What cost factors should clients keep in mind when considering this tool?
It’s pretty inexpensive but one thing they do is take a small percentage of sales. I know in the past some people have taken issue with that. I feel like it’s well worth it for what you get because it’s also a hosted platform. For other options, you may not have a transaction fee but you have to build it yourself, and you have to hire a developer and designer and have to spend more to get it launched. Plus, you then have to pay for the hosting and everything, too. There’s definitely a tradeoff there.
What are the features or tools of the platform that have most impressed you?
I like that you can try out different backend options or different designs that are easy to preview and launch. That’s unique for an e-commerce platform or website builder. Instead of doing some work and switching your site live with a different template or theme, you can have a couple in the background that you can take turns putting live. I think it feels safer to do that. I think their theming is very strong. They have really great looking themes. I think that’s why we’re attracted to Shopify like we’re attracted to Squarespace. I think they’re the best in their market for great design options. And everything is responsive as well, so it works on all devices. Overall, it’s a very easy to use platform for someone that doesn’t have a lot of experience.
Are there any areas of the software that could be added or improved upon?
I don’t think so. They’re a platform that’s been around for so long that I think they worked through a lot of their kinks and made a lot of improvements early on. I think it’s a highly refined platform because it’s so widely used and it’s been around for so long. They take customers’ feedback seriously. They have excellent support, too.
Is there any way Shopify makes the deployment process easier? Is there any way they could improve this process?
It’s very easy to launch something. When you create a Shopify site you get your internal URL that you will launch. Once you register your domain, there’s an easy place to go in and switch it to the live domain and push your store live. That’s pretty simple. I can’t think of anything they can do better.
Can you speak to the support of Shopify? In what ways do they excel at support offerings, and where could they improve?
It’s better than pretty good support. It’s very good support. I wouldn’t say it’s as good as Squarespace’s. They’re not as super responsive but I wouldn’t say they’re not responsive. Squarespace is just exceptional, so it’s probably unfair to compare someone to them. They have a support system at ZenDesk, and then you can email them too and they always get back to us pretty quickly. They get back to you within a couple of hours. They have live chat support, too.
In terms of performance on hosting and SEO, are there any issues there? Any strong points?
Never any downtime. I feel like they’re good with SEO [search engine optimization] - it’s as good as other platforms. They allow you to do like most platforms these days. You do the basic paid SEO stuff you need to do.
If someone used it as a web builder without a focus on e-commerce how do you think it would compare to Squarespace or Wix?
I would say it’s pretty good. I guess it wouldn’t be as good as those. The blog on Shopify is pretty good. I’d rank that pretty high. I think it works terrifically as a CMS [content management system]. It has all the standard good features of a modern CMS. You can use a WYSIWYG view in the editor. You can add and edit content and style it without having any knowledge of development and without any code.
Are the customization options on par with Squarespace?
I think they’re good but I would say Squarespace is probably better.