Shopify eCommerce CMS Review

A brief introduction

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For those of you who do not know what Shopify is? It’s an ecommerce platform that enables its users to develop and scale their online store. You get a template based site builder alongside an easy payment processing option, inventory management, and a powerful analytics tool among other things.

If you are newbie and want to set up your ecommerce store on Shopify, you can do so right away with its basic installation process. It has over a 100 top-notch templates which is an edge over the competition, however there’s a catch. Only 10 of these are free.

Shopify has a built-in theme browser which allows you to apply filters and lists designs either by industry or layout. Any single theme is found in multiple styles that can be viewed with a click.

OK, but why so popular?

For more seasoned users, the professional Shopify account features customer account support, abandoned checkout recovery, automatic calculation of tax and shipping charges, option to list product reviews, over a 100 payment methods and more.

When it comes to store management, tools such as inventory management and refund mechanism is available. You can capitalize on marketing campaigns with Shopify by enabling gift cards and discounts to attract more customers.

If linked to Google Analytics, you can track and see detailed reports of conversion funnel. This is essential because no business can move if there isn’t a system that provides feedback. Moreover, with Shopify, you get a tailored mobile app to keep tabs on your business activities, no matter where you are.

There isn’t a cap with Shopify because you can sell as many products as your heart desires, and of all kinds while other platforms may restrict users in terms of number of products, disk space or bandwidth. Moreover, there is no SSL certificate cost for you to worry about as it’s included for free.

How to get started

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Getting started is not a problem. All you have to do is enter your name, email address and you are good to go. You will then be taken to the admin console page of Shopify. The interface is minimalistic in design which means less clutter.

On the left hand you will find categories such as Orders, Customers, Discounts, Apps, Analytics and Products. On the other hand, the Shopify Dashboard will highlight sections such as on adding products and customizing the store.

However, a minor downside to this minimalistic interface is that you won’t immediately realize where to begin but if you are not sure which task to take up first, you can use the handy search system therein which is meant to pave your way into the right direction.

Just as you would in Google, when you start typing the suggested searches can be seen. For instance, if you were to type in ‘PayPal’, anything pertaining to the said payment method will be shown in suggestions and in the subsequent search results when you hit Enter key or click on search.

It is not intended for everyone – the design and would be unfair if we were to say that it did. Although suffice to say that the design is aimed at providing comfort as well as a clean no-nonsense ecommerce experience to the customers, and for the user to work with.

Setting up the store

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On the dashboard, the first step to setting up your shop online is by adding a product or a number of products. So begin by clicking on Add after which you will be asked to manually input product details.

These would entail: images, description, weight, pricing and shipping among other things. Product description has basic tables that you can use and there is even an Insert Video box that can be put to use by entering simple embed codes.

If you would prefer to import product catalogs from another platform, you can do in Shopify. The import option may not be visible to you right away but we promise you it is there. You need to look under Products to find as it is not accessible from the sidebar.

Given its minimalistic design, the option to import is minimal too. You can only export a CSV file which should not exceed 15 MB. Moreover, the import feature does not allow a user to link custom fields in the CSV file for specifying product attributes.

When it comes to its Shipping support, it is better compared to other features and can be quickly located under Settings. Default settings are good enough for any user starting out in the ecommerce field.

For an experienced user there is option where you can add a number of shipping zones as you deem fit. Default selection mainly comprises the address where you are shipping from, single shipping zone and will list shipping rates for that region only.

By adding multiple shipping zones, you can open up new venues for generating revenue since shipping rates will vary from country to country. Also, these rates are calculated based on price or weight of a particular product. In other cases, rates are calculated by referring to a specific shipping provider/app.

As a user, you can add item’s dimensions but as previously stated its weight can be entered in product details. There is also a Package system which enables user to set up different prices for products of different sizes and kinds that are to be shipped.

Variety of payment providers are supported under Shopify platform including PayPal (which is default), Stripe (accepts credit card), Amazon Pay in addition to routine payment alternatives but not limited to Cash on Delivery and bank deposit etc.

All of them can be set up in no time due to its minimal design and you can commence your business operations by accepting orders from customers. But you already knew that.

Running the store

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The hardest part is over. It is time to get that store of yours up and running. First things first, get Shopify mobile app for both Android and iOS so you can control activities on-the-go! The app offers general site management, allows processing of orders or refunds (if any), customer support.

Furthermore, you can take up inventory driven tasks (editing products, browsing reports) with the app. Meaning, waiting times for customers are considerably reduced. Speedy service and resolution of queries is as real as it gets with Shopify at the helm.

Built-in analytics lets you view important business aspects in a jiffy. These include sales, orders placed, online sessions by device or location, traffic source and so on so forth. You can access individual reports too for in-depth study of, say, top referrers or landing pages.

