Shopify Review: 6 months later – Real store, real answers. Ecommerce review.
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Shopify Review: 6 months later – Real store, real answers. Ecommerce review.


Shopify review. Real Store. Real Answers. Is Shopify the right choice for your to build
your online store with? In this Shopify review I’m going to help
you figure that out. I have real answers from building a website,
using Shopify on a real working online store. And I’ve been using Shopify now for the
last 6 months. Hi I’m Tim from Real Website Hints dot com
and this is my Shopify Review. It’s my mission to help you find the best
and easiest ways of building high quality websites. I purchase and test website building tools
and create tutorials to help you find the best and easiest ways of making great websites. I support the reviews that I do and the free
tutorials that I offer on my YouTube Channel and website by using affiliate links. So if you like the products that I talk about
in my videos or if you want to learn more, use the links in the description below. So let’s go ahead and dive in. I did a lot of research and testing before
deciding on what online store platform I wanted to use. Our store already had an existing WordPress
website, but we wanted to switch from just a catalog website that we had with WordPress
to one where we could actually sell online. And I want to point something out here that
I learned from my testing. And this is really important. The platform you choose to build your online
store with, is not just what you’re going to be using to build a website with. It’s actually going to be come the main
tool you will use to run your business. What I learned, which might be kind of obvious,
is that building an online store is a lot more complicated than just building a standard
informational website. There are so many things to consider. There’s Payments, customer interface, customer
accounts, order processing, shipping and even sending notifications to your customers about
their orders. You aren’t just building an informational
website on it. You are actually building an entire business
workflow. So, let’s take a look at how Shopify works
as a website builder, and as a business platform. Let’s first talk about what I like about
Shopify. Shopify is designed to help you sell online,
and it does a lot of things to help make sure you are successful. My favorite thing about Shopify over all is
that it’s easy to use. Almost all the features and functionalities
you need are built right in. This means less things to connect and try
to sync together. In my experience the more different systems
you try to connect together, the more problems you are going to have. Having more things that are just built in
just makes your life easier. And sort of makes everything work better. Since Shopify is a store platform, the focus
on the back end and your dashboard is on sales related tasks first. This makes Shopify really easy to use for
what you and your staff will be doing most of the time, which is processing orders. The interface for processing orders is easy
to understand and grasp. It didn’t take long for our staff to get
up and running and processing orders with ease. Website controls are located under the online
store tab where you can access all of the things that you need to modify the front end
of your website. Things like the theme, creating blog posts,
pages and even adjusting the navigation. The menus on your website. So, how do you learn things and get familiar
with Shopify? What I have found is that Shopify is extremely
well documented. If you need to learn something about how to
run your online store, or how something on your online store works. There is a lot of information available. And most of it is actually right in the Shopify
help center. I’ve also had good luck with just calling
and talking to Shopify support staff. As a matter of fact even the staff from the
apps that are provided on the Shopify app store have been extremely responsive and very
helpful. Overall the whole platform feels very well
supported. What about adding functionality to your store
with Shopify Apps? How does that work, and what is it like? I’m currently using 1 paid theme and 2 apps
to enhance the functionality of my store. Shopify has a healthy app marketplace with
developers creating all sorts of plugins to help you sort of sort out those edge cases
that aren’t included with the main platform. With the apps that I’ve used I’ve been
really impressed not only with the functionality of the apps, but also the responsiveness of
the app developers when I have questions or if there is some sort of problem that’s
going on. Down below I’ll link to the 2 apps that
I’m using. The first one is Boxify which helps us to
more accurately calculate the shipping costs, the other is called Cloud Cart Connector this
helps us sync orders and inventory between Shopify and our accounting software Quickbooks
online. So what about getting outside help with your
online store? What do you need to do if you need to do somethings
that’s sort of above your knowledge level? How do you find the right people to help you
make advanced modifications or customizations to your store. One of the unexpected things that I learned
about Shopify, by using it, is that there is not only an app market place, but there
is also an experts marketplace. In the experts marketplace you can find everything
from store setup to custom development and even online marketing. And Shopify makes finding an expert really
easy. Right from the back end of your site you can
click on Hire a Shopify expert. Choose create a job and then select the category
in which you need help with. When I submitted a job I had several responses
with in the first day. And for each response you can see the ratings
and reviews for that contractor based on the work they have completed for other stores. Shopify also makes hiring them really easy. Simply just approve them for the job that
you want, and you can give them access control level they need right from the back end. No fumbling around creating like an additional
new user and then figuring out how to give them access to your site, by sharing passwords. It’s all done right from the backend. I’ve had two jobs done so far and I’ve
had really good success with both of them. Another feature that I like is the ability
to sell not only online but also in store or even over the phone. If your store is like ours you not only sell
online, but also have a physical location and you might even take orders over the phone. With Shopify you can create orders either
using web interface. Or you can also take orders using the Shopify
Point of sales app. And I’m a big fan of keeping things simplified. And by keeping all of your sales in one system
instead of trying to use multiple systems, one for phone order one for in store and one
for on line orders, you can sort of keep them all together. And not have to try to sync different systems. It also gives you the opportunity to provide
a better customer experience by having all of their orders visible in one online account. I cover more about taking orders and order
work flow and some of the things that I like about Shopify in my blog post. You can find a link to that in the description
below. So now let’s talk about some of the things
that really aren’t so great about Shopify. And the biggest down side for me is the difficulty
of designing pages and blog posts. I come from a WordPress background where there
are a lot of options to help you design great looking pages. With Shopify your options are very limited. The default page and post editor is a lot
like what the old WordPress editor used to be like. You ‘ve got some basic text controls things
