Online selling is currently at its peak. Its growth is expected to reach unprecedented heights. This is because of the continuous improvements in eCommerce platforms.
The backbone of online enterprises, eCommerce platforms allow the business’ back and front-ends to work efficiently together. They provide a solid structure that supports B2B or B2C enterprises.
This is where Shopify comes into the fray. It is one of the leading eCommerce platforms and website builders today. This Shopify review will help you decide if it is the right platform for your online business.
Shopify is an eCommerce solution that helps businesses and regular people set up their own online stores. An easy to use website builder, Shopify will help you build your own eCommerce site – regardless of your technical skill level.
Following are some reasons that make Shopify one of the most preferred platforms today:
Shopify is designed to make building an online store fast and easy. This makes it possible for shop owners to set up and run their online business in no time. The platform comes with a variety of templates and sales tools that are ready to use. By following these 9 easy steps, aspiring shop owners can set up their fully functioning stores:
As mentioned, Shopify comes with a wide range of tools that you can use to easily set up and effectively run your online business. The platform provides everything you need, depending on your chosen plan. You can then show your products, process payment transactions, and do everything else necessary for the store to operate efficiently.
Having said that, the following are the main features of the Shopify eCommerce platform:
As mentioned, Shopify makes it possible for aspiring shop owners to set up their stores out of the box. It also helps that many apps can be integrated into the platform that can help businesses grow faster.
Having said that, some various apps and add-ons can help you:
This app can help generate leads and improve your sales. It also seamlessly integrates with Shopify. Thus, the installation of any special codes isn’t necessary. It can also be set up to apply discount codes automatically.
TustPulse leverages social proof and promotes trust with your site visitors by displaying pop-up notifications of other users’ real-time activities on your site. It also helps keep track of email sign-ups, registrations, and purchases, among others.
Integrating this app allows you to take advantage of word-of-mouth advertising. It gives incentives to customers to refer your shop to family and friends. You have the choice of reward for unlimited referrals.
Loyalty programs are a good way to entice customers to stick to your brand. The add-on can encourage more loyal customers that will, in turn, boost your sales through repeat purchases.
This free app is a great tool for Shopify as it helps spot, troubleshoot, and fix SEO issues. This way, you enjoy more traffic for your shop.
The app can help you get more sales through Instagram. Through Social Photos, you can feature happy customers that you can use as social proof and come up with user-generated content.
A tool for personal content curation, Pocket allows you to save content quickly then tag it for easy reference in the future. You can save files from your PC to your pocket that you can access through any device.
To some extent, email marketing trumps social media in generating sales. But, social media is still a major contributor to online shops. Fact is, Twitter and Facebook can boost your product recommendations, as well as actual sales.
As smart speakers and messenger apps continue to grow rapidly, so does conversational commerce. The Shopify app can help you take advantage of the trend. Adding a “message us” button to your shop will allow you to converse with potential customers in real-time.
The free-up may be simple. But, it is effective. Customize a buy button and place it anywhere on the page to allow potential customers to buy with a simple no-fuss click.
Today, live chat is very much involved in collecting customer feedback and in providing quality customer service. Surveys confirm its positive impact on revenue, sales, and customer loyalty.
The app allows potential customers to create an account on your online store by logging in using their existing social media accounts. One Click Social Login supports FB, LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon, and Pinterest, among others.
Yotpo allows you to gain more product reviews that, in turn, convert more purchases from social proof. Through the app, you can easily request reviews from customers that you can showcase through store tabs and widgets.
Integrating other referrals and rewards in the platform wouldn’t hurt your store. After all, Swell is designed for many integrations. For one, it can work well with Facebook, Hubspot, Yotpo, and Mailchimp, among others. Also, the more rewards available for customers, the more sales it can generate.
This provides a good way to understand what existing, and potential customers are looking for by connecting with them. This way, you can gather info about their preferences without them having to log in.
For managing product catalogs, as well as the time before and after delivery.
The fast, easy-to-use dropshipping marketplace receives regular updates. This results to fast delivery of products from over 20,000 suppliers by the hundreds of thousands. It guarantees 1-click order fulfillment, real-time order tracking, and flat-rate shipping – everything that customers want!
The integration allows you to maintain your Shopify store even without a warehouse of your own. The app allows you to produce designs on demand for bags, shirts, mugs, and practically anything printable. You also have access to designers who can assist in coming up with a creative design.
