Shopify is a fully web-based eCommerce shopping cart that gives you the ability to sell retail goods online in multiple channels. You can create your store, pick your design, customize it to suit your brand, add products, adjust tax and shipping settings, manage orders and customers, get sales reports, and so on. Below is an in-depth review of Shopify.
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Pricing in detail:
The prices below reflect the eCommerce pricing only. Prices may vary when including Point of Sale (POS) systems and hardware and/or other apps you may add to your account.
Note: Shopify offers a 14-day trial period in all plans!
Lite plan: $9/month
Credit Card Rate: 2.9% + 0.30¢ Online
Transaction Fee: 2% – No transaction fee if you use Shopify Payments. If you choose an external payment gateway, there will be a variable transaction fee based on your plan.
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited number of products
- Unlimited online storage
- Facebook integration
- Chat & email support
Basic plan: $29/month
Credit Card Rate: 2.9% + 0.30¢ Online
Transaction Fee: 2%
- Pinterest integration
- 24/7 support
- Shopify mobile
- Discount code engine
- Free Shopify card reader
- Online store and blog
Pro plan: $79/month
Credit Card Rate: 2.6% + 0.30¢
Transaction Fee: 1%
- Gift cards
- Professional reports
- Abandoned cart recovery
Unlimited plan: $179/month
Credit Card Rate: 2.4% + 0.30¢ Online
Transaction Fee: 0.5%
- Advanced report builder
- Real-time carrier shipping
If you plan on selling over a million dollars per year, you’ll need to contact Shopify for special pricing.
You do need to take transaction fees into consideration when making a decision. If you use their transaction processor, then you do not need to worry about this.
Other platforms Shopify works with like Magento, BigCommerce and Volusion do not charge any fees. It’s absolutely worth crunching the numbers with your projected yearly sales to determine if these fees are something you can handle. Shopify does offer unlimited bandwidth on all plans. However, some hosted shopping cart vendors have been known to gouge customers on hidden bandwidth fees, so that may balance things out.
If you choose to add hardware to your physical store location, Shopify has retail hardware packages that they support.
Front End (customer-facing):
You can choose between several themes and the most important aspect of a shopping cart is how easy it is for customers to use when purchasing. If the sales process is frustrating, customers will most likely not recommend your business nor come back for a second purchase. That’s a sure way to have a very high volume of abandoned carts.
The Shopify cart was very easy to set up and manage, a 5 star experience. I was able to complete a mock transaction and test how the software works from both the customer side and admin side. If I had been a customer completing a transaction, I would have felt assured that the retailer was legitimate, organized and professional. The icing on the cake is that I saw no Shopify branding, giving me a consistent branded shopping experience.
Back End (admin panel):
As for getting the online store set up, it only takes a few minutes to open and create the foundation of your store. When you first start to build your site, you can preview how it will look before you go live. You can view your store either via the live editor in the back end or online by using a password, which is emailed to you when you sign up for a free trial. To make the process of opening your store even easier, Shopify also offers a service for purchasing and setting up a domain name (under “Store Settings” then “Domain”) or it can walk you through how to use your current URL in your store.
Your admin homepage outlines the 4 main steps you’ll need to take before you start selling: adding products, customizing your branding, setting up your domain, and determining your shipping and tax info. But of course, the seasoned retailer knows they will also want to spend time writing store policies, adding a shop description and product details, integrating add-ons like Google Analytics and more. Inputting collections (aka categories), customer info, items, images, etc. is very straightforward. The improved Fraud Detection and Partial Returns features offered in the new version only sweeten the deal.
In the eCommerce world, simplicity is crucial. If business owners have to spend more time learning the cart rather than launching their store, they are likely to look elsewhere for a more manageable shopping cart service. Shopify makes it easy to get off the ground and allows you to fine-tune later on.
Some final notes about Shopify’s ease of use:
- Adding products is a cinch compared to some of the competition.
- You can drag and drop links in your navigation menu to rearrange them.
- There’s a blog/article section that comes standard with every shop and adding pages or blog posts is incredibly easy to do.
- Editing themes couldn’t be simpler.
We’ve compiled a list of highlights that Shopify offers. Most of these features are offered at every subscription level, but a few (such as support for Gift Cards and the real-time shipping calculator) are exclusive to the higher priced plans.
- Themes. No coding required. While there are plenty of free themes to choose from, the average price for themes came in around $150 and also offers a website builder.
- HTML CSS friendly. For those who want to customize their store or add unique features, you may change the code as much as you like.
- Responsive. Most themes have designs for your desktop computer, and your phones and tablets as well.
- Mobile Management. Log in to your dashboard and keep your store running smoothly, as easily as if you were in your office.
