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  • 14-day free trial
  • Only $1 for your first month
  • Truly easy to dive right in
9.2 Very good
Ease of Use
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Design Flexibility 8/10

Shopify

Shopify is an incredibly well-rounded Ecommerce website builder - a sharp, modern platform for all forms of businesses. Used by entrepreneurs and multi-million dollar businesses alike, some of the big names that have chosen Shopify are General Electric, Tesla Motors and GitHub. There are currently more than 1,000,000 active users on their platform, making it one of the leading Ecommerce solutions. So... why Shopify? It’s a simple service, requiring no coding knowledge, with powerful management tools, designer themes and an expansive app selection that helps users grow their businesses.

Using Shopify, you’ll be able to easily set up and customize your online store, manage inventory, receive payments, track orders and more, all from their centralized dashboard. And with pricing plans that cater to businesses of all sizes, you’re sure to find the right fit.

Shopify in detail

  • User-friendly interface
  • Fully-integrated Ecommerce solution
  • All the features you’ll ever need
  • Reasonably-priced services, making it an attractive choice for small and big businesses alike

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  • Beautifully-designed websites
  • Scales well - Shopify will grow with your business
  • Integrate Shopify in your brick-and-mortar store
  • 24/7 support by phone, live chat or email
  • Comprehensive Ecommerce tools (over 1,000 apps)
  • Lite plan is one of the most affordable ways to start selling online
  • 2-week free trial period with access to all features

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  • Transaction processing fees (if you don’t use Shopify Payments)
  • Content isn’t automatically transferable between themes.
  • If you need to dig into code, Spotify’s unique coding is fairly complicated
  • Certain basic functionalities are dependent on apps
  • Shopify Payments are only available from certain countries

User experience

The consensus is in. Shopify claims to be a breeze… and you know what? It really is! We don’t mean it’s easy to use only after spending hours learning how to use it, but that it’s actually easy to dive right in on day one. It’s clean, clear and simple to use, and you can launch an online retail store in just a few minutes. Shopify provides a functional and elegant store structure, allowing you to tweak and make adjustments as needed from ready-made templates.

If you need help, Shopify offers 24/7 phone, email and live chat support. And their Help Center is a great resource as well - particularly if you have a more technical query. Here users post their experiences and Shopify developers (or savvy users) respond. However, there’s no way to contact these developers directly to get advice. A potential drawback: Shopify only provides support phone numbers for North America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Premium options

Shopify is not the place to go if you want a free website. But this is the case with most Ecommerce builders - if you want a great site with all of the bells and whistles to drive sales and run your business, you have to throw down some money. In the case of Shopify, you’ll find a comprehensive and flexible builder at very reasonable prices. Prices range from $9 to $299 per month, depending on your business’s needs.

  • Shopify Lite - $9/month. The most basic plan, Lite does not include a website but does allows you to sell through Facebook or an existing site, or use Shopify in a physical location to sell or manage inventory.
  • Basic Shopify - $29/month. This is the most sensible plan for new businesses, or small businesses. In addition to your online store, you’ll get the Point of Sale (POS) system, which allows you to receive payments offline through a tablet; Facebook and Pinterest modules, to sell directly on these platforms; a Shopify Buy Button, which you can add to websites to connect to your products. You’ll also get abandoned cart recovery, a hugely valuable feature, and Shopify will handle payments and back-end work.
  • Shopify - $79/month. With this plan, you’ll get professional reporting, the possibility of using gift cards, 5 staff accounts (Basic includes 2), complete Point of Sale functionality (with third-party apps, hardware support, etc.).
  • Advanced Shopify - $299/month. This plan, better for larger businesses, offers advanced reporting tools, real time carrier shipping, 15 staff accounts and reduced fees for using payment methods other than Shopify Payments (0.5% vs. 2% for Basic).
  • Shopify Plus - write them to get a quote; this option is for high volume merchants and large businesses. The Plus plan provides a dedicated support agent or MSM (merchant success manager)

Or, rather than pay monthly, you can pay annually and save 10%.

If you’re not sure which plan to go with, you can sign up for a 14-day free trial with access to all features.

Characteristics & Tools

One of Shopify’s strengths is its full gamut of features. It has all the most essential tools - analytical tracking, abandoned cart recovery, multi-channel integration, great shipping options… and a massive app store with over 1,200 apps. We’ll walk you through some of the most important features:

-Multi-Channel Integration: Shopify allows you to connect your store with some of the biggest Ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Facebook and Instagram shop. Because half of consumers start their searches on big marketplaces like these, it’s important to make sure your store is integrated.

-Abandoned Cart Recovery: This feature automatically sends site visitors an email if they exit your store before checking out. Because more than 75% of online shoppers leave sites without making a purchase, Abandoned Cart Recovery does the vital job of bringing customers back in to complete these purchases.  

-Payment and Transaction Fees: Shopify allows you to receive payments through over 100 different payment gateways, from PayPal to Stripe to Bitcoin to Apple Pay. (This number, by the way, is way higher than that offered by competitors.) Each of these has a transaction fee, ranging from 0.5% to 2%, depending on your plan. Shopify Payments is the built-in gateway - and coincidentally, the only option that charges no transaction fees. Regardless, there’s still a fee for using debit or credit cards.

-Point of Sale (POS): Shopify stands out from competitors in terms of POS options and hardware. This allows you to sell in physical locations using hardware, like barcode readers, tills or receipt printers. POS offers the possibility of selling from anywhere - an event, a market, a retail location, etc. - as it syncs your information and inventory. This feature is, however, only available with the Shopify plan or higher.

Templates

Templates

Shopify has 10 free Ecommerce templates (or themes) and over 50 premium themes that cost between $140-180. Each theme comes in a few different design variants, which translates to significantly more permutations of the basic themes. Figure out what features are most crucial to your business and choose a theme accordingly (with those features built in). You can further customize themes through the editing interface and on the dashboard. The editing interface is where you can make changes to the site’s aesthetics, alter or add text, move images and logos. From the dashboard you’ll be able to manage more technical elements - change themes, add products, etc. Spotify’s customization capabilities are extensive and detail-oriented, allowing you to fine-tune your website.

All themes, both free and premium are totally mobile responsive, which means that they adjust automatically to different kinds of screens (from phones to computers to tablets). This capability is of utmost importance, since mobile sales are the fastest growing segment of mobile phone use (about half of all online sales are made through cell phones).

Another nice feature is Shopify’s image editor, which allows you to crop, resize and add filters to photos. You can also use images from their free stock photo gallery.

 

Overall

So what’s the bottom line? Shopify is a highly effective platform for users who want to create an online store - and possibly the best platform for those who want to sell online as well as physically. It’s beginner-friendly and extremely easy to set up, has great themes, tons of features, scales up well - and it’s hard to argue with their prices.

A totally hassle-free solution, with Shopify you can launch a site in a matter of minutes and access all the tools necessary to run a business of any size. Not convinced? Go for a spin with their 2-week free trial.