Overall Satisfaction with Shopify
I was hired by the owners of The Outdoor Patio Store to help usher in a new, more modern experience. The website was hosted on an extremely old and out of date platform that hadn't been updated in years so I had a little experience using Shopify, and I felt it was a really good choice for a small to medium sized business. The back-end is incredibly simple to use, and on the front-end you get a really modern website that does an incredible job displaying your products.
- Back end is insanely easy to use.
- Follows best practices.
- Depending on the template you use, the front end looks just as good as any high-end website.
- Customer service is always extremely helpful.
- Not the most inventory-friendly solution; we spend an additional $90 a month on an app for purchase orders (PO's) which is kind of ridiculous.
- Not friendly for shipping either; we spend an additional $40-$60 a month for ShipStation which allows us to print FedEx Labels.
- Exporting reports and .CSV files could use a little work; it's not always as easy as it could be.
- We're experiencing a higher conversion rate due to the modern look & feel of our site.
- I'm personally spending more time than I'd like fussing with our inventory & shipping.
- Shopify does a great job implementing best practices that are going to get your website noticed on search engines like Google.
My #1 issue with small business and ecommerce is that there's this belief that you can plug a few pictures into any old website, and the orders will start pouring in. This is simply not true, and if you try and build your online business that way you'll save yourself some time if you just start flushing money down the toilet and focus your energy elsewhere. Best practices are your very first tool in convincing Google that your page and products should be included in its search results. Volusion is simply terrible at this where with Shopify it's almost automatic. With Shopify you can almost follow your best practices by accident, but with Volusion I'm finding that I'm using a lot of duplicate content just to get the H1 tags correct, the URL structure is outdated (and again, it could be significantly easier to fix), and its more than happy to leave the meta tags blank where Shopify will pull from the description if you leave it blank.
I'm happy to pay more monthly for Shopify alone because it's an excellent cart to display and sell your product online, and the back-end is a breeze. But paying so much extra for inventory and shipping for software that truly isn't part of Shopify is incredibly frustrating to me. With Shopify I'm paying $179 per month for their best pricing plan, and I'm also throwing an addtional $150 a month at Stitch Labs & ShipStation in order to better control my inventory and shipping. At this point I'm ALMOST willing to live with the over-complicated nature of Volusion just to save some money. And I say almost because Shopify is a really great system, I just think they need to start including some really basic and necessary inventory and shipping options in their system, not sold separately as an add on.
I consider The Outdoor Patio Store to be a small business, and we experience the occasional headache because of Shopify's À la carte approach to ecommerce, specifically because of our need for a more robust inventory and shipping solution. Orders are placed in Shopify and inventory is tracked via Stitch Labs and our warehouse ships using ShipStation. It's not the smoothest system out there, and I don't particularly enjoy counting on three different companies to make sure my business is running properly. As our business grows, as much as I enjoy using Shopify I'm not totally sold that it's the best solution for a business that you intend on growing.