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Addison Member
Posts:
133
March 25, 2009

Outgrown shopify? This post is outdated

I have been using Shopify and absolutely *love* it. The best part is that *it just works*. But I think I have gotten to the point that shopify isn't taking care of all my needs. The problem is, every other service I try out isn't as easy and sleek for the customers as well as the buyers. Goodbarry *looks good on the outside* because it has CRM and email marketing built in, and everything is integrated. Once you get in and start using it though, (at least in my experience with the trial), it's klunky -- (technical terms, I know! that's the only word that I can get for it.) So, does anyone have any ideas? I *DO NOT* want to part with my beloved shopify...but I may choose to. I just wish that Shopify was a bit more powerful. *Goodbarry features matched with Shopify's style, simplicity, and beauty would be a perfect winner.*
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Replies
Jamie Chief Officer of Funness shopify.com/plus
Posts:
5859
March 26, 2009

I don’t think you will ever see email marketing in the core. There are so many great services that can be somewhat integrated that really can do the email campaigns better than Shopify could. It would be great if one of them would pick up the ball and use the Shopify api for a tighter relationship. I am sure that’s only a matter of time.

This is why Shopify is so fast and Goodbarry is so slow. Shopify is light and does one thing great instead of trying to do several things in mediocrity. I recently had to help someone with a Goddbarry store and it was a nightmare from a design POV. We optimized everything we could and the site is soooo sloooow. It’s painful after all the work that went into it.

Good luck finding the best of both, I look at a ton of software and still think that Shopify is in the top of the game right now hands down.

http://evolvedesign.co ::: http://twitter.com/bacchus
Posts:
1
March 26, 2009

It does take a little more work to manage a GoodBarry site, but the features available in their platform are hard to beat for the small to mid-size online retailer. (Full disclosure: we’re a web design firm that’s an authorized partner with GoodBarry’s parent, Business Catalyst, to build custom sites for the GoodBarry platform.)

What’s unique about their system is its focus on CRM for all aspects of your online business. Pull up a customer record, and you not only see their order history, but also their email campaign history and related responses/activity on your site. If they’ve posted a comment on your blog or a site forum, it captures that information as well. If you’ve had any returns or customer service inquiries from them, you can capture that on their record, too. It really does give you more of a complete picture of how they are interacting with your online business.

We agree that a few aspects of their system are “klunky.” However, they actively seek feedback on ways to improve their system, and they not only listen, but have a history of acting on it. It’s a fairly new platform (released in 2006) and they appear committed to improve the user-friendliness of the system.

It also might appear “klunky” due to its full feature set, which takes a little bit of a learning curve. It’s not for everyone, but for those who are willing to take the time to master it, it’s quite powerful.

As for the slowness noted by Jamie, they upgraded their servers recently and this occasional problem appears to have disappeared.

Not saying GoodBarry is perfect (nothing is), but its integration of multiple tools important to an online business, combined with its full feature set, make it a platform worth trying for site owners wanting “something more.”

Regards,
Jim Clayman
www.TotalNetAdvantage.com

Addison Member
Posts:
133
Last edited March 26, 2009
"Good luck finding the best of both, I look at a ton of software and still think that Shopify is in the top of the game right now hands down."

Jamie, so true! I love Shopify! And I know that it is because focus on one aspect and make it close to perfect.

I think that they’ve made it close enough to perfect that they can move on to add more.

"What’s unique about their system is its focus on CRM for all aspects of your online business. Pull up a customer record, and you not only see their order history, but also their email campaign history and related responses/activity on your site. If they’ve posted a comment on your blog or a site forum, it captures that information as well. If you’ve had any returns or customer service inquiries from them, you can capture that on their record, too. It really does give you more of a complete picture of how they are interacting with your online business"

Exactly. That is why I looked into it and it does seem very powerful. But to me it has to be really simple. And their templates leave something to be desired. I don’t know if I could switch my shopify store over easily or not…

Thanks for your input! If anyone else knows of any other alternatives, let me know.

