Ashli, owner of Basis here! This is a question we get asked a lot! Many of our clients come to us after working with platforms like Woocommerce, Squarespace or Wix, and are curious as to why we choose to work solely with Shopify as an ecommerce platform. We put together this soapbox rant (erm, I mean guide) to chat through why we think it’s a great option for businesses of all sizes.
Like most eCommerce platforms, Shopify is a subscription-based software that enables business owners to set up an online store (but really it’s so much more).
Immediately upon subscribing, users have access to a vast selection of templates to create and customize their online store, tools for selling products both online and in person, integrated payment processing technology, SEO and marketing tools, and, of course, the “best-converting checkout on the internet.”
With the exception of that last one, however, you can get these things with a lot of eCommerce platforms—so what’s so special about Shopify?
A lot, is the answer.
Shopify is often considered for its flexibility, built to keep up with your business no matter how big it grows or how you choose to grow it. Huge brands like Bombas, Allbirds, Olipop, American Girl, Kylie Cosmetics, Gym Shark and more are all powered by Shopify. There are zero popular direct-to-consumer brands that are built on Squarespace or Woocommerce.
Ability to Customize with Code
The reason many big brands choose Shopify is that developers can customize it to do pretty much anything you can imagine. And with access to a developer (like Basis!) the options are endless. With platforms like Squarespace, normal users don’t even have access to the code to make those big kinds of changes.
Amazing Themes To Increase Average Order Value
Shopify themes offer so much more out of the box than Squarespace, Wix and Woocommerce. Customers who make the switch often see huge jumps in their online conversion rates and average order values just because Shopify themes are so robust. Features like this come standard in a premium Shopify theme (price is about $200 to buy the theme):
- AI-powered upsells and cross-sells (i.e. “You May Also Like”, or “Customers That Bought This Also Bought”)
- Slide-out carts that keep customers shopping
- Fast-loading pages
- Countdown functionality for product launches
- Secondary images or videos on the product grid (i.e. when you hover on a product image, it changes to another image or video)
- Quick buy / Add to cart from collection pages or home page
- Sticky cart
- Back-in-stock alerts
- Customizable contact forms
- FAQ templates
- Beautiful, visual dropdown menus on your navigation
- Product reviews
- Promo banners
- Recently viewed products
Shopify offers the best checkout experience in the business. They offer Shop Pay – if you’ve purchased on any Shopify store in the past (and chances are you have), Shopify remembers your billing info and texts you a code. You type in the code and voila — your credit card, billing info, shipping address, etc are all pre-populated. It’s as close to one-click ordering as you can get without being logged in.
Shopify also integrates with Apple Pay, PayPal, Samsung Pay and more, so customers can click “Buy It Now” to immediately checkout from any product page.
Most of the other competitors doesn't have any built-in features to manage inventory of individual stock items when they are also part of product bundles, sets or multi-packs.
A developer could build a solution to do this on one of these other platforms (maybe), but it would be costly to build and would have ongoing costs.
Shopify offers product bundling either as a built-in function, and you can create some pretty fancy and complex bundles and discount options through the use of plugins/apps/custom code.
Squarespace and Wix limit the amount of extra information you can add to product pages and create an upcharge for. This often becomes an issue for clients who sell complex things, like custom tees or signs.
For example, say you sell custom framed signs as home decor. You offer a sign that says “The Nixons, established 2009” and uses a wedding photo as the background of the sign, which is framed in a custom color of wood. Your customer will need to:
- choose a phrase they want on their sign (i.e. “The Nixons, established 2009”)
- Upload a photo they want included on the sign (and you may charge extra for that)
- Choose the color of the text for the sign (maybe certain color choices cost different amounts)
- Choose the color of the wood frame for the sign (maybe certain color choices cost different amounts)
- Leave a note for any customization required
While the tools can handle this in a series of hacky ways (i.e. lots of order notes, back and forth communication via email, a separate little web form to upload a picture), it’s going to create a lot more manual work, and things are disparate. You’ll be looking at an order on Squarespace, a bunch of email back and forth in your Gmail, and potentially going through web forms to find pictures that customers sent over. It’s easy to see how things would get missed.
With the help of a free app from Shopify’s App Store, we could display all of this seamlessly, right on the product page, and keep all of that additional info together right on the customer’s order in Shopify.
Speaking of apps, Shopify has more than 6,000 apps. Some popular apps that we use power functionality like:
- Offering smart upsells to customers based on things they add to their cart
- Wholesale pricing / portal
- Subscription products (i.e. Box of the Month Club, etc)
- Customer reviews w/ photo and video review support
- Loyalty programs for your best customers
- So much more! There are 6,000 apps!
We honestly try NOT to use a bunch of apps (nobody loves revolving fees) but it's also good to know there are lots of ways you can extend your store to build really cool features without heavy investment up front.
Seriously User Friendly
Shopify is structured in such a manner that it’s really easy for you to understand what goes where. The drag-drop modules of Shopify make it convenient for designing and arranging various elements conveniently.
But where Shopify really shines is how easy the back-end of the system is to use. Looking at your customers list, looking at recent orders, marking things as fulfilled, running reports on inventory – it’s all super intuitive and easy to do.
Intuitive Store Editor
With many of the competitor's website editors, you can drag and drop components to customize the look and feel of your website to build gorgeous static web pages. Shopify is not MUCH different (same concept!), but we will say that we find Shopify to be so much easier for the average user. It allows you to make global changes simply without having to hop into every single page to make a change. This is handy when you are accommodating for seasonal sales, updates to your product catalog, featured collections, and more. Shopify’s sections-based editor makes this easy by allowing you to show, hide, and rearrange specific sections of your homepage in seconds. We designed on Squarespace, Wix and WordPress for a long time. Let us just say — we prefer Shopify.
Speed Is A Priority
A fast-loading website is a must for today’s shoppers. It not only increases your chances of showing up first in Google search results, but visitors will leave if your store doesn’t load in seconds. Shopify websites are built for speed because they compress all your images to the smaller WebP format and provide a store speed report to uncover opportunities to further optimize your load times.
Note: We have more thoughts on speed (and how much we can control) that we’d be sure to talk about ahead of a project with you! :)
More Ways to Sell
All the major e-commerce platforms let you sell on Facebook and Instagram by syncing your product catalog with your social accounts. But with Shopify you can also sell on Amazon, Walmart, Google, Pinterest, Snapchat, and in person with a native point-of-sale solution.
Point of Sale
If you have a physical retail space (or occasionally sell at markets, etc) Shopify has a POS app you can use on any tablet, so that you can use the same system for in-store and online sales. This makes inventory, customer and order management a breeze.
The POS also supports multiple locations.
Shopify offers the ability to create subscription products as part of its native product offering, which is something neither Squarespace nor Woocommerce does.
Integration with Other Systems
Shopify integrates with tons of other system you might use in your business, like:
- Airtable, Google Sheets and other organizational tools
- Shipstation and other shipping tools
- Yotpo and other reviews and loyalty tools
- Zapier and other automation tools
- Klaviyo and other email marketing tools
- Zendesk, Gorgias and other customer service tools
With Shopify, you can often connect separate systems so that you can get a full view of your business from any platform you use.
The Bottom Line
We barely scratch the surface of why we love Shopify. I honestly believe we can build anything you want if Shopify is the platform, and that you’d be well-set for future booms in your business.