Shopify CMS Review: Platform Pros and Cons

Shopify CMS platform overview CMS

In this Shopify CMS review, you will get acquainted with one of the most popular tools at the moment for comfortable and efficient work in the field of e-commerce. This platform really can be called an almost ideal solution for most e-commerce businesses.

Its main advantages are that neither special skills nor large time reserves are required to create an online store website. Creating a program code, setting up hosting and linking it to a domain name – you don’t have to worry about anything like that.

Read this article to understand how Shopify works, as well as learn about its advantages and disadvantages, and analyze how this service is suitable for your business.

What is Shopify CMS?

Shopify is a user-friendly content management system that has been developing since 2004 and is designed specifically for online stores. With its help, a huge number of companies sell goods, including digital ones, around the world. This is one of the most demanded solutions for self-launching a project in the field of e-commerce at the moment.

A key advantage of the Shopify platform is the ability to launch an online store without even having programming experience. And if you have ever worked with HTML or CSS, you can realize the full potential of this solution.

The system is very simple, but this does not mean that it does not have any functionality that an entrepreneur needs. Register an account to get access to numerous options with which you can manage an online store, set up a product catalog, determine the cost of product items, adjust content, implement payment gateways, and use widgets to expand your toolbox.

You can sell a wide variety of product categories through Shopify-powered sites, from shoes, home appliances and interior design compositions to consulting services and webinars. Drop-shipping scheme is also available. The tariff policy allows you to choose an option both for a project at the start stage (the minimum monthly fee is $24), and for a store with high turnover and numerous goods.

Main Benefits of the Shopify Platform

The system has numerous advantages. You can verify this by starting to work with it. In the meantime, here are the most significant advantages of Shopify:

  • Quick start of the project. The library of ready-made blocks available on the platform, their well-coordinated interaction and constructor mode allow you to quickly create stores for completely different tasks.
  • Flexible tariff scale. For example, if your goal is to sell goods through social networks, then you can use the affordable Shopify Lite plan for only $9 per month.
  • Maximum wide functionality. The list of additional options, plug-ins and programs includes over 4 thousand positions. That is, in just a few clicks, you can connect the necessary third-party solution to the store or add some function.
  • No problem finding a developer. There are so many specialists and agencies working with the Shopify platform that it will not be difficult to find someone who will solve a complex unique problem, finalize the system and provide technical support service.
  • Great offer of interesting templates. The service offers a variety of beautiful and relevant website themes, each of which is necessarily optimized to maximize sales. Your task is to choose the design that best suits your project.
  • No need to register hosting. The store is hosted on Shopify’s own hosting. That is, you can safely forget about technical issues and problems with server hardware.
  • Mobile solutions for iOS and Android. Business management is available from a smartphone or laptop in a convenient format: processing orders, updating data on commodity items, setting up a website.
  • No additional payments for transactions (provided that Shopify Payments is connected). If the store accepts payments for orders through the internal payment gateway of the service, then no transaction fee is charged. It is possible to connect other systems (Stripe, PayPal, etc.).
  • Scalability. With an increase in traffic or the number of commodity items, the system works just as smoothly as with low sales volumes.
  • Two weeks free trial period. After its completion, all settings of the trial version remain. To continue working in Shopify, you just need to select a plan and make a payment.

Are there any disadvantages of Shopify CMS?

In order for our review to be objective, we must dwell not only on the advantages, but also on the disadvantages of Shopify CMS:

  1. You are not the site owner. The Shopify platform is cloud-based. All data is stored on the hosting service, moreover, you do not have access to all files. This is a kind of site rental.
  2. The presence of a commission for each transaction. You pay not only a monthly fee, but also a percentage of the transaction. In accordance with the selected tariff, it can range from 0.5% to 2%. The exception is projects with connected Shopify Payments. But in this case, the payment system fee is still charged – it does not matter if it is internal or third-party (for example, for Stripe, the fee is 2.9% + $0.3).
  3. Paid addition of functionality. The capabilities of the platform are expanded, as a rule, through the use of paid plug-ins and applications, which means that the subscription fee will be higher than originally declared. From the pleasant – the basic and most necessary options are provided for free.
  4. You cannot edit the checkout page. To be able to change the checkout page, you will have to spend at least two thousand dollars a month, since this option is only available on the Shopify Plus plan. This creates difficulties with setting up additional analytics, and if you work on the Ukrainian market, you will not be able to set up integration with Nova Poshta.
  5. Site performance optimization limits. Since the store owner does not have access to hosting settings and some auxiliary files, it is quite difficult for him to influence the speed of page loading.
  6. High chance of blocking the store. Any Shopify project runs the risk of being banned if the service requirements are violated. In fairness, it should be noted that this happens infrequently and is usually due to incorrect actions associated with connecting a bank card.
  7. English version of the settings panel. The platform is adapted to a greater extent for foreign markets. For this reason, neither Ukrainian nor Russian can be selected for the interface.