Posts:
68
March 26, 2009

Interesting thread, we have been with shopify for a couple of years and do enjoy its ease of use etc, the main thing that makes us think we will go elsewhere is the category system

Addison Member
Posts:
133
March 27, 2009

I love shopify but need more. Hopefully more is coming.

There has to be another service that does what goodbarry does that is not “klunky” I just tried goodbarry trial again. It is so complicated! Wow.

One of their blog posts really demonstrates the power of the system.
http://www.goodbarry.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=172&;PostID=24746

The implementation of that concept is where they are messed up. If shopify could do it, WOW.

So I guess I wait.

Posts:
5830
Last edited March 27, 2009

The main problem with Shopify is that it’s too cheap. It’s even cheaper than free open-source Magento or osCommerce or Drupal Ubercart: with open-source you usually are required to pay hefty price in hosting (shared hosting will NOT work for ecommerce), with open-source you also need to know what you’re doing or hire someone who does ($$). There’s no true one-click install ala Wordpress.

Shopify, because of it being cheap, attracts all kinds of people, but mostly the wrong kind, that is, the hobbyists who have no money to invest. These hobbyists will not hire a designer because they were sold on the idea that they did not need one. They think they can have a store up and running in 2 minutes and change the appearance of their cart in that same amount of time. They become a burden for Shopify and the community.

Another problem with Shopify is the simplicity of its theming system: it is too simple. That’s great for designers, don’t get me wrong, I love it. However, it’s simple enough that someone with no clue will play in it… and half of the people who do (if not more) are not really smart, so the results will be… increased burden on the community and on Shopify.

Here’s what Jaded Pixel should do: increase their prices, but not only that, it should should create premium ($$) forums, like it’s done with Extjs, where people who have the money pay monthly fees and can be hand-held properly as a result. Those who’ve signed up to the Enterprise plan could get ‘phone service’ as well, someone to speak to live, while others would not. I’m sure that people who are serious about their business do not want people who pay nothing or 24 dollars a month to hog Shopify’s phone lines & resources.

Caroline from http://11heavens.com ∴ mllegeorgesand AT gmail DOT com
Posts:
5830
Last edited March 27, 2009

Here’s some more thoughts.

There are people who have been very helpful here, such as Christina…. and myself! And what I will refer to as ‘the guys’ (you will recognize yourself… if not: Stuart, Mark, BBG, Jamie, Jared, and the like, in no particular order). If Jaded Pixel had premium forums they would not even need to hire people full time—as employees—to help out in these forums. Just like Extjs does it, Jaded Pixel could hand-pick regular contributors and start paying them by the hour when they answer questions on premium forums.

Shopify’s Premium Help: Expedited help for Shopify’s Premium Subscription members.

That’s exactly what Extjs did, with much success. You reward you own community instead of not addressing the burden created by the solution you provide that is too cheap.

There will always those who are given the milk, and who want the cream with it, plus the farm lady… at their disposal. (French expression literally translated.) Selling an e-commerce solution for 0-$24 USD a month with the pitch ‘a store in less than 2 minutes’ (which is really what it takes me to create a sandbox with products, and collections in it)... is… asking for trouble.

Caroline from http://11heavens.com ∴ mllegeorgesand AT gmail DOT com
Posts:
5830
Last edited March 27, 2009

Three more things:

1. Another quality of Premium Forums: it (usually) does not cost money to browse them. Whatever is contributed in premium forums helps everyone without exception. It only costs money to post a question, it costs nothing to read answers.

2. When people want more out of Shopify, it usually means that they’re unable to figure out how to implement something on their own. By the very nature of its theming system, because templates are fully editable, because you’re able, by ‘chaining’, to access anything from anywhere, you can do a lot, but you’ll have to do a little coding to get there. With no coding you get less for sure. You cannot drag and drop functional blocks into Shopify. And then again we’re back to the necessity of offering more support at a cost.

