Shopify Review – Is it the Best Ecommerce Platform?

shopify review

The eCommerce market is growing steadily year after year.

And it’s no surprise.

Nowadays, setting up your online store is easier than ever before thanks to intuitive platforms like Shopify. While it’s not the only all-in-one eCommerce platform in the online market space, it’s without a doubt the most popular one, especially among beginners.

But does its quality and offered features match all the popularity and publicity?

That’s what I’m going to find out in this short Shopify review.

What Is Shopify and Who Is It for?

Shopify was established in 2004 but it wasn’t until 2006 when the company launched the platform that we know today. Nowadays it’s one of the biggest eCommerce platforms in the world with over 1 million users and 60 billion in sales generated by the stores hosted on it.

shopify review users

While it does not advertise specifically to one group of customers, it is most popular among beginners who are setting their first online store.

Services Offered by Shopify

Apart from their flagship platform, the company has its own retail point-of-sale system, payment processing gateway, and proprietary solutions for selling on third-party blogs (Buy Button) and social media.

shopify review services

While in my Shopify review I will focus mostly on their core eCommerce platform, it’s worth noting that their products cover multiple sales channels.

Shopify Pricing Options

Shopify offers five different pricing options. But the vast majority of its users will be interested in their main three tiers – Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify.

shopify review plans

The main difference between those plans is the cut that they take for credit card transactions which range from 2.9% to 2.4%.

What’s good about all those free plans is that the price that you see in the pricing on the website is identical to what you will actually pay – no hidden fees or shady renewals. The only difference is between month-to-month and annual payments.

If you choose the annual payment schedule, you can save up to $360 every year on the Advanced Shopify plan. As you can see, the below table includes their extra plan – Shopify Plus. Unless you grow a very big store, you don’t even have to look at it. But, just in case you’re interested – its monthly cost starts at $2000 and can go up indefinitely as it is revenue-based.

PlanMonthlyAnnuallySavings (per year)
Basic Shopify$29.00/mo.$26.10/mo. ($313.20 upfront)$34.80
Shopify$79.00/mo.$71.10/mo. ($853.20 upfront)$94.80
Advanced Shopify$299.00/mo.$269.10/mo. ($3299.20 upfront)358.80
Shopify Plus up to $800k revenue$2000.00/mo. for revenue up to $800,000Does not applyDoes not apply
Shopify Plus over $800k revenueUp to $40.000/mo. (an extra 0.15% (Shopify Payments) – 0.25% fee) prior to 01.01.18
No limit if registered later
Does not apply Does not apply

Knowing the top tier, let’s jump to the other side and take a quick look at Shopify Plus. The plan, which costs just $9 per month and doesn’t give you an eCommerce store.

Instead, it allows you to accept credit card payments, and gives you a tool for selling on Facebook (also the messenger app) or on an existing website. Because of that, I will not be focusing on it in this Shopify review.

shopify review lite plus

Critical Features for eCommerce Entrepreneurs – A Look at Shopify

Shopify offers everything beginner online store owners need to get the ball rolling. Each plan gives you all the essential integrations including Amazon and eBay, eCommerce analytics (although the basic plan doesn’t have that detailed reports), as well as essential SEO and social media tools.

Shopify BasicShopify BasicAdvanced ShopifyShopify Plus
Fees & Support
Yearly Sales LimitNo limitNo limitNo limitNo limit but monthly fee goes up for revenue over $800,000
Credit Card Fees2.9% + $0.302.5% + $0.302.2% + $0.301.6% + $0.30
Trans. Fees (Shopify Payments)0%0%0%0%
External Gateways2%2%2%2%
24/7 Live SupportYesYesYesYes
Free Trial14 days14 days14 days14 days
Shopify BasicShopify BasicAdvanced ShopifyShopify Plus
eCommerce Features
eBay & Amazon IntegrationYesYesYesYes
Google ShoppingYesYesYesYes
Pinterest Buyable PinsYesYesYesYes
Facebook & Instagram Posts IntegrationYesYesYesYes
Apple PayYesYesYesYes
Coupons, Discounts, Gift CardsNoYesYesYes
Product Ratings and Reviews
YesYesYesYes
Automated Tax Calculator
YesYesYesYes
Abandoned cart recovery
YesYesYesYes
Shopify BasicShopify BasicAdvanced ShopifyShopify Plus
Security & Technical
Extra Staff Accounts2515Unlimited
Fraud AnalysisYesYesYesYes
PCI 1 DDS ComplianceYesYesYesYes
Free Sitewide SSL & HTTPSYesYesYesYes
Custom SSLNoNoNoNo
DDOS ProtectionYesYesYesYes
Firewall/Intrusion Detection
YesYesYesYes
Bandwidth
UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Shopify BasicShopify BasicAdvanced ShopifyShopify Plus
Website features
Website BuilderYesYesYesYes
Website Templates100+100+100+100+
Merchant ReportsYesYesYesYes
SEO ToolsYesYesYesYes
API IntegrationsYesYesYesYes

On top of that, each plan comes with an SSL (although you can’t install a custom one), PCI 1 Compliance, the DDoS protection and Fraud Analysis. Moreover, there is no bandwidth limit. This means that the only real limitations are certain features and transaction fees. So, how does a hosting with no bandwidth limit perform?

