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Shopify Reviews (Apr 2020): Is Shopify the Best Ecommerce Platform? Shopify Pros and Cons
Read real Shopify reviews on costs, functionality, SEO, security, and more to get a quick idea!
Lots of people ask us which ecommerce platform is the best suited for a company just getting started with an online store. The short answer is that Shopify offers all the functionality you need, but stay tuned for more detailed Shopify reviews below…
Shopify is filled with tools for launching a site within minutes, plus you don’t have to worry about self-hosting or buying a domain name from a third party. In that respect, one could call it the perfect out-of-the-box solution, built with pricing plans that cater to small starter stores as well as shops that are bringing in millions of dollars in sales.
You’ll find my full review below. For more Shopify reviews from our readers check out the comments area.
No time to read? Here’s a short summary of what Shopify has to offer and why it’s perhaps the platform that you should use when launching an ecommerce business:
As soon as you sign up, you’ll get access to the full toolset required to build and then manage an ecommerce website. Shopify lets you customize your design, create a product catalog, set prices, payment methods, taxes, and then even add extra features via installable extensions.
With Shopify, you can sell pretty much anything you wish – physical products / shippable goods, digital products, services, and you can also establish a dropshipping operation.
Shopify’s most popular payment plan is $29 / month, and there’s a 14-day free trial available.
Shopify Reviews: What are the Pros and Cons?
What are the Pros of Shopify?
- Shopify is very easy to use and doesn’t require any technical skills from the user.
- Shopify is ready for anything you might throw at it. You can sell shippable goods, digital products, services, anything.
- Shopify gives you a great selection of store designs. They all look modern, beautiful, and are optimized to maximize sales.
- If all you want to do is sell products on social media, like Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, then you can do that with the cheap Shopify Lite plan at $9 / month.
- You can sell your products via multiple channels, not just through the online store. Shopify even lets you integrate their system into your existing brick-and-mortar storefront.
- Shopify is fully hosted. You don’t need to worry about any server-related issues or any maintenance at all.
- There’s 24/7 customer support.
- Shopify gives you mobile apps for iOS and Android – so you can manage your store on the go.
- No transaction fees if you use Shopify Payments – Shopify’s own payment processing module.
- There are more than 2000 apps and plugins available in the Shopify App Store. This means that you’ll be able to integrate your Shopify store with countless third-party services and also add new functionality at the click of a button.
- Shopify scales very well, which means that no matter the size of your store, Shopify will be able to handle it.
- Great inventory keeping module if you happen to be selling shippable goods.
- Great if you want to do dropshipping.
- There’s a 14-day free trial.
What are the Cons of Shopify?
- If you want for your customers to be able to leave reviews and ratings of your products, those features are extra paid via extensions.
- You’re not exactly in full control of your store. Your store is hosted on servers that are owned by Shopify. This means that if, at any point in time, they decide to take your store down, they can. Likely not going to happen if you don’t break any of the license agreements.
- Professional reporting only available on higher-tier Shopify plans.
- There are additional payment processing fees above the standard credit card processing rates if you’re not using Shopify’s own payments module.
- The blogging module, even though it is there, doesn’t have the most friendly user interface, and you might find it challenging to create good-looking blog content on a regular basis.
Shopify Reviews: Why Choose Shopify? How Does Shopify Work?
Shopify was founded in 2006 by Tobias Lütke (CEO of the Year in Canada), Scott Lake and Daniel Weinand.
Since the launch, the platform has quickly grown from a small player to one of (if not the) leading ecommerce solutions alongside BigCommerce, Volusion, Magento or WooCommerce.
The company is currently powering more than 1,000,000 online retailers (December 2020).
Clearly, there has to be a reason why Shopify has grown to be this popular and held its position in the market for more than a decade.
Perhaps its main advantage is that Shopify offers a great balance between ease of use and functionality.
On the one hand, Shopify is incredibly friendly even for beginner users who haven’t operated an ecommerce store before. And on the other, it delivers all the features that a business owner might need. Plus, you don’t have to take a web development or coding class.
That being said, more advanced users gain access to the CSS and HTML files, and can upgrade their Shopify plan to get more robust features as their store grows.
Overall, it’s a beautifully constructed ecommerce platform with plenty of themes that look modern and stylish but also simple and minimal if that’s what you’re looking for.
If you’re curious, some of the more notable brands using Shopify include: General Electric, Amnesty International, Tesla Motors, Encyclopedia Britannica, Foo Fighters, GitHub, and many, many, many more.
Here’s a video review of Shopify created by our colleague Joe.
Shopify Reviews: Shopify Pricing Explained
Shopify pricing can be a bit confusing at first.
The main thing to know is that there are two components that add up to your final Shopify bill:
- The fee on the Shopify system itself.
- Payment processing fees that are a percentage of your revenue.
To make this clearer, we’ve put together a Shopify fees calculator, which you can use to work out how much you will be spending each month exactly – based on your revenue.
But before you calculate away, consider the following factors:
There are four main columns in the calculator. Each column corresponds to a specific usage plan of Shopify. Each plan has its specific traits and limitations, hence the price differences. We discuss those plans further down in the review. If you’re not sure which you should choose, read below.
Other factors that play a role in your Shopify pricing are things like whether you’re using Shopify Payments (Shopify’s own payment processing mechanism), whether you’re ready to pay annually vs monthly (there’s a 10% discount if you pay annually), and how high your credit card fees are. Experiment changing the values in the calculator to see what impact those factors have on your bill.
|Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify||Shopify Plus|
|Plan Fee 10% discount for annual plans||$29||$79||$299||$2000|
|Credit card rate||2.9% + 30¢||2.6% + 30¢||2.4% + 30¢||2.15% + 30¢|
|Numbers of products||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Shopify Shipping discount||up to 64%||up to 72%||up to 74%||Outstanding|
|Print shipping labels||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Fraud analysis i If you use Shopify Payments the fraud analysis tools are included. If you choose an external payment gateway, you need to upgrade to Shopify or Advanced Shopify for fraud analysis tools.||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Website and blog||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free SSL certificate||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Abandoned cart recovery||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Advanced report builder||–||–||Yes||Yes|
|Third-party calculated shipping rates||–||–||Yes||Yes|
We assumes average order value to be $50
Shopify Plus requires a minimum 12-month commitment.
Shopify offers five pricing plans. The most popular Shopify Plan among new online store owners is Basic Shopify at $29 / month. It comes with all the features a new store owner would need, and allows for reasonable growth before you have to upgrade. Speaking of upgrades, the next plan up – simply called “Shopify” – is $79 / month and provides a good platform for growth and expanding your business.
Additionally, you have the opportunity to try out a free, 14-day trial before committing to anything.
What’s also worth pointing out is that Shopify is not only your “online store system”, but you can also use Shopify tools in your actual brick-and-mortar business location or store. Shopify makes available their POS (Point Of Sale) package that allows you to set things up quickly, and have your offline sales added to the main Shopify system. Having everything in one place surely does make doing business a lot easier.
How Much does Shopify Cost?
Here’s a summary of the Shopify plans currently available and the most important details about them:
Here are the main differences between the Shopify plans. ⤵️
Shopify Lite – $9 / month. On this plan, you only get a personal Shopify “Buy” button, which you can use in places like Facebook, Pinterest, other social media, or your own website or blog.
What you do not get, however, is the online store functionality. Let me emphasize this again since it’s rather crucial; with Shopify Lite, you don’t actually get an online store – just a buy button.
This lack of functionality is why we didn’t include this plan in the calculator above.
Shopify Lite comes with POS integration, fraud analysis, manual order creation and shipping codes. One staff account is provided. The credit card fees are 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction.
Basic Shopify – $29 / month. Comes with a fully functional online store module. Processing credit cards is 2.9% + 30¢.
You get 24/7 support, fraud analysis, manual order creation, discount codes, a website and blog module, and a free SSL certificate. Two staff accounts are provided.
Shopify – $79 / month. Everything from the previous plan included. The credit card fees are slightly lower at 2.6% + 30¢.
You can also issue gift cards, there are professional reports and abandoned cart recovery. Five staff accounts are provided.
Advanced Shopify – $299 / month. Everything from the previous plan included. The credit card fees are 2.4% + 30¢.
You get an advanced report builder and real-time carrier shipping. 15 staff accounts are provided.
Shopify Plus – starts at $2,000 / month. This is Shopify’s enterprise plan, and, as you would imagine, it’s not what most business owners need when they think of launching a Shopify store. The credit card fees are 2.15% + 30¢.
Shopify Plus comes with advanced enterprise features that we’re only going to focus on briefly in this Shopify review.
All plans allow for an unlimited number of products, unlimited file storage, shipping label printing, and a retail package if needed.
Want to fast forward to what specific features each Shopify plan comes with? ⏩ click here
Shopify Reviews: General Shopify Features Available in All Plans
I have tested quite a few ecommerce platforms in the past, and I must admit, Shopify has the most thought-out feature set I have encountered. Almost everything you need to run your own online store is taken care of by a distinct feature.
Let’s first discuss the general features that come with all Shopify plans, and then get into detail on which unique features you get with each pricing plan.
What are Shopify’s Most Important Features?
If you spend a lot of time browsing through Shopify reviews or checking out the highest-ranked CRM and website builders online, you’ll notice that Shopify has a lot of features to offer.