That’s not all. With Shopify App Store, a user can integrate third party services that will take care of every aspect imaginable in your business; marketing, social media, sales, inventory, customer support, accounting and reporting.

What more do you want?!

You can use your social media to leverage benefits from Shopify by easily logging in with social networking channels. That way all of your social media accounts including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter will display feed, for instance, whenever you add a new product or when a customer leaves a positive review or to promote a list of best-selling products on your store and you name it.

Best of all, it’s available with Shopify at no additional cost. Simply put, with Shopify the possibilities are endless!

To wrap it up

A first-rate eCommerce platform service which is quite frankly, very easy to navigate, offers wide array of features as well as apps integration. Icing on the cake, Shopify comes with a 14-day trial and does not ask for your credit card details to avail it. So if you are not satisfied (somehow), you are free to choose any other service.

Wix Review 2019

Wix by far is the largest website builder. The company has over 1800 staff members and is reported to have around 110 million users. On a daily basis Wix receives 45000 average new sign ups.

If you use a website developed on Wix platform you will immediately notice why it is the best out there. For starters, it has an attractive appeal in terms of design for both businesses and seasoned web developers.

Services other than Wix usually have a few templates to begin with but here you get 500. That’s saying something! You get a built-in image editor with 40 Instagram-esque filters. You can set up your blog in almost 26 different languages with Wix.

Wix’s own App Market brings to your disposal 200 widgets which can be employed for enhancing your website experience as well as in order to integrate third-party services.

Are you seeking to build an ecommerce store?

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If you are looking to set up shop online, as stated, Wix has some astounding templates that you can bask in. moreover, as a platform, the company does not charge any transaction fee on sales.

Beginners can leverage these benefits for free but for more experienced users they can take it to the next level with Wix. Through Wix Code, experts can manipulate database collections, can create dynamic pages and design tailored forms.

Furthermore, using their own JavaScript, accessing APIs and more are some other Wix benefits.

How effective is Wix?

If truth be told, the templates can be a bit unresponsive on occasions. Also, with Wix you can see a separate mobile version of your pages but the view suffers a similar fate i.e. can prove to be a bit unresponsive.

Other aspects such as form building are available in the form of apps that require additional payments to make use of. Still, Wix is an all-inclusive website builder catering to varying user classes.

Wix plans

A free plan of Wix will provide a user with a drag and drop editor which tends to support a great many number of pages. However, when put to practice, you will get 500MB storage and 500MB data transfer that is enough to meet any small site’s requirements.

If you prefer higher options, a Connect Domain plan will have your offering scale up. Up to 1GB in storage and it further enables you to use your own domain name with a wee bit of Wix’s branding.

Another plan – Combo offers 2GB bandwidth and 3GB of storage. Here, you can get rid of that Wix branding and truly personalize your website. Naturally, this comes at a higher price.

Oh wait, there’s more.

Unlimited plan as the name implies is intended to give you an unrestricted amount of bandwidth. In addition, 10GB of storage, a premium form building with a Site Builder app thrown into the mix for driving increased traffic to your website.

How to get started with Wix?

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If you are new to website creation process, Wix will quickly bring you to speed. Simply enter your email address and a password to get going after which you will asked for the type of site you wish to create. Choose from business, photography, music, blog and so on so forth.

Next up, you will be asked if you would like the Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) to build website for you or would you prefer to do it yourself via its code editor.

ADI relatively gives you sleeker experience when it comes to designing your website. Since the process is much easier and automatic. All you need is to tell ADI the type of website you want or the features you’d need and watch ADI bring your site to life.

Other than that you have the option to use regular editor but which uses manual creation process such as starting off with a template then using the drag and drop feature to customize different areas on your website etc.

Of the two approaches, ADI gives you more liberty to play around with elements on your website.

A disadvantage of using regular editor is you cannot switch selected layout after you have decided on the template at a later stage. That’s not very flexible in this day and age, so yeah.

Thus, it is recommended to use Wix ADI for website building. It not only saves you time but has well-designed features that can be of immense for beginners.

The code editor

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If we talk about ADI editor, it has a very minimal interface and only a couple of buttons are reflected. Furthermore, a menu bar is displayed which lists down Add, Site, Design and Manage functions. Point being, it has less clutter which allows for (as mentioned previously), sleeker experience when using ADI.

Things such as sidebars or color palettes are nowhere to be found so that nothing gets in the way.

Website can be edited in a myriad of simple ways. For example, when hovering the mouse over a section, buttons for editing and/or for changing design are displayed. You can always click on a desired option to view and edit text or replace an image and so on.

Although, drag and drop controls are limited to regular editor alone. So you cannot manually change colors or alter fonts with ADI.

All in all, you don’t have to be an expert. If the website is even intended for a featuring a blog and not a full-fledged ecommerce store, you will do just fine with Wix. You can test your webpages as well before going live with them.