- Fulfillment. Connect with fulfillment centers, or perform single or bulk fulfillment actions.
- Google Analytics. Shopify includes traffic and referral reports to give you a bird’s eye view of your store.
- Abandoned cart recovery. To help increase your conversion, you can set up emails to be automatically sent to customers who have not completed their transactions.
- Reports. Reports on products, inventory levels, sales, and more are exportable to your preferred 3rd party tools.
- 45+ payment gateways supported for the U.S., and many more for other countries. Accepts all major credit cards, and even trendy alternatives like Bitcoin.
- Automatic taxes. Shopify can automatically detect your region for calculating state and county tax rates.
- Automatic shipping rates. Available in the Unlimited plan, shipping rates are retrieved real-time from most major carriers.
- Secure checkout with a 256-bit SSL Certificate. This is the encryption that is used by all the major U.S. banks, ensuring you and your customer’s data are secure.
- Guest checkout. Shoppers who are new to your store may want to try out a few products before committing to yet another online account.
- Customer accounts. For your loyal returning shoppers, you can offer account creation, which helps you manage orders and order history, offer related products, and include them in special promotions.
- Customer Profiles. Quickly locate customers and customer groups, track shopping habits, offer targeted promotions, and more.
- Email templates. Whether you’re sending out marketing blasts, digital receipts, or abandoned cart notifications, there are customizable email templates to keep your communication clear and consistent.
- Organization. Keep products organized into groups for specific seasons, certain promotions, or admin-level considerations like vendor price and inventory count.
- Inventory Control. Includes options such as low-stock freezes, so you can’t dig yourself into a hole by out-selling your supply.
- Digital Downloads are supported.
- Variations. Options such as size, color, accessories, or bundles can be tracked separately in your inventory.
- Unlimited Bandwidth. Shopify doesn’t penalize you for having successful online traffic.
- SEO tools include product-level SEO data, like titles and meta tags.
- Social media integration. Customers can browse your products without ever leaving Facebook and Buy Now buttons can be added to sites like Pinterest.
- Promo codes can be generated for certain customer groups, certain product bundles, and other special promotions.
- Gift cards are able to be produced in the Professional and Unlimited plans.
If there’s something missing, you can most likely find add-ons to complete your site in Shopify’s App Store.
Customer Service and Technical Support:
Shopify offers phone, email, and live chat support in addition to a whole slew of other resources, including a support center, Knowledge Base, a discussion forum, and a Shopify “Experts” page where you can find experienced professionals in design, marketing, development, and photography.
It’s clear that Shopify puts time and effort into customer relationship development, since the more your store grows, the longer you’re likely to be a customer. I could spend hours clicking around Shopify’s own Blog which spotlights topics like SEO, dropshipping, and growing your business.
The company also has Facebook and Twitter accounts that can serve as additional support channels should you not have any luck with the above resources.
While Shopify used to lack 24/7 phone support, I am happy to see that merchants can now contact a support person directly for assistance with different numbers for users based in North America, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
Phone numbers are available for UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
My overall experience with Customer Service and Technical Support was positive. I submitted one general question and one technical one, and in both cases, I got a satisfactory response the same day.
After speaking with a Customer Service Representative, I was able to determine that Shopify is certified as Tier 1 in PCI compliance. They employ 256-bit encryption and offer free shared SSL certificates, which is an additional charge for some of their competitors.
- No real-time shipping in lower plans.
- No one-page checkout.
- Room to expand internationalization.
- No discount codes in Starter or Basic Plans.
- Limited to 100 product variations – apps like the Product Customizer can help you get around that for a small monthly fee.
You can find a large number of positive Shopify reviews directly on the Shopify website, but that’s no surprise. Elsewhere on the web, the feedback that I’ve read about Shopify is very positive, with most people praising Shopify’s ease of use and excellent customer support. I personally agree with those reviews. Most users are happy with Shopify 2 and report few issues transitioning to the updated software. Here are some user highlights:
- Easy to Use – This is by far the most frequent glowing review that I’ve read about Shopify. They’ve really nailed the “simplicity” thing. I have yet to try another shopping cart that is easier to use than Shopify. Kudos on this one.
- Gorgeous Themes – I couldn’t agree more with the online chatter about this one. Shopify’s themes are really nice. And they just keep getting better.
- Excellent Support – A lot of people are raving about Shopify’s customer support, which is a rarity in this industry. Most shopping cart providers fall short on the customer service end, but Shopify seems to be doing well.
And here are some less frequent positives:
- Full-control over HTML/CSS.
- Unlimited bandwidth.
- Offers a CDN (Content Delivery Network).
- Automated daily backups.
- Good track record for server uptime.
- Compatible with many payment gateways.
Have any questions regarding Shopify? Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or click the link below to join Shopify now!