Shopify – sell to your customers online
Shopify is one of the more well-known choices of turn-key ecommerce solutions available, which provide everything you need to setup an online store and start selling your products to the world.
As a Registered Shopify Partner, Web Tonic can help you to launch your ecommerce business using the Shopify platform, ensuring you choose the right add-ons to achieve all the features and functionality you require to suit your business model and target market.
Shopify is comparable to BigCommerce, which also provides a complete package style of ecommerce system, rather than one where you build the online shop yourself using plug-ins.
You can read more about Shopify’s pricing and key features below, or if you need guidance around whether Shopify is right for you, just fill in an ecommerce quote application and let Web Tonic come up with the ideal ecommerce platform and add-ons to fit your business.
What are the key advantages of Shopify?
Shopify has two key advantages over its competitors.
One of the key features of Shopify is its “Buy button” functionality. This allows you to use Shopify as your Point of Sale (POS) / Inventory option: customers can click to buy your products anywhere online (Facebook, Pinterest, WordPress blog, Tumblr, etc). It is only available as part of the Lite Plan, and is an alternative to PayPal rather than full online store options, and as such is a true entry level e-commerce option, ideally suited for start-ups or businsses with 25 products or less.
The other is Shopify’s scope for customisation. Aside from its many built-in features, Shopify also has more available add-on than any other ecommerce platform though its App store. Not only can you find a lot more more specialised features and functions that you can add to your online shop, Shopify has also made it possible for developers and other online services to create their own hyper-specialized products that plugin seamlessly to Shopify’s platform.
Shopify Pricing structure
Shopify offers 4 e-commerce plans and a Lite Plan that essentially provides you with a virtual Point Of Sale. There are no sales limits at all on Shopify plans
Shopify Lite: $9 USD per month – not an e-commerce site, just a ‘buy button’ function
This allows you to use your Facebook page shop function or a Shopify “Buy Now Button” (an embeddable widget) to sell products online. You can also sell goods offline* (at ‘point of sale’), which is useful for pop-up shops, market stalls and other temporary sites, and link to the Shopify backend to manage orders and inventory. Shopify Lite is viable if you:
- only want to sell on Facebook
- prefer to integrate a Shopify ‘Buy now’ button onto an existing site
- don’t have more than 25 products
- want to use Shopify to power point-of-sale transactions
For the ecommerce packages (below) all come with unlimited products and unlimited file storage.
Basic Shopify: $29 per month – 2 staff accounts
This comes with the basic Shopify functions for an e-commerce site, including SSL certification for the website, manual ordering and discount codes.
Shopify: $79 per month – 5 staff accounts
The flagship package for Shopify, has the same ecommerce site features as the basic, but with more functions, like Gift cards, Abandoned cart recovery, Fraud analysis and Professional reports.
Advanced Shopify: $299 per month – 15 staff accounts
Aside from the jump in staff accounts, there are only a few extra features that come with this package, like advanced reporting and a real-time carrier shipping integration.
Shopify Plus: pricing varies depending on requirements
This is the equivalent of the Enterprise package from BigCommerce, where businesses with over $1 million USD in sales can tailor their e-commerce functions, reporting and software integrations to match the more complex requirements of a larger entity.
Other Shopify Pricing layers
There are several additional layers of charges for Shopify on top of the monthly package prices, so you need to do your homework on the real cost of your online store before making a decision.
There are additional transaction fees with Shopify on all plans, unless you opt in for their Stripe powered ‘Shopify Payments’ system. This is not available in all countries; because it’s powered by Stripe it can only currently be used in the US, UK, Australia and Canada. Transaction fees are as follows:
- 2% for Basic Shopify (no information on website about Shopify Lite)
- 1% for Shopify
- 0.5% for Advanced Shopify
Credit Card Fees
For credit card purchases there are additional credit card transaction fees. If you are using a third party payment gateway, these will be based on the set rate for your provider. However, using Shopify’s payment gateway, the rates for credit card transactions vary for online purchases and offline (Point of Sale).
