Select Page

Shopify Review

Launched in 2005 and headquartered in Canada, Shopify has a decade of experience in the ecommerce site building arena, with over 175,000 online stores currently powered by its platform. Shopify’s servers are located in the United States.

Shopify has grown from a small, unknown company to one of the leading (if not the top) ecommerce site builders, helping businesses sell over 10 billion dollars of products so far. Shopify is easy enough to use for small “mom and pop” shops yet powerful enough to handle large ecommerce businesses with thousands of products to sell.

The Shopify site builder uses a simple dashboard with drag and drop functionality that requires no coding. However, if you want more customization options than the ones that are built-in to the platform, Shopify gives you complete access to HTML and CSS codes. With Shopify, you can use one of their professional pre-designed templates to build your online store, or you can hire a professional designer to build one from scratch (or do it yourself, if you know how).

  • Features 75%
  • User Friendly 86%
  • Support 80%
  • Value for Money 85%
  • Overall 81%

Ideal For

Online Stores

 

Video & Photo Gallery

 

Needless to say, images are an important piece of any successful online store. Your customers want to get a good look at what they are buying, and Shopify definitely makes that possible. Your products can be viewed with zoom functionality, in image galleries or by video.

Image editing is done on Shopify using Aviary photo-editing software that is available through your Files page. The Aviary editor allows you to perform standard editing such as cropping, resizing, reorientation, saturation adjustments and brightness changes. It also has some advance editing tools such as red eye and blemish removal. If you need more than Aviary offers, you can look in the App Store for third party tools.

For photo galleries, light boxes or slide shows, you have the option of using the basic features that are built in to Shopify’s platform, or you can use one of the many different photo gallery tools available through third-party apps.

 

Shopify Product Gallery | Shopify Review | BestWebsiteBuilder.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to single images and photo galleries, you can also post videos to your Shopify website, which make the customer experience more positive. With Shopify’s built in video players, you can embed videos in your product descriptions, on website pages or in your blog posts using the url from a video streaming website such as YouTube or Vimeo. When you add a video to your website, Shopify gives you the ability to “embed responsively” with an improved embed code that will enhance the video appearance and performance across devices.

If you are looking for a professional photographer to either take pictures or create videos for your products or business, Shopify Experts are available to assist.

 

 

Social Media

Shopify is integrated with all of the major social media and social networking websites so you can easily post the icons for your accounts on your website.

For Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter you can enable home page sharing, product sharing or blog post sharing, and you can decide whether or not you want to display the number of shares. In addition to Shopify’s built-in social media tools, there are a wide variety of social media applications in the Shopify App Store that can be plugged in to your store if you want additional social features such as showing comments, tweets, Facebook posts, and more.

In addition to providing your social media account information and customer sharing options, the Shopify ecommerce platform makes it possible for you to sell your products directly through Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter – without them ever having to leave their favorite social media websites. Talk about a way to help you reach more customers, through more channels!

 

 

Email, Newsletters & Communications

Shopify does not offer its own email hosting accounts, however if you registered your domain through Shopify you can set up an unlimited amount of email forwards. By using email forwarding, you can set up a custom email address that matches your domain (such as [email protected]) and manage the emails through another email hosting service.

If you purchased your domain from another service provider, you can use whatever email hosting services that they offer. The other option is to use a third party email hosting service, such as Google Apps email. There are a wide variety of options available in the Shopify App store.

When you are running an online store, communicating with your current, past and potential customers is essential to your business’s success. With Shopify’s email marketing tools, available through the App Store you can create both text and newsletter type campaigns that can drive people to your website. You can set your site up to include newsletter sign-ups for guests as well as for registered customers.

If you are looking for live chat functionality on your website, there are many third party tools available that can easily be plugged in to your website.

 

 

Online Store

Shopify is designed with the needs of ecommerce businesses front and foremost in mind. It provides the tools, functions and power for online stores of all sizes – from small ones just getting started, to large enterprise businesses with 100’s and 1000’s of products to sell. Shopify knows that running an online store and processing orders can take more than one person, so it gives you the ability to designate different levels of administrative access to your site – both during the building process and for the management of day-to-day operations.

A great feature Shopify offers is the ability to not only market your products on your website, but also through social media channels such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. With the use of Shopify Buy Buttons, you can promote your products on other websites as well.

For businesses that are also running a retail location, Shopify offers all the hardware you need to run an on-site location including cash registers, scanners, card readers and receipt printers – all of which can be synched with your online store so that you only have to manage one set of inventory.

Shopify offers just about every feature you need for running an ecommerce (as well as a retail business if that’s what you need), all tied together in one easy to manage dashboard.

 

 

Shopify Online Store | Shopify Review | BestWebsiteBuilder.com

 

Blog

Even though Shopify is an e-commerce site building platform, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on having a fully integrated blog on your store. Both search engines and customers love fresh content, and with the Shopify built-in blogging engine, it’s easy to do. With it you can post information about sales, promote new products, provide useful tips, share success stories, or any other unique content that will appeal to your target market.

Shopify’s blog manager includes standard blogging features – just enough for a basic blog. If you want more advanced blogging features, you can use one of the third party plugins.

 

 

Site Analytics

Your store is integrated with Google Analytics; and Shopify also provides its own built in metrics and statistical reports that can be viewed right from your dashboard. The amount of information and type of reports that you receive will depend upon the level of package you have purchased.

