Shopify was founded in 2004 by three friends in Canada who attempted to open an online store for snowboarding gear. One of the friends was a programmer by trade and was having trouble finding a good storefront design to meet the company’s needs. He decided to create his own, and from there, the three friends expanded their business and began making templates for other online stores.

The Good

Shopify has a major presence in the e-commerce market. They power an enormous number of online stores and is considered an industry leader. Shopify also offers its customers many different options for creating an entirely unique storefront, and its tools are integrated so well that you will find every tool you need to manage your online store (as well as in-store POS) right at your fingertips. Shopify has already helped businesses sell over 8 billion dollars worth of products.

Shopify offers more than 100 professionally designed templates. It also has a theme store where you can pick a theme that specifically corresponds to the industry your product is part of. On top of this, Shopify allows third party professionals to design themes, which are then featured among their other storefront templates. Lastly, Shopify has its own programming language known as Liquid, which can be used to make a completely unique storefront. Customers with a little coding experience can also design their own storefront using HTML or CSS.

Things that set apart Shopify from other e-commerce platforms are:

  • Several different forms for selling including e-commerce, social commerce, buy buttons, and point of sale (POS).
  • Over 100 themes and templates available to choose from including responsive designs that are crucial when being seen on a mobile device.
  • Mobile functionality allows for shop owners to manage their store from their mobile device.
  • Shopify offers their own payment gateway, “Shopify Payments” which means you won’t have to go through a third-party payment gateway.
  • At $14/Month you can start selling products on your website which is a very affordable price compared to competitors. The Starter Plan does only allow you to have up to $25 products on your website but if you subscribe to the Basic Plan, you will be paying a very good price to get unlimited products on your website.
  •  They offer the flexibility to use over 70 different third-party payment gateways if you choose not to use “Shopify Payments”.

Shopify’s Basic package costs $29/month and includes an unlimited amount of file storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited products, and a discount code engine. For those that aren’t ready for an online store, Shopify offers a Lite starter package that gives users everything that the other plans offer except for ways to sell on your own online store, Pinterest, and Twitter. Users can choose from special templates and they are guaranteed use of a secure checkout system. If you need more than their Lite and Basic package, Shopify has two other plans to choose from that range in price from $79-$179 per month. The other differences between these plans is their credit card rates online and In Person. The online credit card rates for Shopify’s Lite and Basic plan are 2.9% + $0.30 and 2.6% + $0.30 and 2.4% + $0.30 for the Pro and Unlimited plan, respectively. They even have plans available for enterprises which means they are basically able to service any kind of business out there.

Shopify’s storefronts are highly secure. Shopify is certified PCI compliant, and the company hosts so many online stores and handles a massive amount of transactions using its own payment system. Even though Shopify has its own system, it also works with 70 other payment gateways so there is no need to have Shopify handle your transactions if you already have a Shopify-supported payment gateway. Along with the security of Shopify’s payment system, the company also offers a free highly secure SSL certificate to protect customer’s information.

Shopify’s App store also features more than 500 apps (both free and paid), all of which are geared toward optimizing your online business. Lastly, Shopify has 24/7 customer support. Shopify has even listed special telephone numbers for international customers, and their website has changeable language settings that make it friendly for all users.

The Bad

Shopify’s apps may streamline your online store operations, but many of them charge monthly prices on top of the price you pay to keep your Shopify store running. The apps are helpful and can save you a lot of time when it comes to crucial business operations like accounting, marketing, and shipping, but it’s important to make sure the monthly cost is worth the investment based on your unique store and products.

There aren’t too many things that concern us with using Shopify as an eCommerce platform but a couple of them were:

  • Lite plan doesn’t allow for you to sell online and only through Facebook or a Point of Sale system.
  • Need to pay for the Unlimited plan in order to get the lowest card rates for transactions that occur.
  • Using “Shopify Payments” removes the transaction fee but if you choose to go with a third-party payment gateway that transaction fee will be required.

If you decide to use an external payment gateway meaning you don’t use Shopify Payments then you will be charged some percentage of a transaction fee ranging from 2% to .5% depending on which plan you are on.

The Lite and Basic plans come with a variety of features which is great but you will need to at least pay for the Pro plan in order to have gift cards, proefssional reports, and abandoned cart recovery. And in order to get an advanced report builder and real-time carrier shipping, you will need to pay for the Unlimited plan.

The Bottom Line

Shopify is a trusted e-commerce platform. If you are looking to create a highly functional and attractive online store, Shopify is a worthwhile investment. Shopify’s month-to-month costs are slightly higher than its competitors, but with its modern storefront templates and its integration abilities, Shopify has truly proven itself as a leader in the e-commerce industry.

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4 Shopify Reviews

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  1. User Score

    0

    June 13th, 2016

    I would urge people trying to build a serious business not to choose shopify.

    Shopify is great until you have a problem. Their support is none existant. They are not very pro business, for example they are quick to disable your account if a payment method fails. Unlike other sites which will block admin access, shopify take your site offline. Better not lose your card associated with your shopify otherwise when your card gets cancelled your site will go offline!!!! Support will not help you either!

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  2. User Score

    10

    February 4th, 2016 Waco, TX

    I set up a Shopify store with my wife for a small business she started selling some of her baby clothing. It was really easy, which was nice because we didn’t need to hire a developer or a designer. We had our questions answered really quickly and it’s been smooth sailing ever since.

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  3. User Score

    10

    March 2nd, 2015

    I used Shopify for a past project – a custom athletic sock store. I found it to be easy and user friendly and was surprised at how good the store looked with minimal effort and design skills. For me, the best part is the 24/7 support. I will definitely use them for my next entrepreneurial project.

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  4. User Score

    10

    February 12th, 2015 Pleasant Grove, UT

    I’ve setup 4 different stores with Shopify over the past year and have loved how simple and effective it is. Here’s what I love about Shopify:

    1. That it only takes me about 1-2 hours to get everything setup from the domain to design, all the way to getting my products imported.

    2. My site and checkout are all mobile optimized right out of the gate.

    3. Getting setup with Shopify’s merchant account only takes me a day or two before I’m live and taking orders.

    4. They have a really cool fraud protection system that evaluates the risk levels of each transaction. Great for preventing charge backs.

    5. The mobile app makes it super easy to manage orders when I’m away from the office.

    6. I’m a dropshipper and Shopify makes drop shipping super easy. Whenever I hit the “fulfill” button on an order it automatically emails fulfillment the details of the order.

    Love Shopify! These guys are great. Highly recommend for anyone wanting to get into Ecommerce.

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