And mind you, when creating the website, you can either choose ADI or regular editor. There cannot be a hybrid of the two and in case where you have settled for the latter, you can’t go back to ADI.

You may be thinking that at this point regular editor is worthless compared to ADI. That is not the case though. With regular editor you have control of the complete layout to your website.

You can micro manage such as objects can be adjusted or positioned in line with the pixel-level placement. As opposed to ADI, here objects cannot be automatically aligned in blocks or columns.

Since it offers the ability to drag and drop, get ready to play around. Complex blocks such as contact forms with headings etc. can be bundled with text or buttons. You can then modify alignments and ungroup items in any way you like.

Visual modification can be done by way of neat animations and you can use different color filters for all your images. A variety of actions can also be assigned to most objects.

Elements including text blocks, menus, galleries and social media buttons among other things can be added to your page within a few clicks.

As part of the code editor you get the ability to preview the added elements and how would the page look like in the actual (live) environment. Therefore, you can fix anything out of place and move along whilst keeping track of what fits and what doesn’t. The process is referred to as WYSIWYG.

The fundamental editing functions are designed better than an average website builder. Upon right clicking you will notice various commands for different controls such as for alignment and the option to set height and width.

A floating toolbar usually comes in handy as it provides speedy access to some key functions.

Keyboard shortcuts are equally supported for deleting, copying and pasting. Commands for selecting all items at once, sending items to front/back or to undo (redo) action can also be controlled through keyboard shortcuts.

That pretty much sums up Wix’s code editor.

Media support

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Media wise Wix packs support for images, slideshows and both audio/video files in all major formats. You can import as well as directly play media from leading sites including Facebook, Dropbox, Google Drive, YouTube, Dailymotion and you name it!

Under “My Uploads” section you can manage your entire cloud-based media library. Up to 25MB file size is supported on Wix so keep this in mind when uploading high resolution PNG files.

If you don’t happen to have any images at hand, you can get free images and clipart from Wix’s own media bank. Enter a search query and related images will be displayed for you to choose from. However, there is a downside. Searches returned are often fewer and of low quality.

Still enough to get you started.

If you are willing to pay top dollar, you can get more addons from the Wix App Store. These include playback features, higher bandwidth and document viewers in addition to user stats.

Wix for blogging

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You can use Wix for blogging purpose by accessing the platform from its left-hand toolbar. Within a matter of few clicks you will be able to create a new blog post, customize its layout and much more!

A simple editor for setting up blog is available at user’s disposal. It has all the functions such as option to view gallery, add images/videos, customize HTML and include GIFs. For customizing blog posts, you can choose from a variety of ways to do so: add tags, assign categories, add meta titles and descriptions etc.

Comments plugin by default is Facebook but you can also choose to integrate Disqus comments plugin or any other standalone comments plugin app.

Moreover, with Wix blogging platform, posts can be automatically published to Facebook, snippets of any new posts can be shared with your subscribers on email, Insights feature lets you view the basic stats and traffic analytics, and Google AMP support will help you rank better in search engines and improve load times for mobile.

It’s no WordPress but is at par with it, if not better.

Ecommerce store

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Building an ecommerce store with Wix is also easy. Select from numerous templates and components to get going. You can choose to preview your web store as well as check out sample images to gauge the overall feel of it.

Both digital and physical products can be listed with Wix ecommerce platform at the helm. You can list products with their images and videos. You can set custom options such as size, color, weight and SKU (product code) so that in future the inventory is automatically sorted with respect to above parameters.

Plethora payment providers are supported: Stripe, PayPal, Moolah, Worldpay and Wirecard. Wix does not charge any fee on the transaction. As a user you are only liable to pay commission (%) to your provider.

It’s not the best, although small businesses can greatly benefit from it and start selling online.

Support team

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Built-in support comes with your Wix subscription. Help menu is visible in editor toolbar. Blog Manager for instance, has a separate Help section.

There are dedicated support pages available which can be accessed for any troubleshooting assistance. Articles therein are okay and will mostly address the needs of beginners and experts, alike.

Searching the Help can bring up old articles which can be outdated and can prove to be nuisance for users. The idea is to keep the section updated with fresh guides and walkthroughs. The knowledgebase is riddled with overlapping titles, does not yield results pertaining to the entered query or against the desired keyword.

It’s not only confusing but takes longer.

Support is also available via a ticketing system but on average it takes about 36 hours for your query to be answered. Again, the response time is slow as with the Help section above. If you are an owner of large business this can become a real problem should a downtime is experienced.

In conclusion

Wix provides lucrative templates and has a powerful editor that will help both novice and advanced users in their respective pursuits. Big businesses are at a disadvantage with Wix for reasons highlighted in the text above. Small businesses can however leverage its potential and core features to the maximum.

There is a 14-day money back guarantee that comes with Wix’s premium plans and while free services are well, free.