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These days, Shopify seems unstoppable. The Shopify app store is growing fast; ever more competitor platforms are offering solutions to migrate to the upstart Shopify. If you’re struggling with your e-commerce, Shopify may be the answer … get a decent Shopify developer on board, and you could really be cooking on gas.

So, Is Shopify Good?

In our opinion, it is. We’ve tried quite a few e-commerce varieties and, so far, Shopify is the solution we suggest for most clients. We’ve been working with it since 2017 and have achieved some great things for our clients. There are a lot of things which really commend it to us:

Ease of Use

All of our clients seem to find Shopify’s administrators’ pages easy to use. We seldom need to spend much time showing them how it works. Product and order management are kept far away from design tools and the application interface and it seems genuinely difficult for clients to accidentally do the wrong thing.

Rock Solid Performance

If you have a successful business online, you’ll know just how damaging downtime can be. Quite apart from missing potential revenue, broken websites are hugely injurious to customer trust. Shopify uptimes are always far beyond those stated in their Service Level Agreement (SLA). Without tempting fate, all interruptions to service over the last five years have been clearly forewarned and our clients have been able, in turn, to inform their customers.

Excellent Theme Development

Shopify themes have been thoroughly designed from a technical point of view. A basic Shopify design is both mobile-friendly and fully responsive. Most offer extensive design options, meaning that your website will be truly individual, even without a developer!

Extensive Application Ecosystem

Ecosystem? I know … it’s how developers describe a programming environment. If an ecosystem is healthy, there will be a lot of developers working with the platform and a lot of applications written for it. This helps in two ways:

  • Lots of applications mean there may well be something out there which already does what you need. There are a lot of applications available for use with Shopify.
  • Lots of developers mean that a lively community develops. Information and help are typically readily available online for both Shopify developer and store owner alike.

ePos & Multi Channel Support

Want to sell your products through Facebook, Instagram or Google marketplace – Shopify simplifies things enormously. Configured correctly, all your orders will end up in one place – regardless of where the order came from.

Shopify has its own ePos system. If works seamlessly with Shopify. If it works the way you need your ePos system to work, linking your physical store and e-commerce store is a breeze.

Developer Smarts & Automation

A robust theme system supported with built-in GitHub means a Shopify developer can safely leverage and extend designs. Intelligent taxonomy tools means assigning products to categories is smarter and quicker. Powerful automated flows allow developers to design advanced product and order management systems.


We haven’t made a Shopify e-commerce store grind to a halt yet. Processing thousands of orders a day seems to be bread and butter to the platform.

What are Shopify’s weaknesses?

Nothing is perfect and there are a number of reasons why Shopify may not be ideal for you.

Limited Functionality

Shopify represents a relatively basic e-commerce store. Unusual product types are not available as part of the default build – even downloadable products require an additional application (although that is free from Shopify). For more unusual products e.g. bookings and ticketing, additional applications will need to be installed. Some product types may not be available at all.

Costs & Charges

Shopify is not the cheapest e-commerce platform. There is no free option.

Now, free options may well be a false economy, and if you want to run a business, you should expect some costs. But all those app charges that you need to get the shop running just the way you want soon add up. Your business needs to run at a certain size to cover those costs.

We find it very hard to tell a client exactly what their website will cost them to run before we start developing.

Payment Gateways

Shopify has its own payment gateway: Shopify Payments. It works very well but no other gateways can be integrated seamlessly with Shopify. Plus Shopify’s pricing is geared to make Shopify Payments the cheapest gateway for you to use. Moving to Shopify is likely to mean moving everything to Shopify, it may not suite the rest of your business.


We’ve seen SEO professionals swear that Shopify is dire for search engine optimisation. It isn’t, but it does require more knowledge than some sites to really make the site perform. There are apps to help and a little specialist knowledge goes a long way.

Site Speed

This is hotly debated in our Studio, even quite simple stores we manage are reported as relatively slow in Google Lighthouse®. The user experience is fine; no customer has ever complained. Nonetheless, those Lighthouse scores are a niggle, but we have made all the stores we have created thrive.

In short, Shopify is a great platform for many online businesses (but not all) a Shopify developer ought to be able to identify whether it is the solution for you.

So, What Does a Shopify Developer Do?

Designing, Customising and Developing E-Commerce Stores

The primary responsibility of a Shopify developer is to design and develop e-commerce stores on the Shopify platform.

A developer should understand how to get the best out of your images and be able to pick or modify a theme so that they display well. They should understand the importance of the user experience in e-commerce and be able to apply it within Shopify.

They use their coding skills in languages such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Liquid (Shopify’s proprietary coding language) to build aesthetically pleasing and functional online stores. Making even quite modest changes to the website markup requires knowledge of the Liquid template engine. Getting it wrong can break the entire site. If you do want to customise your site, you’ll need a developer.

With appropriate permissions (granted manually by the Shopify team), it’s possible to customise many parts of the Shopify system, including the checkout. Kids do not try this at home – get yourselves a Shopify developer.

Plugins and Applications

Another crucial task a Shopify developer performs involves customising themes and plugins based on client requirements. Shopify themes are good, very well-engineered and highly adaptable. Talent and patience can get you a long way to achieving a great-looking site. To get something unique, you’ll need a developer.

Some extensions and application integrations require editing of the site’s theme templates – a task better completed by a developer.

Extending the Site

Although the core Shopify architecture is locked away, you can extend the system by using browser site technologies. It is a technical job but can be highly effective. By leveraging local storage, Shopify authentication API’s and an external data system, we have built a powerful pre-order system for Rails of Sheffield.

Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Shopify can run enterprise-level businesses. We have integrated Shopify with some serious software. These systems are all robust and work well, but occasional issues are inevitable – it takes an experienced developer to know how to untangle them. Further, when using a network of integrated systems updates need to be tested carefully before being applied.

On a site turning over millions of pounds a degree of maintenance is inevitable. Shopify does a great job of updating its core platform. But updating plugins, optimising speed, fixing broken links, and ensuring that the website is secure from cyber threats is an ongoing task.

So, Do You Need a Shopify Developer?

For a simple site, maybe not, although professional help might be required to set up delivery and product options.

Shopify developers can either work as freelancers or be part of an agency that provides e-commerce solutions. They use their technical expertise to create customised stores that align with a brand’s identity and meet their business objectives.

Like an accountant, a good Shopify developer should be able to deliver more value than they charge. Little Fire Digital have helped clients treble the size of their businesses using Shopify – all of our clients’ sites have grown significantly using the platform.

Are Little Fire any Good at Shopify?

We like to think so. It seems that Shopify technical support thinks so too …

“I just want to let you know that although this is no way related to your inquiry, I was scrolling through your store and I smiled and fell in love with how you set up the storefront. It’s simple, detailed, and easy to navigate. I wanna commend your very neat and beautiful store. I love the color combination and it’s so customer-friendly. The idea and inspiration behind it must’ve been interesting.”

Shopify Technical Support

If you have an E-commerce business or project you want to move forward with, contact Little Fire Digital for a no-strings chat. It’s free!