Shopify has a pretty solid reputation as an ecommerce website builder. It offers easy integration with your social media sales channels, user-friendly inventory tracking and product management, and even some decent SEO features.
But it’s certainly not a perfect service. We were really disappointed with the overall design quality of our Shopify store, and the website builder itself was a bit unwieldy. To really get your Shopify site to look professional, you’d have to pay for a premium theme, comb the app store for plugins to give you the features you want, or possibly both.
That’s a lot of time that business owners could be spending interacting with their customers, producing more product, or planning their next business move.
It’s not all bad news, though. We think one of Shopify’s biggest strengths is its ample resources for new business owners.
Shopify offers tools like brand name generators, logo makers, and in-depth tutorials on how to start your business, all of which helps you develop your company long before you’re ready to actually build a site. And once you are ready to build that website, Shopify has webinars, videos, and tons of customer support options to help you learn the Shopify platform and get what you need.
In our opinion, that makes Shopify quite possibly the best ecommerce website builder for small-business owners who are just starting out.
Shopify was not the easiest website builder to use, mostly because the editor changed with every page we built. Just as we started feeling comfortable with the editor on the home page, the platform switched to a completely different editor on the about page (which was different from the editor on the blog, which was different from the editor on the store).
It made us reminisce about Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly, where we could just drag and drop content blocks and get a professional-looking site almost like magic.
In all fairness, Shopify is apparently much easier to use if you pay for a quality theme and take advantage of the apps available on the platform. But then you have to contend with higher financial costs, and you’ll have to find and learn to use the right apps for your needs, which can be an extra drain on your time and energy.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of using Shopify was trying to customize our site’s colors and fonts. It took us over two hours of active building time before we finally found the tab with the site customization options, so that should give you an idea of how (not) intuitive it is.
Once we found the right tab, we were frustrated to find that we actually couldn’t change too much on the site. And when we did change something, the platform would sometimes glitch and either not implement our changes or change some other element on the site that we hadn’t touched.
Long story short, we definitely wished that we’d taken advantage of all those new business resources. A video tutorial or two on how to use the site probably would have saved us a lot of time and trouble. But with how difficult it was to customize our Shopify site, we found ourselves wishing we’d just used WordPress with a WooCommerce plugin. Using WordPress plus the WooCommerce plugin can be complicated, but at least you can customize a font color without causing glitches.