Since its inception in 2004, Shopify has quickly become another big name in the eCommerce category online. With over one million businesses in over one hundred countries, this platform is incredibly well-known.
When starting a business online, the process can be a little daunting – and scary! Sites like Shopify are built to make it a little easier on you as you get started, but how safe is it?
Do you own your Shopify website and data?
When using Shopify, you have full ownership over your shop and domain name on that site – whether your domain is through Shopify or a third party company. You can end your subscription at any time, and Shopify will delete the store and all data.
While it is difficult to transfer your shop from Shopify to another platform (you’d have to completely start over with set up and marketing on a new platform), the ownership of that shop is entirely your own.
Just make sure to consider all your options before picking any eCommerce platform for your store!
Who Owns Shopify, and Can I Trust Them with my Data?
As we mentioned, Shopify is a Canadian company founded way back in 2004 by a man named Tobias Lutke, with help from Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake.
To this day, Tobias Lutke is still the active CEO for Shopify and speaks at conferences in Toronto, Canada, about his journey from where Shopify started to now. Since 2004, Shopify has grown exponentially to become one of the largest eCommerce hosting sites in the world.
Shopify is its own parent company; however, it did partner with Amazon.com in 2015 in order to expand the reach that Shopify shop owners have for their business. For example, Shopify merchants can now enable “Login and Pay with Amazon” options for their customers to simplify checkout.
Recently, Shopify had also changed from a private company to a public one, and their stock is labeled as “SHOP.”
Can I Trust Them?
Up there with competitors like BigCommerce and Volusion, Shopify is a go-to for running your own small business! For $29/month, you can build a fully-functioning online store to sell digital or physical goods.
It also offers a limited free-trial for those who are curious.
Furthermore, Shopify allows you to buy a domain name from them, costing around $9-$14 annually.
Many shop owners on this site and others consider it to be a trustworthy site with millions of sales and hundreds of thousands of shops hosted on the site each year!
While there have been instances of shady customers or scam-businesses on the site, Shopify itself will do whatever it takes to help you succeed. Like Etsy, if a shop is proven to be violating rules of the site’s regulations, Shopify will take action to remove it and preserve the integrity of the Shopify community.
As long as you are careful with your information and following Shopify guidelines, you can be sure that your shop is yours to manage and run; however, you see fit!
Does Shopify Own my Website or Do I Own it Myself?
You are the owner of your shop, website, and domain name – regardless of hosting it on Shopify.
While there are rules and guidelines to follow in order to host your shop on their site, you do have the freedom to manage your sales, team, marketing, product, and shipping how you see fit.
If you were to close down your shop and move it to a different location, Shopify would remove any and all data of your shop and its products in order to prevent someone from accessing or reusing that data. This is also to prevent someone from taking ownership of your brand or your product.
Furthermore, transferring ownership of a shop is possible under your shop settings but requires your approval to do so. It also requires the proper registration of a new name, address, and banking information from that new person.
While the shop is in your possession, you do have ownership over your brand, products, and designs – just make sure that you are correctly copyrighting or legally cementing those designs as yours.
Do I Own Product Descriptions, Images, Data, etc. on my Shopify Shop?
Even though you own your shop, what else do you get to have ownership over?
You own any written descriptions, titles of your products, photos that you took yourself, and shop data that you post on Shopify. Anything you’ve created or posted to your shop is owned by YOU.
While you can’t sell under false descriptions or copyrighted photos that aren’t yours, any legitimate information or pictures that you yourself made or took are considered to be yours as the owner of that shop and brand.
Furthermore, if you haven’t copyrighted your branding, art, designs, or items, you may want to look into that as soon as possible.
Just because you own your shop and your information doesn’t mean someone might not try to duplicate what you’ve created in their own shop.
How Easy is it to Pull your Website from Shopify?
It can be very easy to pull your website off of Shopify – however, transferring it to another platform is very difficult.
If you’ve felt your time has run its course with the Shopify site and its affiliates, you can request to shut down or close down the site and your account by only going to your account manager and deactivating it.
If you do this, make sure any and all sales are final and have been taken care of – you don’t want any lousy customer reviews at your new location before you’ve even started!
It is important to remember that starting at a new hosting site means starting completely over. You have to pay new fees, post new listings, and basically copy-paste your entire business at a whole new website location.
So while closing down your Shopify shop isn’t difficult, think long and hard before you jump from platform to platform – and if your business can take a few days off in order to get it all done.