Review: Shopify Malaysia

Different Plans, Pros and Cons of Starting An E-Commerce Store with Shopify


Shopify Malaysia Review

If you’re looking to start a e-Commerce store in Malaysia, building it through a simple drag and drop e-Commerce platform, Shopify would be one of the fastest way to get your online store up and running.

Shopify is one of the most widely used e-Commerce platform in the world. There is no expertise of programming required, and you can easily set up your online store within an hour.

Of course, there are similar platforms in the market. It is recommended that you consider the pros and cons involved here, before deciding to invest your time going down this path. 

Alternatives of Plug & Play
E-Commerce Store

What are some alternatives, you may ask, if you choose not to go into a simple drag and drop platform (like Shopify)?

1. Hiring a local website builder to custom build your e-commerce store
2. A local Malaysia e-Commerce platform (Easystore, SiteGiant, etc)
3. Building the e-commerce store yourself (wix, wordpress, etc)

Plug & Play E-commerce store

Plug & Play versus Custom Build Considerations 

Here are some considerations to take while figuring out whether you should opt for Shopify or the alternatives mentioned above:

Price – custom build websites may be cheaper in the long run, however it is a heavy upfront investment cost. I would say that the market rate for a custom build e-commerce site range between RM5k to RM15k. If you are not sure if your product or solution sells, it is best that you choose a lower cost option as a starting point.

Shopify or other online e-Commerce platform on the other hand, has low initial cost – as low as USD29 (which is about RM120/month)

Skill set – whether you or your partner have the relevant technical skill set to build an e-Commerce website. If you are using Wordpress + Woo commerce, you would need at least to have web-designing skills, some basic coding skill and understanding of linking all the components together.

Setup time -  if you need it up and running almost immediately or within weeks, it would be an uphill task to build your own e-Commerce site. Plug-and-play e-Commerce store can be up and running within the day itself if all the creative assets are available. 

Maintenance - let's say your team does have the capability to build an e-Commerce website, the next question would be whether you have the ability  and time to maintain  invest in a tech-team which may take up precious time on your end to ramp up the business

Let's say I've decided to go for a plug and play
e-Commerce store, why Shopify?

ecommerce store


Shopify is definitely worth considering when you look at what you get for your money. It provides business owners with a solid yet flexible store builder that can increase conversions and sales, as well as reduce a lot of administrative tasks, and provide valuable management information.

There are many local platforms and options that are similar to Shopify, so why choose Shopify?
How does Shopify compare to them?  


To explore this and help decision makers, we hope to present some information and facts by examining:
1 . Shopify's key features
2.  Shopify's pricing plans
3. Comparison for Shopify vs other alternatives 

Hopefully, by running through all these information will help you decide if Shopify is the best fitted solution for you

Shopify - build your business

Shopify - Quick Review

Shopify is an e-Commerce website builder which allows you to set up your online store and sell items (products and services)


The Good Stuff:

  • Quick and easy setup
  • Hosted - you need not pay for web-hosting or server maintenance
  • Integrated to hundreds of apps for different add-on functionalities (free and paid)
  • 1-click Facebook store setup
  • SEO feature - change page titles and meta descriptions easily
  • Access multiple mobile friendly beautiful templates
  •  Analytics of sale and transaction is available
  • Popular platform - hence there is a lot of resources sharing knowledge 

The Bad Stuff:

  • Transaction fees charged for every successful sale in additional of monthly recurring fees
  • Customisation of themes may be difficult - uses Liquid programming language 
  • Shopify Payment (in built payment processor) only allows you to sell from certain countries
  • Professional reporting only accessible through more expensive plans
  • Wholesale selling is only available through Shopify Premium 

Try Shopify

14 days free trial

Shopify Key Features

While having an e-Commerce front is important for selling, there are some other must-have components that allow businesses to effectively manage their online store. This includes having back-end fulfillment management system, social media integration, payment facilitation, marketing features (SEO & content marketing), and promotional features (discount, sales features). 

A basic Shopify plan encompasses all the above features while providing an analytics dashboard to help you track traffic and sales.

If you are selling on a offline store, you would like that Shopify is built in with a POS application for iOS and Android devices. Therefore you can manage transaction in a physical store or pop-up store. Besides owning a actually online store, you can just sell on Facebook or a blog with a "buy button" without having a store front on Shopify's Lite Plan.

