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Can Shopify replace a web designer?

Yes, Shopify works in some cases.

I ran across a Shopify site the other day. I don’t normally encounter them in the wild, and I’m very good at spotting stock-template designed sites like your aunt can spot hairpieces in movies.

It was for a local candy shop. Their site was very sparse, that sort of “modern minimalist” aesthetic I like to call “nothing to say chic”. But it was powered by Shopify and I used it to try and order some candy for a gift. It worked, right up until the site owner failed to mention they were charging $10 shipping on a $5 box of candy I could walk a few blocks away to get. At which point I abandoned the order. And because it was cold and snowing, I ordered something else from elsewhere.

Shopify works under 4 criteria

Like I have said of other services, Shopify will work for you if you meet a four criteria:

  1. You don’t have much to say or write about
  2. You just want to sell a handful of specific products
  3. You have a recognizable product or name in your area or market that will continue to seek you out and…
  4. You don’t need to build the bulk of your business online or care about traffic flow

These actually all dovetail with one another. If you don’t have much to say or write about, you’re not going to be able to achieve consistent traffic flow.

Expounding further, you’re not going to be able to grow a recognizable product if you don’t have traffic flow.

In cases where you’re just starting out, you don’t have a hot product, you’re struggling to find much to say or do online, or if you have intense competition for a commodity product, Shopify won’t harm you, but it won’t help you either.

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Photo of Justin Harter


Justin has been around the Internet long enough to remember when people started saying “content is king”.

He has worked for some of Indiana’s largest companies, state government, taught college-level courses, and about 1.1M people see his work every year.

You’ll probably see him around Indianapolis on a bicycle.

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