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When deciding to create a website for your brand, you may be wondering whether you need a website built from scratch, or whether you’d be better off using a website builder. With eCommerce businesses continuously growing and generating more sales, there can be many questions as to where you get started and which platform is best for you to reach your customers and sell your products or services.

Shopify is a website builder that allows its users to create online stores using their templates, it offers a variety of plans depending on your needs as well as a fairly good offering of functions to add into your website. The biggest pro is that the userface is extremely user-friendly making it a nice option for those who do not want complicated web options, but rather quick functionality, however it does come with its limitations. Here we discuss the pros and cons of choosing to use Shopify to develop your website.

Advantages of Spotify

Shopify is extremely easy to set up and you don’t need any coding skills, making it a great choice for businesses that want to get started as quickly as possible. If design isn’t your thing, you can use a designer to create a beautiful functioning website, which you are then able to manage simply. By having the main function of the website created and designed, it is easy to follow suit and add/edit your products without needing the help of your designer or developer. It links well with shipping, instagram shopping and the ability to insert your own discount codes, whilst having a clear inventory. This makes it easy for you to control and manage as you need, something which can be a little more complex with a bespoke website. 

With the advanced and Shopify plus packages, you can add further functions such as 6+ inventory locations and localised shopping experiences (for different currencies and languages). The plus packages can offer many functionalities all in one place but with a starting cost of $2000/per month, this can be quite an expensive option for small businesses. With the basic package being much cheaper, this can make it a great, easy to use, option for small businesses. 

The checkout process is simple which makes it appealing for potential customers being able to complete their transactions with ease. Shopify allows payment functions such as subscriptions and pre-orders, as well as accepting a variety of payments; Visa; Mastercard; Amex; Shop Pay; Apple Pay; Google Pay and a range of processors including Shopify Payments, PayPal and Stripe.

Cons of Spotify

Despite many great features, there are also some disadvantages to using Shopify, which you should consider properly before committing to a paid plan. They do offer a free trial week where some of these issues may be picked up, but others you may not realise until your website is up and running; so we’ve tried to outline some of these below.

As a creative studio, the first limitation that we discover is the limited design function that can come with using a website builder such as Shopify. Being created through templates and editable blocks can limit customisability across your website, making certain design ideas unusable whilst the design stays within the boundaries Shopify allows – saying that, we know from experience that designers can work a lot of magic through these templates and by using a designer to create the initial shop front and web design, it can then be easily managed by yourself to keep on top of a beautiful website whilst understanding the back end and being able to easily make your own updates.

Design and functionality is hugely important in attracting and keeping customers on your website, from the initial attraction all the way through to making the payment. If these are not done well or aesthetically, it can deter customers which will result in missed sale opportunities. If not designed properly, this can also affect your SEO, making it difficult for new customers to find you using an online search.

Another con is that despite a cheaper basic plan, Shopify can get quite expensive when adding in all the extra features you may need, on one hand this can work well alongside a growing business as you are able to upgrade to more premium features as it becomes more affordable and you need the features. This can in turn help generate more sales thus making the additional cost a little easier to bare. Other costs of using Shopify (outside of the monthly cost) include the transaction fee charged for each sale that is made; this varies on your plan but make sure you work out how much this will cost you and whether it may effect your product prices, and additional apps such as marketing automation or shipping rates.

Unlike other website builders, Shopify does not include email hosting in its plans which can incur another cost if it is something you need to buy separately. This can be purchased through Google or alongside your domain, but bare it in mind when working out your monthly costs.

In comparison to building a website from scratch:

Choosing to have a website built from scratch can have a higher upfront cost, but it may save you money down the line. While you may still pay your web developer or designer a monthly fee to host your website, this can often include site security, website maintenance, back ups and, with some packages, a design allowance. This can make it a lot safer knowing that your website can be rescued if needed. The functionality of the website can be a lot cleaner and fully customised to your brand when built from scratch, it can be a unique website, built exactly as you like it; however for some people the back end can seem a little complicated to use and they would rather have less functionality but more control. For this aspect, it is personal preference.

How do I get started?

Here at Sesame, we offer a range of website design options. From helping you design and create your Shopify store, to building you a custom website from scratch. You can check out our previous website designs here, and get in touch with us to discuss what is best for your brand below.