Shopify Review “September 2018” – Your One Stop Ecommerce Solution

  • Dilawar Hussain
  • Sep-04-2018
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Shopify is a Canadian company that launched its ecommerce platform in the year 2006. Their goal was and still is pretty simple: provide users with a straightforward way to sell their products online and free the sellers from all kinds of technical obstacles.

Shopify states that they are already serving more than 600,000 entrepreneurs and businesses on their platform. Also, when you look at the fact that there’s no free option available on Shopify, this is definitely an impressive number since everyone is a paid subscriber. This also makes them one of the top online store builders in the World.

Today in our Shopify review September 2018, we are going to test Shopify and find out how it works, how easy it is to setup, and how anyone can maintain a Shopify store. We will also put it through a rigorous test to see what features it provides, what limitations it enforces, and if it’s a great alternative to top industry players like WooCommerce or even Amazon’s marketplaces.

In our Shopify review, We will also check out and compare all their paid plans to see which one makes the most sense for your business.

What is Shopify and how does it work?

Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce solution providers out there, It provides entrepreneurs with all the tools and features they need to start their very own online store.

Shopify is a one-stop ecommerce solution that offers a store building service right out the box. You don’t need any technical know-how to set up your own store with Shopify as it’s just a couple of clicks.

You are only a few clicks away from creating and publishing your online store with Shopify. It works very simply. You sign up for an account on Shopify.

You either go for the 14-day free trial or choose a one of the 4 different paid plans. Once done, you need to enter your store information and set it up. All this should only take around 5 mins and your store should be up and running on Shopify.

You can then start adding products and descriptions on your store to complete the set up. You don’t need any prior technical knowledge to work with Shopify, it’s as simple as they come. Even a complete newbie will feel comfortable creating a store with Shopify.

Shopify Pros and Cons

Here are some of the most positive points of Shopify along with its shortcoming. Check out the Shopify Pros and Cons to see what this platform offers and where it falls flat.

Pros

  • The Shopify Lite Plan is the cheapest option to start selling online with the hosted ecommerce solution.
  • The abandoned cart recovery tool is available with the Shopify basic plan which means that this tool is provided at a much cheaper price than its competitors.
  • Shopify is a great choice for anyone who’s interested in dropshipping.
  • It does away with all the transaction fees as long as you use the built in payment processing system known as Shopify Payments.
  • It has a really crisp and clean interface that’s quite easy-to-use.
  • It provides a wide range of both free and paid themes.
  • The POS options available with Shopify are excellent and help it stand apart from its rivals.
  • Paypal integration is available for all stores on the platform.
  • Shopify has stated that around 600,000 online stores have been developed using their platform which makes it reliable and trustworthy.
  • A large number of third-party apps available for Shopify extends the functionality of the platform even further.
  • Shopify handles everything quite well which also includes the creation and application of product categories.
  • VAT and other sales tax rates are automatically calculated and applied with the platform.
  • The Buy button by Shopify lets you use Shopify buying with any existing website built on another platform.
  • Shopify also offers a built in blog.
  • You can also easily create AMP versions of all your product pages.
  • Shopify provides you with both iOS and Android apps so you can easily manage your store on the go.
  • Provides a risk-free 14-day free trial so you can test it before committing to it.

Cons

  • Some key functionality that you will mostly expect from the platform is only available through third-party apps and tools like Digital downloads, reviews, ratings, etc.
  • Adding any custom fields such as file upload options, text boxes and other fields is unnecessarily complicated.
  • Professional reporting feature is only available with the more expensive Shopify plans.
  • Shopify Payments is only available in certain countries so you can only sell from those countries which include United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia. If you don’t reside in any one of these countries then you need to use a Third-party payment gateway.
  • You will be charged transaction fees when using third-party payment gateways.
  • The product images are not always displayed with the same aspect ratio. So, if you want to avoid messy presentation of your product images, you need to crop all your images beforehand.
  • The abandoned cart recovery tool only allows you to send one automated follow-up email.
  • The cheapest plan ($9 ‘Shopify Lite’) doesn’t allow you to create a full-fledged online store.
  • It is very difficult to export blog posts from Shopify.
  • It is also not clear how you can access the phone support outside of North America, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Shopify for Facebook

Shopify allows you to sell your product directly on Facebook. You don’t even need a fully-functioning website or an online store because you can just use Facebook to directly sell your products.

This functionality comes even with Shopify Lite plan that allows you to sell on Facebook. You can add a “Shop” tab on your Facebook page where customers can buy your products without ever leaving Facebook at all.

This is great for people who have a high engagement Facebook page where they can add a shop section to allow their fans to buy products directly from the page.