The question is, what are the most important ones you should be paying attention to?
We’ve scoured through many Shopify reviews from leading companies online, and tested the software ourselves to come up with this list of the most crucial components on Shopify:
- Abandoned cart recovery: The average cart abandonment rate online today is around 68.81%. This means that about 7 of every 10 customers leave your store without buying anything. Fortunately, Shopify offers automated email triggers and other tools to help with abandoned cart recovery.
- Automated shipping calculation: Shipping products to customers all around the world? Don’t worry about calculating those complicated shipping fees – just let Shopify do the hard work for you! The real-time carrier shipping service calculates the exact cost of shipping for specific products based on their weight and the customer’s location.
- Shopify POS: You can take payments for your Shopify store either online, or offline, thanks to Shopify’s point of sale systems. Read our Shopify POS review for more info.
- Customer profiles: Ensure that you always have the best information about your target audience with custom user profiles. This is excellent for when you want to segment your marketing and sales campaigns.
- Easy discount codes: Sales and discounts can help to boost revenue. Shopify provides a fantastic “Bulk discounts” solution that allows you to generate discount codes for free shipping, percentages, and dollar amounts.
- Social media integration: If you’ve got a big social following, you can recreate your Shopify ecommerce website on Facebook through the “shop” tab. Allow people to buy from you directly without having to go to your site.
- Let Shopify Fulfillment Services help: Shopify offers dropshipping solutions so you can avoid the time-consuming aspects of running a store, like shipping, packaging, and handling.
- Shopify Experts: As we’ve mentioned elsewhere in our Shopify review, you can access Experts for additional guidance and support in design, programming, marketing, and more. This ensures you always get the most out of your online store.
If all of those features aren’t enough to get you excited, there are also things like hundreds of professional themes, a full blogging platform, unique domain names and SSL certificates, 70 payment gateways to choose from, marketing and SEO support, and more.
The Main Advantage of the Shopify Features
It doesn’t matter if you are planning to run your store fully online or from a brick and mortar setting, there is something for everyone.
The reason Shopify manages to achieve such a strong feature set is that they either have a tool built-in, or let you install it through an app.
For example, taxes and shipping are included in the Shopify interface. Yet, for many of the themes, you’re still going to have to find a free app for social media buttons. Both options work, and you often don’t have to pay any extra money when opting for an app.
The company has one of the most complete dashboards or control panels I have seen. All tasks, from processing orders to managing inventory, can be done in an easy to grasp manner.
The platform also provides an interface called Shopify Partners, where developers can play around with new websites without having to open up free trials every time. It’s like a sandbox interface.
You can install new themes, customize full websites and seamlessly transition from a Shopify Partners website to a launched site. Not only that, but you gain a commission for every client you bring on board with Shopify.
Moving forward, the reports in Shopify are my favorite out of all the ecommerce platforms. They’re organized, clean and simple, with options like looking at sales by billing address, sales by traffic referrer and gross sales by product title.
If you are looking to sell your products in an actual retail setting, then you can opt for the Shopify POS. This includes everything you need to sell your products offline, both on the software and hardware side. The software includes an iPad app, which makes selling your products in a retail setting much easier.
With the app, you can use the credit card reader to swipe the customer’s card right on the spot. You can even purchase additional hardware from the company such as a cash register, a receipt printer and a barcode scanner.
Also, Shopify offers a mobile app with which users can:
- respond to chargeback disputes directly in-app
- review all inventory changes made to their products in the last 30 days
- fulfill items
Shopify also offers one of the biggest App Stores out of all the ecommerce solutions; they provide hundreds of free and paid apps that will enhance your store (most paid apps will ask you to pay a monthly fee). These have been divided into different categories such as marketing, sales, social media, shipping and customer service.
Thanks to their formidable content management system (CMS) you can create additional pages, as well as pages through which your clients can easily contact you.
Furthermore, Shopify makes running your own blog super easy, since everything is handled from a single dashboard.
Keep in mind that the entire Shopify feature-set is hard to walk through in a single section, but it’s worth mentioning that each of the Shopify themes available in their theme store, is responsive with mobile-ready checkouts.
The responsive checkout means that your site automatically adapts to the size of the customer’s screen, whether it be through a tablet or smartphone. Along with direct Facebook and Pinterest integration, gift cards, discount codes and a decent customer profile, the company has pretty much perfected the built-in features.
In general, if you need a feature that’s only in the app store, you can always test it out, and move onto another option if it’s not working out on your website.
Shopify Reviews: Inventory Management Features
Inventory management is an important part of running your store, and Shopify has you covered in this area too. Once you are ready to add inventory to your store then all you need to do is press the Products tab in the sidebar on the dashboard. You will then automatically be taken to the following page:
As you can see in the image above, everything from product title to description and price is customizable. In addition, you can give each product a distinct SKU, as well as a barcode.
Transfers, Inventory, Collections and Gift Cards are seen as tabs in this area as well. I like the Inventory tab because it features all of the items in your store, all organized into a clean and manageable list. The product page also offers several options for things like SEO, shipping and the imagery that users are going to see when landing on this product page.
Also, Shopify now offers embedded Oberlo integration if you’d like to go the dropshipping route.
Shopify Reviews: SEO and Marketing Features
If you have an amazing store but your customers are unable to find it, then chances are you will be very disappointed with the sales figures. Shopify offers great features for both SEO and Marketing. Thanks to the built-in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features, your site will easily be found on all major search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
What’s cool is that even though the SEO settings are automated, you can go to each product page and customize your own target keywords, URLs and more.
If you really want to customize your store further, the interface offers customizable header, title, and meta tags. Also, the URLs are all SEO-friendly. Shopify has partnered with Google in order to occasionally give you advertising money for a new AdWords account, too. I certainly wouldn’t base my decision on which ecommerce platform gives me money to advertise on Google, but I guess it’s a nice bonus.
The gift cards are extremely user-friendly, and you don’t have to go out to find a third party app for better gift card features.
It depends on your payment plan, but once you get everything activated, it allows for gift card codes in the checkout area.
To help boost your marketing, Shopify created a discount code coupon generator to promote your products on different social networks.
Along with selling options on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, your marketing game is in good hands with Shopify. Shopify has also introduced product tagging on Instagram, which allows you to link directly to your product page.
Finally, the email collection form is pretty simple. It certainly does the job and integrates with the major email options, but many ecommerce stores tend to look towards the app store to find a more suitable add-on.
Read this post if you want to learn more on which is the best ecommerce store builder for SEO.
Traditionally if you wanted to accept payments, you would have to use a third-party payments processor like Stripe, PayPal, or others that would charge a certain fee per transaction. Shopify has created their own payment processor called Shopify Payments (Powered by Stripe). If you decide to sign up for this program then all transaction fees will be lifted.
We covered credit card fees in the pricing area earlier, but it’s worth noting that you do have the option to integrate with over 70 different payment gateways. These include accepting payments from credit cards, Google Checkout, PayPal, and many more.
The gateways all come with their own transaction fees. Since these can get a little confusing, I strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with them before signing up, as you might otherwise be surprised at just how much you’ll have to pay.
In short, Shopify has one of the biggest lists of supported payment gateways out there. This doesn’t mean you’ll use them all, but it opens up more opportunity for people from all over the world. It also gives you a chance to research which of the payment gateways are going to work for your particular business.
There are a number of reasons why people choose Shopify Payments, however, it does have setbacks as well. Below, we explore them a bit more:
- Shopify transactions fees – while it’s to be expected that you will experience transaction fees when using Shopify Payments, you won’t have to pay the extra 0.5%-2% transaction fees for other payment methods.
- Shopify integration – Shopify Payments are available immediately and don’t need to be integrated into your store separately, so you can begin accepting payments right away.
- Shopify security – the payments service from Shopify is highly secure and detects fraudulent transactions. You have the options in your checkout to add a verification system by address and value to ensure that the payments are genuine.
- Saved customer details – when customers visit your ecommerce website, they can save their shipping and billing information for later. When they come back, all that info is there already, which, in turn, leads to a higher conversion rate.
- Shopify fees – you are rewarded with lower transaction fees depending on the volume of sales you’re generating.
- Chargebacks – if your customers file too many chargebacks then Shopify can keep funds back from you, or worse, block your account.
- Suspicious activity – if suspicious activity has been noted on your account then, again, Shopify can hold payments back from you. These then may be escalated and you may not receive your money for a while pending a dispute.
- Availability – Shopify’s payment option isn’t available in every country, but is available in 15 countries around the world (including USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingodom or Singapore) . You can see the full list of countries here. Apart from general availability, you may be refused to use the service if your business is seen as “high-risk.” Shopify also has the right to terminate your service without any notice.
In the end, the pros definitely outweigh the cons, and using Shopify Payments will reduce your overall operating costs.
Shopify vs the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
In May 2020, GDPR took effect and brought in new regulations in regards to how companies need to handle personal information of their European customers.
This regulation has made things really problematic for many businesses across the globe. (1) The rules were not that clear, and (2) the fines were extreme – even up to €20 million or 4% of the annual worldwide turnover. For most businesses, a penalty like that means bankruptcy.
Shopify, though, really came in ready and did some fantastic work to protect their users and customers. In short, at this point, all business running on Shopify have the tools required to make their operation comply with the regulations.
