Last updated on 5th October 2023 at 13:53 by Alex Nicholas
If you're a small business owner looking to create an online store, Shopify is an excellent e-commerce platform to consider. With a wide range of features and tools available, including a variety of free themes, inventory management, and payment processors, it's easy to get started with an online store on Shopify.
However, along with all of the positives of using Shopify as your eCom platform, there are some disadvantages to using Shopify for your content management system that you should be aware of.
One of the downsides to using Shopify is that it may not be as customizable as other platforms like WordPress. This could make it difficult to create a website or e-commerce store with a custom design. Additionally, Shopify's starter plans may be somewhat limited in terms of features and functionality, and their themes can be expensive, especially if you require a custom design. If you are not using Shopify Payments, you may also be charged transaction fees on every sale.
No access to certain areas of Shopify
No matter which of the plans you choose, you don't have access to certain parts of the Shopify platform, namely the robots.txt file and the servers
Neither of these two points are a particularly big deal in my opinion because Shopify does a good job with how it handles both, but it would be nice to be able to access them to do things like check the server logs or block specific aspects of a website from search engines and malicious bots that might be looking to cause harm to a store.
The plans get expensive
The lower Shopify plans are cheap, let's be honest, especially when you consider that web hosting is included with every plan.
The only slight problem comes when you want to scale and unlock better-integrated features that don't come with the basic and Shopify plans.
The cost jumps considerably, but in my opinion, it's worth it, because if you're in need of the more expensive advanced plan you must be doing something right, and that includes making a profit. So in all honesty, it's not really a disadvantage.
And let's not forget that you still have to pay for expensive hosting and servers with other eCommerce platforms like Magento which is very resource intensive and will cost at least £150 per month for reliable hosting, before you've even considered development fees and time.
Despite these potential downsides, Shopify is a reliable and well-regarded platform that many businesses have found to be an effective solution for managing an online store. They even offer a free trial and access to the Shopify app store to help you find the right tools for your business.
Shopify is growing very quickly in popularity, but it may not be as widely used as other e-commerce platforms that require more customisation and bespoke features, such as Magento or WooCommerce.
Both Magento and WooCommerce are open source platforms that have been around for a long time and offer plenty of flexibility and technical ability, but they need expert developers which means premium pricing or a steep learning curve.
It's definitely worth doing additional research and taking your time to determine if Shopify is the right fit for your business needs. And while Shopify does offer a wide range of integrations, apps and marketing tools, it may not be as user-friendly as other platforms, which could pose a challenge for high-end users who need more control over their stores.
The downside to options like Magento and WooCommerce is that you also need to pay for a good dedicated hosting service to make sure that your site stays online and is fast loading, and this is expensive, especially as your traffic levels increase.
You won't be given any options when your traffic increases either. Your hosting provider will insist on upgrading you to a more powerful and expensive server.
This isn't something you never need to worry about with Shopify though, which is another bonus.
Is Shopify good for beginners?
The simple answer is yes, Shopify offers a very good service looking to launch a successful online store and is a great shopping cart for beginners due to it's drag-and-drop interface, ease of uploading and optimising products and lack of need for things like software maintenance.
You can also change plans whenever you need to as well as have access to a large number of apps to help with everything from your digital marketing to your packaging and labelling.
You have access to the front end and back end and have the ability to adjust the code should you need to and there's virtually no downtime from the servers, which is a big plus point.
My experience with Shopify
As a Shopify SEO consultant, I'm obviously biased, but that bias is born out of trial and error and spending many more thousands of pounds than I care to admit.
I've used the likes of Magento and WooCommerce and when it comes to my personal projects I always choose Shopify because it gives me everything I need to sell directly to my target audience and comes with some of the best themes on the market for any eCommerce platform (read my best Shopify themes guide).
I can also vouch for the fact that search engine optimisation is NOT in any way affected by Shopify, in fact, I genuinely believe that it helps because of the quality of it's built-in structure as a SasS product.