Shopify Review

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.

What is Shopify?

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:

  • Knowledge in coding is not necessary
  • Doesn’t require spending for a web developer
  • Updating or making changes to websites is simple

How Does Shopify Work?

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:

  • Step 1: Sign up with Shopify.
  • Step 2: Add products to sell.
  • Step 3: Customize your theme.
  • Step 4: Add a domain.
  • Step 5: Enable your payment gateways.
  • Step 6: Add your shipping methods.
  • Step 7: Integrate the necessary apps.
  • Step 8: Select a price plan.
  • Step 9: Publish.

Shopify Features

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:

  • Wide Range of Themes – The platform comes with lots of free themes, as well as paid themes from the theme store. This allows you to design and create a great looking store as you please.
  • Wide Range of Apps – Shopify offers lots of free apps, as well as paid themes from the app store. Thus, you can easily expand your store’s functionality.
  • Shopify Payment Provider – Shopify has its own payment provider that can accept major credit card payments.
  • Multiple Growth Opportunities – Shopify offers various growth opportunities with its sales channel. There is also the enterprise plan for high sales volume merchants who want to reduce their transaction fees.
  • Shopify Blog – Shop owners can access the Shopify blog that contains articles and guides about efficiently running an online store, and the right ways to connect with customers.
  • Community of Experts – Shopify experts the world over are willing to help shop owners design, set up, and market their stores.
  • Dedicated Customer Support Team – Clients can access the platform’s dedicated support team for questions and concerns 24 hours a day, every day of the week. Phone and live chat support are available in English, while email support is available in many foreign languages.

Shopify Integrations & Add-Ons

As mentioned, Shopify makes it possible for aspiring shop owners to set up their stores out of the box. It also helps that there are lots of apps that can be integrated into the platform that can help businesses grow faster.

Having said that there are various apps and add-ons that can help you:

  • Market and promote your products
  • Improve your sales channels
  • Improve your customer service
  • Enhance your product and inventory management capability
  • Facilitate payments

Best Apps and Add-ons for Promotions and Marketing

OptinMonster

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.

TrustPulse

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.

Referral Candy

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.

Smile.io Rewards

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.

Plug-In SEO

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.

Social Photos

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, as well as come up with user-generated content.

Pocket

A tool for personal content curation, Pocket allows you to quickly save content then tag it for easy reference in the future. You can save files from your PC to pocket that you can access through any device.

Best Apps and Add-ons for Sales Channels

Facebook Channel

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.

Messenger Channel

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.

Buy Button Channel

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.

Best Apps and Add-ons for Customer Service

Facebook Live Chat

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.

One Click Social Login

The app allows a potential customer to create an account on your online store simply by logging in using their existing social media accounts. One Click Social Login supports FB, LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon, and Pinterest, among others.

Yotpo

Yotpo allows you to gain more product reviews that, in turn, convert more purchases from social proof. Through the app, you can easily request for reviews from customers that you can showcase through store tabs and widgets.

Rewards & Referrals by Swell

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.

Wishlist Plus

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.

Best Apps and Add-ons for Products and Inventory

For managing product catalogs, as well as the time prior to and after delivery.

Spocket

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!

Printful

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 provide assistance in coming up with a creative design.

Oberlo

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. With just a few clicks, you can add products from the Oberlo Marketplace and AliExpress to your online store.

AfterShip Returns Center

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 as well as any refunds due.

Catalog Maker

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.

Pre-Order Manager

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.

Back in Stock

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.

Best Apps and Add-ons to Facilitate Partial and Recurring Payments

Partial.ly Payment Plans

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.

PayWhirl Recurring Payments

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.

Recurring Payments

With Recurring Payments, store visitors can purchase subscriptions, buy using payment plans, and pay bills without having to register or login.

Shopify Design

Templates and Design

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 as well. 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 of contemporary design features like video backgrounds and parallax scrolling. Overall, Shopify offers one of the best template selections available on the market in terms of 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 it is not offered by Shopify, 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.

Shopify Customer Support

Shopify offers a comprehensive customer support service. A representative is always on hand to provide assistance by phone, email, or live chat – every day 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. Shopify needs to cover all bases, for instance, by providing a way for customers to directly contact their developers for technical problems.

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.

Telephone
Score:
/10
Live Chat
Score:
/10
Email
Score:
/10

Shopify Pricing

Shopify offers 5 pricing plans that customers can choose from. These are:

  • Shopify Lite ($9 monthly)
  • Basic Shopify ($29 monthly)
  • Shopify ($79 monthly)
  • Advanced Shopify ($299 monthly)
  • Shopify Plus (negotiable fees, around $2,000 monthly)

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.

Shopify Plans

How much does it cost per month?

Basic Shopify
$29
Monthly Price
Shopify
$79
Monthly Price
Advanced Shopify
$299
Monthly Price

Differences among Plans

  • Reporting – Functional professional reporting is only available for Shopify, Advanced Shopify, and Shopify Plus plans.
  • Advanced Report Builder – Tools for creating custom reports are available only for the Advanced and Plus plans.
  • Gift Cards – Available only for plans costing $79 and higher.
  • Real-Time Carrier Shipping – Comes only with the priciest plan, the Advanced Shopify plan.
  • Staff Accounts – 2 accounts allowed for Basic Shopify, 5 for Shopify, 15 for Advanced Shopify plans.
  • POS Functionality – Available only for Shopify plan and higher.

Payments, Payment Gateways, & Transaction Fees

Shopify allows two modes of credit card payments:

  • Shopify Payments – The platform’s built-in payment system, it is the more straightforward option. There are no transaction fees, but has other charges ranging between 2.4 and 2.9%, depending on the plan.
  • 3rd Party Payment Gateway – There are lots to choose from, more than what competitors offer, but the need to be configured and set up first. You need to pay for transaction fees, monthly fees, or both, depending on the plan.

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 Verdict

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 is 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, it is best that you find that out for yourself. Sign up for the free 14-day trial offer!