Shopify is an ecommerce platform that allows you to create a website and use its shopping cart to sell online, on social media, or in person. It provides a marketplace app, product and inventory management, and a mobile app. It costs $9 to $299/month and is best for those who need an online store and still accept in-person payments.
Shopify Pros and Cons
Easy to use; has an extensive app marketplace—integrates with just about any software
No built-in features for customer product reviews, inventory count sheets, and detailed search engine optimization (SEO)
Affordable plans—starting at $9/month
Does not offer as much discounting or product categorization compared to other ecommerce platforms
Responsive customer support
It is not as flexible for custom coding when it comes to website development
Who Shopify is Best For
- Those who sell products through social media: Selling in social media platforms can easily be done through Shopify. For as little as $9 a month, you can embed a “Buy” button to your website or in your social media page like Facebook.
- Those who need a scalable online store: The variety of its plans enables your online store to grow with your business. You can start with very few products and move on to have as many as necessary with its unlimited product allocation.
- Small businesses that need an online storefront with a free connected point-of-sale (POS) app: Small businesses that would like to run an online store and still accept offline payments can benefit from Shopify’s plans. Its interface makes it easy to manage customer orders, inventory, and other sales channels, including Shopify POS and Amazon, from one central dashboard.
Shopify’s pricing scheme covers paid subscription options with fees that range from $9 to $299 per month. It also has a customized enterprise plan for businesses that process high volume of orders. The main differences between the plans include transaction fees, multi-store management, and the number of staff accounts.
All Shopify plans include unlimited website bandwidth for free and a “Buy Button” you can add to your social media channels as well as unlimited products, social media sales, and Shopify POS for in-person sales. There are no setup fees.
Online Payment Processing Fees (per transaction)
+ 30 cents
+ 30 cents
+ 30 cents
+ 30 cents
Buy Button & Social Media Sales
Branded Online Store
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Advanced Report Builder
24/7 Live Support
Actual rates are not declared, but according to its website, Shopify offers a 10% discount on annual plans and a 20% discount on biennial plans. Please also note that some states require Shopify to collect sales taxes that are not included in the fees stated above.
Shopify Alternatives 2020
Shopify offers ecommerce-specific solutions with the goal of making online store management more efficient for you. Let us take a look at some of its most essential features.
Shopify has a built-in shopping cart, along with a storefront you can customize that is mobile-commerce ready. This means your store gets a free 256-bit SSL certificate allowing you to accept credit card payments and integrate with 100 payment gateways. It is also mobile responsive.
Your store also has a dashboard for automatic shipping updates from carriers like UPS, USPS, and FedEx. You can set up shipping rates by fixed-price, tiered pricing, weight-based, and location-based rates.
Shopify also automatically handles major country and state tax rates based on your location.
Store Management and Order Fulfillment
You can set up profiles and groups for your customers based on location, purchase history, and more. Order fulfillment can also be accomplished within the dashboard but you also have the option to connect to fulfillment centers and drop shipping carriers.
You can offer digital products and product variations—there is no limit to the number or types of products you can sell in your online store. Inventory management can also be done within Shopify.
Shopify has a mobile app that allows you to capture payments, fulfill orders, manage inventory, and email or call customers. All your data—products, inventory, orders, and customers—are synced with Shopify. This mobile app is completely different from the POS app (allows in-store payments) included in most Shopify plans.
Online Sales Channels
With Shopify, you can post your items on sale on Facebook Messenger, Facebook Shop, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, Pinterest, and other platforms.
Add-ons and Integrations
Shopify’s app marketplace is one of its strongest features. It integrates with almost all apps or software you can think of—common business and accounting apps like QuickBooks, partner with drop shipping companies—Ordoro, Inventory Source, and eCommHub, fulfillment companies, and integrate with email marketing services. Search engine optimization (SEO) tools, running ads, and promotions are also included. The list grows every day.
While Shopify’s features are already comprehensive, a few important built-in features such as product customer reviews and advanced SEO are still missing. Added flexibility in setting up product discounts and categorization would also be appreciated. It is important to note, though, that most of the features it lacks can be added through its app marketplace.
Most Helpful Shopify Reviews
Users who left positive Shopify reviews said that its customer support is helpful and knowledgeable. Though there are not a lot of negative Shopify reviews, some users expressed the need for more free templates, while others find its unique coding language a bit difficult to learn.
Great customer support
“I think that Shopify’s customer service is phenomenal. Whenever I need help or if I have any questions at all, I can just live chat them and they’ll be available to help me—which is really great.”
Difficult to customize
“Shopify lacks the ability to freely design or use custom code and is not that user-friendly for the majority of web designers/developers. If you plan on utilizing Shopify for your online marketplace and expect to customize it without the use of third party applications, then I’d suggest you put a little study time into Liquid (a template language created by Shopify written in Ruby) before you get started.”
Shopify Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Shopify Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliant or PCI Certified?
Yes. Shopify is certified Level 1 Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant, which means all data and customer information are secure.
Can I use my own domain name?
Yes. You can purchase a domain name within Shopify or use an existing one that you own. Shopify also provides a free myshopify.com domain name to all stores on sign up.
What types of support does Shopify provide?
The Shopify support team is available 24×7 via email, live chat, and phone. Shopify also has a help center, discussion forums, and an ecommerce university to provide a supportive community environment for Shopify owners. Shopify Experts are also available if you prefer to work with a Shopify-approved ecommerce designer, developer, or marketer.
Our Top Ecommerce Software Picks
If you are not sure if Shopify is right for you, this article on the best ecommerce platforms is a review of our top choices. Our team looked at a variety of platforms and narrowed down our recommendations based on price, ease of use, features, payment processing, inventory management, additional sales channels, integrations, reporting and analytics, user reviews, and customer support.