Like Printful, Oberlo allows you to add products to your shop, then dropshipping them to your customers directly. However, Oberlo doesn’t limit you to printable items. You can add products from the Oberlo Marketplace and AliExpress to your online store with just a few clicks.
It can be a problem when a customer wants to return a purchased product. AfterShip helps facilitate product returns. It provides access to a branded returns point with just a few clicks. The app will then inform the customer about the status of the returned items and any refunds due.
Through catalogs, you can showcase images of your products. This helps boost sales. The Catalog Maker is a tool that can help store owners who have many products come up with professional-looking catalogs – even without great designing skills.
Accepting pre-orders is a great way to avoid the rush during peak seasons or the expected influx of orders after your email marketing blast. With Pre-Order Manager, your customers can place advance orders for out-of-stock items through a pre-order button.
By using Back in Stock, shop owners need not worry about lost sales because of sold-out items. Prospective buyers can sign up for notification when the item becomes available again. They are automatically notified by email.
Provides an option for shoppers to complete purchases using the standard checkout process or via Partial.ly payment plans. If the latter is preferred, the order gets added automatically to your Shopify admin after providing their payment details. All future payments will then be automated and timed.
Customers can manage their account details, update their payment and credit card information, remove or add payment plans, and buy subscriptions on their own using the PayWhirl Recurring Payments add-on. Aside from saving both your's and the customer’s time, this also reduces possible irritants for customers.
With Recurring Payments, store visitors can purchase subscriptions, buy using payment plans, and pay bills without registering or logging in.
A Shopify plan comes with 10 free themes or templates that you can choose from to set up your store. Each template has 2 or 3 variants, giving you a wide choice of designs for your website.
The templates are all professional and attractive looking. Best of all, they are responsive. This means your site will display well, regardless of the device it is browsed on.
Now, if none of the free templates meets your requirements, there are premium or paid themes available – in different variants. With prices ranging from $140 - $180, the paid themes are fully responsive. The templates are all professional-looking as well.
There are free and premium themes that boast contemporary design features like video backgrounds and parallax scrolling. Overall, Shopify offers one of the best template selections available on the market regarding quality and functionality.
In the remote chance that you are not satisfied with the themes offered by Shopify – whether paid or free – you have the choice of creating a theme of your own. It shouldn’t be too difficult, considering the vast support tools and materials available on the platform. However, this will need some technical background to accomplish.
It is worth mentioning that when deciding on which theme to use, especially if Shopify does not offer it, it is to make sure that the platform officially supports the theme. If you want a premium template developed by a third party, it may be necessary to contact the developer for assistance during customization or installation.
Overall, Shopify provides rather stable performance and considerable speed, which is absolutely crucial for those who want to establish and maintain their eCommerce business online. Little details like loading time might not be considered as very important by a non-tech person at first glance, but it is one of the most important components of retaining a customer on the site. In a study done by Akamai, almost 50% of respondents expect a site to load in as quick as 2 seconds or less. If the site is not loaded within 3 seconds, the respondents who participated in a survey revealed that they are most likely to abandon the site in such a case. This might not only hurt the sales of a site but also bring the traffic down considerably. Shopify's loading speed is great - all the possible resources are compressed, and all the redirects are minimized to ensure the speediest performance. Another equally important component of a successful eCommerce business is a sound and stable performance. Shopify as a platform has 99.98% of uptime which is not far from the ideal 100%, and that means that the service is down for about 8 minutes and 45 seconds every month.
Shopify offers a comprehensive customer support service. A representative is always on hand to assist by phone, email, or live chat daily and every hour of the week. Most competitors do not offer the same quality of service. Some don’t even have phone support.
As great as Shopify’s customer service may be, it is not without fault. For one, if your concern is quite technical in nature, a standard Shopify support representative may not be equipped to handle the issue. In some cases, it may be much better to post your technical concern in online forums in hopes that it reaches a Shopify developer who may be willing to help.
This is one area where customer support can improve on. For instance, Shopify needs to cover all bases by providing a way for customers to contact their developers for technical problems directly.
It is also unclear if phone support is available globally or only for specific areas like North America, the UK, New Zealand, and Australia. There is no option for other countries.
