Every single time I use Shopify, I find myself in complete awe of the platform. They’ve thought of everything so we don’t have to. It would be impossible for me to even scratch the surface of its features here. So instead, I’ll simply dive into the perks that make it so ideal for me and my clients.
Every e-commerce website project starts with selecting a theme. Shopify has hundreds of free and premium templates available. There aren’t any “bad” options because the criteria to be included in the marketplace is so high. Many of them are stunning works of art in their own right; each with the ability to define colors, fonts, settings, and layouts. Still, it’s important to choose a theme that was developed for your overall purpose—especially when it comes to the number of products offered. If you’re only selling a few basic items, selecting a complex template designed to showcase a massive catalog is likely going to be a headache.
There was a time when I felt obligated to warn clients, “Shopify is not a website builder. The static pages are kinda plain but the e-commerce functionality is stunning.” Things have come a long way since then! Shopify 2.0 themes allow you to build brilliant custom page templates using drag & drop elements. Also, if you’re comfortable, you have access to edit the theme files and CSS as well. Customizability is limitless!
My love affair with Shopify begins when you login to the dashboard. All of your store’s stats, settings, notifications, and options appear at your fingertips. It’s such a pleasant experience—SO beautifully designed. There is nothing intimidating about Shopify.
I love knowing I can hand-off a completed website to a client and they will have no issue managing it from there. In fact, I often hear from clients that they never thought it could be so easy to run their online business. Some have even opted to integrate their in-store POS, inventory management, and wholesale operations to all run through Shopify.
Out of the box, Shopify does everything you need to sell online. You can build pages, create products, set up shipping, and process credit card payments. When your client asks for something outside of the platform’s basic features, you have a massive ecosystem of third-party plugins at your disposal. The App Marketplace includes everything from customer reviews to form builders to upselling tools and affiliate programs. If you can dream it, someone has likely developed it. Unlike WordPress, there aren’t too many free plugins here. Be prepared to pay a small monthly fee for anything of real value.
Let’s hop from the back-end to the front-end for a moment. In my opinion, this is where Shopify really outshines WooCommerce. The minimalist customer checkout path is SO incredibly joyous. You can tell years of research and analytics went into crafting the shopping cart interface. Visitors don’t want a clunky buying experience and store owners don’t want anything standing in the way of completing the sale. When it comes to streamlined conversions, Shopify is hands-down the BEST.
For freelance web designers who want to build e-commerce sites for clients, the Shopify Partners program is such a gift. You can create and manage as many sites as you wish for FREE. Take all the time you need to build out a site; try out different themes, experiment with apps, and get the back office business set up properly. Once a site is approved to launch, you can delegate ownership to your client, connect the domain, and start collecting passive income on their monthly Shopify plan!