Guide on How and Why does Shopify Work

Kas Andz

November 12, 2021

Table of Contents

The title of this article is a big question that gets bigger everyday. The answer tends to be the same, though the impact of the answer becomes more and more relevant. 

Shopify, like other front end retail eCommerce solutions, are meant to help stores get online.

More and more people are not heading out to the malls anymore and are simply relying on online shopping.

Why?

Well it’s easy, convenient, can  be done at any time of day, night, weekend, and even holidays. 

So why, of all the options, do we choose Shopify???

Answer 1

Shopify is not Amazon!

Don’t get us wrong, Amazon is an amazing marketplace and it makes for a buyer haven when looking for different products and almost anything under the sun. Now, you may ask, is this article a promo for Amazon on why not to use Shopify?

No – it is the furthest thing from it. As an eCommerce company, your goal is to sell as much as possible, at the highest price, with the lowest fees possible. 

This is where Shopify makes all the difference. 

Consider the following:

  • Amazon charges an average of 13% per sale + shipping (as most customers have Amazon Prime Status). That’s a healthy margin.
  • Amazon charges you for storing the unsold products in their warehouses.
  • You are competing against every other single retailer for the same product type. 

These drawbacks are all bonuses for buyers, but nightmares for the seller (you).

Shopify charges you a monthly fee for using their software and that’s it, you’re free to do whatever else you like to manage your business. Yes, you don’t get the free exposure of your product being seen on Amazon’s website (note, many sellers sell on Amazon and Shopify) but that is where good digital marketing comes into play to draw buyers to your site.

Don’t get us wrong, Amazon is a remarkable company that does remarkable things. This is why many choose to sell on Amazon even with a private platform like Shopify at their side. Again the downside is that you’re paying money to Amazon, but that can be a legitimate business expense. 

Answer 2

Shopify! It’s easy to use.

There are lots of choices to build eCommerce sites, but a big reason why Shopify is on our choice list is because it’s just that easy to use. The system provides a robust back end (adding products, prices, discounts, images, categories) and that’s just the interface! 

Shopify provides an open market solution that allows you to single click integrate to 100s of 3rd party tools and services so you can customise exactly what you want to happen when you want it to happen.

There is very little in the modern era that Shopify doesn’t connect to to make your eCommerce store run like clockwork.

And it gets better. 

You can build the front end (the site people actually see) all within Shopify as well. You can either do it from scratch or use their proven-to-convert templates and plug in your logos, products, and overall customer user experience onto your brand new eCommerce website. 

Gone are the days of having a developer or programmer to modify. Shopify makes it easy and the right way to do business.

Several programs, as you’ll see below still operate off needing a developer to make that perfect solution for you such as WordPress. Shopify realised this early on (so did other companies like Wix) that if you want to be successful in the online marketplace from websites to eCommerce platforms, even down to web searches, it has to be easy and simple to use.

For our developer friends, this kind of stinks, as these types of sites were the bread and butter of the development world.

These seasoned professionals, like everyone else, now have to adapt to building solutions that non-developers can use on their own. 

The world is getting smaller, smarter and more robust, and Shopify is leading the way to making consumer’s and shopkeepers (you) have the best experience possible.

KAMG can help you with all of these answers and more.

Answer 3

The plugins and 3rd party.

Touched upon briefly above, plugins are nothing to shy away from. Some of our favorites are the out of stock plugins that enable you to give your customers notifications when something comes back into stock.

It also deprioritises the out-of-stock product while it’s out of stock by moving the positioning of the product to the bottom (so that customers can focus on what you do have in stock!)

The 3rd party connections are amazing, such as Klaviyo, an email marketing solution that was designed with Shopify in mind.

Klaviyo helps you to automate your processes for email notifications from sales emails, shipping notifications, abandoned carts and more to help you to maximize your sales and your customers’ experience when interacting with you.

Remember customer experience is key to retaining those hard earned customers.

The plugins and automations don’t stop there. There are literally marketplaces in Shopify to find exactly what you want, which are rated by experience, cost, stars and more.

Shopify’s searchable mammoth database is at your fingertips to discover exactly what you need and how easy they make it to implement, usually with just a click of a button.

Answer 4

Letting Shopify run your business while you grow your business.

Similar to the above, Shopify automates everything from the website, to the sale, to the fulfillment of the sale, connecting steps all the way until the product sold is in your customer’s hands. 

What a relief!

Taking care of your store, whether it’s a brick and mortar or digital domain, can be a daunting task.

In the real world there can be a spill and a cleanup on aisle 7!

In the digital world, the page may not load!

