Shopify is the most popular eCommerce website builder in the world. The whole software that runs this platform revolves around the creation of sites focused on selling products via an online store. Thus, it’s not a good website builder for you if you want to create a blog or a newsletter.
Shopify started their operations back in 2004, given the lack of options on the market that offered an easy, simple, and efficient creation of eCommerce sites, which were already very big by the beginning of the century. Since then, the company has grown exponentially and now has over 3,000 employees at their disposal.
As big as Shopify is, not many know how it works. We’ve created this entire review after carefully evaluating what the site has to offer, and why you might prefer to use it over other eCommerce website builders.
Your Shopify website will be able to function with some of the most popular social media platforms in the world. As such, it could have full integration with Instagram, Facebook, and even Amazon or eBay should you choose to allow it.
What makes Shopify so special is the fact that you need no knowledge of coding to create your own personal eCommerce site. It would be safe to assume that you’d need to know at least the basics of website coding to properly establish a store, but that’s not the case with Shopify – all you must do is follow their instructions and your site will be running in a matter of hours.
Naturally, the most prominent feature of this platform is the sales features that it offers. However, we were very disappointed when we found out that Shopify imposes their own tax fees per each sale that your website makes – they basically force you to use Shopify Payments as your payment processor, which they have full control over.
Regardless, Shopify is one of the best eCommerce website builders, and many consider it the leading eCommerce platform on the planet.
Shopify Pros & Cons
As you probably might’ve guessed, there are some drawbacks attached to the usage of Shopify. Not everything is as good as you can get with the platform. However, the benefits of using Shopify far outweigh the cons, making it a better option for eCommerce websites than other competitors such as Wix.
- You can fully customize the website to your liking
- Shopify gives you the ability to set up an online shop in a matter of minutes, and you can have a professional website in just a few hours
- Customers regard it as the best eCommerce option on the internet – even after having tried other successful website builders
- You get full control of your stock and store inventory thanks to the management features included in this website builder
- We do not like that Shopify forces you to use their own payment platform – some of the imposes fees might not seem fair at first glance
- Although you can switch themes while editing your site, the content doesn’t adapt to the new format that you choose.
How Does Shopify Work?
Shopify gives you the option to create an eCommerce site from scratch, without having to worry about hosting it, choosing and registering a domain name, or even knowing how to code. All you have to do is register on their website and start building your online store.
The app includes a ton of features that will help you shape the store to your liking, which we will discuss later in the article.
Even though the app was created thinking of the needs of people with little knowledge about coding, Shopify still allows users to fully edit the HTML and CSS code of the site if they choose to do it. This extra versatility isn’t common in most website builders, which places Shopify a step above the majority of other eCommerce site creators.
Once you’ve fully created your site and you’re ready to start your business, you’ll be able to add additional apps to create a better experience for your buyers. There are tons of apps which are fully compatible with Shopify, and they allow the incorporation of many useful tools to your site (like order pings, live chats, notifications, and much more.
Shopify Features – What to Expect?
Shopify offers many different features, but not everything’s available to all users. Some features are only accessible if you purchase some of the costlier Shopify plans. It’s up to you to decide which of these features you consider fundamental for your site – you’ll have to buy a plan that suits your needs, but you might not want to break the bank for it.
Shopify allows you to process payments using two different methods of your choosing. You can select using Shopify Payments, which the company widely encourages you to do, or you could use any other third-party app.
There’s a disadvantage that comes with using other payment methods instead of Shopify’s, though. These methods come with an extra charge attached to each purchase, which means you’ll be spending extra money to compensate for it.
Using Shopify Payments means you won’t face additional charges, although you might have to pay between 1% to 3% for each credit transaction that goes through your store.
Personal Customer Data
Your site can host different customer profiles, and you can freely export and import this data as you see fit. This allows you to fully manipulate your store and even move it to another website if you see fit.
Search Engine Optimization (Shopify SEO)
Shopify offers full support for SEO, which allows your website to rank higher in all search engines. Shopify supports the full use of metadata, alternative text, and keyword placement within the basic build of your website. This can be further customized if you know how to write HTML code.
Shopify allows you to create personal profiles for each member of your website’s staff. Each profile can be assigned privileges within the store, but the amount of profiles that you can create is linked to the Shopify plan that you’re subscribed to.
Shopify Payment Processing
Shopify offers various ways to process payments through your eCommerce store. In fact, Shopify is compatible with more than 100 different payment processors from all around the world. Not every country is able to receive the services of Shopify Payments, but you’ll always be able to set up payments one way or another.
External payment processors are supported by Shopify. All you have to do is pay an extra fee for each transaction, but you’ll be able to allow your customers instant payment from any part of the world. To set a payment processor, simply create a merchant account in your Shopify platform and follow the steps that the website provides you with.
These payments options are often referred to as payment gateways. With these, you’ll be able to redirect transactions through a third-party source while having Shopify do all the hard work for you and your clients.
We do recommend choosing the Shopify Payments option if it’s available in your country – otherwise, choose the best payment processor to suit your needs.
Shopify Pricing & Plans
Shopify has three main plans, and an additional two to make it a total of five. Their basic plans are:
- Shopify Basic – Costs $29 a month and gives you all the basic tools that your new online business could need to thrive in a competitive environment
- Shopify – Costs $79 a month, but provides many more features than the Basic plan and allows you to create and manage a business with advanced plans and reporting features
- Advanced Shopify – Costs $299 a month, but the transaction fees used for external payment processors are much lower than in the other two plans, and it has an even greater number of features than the other two.
As we said, there are also a couple of additional plans that you might want to consider as well, although they aren’t part of the regular Shopify offering:
- Shopify Lite – Costs $9 a month and has very limited options, but allows you to sell as many products as you want without breaking the bank for your website
- Shopify Plus – A fully customizable plan where Shopify will provide you with a lot of extra features, ideal to be used by high-volume sellers. It costs around $1900 a month.
Our Final Verdict
Shopify is the best eCommerce website builder that we’ve tried. The amount of features and integration capabilities that it has put it two steps above any of its competitors. If you’re looking to create a new online store from scratch, Shopify is almost assuredly the best option that you have.
We do think that Shopify is an even greater option for people that live in countries that support Shopify Payments. The use of this feature allows you to save a lot of money on the long run. Regardless, we do feel like these external fees are used as a way for Shopify to push their own payment processor.
However, the number of benefits that your online store gets by simply being hosted by Shopify are far too many to be overlooked. It doesn’t matter if you have website-building knowledge or not – Shopify is probably the best website builder for online stores.