for any Shopify store is straightforward. Customers enter their shipping address, and the system does the rest by automatically selecting an appropriate shipping method for each order and any applicable taxes.
This also means you won't have to worry about deciding which carrier to use or what price to charge for different packages.
Returns are similarly straightforward. Any customer can return their purchase within 45 days by sending it back at their own expense or requesting a refund with Shopify's returns module.
As long as you don't open the package and it's in its original condition, then the customer will be able to get the money back with no fuss.
Security and Fraud Protection
Shopify offers many securities and fraud protection features to keep your customers happy and safe, which is important for any small business. These include:
- Secure server connections
- Fraud prevention
- Secure on-site payments
- Flexible checkout processing options
- Fraud screening
- Two-factor authentication
If you're looking for an e-commerce solution that's versatile, customizable, scalable and offers a wide range of payment options, Shopify may be a good fit.
Payment integration is relatively simple and accepts all major credit cards and PayPal. No matter how big or small your business is or where your customers are, you can quickly receive their money.
Shopify also supports over 100 different payment gateways, so it should cover any possible gateway needs you might have.
Plus, the fees associated with processing orders via these various payment methods vary from 0% to 3.5% per order, depending on your chosen pricing plan.
One of the most significant benefits of Shopify is the free trial. It allows you to test everything and see how it works for your business before you commit to anything.
It's a great way to ensure that this is the right choice for you before spending any money. Also, if you decide it's not a good fit, there are no strings attached, and you don't have to keep paying for something that doesn't work.
Easier to Scale
If you have the right marketing strategy in place, it is easier to scale your e-commerce business than a physical store.
You don't have to worry about finding more real estate or hiring more staff. You can use analytics to figure out what your customers like, their buying patterns, what they search for, and where they come from.
If you are serious about growing your business, Shopify offers several marketing tools that can help:
- Custom gift cards
- Discount code and coupons
- Facebook ads and selling
- Google ads
- Product reviews
- Social network integration
- Targeted email marketing
SEO and Mobile Friendly
Shopify is built on a robust platform that helps you build a website optimized for search engines. Your store will be seen more often by potential customers, which will also increase the number of sales you make over time.
If you are a beginner in the e-commerce industry, using Shopify is an excellent way to get started. It will help you build a website that can be accessed easily by anyone with an internet connection, which means they won't have any trouble navigating through it.
This platform also supports mobile browsers, so you can expect great sales increase from smartphones. As more and more people browse the internet on their phones, this is especially important— if your store isn't optimized for them, it will lose out on potential customers.
Cons of Using Shopify for Your Small Business
One of the most significant disadvantages of setting up an e-commerce business is that you have to deal with low margins. You have to rely on third-party sellers to source the products you sell.
You don't have direct control over the prices of your products and have to pay a certain amount as a commission for every sale.
You can find a way around this by joining forces with other sellers and creating a marketplace where customers can buy from all of you at once. However, remember that this will also mean sharing your profits with everyone else.
You will have to deal with higher costs if you want to sell your products. You'll also have to spend time and money sourcing deals and managing all the inventory.
Plus, if you decide to drop ship, there are no guarantees that your orders will get fulfilled quickly enough— which can lead to angry customers leaving bad reviews.
The e-commerce space is competitive, so you must work hard to stand out. There are a lot of other sellers out there, and you need to find ways to make your store stand out from the crowd.
It can be pretty tricky if you don't have any experience with e-commerce or web development. Also, some people may not trust an online store created by someone with no background in the industry.
Shopify is not a good choice for businesses with a lot of traffic. The platform limits the number of products you can sell, which means that if your store grows too big, it'll be challenging to manage.
In addition, Shopify only offers one e-commerce solution: its online store builder app. If you want to offer something different, you'll need to look elsewhere.
If you use Shopify for your online store, you'll also be limited to products offered by third-party sellers partnered with them.
So, unless you're okay with selling items from a company like Uniqlo, there will be significant limitations on what kind of stuff you can get away with selling through your store.
That said, if there's something specific that's big in your region and isn't available from any other partner suppliers in their network, they allow you to go through another vendor.
Lacks Custom Themes
Shopify does not support custom themes or plugins as WooCommerce does. While this may not be a big deal for some stores, others might find it a deal-breaker. This lack of customization is also reflected in the Shopify app store.
While there are plenty of apps out there, not all of them will fit your needs. If you want to customize your store as much as possible, then WooCommerce is probably better for you.
Shopify charges a monthly fee. You will still have to pay for the platform each month if you are not making any sales.
It can be highly costly for small businesses or those who do not expect to make much from their website in the first place.
Finally, another disadvantage of setting up an e-commerce business is that it is risky. You will have to invest a lot of money upfront, and you don't know if you will recover that investment in the long run.
Is Shopify Good for Small Business: The Verdict
Starting an e-commerce business is a great way to make money in a short period.
However, you have to be careful when it comes to selecting a platform for your store. You don't want to spend your time and money on a platform that isn't worth it.
For this reason, Shopify is highly recommended. It's designed for both small and large businesses.
This platform has all the tools you need to sell your product or service online and comes with all the features required to run a full-fledged business.
It is also easy to use and gives you complete control over your store. You can either use their ready-made themes and designs for your store or customize them using their drag-and-drop customization tool.
One of the best things about Shopify is that it is free if you have a small business selling only a few products.
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