Shopify takes care of those digital bumps in the road for you, so there is nothing to clean up (and their technical support is top notch).

Shopify’s robust secure system enables you to have peace of mind that your store is running at its best level and can handle all of your business traffic, while maintaining a secure system to avoid issues and hacking. 

The Pros and Cons of Shopify

Shopify is great (if you have not been able to tell) but there are some drawbacks to the program. Below are the Pros and Cons of using Shopify.

Pros

  • Free 3 month trial.
  • Super easy to use.
  • Flexible design for your front end website.
  • A super cost-effective way to build your online shop.
  • You own your own store (as opposed to being a part of Amazon, eBay, or others)
  • Access to 1000s of powerful eCommerce apps and plugins.
  • Simple to manage and create.
  • Mobile and tablet compatible store.
  • Around the clock security.
  • Unmatched technical support.
  • No server costs.

Basically with Shopify, the pros are just awesome! You can get access to the starter plan, design and build your store and trial it for 3 months completely on the house. 

During your trial, you can use the  “Shopify payments” feature (which is also free) so you’ll get a better idea of how your Shopify store will work for you.

With its flexible platform and access to eCommerce tools and apps, getting started and expanding has never been easier. In addition, it all runs on Shopify’s servers, so there is no need to buy and support!

Security wise, Shopify invests millions of dollars every year into making its platform secure and to comply with PCI regulations and rules.

Security is obviously critical in building your and your customers’ trust, and when you, the shop owners, are taking buyer’s credit cards to complete transactions, it’s key that you are PCI compliant. Also your website should display “HTTPS” when customers come to process their orders.

Shopify takes care of all of this for you.

Support wise, a super reliable and responsive technical support team is crucial when running any business, but especially an online store.

If your website goes down or a payment method stops working, it’s key that you can get a hold of someone no matter day, night, or weekend, which is a giant benefit that Shopify has. 

Cons

  • You have to do your own marketing.
  • You don’t get Amazon’s name, you have to build your own.
  • Potential monthly fees based on your package and add-ons.
  • Reports are only available from the Upgraded Plan option.
  • Transaction fees apply if not using Shopify’s payment portal.

Basically, the most important part of Shopify is to be aware that marketing is something you not only need to handle, but prioritise.

You won’t see any reports on the basic plan either, so you’ll need to keep track of your data yourself.

Remember too that if you don’t use Shopify payments, you’ll incur a transaction fee on all your sales.

Ok so why Shopify vs any other platform?

Who are the other players in the game?

Wix Stores: Wix stores, presented by the same folks that brought you Wix itself, would be our 2nd choice for providers. The system prides itself on Wix’s platform making an easy to access editor and backend system. Wix Stores promotes 500,000+ customers (so still way behind Shopify) but they are growing at a great speed. Wix Stores doesn’t yet have the reach of Shopify in terms of 3rd party connections but does work well within its own platform. If you are already using Wix, then this may be an option if you’re looking for a lower level eCommerce platform compared to Shopify.

Wix’s Vertices

Arts & Design

Food & Beverage

Beauty & Cosmetics

Fashion & Apparel

Sporting Goods

Toys & Games

Square One: Square One is designed for smaller businesses looking to get off the ground. It has a simplistic website design functionality that is great for less tech savvy members. The challenge (compared to Shopify) is that once you’ve grown out of your britches, you’ll probably need to migrate to Shopify or another solution. For obvious reasons, we still go with Shopify

BigCommerce: BigCommerce is all in its name, a platform polar opposite from Square One, designed for large scale eCommerce stores. Their specialty is SEO (making sure you’re found online) which is super important when you’re looking to be found outside of Amazon’s platform. A great solution, but we prefer Shopify as it also gives superior SEO and all its other features.

BigCommerce Vertices

Fashion & Apparel

Health & Beauty

Sporting Goods

Food & Beverage

Home Furnishing

Automotive

B2B (wholesale & distribution)

CBD

Squarespace: Squarespace (not to be confused with Square One) is an excellent platform that offers state of the art templates for building your website and promises hassle free experience. This is a great option for artsy and perhaps more sophisticated product lines. Shopify provides great templates as well as several more integration options to make your experience second to none.

Squarespace’s Vertices

Arts & Design

Food & Beverage

Beauty & Cosmetics

Fashion & Apparel

Toys & Games

Network Solutions: Network Solutions is designed for small businesses but does require you to be more technologically savvy in terms of hosting and other nitty gritty items that Shopify takes care of automatically for you. The benefits are price and discounts available for this solution, but we prefer the package that Shopify offers.