Specifically, here’s what Shopify put into place:
- They updated their terms of service to include a data protection addendum, which explains how Shopify handles your European customers’ information
- Information has been modified in regards to how cookies are stored on your storefront
- Changed the marketing opt-in which allows you to have it as unchecked for your Shopify store
- Produced a 16-page white-paper on how Shopify will approach the legal requirements
The app store interface has also been updated so that it shows what specific customer information is being kept by the individual apps that you have installed in your store.
(Shopify recommends that you speak with a lawyer in regards to data protection so that you are clear on how this will affect your particular business.)
Shopify has also worked out a way where you can request that the details of an individual customer can be deleted from all of your apps. That option is available in your customer privacy area. It looks like this:
Shopify vs Mobile Ecommerce
What’s great about Shopify is that you can also manage a lot of your operations from the mobile app.
Some of the tasks that you can do via the Shopify mobile app include:
- Take and upload product photos
- Edit product details such as pricing
- Add products to the store
- Fulfill orders as well as offer refunds
- Purchase and print shipping labels
- Get stats on conversions
- See live sales information and view real-time traffic
- Receive order notifications (see below)
- Contact members of your team
The app is available for both iPhone and Android.
The fact that you can fulfill orders is a fantastic option for events or fairs that you are attending. The Shopify app also integrates with third-party marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy so users can effectively manage their sales and inventory over multiple platforms.
Shopify Reviews: Unique Features in Each of the Shopify Plans ⭐
Let’s now explore each of Shopify plans and their features a little deeper. ⤵️
At just $9 per month, Shopify Lite is possibly one of the cheapest options available to people who are looking to sell online. However, the price is so low because it doesn’t actually provide you with a standalone online store website.
In a nutshell what the Shopify Lite Plan offers is:
- Access to the Shopify interface where you can create new products and set their details (price, description, colors, sizes, etc.)
- A Buy button that you can place anywhere on the web – on your own website outside of Shopify, on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or in any other place
- Use Shopify’s system to handle the orders coming in, manage your sales, set orders to fulfill, and do anything else that’s required when selling products online
- Use the Shopify system to sell in person during events or when on the go
Embedding Products on to Your Website With Shopify Lite
The way Shopify Lite works is that it allows you to create products in the Shopify UI, and set up individual Buy buttons for them. You can then take those Buy buttons and publish them anywhere on the web.
The publishing part itself is done via a quick piece of code.
When setting up your buttons, you get to customize the way they look, the sizes, the colors, the images used alongside, etc. Then, when you’re done, Shopify gives you a piece of code that you can post on any website. The code looks something like this:
This code will allow you to display a picture, price and description for your product. There is no restriction to singular products, so you can add as many products as you like.
If you already have a blog website, for example on WordPress, then Shopify Lite will allow you to display your products on that site.
Additionally, when you want to use a Buy button on a social media platform like Facebook, you get a special embed code for that as well. Speaking of which:
Selling on Facebook With Shopify Lite
If you already have a good following on Facebook and you aren’t that interested in creating a separate online store, then Shopify Lite is a great option for you.
The tools are easy to use – you can quickly generate a new Buy button and use it on your Facebook page.
Also, you are able to chat with your customers by having Shopify post your messages to Facebook Messenger (sales channels). Customers can even purchase your products directly from the chat window.
Live chat can be especially effective when selling to a younger demographic. Data indicates that 71% of shoppers between the ages of 16-24 demand quick responses via live chat / messenger apps when shopping.
Selling Digital Products With Shopify Lite
One of the many awesome things about Shopify is that it allows you to sell digital products as well. Think things like eBooks, audiobooks, guides, courses, media files, etc.
You can do that with Shopify Lite. You can set up digital products in much of the same way you’d set up normal products, and then get a Buy button for them.
Selling digital goods is usually done via Shopify’s own digital downloads app, but there are also some fantastic third-party providers that you can use alternatively. These include Fetch, Send Owl and Sky Pilot.
However, it’s worth mentioning here that you’re unable to sell digital products on Facebook.
Using Shopify Lite for Inventory Management
As we touched on earlier, Shopify Lite gives you the ability to process payments and manage your inventory if you sell your goods in a physical store.
Shopify Lite allows you access to the Shopify admin area so you can create orders manually when needed. You can also accept credit card payments, and Shopify will update your inventory automatically.
Other Things to Know About Shopify Lite
Shopify Lite is the only plan that doesn’t offer customers support by phone. What you get is email and live chat support.
Dropshipping is available on the Shopify Lite plan. To get started, you will need to install a third-party app from the Shopify app store. The most popular Shopify Dropshipping apps are Oberlo (read our Oberlo review), Printful (read our Printful review) and Spocket (read our Spocket review).
Is Shopify Lite Suitable for Me?
Shopify Lite is ideal for businesses that:
- want to add ecommerce to an already existing blog or website
- want to sell on Facebook
- are happy with just live chat and email support
- need a backend system to manage their inventory and payments
- want to see how Shopify tools integrate with their offline store activity
- want to start with a very low budget
The next plan up is the Basic Shopify plan which starts at $29 a month. Unlike the Shopify Lite plan, this one gives you the full power of the Shopify system and allows you to create a standalone online store.
Some of the key features of Basic Shopify:
- Two Shopify staff accounts
- Unlimited number of products
- Unlimited file storage
- 24/7 phone, email and live chat support
- Fraud analysis (detects fraudulent activity on your Shopify account)
- Discount codes you can offer to your customers
- A blog module
- Abandoned cart recovery (contact visitors who have left their details but didn’t complete their purchase)
Basic Shopify Templates
We will cover templates in more detail in one of the next sections, but it’s worth quickly highlighting what is available with each Shopify package.
At the time of writing, with the Basic package, you have access to 10 free templates and 50+ paid ones.
The theme showcased below is probably the most used on the site – called Brooklyn. Although it’s very attractive, it’s also kind of overused, so if you want to set yourself apart from the rest, you might want to look at other options. The paid themes start at around $100 a piece.
Most of the free website templates offer the following functionality:
- header slideshow you can use to highlight your top products
- dynamic product grid, which changes based on how many products are being shown
- slide-out cart, which enables visitors to add products to cart without leaving the website
Basic Shopify: Blogging
Your Shopify store comes with a built-in blog module. This can be a fantastic tool to help you build your audience and help generate more traffic to your ecommerce store – which, in turn, can lead to more sales.
You can publish new posts using this module, add images and other media to them, set tags, categories, and also tune up the SEO parameters of each post.
That said, the functionality of the module is limited compared to solutions like WordPress – which are meant to run blogs primarily. This is understandable, since Shopify focuses mainly on the online store component.
Basic Shopify: Abandoned Cart Recovery
Abandoned cart recovery allows you to identify people who add products to their carts but do not complete the purchase. This feature used to be only available on the higher plans, but now users of Basic Shopify can use it as well.
Shopify lets you send emails by hand to people who abandoned their carts, or you can opt for a more automated option where Shopify sends them on your behalf.
Then, the abandoned checkouts screen lets you track which visitors completed their purchase after receiving an abandoned cart email from Shopify.
This is a fantastic tool to help you generate sales at no additional marketing cost, and it’s one of the main things that make Shopify the number one ecommerce platform for many people. This feature isn’t usually what Shopify’s competition offers in this price range.
Basic Shopify: Fraud Analysis
The fraud analysis from Shopify helps you identify any fraudulent activity on your account, which would otherwise incur chargebacks or cause other issues.
Shopify provides indicators of whether an order could be fraudulent. The indicators can include:
- AVS checks – has the credit card passed these?
- Did the customer provide the correct CVV code from the back of the card?
- Does the IP address of the order have previous fraudulent activity?
- Did the person placing the order try one or more cards?
Other Things to Know About Basic Shopify
Basic Shopify has only limited point of sale capabilities. It’s good for selling in person at pop-ups or markets, but if you want to use Shopify in your primary store location, you may want to choose one of Shopify’s higher-tier packages.
Is Basic Shopify Suitable for Me?
Basic Shopify is fantastic for sellers who:
- do not have a massive budget or are starting out
- want to build a fully functional online store website
- want to manage all their orders, sales, packages in one easy to use interface
- have the ambition to start blogging and want to build a community around their store
- want the ability to recover abandoned carts and generate extra sales that way
- value 24/7 phone support
The next plan is the one simply called the Shopify Plan, which starts at $79 per month.
This plan has all the features of the Basic plan, but also includes:
- gift cards
- professional reporting
- full point of sale functionality
- lower credit card fees and transaction fees
Shopify Point of Sale
On the Shopify plan, you get the full functionality of the Shopify POS system.
This gives you access to:
- register shifts
- the use of hardware including barcode scanners, receipt printers and shipping label printers
- staff pins so that each member has a secure and unique login
- adding third-party software to the POS system (including Shopify POS)
- the possibility to configure up to five store locations
The Shopify POS system is designed for both the occasional seller at pop-ups, events and fairs, as well as the seasoned seller who has their own store and multiple members of staff.
There are many defining features of the POS system:
- Payments – Shopify POS allows you to offer store credit instead of refunding the customer with the payment method they used. Combined with the gift card feature, you can accept this in-store as well as online.
- Advanced Checkout – Attach notes to orders and keep track of special requests. Customize your receipts so that you can promote your brand, your online store, opening hours and promotions. Additionally, tax is automatically calculated based on your location.
