Looking to start an online boutique but feeling overwhelmed with the amount of options available when it comes to ecommerce platform? I get it.
I started my journey in eCommerce almost 8 years ago. I’ve tried WordPress+Woocommerce, Volusion and now I’ve been with Shopify for the past 5 years.
In this blog post, I’ll share why I moved from the previous two platforms. And then I’ll tell you why I absolutely love Shopify and recommend them to everyone!
Why I moved my online store from Woocommerce
I created my first online store using Woocommerce. I was enticed by not having to pay a monthly fee. And with it being my first store, I wanted to save as much money as I could.
In my mind, all I had to do was pay for my webhosting package (~$100/yr), purchase a Woocommerce theme that I liked ($50 one-time purchase), install the WooCommerce plugin (free) and then start listing my products for sale.
Sounds simple enough, right?
However, it quickly became clear during the set up process that the “suggested” plug-ins” were actually necessary to have the basic website functionality of larger stores. More plug-ins meant more money. On top of that, the plugins were slowing down my site!
I ultimately realized that staying with Woocommerce was not sustainable for long term growth especially when I learned I’d have to upgrade my webhosting package (~$50-400+/mo) in order to handle a surge in traffic if I got an amazing press opportunity.
You can’t make sales if your site crashes, so it was time to see what else was out there.
Why I moved my online store from Volusion
I went from Woocommerce to Volusion. I was willing to pay a bit extra for the ease of using a turnkey ecommerce solution. There was a steep learning curve for creating the website but I was willing to put in a few all-nighters to get it right.
Then, I ran into a few key issues.
The first was aesthetic. I wanted a new look for my website but the available themes were super expensive for my budget at the time (starting at $650+) and the free ones were UGLY.
The second was functional. I wasn’t able to list variants of a product so my store was cluttered with 10 listings of the same item in different colors. Instead of a customer being able to choose ‘pillowcase’ and then cycle through the available colors on one page, each product had to be listed individually (Green Pillowcase, Pink Pillowcase, Cream Pillowcase, etc.) as if it were a separate product. That wasn’t the type of shopping experience I wanted to offer my customers.
Third, customer service was lacking. At that time, they were focusing all of their resources on attracting enterprise-level clients instead of catering to small business owners like me. I was only able to speak to a real person on the phone if I was on a plan that made me a Priority customer. That was frustrating and really made me think about why they were getting any money at all from me.
Finally, I ran into the same bandwidth issues that I had with Woocommerce. I wanted to upgrade my plan as I prepared for a major press opportunity with The Dr. Oz Show but their price for high volume clients was astronomical. I just wanted to make sure my site didn’t crash not offer up my first born.
Why I created my online boutique with Shopify
Around that time, I’d started hearing about a new eCommerce platform, Shopify. I did some research and decided to switch because at the time they highlighted their unlimited bandwidth. I also loved that they had an app store to enhance the functionality of my website. They offered super affordable, well designed themes ( ~$180) and the free themes were actually nice and mobile responsive — important because Google uses that for ranking your site.
Click here to get a FREE 14-day trial from Shopify
Here are some other reasons why I love the platform:
- Shopify is always at the forefront of social media integration for eCommerce store owners. They were the first to offer buyable pins, shoppable Instagram posts, Facebook messenger marketing, etc.
- If you are up late working on your business, there is still someone over at their headquarters who can help with any questions. They have amazing 24/7 customer service where you can speak to a real human. That was and still is super important to me.
- You can also buy your shipping labels through Shopify shipping and get discounted shipping rates that were only available to commercial businesses that mailed packages at large volumes.
- Every summer when they have a Shopify developers conference (similar to Apple when they release new tech) they showcase new features that are created with the small business owner in mind. They are committed to pushing out technical features that will make your life easier.
And now they offer Shopify Plus for high volume stores, which means you can stick with them as you grow.
I’ve been with Shopify for 5 years and it just gets better and better! That’s why I think it’s the best place to start for any aspiring online boutique owner.