Shift4Shop vs Shopify: Mismatch or Fair Game?

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3dcart vs shopify featured imageThe best ecommerce platforms do more than just sell your products – they make building your online store easy, enjoyable, and affordable. And when it comes to Shift4Shop vs Shopify, one of them does it so much better.

Shopify is our top rated ecommerce website builder. Why? Because, like all good platforms, it does more than just provide excellent sales tools.

It offers brilliant customer support, access to loads of apps, awesome themes, and represents great value for money.

However, we know every online store is different. While Shopify suits nearly every business, it’s not for everyone. So, we’ve pitched it against Shift4Shop to see how they compare.

Shift4Shop has a really strong inventory system, some handy sales features, and it’s relatively cheap. It does, however, have one main pitfall: it’s quite hard to use.

Overall, we believe Ship4Shop is for users looking for an affordable, powerful backend, who don’t mind occasional technical challenges.

That being said, we know it’s a challenge to decide on the right website builder for your online business. That’s why we’ve not only tested each platform ourselves, but asked people just like you to try them too.

By combining the findings from our expert research and user testing, we get the most fair and accurate results. And those results are here…

Best All-Around Ecommerce Platform


out of 5
Top Choice
Ease Of Use

4 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

4.8 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

3.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3 out of 5 stars

Sales Features

4.7 out of 5 stars

Website Features

4.1 out of 5 stars

Best Website Builder With Ecommerce Functionality


out of 5
Ease Of Use

3 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

3.2 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

1.7 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3.4 out of 5 stars

Website Features

2.9 out of 5 stars

Sales Features

4.3 out of 5 stars

Shift4Shop and Shopify: Pros and Cons

Shift4Shop Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
1. Fantastic inventory

2. SEO prompts

3. Free plan for US-based users
1. Hard to use

2. No mobile app

3. Least likely to be recommended

Shopify Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
1. Best rated ecommerce platform

2. 24/7 customer care

3. Sell across multiple channels
1. Costs add up with apps

2. Transaction fees on external payment methods

3. Need to reformat themes if you switch

Before we start, why not read our Shopify review.

For more info on Shift4Shop, read our review here.

Shift4Shop or Shopify: Which is Easiest to Use?

Ecommerce platforms are there to help you sell online first and foremost. Do they make it easy, though? In other words, has the UX (user experience) been lost in the big box of sales tools?

Shift4Shop does not make it easy to build a store. It scored 2.81 out of 5 in our testing, placing last out of eight builders for ease of use. Yes, it provides a nice, big inventory, but it’s just too tricky to actually use.

Why so hard, then? Our participants didn’t like the inconsistent fonts and color scheme, there’s no ‘undo’ button, and it doesn’t provide any keyboard shortcuts. In short, it’s not streamlined.

One user had this to say about their Shift4Shop experience:

I wouldn’t say this builder was amazing, and it wasn’t simple to use either.

On the other hand, Shopify did fairly well in our research, scoring 3.5 out of five and coming fifth for ‘ease of use’. This might not seem like the biggest difference, but when it comes down to practicality, even this small increase can have a major impact on user experience.

Unlike Shift4Shop, Shopify keeps all typography the same, offers an ‘undo’ button, and has plenty of keyboard shortcuts. It also has easily identifiable icons for all its offerings.

One of our tested users found Shopify particularly easy to use, commenting:

I was pleasantly surprised. I can definitely see why people opt for this builder.

Shift4Shop vs Shopify – Ease of Use: The Verdict

Shopify is much easier to use than Shift4Shop. It supplies a huge range of excellent ecommerce features, and anyone can use them. Unlike Shift4Shop, Shopify uses a consistent color scheme and typography, has an ‘undo’ button, and provides keyboard shortcuts to make things even easier.

To see how Shopify compares to BigCommerce, read our article here.

How about Shopify vs WooCommerce, which you can read by clicking the link.

Or check out our 6 top rated Shopify alternatives.

Which has the best sales features?

Naturally, for any ecommerce platform, sales tools are important. We’ve discussed how simple Shift4Shop and Shopify are to use, but which platform makes it easier to actually make money?

While Shift4Shop is tricky to navigate, it has some strong sales features. The backend is extensive overall, with space for 100-unlimited products, and pre-integration with big shipping companies like UPS and FedEx.

Also, unlike other platforms, Shift4Shop has SEO (Search Engine Optimization) functions visible throughout the site, while providing prompts to help your website rank higher on search engines. However, it has no mobile app, restricting users who are always on the move.

Shopify provides no real limitations when it comes to selling your stock. It comes with unlimited products on all plans, in-built abandoned cart recovery, a mobile app, and access to a huge range of third party integrations to help make selling on Shopify even more seamless.

Shift4Shop vs Shopify – Sales Features: The Verdict

Shopify is the most comprehensive ecommerce platform around, offering the best sales tools on the market. Despite Shift4Shop’s strong features, which include SEO prompts and an extensive backend, Shopify still offers more – particularly when you consider its huge app store, which lets you streamline your shipping, accounting, marketing, and more.

Which has the better design?

For any store to be successful – online or not – your customers need to enjoy actually visiting it. Does it look clean and professional? And is it easy to find what you need? Well, for website builders, questions like these come down to the template designs.

Shift4Shop offers over 100 free templates – more than any other ecommerce platform – with premium options costing $99 to $199. While most designs are slick and on-brand, some lack basic features, like navigation menus that scroll down with you. Also, there is no mobile editor, so you can’t get creative on the go.

Shift4Shop offers the most templates of any ecommerce platform, giving you lots of flexibility – use the filter to find the right one for you

Shopify has a smaller choice than Shift4Shop, with only 10 free themes and 50+ premium options costing $140 to $180, but they have a sleeker design overall. They also come with industry-specific features, saving you even more time and effort on your storefront design.