While Shopify has a lot of features to offer, here are some key ones that should be paying attention to 

Shopify features

Shopify Key Features

  • Order Fulfillment: Capture orders and customers details and allow your team to manage, fulfill orders and access customers' purchase data 
  • Social Media Selling & Integration: Create your Facebook "Shop" tab, within clicks, Leverage on your huge social following and allow people to buy directly without having to go to your online store 
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery: Automated email triggers to help you recover abandoned cart sales  
  • Automated Shipping Calculations: Receive automatic shipping rates from major shipping carriers like UPS, USPS, and FedEx. 
  • Discount Codes: Generate discount codes based on percentage and fixed amount based on certain criterias
  • Unlimited Products: There is no limit to the number of products that you can sell in your online store 
  • Shopify POS: Manage offline selling and allow you to collect payments offline   
  • Inventory Management: Track stocks counts and automatically updates when there is a sale and stop selling products when inventory runs out  
  • Sales & Traffic Analytics: Track sales, orders, traffic and see where your visitor is coming from 
  • Mobile App: Manage your store on the go with your phone or iPad

Payment 

As an Malaysian e-Commerce player, you would be glad to know that Shopify supports major payment gateways in Malaysia such as iPay88, MOLPay and GrabPay! 

Shopify offers a simple 1-click integration, which allows you to start selling and collecting payments using online bank transfer from local banks or credit cards. 

Here  is the full list of payment providers:

  • GrabPay
  • 2Checkout
  • Asiabill
  • BitPay
  • IPay88
  • iPayLinks
  • MOLPay
  • PayDollar
  • Payment Express PxPay
  • PaymentExpress
  • ePay / Payment Solutions
  • eWAY Rapid 3.1
  • hoolah
  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • Paysera payment gateway
  • PUT IT ON LAY-BUY
  • Sezzle
  • Checkout.com
  • Stripe
  • Splitit Monthly Payments
  • +100 payment methods, credit/debit cards, vouchers and wallets in Latin America via EBANX
  • By dLocal: Local cards, Bank Transfers and Cash Payments
  • eMerchantBroker (EMB)

You can view the updated list here

Shopify Plans & Pricing

Shopify offers a total of five pricing plans. The most popular Shopify Plan among new online store owners is Basic Shopify at $29/month. If there is additional revenue, businesses would start to explore Shopify and Advanced Shopify Plan to optimise efficiency and cost in the long run.

Shopify Lite allows users to sell on any website or blog (accept credit card payments) for only $9/month. Meanwhile at the other spectrum catering to enterprise clients and large businesses is the Shopify Plus Plan which starts from $2,000/month.

Here's a quick summary of the price differences of the plans:


Shopify 
Lite

Basic

Shopify

Shopify

Advanced Shopify

Shopify
Plus

Monthly Price

$9/mth

$29/mth

$79mth

$299/mth

$2,000/mth onwards

Transaction Fees

2.0%

2.0%

1.0%

0.5%

0.25%

Staff Account

2

2

5

15

Unlimited

Gift Card

❌

❌

✔️

✔️

✔️

Professional Reports

❌

❌

✔️

✔️

✔️

Advanced Report Builder

❌

❌

✔️

✔️

✔️

Professional Reports

❌

❌

❌

✔️

✔️

Shopify Pricing - 88m Review

Which Shopify plan is best to choose from?

If you are a beginner and have just started an online business, it would be more sensible to start off with the Basic Shopify Plan at $29/month, which translates to about RM120+ per month.

The decision to upgrade to higher plans depends on the transaction fees - as it may be more worthwhile to pay for a higher plan but lower transaction cost.

For example, if your sales is about RM50,000 a month, the transaction fee would translate to RM1,000 (2%) for a Basic Shopify Plan.
Total cost of Shopify Plan (RM120+) + transaction fee (RM1,000) would be about RM1,120

However if you opt to upgrade to Shopify Plan, for the same volume of sales, the transaction fee would be RM500 (1%)
Total cost of Shopify Plan (RM330+) + transaction fee (RM500) would be around RM830

In this sense, it would make sense to upgrade to Shopify Plan as the total cost is cheaper.

Try Shopify

14 days free trial

Shopify versus Alternatives 

Shopify versus Easystore

Shopify Vs Easystore

Easystore is a simpler version of Shopify. In terms of how the Easystore is designed, you would realise it is pretty similar to Shopify's in terms of layout and features. 

The major advantage of Easystore is its price, RM59 per month and no transaction fees, making it twice cheaper than Shopify.
However, it is not an apple-to-apple comparison, as there are some limitation to Easystore's lite plan. 

