Shopify is an excellent solution for your already established eСommerce business as well as for those of you who are planning to build your online shop. Although Shopify is an excellent option, you should still consider their pros and cons in order to learn if this is the most suitable platform option for the online shop you want to build.

Advantages of Shopify

Built-in Speed & Security for Hosting

One of the challenges of running an online store is that you have dual needs from your hosting: you need it to be screaming fast and you need it to be super secure if you are processing credit cards.

For every extra tenth of a second that a customer waits for your page to load is a second that they might very well leave and go to your competition. In fact, most studies show that people will only wait up to 4 seconds for a site to load before leaving – and this gets even tighter for eCommerce sites.

Great Customer Support

When I contrast my experiences between building an eCommerce store myself (with something like WordPress + WooCommerce) and running it with something like Shopify – customer support is one of my top reasons to go with something like Shopify.

When you are building it and running it yourself – you have no one to turn to, except $$$ developers and often unresponsive online forums. With Shopify – you get answers fast. And all my customer support experiences with Shopify have been really fast, correct, and helpful – from both a developer and storeowner perspective.

Marketing

What good is an online store if you can’t get anyone to show up? That’s what marketing is for – and it’s something that Shopify really excels at. Shopify doesn’t offer the fanciest marketing tools on the planet (as part of the main package – they offer more in the App Marketplace) – but they do include the essentials – and they make sure they do the essentials really well.

Design

I think that good web platforms should always offer at least 2 levels of customization: first, it should look fine out of the box; second, it should be easily improvable without having to employ and professional graphic designer or developer.

Drawbacks of Shopify

Unique Customization Costs

Like with any customization, if you’re looking to design something very specific that needs a lot of customization, you will need a budget to hire experts and/or agencies. This wouldn’t be ideal for new store owners.

Limited Free Themes

One disadvantage of using Shopify themes is that there is a big chance you will have to buy a theme as there are currently only 10 free Shopify theme templates available. Paid themes, a little more expensive than the average WordPress theme, will cost you up to $180.

Tech Support Number Only in Select Countries

If you want to call, you can only do so to one of these four regions: US, UK, New Zealand and Australia. Additionally, for some tech issues such as with bought templates, you will need to contact developers directly through online forums – depending on each vendor’s support policy.

Development process

Starting from scratch or even building upon an existing Theme is labor intensive. From a front-end perspective, while Shopify can do some SCSS preprocessing, it only supports up to version 3.2. Development is limited to either using the built-in editor while logged into the store or utilizing Shopify’s Slate toolkit for local development / version control. This tool can dynamically sync your local files to your Shopify store and active Theme.