Shopify is a third party application that can provide a great shopping experience for your website. I’ve used it to setup a robust shop that sells around a dozen items, but it can handle a lot more than this.

Pros

  • The support is generally pretty good, although it takes them a day or two to respond.
  • It is a very robust system so you can be confident that it won’t break easily.
  • In addition to its ecommerce it provides a reasonable content management system so you can run your whole website here including a blog and other pages. Although it won’t be ideal for larger sites, just if you want to add a small number of non-shop pages.
  • There are a number of good themes or templates that you can use, these are normally purchased for around US$100-150.
  • It provides ready to go integration with a massive range of payment gateways.
  • A lot of templates are responsive so work well on mobile. The checkout screens actually look better on mobile than they do on the desktop!

Cons

  • Images load slowly in New Zealand, and presumably in some other countries.
  • Cost. This will be reasonable for some and not for others since there is a monthly fee and then a commission on all sales. Other systems like Woocommerce for WordPress will probably take a comparable time to implement but have minimal cost, however Woocommerce would require a steeper learning curve.
  • It’s difficult to get a real handle on the whole checkout process without purchasing a plan. You can see most of the payment system but you don’t know exactly how it will work until you’re purchasing real items.

In summary:

I’d suggest that Shopify is a good solution for a wide range of businesses. I’d personally use Woocommerce as I’m more familiar with it, and that’s important. I also think Woocommerce is much more powerful. But for a novice or someone looking for a straight forward solution that works well out of the box, then Shopify would be a good solution.

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