Shopify for Instagram

Shopify doesn’t only allow you to sell on your Facebook page, in addition to that, it also lets you sell your products directly on Instagram which is a fairly recent feature,

If you have a high number of followers on Instagram then you can easily monetize those followers buy providing them with clickable products.Shopify for Instagram

Every product image you share can be tagged with a Shopify product link. If an images has multiple products, you can tag all the products in the image so each product directs to its product page.

This way you can promote and sell your Shopify products directly on Instagram. However, not everyone can start selling on Instagram as there are certain requirements you need to meet before Shopify lets you sell on Instagram.

Eligibility requirements for Instagram Sales Channel

  • You need to have an approved Facebook sales channel with a Facebook Shop.
  • You also need Online Store sales channel.
  • You also need access to a business profile on your Instagram.
  • You need to have at least on the Basic Shopify plan or higher.
  • The Instagram app on your mobile should be the latest version.

Shopify Pricing and Plans

Shopify offers multiple different subscription plans that cater to different types of users. From small businesses to large companies anyone can use Shopify for their online stores.

Here’s a complete breakdown of all the Shopify packages and prices.

Shopify Lite Plan (No Online Store): $9 per month

  • Online Credit Card Rate With Shopify Payments
    • 2.9% + 30¢
  • Transaction Fee
    • 2.0%
    • If you use Shopify Payments, there will be no transaction fee. However, using any other payment gateway will incur you a variable fee.
  • Features
    • Sell with buy buttons
    • Sell on Facebook
    • Sell in person
    • Chat and Email Support

Basic Shopify Plan: $29 per month

  • Online Credit Card Rate With Shopify Payments
    • 2.9% + 30¢
  • Transaction Fee
    • 2.0%
  • Additional Features
    • Unlimited number of Products, Bandwidth, and online Storage.
    • 24-hour available Support
    • Built in Discount Code functionality
    • Multiple Sales Channels
    • Ability to create manual orders
    • Online Store and Blog
    • Shopify Shipping options
    • Free SSL Certificate for your online store
    • Abandoned Cart saving tool
    • Two additional Staff Accounts

Shopify Plan: $79 per month

  • Online Credit Card Rate With Shopify Payments
    • 2.6% + 30¢
  • Transaction Fee
    • 1.0%
  • Additional Features
    • Ability to generate Gift Cards
    • Professional looking reports
    • Five Additional Staff Accounts

Advanced Shopify Plan: $299 per month

  • Online Credit Card Rate With Shopify Payments
    • 2.4% + 30¢
  • Transaction Fee
    • 0.5%
  • Additional Features
    • Advanced Report Creation
    • Shipping rates available in real-time
    • Fifteen Additional Staff Accounts

Check out this detailed article on Shopify pricing and plans to see how much Shopify costs and what plans are suitable for your needs.

Is Shopify Secure?

Most people often ask, specially all the newcomers if Shopify is secure or not, well, Shopify is absolutely secure. If you are worried about getting your credit card details stolen or anything similar then put your mind at ease.

Shopify is a trusted brand and used by more than 600,000 businesses from all over the World. They take care of all the personal and financial details of their users with utmost security. They strive upon the fact that their user data is absolutely safe and secure.

Shopify Features

Shopify comes fully-equipped with all the standard features you require for your online business. If you want advanced features then it mostly requires third-party applications that are easily available on the Shopify app store.

Also keep in mind that some of these features only come with higher level of Shopify subscriptions. Check out each plan before you purchase.

Checkout

  • Language Options: You can display your checkout page in 50 different languages from around the world. Shopify is also working to add language support to their Admin panel.
  • Automatic Shipping Rate Calculation: Shopify automatically calculates accurate shipping costs from UPS, USPS, and FedEx. You can use Shopify Shipping feature to buy and print shipping labels directly from your admin panel which is great.
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery Tools: If a customer leaves your Shopify store without making a purchase then you can send them a recovery email to get them to come back and finalize their purchase..
  • Automatic Tax Calculator: Automatically calculate the tax rates for your location and the location of your customers.
  • Checkout On Your Domain: You can securely host the checkout page on your own domain instead of a different URL.

Store Management

  • Guest Checkout Option: Allow your customers to purchase from you with Guest Account. This way they don’t have to create an account on your store.
  • Customer Accounts: If you want to get personal with your customers then provide them the option to create their own personalized accounts for easier future purchasing.
  • Customer Segmentation: Use the customer accounts to find more about their preferences, likes and dislikes to provide them with personalized items and content.
  • Fulfillment Center Options: Shopify can easily integrate with Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), Shipwire, and Rakuten Super Logistics.
  • Dropshipping Apps: Shopify works flawlessly with Oberlo, Ordoro, Inventory Source, and HubLogix.

