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Shopify 101

In a previous post we touched on content management systems (CMSes)—what they are, what they do best and what to consider when selecting one. CMSes can do a lot but one thing they don't do well is ecommerce.

We love ecommerce here at Big Human and while there are many ecommerce platforms, the one that we are asked about most often is Shopify.  While we could discuss Shopify all day, (please reach out if you do too!) we’ve kept this piece pretty high level.

Shopify at its core is a platform on which to build an ecommerce site. That means that Shopify is right for you if your business sells a product, certainly online but perhaps also offline.

Design is key for any brand or company and should be one of your first considerations.  If you’re just starting out and have limited design capabilities or resources, Shopify has several templates to choose from. The templates can be customized by a designer if you want something a bit more unique.  If you really want a site that is completely your own, you can also have your own template designed (we love doing this) by a professional. Many larger businesses have a custom template designed to use on Shopify.  Customization serves as a way to strengthen the brand, differentiate and have a unique or at least a brand-specific on-site shopping experience. A custom-designed site makes a brand feel more sophisticated and more established to the shopper.  We may be a bit biased, but the potential competitive advantage of a tailor-made template shouldn’t be underestimated so if you have the budget for an agency—do it.

A second—but crucial—consideration is integrations.  Shopify has a plugin for almost everything so increasing the  functionality of your site is not that difficult. Another important aspect of Shopify is that unlike many other platforms, it is a hosted solution.  This means it has central control over the data that integrations use and rely upon. This is rather crucial. Were an integration or plugin to go bananas or a major breach/hack to occur,  Shopify can quickly stop the API calls being made by that set of plugins, protecting you, your stores, and your customer’s data. Similarly, if there are known security breaches related to certain packages and services such as password encryption, 2FA (2 Factor Authentication) fixes, or new user capabilities in the dashboard, the fixes can be rolled-out all at once. For reference, were the same thing to happen in WordPress, you would need to know to backup your version of WordPress, then update it and cross your fingers because a backup and update are not always guaranteed to solve the problem.

In short, Shopify is a great option for ecommerce businesses of pretty much any size.  How you use Shopify ultimately depends on the needs of your business and the resources you have available.  If you’d like to talk shop about Shopify (pun intended), drop us a line here.

June 24, 2019TIL