- Discounts – Coupon codes you have created online can also be used in-store. Create specific in-store discounts and run reports to see how well they have performed.
- Shopify Store Management – View all past orders made online or in-store, which can be categorized by customer, product or date. Save time on your accounting by integrating the Shopify POS system with Quickbooks or Xero.
- Customer Management – Create customer profiles and analyze their shopping habits as well as contact information and location. Collect email addresses in store to use for your email marketing.
- Products – Track your inventory across your physical and online channels so you stay on top of your inventory. For retail stores, you can also offer wholesale prices and loyalty programs.
- Hardware – Download the Shopify POS app on your Apple or Android device. All hardware included is free of charge and comes with a 30-day return policy.
- Analytics – View, analyze and export sales reports by location, a specific staff member or customer. Export product reports to see what’s selling and what isn’t.
- Mobile – Look up your customer profiles on your mobile and contact them directly through the app. Add products through the app and also take new product photos.
Shopify Gift Cards
Gift cards are great for larger online businesses that are already recognized brands.
Customers can come to your ecommerce website and purchase a gift card for a friend or family member. These are great for birthdays and holidays. Additionally, you can also issue gift cards as a reward to your customers.
Shopify Professional Reporting
When it comes to reporting, every Shopify user can access the primary dashboard where they can see an overview of what’s going on in the store. Additionally, with the Shopify plan, you get access to the following types of reports:
- Sales reports
- Profit reports
- Customer reports (5 out of 7)
Sales reports allow you to get information about the orders your customers have placed based on channel, time or staff member.
These reports can be extremely valuable for your marketing, as they can tell you which areas are bringing in the most sales.
You also have the ability to customize your sales reports by adding the following features:
- average order value
- ordered quantity
- returned quantity
The average order value is particularly important, as this can inform you about where you should set your free delivery threshold. Let’s say your average order is $80, then try putting your free delivery at $100 and watch your average order value increase.
Profit reports calculate the total cost of your products and then work out your profits.
You can view profit reports based on a number of factors, including:
- SKU number
- POS location
- discounts and refunds
We particularly like the profit reports based on discounts and refunds. Let’s say you run a campaign and offer 10% off your whole site, the report will inform you what the margin is after the discount has been applied.
The customer reports really dive into your analytics, and can give you invaluable insight into the behavior of your customers.
The reports include info on:
- customers over time
- first-time vs returning customer sales
- customers by country
- returning customers
- one-time customers
These reports can help you turn those one-time buyers into returning customers. From your dashboard, you can see how much they’ve already spent and whether they will accept email marketing from you.
Other Things to Know About the “Shopify” Plan
With the Shopify plan, you can register up to five staff accounts as opposed to just two on the Basic Shopify plan.
Is the Shopify Plan Suitable for Me?
The Shopify Plan is a great choice for the following sellers:
- you have, or expect to start getting a high volume sales
- want to start taking advantage of gift cards and discount codes
- require more in-depth reporting on your customers’ buying habits and your profits
- have a physical store location or a couple of them
The next plan is the Advanced Shopify plan, which comes in at $299 a month.
You get all the features available in the main “Shopify” plan plus:
- set up to 15 staff accounts
- advanced report building
- third-party calculated shipping rates
- up to eight store locations in the POS module
- lower transaction fees and credit card processing fees
Advanced Shopify Report Building
The advanced report builder in Shopify allows you to create custom reports and then customize them.
First, you have the ability to choose which sort of report you like to set up, and then you can edit and filter the columns within that report. You can also share it with members of your team.
All of your custom reports are then saved in the Reports section of your Shopify dashboard so that you can easily access them whenever you like.
Advanced Shopify Third-Party Calculated Shipping Rates
With this feature, you are able to use your carrier account to apply calculated shipping rates at the checkout.
You also have discounted shipping labels provided by either USPS or Canada Post.
You have access to the shipping rates of FedEx, UPS, USPS and Canada Post. Within your shipping admin area, you can add a percentage markup to the price that’s calculated to cover packaging costs.
You can decide which services of a particular carrier you want to offer, such as Expedited Parcel, Priority and XpressPost.
Is the Advanced Shopify Plan suitable for me?
The Advanced Shopify plan is very suitable for sellers who:
- process a big number of online transactions
- require advanced reporting with a particular focus on the business elements such as profit and margins
- use carriers to ship products and want a discounted rate
- have a larger team of people working with the store online
- have more store locations
Lastly, there is Shopify Plus, which is Shopify’s enterprise solution for big business.
Shopify Plus is a bit separate from Shopify’s main offering – you won’t find it on the main pricing page – and it comes with its own focus on original challenges that big businesses tend to struggle with. Those challenges touch upon things like security, quality of fulfillment, and API integrations.
The price of Shopify Plus isn’t set, but rather negotiable on a per-customer basis – depending on the business’ needs. Usually, prices start at around $1,500 – 2,000 a month.
You will be given a dedicated account manager who will help you with the onboarding process, as well as manage your account and offer support throughout your journey.
Shopify Plus Multi-Channel Sales
Shopify Plus allows you to integrate 20+ channels within your Enterprise dashboard, including Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, and more.
Your customers also get to use 100+ payment providers, which helps you generate more sales since no one is left behind.
Shopify Plus Scalability
If you experience spikes in sales during certain times of the year, such as Black Friday or the holiday season, then you’ll be happy to know that Shopify Plus can handle any amount of peak traffic you throw at it.
Shopify Plus processes over 10,000 transactions per minute and has a 99.98% uptime when doing so.
Shopify Plus Integrations
If you have your own custom app solution, or you want one of Shopify’s technology partners to bring your idea to life, then Shopify Plus can help you with that. There are 1,500+ professionally built apps and plugins available.
Is Shopify Plus Suitable for Me?
Shopify Plus is for enterprise businesses that meet the following criteria:
- an extremely high volume of sales
- have a bespoke CRM system and need Shopify to speak to it
- want to automate workflows for the team
- have peak sales periods and need guaranteed uptime and security
- want an account manager they can speak to whenever needed
Ultimately, Shopify Plus is not something that a lot of users will need to ever trouble themselves with. The three main plans – Basic Shopify, Shopify, Advanced Shopify – are going to be a better fit for 99% of the users.
If you want to learn more about this, check out our full guide on Shopify pricing.
Shopify Reviews: Ease of Use
So, how intimidating is it to enter Shopify for the first time and start working?
Not intimidating at all – is the answer.
In fact, Shopify is one of the easiest to use ecommerce platforms out there, especially if you’re a business that’s just getting their ecommerce adventure started.
As soon as you sign up, you’ll see a user-friendly dashboard, and you’ll be taken by the hand through all of the main steps on your way to configuring your store and making it available to the public.
As of June 2020, Shopify overhauled their backend and even gave it a new color scheme. This was done to improve the user experience by introducing more contrast into the UI.
Besides the colors and fonts, Shopify added a prominent new search bar in the dashboard, helping you quickly type in keywords and find what you’re looking for without much thought.
For example, you might want to find a certain product or customer. In that case, all you have to do is punch in the right words, and Shopify will return everything that matches – be it a product, an order, customers, etc.
Adding products to your catalog is also quite straightforward.
All of the necessary fields are there, and everything is nicely laid out on the screen.
Setting a new design for your store is similarly easy to do. The template directory comes categorized based on niche, purpose, design style, and Shopify also lets users know which templates are the most popular. Then, installing your theme takes only a couple of clicks. (More on Shopify templates in one of the sections below.)
Theme aside, you’ll probably want to craft some of the key pages of your site by hand – pages like the homepage or the about page.
Shopify lets you do that in a simple way with something called the Shopify Sections.
The visual editor offers a wide variety of content sections that you can insert onto your page. For example, you might want to place a slideshow, button and product carousel toward the top of that page.
It’s all done with the click of a button. After that, you can adjust the order of the sections by dragging and dropping them into place. It’s a relatively easy way to completely adjust the look and order of the modules on your page. We like this feature for all experience levels, but especially beginners.
The same sentiment transfers over to other areas of the platform. For instance, when you’re ready to install new apps and extend your store, you’ll see that most of them need only a couple of clicks to be enabled.
In terms of pre-publication, Shopify gives you the opportunity to test your store before it goes public, and the live editor is pretty nice for seeing your changes immediately after a setting is adjusted.
The company is pretty much hell-bent on making their interface the easiest in the industry. What’s interesting is that they are walking a fine line, since it’s still a platform that can also satisfy those more experienced with coding.
I don’t really see any beginner or intermediate developer having a problem with Shopify. At the same time, most advanced developers are going to be just fine since Shopify also comes with many features that those types of users require.
Shopify Reviews: Shopify Themes and Design
One area where Shopify really excels are the themes and designs available. The company offers some of the most professional-looking themes of any ecommerce platform. At the time of writing, there are eight free themes available and more than 60 paid ones (in the range of $160-$180 a piece).
There used to be more themes in the catalog before, but Shopify decided to purge the old ones and stick to only modern stuff that’s optimized for modern audiences and search engines.
That being said, each theme is not just “a single theme,” but actually comes with a handful of styles included. For example, a theme called Icon comes with four distinct styles that differ not only in the color scheme, but also in how the elements on the page are presented.
There are multiple collections and industries highlighted in the Shopify theme store, so we’re fairly confident you’ll be able to find something that fits your business model.
Each theme has its unique set of features and abilities, plus a set of general features that you’ll find in every Shopify theme.
