For many starting out their e-commerce business or setting up a virtual store for their retail shop, Shopify can be an attractive proposition and it certainly does have some benefits. The ease of set up, vast array of templates and extensions, means that in many cases a store can be quickly launched without knowing any code and at what at face value seems like a not unreasonable monthly fee and no initial large capital spend.
However there are some drawbacks that I want to run through so that you have all the information you need at hand before subscribing and dedicating your time into getting Shopify up and running.
You will spend more than the monthly subscription.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph at face value while not particularly cheap the base monthly price for a Shopify subscription is not unreasonable for a platform that promises easy out of the box set up. However most people quickly learn that to add many kinds of functionality to their store they will need to invest in multiple plugins, and in some cases you may find yourself still having to pay a developer to build a new plugin or modify existing code to achieve a desired outcome.
When you factor these added costs in, using Shopify may end up being a more costly option over the life of the web site.
Third party payment gateways are not seamless.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a region that supports Shopify for payments you may be able to accept credit card payments directly from your checkout. For other places where a third party payment provider is required, like Stripe, TapPay or PayPal your payments will be handled through a redirect. This adds an extra step to your checkout process, and we all know that a drawn out check out process leads to lower conversions. Ideally you want your payment embedded into the checkout page to create a better user experience. Unfortunately at time of writing Shopify does not support this.
You will probably need a developer.
As mentioned above the relatively low barrier to entry and no coding skills required makes Shopify an attractive option, but as your store grows, or you want to expand what the platform can do or how the design looks, it's almost an inevitable that you'll need to bring a developer on board adding even more costs. At this stage you may even consider developing and migrating to another platform, and you may end up asking yourself if the off-the-shelf solution was really the correct thing to do in the first place.
There is no doubt that for some people, Shopify offers an easy, fuss free way to build a simple online store. But for those companies with more ambitious e-Commerce goals, it pays to think carefully about the different platforms available and choose the right one for your business going forward.