Shopify CMS fees

Shopify Platform Fees

If we compare Shopify CMS with similar tools, then the platform can be attributed to the “above average” price segment. There are three tariffs to choose from:

  1. Basic. This minimum plan includes two manager accounts, the ability to issue gift cards and add an unlimited number of product items. Monthly subscription fee – $24, commission – 2% of sales volume.
  2. Shopify. Advanced analytics, a mechanism for returning users who abandoned the cart without completing the purchase, and three additional content manager accounts have been added to the basic tariff options. Monthly subscription fee – $69 + 1% commission on the amount of transactions.
  3. Advanced. This tariff plan includes the most complete functionality. The collection of analytical information and the formation of statistical reports are offered to the maximum extent possible. You will also be able to integrate international shipping services. Monthly subscription – $299, commission – 0.5% of the order value.

Important! To test the service, a free period is provided, after which you should choose a tariff plan and pay for it regularly.

But the costs of using Shopify are most often not limited to the listed amounts. Almost any extension, including the ability to sell goods on social networks, is available only for a fee. The approximate range of prices is from 100 to 400 dollars a year.

How does the Shopify platform work?

According to the information provided by the service itself, there are currently about 1 million online projects based on Shopify. If your task is to find a simple universal solution for your e-commerce business, then do not hesitate – Shopify should definitely at least test it.

This review of the Shopify platform will help you understand its nuances and features, as well as tell you how to register your online store here.

Registration on the platform

Shopify Online Store Registration

The first step is to create an account through which you will work in the Shopify constructor. To understand if this system suits you, the platform allocates 2 weeks of a free trial period. During this period, the use of the platform is free. Download the start page and use the “Start free trial” link. Then enter personal data:

  • email;
  • unique store name.

Next, you need to answer a few questions about the field of activity, the history of transactions and the level of current sales of your company.

Next, enter your personal information: first name, last name, address, zip code, phone number. Based on the data provided, the algorithm will determine the main parameters.

After filling in all the required fields, you will be redirected to the management section, where you need to determine how the site will look like and add product items.

Working with templates

How to work with templates in Shopify CMS

The default theme contains standard modules for an online store. Many of the proposed tools allow you to customize it without serious time and effort. You can change this template after clicking on the “Visit theme store” link, which is located in the “Themes” section of the “Online Store” menu. All options are grouped into collections.

There are only ten themes provided for free, but even with that many, you will most likely be able to find something suitable and then customize the final design.

Advice! In the process of searching for the desired template, pay special attention to the structure of the proposed options. The easiest way to evaluate it is by viewing the demo content, which you can later delete or replace.

There are several times more paid themes. Their cost is usually in the range of 100–180 dollars. Such templates are made using a variety of design techniques, so they look more attractive.

You can activate several themes in your account at once and designate one of them as the main one. You can change templates at any time. You can also upload your own designs. All layouts can be customized by changing the following options:

  • color range;
  • typography;
  • position of the panel with icons of social networks;
  • favicon.

Any module in the template is also customizable – add images, change text, indent and align, enable or disable buttons, specify element sizes.

You can achieve the perfect design of your online store even if you use the template that is loaded by default. But you have to work with the program code, and for this you need to know the basics of at least HTML and CSS, and a maximum of JavaScript and PHP.

What does the Shopify admin panel look like?

This is what the catalog control panel looks like. It is also used to connect the built-in payment gateway:

Shopify admin panel

Components of the control system:

  • home – home page, from where you can go to the interface for choosing a tariff plan, setting up product items, distribution channels, etc.;
  • orders – list of orders, invoices are generated here;
  • products – setting up categories and product items;
  • customers – customer base;
  • analytics – reports and analytics;
  • marketing – store promotion;
  • discount – a module in which discount coupons can be generated;
  • sales channels – setting up sales channels;
  • online store – a large block with all sorts of parameters: theme, blog post placement, page editing, domain name registration, SEO settings, etc.;
  • apps – directory of plugins and applications;
  • setting – basic project settings: payment gateway, access restriction, delivery options, etc.

You can upload information about products either separately for each item or in an array.

App Store

The app store hosts extensions that allow you to increase the functionality of the site. To quickly find the right solution, all options are grouped into categories:

  • marketing;
  • inventory management;
  • directory navigation;
  • store security, etc.

Information! You can find free solutions in the catalog of plugins and applications. But, of course, there are much fewer of them than paid ones.

Payment systems

The Shopify service has its own built-in payment gateway, but it is not available in all regional markets. Alternative systems:

  • PayPal;
  • ApplePay;
  • Google Pay

In addition, the list contains more than a dozen solutions, including banking tools for convenient online payments.

SEO settings in Shopify

In Shopify, the aspect of site promotion is well thought out. For this, a large list of special tools is offered. For the user’s convenience, all SEO parameters are filled in automatically, but it is possible to change them on any page of a heading or category.

In addition to setting the URL, Title, Description and Alt are available for editing. You can set a redirect and change other settings to raise your site in search results. Projects created on the basis of Shopify are well indexed by search engines, which subsequently generates free traffic.

Сергей Шевченко
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