If you want an ecommerce system that you can manage yourself, and not have to outlay £thousands without knowing if anyone wants to buy your product in the first place, then Shopify is probably the best option on the market at the moment.
Prices start from $29 (about £22) per month but you can try it free for 14 days first to see if it suits your needs (and they don’t ask for your credit card details). And if after a few weeks or months your shop isn’t taking enough money to cover the $29 per month then it’s probably your product or sales activity that needs to change, not your ecommerce software!
Obviously you need to invest a bit of time in setting it up but Shopify claims that you can get the basics set up in half an hour, which is pretty impressive. And, as with all ecommerce systems, your shop will only be as good as the products in it so you’ll need to make sure you keep on top of the ongoing management side of things. But, the main benefits of Shopify are:
- You don’t need to spend a lot of money up front, just a reasonable monthly fee (with some transaction fees on top)
- You don’t need to pay a web development company a monthly retainer because you can handle the ongoing management yourself
The simple back-office management system frees up time for you to concentrate on the most important bit, sales and marketing!
As your shop progresses you can upgrade to other pricing options to add more features. We’d suggest starting small though to keep your costs low while testing the market.
Check out some examples.
Well, it enables you to do all the things you’ll need to trade online:
- Design templates to make your site look professional (so you don’t have to worry about paying a designer to put page layouts together)
- Add your products, sort them into categories and manage inventory
- Create customer accounts and analyse their spending behaviour
- Accept payments from 70 different payment processors
- Manage discount codes
There are all sorts of tools (apps) you can add too and Shopify provides 24/7 support (telephone, chat and email) if you ever get stuck. We’ve not tried their support yet so let us know how you get on if you need to use it.
Oh, and if you already have a website, built with WordPress for example (as our website is) you can integrate Shopify with it, so you don’t have to build a new website from scratch.
Shopify currently powers over 300,000 businesses in approximately 150 countries, so it must be doing something right!
There are free alternative systems out there but we think it’s worth paying the monthly fee for peace of mind, knowing that your web and mobile shop is robust and always available, and there is always someone available to help you if you get stuck. From our experience, that is worth the $29 per month alone.