The #1 e-Commerce Website Builder
Over 750,000 small retailers, start-ups and large companies are running their eCommerce websites on Shopify. It is almost unanimously considered to be the best e-commerce platform. Among its clients are Tesla Motors, Red Bull, Lady Gaga and other popular brands.
Shopify Full Review
Shopify is the most popular eCommerce website builder on the market right now. The company was founded in 2006 by Tobias Lutke, Daniel Welnand, and Scott Lake. They have three locations in Canada (Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal). Their platform hosts over 600,000 online stores that are selling products in about 175 countries. The platform powers businesses for many renown brands and is trusted by brands such as Rebecca Minkoff, Kylie Cosmetics, Red Bull, Nestle and many others.
- Unlimited bandwidth, file storage and number of products
- Simple store builder with clean interface
- Sell globally on Instagram
- 10-20% discount on annual and biennial prepayments, and inexpensive
- multi-channel – great for brick and mortar stores
- Mobile POS
- Optional retail store equipment
- Multiple staff accounts
- Better rates for most common carriers with Shopify shipping
- Free SSL
- Transaction fees if you do not use their in-house credit card processing
- You’ll need to learn their Liquid programming language if you want to build a accustom theme
From start to finish, Shopify offers the features needed to build and maintain an online store. Not only that, but their shopping cart is continuously updates with new features that are needed for the constantly trending eCommerce world.
Here is what you can expect:
- Online Store Builder– One of the easiest web based website builders to work with. The website builder enables users a quick and simple way of creating an online store.
- Integrated Blog– Shopify offers a fully compatible blogging platform with all of their plans. There is no need to install anything, everything is done for you. A blog is extremely effective for better search engine rankings.
- Abandoned Cart Recovery– This feature enables store owners the ability to send automatic emails reminding customers of abandoned and unfinished orders.
- Targeted Email Marketing– Shopify offers an integrated email marketing service. This allows customers to sign up for store newsletters.
- Designing Your Store– Tons of free and premium store templates. Simple live preview theme editing. The ability to edit HTML and CSS on most plans.
- Managing Your Store– Process customer orders directly on the admin dashboard. Manage your online store on the go. View detailed customer accounts and profiles. The ability to create customer groups based on location, purchase history, and more. Single or multi-page checkout. Multiple languages.
- Configuring Products– Multiple products options including size, color, etc. Sell physical products, downloads, and services. Custom product optimization tools for search engines.
- Marketing Your Store– Discount codes, discounts, and custom gift cards. Social media buttons and sharing. Targeted email marketing for sending store newsletters and promotions. Sell on Facebook and list products on Google and other comparison shopping websites. $100 Google and $50 Facebook advertising credits.
- Optimizing Your Store (SEO)– Built-in search engine optimization tools that give you control over titles, h1 tags, and other META tags. Integrated blogging platform that can be used for optimization purposes.
- Tracking and Reporting Tools– Advanced store tracking and reporting features. Showcase best selling products. Simple integration with Google Analytics.
- Payments, Taxes, and Shipping– Over 100 payment gateways including Shopify Payments, Google Pay, Stripe, Amazon Payments, PayPal, and Authorize.net. Multiple taxes and currencies. Fixed and weight based shipping rates. The ability to offer free shipping. Automatic 3rd party shipping rates on Advanced plan.
- Hosting and Securing Your Store– Free SSL certificate. Level 1 PCI certified. Uptime guarantee of 99.98%. Faster servers across the globe.
Shopify has one of the most inexpensive pricing in the industry, starting at $29/mo. Their pricing is so diverse that it will suit many different budgets. As mentioned earlier, Shopify entitles users to unlimited bandwidth on all of their plans. Furthermore, Shopify offers discounts of up to 20% for annual prepayments.
Here is a better look at their plans:
- Shopify Lite – $9/mo., this is an extra solution you may use if you don’t want to run a fully-functional online store. It allows you to embed a Buy button on your store, sell on social media and use Shopify’s POS mobile app if you plan to sell products in person.
- Basic Plan– $29/mo., unlimited products, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited file storage, 2 users and support through all of their contact methods. This plan limits gift cards, reporting, and third-party real-time shipping.
- Shopify– $79/mo., unlimited products, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage, 5 users and support through all of their contact methods. This plan limits advanced reporting and real-time shipping.
- Advanced Shopify– $299/mo., unlimited products, bandwidth, & file storage, 15 users and support through all of their contact methods. This plan does not limit any features.
- Shopify Plus – additional plan for large merchants with custom quoted pricing.