You can also check out a quick shortlist of other stores using the same theme:
Lastly, there are multiple user reviews for each theme, so you can always see what other people think of the theme and what its strong and weak points are.
Not to mention, every theme has a fully functional demo, so you can examine things pretty in-depth before making a decision.
Can those Shopify Themes Get you Sales?
My main concern with ecommerce design is how quickly people can check-out and get through the shopping cart process.
Shopify themes have both two- and three-step checkouts, and you can also use additional tools for things like social and guest checkouts.
Once you’ve found the right theme, you can easily customize the look and feel to your heart’s desire, simply by opening the template editor and editing your theme until you feel like it’s exactly what you are looking for. On the other hand, the “Shopify Sections” feature is sure to speed up your editing, since it’s a rather simple drag-and-drop editor, basically.
Above that, and if you feel confident with such things, you can make your own modifications via HTML and CSS.
None of the Shopify themes have Shopify branding. In fact, it’s not going to be that easy to find any trace of the Shopify brand in your online store. This is a wonderful thing for beginners and everyone else who doesn’t want to advertise the technology that’s behind their online store.
Shopify Reviews: Security
Security should be taken very seriously when you run an ecommerce site. After all, you’re going to be dealing with credit card info of your customers’, their order details, your own product details, and many more sensitive pieces of data.
Shopify knows this and understands the responsibility. Shopify has its system hosted on a Level 1 PCI DSS compliant server. In other words, your data, and the data of your customers is always secure. In addition, all pricing plans (besides Lite) offer 128-bit Free SSL certificate at no added cost.
- Maintains a secure network
- Protects cardholder data
- Maintains a vulnerability management program
- Has strong access control measures
- Monitors and tests their networks
- Maintains an information security policy
Moreover, while data security is very important to retailers, many also worry about their store always being available. For example, it’s reported that just one hour of downtime on Prime Day may have cost Amazon up to $100 million in lost sales.
Shopify provides their customers with a 99.98% uptime guarantee and helps you avoid losses due to your store being unavailable. Furthermore, Shopify takes care of backing up your store securely and then gives you access to those backups if needed.
Some other things that come into play with security include vulnerability management and access control. With that, you get to specify which users are able to access certain content on the backend of your store.
Overall, Shopify is very security-conscious and seems to always stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the world of online security, and implements all the best practices.
Shopify Reviews: The Shopify App Store
Shopify has had their app store online for more than ten years now.
There are more than 2000 apps available in total, and they come in all kinds of different shapes, sizes, and divided into a handful of helpful categories.
You’ll find apps to help you with marketing your store, apps for emails, push notifications, SEO, access control, finances, and a lot more.
Also, in 2020, Shopify shifted focus to a new breed of machine learning algorithms, so that they could provide today’s users with a more intuitive and immersive experience. Therefore, the app store now helps you to discover the specific tools that are the most likely to appeal to your individual scenario and business model. Handy right?
Basically, the App Store is a collection of premium and free applications intended to extend and improve the functionality of your Shopify store.
When conducting this review, one thing we liked most about Shopify’s app store was the fact that you don’t need to be a developer to use any of the tools you find there. Everything is plug-and-play.
That being said, if you happen to be comfortable tinkering with websites under the hood, you can become a Shopify App Merchant yourself, and join thousands of other developers already in the marketplace.
Shopify even offers a bunch of extra resources to get you started, including a high-level overview of the Shopify development space, and access to the Shopify APIs.
Shopify Reviews: Customer Support
If you find yourself struggling to do something with your online store then Shopify has one of the best customer support teams in the industry.
Regardless of which pricing plan you pick, the company has 24/7 full customer support, which includes phone support (not on the Lite plan) as well as chat and email support. Another great form of help offered by Shopify is access to a sizable support section directly through their website, including user forums, tutorials and FAQs.
Overall, you have the ability to either speak to a professional or learn about the system yourself. Obviously, some people hate waiting on the phone for a Shopify support rep, so we feel like the forums, courses, and videos are enough for you to figure out most things.
When working with an online platform, app or software, it’s nice to have access to the developers or at least some sort of feedback system for letting them know what Shopify features you would like to get in the future.
With that, we like to see that the Shopify developers actually respond to the requests with new features being released on a consistent basis.
We consider this a type of support since a company that doesn’t listen to customers is bound to lose them eventually.
Shopify thrives in this department, seeing as how they regularly share blog posts about the feature requests they have listened to and implemented.
For example, many ecommerce professionals worry about images slowing down their sites since media is usually what causes website slowness. Well, Shopify responded by optimizing and updating all previously uploaded images, while also providing file modification instructions for future image optimization. This not only helps with SEO, but it speeds up the user interface for all Shopify merchants.
Shopify Reviews: Frequently Asked Questions
Should you use Shopify?
That is a quick and easy yes.
Shopify is arguably the best ecommerce platform out there. When we looked at the top 6 ecommerce systems in the market a while back, Shopify came out on top with a perfect score of 10/10.
You can see that comparison here.
Is Shopify secure?
We’ve talked about this a bit more in-depth in one of the sections above. Click here to see the full discussion.
Or, here’s the TL;DR:
Shopify is certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant. In fact, Shopify meets all of the six categories of PCI standards which include:
- Maintaining a secure network
- Maintaining a vulnerable management program
- Regular monitoring and testing networks
- Protection of cardholder data
- Implementing strong access control measures
- Maintaining an information security policy
Additionally, some of the most notable brands out there use Shopify. Do you think they’d do that if Shopify was not secure?
Is Shopify safe for customers?
- Yes, it is. The same mechanisms that protect the sellers also protect the customers.
- Shopify has good fraud-detection algorithms running under the hood, and no transaction data is being sent via unencrypted channels.
Can I make money with Shopify?
Absolutely! That’s the whole point, isn’t it?
Shopify has a ton of success stories and, ultimately, your success is all on you. Shopify won’t impede your growth in any way or prevent you from implementing a given business strategy.
How much does it cost to set up Shopify?
You can find a list of all the pricing packages higher up in the article (click here to find out the exact Shopify cost).
- If you’re just starting out, and want to build yourself a simple yet fully functional online store, get on “Basic Shopify” which is $29 a month.
- If you want to test out Shopify’s tools for selling on social media and third-party sites, you can try out “Shopify Lite” at $9 a month.
Does Shopify have good SEO?
Shopify is a great platform that allows you to take care of the basic SEO parameters of your online store.
Among other things, you can:
- add keywords to product pages
- optimize your site structure
- submit a sitemap
- hide pages to emphasize your crawl budget
Then, if you need more SEO features, you can install some of the specialized SEO apps that are available in the Shopify app store.
How many people use Shopify?
- At the time of writing, there are more than 1,000,000(!) online stores running on Shopify.
- That number includes everything from small craft shops to big brands.
- You can see a showcase of Shopify stores here.
Does Shopify include web hosting?
Every pricing package available from Shopify comes with hosting included.
You don’t need to pay for an external host, and you can even set up Shopify with your existing domain name. Alternatively, you can purchase a new domain name through Shopify as well.
In short, Shopify is your one-stop package for building and launching your own ecommerce store – no other third-party solutions required.
Does Shopify host domain names?
Yes, you can buy custom domains through Shopify for prices starting at $11 per year. Your domain will be set up for you automatically, and you’ll retain ownership even if you leave Shopify.
Does Shopify offer email inboxes?
- Shopify doesn’t offer email inboxes as part of your online store setup. What you can do, however, is set up an unlimited number of email forwarders.
- For example, you can create forwarders for addresses like [email protected] or [email protected] and direct them to your inboxes at Gmail or other places.
Do I need a business license to sell on Shopify?
According to the Shopify reviews we’ve read and the official docs on the Shopify site, whether or not you need a business license depends on your local regulations and laws.
Depending on the type of business you run, you may need a local, county, state or federal license – or none at all. Where your company is located will determine the type of license you need and where to obtain it.
Does Shopify accept PayPal?
- Store owners can accept payments via PayPal through their Shopify stores.
- Apart from that, you can also sign up to Shopify Payments – Shopify’s own payment module, which will allow you to sell with no extra transaction fees (above the credit card fees).
- Shopify also supports more than 70 different payment gateways.
Is Shopify good for beginners?
This will be a matter of personal perspective and opinion for most people. However, Shopify is generally seen as a hassle-free and intuitive platform for any shape or size of business (from small businesses to large corporations).
We talked about this topic in-depth in one of the sections above. Click here to read it.
In short, Shopify provides its users with a straightforward interface that makes adding products and then managing customer orders and sales easy to grasp.
Working on your store’s design is also very user-friendly. You get to choose from a selection of modern themes and then customize the details how you see fit.
Lastly, if you ever need help, there are countless guides and resources available on the Shopify website and throughout the web to solve any problem imaginable.
How to migrate to Shopify from another ecommerce platform?
With Shopify being one of the most popular ecommerce systems out there, it’s often that people decide to abandon their previous ecommerce platforms and move over to Shopify.
Shopify is ready to help users with this move and has a whole guide outlined in the official docs. You can read it here.
From a bird’s eye view, migrating to Shopify is done in 11 steps:
- Configure your basic administrative settings – Shopify’s ecommerce migration system will guide you through this process. Essentially, it’s all about deciding who’s going to have access to your Shopify services. You’ll also need to add staff accounts so your teams can also get their own personal log-in details.
