A dropshipping store is like any other ecommerce store, except the business owner doesn’t have to rent a warehouse, pay for lease on a physical store, or stock the products. This means before you could “sell” products, you have to build an online store using one of the many ecommerce platforms available in the market today.
If you’re comparing ecommerce platforms for your dropshipping store, your options may include Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, YoKart, Shopify, Big Cartel, Open Cart, Zen Cart, Symphony Commerce, Drupal Commerce and a whole lot more. But if this is your first foray into the world of dropshipping and ecommerce, here’s why Shopify should be your top choice…
Why Choose Shopify?
The number one reason why over 350,000 online shops have chosen Shopify as their ecommerce platform is because there’s no need for programming, or web design knowledge to set-up a Shopify store. You can basically launch a new store in minutes.
Shopify is best for beginners because of these reasons:
1. Template availability – Shopify has a ton of free, ready-to-use themes to choose from. These themes are professionally made, mobile-ready, highly responsive, and designed with the customer in mind. There’s also option for paid templates, if you want better customization and more features.
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2. Massive app store – Shopify has its own collection of extensions and plugins, which help expand the functionality of an online store. Example of tools available at the Shopify app store include tools on stock and inventory, reporting, shipping, customer service, store analytics, and social media, among others.
There are over 1,500 free and paid apps available, all of which are already compatible with Shopify and are easy to install. You can cherry-pick only those that would best fit your business, or experiment on new tools that could skyrocket your sales to newer heights.
Shopify even gives its members a way to connect to mobile app developers, who can customize their apps for you (for a fee, of course).
3. Quick-connect to Facebook and other Cross-Channel Selling Capability – One of the best things about Shopify is that it allows you to connect your store with a Facebook page, and sell directly from the largest social media network today via the Shopify Facebook App. You can also sell in other platforms like Pinterest, Houze, Twitter, and Wanelo for a wider reach of your target market.
4. Huge Community to Help – Even if Shopify is aimed at beginners and designed to set-up a store quickly, problems could still arise. What’s great with Shopify is that aside from its 24/7 livechat and phone support, the community forum is also home to many friendly and helpful people who are (or have been) on the same boat as you and are ready to guide you with Shopify questions you may have.
Shopify also publishes tutorial posts, case studies, and success stories regularly.
5. Built-in SEO Functions – Competition is fierce in ecommerce, which is why it’s a big plus that Shopify has SEO functionalities available. By taking advantage of these features, such as adding tags, editing meta tags, adding product descriptions, arranging collections, etc., your Shopify online store would be “seen” by search engine crawlers and indexed. This means that when someone searches the tags you used on search engine, your store could be one of the results listed.
Shopify Isn’t for Everyone
The benefits of using Shopify for your dropshipping store are numerous, but not everyone could succeed with this platform. Here’s why:
1. Shopify Payment – Members are basically forced to use Shopify Payment since every transaction made from your store would incur 2% transaction fees if you choose another payment gateway like PayPal. This is on top of the 5% transaction fee PayPal deducts from every payment you receive.
Unfortunately, you can’t just skip PayPal. It has been proven by multiple testing and testimonies that adding PayPal to an online store increases conversion rates for up to 30%. That’s a huge percentage to ignore.
2. Expenses Add Up – Shopify lets you try the platform for 14 days without charge, but if you decide to subscribe, you’ll have to pay monthly charges of $29/month (Basic), $79/month (Shopify Plan), $299/month (Advanced Shopify), or $2,000+/month (Shopify Plus). Other expenses could also add up, such as customization of themes and apps, and turnover fees (from between 0.5% and 2.0% of the product amount).
In addition, if Shopify decides to up their subscription plans in the future, you’ll have no choice but to continue, or move to another platform completely.
3. Limited CMS Capability – Shopify may seem like WordPress with its availability of themes and plugins, but the limits begin to show once you’re inside the Shopify platform. Content management systems (CMS) like WordPress are popular for a reason – the potential for development and customization are endless.
4. Shopify only lets you create two types of content – a blog post, or a page. It can be hard to create additional text fields for products, or link posts to products. The cheapest Shopify plan also doesn’t have the best search mechanism, and no advanced filtering for product searching available.
5. Scalability isn’t an Option – It’s good to start small, but if you plan to expand your dropshipping store in the future, it would be a pain financially and emotionally because:
- Everything is hosted on Shopify. All customizations, uploads, and other content will be hard to export to a new host.
- You’ll lose Google rankings. If you started with Shopify, but want to move to your own hosted site, the search engine rankings your Shopify store has earned will be all for nothing. Your new site would have to be re-indexed, causing your original site to lose traffic.
- Exporting data is hard work. All customer data and order details are stored on Shopify. You’re able to export this data, but it is a lot of hassle to do so.
The Bottom Line
Shopify is a great choice for company online stores that house only limited items. If you’re planning to build a dropshipping business, you’d find more success buying a domain name, using a full-featured CMS like WordPress, and be in full control of your website.
Plus, since scalability is key to dominate the dropshipping model, your best bet is to learn how to build a store from scratch, and not be tempted with Shopify’s plug-and-play solution.