eCommerce platforms

Shopify: Advantages and disadvantages of the platform

Mariluz Sampalo

Mariluz Sampalo

Feb 1, 2022

how to open online shop on shopify

Inside this article

  • iconWhat is Shopify?
  • iconAdvantages of Shopify
  • iconDisadvantages of Shopify
  • iconHow much is Shopify? Shopify plans
  • iconHow to sell on Shopify
  • iconHow to set up shipping on Shopify
  • iconShopify Payment methods
  • iconIntegrating Shopify with other sales channels
  • iconMarketing and branding
  • iconReports and statistics on Shopify
  • iconFAQ about Shopify
  • iconWrapping up
  • In this article, we’ll cover the well-known eCommerce platform Shopify, from its advantages and disadvantages to its features and functionalities as well as how to open a shop using the platform and how to set up shipping methods.

    What is Shopify?

    Shopify is a platform specializing in eCommerce and online shops of all sizes. Some of the features that have bolstered its success in the market are its ease of use and intuitive interface.

    Creating a relatively simple online shop with Shopify is easy and fast, allowing you to start selling in a matter of hours. However, the platform also provides the tools for an online shop with a high level of design and usability.

    To create a more advanced shop, additional time and resources must be invested into the design and customization. It’s important to note that this hosted platform doesn’t allow full customization of the online shop, but it does come with plenty of options.

    If you think Shopify might be the right eCommerce platform for your business, this article will clear up any doubts and help you make a final decision. 

    Advantages of Shopify

    Shopify offers many advantages and tools useful for online shops, including the following:

    • Creating an online shop with Shopify is easy and fast. The platform is very user-friendly
    • There are excellent built-in features (secure payment gateway, marketing tools, pre-set Shopify themes, designs and templates, etc.)
    • Hosting, server and updates are included. Shopify is responsible for these tasks and the cost they imply
    • The Shopify app store offers over 6,000 apps, being Outvio one of these

    Disadvantages of Shopify

    Shopify also has some disadvantages, these being the most crucial:

    • There are relatively limited customization features
    • You’ll have to pay transaction fees. If you use a payment gateway that’s not Shopify Payments, there are variable fees depending on the subscription plan you choose (between 2% and 0.5%)
    • Permanent subscription fee

    How much is Shopify? Shopify plans

    When you first open your online shop through Shopify, you will receive a trial period of 14 days. Once the trial has elapsed, you'll need to choose one of their subscription plans if you want to continue using the platform.

    Shopify offers four subscription plans for professional online shops, each of them with different prices and functionalities.

    The three most popular subscription plans on Shopify are Basic Shopify for $29, Shopify for $79 and Advanced Shopify for $299. These subscription fees are paid monthly. In the following chart, you can see some of the features included in each plan.

    Basic Shopify Shopify Advanced Shopify
    24/7 customer support 24/7 customer support 24/7 customer support
    Sales channels Sales channels Sales channels
    SSL certificate SSL certificate SSL certificate
    Multiple users (2) Multiple users (5) Multiple users (15)
    Up to 4 inventory locations Up to 5 inventory locations Up to 8 inventory locations
    - Basic reports Advanced reports

    However, Shopify also designed a plan for well-established online shops: Shopify Plus. The price of this subscription is $2,000 per month. The Shopify Plus plan provides unlimited bandwidth, level 1 web security, 24/7 support, flexible integrations, unlimited accounts for employees, multi-store management and the opportunity to sell in more than 170 countries and in 20 languages, among other features. Some of the companies that use Shopify Plus for their online shops are Fashion Nova, Hawkers, Missoma, Huel and Kylie Cosmetics.

    How much is the Shopify fee?

    As we mentioned earlier, when you sell a product on Shopify, the platform may charge you a commission or fee for the sale. The fee (a percentage of the price) changes depending on the subscription plan.

    Basic Shopify Advanced Shopify
    2% of product’s price 1% of product’s price 0.5% of product’s price

    The only way to avoid this fee is to use the payment gateway that Shopify provides or to choose an entirely different platform that doesn’t charge fees.