- Import your store’s content and data to Shopify – You can use a Store Migration app to do this. Shopify has a handful of free options to choose from, including Bulk Discounts and Product Reviews. There also options from third-parties in the Shopify App Store.
- Organize your products after migration – After you’ve migrated, make sure that all of your information has transferred into your system correctly by updating product details and checking through your inventory.
- Make your website look great – There are plenty of fantastic themes and extras to choose from. Remember to customize your Shopify theme, or ask for help from a Shopify Expert.
- Set up your domain – If you want to upgrade your domain, you can buy a new one directly from Shopify. Alternatively, there’s the option to transfer your existing domain into your Shopify account.
- Set up your shipping
- Configure your taxes
- Set up a payment provider
- Place some test orders
- Invite your customers to create accounts on your new site
- Set up URL redirects
What about Shopify Experts?
One interesting feature you might have noticed when reading up on Shopify reviews, is Shopify Experts.
Shopify Experts are the brand’s community of carefully cultivated Shopify ambassadors.
So, what does that mean for you?
Experts are there to help you grow your business with high-quality support and end-to-end services. The program was originally designed to support and empower companies who partnered with Shopify directly. However, anyone can find and use an Expert today.
To hire an expert:
- Visit the Shopify Experts page: You’ll find potential Experts listed by location, or specific talent. You don’t need to be close to your Expert to hire them – there’s no need to meet face to face.
- Choose someone with the right talent: There are five categories of Shopify Expert, including Store Design, Store Setup, Marketing, Photography, and Development. You can also find a small group of Experts dedicated to other mini tasks like setting up your Facebook tracking pixel.
- Check out the profile of your intended Shopify Expert: This usually includes a link to their pre-existing Shopify store. The profiles also showcase the Expert’s minimum project budget. This is how much you’ll need to pay to get the Expert working for you.
- Examine their testimonials: As with most purchasing decisions today, it’s always a good idea to check out testimonials from other customers that hired the expert before you.
If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for on the Shopify Experts page, Shopify also added a “Post a Job” function, which can help to match you to the right person automatically.
So, what if you want to become a Shopify Expert?
You’ll need to be a brand ambassador for Shopify, and make sure that you’re always delivering high-quality work for people who request your services. Shopify holds its Experts to stringent standards, so you’ll be under scrutiny all the time. You’ll also have to make sure that you’re always active within the Partner Community. That means hosting and attending meet-ups and driving new merchants into the Shopify and Shopify Plus environments.
Can I do dropshipping with Shopify?
There are many different ways to sell with Shopify.
One of the most popular ones? Yep, it’s dropshipping.
With dropshipping, you don’t have to worry about finding somewhere to store your cargo before you ship it out to customers. Instead, you get someone else to do the shipping for you.
Dropshipping is one of the easiest ways to get started in the ecommerce world.
Shopify offers a range of dropshipping apps from their marketplace that help you source and sell goods. Many regard Shopify to be the best option for dropshipping.
- Shopify is packed full of solutions that make managing your dropshipping relationships with suppliers easier. One common option is Oberlo – which is a dedicated dropshipping app designed to work exclusively with Shopify.
- Brimming with excellent features: Shopify comes with everything you need to create an entire ecommerce business. Alongside your store builder, you also get solutions to manage your payments, marketing, sales, shipping methods, and more.
- Simple to use: Shopify is one of the most user-friendly ecommerce and CRM solutions in the market. It’s packed with functionality – but it isn’t overwhelming or challenging to use. If you ever have any trouble, you can turn to an expert for help, or check out a webinar.
- It’s completely extensible: If you want to add any new features to your Shopify solution, there’s an entire marketplace dedicated to apps.
What are the Alternatives to Shopify?
Shopify is incredibly popular for a reason – it’s effective.
However, if you want to check out what else is out there in the market, you have the right to do it. Here are our picks for the top Shopify alternatives:
- BigCommerce: Simple drag-and-drop editor with beautiful themes.
- WooCommerce: Ideal for WordPress users, but more difficult to set up than Shopify.
- Volusion: Popular for smaller companies.
- 3dcart: A good shopping cart platform, but doesn’t come with the marketing tools that Shopify and Shopify Plus offer.
- BigCartel: An affordable solution with limited features.
- Magneto: An open-source tool with some of the best reviews on the market – but still has a steep learning curve.
- Wix: One of the simplest website creators online, also allows you to build an online store.
- Squarespace: Similar to Wix.
- PrestaShop: Ideal for people with a limited budget, but not nearly as comprehensive as Shopify.
Here are the top 10 Shopify alternatives for your ready reference, with a brief review of each.
Shopify Pricing Plans and Fees: Which Shopify Plan is Best for You? Basic Shopify vs Shopify vs Advanced Shopify
What is Shopify & How Does Shopify Work? – Learn from scratch how to start selling on Shopify in these 8 simple steps.
Shopify vs Shopify Plus: What is the Difference? (Feb 2020)What are the Key differences between Shopify and Shopify Plus?
Shopify Reviews: Conclusion
Let’s answer the main question; who is the Shopify ecommerce platform built for?
Shopify works for beginners, intermediates and advanced users (the ones looking to speed up the development process by not spending much time on coding or more complicated processes).
We also like it for business owners who simply want to introduce an ecommerce component to their existing websites, and especially if what they want to sell are digital goods.
What’s great about Shopify is that it’s really easy to start with. You literally only have to sign up, go through a couple of settings panels, and your store is going to be up and running.
What comes afterwards is also equally user-friendly. You can customize your design, add products, set the payment details, even install new features through apps in the Shopify app store.
We would gladly recommend Shopify to anyone who wants to sell online. Plus, there’s a 14-day free trial available, so you don’t have to commit until you’re sure that Shopify will work for you.
So what do you think of our Shopify reviews and Shopify itself? Let us know in the comments area below.
Shopify User Reviews
I did a lot of research on what type of backend support was best for my website before launching FabStitches. I knew that starting a small business like mine was going to be a day and night hustle. I needed something that would take care of the other business aspects so I could focus on my products and my craft. Shopify was beyond doubt the best choice. It has truly made my life simple to say the least. Smita Luthra FabStitches
In regards to Shopify.. Back in January, we migrated over from a highly converting xhtml based hand coded site that had been serving us well for several years.. Our google serps were outstanding, we had top 5 placement for about 10 different keywords and were pulling tens of thousands of unique visitors per day. Due to google’s threats of Mobilegeddon, and their warning that sites which did not conform to mobile, (ie: responsive design) were going to be dropped from the search results sent us scrambling for a platform that would give us a responsive architecture without worrying about the hassles of coding a responsive design from scratch. I read every review I could find for all the available platforms.. actually went with a alternate only to ditch it half way through the setup process and switched over to Shopify. I was reluctant, worrying how this would affect not only our search rankings, but our conversion rate as well. Since making the move, we’ve had many challenges. I’m not a fan of theme based all inclusive CRM platforms to begin with, but with shopify, performing any sort of sustainable SEO at code level, seems all but impossible.
I’ve found it extremely difficult get any traction in googles organic results. There’s some great functionality and I believe some good intention over at Shopify, but personally I’m still not sold on the design, and don’t really care for it much.. it’s a beast to get it to convert.. and our search ranks have suffered tremendously.
Not a fan at this point. hoping it will turn around for us. I’ve always got my eyes open for an alternative, but thankfully we’ve had 19 years of building a solid loyal customer base and have been able to get by without Larry Garman Dangerous Curves Swimwear
As a business owner Shopify is one of the most valuable resources I have. It has helped triple our e-commerce business and grow our online presence all while being extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The back-end reporting helps provide valuable insight in the decision making process as well as their robust App Store has a solution for anything we have wanted to add to our users experience on the site. I would highly recommend Shopify for any business that is looking to grow their e-commerce presence without paying through the nose for a firm to design it and maintain it for you. Tim Porter ProQuip Gold USA
The Shopify platform delivers tremendous value at a reasonable cost. We chose this platform over others because it offers great functionality out of the box. Additionally, Shopify has a great network of developers who are constantly adding apps and features that users demand from their eCommerce experience. This allows businesses to improve their site without incurring additional costs of paying developers and designers to keep up with the latest eCommerce features and trends. Jack Ku City Grounds
I started off using Square when it first came out. But I wanted something more robust that would help me with ecommerce and POS as I grew my ecommerce platform. Shopify makes everything seamless and has a number of apps that help me do other things like marketing. It’s not as inexpensive as Square for POS, but it also is way more powerful. The customer service has also been great. I hate calling for customer service, so I use their Chat feature and always get an answer to my questions or issues. Sandra Debutante Clothing
We have been using Shopify Plus for almost 2 years. We moved over from NetSuite at the end of 2020 and have been very happy with the product. While the cost for Shopify Plus is rising dramatically, we need the versatility of a secure dedicated shopping cart, customer support, customization and API connections for our inventory platform Seller Cloud. I would recommend Shopify to anyone opening an E-Commerce business. Danielle Malconian Plusby Design
We switched twice in three years- first from Netsuite to Magento, both of which were very complex to build our site on, and then to Shopify, which has proven to be a great decision. We were able to save thousands of dollars a year in developer fees and even I (the owner) have been able to easily create pages and content for our site with little technical knowledge. Jay Reale eBody Boarding
Shopify is easy to use, intuitive and scalable as my business has grown! The base themes are a solid foundation that can be personalized and the premium ones are top notch. As the community of stores has grown the number of developers building apps has increased exponentially which has allowed me to add on functionality I would have had to get built from scratch. Jordan Good Day Inc.