Online sale rates are as follows:
- Shopify Lite: 2.2% + 30c per transaction
- Basic Shopify: 2.2% + 30c
- Shopify: 1.9% + 30c
- Advanced Shopify: 1.6% + 30c
POS rates are:
- Shopify Lite: 2.7% per transaction
- Basic Shopify: 2.7%
- Shopify: 2.2%
- Advanced Shopify: 1.6%
Add-on fees from apps
With Shopify, there are charges incurred from 3rd party apps, plugins or bits of software that you can purchase to make your store better. There are over 1200 apps available from the Shopify App store. Usually these are one-time purchases, but some incur monthly fees and sometimes they run off transaction fees.
Shopify developer tools
Shopify provides a wider selection of themes than most. For its free themes, Shopify provide 12 theme variants. Within these themes, there are the usual array of different styles to choose from, so your site can be signigicantly different from your competitors.
In addition to the free options, Shopify offers 70+ paid-for templates, which range from $100 to $180 in price. Rather than minor variations of the same thing, the paid-for Shopify themes are quite distinct from each other – and most themes come with a selection of variants you can choose from, giving you even more scope to play with.
Shopify lets you customise their templates quite extensively – either through the content management system’s settings or changing the HTML / CSS code to achive a truly unique and professional online store.
For most changes, you simply pick a pre-existing template and change colours, typefaces and certain aspects of the layout simply by using the standard controls provided.
To make design changes with Shopify involves using their own templating language, called Liquid.
Liquid is Shopify’s own simple programming language. It allows you to make use of HTML and CSS but also to insert tags, operators and variables to produce dynamic content.
Web Tonic is familiar enough with Liquid to achieve most customisation you may require, and can quote on providing any changes to Shopify developer themes.
Other important features
Although there are many features that come included with Shopify’s e-commerce packages, most are comparable with the other leading ecommerce platforms on the market. There are some worth focusing on for their difference or importance.
Shopify supports 70+ payment gateways including the major ones- like Worldpay, Quickbooks, Paypal, 2Checkout, but not all are available in New Zealand.
The Shopify branded Payment Gateway is run through Stripe, which is only available currently in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, so (as mentioned in the pricing section of this page) there is no preferential rate option on credit card transaction fees for New Zealand based businesses using Shopify.
Web Tonic can provide a list of those that work for New Zealand businesses, either selling domestically or offshore. Contact us about payment Gateway options
Shopify’s ‘Product Reviews’ App
Shopify does not provide a built in products review function on any of its plans: you’ll need to us a separate app to handle this. Fortunately, Shopify provide a free app for this purpose: the ‘Product Reviews’ app.
In addition to Shopify’s reviews offering, you can install a wide range of third-party apps to add different reviews and ratings functionality, many of which provide more advanced features than the standard Shopify ‘Product Reviews’ app, some that integrate with Google Reviews, Disqus and Facebook.
Product categories and product options
Shopify allows you to create ‘smart’ collections within your product inventory. You can use various criteria to populate a collection, including product title, tags, price, weight or other common factors.
Not only can you add products manually to collections, Shopify will automatically populate them with products based on the conditions you supply.
Variables for products
Shopify only allows for 3 variables per product – eg size, colour, material. On the plus side, apps do exist in Shopify to extend this, but they will increase your monthly outgoings.
Shopify POS function
Shopify, like BigCommerce, offers a POS so that you can sell your products and accept any payment on any device. You can select products from your online store, apply discounts, accept different payment methods and email receipts from your mobile phone or tablet. Shopify automatically updates your inventory, orders, and customers in real-time.
Retail Store package
Through its Retail Store Package, Shopify takes the POS function to a new level, allowing you to process sales in person, essentially tying in your retail outlet to your Shopify online store . This is priced at $40 USD and requires an iPad and the POS function to activate.
Other in store devices such as barcode scanners, receipt printers, tills and label printers can be integrated, with staff log-in codes to help attribute sales figures accurately.
There is a list of makes and models for registers and other retail hardware that are compatible with Shopify Retail Store, or you can order Shopify’s own hardware kits.
Note: If Shopify is not right for you, Web Tonic can offer alternative ecommerce solutions that are right for your business.