The Beginning of eCommerce
When I built my first eCommerce website in 1996 (selling homebuilt Texas Instrument graphing calculator cables), you couldn’t just get a shopping cart system. Nope, you had to build a cart from scratch...an insurmountable task for most entrepreneurs, myself included. My site was basic...it couldn’t even accept online payments (this was before even Paypal!), so customers had to mail in a check or money order.
By the end of the 90s, basic shopping cart applications started to become available. However, the commercial options were terribly expensive and the open source options were limited in functionality and required considerable resources to support. For a long time, most businesses wishing to seriously sell online were essentially also software development companies, which required a massive investment in people and infrastructure to support...quite a distraction from their core business of buying and selling stuff!
The Magento Era
As time went on, better and better options came to the market. In 2009, I built a major ecommerce website using the then-new Magento platform. Magento promised to be the ‘next-generation’ in shopping cart software, built from the ground up to enable better scale and limitless flexibility. Magento was a huge hit and before long, was powering hundreds of thousands of online stores around the globe and created an ecosystem of third party developers offering extensions, themes & custom development.
But, like it’s predecessors, Magento has it’s downsides. It’s not easy for business users to operate, oftentimes is slow, and is difficult to find quality development talent to support.
Technically, since it’s an application you host yourself (and a resource hungry one at that), it still requires a considerable investment of resources and personnel to support. Hosting alone for a decent-sized Magento size can cost more than $20,000 per year! A sudden increase in traffic, every internet entrepreneur's dream, can easily knock an unprepared Magento site offline, potentially costing huge amounts of lost revenue. Further, Magento is frequently a target of hackers, so site owners must invest in installing security patches and hardening their hosting environments...all time that could better be spent, you know, running the business.
All of that means Magento is just not a good fit for many businesses.
The Shopify Era
So in 2012, I discovered a new cloud platform called Shopify. For as little as $30 a month, Shopify offered nearly every feature MOST businesses need in an online store and eliminated most of the hassle that has been a part of eCommerce since the dawn of the internet.
I built my first website on Shopify and was absolutely blown away by the quality of the site I had built with just a few days effort and almost no cost. A site of comparable quality built on a platform like Magento would have taken months of time and thousands and thousands of dollars. From that day, I was absolutely in love with Shopify and eventually ended up building dozens of sites on the platform on behalf of my former employer.
Shopify Consulting & Development
Nowadays, my company Skigen.Digital is focused on empowering businesses to sell online with Shopify. As a Shopify Partner, I have built and managed dozens of Shopify stores for companies big and small in a variety of categories. My clients receive a high-quality, polished eCommerce website that they are not only proud to show off to their customers, but delivers amazing results.
Here are the key reasons I recommend Shopify as the ideal eCommerce system for most clients I speak to:
Shopify is Powerful and Flexible: Shopify is packed with great features and can handle the online sales needs of most online businesses. And now with the included Shopify POS module, it can handle the offline sales of many business as well.
Using Shopify is Easy and Intuitive: The Shopify admin interface is polished and intuitive to use for most users. It’s easy to learn, extensively documented, mobile compatible and FAST.
With Shopify, you Spend No Time Dealing with Servers: As a hosted application, a Shopify site owner never needs to think about the servers. Never. Your store will load fast and reliably every time, even if you are experiencing a massive rush of traffic. You never need to install security patches or upgrades and you won’t need to hire a fulltime server guy just to make sure the site is performing optimally. It just works, always.
Shopify is Extensible: For functionality not supported directly by Shopify, a huge amount of add-on modules and extensions are available to extend Shopify’s power. Want to sell on Amazon? There’s an extension for that. Want to offer wholesale pricing to specific customers? There’s an extension for that too. Nearly any eCommerce feature you can imagine can be achieved in Shopify.
Shopify is Highly Customizable: Compared to other platforms, custom developing for Shopify is a breeze. From a developer’s standpoint, Shopify is engineered brilliantly to allow for rapid development and deployment; most of my clients are ready to launch in less than 30 days.
In my two decades of experience, Shopify is the best eCommerce software I’ve ever used.
If you’re interested in selling online, I’d love to hear from you! I offer a free, no-pressure consultation and will tell you honestly if Shopify (or another platform) is the right fit for your business. Just contact me today to get started. I look forward to speaking with you!
Skigen Digital Services LLC
Skigen Digital Services offers Shopify Development and eCommerce Consulting to businesses of all sizes in the Denver, Colorado metro area and beyond!