Our experience with Shopify: 3 stars.
If you use a free theme you get ancient navigation, you will pay for a SEO manager app (staff will recommend this app for $20/month to close from indexing your pages or collections), you will pay even for a wish list. The basic plan for $29 will make you pay even more than their plan for $79.
Surprise! Your store can be suddenly disconnected from “Shopify Payment” because Shopify will want to know your suppliers’ contacts.
We give a bad score Shopify for anti fraud.
Shopify does not fit for starting or small businesses. Probably it will work well for big stores. Karyn White Fashion ResPublica
We’ve been on Shopify now for 2 years with no issues. We had one of the experts build the site, but we put 350 items on it ourselves and we maintain it as well. My husband takes care of all of the new products and installing everything and believe me he is absolutely NOT a computer genius, and if he can do it, anybody can. Thanks Shopify. Suzy The Mustang Trailer
Indosole is a growing footwear company based in California and Bali, Indonesia. We use Shopify to power both our front-end website and our back-end Ecommerce sales and service. Shopify is a perfect fit for us as it can adapt to the needs of our business in our growth phase and has all the downloadable reporting and statistics that we need to monitor our business and cash flow. Plus, we have enjoyed using Shopify’s Capital program which provides direct deposit loans at an affordable interest rate. Love it! Kyle Indosole
As a business owner with a background in Graphic Design we really appreciate Shopify’s great looking existing store theme’s. Shopify allows us to focus on our core business and not only shows off our Poseidon Surf brand visually but allows us to sell a multitude of products with ease. Another benefit is that many of our staff and new staff is familiar with Shopify which makes product updates even easier. Christian Shubin Poseidon Paddle & Surf
1.) The back-end admin user platform is very friendly.
2.) The whole site is very reliable as far as up times goes.
3.) 3rd party apps are very useful and integration is very easy.
4.) Front end of themes tend to have a clean layout making it simple to navigate.
5.) Integrated shipping couriers like UPS and DHL makes it quite easy to choose best shipping options.
1.) Support for 3rd party apps is almost non-existent other than the forums and when in the forums asking for help (at least for my issues), responses were scarce.
2.) Couldn’t have access to certain information on our own sales data for 3rd party apps thru API.
3.) The blogging sites although allows us to blog in an easy manner, the back end doesn’t show data on those visitors making it difficult to gauge blog’s engagements. Britt Ilovebad Inc.
I chose Shopify because it was very easy to get started on this platform and launch a polished, fully functioning eCommerce store within a week. The vibrant community of developers and designers who create useful apps and beautiful themes are always innovating, which lets me continually refine the website and add the latest eCommerce features. With Shopify’s intuitive UI and awesome analytics, this is a very excellent solution for small businesses to showcase and sell products online. Mabel Darkest Fox
For most part Shopify works good for us. But I am having difficulty changing the menu options as I need drop downs and need to reorganize my website. Shilpa Shah Parfumerie Nasreen
We love Shopify for our e-commerce website for the ease of customizing our products on the web. The integration of apps within Shopify is extremely easy as well as the support from Shopify – we always talk to a live person, very quickly. We are constantly receiving great feedback from our customers regarding our website. Alexis Drake Alexis Drake
Shopify offer great templates
Shopify give fantastic customer service
Shopify genius’s go beyond the norm to assist when there is a problem and do speak in normal ( non tech) language in order to educate their consumer. George Adored1
I selected shopify for their ecommerce/pos platform. Their support has been well beyond my expectations and the ease of use of their e-commerce and pos systems has been surprising. It has been a great one-stop shop for all my needs and they regularly update and improve their services. Adam Adam’s Nest
I am very happy with the Camilla design. It was easy to personalize and add features to. Super simple to navigate which is a huge bonus for our customers and conversion rate. As astore owner its nice to not have to worry about EVERYTHING, this template takes care of you Jamie Covered Goods
Our company has used Shopify since the inception of our website. Their support chat is invaluable to our team – we contact them daily with questions on how to be more effective and productive. Their advice is knowledgeable and most importantly, quick, so we can get to our next task as soon as possible. Kate Laura Ashley
I think the sales are badly affected by the presentation of the checkout page – it appears that you can only pay by PayPal, there’s no mention of credit card payment, even though c/c payment is a possibility. I know that this puts people off, it would be so easy to put some c/c logos on that page. Ina Ina Barry
We are very happy we chose to use Shopify for our eCommerce business. With all of the data and reports just a click away, we are able to make decisions quickly and confidently. Their customer service team is also amazing. Brian Fashion Anchor
Shopify’s platform is worlds beyond where we were before. The payment processing and ability to provide great customer service with the simple platform has made the transition into a larger online presence a breeze. Shopify’s customer support is always willing to help even with the smallest details. Katherine La Duca
Shopify has been a pivotal tool for my clothing line. We are now able to take a step back and let our eCommerce software work for us and worry only about our marketing. Growth comes fast with Shopify at your back. Dexter Fathom Clothing
Shopify is the best! Easy posting, inventory control and the ability to post directly to social media is a big plus! The guru’s are always patient and go above and beyond to make sure my questions are answered any my problems are solved. Christine Aatlo Jewelry Gallery
Shopify has been a great asset to our business. We really love the back end and how user-friendly it is. Wouldn’t change Shopify for any other service. Its been great for keeping us organized. Also, always very helpful whenever we run into any issues. Nicholas Deep Antiquity
Shopify platform offers a super simple solution where you can create a beautifully designed store and launch your online business in a matter of minutes, with unlimited traffic bandwidth and unlimited quantity of products, and with the possibility to launch your business globally, using any of the payment gateways that accept multiple currencies. The only inconvenience is that you will need to install additional applications to your store where you will have to pay a monthly fee, so you can really integrate all the necessary capabilities to optimize your conversion rates and get the best experience to your customers, although some of them are free of charge. Customer service is fantastic as well. I really recommend it for small-medium businesses and any eCommerce entrepreneurs! Daniel Daniel Bale Shopping
We have switched from Big commerce to Shopify Plus earlier this year and we loved the platform. It is very easy to use and much more app integration. With Shopify Plus you can have multiple countries website under one account. We have a dedicated success manager that we can throw any Shopify related question to and their support team is always on line and fix problem super fast. Overall, very good experience and our store already see good growth rate after switching the platform Ettitude
After spending so much money and endless frustration’s with other platforms. We are so excited to have discovered Shopify! A.I Stone
Shopify provides the everyday person with a professional online selling platform. It’s fast and easy to build an online store with little to no coding knowledge. I would recommend Shopify to any one aspiring to enter the world of e-commerce. Parties Unlimited
Shopify has allowed me to be able to run my own
e-commerce without fear of a web master leaving and the place falling apart, the platform is that easy, and with such amazing integration! I believe that is one of the keys to my success, I can practically run it from my IOS, from adding products on the spot to refunding a customer or taking an order. I also appreciate how fast your tech support works on the rare occasion that I need help.
I have brought many people to Shopify who want to start their own business, it is simply the easiest, and most efficient platform for entrepreneurs. Catherine Hickland Cat Cosmetics
I actually loved using Shopify. It was a very easy to use platform with tons of options and modification capabilities.
I had a small online shop with Shopify but decided to take a break for a while so I switched over to Etsy where the cost for hosting is very minimal. Noel 1910 CO
Shopify is a great platform that will easily grow your business! It’s easy to use, and constantly evolving. Ray Figgs 8and9
We’ve used Shopify to sell over 50,000 orders to fans in all 50 states, as well as the point-of-sale software in our 30A store locations. Shopify is comprehensive, professional, affordable and easy to use. Shopify is the best e-commerce platform on the market. Mike Ragsdale 30A Gear
They try to provide you with all the tools so you can create a web site that looks good and works.
From Credit Card Processing to Layout.
Also their Chat will help you anytime with any questions you may have.
Trisha Dream Angels
I have been fairly happy with Shopify. The price is reasonable. The support has been excellent (and my Canadian speaking skills continue to improve). My biggest problem has been trying to improve my SEO. Anything Shopify can do to help me with that would be much appreciated. The Kit app has been somewhat helpful, but I get lost in the setup on my end on some of the Kit options/suggestions. My geek skills are on the low end. Doug Benson Fawkinnae Sportsman’s Club
As a first-time e-commerce store owner, I’ve found Shopify to be simple, easy and relatively quick to setup and to use. I have not used any other e-commerce platforms before, but my first experience of the Shopify platform was simply the best, and I would definitely recommend Shopify to first-time store owners. You could easily and effortlessly expand your Shopify store to suit your business, whether it’s to tailor and customise a Shopify theme or to extending the features of the Shopify platform. The Shopify support staff are really helpful and knowledgeable of the platform, so if ever you are stuck or need clarification on anything, they are always available to assist you, so you needn’t be afraid to explore the platform at all. My advice to first-time e-commerce and Shopify users is to take a little time to familiarize yourself with the platform, ask a lot of questions, and browse the Shopify blogs and forums, to see how others are using the platform. In my opinion, Shopify is one of the best and easiest e-commerce platforms to use, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone! Yattish Absolute SportFan Shop
With Shopify, we’ve been able to create 3 customized web sites; NaykedApparel.com, NaykedPromos.com and NaykedWholesale.com that target three different demographic groups with unique buying habits. Shopify has enabled us to quickly and without a lot of coding experience, create unique shopping experiences that have resulted in increased sales for all 3 sites. Kirt Moritz Nayked
Shopify is easy to use and very intuitive to figure out. Whenever one calls them, one gets a real live person on the phone fairly quickly. The people who answer the phones are native English speakers and talk you through your questions quickly, clearly and accurately. I would have switched to Shopify years ago if I had realized how much simpler it could be. I have been very happy with their service and services. LeeAnn Herreid Individual Icons
I’m a web design blogger and started this project after spending a few weeks struggling to find out which is the best ecommerce platform for myself. Check out my current top 10 ecommerce site builders.