like deciding on a headings or choosing styling for text. You can also add images. You’ve got some basic image controls for
things like size, alignment and you can decide if you want the text to wrap around the image,
but that’s pretty much it as far as page design goes. If you want to add columns or rows to your
pages you either need to code that in yourself, or you need to get an app with a monthly subscription
to help you design your pages. I really wish there was more built in design
tools in the Shopify page editor. I mean just the ability to be able to add
basic rows and columns would be a huge step. So the next problem that I had was with the
shopping cart and the check out. Now don’t get me wrong. The overall design and experience is actually
really good. It flows well and it helps your customers
get though checkout quickly and easily. I actually really like it. I’ve actually used it many times myself
as a customer when I’ve ordered from different websites that I’ve stumbled across that
use Shopify. However you have really no control at all
over the final check out page. The design of it is fixed. You can’t add any extra text, or any extra
fields for your customers to fill out, and that’s something to keep in mind if you
are trying to decide if Shopify is right for you. The next thing is changing a customers order. When a customer places an order online. Basically you can not change it. The only option that you have is to cancel
the order and then ask the customer to go ahead and place it again. Now I can understand the thinking behind this. You want to be sure that the customer is getting
what they wanted and that you aren’t changing the order after the fact or without their
knowledge. Or charging them a different amount. However when a customer calls you and just
wants to make a simple change to their order like say changing a color. It would be nice to be able to help them with
that instead of only being able to cancel the order and then just asking them to place
a new order. Now I do think there are some apps that offer
a work around for this, but I haven’t tried them myself. So I can’t say if they are good or not. The next thing is with calculating shipping. If you have a lot of items in your store,
like we do, particularly smaller items that may ship together. Shopify on it’s own is not able to handle
this. By default Shopify will calculate the shipping
based on the weight and the dimensions of 1 item at a time. So it looks at it as if each item is going
to ship by itself. If you want to put multiple items together
the default shipping calculator just isn’t going to work for that. Fortunately there are some apps to help. We’ve had really good luck by adding an
app called Boxify. With Boxify. You enter in the weight and dimensions to
each individual item. As well as add in all the different kinds
of shipping boxes that you have. And then Boxify will calculate which items
can ship together. And this allows you to give your customers
a more accurate shipping estimation, so that they aren’t getting over charged. And that you aren’t loosing on shipping. And with a few adjustments to Boxify I’ve
been able to get this to calculate fairly accurately so we aren’t over charging or
under charging for shipping. So the last issue which sort of might be an
issue or might not be an issue depending on your level of skill is that Shopify uses it’s
own programing language called liquid. So if you are already familiar with programing
languages like PHP you might be disappointed to find out that Shopify uses it’s own programing
language. Now I’m personally not a code expert, but
with a tutorial and a code example I can usually figure out how to make some minor modifications. I was worried that with their own coding language,
liquid, I might not be able to sort of fumble my way though the coding and be able to make
these smaller modifications that I sometimes like to make. But what I actually discovered was that Liquid
is very easy to understand. The first project that I took on was to set
up a simple product tag that I could add to different products, and be able to remove
the buy now button and change that out with a call to place an order. With a quick tutorial and some minor studying
of how the code works I was able to figure it out on my own. And for someone who is not a coding expert
I actually found Liquid much easier to understand than something like PHP. But if you already know something like PHP
you might feel differently about trying to learn a new programing language. Now the last thing here is there are some
doubts about search engine optimization. And one of the big things that you will see
about Shopify as a negative is that the way that their URLs are structured might not be
the best for Search Engine Optimization. And this was something that when I first started
with Shopify I was actually really concerned about. Our old WordPress site had a lot of high ranking
pages. And a lot of our products were very high ranking
also. I was really worried about making the move. But so far in the last six months we haven’t
seen any penalty for switching from WordPress to Shopify. And I was even actually able to take a page
and do some focused SEO work on it and move that page from about page 5 to the first and
second listing on google. So I think if you focus on some of the basics
of good quality SEO and the things you can control with Shopify. Shopify will perform just fine for most people. If you are in a very competitive niche and
you’ve done all of the basics. Then things like URL structure may make a
difference, but really I think that the URL structure is so far down on the list of what
search engines are look for that it would be a very rare case where something that would
make a big difference. So those are some things to consider before
deciding on Shopify. So what is my final advice. Well I did decide to build my store on Shopify
and I don’t regret it. There are definitely some inconveniences with
Shopify. Like building and designing more complex pages
and blog posts. But Shopify works really well where it matters. And it helps you to provide a great customer
experience and it’s easy for you and your staff to place and process orders. I actually also really appreciate all of the
tips and suggestions that the platform offers you. The dashboard is full of timely information
about how your customers are using your site. Where your customers are coming from. And tips on how to improve your website. The Shopify dashboard is like having your
own online store coach built right into the platform. So if you’re looking to build an online
store. I would defiantly recommend taking a look
at Shopify. Their platform is very well developed, and
I’ve found it to be widely used across the internet. Many different independent stores are using
Shopify. As a matter of fact. Since I started using Shopify I’ve actually
been able to sort of pin point when I’m using a store that has Shopify as it’s back
end. And from a customers perspective buying things
from other peoples Shopify stores I can say that it provides a great user experience. So if you want to try Shopify for yourself
I’ll include a link below to a free 2 week trial where you get give Shopify a try and
see if it will work for you. If you are still undecided and want to know
more about Shopify check out my blog post where I go into a lot more detail about my
thoughts on the platform, and my experiences with using it. And f you have any questions about Shopify
that I didn’t cover. Go ahead and leave them in the comments below. If you liked this video go ahead and give
it a thumbs up! And for more tips on how to build great websites
easily be sure to hit the subscribe button. Thanks for watching.

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