Shopify Review | Is It the Best Online Store Builder for You?

The best ecommerce platform out there for larger businesses

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shopify logo

4.6

out of 5
Powering

500 thousand sites

Starting from

$29.00

Free trial

Yes

Best for

Best for Large Online Stores

shopify - best for ecommerce
Overall rating

5 out of 5 stars

Shopify is one of the best ecommerce platforms on the market today, especially if you run a larger business. It’s designed to help people build their own, scalable online store with hundreds of built-in features, and tons of apps. You can sell products directly on your website, and across multiple marketplaces and social media.

Shopify is a popular ecommerce platform that helps you build your own online store, without needing any tech skills. 

Shopify powers over 800,000 businesses and earned the title of ‘Best Ecommerce Platform for Larger Businesses’ in our own in-depth research, outperforming the majority of its competitors. However, it’s not for everyone. That’s why this review dives into Shopify’s sales features, ease of use, prices, design, marketing tools, and more, to help you decide if it’s really right for you.

If you’re in a rush, look below for an at a glance overview of the most important things you should know about Shopify. Otherwise, read on for more details, as we take you on an in-depth journey through the platform… starting with the question, what the heck actually is Shopify?

Let’s get going!

Shopify At A Glance

Shopify in a Nutshell
shopify logo small website builder

Is It Love At First Sight?

Does Shopify make your heart beat faster, and stir up ecommerce butterflies in your stomach? We know the feeling. Get to know Shopify better by exploring its website.

Shopify Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Ideal for larger stores
Shopify’s powerful backend editor and impressive inventory system make it ideal for managing – and scaling – larger stores.
Multi-platform selling
Sell across multiple channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay.
Stand-out design functionality and flexibility
Choose from a number of free and paid templates, or if you can’t find one to match, make your own from scratch.
Over 3,000 apps available
Shopify has an incredible library of apps and third-party extensions to help you elevate your store to the next level.
Extensive payment options
Shopify supports over 100 payment options, as well as providing their own gateway, Shopify Payments.
Thorough, round-the-clock customer support
Shopify is on hand 24/7 to offer a helping hand if you ever find yourself in a sticky situation.
Not as easy to use as other platforms
Shopify’s editor isn’t as intuitive as it could be, and takes a while to get the hang of.
Overly-reliant on apps
Shopify has fewer built-in features than other platforms, so you’ll need to use apps to really boost the functionality of your store.
High transaction fees
Unless you use Shopify Payments, you’ll need to pay a hefty transaction fee, on top of other payment gateway costs.
More expensive than it appears
Transaction fees, plus the need for additional apps, can hike up the monthly cost of running your store.

What Is Shopify?

Shopify is a dedicated ecommerce website builder that helps people build their very own online store. 

It really is as easy as that – you don’t need mad tech skills, you don’t need a bottomless budget, and you don’t need to hire anyone to make your dream a reality. This makes Shopify a quick and affordable way of creating your online store.

You could start building today, if you wanted to!

shopify homepage

 

Who Can Use Shopify?

Anyone can use Shopify, whether you’re a first-time seller, or a multi-million dollar business like Harry’s Razors (yep, Harry’s Razors is just one of Shopify’s satisfied customers). All you need is an idea, something to sell, and an internet connection, and you could have an online store live in no time.

With over 1,200 apps, specialized features such as inventory tracking and shipping tools, and a range of price plans, Shopify is a powerful platform to choose. It can be used by any sized store, and is extremely scalable.

How Did We Test It? And What Were the Results?

There’s a lot of hype around Shopify, but we wanted to get to the truth behind the marketing.

We put our world-class methodology to good use, and went digging into Shopify’s designs, sales tools, marketing features, SEO capabilities, and more. As well as testing it ourselves, we even went one step further, asking non-tech experts to try it out and tell us what they thought.

We analyzed all the results, compared Shopify with other platforms we’ve tested, looked at its strengths and its flaws, and calculated scores for each key area – all so we can give you the most accurate and helpful information about this online store builder.

Straight away, we can tell you that Shopify did extremely well in our testing, scoring 4.6 out of 5 stars overall.

Best for larger businesses

4.6

out of 5
Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

3.9 out of 5 stars

Sales Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Website Features

4.2 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

4.7 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

3.8 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3 out of 5 stars

In fact, it outperformed the majority of its competitors, coming in second place to Wix. It achieved the highest customer score out of all the platforms we tested and is perfect for users who want an all-in-one solution. But nobody is perfect – carry on reading our Shopify review to find out why it did so well, where it fell down, and most importantly, if it’s the right choice for you.

Shopify User Reviews

We reached out to various Shopify users to get an insight into their experience of using the ecommerce platform to create and grow their online businesses.

USER REVIEW: RIPPEDKIT

shopify user review francis headshot

“Shopify is a well-maintained platform that provides everything I need for website management, updates, pricing, order fulfilment, customer communication etc.”

While juggling a full-time job with a social life and the gym, Francis found he was struggling to hit his protein targets. Dissatisfied with shakes and preferring snack-type products, he launched his subscription-based website with Shopify, called RippedKit, as a convenient way for like-minded individuals to receive high quality ‘grab and go’ protein supplements.

Why did you choose Shopify?

I switched to Shopify from Cratejoy, which is a subscription-focused ecommerce platform. I moved because Shopify has more features and a cleaner and better-developed user interface. Plus, because it’s such a popular platform, it has lots of apps available which I used to upgrade my store.

What’s your favorite Shopify feature?

Their app store has a huge selection of ‘plug and play’ apps which makes it very easy to add store features without having coding knowledge. You can use this to create a store which competes with bigger brands in terms of features.

Is there anything you don’t like about Shopify?

A lot of the Shopify apps have monthly fees and it can be all too easy to lose track of how many apps you’re paying for and still using, which can create unnecessary costs.

Would you recommend Shopify to anyone else wanting to sell online?