Marketing & SEO

  • SEO Best Practices: Shopify already follows best practices for SEO and offers SEO-friendly features like a customizable H1 tag and provides the ability to write title and meta descriptions as well as product tags.
  • Discounts: You can create customized discount codes and coupons for customers. You can also create gift cards on higher Shopify plans.
  • Social Media Integration: Easy integration with top social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. You can also sell on Facebook and Instagram with Shopify.
  • Email Templates: Shopify does offer its own email templates, but you can also use MailChimp with it for advanced email functionality.
  • Product Reviews: Provide social proof with customer feedback and rating for your items and products. Customers can leave comment-style reviews for the products on your store.
  • Analytics: Use the built-in analytics to see all the reports for your online store. See which products are getting the most engagement, what’s selling, and why your visitors are bouncing.

Product Management

  • List Unlimited Products: Put any number of products up for sale on your store and manage them with Shopify’s intuitive inventory management software.
  • Product Variations: Put up multiple variations of your products like different colors, sizes, etc.
  • Digital Products: Easily sell digital products like software, games, and apps on your Shopify store.
  • Bulk Import/Export: Easily import all your collection from your previous hosting or export your entire catalog with just a click.

Web Hosting

  • Unlimited Bandwidth: You don’t have to pay any bandwidth overcharge fees as it’s completely free with Shopify.
  • Automatic Updates: Your store will be automatically updated and upgraded to the newer version whenever there is a new update by the developers.
  • 99.99% Uptime: Your store will always stay online even during peak traffic seasons.

Shopify POS

Shopify POS feature allows you to sell anywhere you want and at any time. It works for physical stores where you don’t need to have different bank devices.

All you need is Shopify POS system which comes with simple software and hardware to provide you with an easy and simple solution for accepting payments.

You get all the payment synced to your online Shopify payments account where you can check your overall sales and generate any detailed reports.

  • Secure payments: Easily accept credit/debit cards, gift cards, etc.
  • Multi-channel selling: Sell through multiple sales channels including online and offline stores.
  • Advanced checkout: Provide your customers with discounts and coupon codes. Offer multiple shipping options on checkout.
  • Plug-and-play hardware: Easy to use hardware for physical selling.
  • Inventory management: Keep all your inventory synced, no  matter where you are selling from.
  • 24/7 Customer support: Get all the help that you require through Shopify’s reliable support team.

Shopify Mobile

  • Access Your Site From Anywhere: You can manage your Shopify store from anywhere through a mobile device. Take advantage of the management on the go and use your store from anywhere via your phone.

There are numerous other features that Shopify offers, check Shopify’s full feature list.

Shopify Customer and Technical Support

Shopify customer support is available via all the standard channels which include phone, live chat, and email. You can get in touch with them anytime as it’s available 24/7.

There are different phone numbers for people from different countries. Here are the phone numbers for North America, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

Apart from that, there are numerous other ways you can look for answers to your queries. Here are a number of different support options that are available to all Shopify users:

  • Support Landing Page
  • Help Center
  • Forums
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Shopify Experts
  • Articles/Guides

The quality and responsiveness of Shopify customer support varies depending on who you are asking. If you ask someone who faced a disgruntled support rep then they will only have negatives while others might have a completely positive experience.

So, it’s all about who you find. However, whenever we contacted Shopify support for any questions/concerns then we found them highly responsive and helpful. There will always be that one support rep who can’t seem to figure out a way to help you, but that’s very rare of an occurrence.

Shopify Themes

Shopify outshines its competition when it comes to aesthetics. They offer a full-fledged theme store where you can get access to thousands of beautiful themes for your online store.

Shopify offers both paid and free themes so that everyone can try a new look for their online store. All the themes are professional and provide a completely new look for our website.

Themes come with all the standard features that you would require for an online store and some themes even offer advanced features that enhance the overall functionality and experience of your website.

How to pick the best Shopify theme?

This is one of the most popular questions that all the newcomers often have. They are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of themes available on the theme store which leads to frustration and often leaves them undecided on which theme to pick.

Here are a few basic factors that you should keep in mind when choosing the perfect Shopify theme for your store.

  • Your niche and theme should blend
  • Mobile-Friendly
  • Customization
  • Paid or Free
  • Speed
  • Number of Products to Sell
  • Tech Support

Keep these points in mind whenever you are trying to decide on a theme for your store. Also, check out the detailed guide on how to pick the best Shopify theme to make things even easier for yourself.

5 Best Shopify Apps to Get You Started

Apps are also overwhelming at times because new store owners have no idea which apps to choose for their new Shopify store.

