Shopify or create your own Ecommerce website for your Blogshop in Singapore?
With the recent partnership between Singtel and Shopify, many blogshop owners start to wonder if they should build their own Ecommerce website or Shopify. This include many brick-to-motar businesses that are thinking of creating an online platform to market and sell their products online.
For those that are not familiar with Shopify, it is actually an ecommerce platform that allows an online store to do it in less than an hour.
All you to do sign up and account, beautify your store that is hosted with Shopify, upload the stuff you want to sell and you have your online store. For anyone that has zero programming knowledge and want to create an online store, it is a no brainer. Even payment gateway shall be created for you.
So is it suitable for you if you are planning to start a blogshop?
Yes especially if you are an invoice (with no programming knowledge) and want to sell selling as soon as possible. The market price to create a website with ecommerce function is between $3,000 to $10,000. Shopify charged on a rental basis, the minimum cost of only $19 (with 25 products) per month. At the back end, the administration panel also makes it easy for anyone to manage orders and add products.
Why some developer decide to use Shopify instead of creating their own ecommerce online store
One reason why as Developer I would go with Shopify is the hosting that comes with it ( .. and also time as well if you are superbusy). Let me explain further on the hosting part. If you are planning to build your Ecommerce website yourself or engaging someone else to do it. The popular choices for doing so will be using popular Ecommerce software such as Magento, opencart, magento, prestashop or oscommerce. Most shared hosting will not allow this script to be hosted as it is resources intensive. Even if you find one that allows, your user will not get to enjoy surfing your site as the hosting company will limit your resources.
To create a more user-friendly online store, you will probably need a VPS hosting and reasonably good one to make your users very happy. Such VPS hosting will cost between SGD$100 to SGD$200 if you plan to host in Singapore (Cheaper if you consider hosting in USA). This does Not include the patch security and version upgrade which your developer will charged you from time to time. After adding this up, the price of ownership may not be cheap afterall. From the hosting perspective, Shopify may seem like a good choice if you expecting high traffic to your site and you need not worry about version upgrade or security updates.
Are there any disadvantages for using Shopify? Yes of course! Following are a few that I can think of:
- Monthly fee plus the transaction charge may count as a disadvantage. Remember with Shopify, technically you do not own the store, you basically rent it.
- Customisation functionality is close to impossible. Shopify comes with all the basic features and some advance add on that you need to run it but if you need proprietary implementation, it is close to impossible. For example, recommended products, email product to a friend, contact forms, and saving wish lists etc.
- Do you need payment gateway? Most WordPress has all the function that is required to open an ecommerce site. More importantly it is free. It can be even more features rich compared to ecommerce software like Shopify, Volusion or BigCommerce
- SEO, even though Shopify indicate it has done its part on SEO, I am still trying to figure that out.
- All Shopify is hosted out of Singapore (Canada I think) so that will be another disadvantage as it is always better to host your site closer to where your clients are to reduce latency.
To Shopify or not, it really hard to recommend as both has its advantages and disadvantages. It really depend on your business decision, your technical knowledge, your budget and many other factors to answer that question.