Problems with Shopify: is it bad for small businesses?

Problems with Shopify: is it that bad for small businesses?

Shopify has a share of 28.51% (2.6 million) out of 9.2 million eCommerce websites in the USA. With such a massive share in the market, Shopify seems people’s choice to start their online business. However, there are a few drawbacks to using this platform and we are going to talk about a few of them in this article.

Shopify is too costly for small businesses

Although the Shopify platform offers a 14-day free trial, you will have to pay a monthly or annual fee to unlock its full features and make your online store go live on the web. Shopify fees can range from $19 to $299 monthly. 

If you are starting a small online business or just experimenting with your novel idea, you will most likely go for the basic plan. The basic plan costs $19 per month but also includes a 2% transaction fee if you don’t use Shopify payments and use third-party payment providers.

In addition to that, you will have to pay 2.9% of the value of the transaction + 30 cents per transaction. For a beginner with a limited budget, these costs can swell up to huge amounts, which might become too costly.

Moreover, the basic plan has limited features such as restricting you to only use 2 staff accounts and only basic reports. Sooner or later you have to switch to the upper tiers to access the advanced features to cope with your online business operations. 

The advanced plans are too costly to handle as a starter in the eCommerce business. You might look for any other cheap alternatives that can work for you as a beginner.

Shopify has limited options for customization

With Shopify, you can easily set up your online shop with a few simple clicks. You don’t have to be a tech-savvy person to modify your frontend for visiting online customers. But as you move forward with your journey on Shopify, this out-of-the-box solution is not as easy to customize as it seems. With Shopify, eCommerce customization is limited.

You can use themes & templates to design your web store and tweak it a little here and there to give it a more personal touch. Templates do allow you to start right off the bat, but you will have to upgrade your plan to a better – expensive one to get your hands on those premium features to show off your website and differentiate your brand. 

Shopify uses its own liquid setup instead of PHP. So, it becomes a bit difficult to go about customizing fonts, colors, and themes without first learning it. Many developers and designers may not also be familiar with this and may end up costing you more.

Email hosting isn’t provided on Shopify

Shopify portrays its service as an all-in-one place solution. On the contrary, don’t expect Shopify to take care of everything. Besides a few things we have mentioned in this article, email hosting is another option that is not provided by Shopify.

Email hosting is an important tool for corresponding with your customers and clients using a custom email address. It makes your business look professional and easy to handle communications. 

However, email hosting is not a part of any Shopify plans. If you want to send emails using your email address, you will have to go for a third-party email hosting service. 

Zoho mail or Google Workspace email integrates well with your Shopify domain. But this means you’ll have to pay a monthly fee, which is an added cost besides the monthly or yearly fee you are paying Shopify.

Shopify deters scalability

Shopify – like other SaaS platforms – is not ideal when you have business expansion in your mind and thinking long-term about selling online. Shopify is great for small to medium businesses, but it is not capable of supporting big online businesses that require a wide range of products and their variations. In fact, Shopify has a limitation on the number of product variations.

Consequently, to cope with your demanding online business, you’ll be siphoned into subscribing Shopify Plus plan which starts from $2,000 per month for standard setup and integrations along with hidden costs. Plus, you have to pay 6 months ahead or the annual price to start using Shopify Plus. However, notice that this plan comes with its benefits, but this can become a real burden on your pocket considering other costs too. 

Moreover, Shopify also doesn’t offer much when it comes to migrating your business to another platform. At most, it will allow you to make a downloadable CSV file of your products and their description. Thus, in the long term, Shopify is not a useful solution.

Shopify is unsupportive in blogging

One way to market your eCommerce products is to dispense meaningful content to grow your customer base and build up your brand voice. Although Shopify’s platform does have the option to build your blog, it is not aimed at achieving full capacity in terms of content management. 

Shopify is an eCommerce solution built for commerce businesses, it works great in that field, but when it comes to CMS, it lags far behind. 

You can indeed add products and their descriptions, add a homepage allowing you to introduce your brand, and can also manage a simple blog with it. But when it comes to building a rich blog, you’ll have to take help from a third-party CMS.

This is because Shopify’s limited theme templates, layout, and not allowing headless content management restrict your creativity in producing content; it falls much behind when compared to other content management systems and headless eCommerce solutions that give freedom to customize not only your blog but your whole eCommerce website.  

Therefore, to deliver highly rich content to attract an audience and build your brand voice, you’ll most probably have to go for a third-party CMS integration with your Shopify store.

Bottom line

Shopify is a great platform to kick start and try your new online business. However, if you take a holistic approach to its services, Shopify doesn’t deliver much in the longer run. Price, scalability, and lack of customization may be the three most common reasons why you might want to move on to a different platform that gives you true freedom of making your online store.

Ali Muhammad
Ali is an SEO writer and tech enthusiast. Given his versatile writing style, he has worked in various niches. He loves to research topics in detail to learn something new every time.

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