Shopify is a versatile platform with a wide array of options for reaching your customers. Aside from running your own store on your own domain, there are various levels of integration with services such as Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon and more.

The list regularly changes as do the options for each service, so this is something you would want to be checking regularly. The best service to use is that which your customers use the most, but it’s a good idea to always be experimenting to find fresh sources of leads. Use your analytics and sales data to determine where you should be putting most of your efforts. Of course, you can reach your customers anywhere, but people are more willing to buy when it’s easy. The more integrated the experience, the easier it is to make the sale. Close integration also makes for easier management of products, sales, and data. That’s more reach for less effort.

There are many e-commerce systems which you can plug into an existing site running a content management system such as WordPress. There are also hosted services such as Wix which have options for adding e-commerce to your site. The advantage of Shopify is that e-commerce is the total focus. Helping people sell products on the web is what Shopify specializes in and they give you a load of resources to help you be successful. Among the features included with a Shopify cart is handling for shipping, taxes, analytics, reporting, payments and of course orders and customers. There’s a lot of complexity lurking in that short list, each item being a head-splitting problem. Any professional solution will include these on a checklist to battle with and Shopify hands them to you in an easy package. You get to skip over the parts which bog down most people so that you can get straight to design, engagement and making money.

With this ease of setup, should you still look to get help from a professional web developer? It’s a good idea because there are a lot of details involved in an e-commerce site. Shopify will take care of the ugly for you, and the remaining effort is what can make you stand out from your competition. The cart will get you sales out of the box, but the optimization will increase your conversion rates. What can a web developer do for you? There are many tasks which go with selling a product. Look at any of the products in your home and you can imagine everything which might be involved as your operation grows. The focus for the developer would be to design your site and the flow of your customer activity to get them to buy. The look, feel, texture, colors, images, and usability are all important for getting shoppers in the mood for hitting the buy button.

The developer customization options specific to Shopify are largely in the area of apps and themes. Apps allow you to add your own features to the Shopify platform. There are apps built by Shopify, which are available to everyone. To stand apart from the crowd, you can also build your own. For example, you might want tight integration with a platform which Spotify doesn’t already support. Or consider that you determine a feature which makes management easier could save you hours each week. In either case, a custom application plugged into the Shopify programming interface could smooth the path for your customers to buy and for you to sell. Themes are the other major area of customization, and this is where your developer can change the look and feel of your site. Just as with a WordPress site, Shopify themes have templates with a simple language which is used for the output of your store. A developer can use this template language to build a theme from scratch or to make simple changes to an existing theme.

Shopify is a solid option which handles the needs of the majority of people who want to sell products online. There are lots of good options for building a website, but Shopify is a clear leader for going e-commerce first. The service can also grow along with your needs, from beginner to private jet. You may eventually outgrow Shopify, but by then, you’ll be able to afford the heavier development which the other options require. All new accounts get a free trial, the best time to start is now.