Shopify Hosted E-Commerce Review: How does it stack up?
After using Shopify on a recent e-commerce project for a Vitamin and Supplement Store with nearly 13,000 products, I have found some strengths and weaknesses of the hosted software. Shopify is geared towards designers, is super easy to setup and quick to get your store up and running. There are no SSL’s to worry about, no hosting to deal with, and no backups to worry about. Shopify takes care of all of this for you. The backend is very easy to use and you can find exactly what you are looking for very easily compared to systems like Magneto. However that comes at a price; Shopify has limits of what you can do with it. After not finding much information, I decided to write some quick pros and cons for those of you thinking about using the system.
- Super easy setup
- Quick and easy order management
- Most major payment methods supported (Not Amazon Payments)
- Liquid templates make it easy to create custom dynamic e-commerce websites
- Supports mobile commerce so customers can purchase while on the go
- Slow, sometimes completely unanswered support questions. I have at least 3-4 tickets open for more than a week without any response or answer.
- Not setup for 1,000s of products although you can do it. With nearly 13,000 products in the store I created, I found it difficult to organize and display this many products. For example, you cannot create vendor pages inside Shopify.
- Google Product Search doesn’t work well for 1,000s of SKUs. If you want to be Google Merchant compliant, you need to manually enter the UPC or MPN. Unfortunately every one of my SKUs = MPN however there is no way to get Shopify to automatically pick this up. I have to manage my own completely separate Google Merchant feed and had to create a liquid template in Shopify to pull my data from.
Knowing what I know now, would I have used Shopify?
Probably not for a store this large. Due to some limitations and my poor experience with their customer support I would have used a solution like Magento community or MagentoGO. I believe most of my unanswered tickets were due to the fact that Shopify doesn’t currently support what I was looking to do. Even so, they should have at least responded to say this. On the other hand for a simple store selling maybe 10-20 products like T-shirts, I think this is the platform for you. I love the liquid template design model and have had minimal problems developing for the front-end of the store other than when a variable wasn’t available like a vendor page as mentioned above.