Many reviews can be found online when it is the matter of Shopify but none of them matter as much as this one. Shopify is the leading shop builder on an online platform in the whole industry. It contains over 600,000+, shops online and generates business of over $40 billion. No matter what you need to do, whether it is to form an online shop or an offline one in order to grow your business, Shopify caters to all your business needs.
One notable thing that Shopify has successfully done is invite vendors such as online tool providers and theme designers to come together and integrate their skillsets into Shopify in order to make it an even better platform for everyone who needs to create an online shop.
You get the option to choose between five plans offered by Shopify. The cheapest plan starts from $29 every month whereas the most expensive plan of Shopify costs somewhere south of $299 every month. With the cheapest plan Shopify Lite, you get the freedom to sell an unlimited number of products on your online store.
- Basic Shopify – $29/month
- Shopify – $79/month
- Advanced Shopify – $299/month
In terms of pricing, you can avail a huge benefit with Shopify as you pay only on a monthly basis instead of on an annual or biennial basis. You also get a 20% discount if you choose to pay annually and a 20% discount if you choose Shopify’s biennial plans but only if you choose to pay the cost upfront.
The pricing plans offered by Shopify are pretty consistent and in terms of competition, they are pretty competitive with the other big fish in the market like BigCommerce and Volusion. The only thing that sets Shopify apart is its Lite plan in which does not offer you a filly hosted online store. However, it does give you the opportunity to make use of several existing features of Shopify on your own website for a monthly stipend.
With the option to choose between 100 themes, Shopify is mobile friendly. You get full customer support on the blogging platform, the option to customize your online store, edit HTML CSS, your domain name along with the chance to host your entire website on Shopify instead of the other way around.
Shopify automatically handles your tax rates based on location, along features like flexible shipping rates, abandoned carts, multiple languages, free shipping offers, over 100 payment gateways to choose from, credit card payments and SSL certificate security.
In terms of store management, Shopify offers you features such as customer profiles, customer accounts and groups, fulfillment centers, order fulfillment, dropshipping, refunds, and email templates to streamline your work even more.
Marketing & SEO
Features such as SEO, generated sitemap,xml, discounts and giftcards may be important but they feel incomplete without social media integration, google ads, product reviews, email marketing and facebook selling which you get with Shopify.
Feature such as inventory management, product variations and organization, multiple images, SEO tags, import/export, and the chance to upload unlimited products is what makes the use of Shopify so convenient for you.
With the help of Shopify’s dashboard, product reports, export reports, google analytics, traffic and referral reports, you can manage your business’s progress with better clarity.
With everyone using their mobiles to buy and sell everything lately, it is imperative that your store has a functional mobile app. Shopify gives you features such as order fulfillment, mobile dashboard, inventory management, email/call customer feature, and data synchronization.
Shopify Payments, Gateways and Transaction Fees
Shopify offers you to payment options for credit card acceptance. The simplest one that most users choose is Shopify’s own in-built payment system. With this option, you won’t have to pay any transaction fees. However, you must consider your credit card rate which in the U.S. alone is between 2.4% to 2.9% per transaction. The rate that you pay completely depends on the plan that you are on. The lowest transaction fees only become accessible to you if you are on the most expensive plan.
The second option is a third-party payment gateway that allows you to process card transactions. Here you get to choose between a 100. Using this option will mean that you need to setup a merchant account with its own payment gateway provider.
Whether you choose a third-party payment gateway or Shopify Payments, it will all completely depend on which plan of Shopify are you on. There are a few notable things about Shopify Payments however. The biggest one of them being that it is only available in a few countries.
- Puerto Rico
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
If you don’t belong to any of these countries, you will most definitely have to choose a different payment gateway provider with its own transaction fees that may be significantly higher.
However, Shopify does give merchants the option to integrate with more payment gateways than those provided by any of its competitors in the market. This basically means that if you are a merchant based outside of the listed countries that are supported, you can easily find a payment gateway that suits your needs.
Ease of Use and Customer Support
Shopify may be easy but it doesn’t magically give you the kind of store you want. You will have to invest a couple of hours learning the basics of the platform and once you have done that, it is smooth sailing from that point. The bonus in this department is that you get round the clock online as well as phone support from the customer support team of Shopify ready to help you whenever you are stuck in a rut and no doubt one of the best support services I have ever encountered.
Following is a list of tools you get access to with Shopify.