This shouldn’t be a problem because there are only a handful of apps that you should be using depending on what type of store you are running. For example, if you have a dropshipping business then you should have a dropshipping app, cart recovery app, etc.

Here are the 5 Shopify apps that you should use on your store regardless of the niche.

Recart: Recart is a cart recovery tool and offers an intuitive Shopify app that lets you target those potential customers who left your website after adding products to the cart. Send them emails to encourage them into returning and finalizing their purchase with Recart.

Mobile Web Boost: Since mobiles have been one of the major sources of traffic for online stores, it’s only fair that you optimize your store’s mobile experience for maximum sales. This app add intuitive add-to-cart and buy buttons on your store’s mobile site to increase sales.

GrooveJar: GrooverJar is one of the best marketing apps available for Shopify that uses behavioral psychology to encourage your buyers into purchasing from you. It uses interactive pop-ups and customized emails to attract the attention of your potential buyers.

Simple Push: Simple Push is another marketing app that provides you a simple way of sending push notifications to your subscribers, buyers, and visitors. It also lets you set up exit intent pop-ups on your store and the ability to send Facebook chat notifications.

Product Reviews Add-On: This app is a must for any new Shopify store even if you have an old, well-established store then you still need it if you don’t already have it. It sends automatic emails and notifications to your customers so they can provide feedback and ratings on the products they received.

If you are looking for more Shopify apps then checkout this extensive list of Best Shopify apps.

Which Shopify Pricing Plan is Best?

This is another question that varies depending on the niche you are targeting, the type of store you are running, and the magnitude of your online business.

If you are just starting out then the Basic Shopify plan should suffice as it provide you with all the features that you need to run your new business online. However, once you hit it off and the customers start pouring then it’s time to expand and upgrade your subscription to a higher level.

Here’s a detailed analysis on how to choose the right Shopify pricing plan.

Why Shopify?

Apart from being one of the most affordable ecommerce solution out there, Shopify also offers ease-of-use so that everyone can set up shop within minutes. Here are some other factors that should convince you on why Shopify is the best choice for you.

  • Thousands of beautiful themes. (Paid/Free)
  • Stripe and third-party payment integration.
  • Simple PayPal integration.
  • Support for blogs.
  • Easy to track and maintain customer data.
  • As simple to use as any other CMS.
  • Perfectly optimized for SEO.
  • Integrations with MailChimp or any other email provider.
  • Ability to add coupons and discount codes.
  • Complete HTML and CSS editing capabilities.
  • A “Buy Now” CTA button can be placed on other sites.
  • Easy POS Integration.
  • Customizable profile for any number of employees.
  • Integrations with live chat services.
  • Gift cards availability.
  • Advanced tracking and reporting.
  • Built-in Abandoned Cart recovery tool.
  • One-click Integration with help desks.
  • Shipping carrier integration.

Conclusion

If you are on the lookout for an all-in-one eCommerce solution, a one-stop shop for your online business needs, then Shopify is a great fit for you.

You should definitely look into Shopify and check if their plans are actually right for you.

There are other alternatives to Shopify even free ones, but if you are looking for something that’s easier to set up, simple to manage, and affordable then Shopify is a clear winner.

If you have any questions, comments, or experience with Shopify – then let us know in the comments below!

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Written by Dilawar Hussain

Dilawar Hussain is a professional blogger who loves gaming, technology, and ecommerce. He spends his time testing new strategies, hacks, and tricks to help the ecommerce community.

4 Responses to Shopify Review “September 2018” – Your One Stop Ecommerce Solution

  1. Richelle says:

    Which Shopify plan do you think is the best for a small business? I don’t want to spend a lot on making a full-fledged store and currently selling through Facebook.

    • Dilawar Hussain says:

      The Shopify Lite Plan is the cheapest option to start selling online with the hosted ecommerce solution. So, you can just get the cheapest Lite plan and start selling on Facebook. This way you get a Shop button on your Facebook page and get to sell products in a more professional way while doing away with the hassle of managing a website.

  2. Jena James says:

    Hi there,

    Thanks so much for this informative review, I am looking to start my own Ecommerce business. Initially, it will be small to minimize any financial risk but I don’t want to push myself to a corner. Is Shopify a better option for me over hiring a developer to build a site out of scratch for me?

    Thank you.

    • Dilawar Hussain says:

      Hi Jena.

      Honestly, I think Shopify is able to accommodate big ecommerce stores as well. Therefore, I am going to say it is safe to start with them.
      Also, you can hire developers to adapt Shopify according to your needs. Shopify also comes with import and export features that will make the migration to a new system simple.
      However, keep in mind that migrations aren’t that easy and do involve a lot of work.

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