There are some limitations to Easystore, being a relative simple platform. If you are someone who is particular on how the store looks like, you may find it frustrating to customise your store-front with Easystore due to the front page limitation (only 3 segments). Easystore is recommended if you have less products or even categories and a less complex store front is needed.

Here is a quick glance of the two platform differences: 

Items

Shopify Basic

Easystore Lite

Price

USD29/month (about RM120+)

RM59/month 

Transaction Fees

2.0%

No Transaction Fees

Number of products

Unlimited

1000 Products

App Integration

Unlimited

5

Theme Templates

More than 1,000

near to 50

Abandoned Cart Auto-Recovery

Available

Available with higher plan

Quick Verdict : Consider Easystore if your eCommerce store requirements are simple - small range of products, simple storefront, minimalistic design.

Shopify versus SiteGiant 

Shopify Vs SiteGiant

SiteGiant is much cheaper in terms of the average cost of subscription per month (half of Shopify's price!). However a huge down point for Site Giant is that it does not offer free trial and  it only offers annual subscription plan. It is a heavy commitment if you are a new user who is still validating your solutions or figuring whether this is the right platform for you.  

If you have a large amount of SKUs (product type), you would need to subscribe to a higher SiteGiant package which works out to be around RM1,090 a year, as there is a limitation of 500 products. Also, if you would like to sync with marketplaces, you would too need a higher Site Giant package, whereas Shopify offers both marketplace and logistic sync. That would eliminate SiteGiant's initial advantage of costing. 

At this point, Shopify has the upper advantage in terms unlimited products and its rich template and app marketplace library. If you are looking to sell your products to the international market, which involves integration with global logistic partners, I would highly recommend Shopify over SiteGiant. 

Items

Shopify Basic

SiteGiant UniCart Basic

Price

USD29/month (about RM120+)

RM690/year (about RM58/month

Transaction Fees

2.0%

No Transaction Fees

Number of products

Unlimited

500 Products

App Integration

Unlimited

5

Theme Templates

More than 1,000

near to 50

Abandoned Cart Auto-Recovery

Available

Available with higher plans

Other Major Differences

> International platform - rich resources available 
> No storage space limit, hosting fees is included in monthly fees 

> Hundreds of apps available for integration (free and paid) 

> No monthly subscription option
> Cashback affiliates available 

> Limited to 1GB Storage space and 200GB Bandwidth

> Marketplace Integration available for higher plans 

Quick Verdict : Consider SiteGiant if you are selling to the local market and your product demand has been verified, and decided that SiteGiant functionalities and features meet your online store requirements the best. 

Shopify versus Woo Commerce

Shopify Vs WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the eCommerce plugin that turns any WordPress site into a powerful online store. It's best advantage over Shopify is that it is free - you'll still need to pay for things like web-hosting and security, etc. However, that's the thing, you will need some coding knowledge to operate an eCommerce store using Wordpress. If you are someone who is familiar with WordPress as a CMS, and understanding of setting it up, it would be a relative easy task. However, if you are new to it or not very tech-savy, it may take some time to figure out. 

Being a free platform also means that you would have to solve any technical or bugs that you encountered with your WooCommerce store. This usually happens when you install couple of plug-ins, which may or may not work well together. 

Shopify takes care a lot the technical side of operating store which makes it really easy for anyone to kickstart the store. Being a hosted platform, Shopify covers your domain name and hosting to security (SSL) certificates. On top of that , you need not worry about security or backups, software installation or updates.

Items

Shopify Basic

Woo Commerce (Free CMS)

Price

USD29/month (about RM120+)

Free

Transaction Fees

2.0%

No Transaction Fees

Number of products

Unlimited

Unlimited

App Marketplace 

More than 1,200 free or paid apps

Usually with WordPress Plugins

Theme Templates

More than 1,000

Unlimited, depends on what your designer can produce.
<1,000 on ThemeForest 

Web Hosting

Hosted - unlimited

Not included, you would have to pay for a separate web-hosting service 

Other Major Differences

> Sales + traffic analytics included 

> Supports multichannel selling - integrates your store with Facebook, Amazon, eBay and Pinterest 

> Customer support included 

> In built marketing tools included 

> Google Analytics customized reporting is required to produce similar sales and traffic analytics 

> Integrate with other channels with a fee 

> No support provided - self supported

Quick Verdict : Consider WooCommerce if your online store requires a lot of personalization, and that you are technically competent and want greater control over your site's design and hosting 

Try Shopify

14 days free trial