- Insert descriptions, details and pictures
- Managing inventory
- Organizing products by categories to help customers find what they need more easily
- Discount code engines
- Creating blogs and web pages with ease
- Order and customer tracking
- Up to 70 payment processors for different currencies
- Customer accounts for customers so that they can log into their own accounts in order to manage information such as their address, credit information and orders.
- Sorting customers based on location, size of order, etc. This gives you the possibility to categorize your customers based on their behaviors so it is easier for you to market your products to them better.
- Managing multiple staff logins so that your staff can be provided with different permission levels to handle your online shop based on their experience and skillsets.
Hosting and Backup Options
In the monthly package that you choose, Shopify provides you with unlimited bandwidth so that your online shop can run smoothly. This basically means that you can have up to 10 million visitors on your online shop in a month and you will not be charged a dime over your package cost. In this department, Shopify beats big fish like BigCommerce that does come with a bandwidth limit which can be quite restrictive for you.
The best thing about Shopify is that it manages the entire hosting process for you so that you get a chance to oversee more important aspects of your business such as marketing and revenue turnover. Shopify makes sure that all the necessary security measures are taken along with the handling of technical details to ensure that your online store keeps running without any online security threats like hacking.
The online store that you run with Shopify is Level 1 PCI compliant along with an SSL certificate and 128-bit encryption technology which is mostly used by banks to keep user information as secure as possible. Once your visitor’s information is on Shopify’s servers, it won’t go anywhere without your consent. You can also make this information visible to your visitors to form a bond of trust with them.
Shopify App Store
Shopify gives you an extensive list of apps that can be added to your online shop in order to automate your business tasks. You get the option to choose however many apps you need from the 1200 offered to you on Shopify’s app store.
You don’t only get tools to ease sales and marketing tasks but also several additional tools that allow you to handle administrative tasks such as handling inventory, orders, shipping, customer service and even bookkeeping easily.
Even though Shopify incorporates several basic functions to ease these tiring tasks, the applications available on the store make them even better to do, maybe even fun. This makes paying a monthly fee for these apps worth it if in the long run, they end up saving you both time, money and effort.
Take the example of the live chat functions that allow your store to improve with the help of pre-sale questions, customer service, customer reviews and rating widgets so that your visitors get a chance to see what other people have been saying about your services and products. Reviews, positive ones in particular, help a business go a long way in terms of new customers.
You have the option to pick the apps best suited to your business. If you don’t think you need a particular app, there is no reason why you should add it to your store. You have complete control in this department. While apps will make it easier for you to run your business, too many of them might not also be a good idea.
Shopify Theme Store
With Shopify, you get to choose between 100 free and premium themes that you can use to make your online shop appealing to your visitors. It is important for your online shop to reflect the products that you sell along with looking professional yet elegant enough to build credibility. Yes, it is a lot to ask but wouldn’t it be a great deal if you could get all that in one theme? Shopify gives you a hundred to choose from! If your customers feel like they can trust your store, they will trust your products as well.
While some of the themes Shopify offers are free, others are paid. The paid themes range anywhere from $140 to $180. Though this may appear to be rather pricey, keep in mind that you only pay for it once. You don’t have to make monthly fees or pay any recurring charges for the theme in the future. This can easily count as an investment towards your online store as it ends up satisfying your customers, who then end up making a purchase, thereby making you happy by increasing your sales.
If you are functioning on a tight budget, then there is always the option to choose from free themes which offer you a lot of functionalities like the paid themes. Once you start generating traffic onto your store and have some revenue collected, then you can switch to a paid theme of your choosing and benefit with even more visitors and sales.
Shopify proves to be a very strong e-commerce platform in the market. But there are two specific things that piqued our interest the most.
- Premium Themes: These allow your store to look professional and attractive while only charging you a fee once for them. But the benefits are endless.
- Shopify Apps: Allow you to add more functionality to your store to handle administrative tasks better.
What Shopify does is, it understands the needs of your business. The biggest benefit you get with this platform is the unlimited bandwidth. With other e-commerce platforms, you get a certain limit of bandwidth which if you exceed, you have to pay a certain amount per gigabyte of bandwidth your store uses in a month which can end up being highly inconvenient.
You get a lot in a package that barely costs anything. You get store front themes and completely integrated apps that give you ease in handling admin tasks, saving you a lot of time in the long run. Shopify is a unique option for any and all businesses out there due to the amount of flexibility it provides merchants, with regards to payment gateways. All in all, our opinion is that Shopify brings more to the table than it takes away.