Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows anyone to set up an online store and sell their products. Shopify is one of the leading platforms for customization of store designs for online selling fraternity. This platform covers all sources of business ranging from selling online, on social media platforms, in stores, and home deliveries.
While selecting a platform for an online store there are many aspects that one has to consider for example the cost involved, SEO performance, selling options, payment options, and many more.
This concise guide on Shopify will let you know about its uses and will take you through the features and functionalities of Shopify and its various themes.
How does Shopify Work
The best part of Shopify is that it allows beginners to set up an online store without the knowledge of coding. There is no requirement for additional software and third-party applications to customize your online store. Most of the themes included in Shopify are one-time buys and includes automatic updates for one year.
To facilitate the updates there is a provision of an app that can be downloaded from the Shopify platform. This app pushes all the automatic updates on the websites. The front-end editor option that is present on the websites is designed to enable easy updates and push them automatically so that the users are not inconvenienced.
Shopify not only allows the easy designing of the online stores but also helps towards opening supporting stores and additional channels like Amazon, eBay, Facebook etcetera. All the customer support tools are part of the themes and allow easy handling of all the technical issues by the Shopify team.
The basic Shopify theme allows the sale of unlimited products. The cost of the basic version ranges from 26 dollars to 50 dollars and there is an additional charge of 2% transaction fees by Shopify.
The Shopify theme which features gift cards and abandoned cart recovery comes for 71 dollars and the 1% transaction fees charged by Shopify.
The advanced Shopify version, reports and automatically calculates the shipping rates, comes for 266 dollars and has 0.5% of transaction fees charged by Shopify.
Most of the purchases are meant for one license and a period of one year. This means that you can apply the theme only to one shop and avail all the updates and technical support for one year. After that, there are additional charges for availing upgrades and maintaining the site. Shopify theme options also come with multiple licenses and can be used on more than one shop. The multiple user licenses are expensive compared to single-user licenses.
Shopify provides an enterprise plan for large online store owners, allowing multiple functions, and makes it easier to showcase a large catalog of products. Every extra domain name is also added to the Shopify theme and charged accordingly.
To make the payment for purchasing a theme, it is recommended to use Shopify’s own payment gateway as this will save additional charges and will ensure that the payment that is made is encrypted and safe. This form of payment option is available in the USA, Ireland, Puerto Rico, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. Transaction fees are not charged on manual payment methods like cash on delivery and bank transfer.
Ease of using the Shopify Platform
- With Shopify themes, you do not have to worry about handling technical stuff. Everything can be managed with a few clicks. Shopify has also come out with great beginner guides and extensive documentation on how to create and manage websites by applying Shopify themes. The advanced training for beginners is also helpful to give you a complete insight into how to create a store online.
- The designs and functions of the Shopify themes are excellent and mobile-friendly. There are roughly 170 themes to select from that caters to products from all niches. Themes come in different design patterns and color combinations that make each theme suitable for a different kind of product.
- The templates for the Shopify themes are great to handle and easy to implement as the user gets full access to the code. The availability of the code makes it easier to do any changes in the design, that the theme offers.
- The Shopify themes are also very efficient in terms of scaling business, and the relevant changes can be done effortlessly and are available in the frontend editor option.
- As you purchase any of the Shopify themes, you also become a part of the huge community that uses Shopify. This community is extremely helpful and friendly and can help you in case you are finding it difficult to handle. You can discuss your problems and your ideas related to a particular theme and the entire community will pitch in to help you out.
- The highlight of using a Shopify theme is the support that you receive. There is the availability of 24 hours of support over live chat, emails, and phone calls. Now if you are stuck with an issue on your website you do not have to wait for long till the issue gets resolved. Shopify theme understands that your website is dynamic and has to work smoothly to sustain your business. This is the reason why any issue that is highlighted to the Shopify team, is taken care of immediately.
Out of the Sandbox
Out of the Sandbox is a Shopify owned company that works towards creating advanced and effective themes for Shopify. This company has recently come out with two very advanced themes for shopping namely Turbo and Flex. These themes are being used extensively for designing online stores these days.
Both these themes are premium ones and cost between $350 to $450. The higher cost is associated with the futuristic taste that these themes have and more functionalities in terms of design and application with progressive options to uplift your store’s performance.
The Turbo theme has been designed to accommodate very high volumes of traffic, peak sales, and a spike in customers. The Turbo theme is very mobile friendly and offers great speed in webpage landing. This feature results in making the sites rank higher on Google search as Google specifically prefers sites with good landing speed.
The latest theme from Out Of The Sandbox is Flex, which offers users around 13 different designs to choose from depending upon the type of products that the online store will showcase. The Flex theme is compatible with all the recent browsers and can run without the use of any added subscriptions and applications.
With the purchase of these themes, you can get access to resources and support for 1 year. After that, if you would like to extend the support and avail of the automatic updates, then there is an additional cost attached to it. You can purchase this support from the Shopify store directly where you will also be entitled to a flat discount.
The team of developers who are associated with out of the sandbox, keep on updating the Shopify themes and adding different features that enable to highlight the stores every now and then. Also, there can be added functionality depending upon the customer’s demands.
Additional features like the use of icons and images on different pages of the website, not only help the site owners to collect different information from the customer but also keeps on building a customer database. This database can be referred to in case of any advertisements and promotional activities for future use.
Shopify Free theme
There is a free theme that is available on Shopify that can be installed immediately and installed digitally so that you can open the store. However, this theme comes with a plain design and does not include any updates. This theme can give a basic look to the store and cannot accommodate a large number of products.
The free theme cannot be customized and there is limited functionality to it, hence is not the best in terms of performance. However, this theme can be upgraded on the payment of additional fees. The free theme from Shopify can be used by individuals who are beginners and want to open an online store to explore the market. This can be upgraded when you think of scaling your store to suit the needs of the increasing demands.
The free theme is rigid and the elements of the layout cannot be changed. The frames have a very generic look and feel and does not give a professional look to the store. Since this theme does not allow customizations, you will be stuck to the same look of the store forever.
If you are using a free theme for your online store, then the chances are that you are using and installing outside applications as well to increase the functionality of the store. However, these applications come at a price and Shopify does not extend any technical support in case of any issues arising out of the use of these applications.
That being said, it makes complete sense to purchase a simplified Shopify theme at the start, when everything will be consolidated under one roof, and then upgrade the theme as you feel the necessity to scale your business. With the upgrade, you will receive various tips in terms of conversion and customer satisfaction which will enable you to do a lot more by offering more incentives leading to customer retention.
All the premium themes of Shopify, come with built-in applications which boosts the features and functionality of the stores and can be used for a lifetime. In the long run, where the premium themes might appear to be more costly at the upfront, will give you better satisfaction and more sales compared to the free themes.
Some premium themes also come with an option that if you want to switch store, then you can uninstall the license from one store and install the same on another store. Upon purchase of the licenses, you get a downloadable file, that contains all the codes and apps to install the particular theme. These themes are also straightforward to apply to your website and mostly come with drag and drop features.
Here’s wishing you all the luck with designing your online store and happy selling!