Shopify Performance Test

Shopify guarantees 99.98% uptime. According to our uptime calculator, this amounts to allowed downtime of slightly less than two hours every year, and (on average) 17 seconds every day. A very decent result for an eCommerce company.

shopify review uptime calculator

What about server speed? Sadly, that one is slightly below average. Not bad, but if you plan to target customers from around the world, you might have to rethink your choice.

shopify review performance

How Shopify Trial Works?

shopify free trial

I believe that it is critical for platforms that aim at beginning users to offer a free trial. This allows users to get their feet wet without spending anything and allows them to see if this whole “eCommerce thing” is their cup of tea.

That’s why, in this Shopify review, I will take a quick look at how easy it is to sign up for their 14-day testing period.

To start, click Start your free trial anywhere on the site. You will be asked to provide your email address, password and store name.

shopify review trail

All that is followed by a few more personal details:

shopify review reg

As you can see, there is no credit card required. You are free to play with the store – just need to wait a few seconds for it to get created:

shopify creating store

Once the store is ready, you will be asked to add your address so that you can get payments from your customers:

shopify registration

After that, you are free to do whatever you want. You can add products, customize the theme, as well as add a domain (it’s a must if you want to look professional).

shopify sell online

The product creator leads you by the hand – you don’t need to write a single line of code to add all the products or edit the product details:

shopify review dashboard

Similarly, you don’t have to know any CSS or HTML to have a beautiful store that will amaze your customers – Shopify offers over a 100 of both paid and free themes you can choose from in their rich library:

shopify review themes

Even though Shopify is a closed environment, in which you get everything from hosting to CMS, you can still add a lot of customizations and integrations to it.

Just like the themes, these come in both free and paid variations. Because there are so many of them, to introduce them all, I would have to write a separate Shopify review.

shopify review ads

Shopify Pros

The platform is a very strong player in the eCommerce market what’s reflected in their growing user base. Let’s quickly recap all the things that make it such a good choice.

User-Friendliness

When using Shopify, you don’t have to worry about anything. You get a hosting that is secure and optimized for online stores. The dashboard is very intuitive and you don’t have to know any coding to create a store that’s ready to sell!

Excellent Free Trial and Knowledge Base

Thanks to their generous trial, you don’t have to spend a dime during the first 14 days and can test the platform all you want. Combine that with their excellent tutorials, great support, Shopify Academy and an active community, and you could get a great eCommerce theory lesson at no cost.

Shopify Lite

Do you have a popular Facebook fan page or blog and would like to start selling but don’t want to create an actual store? For just nine dollars per month, you can get all the technical backend for selling your products and accepting payments. Running a business doesn’t get any cheaper than that!

No Revenue Limits in Basic Plans

If you don’t mind paying the high transaction fees and don’t need any fancy features, you could run your store at a $29 per month plan indefinitely. There are no product limits or revenue limits in either of the three main Shopify plans.

Shopify Cons

Even though I really like the platform, there are some things that I dislike about it – and I feel obliged to include them in my Shopify review.

The “Requirement” to Use Shopify Payments

The idea of offering your users an extra payment platform that doesn’t charge any fees is a great thing to do. In the end, it leaves more cash in their pockets. But, there’s a catch I don’t like – mainly the fact that if you don’t use Shopify’s native platform, you get charged an extra 2% on your hard-earned money.

Limited Scalability and Control

Shopify is still a closed environment. It’s a tremendous choice for beginners who just want to focus on learning the ropes and building their business. But once you start generating revenue in tens of thousands per month, you might be wishing for more freedom and control over the fees and finances.

That’s where it gets tough, as migrating from Shopify to another platform is not a piece of cake and the platform itself costs a lot once you get to the high revenue levels.

Shopify Review Summary

If you’re a beginner interested in running your very first eCommerce store, I think there is no better option for you. In fact, go ahead and sign up for their 14-day trial now.

Just keep in mind that as you grow, the costs can quickly add up and you might start missing the freedom that a decent hosting and a platform such as Magento gives you. But, it’s not something you should be worrying about if you are new to the eCommerce game.

Experienced in copywriting, SEO and creative writing (journalism, blogging, poetry, lullabies etc.). Public communication bachelor and HoReCa expert. A strange sense of humor but bearable. Has a beard, a cat, a fiancee, a hedgehog, and a brand new pug.

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