Note: Shopify charges up to 2% in transaction fees if you do not use their in-house credit card processing service Shopify Payments
Plan Recommendation: Most online start-ups find the best success using their standard and Advanced plans. Their Basic $29/mo Shopify plan is the best if you are only beginning your eCommerce journey. However, when you sign up for a free trial we recommend you to pick $79/mo Shopify or $299/mo Advanced plan to fully explore the capabilities of this eCommerce website builder. After you get accustomed with it you may evaluate your business and go with the plan that gives you the most value.Sign Up for 14-Day Free Trial
Store Launch Process
Shopify is easy to launch and the company provides a quick store launch process guidance in their knowledge base. Once you sign up for a free trial, you may follow the simple steps below to launch your store:
- Add a test product
- Customize and design the look and feel of the store
- Point the store to a custom domain – this is optional and not required
- Add About Us and other informational pages
- Add more product inventory to the store and organize them in collections
- Setup a user-friendly navigation to your products and collections
- Create custom shipping rates
- Set up payment methods and options
- Customize tax rates
- Create Policy pages and add them to your checkout page
- Review your store
- Launch the online store
The twelve steps above are great for those that do not have enough time and are looking for a quick way to get their store in front of millions of people. We recommend completing a full store configuration before launching the store.
Shopify makes it easy for almost anyone to add products to their store. The product wizard enables users to add basic product details and other advanced options such as search engine optimization and tags. Additionally, Shopify has integrated a barcode field that is required for adding products on Google Shopping.
Furthermore, the platform enables store owners to import products in bulk using a CSV template. Alternatively, a variety of apps is available that will help you import products from major eCommerce platforms.
Adding a Custom Domain to Shopify
While this step is optional if you are only trying this store builder or adding a a store to a sub-domain of your existing website, if you plan to run a standalone eCommerce website you will need to purchase a custom domain and point it to your Shopify store. Shopify allows store owners to purchase a domain name through them or use an existing domain.
Purchasing a domain through Shopify will be convenient for most people. However, the more advanced store owners will probably have a domain already and will want to point it to their Shopify store. Fortunately, Shopify makes the process extremely simple. Once the domain is added to the domains section under the store settings tab, Shopify gives you an IP address that has to be placed in the A record field with your domain registrar.
When you sign up for Shopify your store will automatically use their default store template. While most users will find the it useful, others might find it too simple. Fortunately, their theme store has 10 free themes. All of the themes can be edited using HTML and CSS. Furthermore, one can easily change the theme appearance and settings without touching any HTML or CSS – this can be done through “theme settings.” It also comes with a live preview so the changes can easily be viewed before saving.
If you are not fully satisfied with their free template collection the theme store has over 50 premium themes starting as low as $140 – something to consider if their free themes do not work for you.
Apps and Integrations
In terms of selection, the Shopify “app store” is one of the largest. Their app store carries a diverse range of extra features that help improve store optimization, management, and sales tracking. All of the apps are made to have a clean and simple integration with Shopify.
The image above is what you can expect to find in their “app store.” Some are free, while others charge a fee.
As of May 2018, the company has over 3.2M Facebook likes and over 230,000 Twitter followers.
Shopify Support and Resources
Generally speaking, Shopify offers a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week customer support via phone, live chat, and email ticketing. The support contact method is not the same among all of their plans. The contact method you are eligible for is indicated under each plan. Their support team is customer oriented and seem to have extensive knowledge in ecommerce.
Furthermore, their help page offers forums, shortcuts, manuals, frequently asked questions, and an active forum. More than likely, the answer to your question will be found in one of these resources.
Their shopping cart has been gaining popularity because it is extremely simple and gives store owners a quick way of launching an online store. Here are some reasons of why you should use their shopping cart:
- One of the easiest shopping carts to use
- Unlimited bandwidth is included with all of their plans
- Plans start as low as $9 per month
- No transaction fees, if you use their credit card processing service
Without a doubt, Shopify continues to be one of the easiest platforms to manage and launch online stores and it is the best BigCommerce alternative. The Canadian based company continues improving their shopping cart and has made it difficult for its competition to keep up with them. If you are looking for a simple and quick way of creating an online store, Shopify is the platform for you.
As with any eCommerce website builder, we recommend testing out their platform by signing up for the 14 day free trial. The free trial offers more than enough time to test out the software.
The company is offering a free trial for 14 days. The signup is one of the easiest; asking for a store name, email address, and password. It does not ask for a credit card. You can use the 14 days to test out the service and start designing and configuring your store. If you think that the shopping cart meets your needs, choose one of their plans and launch your online store.Sign Up For a 14-Day Free Trial