Welcome to our Shopify Review.
Shopify is the best website builder for e-commerce sites with intuitive applications, advanced products and innovative features.
As a trendsetter within the website builder industry, Shopify does stand above the rest when comparing website creators, specifically if you are looking for a builder who focuses on eCommerce sites.
This review will take you through the great features, plans, pros and cons of this e-Commerce website builder to see if they indeed are one of the best.
Why Is Shopify A Great Choice When It Comes To Building Websites?
Ease of Use
Overall rating : 4.6 / 5
Who Is Shopify?
In 2004, Tobias Lutke decided to open an eCommerce store to sell snowboards.
After his initial research, he found no online website builders who could cater to his needs, so partnering with other programs, Shopify was born and launched in 2006.
Shopify initially provided businesses with templates, images, and customisation tools to build their stores, but they have grown into who they are today over the years.
What Basic Features Does Shopify offer?
Shopify includes many features. Not necessarily in all plans, so you might want to review the plan details below. Let's take a look:
In all plans, you will be able to market an unlimited amount of products.
Unlimited Bandwidth and Storage
Again on all plans, you will not be charged based on the number of visitors, or how many files you upload, you will receive unlimited bandwidth and storage.
When you use Shopify Payments, you'll automatically receive a built-in fraud analysis feature.
Manual Order Creation
Create new orders and enter payment details that you take from over the phone or in-person from your dashboard.
Basic admin tasks can be carried out by all staff members given access to your account:
Lite - One additional staff member
Basic - Two additional staff members
Shopify - Five additional staff members
Advanced - Fifteen additional staff members
With an impressive, extensive App Store, you will be able to find some brilliant apps to add extra functionalities and enhance your site.
There are quite a few free apps, but the majority you will have to pay for. Before you purchase any of the apps, you might want to read the reviews as the quality of some is questionable.
The quality of reports you can produce from Shopify depends on which plan you sign up too.
In short, the more you spend, the better and more comprehensive the reports you can download are.
The basic inclusions are:
- An overview of your dashboard information, which includes no of sales, users and orders
- Finance reports - reports providing information on sales, taxes and payments
- Acquisition reports - information relating to how visitors found your store
- Behaviour reports - conversion and check out ratse
As I eluded too above the more, you spend the more you get. For the Shopify plan in addition to the basic inclusions you'll also receive:
- sales reports - connect customer information to sales information
- customer reports - review returning customer information or how many visitors you had by a country
Finally, with the higher costing plans, you'll be able to produce custom reports.
In addition to any reports you need, you'll probably be able to find an app within the thousands available on the App Store, which can provide you with the analysis you require.
Is Shopify Easy To Use?
With a clean, modern interface, you'll find Shopify a breeze to use. The features are structured logically, and designing your site is done while looking at a live preview.
The interface is intuitive; if you get stuck, there are plenty of videos and tutorials to help you along.
What Templates Are Available?
Shopify has over 70 templates for you to choose from; unfortunately, not all are free, well to be honest as you will see from the screenshot above, only nine are currently free.
The remaining themes will set you back from between $150 to $180, well, that's if you purchase one of Shopify's themes.
However, you have another option, which is to purchase your theme from an external market place, such as Themeforest. Prices are considerably lower, and they also provide a large number of choices.
If you have a specific design in mind, and can't find what you are looking for in any of the theme stores, Shopify will exclusively develop one for you, at a cost.
Can I Customise My Template?
Now, you've chosen your theme; the next exciting step is to customise your template.
To sell products online, you'll need to ensure your website is fully optimised using various search engine optimisation techniques.
Let's start by saying, Shopify have some fantastic, well-written SEO articles in addition to some SEO video tutorials.
The majority of SEO implementations are included and are straightforward to carry out:
- Automatic sitemap generation
- Canonical instructions
- Personalised URL's - although if you had product pages, your URL would always include products in the URL.
- 301 redirects
- Customisable title tags
There are a few exceptions; one is not being able to create non-e-commerce content easily. Unfortunately, Shopify is not very flexible when it comes to creating blogs and pages for your site, impacting your content marketing strategies.
Another disadvantage is that Shopify auto-generates the Robots.txt file, you will not be able to customise it. However, this is probably only a problem for those of you with lost of experience.
Speed and uptime play a significant role in site optimisation, so you'll be pleased to hear that if you choose a clean template, your online store will load fast and have excellent uptime.
As a website builder specifically built for e-commerce sites, you'd expect to find many great features.
Website Domain Name
Domain names do not come free with Shopify. If you require, a domain name, you can purchase this through Shopify.
So, let's get to the features that are going to help you sell your products.
It's easy to add products using the Shopify interface or import them using a CSV file if you are a more extensive online store with lots of products.
If you have a range of products, they can be assigned to categories which help customers navigate your store more efficiently.
You'll never run out of stock again; if you utilise the helpful stock-keeping unit, it allows you to manage your store with inventory tracking.
Some of the downsides to the product management features are:
- You can only sell three variants of a particular product; for example, you might sell different sizes of picture frames. Shopify will only allow you to sell small, medium or large, for example.
- If you need to sell subscriptions or take recurring payments, you will need a third-party app; this could get expensive.
Selling Your Products Online
Shopify simplifies the processes by allowing you to set up sales channels if you want to sell your products using other channels.
You can sell products directly on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon and eBay from your interface.
Managing all your sales from one place makes life much easier by saving heaps of time.
Shopify has over one hundred payment gateways, including all the big players like PayPal, Stripe and 2Checkout.