    How to sell on Shopify

    To start selling on Shopify you’ll need to create an email account or use an already existing account to open your Shopify store. Before you create it, choose a name and domain for it. Shopify gives you the opportunity to choose a free domain or pay for one that is SEO-optimized and reflects the essence of your brand. You can choose a theme and template to give your online shop a unique aesthetic.

    girl opens an online shop on Shopify

    After that, you can start to upload your products and set up the most important sections for your shop, such as “Contact”, “Terms and conditions”, FAQ, etc. Choose the payment gateway and payment methods that you’ll be using.

    Now you’re all set to publish your home page and start selling.

    How to set up shipping on Shopify

    On Shopify you can set up different shipping options, such as free shipping, minimum order or express shipping.

    You can also set up different shipping zones with different rates (flat shipping rate, variable rate and so on).

    We have an article on how to set up shipping on Shopify.

    If you want to set up your shipping zones based on postal codes, you can also do that in Outvio thanks to its smart shipping rules. This functionality is especially useful when you ship to areas with a different taxation system.

    The online retail market is becoming more and more globalized. For this reason, Shopify allows merchants to apply different tax rates according to the location of the business. In the case of international sales, it’s also fundamental to consider all the documents that should be attached to the package for its journey. By the way, commercial invoices and shipping labels are automatically generated and printed when you use Outvio for the fulfilment of your orders.

    Shopify Payment methods

    You can enable multiple payment methods through Shopify, from the most traditional, like credit and debit cards, to cash on delivery, PayPal, Amazon Pay and Apple Pay. You can even receive payments with cryptocurrencies.

    Integrating Shopify with other sales channels

    Shopify can be integrated with other sales channels like shops on Facebook and Instagram or marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, as well as content creation tools like WordPress.

    Marketing and branding

    Shopify includes tools and functionalities to facilitate the management of an online shop. For example, it offers over 70 templates to define your brand image. These templates are customizable to some extent, but not fully.

    Shopify also has a feature for blogging. This can add value for your customers and generate a sense of community among them. Essentially, it can be used as an additional marketing tool for publicity.

    If your target audience is scattered across many locations, communicating with your customers in their native language will have a positive impact on sales and the relationship between customers and your business. The three main subscription plans allow you to sell in up to five languages. With Shopify Plus, you can sell in up to 20 languages. One of the downsides of the multilingual feature is that to enable multiple versions (translations) of your shop, you’ll need a paid app.

    To help with your marketing activities, Shopify also includes a feature to connect your account to Google Ads and Facebook Ads. This can be used to promote your products and create Facebook and Instagram campaigns from a single interface. 

    Shopify has an option to send emails automatically, should you wish to carry out email marketing campaigns. However, the maximum number of emails that you can send for free is 2,500/month. If you exceed that number, you’ll need to pay for the service.

    Reports and statistics on Shopify

    Shopify allows you to track transactions and revenue. However, this data may not be sufficient. If you want to gather additional metrics from your business, you can connect your Shopify store with Google Analytics and do the integration with Outvio to gain more insights on sales, shipping, returns and opened emails.

    FAQ about Shopify

    How to delete Shopify account?

    Go to Account settings, log into your Shopify admin panel and click on "close store".

    How to remove 'powered by Shopify'

    Go to the Theme section, choose to edit the code and enter: Sections > footer.liquid.

    In this section, you'll find the "footer.liquid" file. Look for "powered_by_link" and delete the following code: <small class=””site-footer__copyright-content” site-footer__copyright-content–powered-by”=””>{{ powered_by_link }}</small>. Depending on what theme you are using, there may be more than one instance of this bracketed code that you’ll have to delete. The code will always include {{ powered_by_link }}, so you can search for it and delete it.

    After that, save the changes.

    Wrapping up

    Now that you know how Shopify works, maybe after reading the article, Shopify doesn’t seem to be the perfect fit for your eCommerce store.

    Choosing a platform for your online shop is a crucial decision for which you need to be well informed. If you want to compare other options, you can check out our articles on other platforms like PrestaShop or Wix.