Yes, absolutely!

USER REVIEW: LA NADIA JEWELS

Nadia Koenig“It’s super easy to start building your store with Shopify because for every single step, there’s a video tutorial you can follow.”

Nadia started making jewelry as a hobby while attending Law School in her hometown of Zurich, Switzerland. Soon, her friends became her first loyal customers. After earning her Master’s Degree in Law she decided to follow her true passion and become a full-time jewelry designer and entrepreneur. While successfully selling her jewelry on Etsy, she knew she had to take the next step building her brand by launching her Shopify store La Nadia Jewels.

Why did you choose to build your store with Shopify?

There are several reasons why I picked Shopify to build my online store. I did some research and comparisons and it quickly became clear that Shopify was the best fit for my e-commerce business. First of all, I really like the modern look and feel of the theme options you can pick from and how the backend is structured. Furthermore, it’s super easy to start building your store because there’s a video tutorial you can follow for every single step. Shopify also integrates with pretty much every application or service I use to run my business like Quickbooks for bookkeeping, Google for advertising, and apps for e-mail marketing. Most brands I admire use Shopify, and that gave me confidence that this platform would allow my business to adapt and grow.

How long did it take you to build your store?

There are lots of videos to help with this but it took me about 4 weeks to set my store up. I think if you’re serious about building a brand – and I’m speaking as a perfectionist – every detail of your store should be tailored to what your brand represents. For La Nadia Jewels, I focused on high-quality photography, a strong “About” page to share my story, and an easy navigation and checkout process. In addition, I embedded a preview of my Instagram feed, back-in-stock notifications, as well as reviews and wishlist features.  Not to forget about all the copy that needed to be written: item descriptions, legal pages, FAQ’s, etc. – it’s a lot of work and I wanted to get it right.

What’s your favorite Shopify feature?

My favorite Shopify feature is analytics. For a small business that is just starting out, learning from your store’s data is so important. Gaining insights into how customers find your page, how they navigate, and if or when they convert is key to improving store performance.

Is there anything you don’t like about Shopify?

If a customer changes their mind about an order and wants to cancel, Shopify won’t refund the payment transaction fee to the seller. This applies to sellers who use Shopify Payments and capture payments automatically. Someone has to eat these costs and it’s either the store or the customer. You can get around it by charging them a cancellation fee, and that should cover the lost transaction costs.

Would you recommend Shopify to anyone else wanting to sell online?

I do recommend Shopify 100% for brands that sell more than one item and consider building and running their e-commerce business themselves. As an always evolving platform, Shopify will continue to adapt to its seller’s needs. It’s an easy-to-use tool with amazing features, plug-ins, and apps to customize to your business’s needs. Within just a few weeks, you’re able to set up and launch a professional website – how amazing is that?

USER REVIEW: ADVANCED DROPSHIPPING ACADEMY

shopify user review chris headshot“As a beginner, Shopify just seemed the most reputable and easiest platform to use at a reasonable price. It was a no-brainer when I first got started really.”

Looking for a way to make some extra cash, Chris set up his first dropshipping business around 4 years ago leveraging Shopify and Oberlo. The first product he sold was an iPhone case with cats on it, but nowadays he sells anything from sunglasses to snow goggles. Chris now runs Advanced Dropshipping Academy, which helps people build and launch their own dropshipping business.

How long did it take you to build your store using Shopify?

I built my most successful store over a weekend but I tweaked it on a daily basis for almost 2 years based on customer feedback and my own growing experience in the industry.

What do you like most about Shopify and Oberlo?

Just how easy it is to build your own website without any coding skills and how easy it is to connect to suppliers and process orders with just a few clicks. It really doesn’t get much simpler to run a business from home.

Is there anything about Shopify and Oberlo that you’d improve?

I’d like the product description on both platforms to be improved and become more user friendly, especially when it comes to formatting descriptions.

It would also be great to see an app for Oberlo and also an auto order processing function, so as soon as an order comes into your store, it is placed with the supplier and paid for within minutes.

What’s been your biggest success since starting your business?

My biggest success was probably growing my business enough to give me the opportunity to pay off my mortgage. To say that my original goal was to earn £200 a month, being able to pay off my mortgage this quickly still blows my mind to this day.

Would you recommend Shopify and Oberlo to others?

Yes, and I already do! As a Shopify partner I always point people towards the platforms because they have changed my life forever.

shopify logo small website builder

Think Shopify's Right for You?

Whether you’re setting up an online store, subscription or dropshipping website, give it a go using its 14-day free trial!

Further Information

How Easy Is Shopify to Use?

Quick Answer: It’s not the easiest platform on the block but it’s still fairly straightforward. You won’t get a site live in five minutes, but Shopify manages to combine powerful ecommerce tools with an easy-to-use editor. Its interface is clean and simple, and 80% of our users said they’d recommend Shopify to a friend. Still, we always recommend trying it for yourself before deciding!

The first thing you should look at when trying out a builder is how easy it is to use, especially when building an online store. Ecommerce builders often struggle to combine power with ease of use, but Shopify has excelled in this crucial area.

Shopify has a clean, clear, and simple interface that makes setting up your store a breeze, even for total beginners. 

Don’t get us wrong – you won’t have your site live in five minutes, because Shopify still packs a serious amount of power into its backend. However, it manages to make its editor smooth and simple to use, which we applaud (loudly).

And it’s not just us who enjoyed Shopify’s interface. After testing it ourselves, we got everyday people to build their own store using Shopify, and score how easy (or difficult) they found certain tasks.

The results were generally positive. 

People typically found that Shopify was easy to use once they’d had a chance to get their hands dirty. Although initially daunted by it, it didn’t take them long to settle into a rhythm, and design a store they were proud of. But don’t just take our word for it – here are a couple of quotes from our users: 

I struggled initially with a few aspects, but once I figured this out it all seemed really obvious.

It’s not as hard as it looks.”