3. There is room for improvement in the current ways in which resources are accessed: smart collections could get smarter—use of inclusive OR with conditions, not only an exclusive AND. Dynamic ordering could be added to the url (/collections/my-collection-handle?order=price+desc). Simple arithmetic could be added to Liquid (although it’s very easy to use a counter in Shopify), something like: {{ price | add:15800 | subtract: 8900 | money }}. Multipe variations, but ETA for this is really soon :-D.

Caroline from http://11heavens.com ∴ mllegeorgesand AT gmail DOT com
Posts:
163
Last edited March 27, 2009

Ok, there are lots of interesting points in this thread. I think it’s good to open up and have a debate.

I’ve worked with Shopify for a few years and I’ve also had the “pleasure” of creating a few shops for GoodBarry.

Here’s a few impartial thoughts:

1. From a designer’s point of view, Shopify wins hands down. It is 100% customizable. In GoodBarry, there are some things that can’t be changed (like the annoying alert box that pops up every time you add or update the cart).

2. Customer accounts – Shopify doesn’t store these. GoodBarry does but coding a template with login forms, setting up secure areas and configuring them in general is MUCH more difficult than it should be.

3. Klunky is right. The admin interface for GoodBarry is way behind Shopify.

4. Overall features – GoodBarry wins this battle but I guess complexity comes at a price and overall usability suffers.

Thinking about Magento Commerce, actually is does run fine on shared hosting accounts (as long as the store isn’t high volume and it’s a quality host like MediaTemple). I’ve done a few Magento stores. First impressions are that Magento themes are way more complicated than Shopify themes. Prepare for a bit of a steep learning curve and be prepared to get your hands dirty with PHP.

John --- http://experts.shopify.com/patternhead --- www.rawsterne.co.uk --- http://twitter.com/patternhead --- A few Shopify sites that I've worked on... http://oreedesign.com/ ::: www.carstache.com ::: www.waltzingmousestamps.com ::: http://shoprustyknuckles.com ::: www.papermash.co.uk ::: http://shop.mulberryroad.com
Addison Member
Posts:
133
Last edited March 28, 2009

Caroline,

I agree that you have definitely created a lot of value in the forums. Just curious—what is your motivation for helping all of us so dilligently? That goes for all of you that are regular posters who we are all so thankful for!

I definitely am one of those who wants the cream, cow, and the farm lady to come with it! LOL. I did not do it just because it was cheap. I first started with OSCommerce which I hated and didn’t even get my store up and running, so that’s where I started looking. I looked at probably 25+ carts available and made probably 10+ free trials, even paid to use some, but NOTHING would quite do it. I even tried magento but after using shopify, I couldn’t figure out how to make more than one variant of a product. Things shouldn’t be that difficult to use—I am quite computer savvy for most things, but those systems just were a pain.

The reason I kept using shopify is because I needed something simple enough that I am not spending 80% of my time managing my store. I would definitely pay much more to have a comparable feature set to Goodbarry that doesn’t sacrifice the intuitiveness of shopify.

Posts:
5830
March 27, 2009

Just curious—what is your motivation for helping all of us so diligently?

I am just plain stupid, Addison. It comes from a flaw in my personality. I give lots more than I receive, always been that way. I have high hopes for myself, though. Hopefully, when I turn 50 (I am 37), I will have learned to think of myself first. Responding to a question satisfies a powerful urge in me. I can’t stand being the witness of someone struggling, and when I foresee pain for someone I can’t help but act out to prevent that pain. I am not kidding you. Life should be as less complicated as possible. I have an important physical disability, maybe that plays a role. A lot of time has been spent in my life trying to simplify processes. I am super-efficient. I am constantly thinking of ways to save time and effort.

Caroline from http://11heavens.com ∴ mllegeorgesand AT gmail DOT com
Posts:
185
Last edited March 27, 2009

I couldn’t help not comment on this one. Just to thank you Caroline for all the help you provided me (me being so stupid in all the technical aspects of having a website.)

