My big move to Shopify happened last year when I got tired and very frustrated over all the little bugs of my Wordpress-WooCommerce site. I couldn't find where the errors were coming from so I couldn't fix them. It was a simple error of the "Thank you for ordering" landing page not showing up after my customers checked out their orders. They would just get a blank page that kept on loading, and they start thinking their order wasn't processed when in fact, their order has already been sent to my email for processing. Some would try to get back to their Shopping Cart only to find it emptied (because they've checked out and completed the ordering process but they didn't know that with the annoying bug messing things up) and so they would go through filling up their carts again, thereby sending double orders. They got frustrated, I got frustrated and sought help a few times but at the end of the day I thought to myself, I'm probably losing customers because my site is annoying. All I want is something that simply works and can be managed easily without any hassle. I started looking around and comparing different providers, then found SHOPIFY.
At first I was turned off by Shopify because of the monthly fee I had to pay. With Wordpress I just had to do a one-time payment of around 15k (this was back in the year 2012) for the whole e-commerce site package. I paid a theme designer and she installed it for me along with WooCommerce for the shopping cart feature. Since she's a designer, technical support isn't included so when I encountered bugs, she couldn't really help. With Shopify, they charged monthly, offered tech support and it was a way smaller amount so at least I can quit the subscription anytime if I'm not happy.
Here are some reasons behind what made me try, and eventually love Shopify:
- Shopify offers 24/7 Customer Support via Live Chat. I'm big on this because it's the same way I get support from 3ix.org which has been hosting my website since 2008. From experience, being on Live Chat connected you to an actual person and not a robot so 3ix was ALWAYS able to resolve any issues I had with my site. This is very important to me knowing that each time my website is down or not working well means I lose business opportunities by the minute.
- The Shopify website was very organized and presented information well. They offered all the basic features of an e-commerce site plus some extras like inventory management, sales reporting & a summary of top selling products, among others. Everything was explained in a straightforward manner and they didn't use technical terms that non-tech people would find overwhelming.
- NO TRANSACTION FEES for the basic plan. Having transaction fees can either lessen my profit or drive up my product's prices (so the retail price can shoulder the transaction fee) and I just find it to be an unnecessary burden for me or my customers to bear. For Shopify, all I have to pay is the $13 a month and my store would be up and running with the extras I mentioned in #2. No more, no less, no bill shocks either unlike our local cellular networks :D
- Migration was a breeze. Transferring all my important data (product list, past orders, customer list) from Wordpress to Shopify was plain and simple. I think I just exported the data from Wordpress into a CSV file then uploaded it into Shopify... OR maybe they made me log into my Wordpress account while inside Shopify and facilitated the migration from there. I don't remember exactly how I did it but I do remember not having a hard time so that's a plus for me.
- Once you have an account, the Shopify dashboard is easy to figure out and learn on your own. The interface is user-friendly and of course everything takes a little patience to learn but with this one I just took it one day at a time until I figured all the basics to keep my site up & running.
- Creating new products & variants is easy. My 100+ products come in different volumes per item (each type of Essential Oil for example, comes in 7 bottle sizes) and creating these "variants" that each have their own price is totally stress free. I just create the product, create the bottle sizes and input the corresponding price of each, then save. Super easy.
- The basic plan features a Discount tab. Creating discount codes and promos are quicker & more fun because they already have the feature pre-installed. All I need to do is fill in the blanks and share the code to my happy customers!
- You can connect your store to Facebook. As much as I didn't want to sell on Facebook, experimentally running social media ads on FB and Instagram made me realize that I can connect to more people there than just relying on my own (expensive) Google Ads to reach my target audience.
- Shopify has a POS version, web version and an app for mobiles. Since I work from home but still have a physical store where all my stocks and staff hold office, this is very useful for better coordination and updating. My office staff holds a tablet that has the POS version installed (they can easily check prices & descriptions here when we have a customer in the store) plus a computer where they access the desktop version. My phone has the mobile app version so I can see orders and sales as they come in during the day. Monitoring is a breeze this way.
- My inventory is updated (almost) real time. Shopify allows me to allocate stock quantity per size, declare incoming inventory (useful for when I'm waiting for a shipment) and once a product goes out of stock, it's indicated in the site so my customers know I have that item but they can't order it for now. When customers put an item in their shopping cart, the stock level is lessened. This is very useful for us since we accept orders in the physical store and online but since both sales channels are connected to Shopify, then our stock levels are updated almost real time.
- They have a LOT of apps (free & paid) that you can install to enhance your online store and help manage the site's backend. The most useful apps I've installed so far are Product Reviews and Sales Pop which are free, and Editify which charges $14.99 monthly so I can edit orders and update my customers' invoices from our backend.
So would I recommend Shopify? Yes definitely, especially for work-at-home-moms like me who need something that's effective, easy to monitor and low maintenance to keep business running. It's simple, easy to learn and plainly works. Are the monthly fees worth it? Yup, I think so given the boost in sales I've received since migrating. Did I pay anyone to setup and now maintain my site? Nope. I did everything myself. Yes, it was that easy (eventually).
Please don't think that I setup my Shopify site in one day because I didn't. Honestly it took me a few months to get everything smoothly running since I don't get to work everyday. I only get to sit and work while my kids are napping or when they're asleep at night.
Juggling my time between my toddler and 6-year old, keeping house and running a business puts me at home most of the time so I do online shopping frequently. I've come across too many local sites that advertise their products via FB and Instagram and indicate the price but would say "PM/ DM or email us for orders" and they probably don't know many sales opportunities they've lost because (impatient) people like me don't want to write our orders down and send an email and wait. I want to click away, complete my order, pay online via Paypal or Online Bank Transfer, and expect my package to be delivered 1 to 2 days after.
I'm no expert here but I believe that businesses should keep on moving forward, be on the lookout for new sales channels and engage in more effective mediums to gain opportunities, sales & customers. Shopify is my way of coping with today's competitive world while still being a hands-on mom and be able to work from home. I know my site isn't seamless and could use some more improvements here and there, but having Shopify as a platform gives me peace of mind that I have something that works, generates sales, keeps things organized and allows me to engage with my customers. For now, those key things are enough for me.
If you're an online seller and/or working mom who doesn't want to spend so much but want to give your customers a better online shopping experience, do try SHOPIFY. There's a Free Trial period to get a feel of it, then the basic plan will cost you only $13. That's roughly Php663.00 a month given a P51 to $1 exchange rate. Really, that' a small price to pay for the convenience of having a business that will thrive and bring you more opportunities, sales and customers, while still being the supermom you need to be.