Of course, the reviews weren’t all glowing – you deserve both sides of the picture, so here’s some quotes from users who weren’t quite so impressed with Shopify:

Personally, I think there is this disconnect between the backend and frontend. I think it’s just so much easier to see how those elements are appearing on the page, rather than going into another area of the site where you can’t see how that’s populated on your site.”

I found the theme editor clunky and unintuitive, and tasks which should be simple and quick to do were not.”

It was clear that, although easy-to-use in the long term, initial interactions with Shopify’s interface caused some frustration. Users found it clunky and cumbersome, especially when having to switch between the frontend editor to make aesthetic changes, and the backend to tweak the product display.

This, ultimately, pulled Shopify’s ease of use score down, so it only achieved 3.5 out of 5. This puts it in 4th place after Squarespace, Wix, Square, and Big Cartel. However, it still managed to pull ahead of BigCommerce, which is its main competitor for stores that are managing larger inventories, and looking to scale.

Despite falling behind in the ease of use rankings, however, Shopify still remains a customer favorite. It achieved our highest customer score, and 80% of users said they would recommend it to a friend after testing it out for themselves.

The good news is, Shopify has a free trial, so you can try it out yourself to see if it’s the right builder for you. As our user quotes show, trying out Shopify is the only way to know if you’ll find it fantastic or frustrating – find out for yourself if you’ll be a fan!

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Will You Enjoy Using Shopify?

You can find out today with its 14-day free trial. Love it or hate it, you won’t have paid a single cent!

Further Information

Shopify Pricing – Is It Good Value for Money?

Quick Answer: It’s pretty good, but value for money is where Shopify scored the lowest in our research. Its price plans are very reasonable, with scalable choices, and essential features included even on the lowest core plan. However, Shopify lost marks due to its reliance on apps, and the transaction fees it imposes on third-party payment gateways.

Shopify has a number of plans, so you can choose one that best suits your needs and budget.

First of all, Shopify provides a 14-day free trial – you don’t need to enter any payment details, so there’s no risk, and no pressure to sign up. You’ll just need an email, and you can test out Shopify totally cost-free for two weeks.

Shopify Pricing Summary

  • Shopify Lite: $9 per month – lets you add ecommerce to a Facebook page or existing website. 2% transaction fee, unless you use Shopify Payments.
  • Basic Shopify: $29 per month – cheapest plan to build your own store; provides all the essentials for a new online store. 2% transaction fee, unless you use Shopify Payments.
  • Shopify: $79 per month – for growing businesses; includes features such as gift card creation. 1% transaction fee, unless you use Shopify Payments.
  • Advanced Shopify: $299 per month – for big businesses wanting to scale up; includes advanced reports and third-party calculated shipping rates. 0.5% transaction fee, unless you use Shopify Payments.
  • Shopify Plus: custom pricing – for large-scale, enterprise level businesses with huge budgets. No set pricing – instead, you request a custom quote.

Shopify’s three main plans are the Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. These sit at the core of what Shopify offers and provide you with unlimited products, abandoned cart recovery, discount code creation, and multichannel integration.

shopify review pricing plans

In addition to these, you’ll find two other plans: Shopify Lite and Shopify Plus.

Shopify Lite allows you to sell through an existing website with the purchase of ‘Buy’ buttons, rather than requiring you to build a store from the ground up.

Shopify Plus offers the extreme opposite, delivering a bespoke package for brands who rake in the big bucks, and need the highest level of professional support.

All Shopify’s prices are for a month-by-month subscription. So, if you signed up to the Basic Shopify plan, you’d be paying $29 per month for as long as you stay on that plan.

However, you could save almost $190 per year on the Shopify Plan if you sign up for two years, or you could save $94 annually if you sign up for one year. Those savings could go towards household bills, your holiday fund – anything!

Is Shopify worth the money? Definitely! It came top in our Customer Score research out of all the ecommerce platforms we tested. So, why not give Shopify a try today and start putting some money away?

 

Shopify Pricing PlansMonthly ($/month)1-Year ($/month)Savings (%)2-Years ($/month)Savings (%)
Shopify Basic$29.00$26.1010%$23.2020%
Shopify$79.00$71.1010%$63.2020%
Advanced Shopify$299.00$269.1010%$239.2020%

 

You’ll need to pay the annual or two-year cost upfront as a lump sum, but in the long-term, you’d be spending less than if you stayed on the monthly plan.

Do you want to explore Shopify’s plans in more detail?

We don’t blame you – it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting before you decide to invest your hard-earned dollar. That’s why we’ve done the hard work, and analyzed each of Shopify’s plans in our in-depth Shopify pricing review. Take a look to get a better idea of which package is best suited to your business.

Shopify Payments and Transaction Fees

You’ll have noticed that we mention you get charged transaction fees unless you choose to use Shopify Payments. 

What is Shopify Payments? 

Shopify Payments is Shopify’s in-house payment gateway. Think of it like PayPal, Stripe, or Square – it processes your store’s payments, and accepts most major payment methods. The idea is that using Shopify Payments is less hassle than connecting a third-party payment provider (such as PayPal), and streamlines your store by keeping everything in-house.

shopify payments

The main incentive to use Shopify Payments is that it’s the only way to remove Shopify’s transaction fees. It’s also the only way to support multiple currencies on your store, so if you’re selling internationally, it’s your best choice. However, if you opt to use another payment processor over Shopify Payments, you’ll have to pay both the transaction fee and a hefty commission on top.

Plan Shopify Basic ($29/month) Shopify ($79/month) Advanced Shopify ($299/month)
Shopify Payments online transaction fees 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction 2.6% + 30¢ per transaction 2.4% + 30¢ per transaction
Shopify Payments in-person transaction fees 2.7% + 0¢ per transaction 2.5% + 0¢ per transaction 2.4% + 0¢ per transaction

Further Information

 

Which Plan is Best? – Our Recommendation

If you already have a website and you just want to sell a few products on the side, then Shopify Lite is the best place to start. However, if you want an actual online store, start off with the Basic Shopify plan for $29 per month. For everything you get included in the plan, it’s a reasonable monthly price!