If you need to access the company’s contact info, such as phone numbers, you need to browse through the help pages first before you can get help in finding a solution to your concern. Some people may find this annoying. However, this is becoming common practice for web application support desks. Compared to other companies, Shopify isn’t too shabby in this regard.
Shopify offers 5 pricing plans that customers can choose from. These are:
Overall, Shopify offers a relatively cheap way to online selling through its starter plan. For only $9 a month, Shopify Lite allows you to sell goods of an unlimited number. But, the plan does not allow the construction of a standalone, fully functional online store. Plan subscriptions can be paid either on a monthly or annual basis.
How much does it cost per month?
Shopify allows two modes of credit card payments:
Shopify charges store owners anywhere between 0.5% and 2% per transaction, depending on the plan. The rate is lower for the more expensive plans.
Shopify was founded in Canada back in 2004 by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake, later becoming one of the biggest international e-commerce platforms nowadays. Shopify allows merchants to manage their e-commerce businesses with ease by providing them with the possibility to customize their platform to their needs. The urge to establish such a company as Shopify was backed by the unsatisfactory experience of Tobias and his colleagues when using the existing e-commerce platforms of that time while they were establishing their online snowboarding equipment store Snowdevil.
Shopify as a platform provides the merchants with the resources needed to manage an e-commerce backed business successfully. You can choose to run your existing website with Shopify or create a new domain with them. Shopify offers a variety of customizable options which allow the merchant to optimize the experience to his needs. For example, the design for your shop can be picked from preexistent templates and themes, and with the freedom of HTML and CSS coding, it can be fully customized. The shopping security is guaranteed both for you and your client - up to par with PCI Data Security Standard. Shopify uses 256-bit SSL certificates, so the details of orders and transactions are completely secure.
Shopify has three subscription offers - ‘’Basic Shopify’’ aimed at rather small businesses, ‘’Shopify’’ which is set for businesses that are growing. And ‘’Advanced Shopify’’, which is customized with scaling in mind. All of them offer different features and have different pricing plans. For every individual transaction made, Shopify charges a small fee - however, there are no additional bandwidth or set up fees. If Shopify Payments gateway is being used, there are no additional transaction fees included. With Shopify, the product range in the shop can be easily managed - Shopify allows the user to set different variations on their products, desirably organize them and track the inventory left. There is no limit set on how many products can be sold with Shopify. Also, the merchant can always check the analytics to see how the business is performing. All the information can also be accessed by a mobile app that syncs the data between the app and a store. If there are any problems or general questions merchant can always turn to 24/7 customer support.
Overall, Shopify is a multifunctional platform that provides the customer with many resources needed to successfully start, develop and maintain an eCommerce business with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Shopify is arguably the top eCommerce site builder available on the market today. From professionally designed themes and management tools to world-class features and apps, the platform has it all.
It is designed both for small and big businesses who have dreams of expanding. The management and analytical tools allow you to be on top of things. There are likewise myriads of features that can assist you in quickly scaling up.
Compared to some competitors, the pricing plan may seem high. But, if you look deeper, you’ll find that you’re actually getting great bang for your buck. If you are really bent on selling, the profits you will earn will make the recurring fees seem like a mere drop in the wide ocean.
To sum everything up, Shopify is a great product and is highly recommended. But, you should find that out for yourself. Sign up for the free 14-day trial offer!
After assessing the platform’s pros and cons, you should come up with a decision on whether or not to go for it. In the unfortunate case that you think it is not the best option for you, don’t fret. After all, there are lots of other store builders on the market to choose from.
Having said that, here are some Shopify alternatives that you can consider:
Volusion offers more features compared to Shopify, but there is a trade-off. Its performance level is lower, with slower loading time, as well as mobile performance. Price starts at $25 for smaller businesses. A free 14-day trial offer is available.
Feature-packed and affordable, 3dcart offers a solid alternative to Shopify. The platform loads faster, but the themes pale in comparison to Shopify’s. Its biggest advantage is in the massive number of available payment gateways: over 100. The big con, however, is its poor customer support. Sign up for the free 15-day trial to give the shopping cart a test drive.
Ideal for building budget starter stores, PrestaShop can support the management of multiple storefronts right from one admin panel. The platform is also a good open-source solution.
Ready to join the big boys, BigCommerce is packed with functional features. In many aspects, it is similar to Shopify. However, it is $79, and $29 packages offer more value for money than their Shopify counterparts, but credit card fees are slightly higher.