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If you’re ready to get off the big marketplace sites and strike out on your own as a reseller, you’ll want to consider Shopify. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of this incredibly popular e-commerce platform. By the time you’re done reading, you will be ready to sell with Shopify in no time!
Shopify is one of the top e-commerce platforms on the internet. It’s amazingly customisable with plugins for just about every need. It features a robust and vibrant community to help in case you get stuck. It offers an independent reseller option, without any reliance on marketplaces like eBay or Amazon. There are plenty of insights and reports to help you make business decisions with actionable data. And you can even hire a Shopify expert to help you set everything up perfectly for your reseller business. Sounds pretty great, right?
The first thing to know is that with Shopify, you’ll have your own shop. You will need to set up a website, market it, and handle all of your own shipping, returns, and customer service. This means it may not be the best option for those looking to sell part-time, or those who want an easy option with little input needed beyond setting up listings and shipping them out. But it is a great option for those who want total control over their shop and its policies, or those who are transitioning off of a platform like eBay or Amazon and are ready to set out on their own.
The second thing to know is, just because you’ll have your own shop, it doesn’t mean you’re all alone. Shopify is known for its top-tier technical support, and they even offer the ability to sell on other marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, or Facebook. The platform also has an impressive number of support tools, including live chat functions, email marketing, cross-selling tools, and so much more. Best of all, quite a few of these add-on apps are free!
Like many SaaS platforms, Shopify offers a few service tiers, each at different price points. Basic Shopify is available for about £21 per month, the full Shopify platform costs £57 per month, and Advanced Shopify will set you back £217 per month. The good news is you can try out the service for two weeks free if you’re on the fence.
Each level of service offers a credit card payment system, shipping discounts with major carriers, and the ability to upload and market an unlimited number of products. If you need advanced reporting, international sales, or several staff accounts, you’ll want to upgrade your subscription. More details on what is included in each plan are available on the Shopify website.
Now that you know the platform’s basics, there are a ton of pros and cons to consider before adding it to your reseller toolkit.
The number one thing that Shopify fans talk about is how easy this platform is. Even internet novices can set up their own online shop with little difficulty. Most often, the more features available on a platform, the more difficult it is to operate, but not so here. Because Shopify is structured with the user in mind, it offers a simple user interface with all the features you might possibly want (and then some).
Much like your favourite smartphone or most modern browsers, Shopify offers a wide variety of apps that can be seamlessly added to your storefront. Have a wishlist of features for your store? Browse the Shopify App Store and you’ll most likely be able to satisfy all of your e-commerce needs and wants.
Unlike many of their competitors, Shopify makes inventory management a breeze. It’s simple to add products, adjust inventory levels, and see when something is about to sell out. You can even get an add-on to notify you when inventory levels fall below a certain threshold.
In today’s online world, mobile-friendly websites are a must. If your site doesn’t scale well for small screens or doesn’t offer a mobile version at all, you’re going to miss out on sales. According to Statista, m-commerce retail sales in the United Kingdom for 2019 were 50.36 billion British pounds. So it’s more important than ever to make sure your selling platform includes a full-featured mobile version. The good news is that Shopify manages this perfectly, with mobile-friendly templates that are both professional looking and easily accessible by almost any type of device.
You want to continue to grow your business. So why sign on with a platform that won’t grow with you? Shopify will handle any size store. In fact, the platform is so powerful that they’ve attracted the likes of Hasbro, Heinz, the BBC, and even Kim and Kylie Kardashian’s beauty lines.
If you haven’t yet explored the world of SEO, you’ll want to give yourself a primer before launching your own site. SEO (or search engine optimization) is the way you make sure that Google and the like see your site. After all, unless you already have throngs of buyers banging down your door, you’re going to need organic search engine traffic in order to attract customers. While Shopify’s SEO features aren’t perfect, they do include most of what you’re going to need to make it to the first page of search results. This includes automatic sitemap generation, 301 redirects, title tags, and so much more.
Unlike their open-source counterparts, Shopify has the 24/7 customer support you’re going to want if anything should ever go wrong with your site. (And let’s face it – eventually, something will.) Not only that, there are plenty of ways to get hold of their support team, no matter the time or day. In addition to 24/7 phone support, they have live chat support, social media support, email support, a community forum, and even robust DIY help online in the form of a help centre and video tutorials.
If you have customers who primarily buy in other countries, you can set the currency of your Shopify store to match theirs. The example on Shopify’s site is as follows, “If you sell to a lot of Americans, then set your store currency to United States dollars (USD). If you need to pay your suppliers and employees in Euros, then set your payout currency to Euros (EUR).” So essentially, your bank account currency can be different from your store’s.
One of the more common complaints about Shopify is that its blog feature, while useful, is clunky and not the best on the market. Hopefully someday the platform will update its blogging tools, but until then, it’s missing key components like blog analytics and an archive function.
With such an impressive App catalogue, Shopify offers all of the features you could possibly want. But they’re not all free. In fact, it’s easy to add up a number of paid features and come out with a price point that’s uncomfortable for most small businesses. Choose carefully when adding in paid apps, and be sure to evaluate the value of each over time.
One thing to be aware of when first starting: be sure you have the theme you want before setting up your store. If you choose to switch themes at some point, you’re going to have to go back and adjust formatting throughout the entire site.
Finally, Shopify does have transaction fees. If you use their proprietary payment platform, they’re pretty reasonable. But if you choose to use other providers such as PayPal, the fees can add up quickly. If you’re in one of the supported countries for Shopify Payments, (which the UK is) you can avoid paying transaction fees! You will only deal with the card rate.
Overall, Shopify is a feature-rich selling platform that will work for most resellers who are looking to strike out on their own. With its app store, support features, and simple user interface, this reseller tool is hard to beat!
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