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The prevalence of Shopify

December 28, 2020

I knew of Shopify, but before this Christmas I’d never really encountered sites made with it. That’s largely due to my shopping habits: although I patronize smaller businesses in person, most of my online shopping is with large retailers who can afford to fully design and implement their own online store. But this Christmas I made an explicit effort to shop with small businesses, helped by an online “Christmas catalog” that Google assembled of recommended Black-owned retailers.

I ended up buying from seven of them, and they were all using Shopify to create their online store. The actual browsing experience was fairly varied, so at first I didn’t realize it. But the actual checkout and payment experiences were almost completely uniform (with only a few, small variations). The first couple of times it just struck me as coincidence; they might have been using a similar library, for example, to handle purchases. But by the third time it was stretching the bounds of coincidence, and I started actively looking at how the sites were built. Sure enough, they were using Shopify. All of them. And I have to say, the user experience was pretty good, and once I knew the pattern to look for, it actually raised my confidence in the businesses. I’d prefer a common processor handling payment details (and security) to a bunch of small businesses attempting to roll their own solutions.

Granted these sites probably aren’t representative of small businesses as a whole (they were from a list vetted by Google, after all), but Shopify is more prevalent than I realized. And now that I’m actively looking for its use, I suspect I’ll start identifying it in more places.

From → Software

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