In addition to these, they also have Shopify Payments, which is powered by Stripe.
One of the biggest disappointments with Shopify is that they charge transaction fees if you do not use Shopify Payments, these transaction fees range from 0.5% to over 2% depending on which plan you sign up too.
In addition to the payment gateways, you will be able to accept manual payments, for example, cash on delivery or bank deposits.
Selling In Different Currencies
As your store grows, you might want to sell your products in a variety of currencies. Shopify will allow you to sell products in 133 currencies, and you can do this quickly through your Shopify payment settings.
What Marketing Features Are Included?
Now, you've got a great looking store, with all your products added you will need a variety of marketing features to get your website seen and increase sales.
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Unfortunately for businesses, many customers won't get around to purchasing what is in their cart. This is where the abandoned cart recovery feature can help clients who have signed up for a Shopify or one of the Advanced Shopify plans.
The tool will interact with the customer who left their cart full by sending automated emails, with a discount code. You can send emails one, six, ten or twenty-four hours after their interaction with your site.
Unfortunately, if you don't have the customers' email address, you won't contact them.
Add discount codes quickly and simply in the interface; these can be set for fixed amounts or percentages. In addition, you could offer free shipping if you choose too.
Shopify Point of Sale (PoS)
If you are a store that also sells face-to-face and selling online, then the PoS feature will interest you. You can integrate Shopify's PoS with your physical sales which are super helpful as its all integrated, so reporting and inventory management are synced automatically.
Another great feature is that for marketers who wish to sell their products via other channels such as social media, you can set up sales channels to maintain and manage your sales through Shopify.
This is available for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon and eBay sales.
The email marketing tool is not as useful as some of Shopify's competitors. It will allow you to send emails from the platform but not much else. However, you can purchase one of the many email marketing solutions available in the App Store.
The customer support received from Shopify is top-notch. You can contact Shopify any of time of the day or night. They provide support 24/7 via email, phone or live chat.
One point to note, the phone support is not available on the lite plan.
The company are fast and helpful when it comes to answering questions and providing support.
In addition to the one on one support, you'll also be able to check out Shopify's online help.
With hundreds of comprehensive tutorials and helpful guides, you'll typically be able to find the answer to your query here.
Keeping your store safe is essential, and by signing up to Shopify, you will receive regular updates, and security matters will be taken care of so you don't have too.
Meeting all the categories of PCI standards, Shopify maintain a secure network, protect cardholders data, maintain a vulnerable management program, implement strong access control measures, regularly monitor and test networks and maintain an information security policy.
The Shopify system runs on level 1 PCI compliant servers, which is essential for accepting credit card payments.
SSL encryption is also included to keep visitors information safe.
One negative point about the security at Shopify is you will have to keep regular backups as Shopify do not have a backup system.
However, you can add a backup solution from the App Store so this won't be a problem.
How Much Does ShopifyCost?
Now, its time to look at how much Shopify costs.
Shopify Free Plan
Although there is no free plan, you can try Shopify free for 14 days; you won't need a credit card.
During the trial you can build your store and utilise all features, then at the end of the 14 days, you'll need to decide which plan is for you.
That is if you choose Shopify as your website builder.
The prices shown above are correct as of reviewing this article (Jan 2021). Find Accurate pricing on the Shopify website.
Before I detail
Basic Shopify ($29 per month)
The Basic Shopify plan is marketed at individuals who are starting a new business. Including all the essentials required to get your store online is a great place to start, and then as your company grows, you can upgrade.
The Basic Shopify plan includes 24/7 support, you can sell an unlimited amount of products, add discount codes, and use the abandoned cart recovery feature.
Furthermore, you get a free SSL certificate, the ability to sell in 133 currencies, fraud analysis and access to Shopify POS lite.
The biggest downside to this plan is online credit card transaction fees are 2.9% +30c USD, in-person credit card fees amount to 2.7%, and you'll also have to pay an additional fee if you use any payment provider other than Shopify payments of 2%.
Before you sign up for this plan, my advice is to get your calculator out to see if the plan is cost-effective.
Shopify ($79 per month)
Next is the Shopify plan. With this plan and the features listed above, you also can issue gift cards. You'll have access to professional reports and abandoned cart recovery.
Again online credit rates are 2.6% +30c, and additional transaction fees for not using Shopify payments is 1%.
Advanced Shopify ($299)
Lastly, the advanced Shopify plan is marketed at businesses who are growing, in addition to the features listed above, you'll also receive advance report builder and third-party shipping rates.
With this plan, online credit rates are reduced to 2.4% + 30c, and the additional fees for not using Shopify payments is 0.5%.
Coupon Codes, Discounts And Deals
Who Should Use Shopify?
One of Shopify's greatest strengths is the features and apps to enhance customers' websites and help their businesses grow.
Anyone looking for a flexible, easy to use a website builder for designing their online store should look no further.
Alternatives To Shopify
Are there any alternatives to Shopify? Yes, there are many website builders out there if you are not sure that Shopify is the one for you.
The first alternative you should consider is Big Commerce. It is one of Shopify's biggest competitors, offering many similar e-Commerce features.
If you want more of a website than a store, Wix or Weebly could be better options.
Shopify Pros and Cons
Here is a list of the pros and cons of Shopify.
As a website builder specially designed for e-Commerce users, Shopify is easy to use and has some fantastic features.
Shopify provides its customers with the opportunity to grow their online store, using the built-in features and the hundreds of apps you'll find in the App Store.
Overall, the only way to truly find out if you like any of the website builders available is to try it out. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, so what have you got to lose.
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