Shopify First Impressions

Having worked at Pro Athlete for 16 years, authored much of the E-Commerce software, and then managed the team who released code, to then starting VinoPair.com, where everything is cloud-based and Shopify is the hub - changes everything.  

Shopify is designed like no other E-Commerce software I've ever seen.  There's no server-install, database passwords, or firewall ports to open.  There's no credit card gateways, fumbling with scripts or code (unless you want to), or web hosting.  Truest definition to Turnkey E-Commerce software that I've seen.

It seems like every week there's some new option that's being pushed out for Shopify Merchants to use.  Some I like and use, and others I do not.  That's not the point.  I'm getting great features for my website and paying a small subscription fee.  It's like there's a team of programmers working on my site 24/7.  There's is a team, but they are working on the platform that my site resides and since it's all cloud-based, new feature installs are button-clicks away.  When I engage the button and click it, I get enormous value.  I know what it takes, in some cases, to write that functionality and I just installed it in seconds.  Not to mention, I get a little jealous knowing just how simple it's gotten to start an E-Commerce Store on Shopify now.

Security is a big part of E-Commerce software.  Keeping the bad guys out and making sure all credit cards are safe requires some effort.  As the bad guys get smarter and more motivated, the effort required to protected your homegrown business assets with a quarterly PCI scan takes more resources, and can become counter-productive.  Shopify absorbs that layer of security, so as a shop owner and retailer, I don't need to worry about that and can focus on more important issues.

Integration of software can be another huge resource hog.  Especially enterprise software where specialized consulting is required and fees are charged in the hundreds per hour. Shopify offers an eco-system of apps to make installing add-on's a fun exercise. When something comes up, there's a directory of service providers all around the world that specialize in Shopify Apps / integration and are there to help.

There were a few issues that I ran into while setting up VinoPair.com and I needed some help.  I dreaded the unknown, and potentially expensive consulting fees.  That's all I've ever known.  After reaching out to a few experts in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, I found someone to help.  Not only did they help, they recreated a copy of my entire store, inventory, and accounting system to showed how to properly solve my problems.  It was an amazing experience because the problems were fixed so fast and the cost was unbelievable.

Email templates are refreshing in Shopify.  Why?  The templates provided are for all kinds of communications. Just turn the store on and they are there.  That in itself, is a huge value.  Then, tailoring them to your needs is just as simple and straight-forward as the rest of Shopify.  It's simple to add logos, graphics and HTML to the emails, too.

Lifting the hood in Shopify reveals a mature liquid scripting engine and robust, yet simple theming system. There's a set of hotkeys or admin keyboard shortcuts to quickly move between screens in Shopify.  There's lots of liquid scripting variable cheat sheets programmers have authored.  There's a Shopify API wrapper for about every modern programming language.  Once you create a private app api key and plug it into a program, custom code can be run against your Shopify store front.  

Shopify, as a software development company, releases some amazing open-source projects, too. Vino Pair uses the dashing software as it's visualizations at the Parkville Commercial underground cave location to manage operations.  There's many pre-built widgets that can be plugged-in and integrated with outside services for real-time data flows which makes this dashboard software expandable and versatile.

Cheers shopify!

Cheers shopify!