June 17, 2015

Which eCommerce Shopping Cart Should I Use and Why I chose Shopify

So I get asked ALL to often what eCommerce platform I use, so I thought it was time to sit down and spill the beans.

If I had to guess, I would bet you’re thinking about starting an eCommerce business, or maybe you’re an Etsy seller and are thinking of branching out with your own website. Great! Then you Google "eCommerce platforms" and you basically hit a brick wall because the overwhelm of information is just to much. Which one do I pick? There are so many out there! But what do you do without web design skills? And how do you set up a shopping cart once you do have a website? Do I need a separate credit card processor? Getting started can feel like you are treading water in a vast ocean of choices. Let me throw you a life raft and share my experience so you don't drown before you have even begun.

The Shopify Solution

I had all those same questions and feelings. It was October 2011, when -- after a bit of trial and error -- I *thankfully* found the perfect solution to the above questions. Whether you already have products to sell, want to sell digital products, or are interested in dropshipping, Shopify has you covered.

That’s right. The site you’re reading this article on right now is powered by Shopify! As you can see from this blog alone, there are many things you can do to customize your site.

How Shopify Works

You can easily set up a snappy-cool website -- that includes a built-in shopping cart -- without any design or technical skills. It’s super easy! All you do is customize a template you like and add products. Plus, if you do run into difficulties, you can call Shopify’s support line, which is available 24-7 as well as online forums and ton of Shopify tutorials available on You Tube.

A few Shopify shopping cart deets ...

  • Instantly accept credit cards, no need to sign up for an additional credit card service.
  • Secure shopping cart (128 bit SSL encryption)
  • In person payments: use your free Shopify card reader
  • Store owners/vendors: Can use your own POS terminal
  • Split tenders: Accept two or more payment types in a transaction
  • Sell gift cards: Redeemable in-store or online*
  • and much more

*features vary depending on account level you chose.


Easy, Custom Site Design

I don’t do cookie cutter. I like my website to look unique and tightly branded for my business. Shopify reeled me in with its easy template customization. Plus, there are over 100 free and paid website templates, as well as tons of useful apps that add more functions to your site.  

You can also fully customize your website by getting the help of a Shopify-approved ecommerce designer, developer and/or marketer. Of course, you also have the option to use your own web designer to create a more custom look for your brand.

I personally chose a paid theme since I thought it was worth the money to start with a good base and customized it from there.


SEO and Marketing

No good website would be complete without Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Shopify has built-in SEO capabilities to ensure you get plenty of traffic and sales from Google, Bing and Yahoo. It also has a robust Customer Management System (CMS) to help you keep track of your best customers and their preferences. This all adds up to more traffic to your web store and more sales.

Bonus Round! My Favorite Shopify Features

*Cart Abandonment Recovery: You’ll find, in the eCommerce business, the easier it is for a customer to place an order from their desktop or mobile device, the fewer cart abandonment's you’ll have. That’s why easy checkout for customers is on my list of favorite Shopify features. *Also depending on your account plan you can set up an automatic recovery email to go out to customers that have abandoned checkout.

Link Redirect: Say you sell out of an item but are still getting traffic from the referring link, with link redirects you now can keep that link alive just simply change where to redirect the traffic to. I LOVE this feature. Link redirects is another major bonus, that you can't find on Etsy.

Smart Collections with Tags: When it comes to organizing my very full online store, I rely heavily on the “smart collections” feature. It enables me to quickly and neatly group like items for display, further simplifying the shopping experience for my customers.

Pinterest Integration: Since I’m a major Pinterest fan, I’m pretty stoked about the next two Shopify features: Rich Pins and Buyable Pins. Rich pins include extra information right on the Pin itself. There are 6 types of Rich Pins: app, movie, recipe, article, product and place. And, last but not least, BUYABLE PINS is my newest LOVE. Shopify is one of the few ecommerce platforms that is automatically integrated with Buyable Pins, allowing consumers to purchase goods directly from Pinterest (and the crowd goes wild!). I personally think this is going to be huge.

Buzz Feed Channel NEW! as of June 2017 : Get your products in from of the eyes of BuzzFeed editors for consideration for product features!

*features vary depending on account level you chose.


Why Not Just Use Etsy?

OK this one is a biggie... Etsy enthusiast,. I know you’re thinking, “But Etsy is so rad and useful! Why not just use it?”

Let me first say, I LOVE Etsy. I started selling on Etsy back in 2008 I still run two Etsy stores, as well as southpawonline.com; however, Etsy is just one piece of the online eCommerce pie… meaning you may not be taken as seriously as an artist or professional if you just have an Etsy shop.

Press loves it when you have an independent store. Think about from their perspective... If they are about endorse you to their raving fans, they want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row and can handle the traffic along with a built in "easy to shopping" eCommerce platform.

Plus, what if Etsy was to ever close its virtual doors? Gasp! Yes Etsy is great to have in the beginning, but at some point you have to branch out. Remember, lets not keep our eggs all in one basket.

Summary and a Disclaimer

Whether you already have products to sell, want to sell digital products, or are interested in dropshipping, Shopify is a perfect, all in one solution. Its SEO-friendly, customizable-template, baked-in shopping cart -- and many other features -- make it easy for eCommerce sellers to quickly open their virtual doors and start earning money.


*Note, this article contains affiliate links. What I’m sharing here is based on my six years experience as a Shopify eCommerce seller. If you find this article helpful, and decide Shopify is for you, please use the links you find here to sign up, read more about Shopify or start your free 14-day trial.

Still Have Questions? I am happy to help :) Contact me