Sorry for being a burden :-)

Fanny http://www.bebecannelle.com
Posts:
5830
March 27, 2009

Sorry for being a burden :-)

You’re certainly not. You never show a hint of that sense-of entitlement I was referring to. You receive but also give back and what you give back is always right on. I can tell also from your occasional questions that you’ve done your research first using google, and reading from the wiki, etc.
You’ve been a long term client, maybe you have a grand-fathered plan, all this gives you special status in my eyes. You stood the course. You chose Shopify at a time where it was very young—and it still is, young.

Caroline from http://11heavens.com ∴ mllegeorgesand AT gmail DOT com
Posts:
185
March 27, 2009

thank you Caroline!

Fanny http://www.bebecannelle.com
Jamie Chief Officer of Funness shopify.com/plus
Posts:
5859
March 27, 2009

Like Fanny could be a burden! Shame on you Fanny for thinking so. Your one of the sweetest folks around these parts. :)

http://evolvedesign.co ::: http://twitter.com/bacchus
Posts:
185
March 28, 2009

Blush! Thank you Jamie!

Fanny http://www.bebecannelle.com
Posts:
55
April 17, 2009

In my personal opinion, Shopify is great for a simple ecommerce solution to a point. We use it, but we’re moving one site to a goodbarry platform for 2 simple reasons- cost, and features.

When your shopify site is doing $40,000-$120,000 a month in sales, the percentage of fee they take can add up fast, and make it attractive to move. Goodbarry gives us the same functionality with more features for $79 a month without percentages. When my shopify bill for 1 site ran over $1500, I realized thats money I could use to hire an employee..

Any of our sites that sell below about $25k a month we’ll keep on shopify, all others will simply be moved to GoodBarry. I wish Shopify had in their plans customer logins, CRM/ticketing system, integrated forms, etc, as well as a membership level that wouldn’t go over say $300 a month.. Then it wouldn’t be attractive to move a site.

The downside to goodbarry is obviously getting the back end set up, we’re still a month in, and working on bugs with customer login functionality. Which brings me to another point- anyone a goodbarry guru? Looking to hire someone to fix some functionality on a site before we launch it.

Thanks everyone for your willingness to donate your time to answering questions.

Posts:
5830
April 17, 2009

Even the theming system seems awesome: http://goodbarry.com/website

guy15, you should contact Rawsterne. He does great work.

Caroline from http://11heavens.com ∴ mllegeorgesand AT gmail DOT com
Posts:
195
April 17, 2009

Hi Guy15,

We’d hate to lose you too.

I’d like to hear more about those features; we’re looking at prospective applications to build on top of Shopify, and a CRM/ticketing system, customer logins, and integrated forms are entirely within the realm of possibility.

How were you thinking of using the customer logins? Would that be for an existing customer who wanted to keep orders that they could more easily re-issue?

Edward Ocampo-Gooding – Shopify Developer Advocate
Posts:
60
April 21, 2009

Hi all,

Seeing as how GoodBarry is mentioned here I figured that I’d post some issues that I’ve been having.

I’ve been playing around with GoodBarry for a few days or so, and first impressions are not bad. There are three main reasons for me that I’m looking elsewhere now even though I spent a lot of time developing a client’s site in Shopify.

1 No customer service, I was promised a phone call from sales to discuss my unique situation (no Prices in shop, just an ordering system) with Shopfiy and haven’t heard anything for over a month now. CAN’T GET A HOLD OF ANYONE MAKES ME NERVOUS. What if I had an urgent issue?

2 Lack of advanced search functionality, because of the massive # of products in my store (groceries) I definitely need this function which GoodBarry does provide.

3 Price, GoodBarry has one set price per month, highest it gets is $79.00. Shopify is much more expensive. Not that I can get a price quote or anything!!!

Anyhow, I love shopify for very many things, GoodBarry is fine but I’m finding bugs once in a while that I don’t like and it’s not as customizable for certain things. That being said, I feel that I’m leaning away from Shopify as of late, especially since I can’t get a hold of anyone.