Shopify theme store
Shopify offers a mixture of free and paid themes, depending on how much you want to invest in your online store

Where Shopify really wins, though, is with its mobile app. You can edit your website on the move from your smartphone, which is ideal for the modern business owner.

Shift4Shop vs Shopify – Design: The Verdict

Despite offering fewer themes, Shopify still provides better designs than Shift4Shop. This is thanks to its industry-specific features and sleeker design overall. Also, some of Shift4Shop’s templates lack basic functions, and it does not offer a mobile editor, while Shopify provides solid all-around themes.

Interested in design? See how Shopify compares to Squarespace here.

Which has the better customer support?

Having good levels of customer support is important for any ecommerce platform. It helps you fix issues quickly and easily, minimizing any amount of money you might stand to lose.

Shopify has the comprehensive customer help to match its impressive sales tools. It provides 24/7 phone and live chat support, a bespoke knowledge center, and a dedicated support agent on its plus price plans.

Shift4Shop prides itself on having 24/7 support. However, in our testing, we found there were times when the live chat function was limited. They can’t be reached by email, either, so, we recommend you call them directly.

Shift4Shop vs Shopify – Customer Support: The Verdict

Shopify provides far more comprehensive customer care than Shift4Shop. Not only does it offer email and social media support, it has 24/7 phone and live chat help too. Compare this to Shift4Shop’s limited live chat function, and it’s clear which platform can fix issues more easily.

Shift4Shop vs Shopify: Pricing plans

Shift4Shop has four monthly pricing plans:

  • Basic Store ($29 p/m
  • Plus Store ($79 p/m)
  • Pro Store ($229 p/m)
  • End-to-End Commerce (Free)

Unlike Shopify, Shift4Shop has one major advantage in this area – it offers a free plan so you can get selling without having to open your wallet. But this isn’t available for everyone. To qualify, you need to be a US-based seller and you also need to use Shift4Shop’s credit card processing system. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay monthly.

If you don’t qualify for the free plan, the Basic Store package is pretty thorough. It covers all the essentials and will appeal to smaller businesses. If you’re looking for a little extra, the Plus Store offers more marketing functionalities, and the Pro Store even allows you to employ some automation into your processes.

How do the two builders compare? Shift4Shop is, on average, cheaper than Shopify, especially if you qualify for the free plan. This makes it a good option for users who want strong selling features at a relatively low cost.

Shopify may be more expensive, but its features are excellent and represent good value for money.

The Shopify price plans are:

  • Basic Shopify ($29 p/m)
  • Shopify ($79 p/m)
  • Advanced Shopify ($299 p/m)

Don’t forget, Shopify has better customer support, more app integrations, and stronger ecommerce tools. So, if you have room in your budget, Shopify is definitely worth the few extra bucks. It also offers a 14-day Free Trial, so you can try before you buy.

Shift4Shop vs Shopify – Pricing Plans: The Verdict

While Shopify costs more than Shift4Shop on average, it’s worth the extra money. Shopify represents excellent value with its strong sales tools, 24/7 customer support, and mobile app. For any ambitious online business owner looking to scale, Shopify is the best choice. However, if you want to sell on a free plan and you meet Shift4Shop’s criteria, this is a pretty solid option too.

Conclusion: Which is better, Shift4Shop or Shopify?

Both Shift4Shop and Shopify provide extensive features in the backend, so deciding between them actually comes down to everything outside the tool box. We’re talking about template designs, customer care, prices, and ease of use.

Shopify is our top-rated ecommerce website builder. Therefore, it’s perfect for any business owner looking to scale easily. Its huge range of useful tools, like multiple sales channels and abandoned cart recovery, make it suitable for any online store.

But it’s in the other departments where Shopify really outperforms Shift4Shop. It has more comprehensive customer support, better designed themes, and most significantly, it’s much easier to use.

In the other corner, Shift4Shop is ok overall. Despite its low ranking from our testing, it has an extensive inventory, it’s relatively cheap, and gives you access to 1,000+ apps to improve your site’s performance. Overall, it’s for users who want a powerful platform, but don’t mind some tricky, techy stuff.

However, we found that Shift4Shop was just too difficult to actually use, and it was rated our ‘least likely to be recommended’ builder for a reason.

All of this goes to show: you can have all the sales tools in the world, but if customers can’t use them, they probably won’t use your platform.

Verdict: Shopify

8 FAQs

If you qualify for the free plan, Shift4Shop is the cheaper option because you won’t have to spend a single cent to get started. Outside of this, the two are pretty much on a par, with their paid plans charging the same amounts per month.
Yes! With Shift4Shop, you can directly adjust the HTML to give you more creative control over your designs if you need it.

Shopify has its own template language called Liquid which allows you to make advanced customizations to your theme.

Although both have great SEO features, Shift4Shop just pips it here. It offers SEO prompts throughout to make sure that your site is set to rank as highly as possible, as well as covering all the usual bases such as meta titles and meta descriptions.
Yes, they are. Both Shopify and Shift4Shop have themes that render well on screens of all sizes, which is particularly important nowadays when so much internet traffic is mobile-based.
Shopify has a mobile app that you can download for use wherever you are, so you won’t need to be chained to your desk to tweak your online store.

Unfortunately, Shift4Shop doesn’t have a mobile app, which is a major drawback. This means you won’t be able to edit and manage your site on the go like you can with Shopify.

Written by:
I used to think website design was just for professionals. Because maybe like you, I have no coding or design experience. But, with the help of our expert researchers (and after testing every website builder myself), I can confidently guide you through on how to get the most out of each one.


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