Shopify is Great, but these are the things you need to notice

I have been an active Shopify expert in Hong Kong since 2014. No doubt seeing Shopify become a strong platform and I regret not buying their stock in-time…

I believe not only Shopify technical talents and their proactive technology advance bring today Shopify, but also the strong developer community, for which we call Shopify Partners / Shopify Experts contributed in their success. Various apps / theme / tailor-made development services around the world help merchants work out the things they look forward, or providing advices that help giving birth to different success merchant stories.

Yet, even thought you also also like Shopify as of what I do, I have to point out the things below so you could treat that as a reference when you run your store.

Magic number: 1000 and 99 and 16

1000 is a magic number in Shopify, where:

  • A collection can hold at most 1000 products
    • If you have a collection with more than 1000 products, you need to refine your collection to have fewer products. It is not a big deal for Small-Medium business, but for large enterprise / marketplace, it is an obstacle.
  • A collection can holds at most 1000 tags
    • Products in Shopify can has tags. For a given collection, it has an array variable for theme developer to make use of it for function like filtering. Yet, such array can hold at most 1000 tags.

99 is a magic number in Shopify for Product variant

For a given product, you can setup some options, such as size / color / pattern etc. The number of combination of the options form the list of variants. Say, there are size S, M, L, and color with red and yellow. There will be 6 variants. And you cannot have more than 99 variants.

Again, this is fine for most of the scenario unless you have business like color lens, which ash different diopters (0.5,1,1.5,2…8.5, 9…etc) and colors, it likely results in huge variants list.

16 is the latest magic number newly in Shopify Store 2.0,

With Shopify Store 2.0, theme can has sections and block beyond homepage. Many theme developer build theme allowing merchant to add sections / blocks for configurable content like FAQ as the example, merchant can create a FAQ section and add questions. With such new magic 16, you can at most add 16 blocks for the FAQ questions.

Discount code oversell

As a merchant sometime you may run Flash Sale with limited discount for a given period of time as well as number of usage. Shopify allows you setup discount with period and no. of usage and some merchant shall use it as a way to control how many discount take place. Yet, I have merchant who run the Flash Sale for PS5 and some attractive electronic applicants using discount code with limited usage. Yet, the campaign is very success with probably near couple hundred people fight for the competition and turn out, oversell happens. The explanation from Shopify Plus support sharing it is possible to happen: for an order creation, it is allocated to some thread process. When there are many order fall to different process for the transaction/order creation, different threads have chance to get a non-updated copies of the discount code usage, leading the oversell. It sounds sensible to me, yet, it is a problem for merchants and what merchant can only do could be reducing the discount availability such as reducing the quota.

Discount code quote being occupied by abandoned checkout order (for checkout with 3rd payment service provider), no way to release

It is related to previous item. My merchant use 3rd payment service provider, meaning the customer will redirect from Shopify checkout to the payment gateway for the payment. For a hot campaign, there could be many customers attempt to checkout but didn’t complete their checkout, while those discount code would be classified as used. Imagine there are other customer also attempt to use the discount and it being feedback as discount code has no more quota.

From merchant perspective, they see the used quota is not fully redeemed from counting the transaction records, say, there is 5 quota for the discount code, the merchant sees the discount being used by 5 times already, while he only see 2 code applied to completed transaction. They try to find which orders are using the code but they fail. It is because the discount code detail only show the number of count being used but has no information of which 5 orders applied the code. Merchant can only find the code in Abandoned Checkout section manually. Yet, since it is abandoned checkout, there is no way to cancel such checkout for releasing the discount code… The lack of control of the discount code usage upset merchants.

No collection hierarchy

Merchants with large product size will find it hard for merchandising their product collection in Shopify. Shopify goes for flat collection principle. You can at most try combine with tagging / vendor attribute to form sub-collection. If your business work like marketplace, with collections have multiple sub-level. Shopify can only achieve this visually, but it does not offer the collection hierarchy. Say, if you want to have collection hierarchy like Women > Clothing > Dress, it is not having such logic in Shopify upon collection setup. Some developer leverage Navigation menu to accomplish such hierarchy-concept, and to have Women collection created with rules cover Clothing and Dress collection, as well as Clothing with rules that cover Dress Collection.

Too simple Member System

As a merchant, they wish to have member system which allow them to customer information including phone / preference. In Shopify….. no phone field, no additional profile attributes. You could accomplish similar feature by means of using customer tagging or otherwise to use App in aid of it, this leads to problem like data sharing with 3rd party, or difficulty on account spam prevention.

Not only that, for customer, when they login to their account, they cannot change email / reset password. The only way for reset password is to proceed Forget Password…

As a merchant, lacking of Date of Birth or phone number make limitation in marketing strategy or premium customer service.

The list is not stop by here. I shall further update the post when I can articulate what I encountered in the future. Wish the shared information enrich your understanding toward Shopify. You can also consider to checkout my consultant service so I can help you resolving the questions that you encountered.

You can sign up Shopify with this link, or you can ask me for help setup Shopify store with me has a collaborator access to guide you through the onboarding or store setup.

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