Any thoughts or issues with GoodBarry that I should know about of any comments in general would be appreciated since this is a discussion forum.

Regards

Posts:
55
April 30, 2009

Edward, Other than price, the main features we want but lack in shopify (That goodbarry has) are:

-customer logins (customer can login and see orders, see status of their ticket, etc.)
-Affiliate program
-Integrated forms (ie: when someone fills out a contact us form, in GB that data will go in the customer record, so we can have all that customer’s activity (orders, communication logs, when they log in and how often, etc) in one record)
-Email marketing – you can run email campaigns right in GB to any list you have.. on the back end, you as an admin can see which emails you’ve sent which customers.. And its customizable, for example, say i want to send an email to just customers who spent over $100 (like an invitation to a discount cupon), it will only go to those customers.. etc.

Primarily, the issue is the commissions.

PLISVB- The issues i’m running into with goodbarry is getting the secure zones dialed in, as well as the checkout process.. But I’m going to hire someone who knows these intimately to do it for us.

Posts:
195
May 05, 2009

Guy15,

Customer logins, integrated forms, and email marketing features would be totally doable Shopify Applications, but I don’t see them coming out for a few more months.

Can you tell me more about how the affiliate program would be set up to work? Would this sort of feature be a system where a 3rd party gets a customer to make a purchase, that 3rd party earns a commission on the sale?

Edward Ocampo-Gooding – Shopify Developer Advocate
-Mark Shopify Partner blog.granitelady.com
Posts:
113
May 05, 2009

Customer logins, integrated forms, and email marketing features would be totally doable Shopify Applications, but I don’t see them coming out for a few more months.

Tobi has stated several times that these are not areas of concern for Shopify and they are best left to those applications that perform these tasks well. Shopify does e-commerce not all the peripheral.

This is exactly why they are setting up their API and App store to extend Shopify. The companies that do these things well will have extensions to add onto a store as already the case with some apps like MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, Wufoo and others.

I know Fortunecookiesoap.com has already integrated these systems (login, wish lists, etc) with other applications. This isn’t a totally seamless solutions, but as Tobi has said, those shopping carts that do everything aren’t really that great at the e-commerce end or atleast they don’t do the peripheral tasks as well as a company that only does that task.

My experience with OS commerce forks was that it came with tons of features, most of which didn’t work very well, which you needed to extend with 3rd part plugins (not exactly a plug… in), then you had to hope and pray the plugins and entire system would work whenever doing an update.

I believe Shopify is taking the best route here by letting others do these things for them, similar to how Apple let developers have at it with the App Store.

Shopify sites in progress: http://markhostcoins.com :: http://adirondackwallart.com :: Shopify link resource: http://shopify.zoothemes.com
Posts:
1
December 17, 2009

<quote>It’s even cheaper than free open-source Magento or osCommerce or Drupal Ubercart: with open-source you usually are required to pay hefty price in hosting (shared hosting will NOT work for ecommerce), with open-source you also need to know what you’re doing or hire someone who does ($$)</quote>

I don't know what Shopify costs, but I have run osCommerce in a shared hosting environment on hosting that initially cost less than $8.00/mo. You just need to purchase a separate SSL certificate for each domain ($29.95 at GoDaddy.com) or a multiple domain SSL ($99.95 at GoDaddy.com). If you are running a serious business, you should have your own SSL certificates anyway.

Free support for osCommerce is very easy to find in the forums if you ask clear questions and are polite, you will usually get a solution to your problem in a couple days. Some of those osCommerce gurus have given me extensive support and even written code for me when I first started with osCommerce for free that would have cost hundreds of dollars if I'd had to hire a programmer. There are over 2500 add-on contributions that extend it to do just about anything you want it to do. Mostly they just involve some cutting and pasting into the script at the appropriate place.

Once you've worked with the code a bit, it's not that hard to install extra contributions that provide extra features and SEO. When you get stuck, just ask in the osC forum and someone will explain it to you what you need to do, or where to find the part you need to change in the code.

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