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What are the disadvantages of Shopify?
The 5 biggest disadvantages of Shopify
Summary

What are the disadvantages of Shopify?

The biggest downsides of Shopify are:

  1. Lack of Shopify Payments.
  2. No ability to edit the order process.
  3. With more add-ons attached to Shopify, the platform starts to slow down.
  4. Variability of fees, independent of us, affects the profitability of the entire business.
  5. Poor B2B functionalities.

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The 5 biggest disadvantages of Shopify

Now I will go into a detailed discussion of each of these points.

Lack of Shopify Payments

This is problematic for two reasons.

The first point is the necessity to pay a transaction fee, i.e., an additional commission for using external payment gateways. This applies only to external gateways, so if you choose bank transfer or cash on delivery, you do not incur this fee. However, if you decide on services like przelewy24, you must expect an additional commission. The amount of the transaction fee depends on the selected Shopify plan.

This is not a big problem, as the total Shopify transaction fee, including for przelewy24, will be lower than the fees for Shopify Payments. The Polish payment market is very competitive, and the proposed rates are low, so this is not a significant disadvantage.

However, the second problem is that if you are a company from Poland and want to operate in international markets, you need to set up different Shopify instances for different markets.

Without Shopify Payments, all payments will be made in the main currency set in the shop.
If you have a shop in the Polish market, the main currency will be Polish zlotys (PLN). Even if customers in international markets see prices in euros, eventually, during the payment process, prices will be quoted in zlotys, which can be problematic for customers from other countries, such as Spain, the Netherlands, or Sweden.

The biggest problem when operating in international markets is the need to have several Shopify instances, which you will manage independently. The cost of a Shopify license is not very high, especially if the international markets are large.

The problem is the need to manage several foreign shops and their integration with other systems such as PIM and ERP. That is the biggest drawback. If Shopify Payments becomes available in Poland, this drawback will be eliminated, allowing Polish companies to operate normally in international markets.

No ability to edit the order process

The second disadvantage of Shopify is the lack of easy editing of the order process. This is a problem for large ecommerce, as it prevents the optimization of this process.

In conversion rate optimization, the biggest gains are achieved in areas close to the transaction. The cart page is better for optimization than the home page because everyone must go through it. Not all users have to go through the home page to place an order.

It is most profitable to change later stages of the order process, including the cart along with the checkout. If we cannot edit it, we lose a significant opportunity to optimize the conversion rate in our ecommerce. That is the second disadvantage.

Slow operation of Shopify with a large number of additional add-ons

The third disadvantage of Shopify is that when installing a large number of add-ons, Shopify starts to operate slowly. If you want to install 20 or more add-ons, Shopify significantly slows down.

With a few add-ons, the slowdown is practically unnoticeable. However, with a large number of add-ons, the slowdown of the shop is noticeable to the end user, which is detrimental for two reasons.

First, a slow service usually converts worse. There are no exact studies showing a perfect correlation between the conversion rate and the speed of the service operation.

However, there is another disadvantage. If the service is slow, it usually performs poorly on basic internet indicators. If these indicators are at a low level, the service is rated worse by Google, which results in worse performance in organic search results. As a result, you acquire less free organic traffic, which is a significant problem.

Variability of fees

The fourth major disadvantage of Shopify is that like any SaaS, you have no control over the amount of additional fees. The change in the amount of the licensing fee will most likely not affect the profitability of the entire business.

If you sell goods worth 50,000 euros a month, generating a margin of 20-30%, the difference between a plan for 99 dollars and 119 dollars will probably not be noticeable.

The problem is the lack of control over the amount of transaction fees. Both in the case of Shopify Payments, as well as other payment methods, Shopify Payments is not available in Poland.

Additionally, for transactions made outside Shopify Payments using external payment operators, an additional fee is charged. This is a problem, as it changes the profitability of the entire business.

In one of the earlier posts, on how to negotiate a lower hourly rate with an ecommerce agency, I described the average profitability of Polish companies. Polish companies usually operate at low profitability. Increasing the transaction fee further lowers it. This is a serious problem.

Summary

I believe that Shopify is a great solution for smaller and medium-sized ecommerce, who care about building a strong brand. However, it is not without flaws, which are:

  1. Lack of Shopify Payments. The worst effect of this lack is the need to create different Shopify instances for international markets.
  2. No ability to edit the order process in lower plans. This is possible in Shopify Plus, but not in Shopify, Shopify Advanced, and Shopify Basic.
  3. With a larger number of add-ons, Shopify starts to operate slower.
  4. No control over the amount of licensing and transaction fees, which affects the profitability of the entire business.
  5. Lack of B2B functionalities, making Shopify not an ideal solution for developing B2B ecommerce.

And if you are considering implementing Shopify, be sure to read the post on how much does it cost to maintain Shopify!


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