Web.com: Web.com is one of the older solutions. Similar to Shopify. Web.com boasts easy-to-create website management. The infrastructure is designed again for small businesses which means that once you are successful instead of a simple upgrade, you will probably need to migrate to something else, namely Shopify. 

WordPress: Yes, WordPress itself has its own eCommerce platform. WordPress, which has a commanding presence in terms of websites that use it, has added a new solution to their eCommerce platform. The issue is the same as WordPress, it’s difficult to use unless you are tech savvy, even at the developer level. The SEO benefits are natural, but unless you know what you’re doing, you’ll need serious tech support. Shopify blows this one out of the water.

Magento: Magento ranks for SMB businesses that have already achieved presence.The platform is indeed very powerful and has over 5,000 extensions. This sounds nice, but requires a much longer development time and a bigger budget than most of its competitors. Shopify takes the cake in terms of power and simplicity.

Magento’s Vertices

Beauty & Cosmetics

Consumer Electronics

Fashion & Apparel

Food & Beverage

Home Furnishing

Sporting goods

WooCommerce: WooCommerce is an open-source WordPress plugin, owned and developed by WordPress (see above). It is one of the most popular eCommerce options on the market and it runs on 30% of all stores on the internet. The challenge being the building and maintenance of the site on the WordPress platform which can suck up much development time and costs.

For those willing to put in the time and the coin, WooCommerce has a reputation for being one of the best eCommerce platforms for small businesses (of course that already have a site on WordPress), or who are on a shoestring budget, but still want a good online presence. It has 1000s of 3rd party themes and plugins, giving it a great deal of flexibility to accommodate most needs. Shopify boasts the same positives without having to deal with WordPress and can scale for large businesses as well.

WooCommerce’s Vertices

Beauty & Cosmetics

Consumer Electronics

Fashion & Apparel

Food & Beverage

Home Furnishing

Big Cartel: Big Cartel is an eCommerce platform by artists, for artists. This SaaS site builder focuses on creators who need a place to sell artwork, clothing, jewelry, and photo prints. An excellent solution if you are working within this particular niche with beautiful templates. 

Big Cartel excels at being one of the best eCommerce platforms for artists and aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking for another option to Etsy. Big Cartel knows their niche and the builder itself is simple to use, and helps artists put their best foot forward.

Shopify’s templates match 1 to 1 as well as having more available plugins and 3rd party solutions to match any need.

Big Cartel’s Vertices

Arts & Design

Clothing & Apparel

Makers

Photographers

Salesforce Commerce Cloud: Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a high level eCommerce platform that offers a complete range of features, plugins, integrations, and capabilities that make it a perfect fit for international companies that process many millions of dollars in orders. 

Salesforce Commerce Cloud excels at being the choice for enterprise companies with complex requirements. Again, this is not for beginners and indeed a complicated but highly able solution that has many solutions to cover practically any business application, whether B2C or B2B. In addition, as a Salesforce product, Commerce Cloud benefits from Salesforce’s robust platform.

The downside (if you couldn’t have guessed) is that it’s complicated, while Shopify keeps it simple and is robust enough to keep up with even the fabled Salesforce!

Salesforce’s Vertices

Beauty & Cosmetics

Fashion & Apparel

Sporting Goods

Toys & Games

Food & Beverage

Cars & Automotive

Parts & Manufacturing

Chemicals

Other B2B applications

Volusion: Volusion, first created before the turn of the millennium back in 1999, is one of the longest-lasting eCommerce platforms in the market. It still remains popular despite its competition with the creation of recent competitors like Shopify, with over 30,000 stores using the system and having generated over $28 billion in sales. 

Volusion is the best when it comes to eCommerce platforms for new companies and startups and small businesses who want to get started quickly but still have room to grow within their chosen option. Unlike other solutions that require you to go through an app store or integration, many important features are already included as part of its standard dashboard. Volusion shows its age in many areas, but it’s still a robust system that serves most business needs. While Volusion holds its own, it doesn’t hold a candle to how far Shopify has progressed both in capabilities and in popularity.

Volusion’s Vertices

Beauty & Cosmetics

Consumer Electronics

Fashion & Apparel

Food & Beverage

Home Furnishing

Sporting goods

Conclusion

In conclusion, whether you are thinking about going up against (or combining with) Amazon or against the plethora of other options, Shopify has stood the test of time and continues to innovate and build on its brilliant reputation as the #1 leader in eCommerce platforms in the marketplace today.

Can Shopify be overthrown? Yes, but the geniuses behind this giant eCommerce platform have been ahead of the game since 2006.