Pros and Cons of Facebook
Image source: thesun.co.uk
Facebook was launched in 2020 as a social network for college students but currently has over one billion active users. Facebook is changing our modern life from the way we receive information, meeting new people online and as an online marketing channel for business.
1 . Keep in touch: Facebook is one of the incredible means of keeping in touch with friends and families across the globe. You video chat, message and get
updates on real-life events.
2 . Share with others: You can share your thoughts and ideas with others. You can also share what is happening in your life with families and friends through Facebook. If you’re organizing an event, launching a new product or sharing on your photo album then Facebook is an appropriate tool for sharing with others.
3 . Convenient means of communication: It is a quick and convenient means of communication to people across cities and countries. The Facebook social tool acts as the cheapest and easiest way to get your message out to a large group of people.
4 . Build your Journal: All the updates you make to your account on photographs, events attended, status updates help in building your personal life journal. You can always go back to your timeline and relive the experiences of your past.
5 . Easy setup: Opening a Facebook account and building your own profile is very easy. The network is free and easy to navigate through the platform as you interact with others.
6 . Enhance your social skills: Interacting with a diverse group of people through Facebook build your social skills, meet new people and boost your self-esteem.
7 . Educational: There are pages built specifically for discussion and share ideas on a specific area and people can use it as a tool for learning and interact with groups with same interests.
8 . Facebook for business: Every competitive business needs an online presence. Facebook offers a good avenue for businessmen to market, promote, create and maintain a good relationship with the target audience.
9 . Receive news and information: You can receive real-time information update on the latest news in the environment. Companies use it to announce new brands of products and services.
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10 . Facebook apps: There are various free and paid apps you can at your disposal. You can use an event application to organize events and easily gather people to attend the event.
1 . Time-wastage: Over one million daily Facebook users spend a significant amount of time reading status updates, viewing photos, videos, and pages they may not be interested in. The time wasted on Facebook can be used to do something productive elsewhere.
2 . Privacy issues: Facebook opens security loopholes for personal details shared through the social feeds.
You need to consider what you share online and who you share with.
3 . Freedom of expression: Everyone on Facebook can post what they want and sometimes offensive and inappropriate content may be posted.
4 . Cyberbullying: Over the recent past, cyberbullying has been a major concern to everyone. There are various reported cases where individuals have committed suicide after cyberbullying through the social account.
5 . Target advertising: Information stored on your profile can be used to build a targeted advertising for goods and services.
6 . Very addictive: A large percentage of teens are addictive to Facebook social features and games. This makes them antisocial as the face to face meetings are replaced by online interactions.
7 . Fake profiles: People can create fake profiles to stalk someone or damage their reputation.
8 . Identity theft: There is a high possibility of identity theft from the site.
9 . Annoying adverts: There are a lot of commercial adverts on the website which sometimes may limit your overall experience in the site.
10 . Frequent updates: With frequent changes to the site, you need to update your security settings more often to keep up with the updates.
The Pros and Cons of a Facebook Store
This comes as no surprise that Facebook serves to be the largest social media platform in the world. Moreover, do you doubt that the Facebook store continues to be the top consideration when businesses think of a social media platform where they can connect with their customers. Facebook lets the merchants come online and sell their products and services to the potential buyers after creating a eCommerce store on their Facebook Page.
If you take a look at the platform from a business point of view, you’d see that a lot of businesses have invested their time and efforts on Facebook, and are quite content with the same as well. From the individual entrepreneurs to the small vendors and the big brand names, everyone is busy making a strong customer relationship on Facebook by targeting the bigger masses.
Here are some of the stats that may help figure out the prominence of a Facebook marketplace:
- There are 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook. Out of this, over 1 billion daily active users. Thus, if you are looking to boost the visibility of your products, then, this is an ideal platform for you.
- 60+ million businesses have a Facebook Page. No just this, 39% of the FB users like or follow a Facebook page to receive a special offer.
- In addition to this, 32% of Facebook users engage with brands regularly.
However, everything comes with its advantages and disadvantages. So, what are the pros and cons of using F-commerce?
Multitudes of users
The biggest social network has about 1.74 billion active users every month. This itself says it all about the very first advantage of selling your products and services on the Facebook Store. For the Prestashop store owners, Prestashop FB store module is an effortless means to sync their store with the the Facebook shop. The best part of Facebook store is that all the users are interconnected some or the other way whether it is through the mutual friends or groups that they follow, shared content liked posts and more. Doesn’t this sound like a perfect place to set up a business?
Think of it as a busy street with numerous people and you being there in the middle promising to show something unusual. People would want to stop by and see what you’re showing off. Likewise, when you signup as a seller on the store, you bring the attention to your products and users will be compelled to see what you offer.
Customized page design
The very first thing after you do all the setup of Facebook store is to do things that will attract the visitors to come and see what you’ve in stock for them. If you have a customized page that is attractive and visually very appealing, visitors will surely stop by at your Facebook store. After all, the very first thing that you need to focus is on getting users to come to your Facebook store. You can do that by sending out catchy messages or sneak-peek of what you deal in and let the users do the rest.
The options of “like”, “share” and “comment” is not just there for the pleasure purpose, but the hidden meaning of the same is very useful for the sellers. You might have seen sellers posting status updates and images of their products that they want to sell online. The users can like your images, comment on them and also share them with their friends by which the popularity will increase. Hence, your reach widens and so does the exposure for your products.
Direct contact with the consumers
Being a platform that lets both seller customers come together under the same roof, Facebook lets the consumers directly contact the sellers with the help of messages, video chat, voice call and even commenting on the posts updated in the thread. This is the way that consumers clear the doubts that they have regarding the product that is being showcased in the post.
When you update your seller page with rich content is useful for the potential customers, you will be able to get a better insight about the activities that your customers are indulging in on your page with the help of the on-site suite of analytic reporting. The different information that you are accessible to is where did your consumer log in, how long did they interact with your store, their age, and other demographics.
Integrate your website with Facebook
Facebook integration can greatly improve your search engine optimization. When you update content on your website and share the same on the social media platform, it will drive the traffic to your website in the form of backlinks.
The development cost
One of the biggest drawbacks of selling your goods on the Facebook store is the freaking expensive development cost. If you have the capability to set up the Facebook shop yourself, very well or else you would have to spend your riches to get it done.
The loading time
We all know that Facebook app is extremely heavy and takes a while to load properly. This is one thing where the consumers can change their minds and leave your store that very moment.
The store owners, these days, tend to delve in the ventures that are more fruitful. The discussion whether Facebook store is better than an online marketplace has become prominent with the increasing competition in every field. If you are in the same dilemma of choosing one, then, here are some key consideration point for you.
Which one is better: An online marketplace or a Facebook Store?
Easy of setting up
If you consider the ease of setting up, then, the latter one for sure has an upper hand. Creating a marketplace involves a lot of complexities. Even the process of setting up the basic infrastructure is easy with the availability of multi vendor marketplace extensions like Prestashop marketplace addon, Magento multi vendor marketplace extension, OpenCart marketplace module and others. Yet, the process of motivating the sellers to your site is difficult. However, with F-commerce you get a larger customer base and ease of management.
Name any site and the traffic of Facebook will definitely be higher than it. Hence, if you are looking to expand your audience base, then, Facebook is definitely one of the ideal platforms for you.
Better customer interaction
Interacting with your customers is the key to build a lasting relationship. Whether you own an online marketplace or you sell your product as a third-party vendor on any other site, customer interaction is a must. Even in this aspect, my vote goes for Facebook marketplace. The target customers are more likely to raise a query and interact with you when they are scrolling their social media account. Moreover, creating a personal connect becomes way more easier when you interact with them on such platforms.
How can you create a Facebook Shop?
Knowband offers a feature-rich solution for the various CMS platforms in the form of Prestashop FB Store module, Magento Facebook shop extension, and other. You can integrate your store with the Facebook page of your site.
Let’s take a look at some of the edgy features of these Facebook integrators by Knowband:
- The extension offers configurable navigation menu that is easily displayed on the FB page.
- Provides the search field to search categories and products.
- The plugin also allows the e-merchants to track the performance of the pages using Google Analytics ID.
- The admin to add homepage image and logo as per his choice.
- The store admin can display featured products and categories on the FB store with great ease.
- The entire product listing is synced with the FB store at a button click.
- Clicking on the products will automatically redirect the users to the online site.
F-commerce is for sure the future of online selling. All you got to do is take a look at the pros and cons of selling at the Facebook store.
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