Remember, Shopify gives you 14 days to try out its platform for free, so make sure to make use of that before signing up.

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Have You Spotted Your Perfect Plan?

Shopify has a range of plans, so take the time to browse them before choosing. We recommend the Basic Shopify plan for most new sellers.

Further Information

How Good Are Shopify’s Themes?

Quick Answer: Great! They’re all professionally designed, mobile responsive, come crammed with features, and even give you different styles to choose from. There are only 10 free themes, however, which is the main drawback. The rest cost between $140 and $180, so choose carefully. Shopify came fourth for design in our research, scoring 3.9 stars out of 5!

Shopify Themes

Shopify has 10 free themes and 64 premium themes, ranging in price from $140 to $180 each.

All themes are mobile responsive, meaning they’ll automatically reformat to fit mobile and tablet screens. People are 62% less likely to buy from you again if they have a bad mobile experience with your site, so this feature is vitally important.

These are great features, and are important for creating a successful store that will satisfy your customers. But we know what you’re really thinking: do the themes actually look any good?

The short answer is, yes!

Shopify’s themes are professionally designed and look clean, stylish, and appealing. Each one also comes in a variety of different styles and color schemes, so you can always find the right tone for your brand.

You can browse themes by industry, from art and photography to electronics, furniture, and beyond. You can also view by popularity, price, or collection, such as “minimalist,” “fun and lively,” or “great for small inventories.”

The best part is, Shopify’s themes come packed with great features. All themes include: 

  • Customizable content sections on the home page
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Drop-down navigation support
  • Free theme updates
  • Mobile-friendly design
  • Social media icons
  • Built-in styles and color palettes
  • Free stock photos by Burst

Each theme also comes with its own specific features. We highly recommend taking a look at these, as it’s a great way of deciding whether a theme is right for you:

shopify theme features
These features come with the premium theme called Context, which is a sleek and clean theme that comes in three different styles.

Look out for features you need, such as product quick view or live search. You can add extra apps (something we’ll cover a little later on), but choosing a theme with your favorite features built-in makes your life easier from day one!

Good to Know… Certain themes come with multiple language options, meaning you can easily switch to a different language. Not all themes provide this, so check before you choose. The languages currently available are: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Brazilian Portuguese.

 

Customizing Shopify Themes

Shopify’s themes may look great already, but you’ll want to make yours totally your own. To do that, you’ll need to customize your theme by adding your own products, rewriting text, replacing images, and creating new pages.

Customization happens in two places: visual customization takes place through the editing interface, while edits to your products are managed in your dashboard.

Think of it like fixing up a car. The outside is where you paint, wash, smooth, buff, and polish to make it look beautiful. The engine is where you tinker, replace parts, and get hands on with tools to make sure the car is powerful and runs smoothly.

The editing interface of your Shopify store is where you look after your store’s design. Here, you align your images, edit text, and feature your logo. The dashboard is where you add products, create discount codes, manage shipping, and more. This is also where you can change your theme if you want to redesign your storefront.

We recommend you start off by adding products, and then style your storefront. Because Shopify is a store builder, its themes naturally revolve around products – so it can be difficult to design your page without any products to feature!

Think of it like fixing up a car. The outside is where you paint, wash, smooth, buff, and polish to make it look beautiful. The engine is where you tinker, replace parts, and get hands on with tools to make sure the car is powerful and runs smoothly.

The editing interface of your Shopify store is where you look after your store’s design. Here, you align your images, edit text, and feature your logo. The dashboard is where you add products, create discount codes, manage shipping, and more. This is also where you can change your theme if you want to redesign your storefront.

We recommend you start off by adding products, and then style your storefront. Because Shopify is a store builder, its themes naturally revolve around products – so it can be difficult to design your page without any products to feature!

shopify logo small website builder

Seen Enough?

Did Shopify’s designs dazzle you? See more stunning choices in Shopify’s theme library.

Further Information

  • Is it worth investing in a premium theme or even ask for help from a Shopify expert? Find out in our Shopify Themes

How Powerful Are Shopify’s Sales Features?

Quick Answer: Pretty powerful! In fact, it was our top performer in this area, scoring 4.5 out of 5 in testing. Shopify packs each store with tons of useful tools designed to make running your store easier, from shipping to tax calculation. The main thing to watch out for is that it’s fairly reliant on apps (for example, selling digital goods and dropshipping), so make sure your costs don’t creep up.

Shopify came second top in our research for its sales tools and features. You won’t find better with any other ecommerce builder except for BigCommerce, which just pips Shopify with a score of 4.6 out of 5; thanks to its more generous approach to transaction fees, and its inbuilt multi-channel sales integrations.

Despite playing second fiddle in our rankings, Shopify still gives you all the online essentials you’ll need, from analytics and abandoned cart recovery to tons of payment gateways and multi-channel integration.

Shopify’s Sales Tools and Features

  • Apps
  • Shipping
  • Dropshipping
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Product management
  • Payment options
  • Multi-channel integration
  • Digital selling
  • Tax
  • POS

We’re going to cover all of these offerings in more detail next, but as you can see, there are a lot – so, to make things easier, simply click the plus icon for the features you want to read about!

shopify apps at a glance

Shopify has over 1,200 apps in its app store, making it easy to scale up your store whenever you need to. If your theme doesn’t include a feature you want, such as email marketing tools, dropshipping services, or a reviews section, you can be sure to find it in the Shopify App Store.

shopify review apps

There are a mixture of free and paid apps to choose from. Be careful, and don’t get too carried away with adding apps to your site – you’ll find the cost of paid apps can quickly add up, so be sensible with your choices.

If you’d rather avoid these apps completely, there are other ecommerce solutions out there – such as Squarespace – that don’t rely on them as much. This is because they already come with a robust suite of features built into their software.

This being said, apps are still a fantastic way of improving, expanding, and adding more power to your store, without needing tech skills or taking up tons of time. Always read reviews before installing an app, to make sure it’s good quality and worthy of being added to your store!

shopify shipping at a glance

Shopify lets you manage your shipping options, providing an extensive range of settings for you to control and edit.

For example, you can set where you want to ship to, amend shipping rates based on weight, order value, or location, and even print shipping labels. On the Advanced Shopify plan, you also unlock third party calculated shipping rates, so you can show customers the current courier prices at checkout.shopify shipping

Shipping can be tricky, but Shopify does its best to make it both easy and under your control.

Shopify has partnerships with USPS, DHL Express, UPS, and Canada Post, saving you the hassle of sourcing your own courier. You can also install apps if you need extra shipping functions!

shopify dropshipping at a glance

Dropshipping is a popular way to sell online because it has a low upfront cost and is easier to manage, especially for smaller businesses with less time, space, and money. It frees up your time to focus on perfecting your store, marketing your business, and engaging with customers.

shopify dropshipping

Shopify supports dropshipping, but it doesn’t come as a built-in feature. Instead, you need to install a dropshipping app – Shopify recommends Oberlo the most, as this helps you find products to sell on Shopify. Other apps include AliExpress, Spocket, and Printful.

shopify abandoned cart at a glance

All of Shopify’s core plans include abandoned cart recovery, which is great news for your store. You don’t need to install anything, or go hunting for it in the app market – it comes built-in with your plan.

You can manage your abandoned cart recovery to get the most out of this valuable feature. For example, you can include discount codes to encourage customers to return to your store, and choose whether to manually create emails, or set them to send automatically.

Abandoned cart recovery is an essential feature for any serious online store, yet some store builders out there – such as Big Cartel – don’t offer it as standard. The fact that Shopify does gives it a big advantage, especially considering that on average, this feature can win back 12-15% of lapsed customers. That’s a whole lot of sales that would have been lost without this feature, so it’s worth making the most of!

shopify product management at a glance

Shopify has a full range of product management tools. One of the most useful features is its full-blown inventory management, which makes it easy to track your stock levels, monitor orders, and update your product listings.

You can even set up Shopify to track your stock levels for you, and automatically mark products as sold out once you’ve run out!

shopify management tools

It’s easy to offer tons of different product variations, such as size, color, material, and more. You can also set different prices and weights for different variants – for example, make a patterned jumper more expensive than a plain version.

When you’re selling a large number of products, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for your customers to browse your store and find the product they want. Shopify helps you do this by letting you organize products by category, type, sale items, price, and more.

Overall, Shopify’s product management tools go above and beyond to make it easy for you to set up your store however you want, and then make it as easy as possible for you to stay on top of your inventory.

shopify payment gateways at a glance

Shopify supports over 100 different payment gateways. These include popular favorites like PayPal, Stripe, Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay. It also offers its own in-house payment gateway, called Shopify Payments.

All payment gateways come with a transaction fee, unless you choose Shopify Payments, in which case Shopify waives this fee. Think of a transaction fee like paying entry to a bar – you need to pay in order to go inside and get a drink (or in this case, process a payment!)

To sell in multiple currencies, you’ll need to use Shopify Payments. This lets customers pay for their orders in their local currency, and automatically adjusts the price of products according to current exchange rates. In short, it makes selling in different currencies as hassle-free as possible.

The currencies Shopify Payments currently supports are: 

  • Australian dollar
  • Canadian dollar
  • Danish Krone
  • Euro
  • Hong Kong dollar
  • Japanese yen
  • New Zealand dollar
  • Pound sterling
  • Singapore dollar
  • United States dollar

All Shopify stores are fully PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant, meaning your store is totally secure without you having to lift even a finger.

shopify multichannel at a glance

Having an online store is important for any business, and having multi-channel integration is important for any online store! 48% of people begin searching for a product on marketplaces such as Amazon, so spreading your sales is essential.

Multi-channel integration lets you sell acoss more online channels than just your online store. It expands your store’s reach, and creates a much wider customer base. For example, with Shopify, you can sell products on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, plus social media channels like Facebook and Instagram.shopify multichannel selling

This helps get your products seen, and means you can target the channel where your customers most like to shop.

Unlike its rival BigCommerce, Shopify’s integrations aren’t actually built-in – instead, you install apps for the channels you want to sell across. Most of them are free, but as always, you need to keep an eye on the price.

shopify digital goods at a glance

Shopify lets you sell digital goods and services through your online store. Not only that, it makes it easy as well. Simply uncheck the shipping checkbox when you add your product, as this shows that you’re selling a digital product or service.

The only catch is that you need to install an app if you’re selling digital products. 

Without installing an app, your customers won’t be able to download the digital product – which would be less than ideal. Luckily, there are apps (like the Shopify Digital Downloads app) that are simple and free to use.

shopify tax at a glance

Taxes. It’s nobody’s favorite job, and it can all get especially complicated when you’re running an online store, shipping to different states, regions, and countries, and have your hands full managing your stock inventory and running marketing campaigns.

Fortunately, Shopify knows this, and has built-in automatic tax calculation to make everything a bit easier.

You can set up your store so that Shopify automatically deals with common tax calculations, using default sales tax rates. You should still keep an eye on everything to make sure it’s all A-okay, though – and unfortunately, you’re still in charge of filing your own taxes. Sadly, Shopify isn’t that clever!

However, on the whole, this tool is ideal for taking the headaches out of online selling.

 

shopify pos at a glance

Shopify’s POS app is designed to help you take your business wherever you need to. It lets you accept credit cards, offer store credit, sell gift cards, create order notes, issue refunds, and more. shopify review shopify pos

The best part of Shopify POS is that it automatically syncs between the app and your online store to keep your inventory and orders up to date. This creates a flexible way of running your business, and means you’re not glued to your computer in order to stay on top of your store.

The Shopify POS app is free to install, but you have to be on at least the $29 per month Basic Shopify plan to use it. You also get a free credit card reader with this plan, making it best for small-time selling at pop-ups, stalls, fairs, and markets.

Did you know that Shopify recently greenlit CBD sales through its platform? Learn more in our guide on How to Sell CBD Online
shopify ecommerce stats
Shopify's sales features are proven to boost ecommerce performance.
shopify logo small website builder

Does Shopify Have the Power You Need?

Shopify outperformed all its competitors when it came to sales features – see the full list to find out why.

Will Shopify’s SEO and Marketing Tools Help You Get Found?

Quick Answer: Yes, they will. Shopify has an extensive range of SEO tools that will be more than satisfactory for most stores. It also has blog specific SEO, although its blogging tools aren’t quite so impressive. For email marketing, you can choose between built-in tools or third party apps.

There’s no point setting up an online store if nobody is ever going to see it. For your business to succeed, your store needs customers – and lots of them!

That’s where SEO comes in. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and is the process of maximizing your site’s chances of getting found in Google’s search results.

Shopify has a good range of SEO tools at your disposal. It doesn’t provide every trick in the book, but most essential areas are covered, from header code to custom URLs. When you add products, Shopify even prompts you with SEO best practices.

The main thing missing from Shopify’s SEO set is keyword support – if you need this feature, check out Shopify’s rival BigCommerce instead.

SEO is vital for getting found in search results, increasing traffic to your site, and generating more sales. However, it isn’t the only way for your store to get noticed. Click the drop-down sections below to find out what else Shopify has to offer, and see if it’s good enough to get your store the attention it deserves…

So, you’ve optimized your site for SEO – but how can you tell if it’s worked? You need reporting tools to show you how people are interacting with your site, what’s working, and what’s not. Without reporting tools, you’re running your store blindfolded, so it’s important to check before signing up.

Shopify comes with an in-house analytics tool to give you an overview of your store’s performance. This includes how much your store has earned in sales, returning customer rate, and real-time insights.

You can also use Google Analytics with your Shopify store to view more detailed data. You’ll need to create a free Google Analytics account to link it to your store – this then lets you track sales, analyze your customers’ behavior, and more.

The only thing Shopify is missing when it comes to reporting tools is blog specific analytics.

If blogging is an important part of your business’ marketing strategy, it’s beneficial to have reporting tools tailored specially for your blog. Shopify doesn’t provide this, so if this is an important feature to you, you’re better off with Wix or Squarespace.

Shopify does support blogging, giving you a decent range of tools. However, this isn’t its strongest area. It’s much better than platforms like Volusion, Big Cartel, GoDaddy, and 3dcart for blogging, but not as adept as ecommerce website builders such as Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace.

Shopify gives you display categories, comments, an RSS feed, and blog specific SEO.

What it doesn’t give you are blogging analytics, archive functionality, social bookmarking, or blog specific search features.

Shopify is a selling platform first and foremost, so if you need powerful ecommerce and standard blogging tools, it’s a good choice. If blogging is at the heart of your business, with ecommerce as the bit on the side, then you’re better off opting for a website builder that has ecommerce functionality added on.

Shopify does provide built-in email shout outs, although these do require some coding. The easiest way to run email marketing campaigns from your Shopify store is through third party apps, such as Seguno, Klaviyo, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, and Privy.

You’ll notice that the popular email marketing tool MailChimp isn’t on that list – Shopify used to have an integration with MailChimp, but this didn’t quite work out. You can still use MailChimp, but you’ll need to connect the two using a third party app like Zapier or ShopSync.

shopify review marketing
Shopify gives you the tools to reach new audiences, run campaigns, and automate your marketing strategies.

Of course, Shopify also provides abandoned cart recovery emails, which you can customize and add discount codes to as a way of enticing customers back to your store. You can also customize confirmation emails sent to customers when they place an order, to add that personal touch.

Shopify does support multilingual sites, but unless you’re a confident coder, it’s not the most straightforward process. Instead, the easiest way of creating multi-language stores is by installing an app such as Langify or Weglot Translate

That said, Shopify has introduced multi-language themes to make creating a multilingual store easier. It also provides international shipping options, and automated tax amendments by country.

Selling products in multiple currencies is only available if you use Shopify Payments, so if you’re serious about having a truly international site, this is something you should consider.

shopify logo small website builder

Have You Got Something to Shout About?

Shopify has a great range of marketing tools to grow your business. Try it out free and see if Shopify’s right for you.

Moving Your Store to Shopify: How Easy Is It?

Quick Answer: It depends on how much data you need to move across. There are a number of options to choose from when moving your store to Shopify: you can either do it manually yourself using CSV file imports, or invest in an app or Shopify Expert to help you out.

In the real world, if your store gets too big for its current space, or you find that it doesn’t suit your brand as well anymore, what do you do? You move elsewhere, of course! This principle still stands in the world of online selling – just because you build your store on one platform, doesn’t mean you need to stay there forever.

So how easy is it to move your store to Shopify?

The answer to this depends on how much data you need to move over to your new Shopify store. If you want to move a whole chunk of it across, it could take some time. Fortunately, you have a few options.

Firstly, you can manually migrate various elements of your site. You can copy and paste content across, or transfer data using CSV files. However, this is a bit old-school, and you won’t be able to use it for every element of your site. For example, CSV files can only transfer customers and products, not fully-fledged pages. You’ll also need a bit of tech know-how or at least a thorough set of instructions to do this.

Store Importer
Shopify’s Store Importer app is free, and can help you transfer your existing store to a new one on Shopify
Import Your Shopify Store
Use the dropdown menu to choose where you’d like to import your store from

If you can feel a headache brewing at the mere thought of that, don’t panic. There are other avenues open, such as using a migration app like Store Importer. Or, if you’d rather leave it to the professionals, you can hire a Shopify Expert to do it for you. Be warned, though – this can be quite costly!

If your store is a large one, these last two might be your best options. Ultimately, though, if you’re confident in your tech skills, you can have a go at doing it manually yourself.

Either way, don’t expect your store to look exactly the same as it did on your previous platform. You’ll still need to do a bit of reformatting to fit your products, text, and images to whichever Shopify theme you choose when you create your new store.

shopify logo small website builder

Have You Got Something to Shout About?

Are you ready to move your store over to Shopify today?

Support and Security: Is Shopify Safe to Use?

Quick Answer: Yes – Shopify comes with built-in security, complies with all the necessary regulations, and even updates your site for you to keep everything running safely. You can add apps for extra peace of mind, but always make sure to create regular backups of your site.

Security

Shopify stores are automatically secure – unlike platforms such as WordPress, you’re not responsible for sorting out your site’s security. Instead, Shopify handles protection against cyber threats, runs updates, and meets the compliance requirements for handling online transactions.

This makes your life as an online seller much easier than if you had to manage all of these things yourself!

To find out more about Shopify’s security, simply click on the headings below for a drop-down explanation of each area.

All Shopify plans include SSL security. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) security encrypts data passing between your customer and your website, and is vital for protecting sensitive information – such as payment details – from hackers.

Another important factor that we mentioned earlier is that Shopify is Level 1 PCI DSS compliant. This stands for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and was created to regulate security standards for processing credit and debit card details.

If that all sounds like too much legal jargon and as though it could cause hassle, there’s good news. Your store is PCI compliant by default, so you can get straight to selling.  

You don’t need to lift a finger to keep your website safe and secure. Shopify automatically takes care of everything, so that you can focus on running your business. However, it’s always a good idea to create regular backups of your website, just in case anything does go wrong.

Good to Know… One way of creating a backup is by exporting CSV files, which is about as fun as it sounds. Instead, we recommend installing a backup system from the Shopify App Store, such as Rewind, to automate this task and free up your time.

Support

If you need support, you’ve got it. In our research process, Shopify came joint-second with Wix, scoring 3.8 out of 5 for help and support. It provides help via various channels, so you can choose whichever works best for you.

Shopify provides: 

  • 24/7 phone support
  • Social media support
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Community forum
  • Email support
  • Help center
  • Video tutorials
  • Advanced specialist support 

The Shopify Help Center has a wealth of information, and you can contact Shopify directly if you need more specific answers to problems.

The Shopify Plus plan provides advanced specialist support, giving you your own dedicated support agent. You don’t have to pay big bucks for great support though – 24/7 help is available on even the cheapest price plan.

Not all ecommerce builders can claim this. In fact, Shopify is one of the only builders that offer round-the-clock support, with many others only operating within typical 9-5 work hours.

Shopify Alternatives

We know that each business is different, so if Shopify isn’t ticking your boxes, we’ve put together a list of the best Shopify alternatives for you to explore. Take a look at the image below for an at a glance look at the top alternatives, or check out the list below for more details.

Top Shopify Alternatives

Shopify Alternatives
Here you can see the key facts of Shopify's top alternatives - read on below for more details!

 

1. Wix eCommerce

A website builder first and foremost, Wix has ecommerce plans starting from $20 per month (paid annually), making it a more budget-friendly option. But that’s not the only thing that marks it out as stiff competition for Shopify. It’s also got some great sales tools, came second in our ease-of-use testing, and takes the top spot for design functionality alongside Squarespace and BigCommerce. It doesn’t quite have the capacity to deal with larger stores like Shopify does, but it’s still ideal for small stores that put branding first.

Further Information

 

2. Squarespace

Another website builder/ecommerce hybrid, Squarespace is known for its stunning templates, and its ability to give its users near-complete creative control. It’s not surprising that it scores well in terms of design functionality, but it also comes out near the top of the pack where value for money is concerned, too. Even better, it takes the crown for ease of use, boasting the highest score of all the platforms we tested. Trust us – it will really make your products shine!

Further Information

3. Square Online

Square Online is best suited to vendors who are selling at a lower volume or own a brick-and-mortar store. It came out on top for the best value for money thanks to its free plan, great features, and by offering the ability to let you start selling – without having to splurge your life savings!. Square Online’s team also provides the best help and support, in case you get stuck!

Further Information

4. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is one of Shopify’s main rivals because it’s been designed to help large and fast-growing stores fulfill their potential. BigCommerce has the most in-house features of any ecommerce builder, meaning you won’t have to rely on apps like you do with Shopify. BigCommerce has great SEO and fantastic multi-channel selling, but it’s not as easy to use as Shopify.

Further Information

 

5. Volusion

It didn’t perform as impressively in our research, but Volusion does come with great analytics tools and payment gateways, and with very similar pricing to Shopify. It doesn’t have any blogging tools, however, so bear this in mind when choosing.

Further Information

Shopify Review: The Verdict

Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce builders out there, and for good reason. It comes out near the top of the pack in almost every category of our research, and has something for everyone. That’s why we recommend it so often! With a massive app store, a range of pricing plans, and an impressive suite of features, it’s an extremely scalable platform.

Shopify shines the most in its sales and website features, help and support, and customer satisfaction scores, making it a great choice for both beginners and serious sellers.

Bear in mind that you’ll most likely need to rely on apps for some functions, and that this can increase your monthly price. This is Shopify’s main drawback, while at the same time giving you the freedom to customize and grow your store at your own pace.

Who do we recommend Shopify for?

  • Users who have a large inventory or want to scale their store
  • Vendors looking for an all-in-one ecommerce solution, with the sales features to support all kinds of selling
  • Users who don’t mind having to rely on apps, or paying extra to boost the functionality of their store

Overall, Shopify has earned its title as the best all-around ecommerce website builder on the market. But there’s only one way to know if it’s the best choice for you, and that’s by trying it out yourself!

Jump on Shopify’s 14-day free trial, and see if you agree with our verdict. Your dreams of selling online are within reach, so get going… then come back and let us know how you got on!

shopify logo small website builder

Are You Ready to Try Shopify?

Shopify won the title of best ecommerce builder, but will it win your vote? Try it free for 14 days and see if you agree!

FAQs

Website trends are constantly changing, and what’s in today may be outdated tomorrow. Shopify ensures it keeps on top of any and all changes, updating features and releasing new apps constantly, so you can make sure your site stays ahead of the curve.

You don’t want to be forking out hundreds (maybe even thousands) for a web developer to perform updates every two years. With Shopify, you’re in total control.

Don’t worry – as long as you upgrade to one of Shopify’s premium plans within the 14-day free trial, all your content will be carried over. Two weeks should give you plenty of time to decide if Shopify’s the right product for you, before committing to investing in it!

Good question. Wix, similar to other platforms like Squarespace and Weebly, is a website builder that offers ecommerce functionality. Shopify is purpose-built for ecommerce, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s your best bet if you want an online store.

Wix actually did very well in our testing and research, earning an overall star rating of 4.7 out of 5 compared to Shopify’s 4.6 out of 5. Despite this, it is worth mentioning that Wix doesn’t have quite the same level of scalability that Shopify offers. Instead, it’s better equipped to support smaller ecommerce stores.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the difference between the two, we recommend checking out our Wix vs Shopify Comparison for a more in-depth analysis.

Yes! Shopify has a selection of themes that come with different languages built-in, and if you know how to code, you can translate your store’s content yourself. However, the easiest way of creating a multilingual Shopify store is by using an app such as Langify or Weglot Translate.

For large stores, the best Shopify alternative is BigCommerce – it’s very powerful, and has similar pricing to Shopify. For smaller businesses, we recommend looking at Wix eCommerce – it’s cheaper, easy to use, and comes packed with some great sales tools to help your store succeed.

Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight. Click here for further information.

310 comments

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  • Alan
    Hi, I'm based in the UK and i'm considering moving my cbd ecommerce store over to Shopify as they have given cbd the green light. Do Shopify accept payments for cbd products through their own Shopify payment option? Many thanks
    1 reply
    • Hannah Whitfield
      Hi Alan, I've just has a quick look and it doesn't seem like you can use Shopify Payments for this unfortunately, but have cited Digipay and eMerchant Brokers as third-party options you can integrate with. Worth checking out this Shopify guide for more info! Thanks, Hannah
  • nina
    This article was so informative. I'm new to ecommerce and your article answered a lot of questions I had about Shopify. Thank you.
  • Andrea
    Just thought I’d drop a line to thank you for this fantastic article, I’m very new to online e-commerce, very informative, you answered all the questions I had.. thanks again
  • Callistus President
    Hi there, Just came across shopify. I have set up an account and will be testing it for the next 14 days. Quick question. My main market is in europe (Spain). Can the system do translations between english and the other european languages, especially spanish? And can the description be displayed in the host country i am in...spanish?
    1 reply
    • Lucy Carney
      Hi there, thanks for your comment. I hope you're enjoying your free trial with Shopify! The easiest way to translate your Shopify store would be to use a translation app from the Shopify app store (like Weglot Translate or Langify, for example). Both of these let you automatically redirect your store to your visitor's preferred language, and you can translate your store into one or more different languages (including Spanish). I hope this helps, and best of luck with Shopify! Best, Lucy
  • Bernadette
    I am very new to web building. Do I need a business license to sell my products?
    1 reply
    • Lucy Carney
      Hi Bernadette, First of all, welcome to the web building world! That's a great question, and I'm really sorry to say I can't actually give you a definite answer. It depends totally on what you'll be selling, and exactly where you're selling from. It's definitely worth checking with your local authorities to make sure you end up with the right license, (if you need one at all!), as there are various types of business license depending on your business type, size, and location. I'm so sorry I can't give you a more concrete answer, but here's Shopify's Business License Guide in case that's any help! Best of luck, and thank you for reading, Lucy
  • Hank
    Great info! Thanks for all the research.
  • Awaff
    This blog post is just super amazing. It has simplified everything shopify. I have used a few shopify apps such as the social review app, the SEO doctor & the RetailTower app and they have been very useful. Thumbs up guys.
    1 reply
    • Hannah Whitfield
      Hi Awaff, Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment, and so glad you found this helpful! Cheers, Hannah
  • Bret
    Is this for product ecommerce only or service industry? Most of the stuff I see is good for selling products.
    1 reply
    • Charlie Carmichael
      Hi Bret, Thanks for your comment. While Shopify is usually used to sell either physical or digital products, you can also sell services. There are some downsides to service sales on Shopify - like customers not being able to cancel an order. But you can always make them aware of this so they can email you cancellations messages and then you can make the amendment in backend of Shopify yourself. Hope that helps clear things up! Charlie
  • Luzviminda Rosimo
    I've been using shopify for almost three years now and i'm really happy with the platform, the only small issue is with checkout and post purchase upsells which can be solved using apps like carthook. I also co-founded a shopify store setup/design agency we have a lot examples of stores using shopify in our homepage, feel free to check it out at shopyempires.com Great article by the way !
    1 reply
    • Lucy Carney
      Hi Luzviminda, That's great you've been with Shopify for so long! I'm so glad you're happy with the platform and have found the bet way for it to work for your business. Please do share the article if you know of anyone who might enjoy it - thanks for reading, Lucy
  • Neha Dua
    Really Great Article. Complete detailed information shared about Shopify store. Its really beneficial for them who are planning to choose Shopify or already using Shopify for their existing websites.
    1 reply
    • Natasha Willett
      Hi Neha, Cheers for the comment, it's great to hear that you enjoyed the article. Natasha.