Shopify’s sheer flexibility does not restrict itself to a particular niche, but seems to excel at all of them. Whether you are a technology eCommerce store to an artsy one, Shopify has you covered.

Its core product is robust, its upgraded version, Shopify Plus, takes you to a whole other level, and with its 1000s of 3rd party solutions and plugins makes it nearly impossible for you to not create and make the perfect site, backend, and automation to make your eCommerce store shine.

The automations are one of the brightest features, essentially combining multiple programs into one to extend the reach of your business needs and goals far beyond what was once thought possible.

Shopify has a bright future targeting small and medium-sized businesses all the way to $100 million dollar companies, all within the same smooth platform.

Its support functions are unprecedented and is something they took to heart. Shopify knew that to be successful, its customers needed to be happy, and that is exactly what they did. Behind every aspect of Shopify’s mammoth program is an expert waiting to help you answer questions you may have, to make your experience the best experience for selling online.

Whether you are looking to get started with your eCommerce empire, have some experience, or are already well established, we 100% recommend Shopify. The one thing you never want to do is migrate systems and Shopify makes sure that they grow with you as far as you can reach. The sky is no longer the limit. Shopify is designed with you in mind, with the users in mind and with the buyers of your products in mind, all for the strict purpose of creating a better user experience. 

Kas Andz is a multi-award-winning marketing leader, and the founder of KAMG. He is one of the top digital marketing experts in the UK and has helped companies and brands across Europe, North America and Asia to achieve greater revenue and expand sustainably. He also tries to play football when he can but doesn’t succeed as well as he would like.

FAQs

What is an eCommerce platform?

An eCommerce platform like Shopify is an app or website that serves as a space by which you can create an eStore.

For example, if Facebook is where you can make your “timeline,” an eCommerce platform is where you can build your online business website used to sell things.

On the other side of the coin, the eCommerce platform will also be where consumers go to search for stores to buy from.

The eCommerce platform entirely facilitates the transaction processes.

Why should I use an eCommerce platform?

If you are a business owner who doesn’t have much experience in web development or creating an eStore, you should consider using an eCommerce platform like Shopify.

Most eCommerce platforms today have drag and drop functionalities that make creating your eCommerce website simple.

What are the disadvantages of eCommerce platforms?

The problem with eCommerce platforms is that your DIY eStore can often look like everyone else’s – meaning that it is hard to stand out when almost all online stores look and feel the same.

While similarity creates familiarity and usability, it takes away from uniqueness and recognition. You are just like everyone else using the platform.

To avoid this, you can integrate marketing and design strategies that can help you stand out. For example, you can apply external conversion rate optimization that is not organically provided as an app or service on the platform.

Also, you can stand out by significantly improving the content of your eCommerce platform website. You can also apply search engine optimization principles that will allow you to reach more people doing queries.

How does CRO help eCommerce platform businesses?

Conversion rate optimization means that you build your eCommerce store in a way that each element you use will help move your users to purchase. By picking only the elements that perform well on A/B tests using your niche market as respondents, you can make sure that audiences will have an excellent experience shopping on your website.

When people love shopping on your eStore, they are more likely to buy something.

What can I do to improve my Shopify eCommerce store?

If you want to get more than the usual conversions that Shopify merchants get, there are in-platform apps hosted by Shopify that you can use. There are apps for CRO, email marketing, SMS marketing, cart abandonment, and others that quickly integrate with your eCommerce store.

However, just like how Shopify is significantly accessible to many, so are those apps. If you truly want to exponentially increase your metrics, you are better off hiring expert eCommerce services from experts like those from KAMG.

Shopify apps are working shortcuts that can get you enough improvements that you will be happy about but the “real deal” kind of digital marketing will still do it 100x better.

Are build-from-scratch eCommerce websites better than Shopify?

While Shopify can make things easy for many merchants, a fully customizable website will still be better in the long run.

The templates, in-platform apps, and user-friendly tools on Shopify will make it quick and convenient for anyone without any technical expertise to build an eCommerce store. But the website you will build is limited to what Shopify allows you to do.

Also, Shopify will always get a cut from your gross income.

With a fully customized website, you are in control of everything. This means that you can surpass businesses using Shopify if you know what you are doing.

And you can do that with the full support of a senior digital marketing team like KAMG.

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Changes to this Privacy Policy

We may update Our Privacy Policy from time to time. We will notify You of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

We will let You know via email and/or a prominent notice on Our Service, prior to the change becoming effective and update the “Last updated” date at the top of this Privacy Policy.

You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, You can contact us: