Best Overall Ecommerce Platform
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 came top in our own in-depth research, outperforming all 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. 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
- The only platform to enforce its own transaction fee, unless you use Shopify Payments
- Content doesn’t automatically reformat when you switch themes
- Apps can quickly add up as you add extra features to your store
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!
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 4.7 out of 5 stars overall.
In fact, it outperformed all its competitors, which is why we recommend it as the best all-around ecommerce builder on the market. 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.
But first, what is Shopify doing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic?
It’s an uncertain time to be starting or growing any business, but don’t worry – Shopify totally gets that. In fact, it has introduced a bunch of awesome new measures to support small businesses in the coming months. These include:
- Making physical and digital gift cards available on all plans. That way, your customers can support you without buying any physical products right now.
- $200 million available in small business funding (US only). As part of a government partnership, Shopify Capital is offering funding to help small businesses develop at a time when they may be low on cash.
- Extending its free trial to 90 days. Shopify has extended its free trial from 14 days to 90, giving merchants even longer to try the service risk-free.
- Community support and live webinars. Virtual ‘meetups’ with the Shopify community to share wisdom and support.
Big kudos to Shopify for its speedy response, and its commitment to supporting small businesses now and always.
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 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?
USER REVIEW: EMMA REID
“The Shopify platform is really user friendly and you don’t need to know how to code in order to make a store.”
Having quickly got bored of her job as a receptionist, Emma decided to start her own dropshipping business. Being able to learn by doing and not having to invest a large sum of money, it was an easy decision for her. Emma’s now been dropshipping for around 4 years, making $560,000 revenue in 8 months through her Shopify store. She currently runs tutorials for aspiring dropshippers through her website emmareid.com.
Why did you choose to dropship using Shopify and Oberlo?
I used to dropship on WordPress and then type the customer’s order and address into AliExpress. Back then I couldn’t find a way to automate it so I moved to Shopify for my next store. The Oberlo plugin made my life so much easier.
How long did it take you to build your online store using Shopify?
For my successful stores it took a few weeks to go from concept to a fleshed out store. But the work is never finished. As I learn and grow, my store constantly evolves. So I’m always making changes to it and looking back to see what I can improve.
Building a store is definitely challenging when you haven’t done it before, but there’s nothing that Google (or asking someone who’s been there) can’t solve. As time goes by it’s a lot easier to launch something because you know the process.
What do you like most about Shopify and Oberlo?
That they’re both so easy for a beginner to use and learn.
Is there anything about Shopify and Oberlo that you’d improve?
When dropshipping, it would be nice to be able to fulfill all your orders in one click, or have it sync in the background to AliExpress.
USER REVIEW: ADVANCED DROPSHIPPING ACADEMY
“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.
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 loved how Shopify helped during the set-up process with questions and prompts, and found it easy to get started. But don’t just take our word for it – here are a couple of quotes from our users:
“It was so good, really easy. It was just very user friendly. It guided you through the important areas, the most being the inventory. The questions at the beginning, adding a product, subtle prompts – everything was just very clear.”
“All in all, it was a really easy approach to creating an online store. I had complete control over how and what I want placed within my site, with the benefit of being able to change anything as and when I wanted.”
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:
“I think Shopify could just shout out a little more, when you are in the storefront page, where certain widgets are – and how to add certain features, too. Maybe just better storefront onboarding – I just felt alone, and a little lost.”
“At times, there is a lack of clarity for a novice ecommerce website creator. Some of the terminology was inconsistent or went over my head. For a do-it-yourself website builder, maybe clearer, easier to understand terms wouldn’t go amiss.”
Overall, though, users scored Shopify extremely well for ease of use – in fact, it came out of testing with a grand total of four out of five stars!
We crunched the numbers to put this into context – on average, people found Shopify 21% easier to use than BigCommerce (Shopify’s main competitor), and 12% easier to use than Wix eCommerce, which is famous for its beginner-friendly editor.
And that’s not all – after testing, we asked users how likely they would be to recommend Shopify, and the answer was positive across the board. 88% of people said they would recommend Shopify to a friend.
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!
- If you try out Shopify and find it’s not for you, we’ve got your back. Check out the definitive list of the Best Shopify Alternatives to find your perfect match.
- Looking for something in particular? Check out our Ecommerce Website Builder Comparison Chart, where you can compare top builders’ scores, including ease of use!
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 Pricing: Core Plans
Shopify’s three main plans are Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. These are the core plans that let you create your very own online store. They all provide you with unlimited products, abandoned cart recovery, discount code creation, and multichannel integration.
These are the three plans you should look at if you’re setting up a regular online store. We’ll go into more detail on each of Shopify’s plans below, then explore transaction fees and Shopify’s in-house payment gateway, Shopify Payments.
Shopify’s cheapest option is its $9 per month Shopify Lite plan. This lets you sell through an existing website, via Facebook, and even in person using Shopify’s POS (Point of Sale) app.
If you have a website already, you can use Shopify Lite to add Buy Buttons and turn your site into an online store in a few clicks.
$9 per month isn’t bad at all for adding ecommerce to your existing website, business, or Facebook page. However, you can’t build an online store on this plan. For that, you’ll need one of Shopify’s three core price plans.
Good to Know… If you only need to sell a few products, but still want an online store or website for your business, you’re better off with an ecommerce website builder. These are website builders that come with sales tools built-in, and are perfect for selling on a small scale. The best ones include Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly.
To build your very own online store, you’ll need at least the Basic Shopify plan for $29 per month.
This gives you all the essential features you could need to run a new online store. List an unlimited number of products, sell across multiple channels such as Facebook and Amazon, create discounts for your customers, and make use of abandoned cart recovery.
What are the charges?
Unless you choose to use Shopify Payments, this plan will charge you a 2% transaction fee on each sale.
The $79 per month Shopify plan is designed for growing a business, and includes everything from the Basic Shopify plan. It also lets you create gift cards for your customers, and unlocks professional reports.
What are the charges?
This plan charges a 1% transaction fee on your store’s sales, unless you use Shopify Payments.
As you can guess from the name, this plan provides advanced features built to supercharge your store’s growth. That’s why the Advanced plan is the most expensive at $299 per month. This gives you an advanced report builder and third-party calculated shipping rates.
What are the charges?
The Advanced plan has the lowest transaction fee at just 0.5% per sale, if you choose not to use Shopify Payments.
If your store is earning megabucks and needs an extreme level of professional support, then the Shopify Plus plan is your best option. This provides a next-level service, taking care of order management so you have more time to focus on running your business.
Shopify Plus isn’t designed for building a store – it’s designed to support a large, fully established business.
How to Save Money With Shopify
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 $29 per month for as long as you stay on that plan.
If you have a long-term vision for your store, then you can save money by signing up to an annual plan instead. You save 10% by signing up to an annual subscription, and 20% by choosing a two year plan!
|Shopify Pricing Plans||Monthly ($/month)||1-Year ($/month)||Savings (%)||2-Years ($/month)||Savings (%)|
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.
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.
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.
- Intrigued by Shopify Payments? Find out more details in our in-depth Shopify Payments Review.
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.
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. 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.”
Themes come with different styles, so you can choose the one that best matches your brand. Below, you can see an example of how different styles can change the look of your theme – this variety means you’ll always find the right tone for your brand.
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
While picking a theme is obviously about finding one that looks great, it’s also about finding one that supports your store’s needs.
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:
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!
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!
- Is it worth investing in a premium theme or even ask for help from a Shopify expert? Find out in our Shopify Themes and Shopify Experts Review
Shopify came top in our research for its sales tools and features – you won’t find better with any other ecommerce builder. It gives you all the essentials you need, from analytics and abandoned cart recovery to tons of payment gateways and multi-channel integration.
Shopify’s Sales Tools and Features
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Product management
- Payment options
- Multi-channel integration
- Digital selling
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 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.
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.
Always read reviews before installing an app, to make sure it’s good quality and worthy of being added to your store!
Apps are a fantastic way of improving, expanding, and adding more power to your store, without needing tech skills or tons of time. As long as you make sure to choose well-rated apps within your budget, the Shopify App Store should be a happy place of browsing and picking new features for your site.
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.
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!
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 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.
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, and on average can win back 12-15% of 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 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!
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 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
- 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.
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.
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 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.
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’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.
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.
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 Shopify isn’t your best option.
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.
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 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.
If you need support, you’ve got it. Shopify 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.
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’s main rival, BigCommerce is designed to help large and fast-growing stores fulfil 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. It has great SEO and fantastic multi-channel selling, but it’s not as easy to use as Shopify.
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.
A more technical choice, WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform where you create a store using WordPress. This makes it a powerful and flexible option, with better tools for complex stores. It’s also more challenging and less beginner-friendly.
- Discover if WooCommerce is right for you in our WooCommerce vs Shopify comparison.
4. 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. It’s got some great sales tools, and is ideal for small stores that put branding first.
Another website builder that offers ecommerce functionality, Squarespace is built for creatives. Its designs are the best on the market, and will really make your products shine.
Shopify is the ecommerce builder we recommend the most – it outperformed all other ecommerce platforms in our research, and has something for everyone. With a massive app store, a range of price plans, and an impressive suite of features, it’s an extremely scalable platform.
Shopify shines the most in its sales features, ease of use, 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.
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!
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, meaning that if you want an online store, it’s your best bet.
If, however, you want a website and just the option to sell a few products on the side, Wix eCommerce is definitely worth exploring further.
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.