With Shopify analytics, not only do you get site performance information such as where your customers are coming from, how they found you and visit counts, but you will also receive reports that analyze your store sales performance. When you have information about orders, conversions, customer demographics, popular products and sources of visitors (and buyers), you can create marketing and communication strategies that will boost your sales.

 

 

Shopify offers a great selection of free professional looking templates, as well as premium themes that range in price from $80 to $180 – which compared to having someone build you a site from scratch, is a great price.

There are pre-designed templates for many different industries including art and photography, clothing and fashion, jewelry and accessories, electronics, food and drink, home and garden, furniture, health and beauty, sports and recreation and toys and game.

All of Shopify’s online stores are fully responsive across browsers, screen sizes as a well as on different mobile devices. When browsing templates, you have the ability to see a live demonstration of the site in action of both the PC and mobile versions.

Themes come with several built in customization options such as choosing your background, selecting both the type and colors of your font, navigation, page content and layout. Because Shopify gives you access to HTML and CSS codes, if you understand how to do custom coding, or choose to hire a designer, further customization is possible so that you can create a site that looks exactly the way you want it to.

 

 

Shopify Free Templates | Shopify Review | BestWebsiteBuilder.com

 

Not only are all of Shopify’s websites fully responsive and mobile ready, they also include built in shopping carts that are safe and compatible with all mobile devices. This means that your customers can browse your online store and make secure purchases while they are on the go. Shopify’s mobile checkout uses 256-bit SSL encryption and Level 1 PCI Compliant hosting to protect both customer and business data.

For owners, store management is also available from mobile devices with the use of the Shopify Mobile app, available for both iOS and Android devices. Not to mention the mobile POS system that we have already discussed!

 

 

Hosting

All Shopify plans come with reliable and secure hosting – something that is critically important if you are running an ecommerce website. With 99.98% uptime, around the clock monitoring and automatic daily backups of all your information (products, inventory, orders and customer accounts), you don’t have to worry about your online store being “closed for business.”

Shopify uses top notch security to protect your business and customer data. Stores are Level 1 PCI compliant and your shopping cart uses 128 bit encryption (the same technology that is used by big banks) and comes with a free SSL certificate. This means that your customers can rest assured that all their information is safe and secure.

Shopify websites can only be published using their hosting services so it is not possible to use third party hosting suppliers.

Storage & Bandwidth

All Shopify plans come with free bandwidth, meaning you don’t have to worry about the amount of traffic or transferred data that your site generates. With Shopify’s “scalability,” the platform and hosting have enough power to handle large ecommerce websites with multiple hits or purchases per second.

With the exception of the Starter Plan which offers 1 GB of storage space, all the plans offered by Shopify also come with unlimited file storage. If you are building a large store with several images per product, this is extremely important.

 

In addition to all the great features that are built-in to the Shopify platform, users have access to over 1000 3rd party tools and applications, many of which are free. Each of these apps can be plugged in to add increased functionality to your website, to enhance the content or look of your website, to help you promote and market your store, to assist with store management and/or to help you keep track of all your records for tax time.

Compared to other ecommerce platforms, the available of third party tools is something that Shopify excels at, not only in the sheer number of options available but because each one is fully integrated so all you need to do is plug them into your site and go. Within the Shopify Store you will find tools divided into useful categories such as marketing, sales, social media, shipping, inventory customer service, accounting, tools and reporting.

 

Shopify AppStore | Shopify Review | BestWebsiteBuilder.com

 

 

By design, Shopify online store websites are built using industry SEO standards to make them easily indexed by search engines. Additional search engine optimization can be added as you build your site because Shopify lets you customize the header, title, description and metatags of your pages. Each product you add to your store can also be tagged to make it easy for search engines to find them. Another great SEO feature is that Shopify allows you to create custom, SEO friendly URLs for every page on your website.

In addition to Shopify’s built in SEO tools, users have access to a wide variety of third-party SEO, marketing and traffic generation tools in the Shopify App Store

 

 

When you are running an online business, it’s essential for it to be accessible all the time. If there is a problem with your site or you have questions, it’s important to have access to help any time – which is what Shopify offers. Support is available 24/7 by email and live chat and phone support is available with all of the packages except the Starter Plan. Shopify Plus users also have access to their own dedicated account managers. Four different phone support numbers are available by region – North America, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

When it comes to indirect support, Shopify has an extensive support center that includes FAQ’s, user manuals, video tutorials, a comprehensive knowledgebase of articles, a forum and the Shopify Blog.

 

Pricing

Basic Shopify

All the basics for starting a new business
$29/month
  • 2 Staff Accounts
  • Unlimited Products
  • Unlimited File Storage
  • 24/7 Support

Shopify

Everything you need for a growing business
$79/month
  • 5 Staff Accounts
  • Unlimited Products
  • Unlimited File Storage
  • 24/7 Support
  • Gift Cards
  • Professional Reports
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery

Advanced Shopify

Advanced features for scaling your business
$299/month
  • 15 Staff Accounts
  • Unlimited Products
  • Unlimited File Storage
  • 24/7 Support
  • Gift Cards
  • Professional Reports
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Advanced Report Builder
  • Third Party Calculated Shipping Rateds

Conclusion

For people who want to sell products online, the Shopify ecommerce platform is a good option. While there aren’t as many free templates available as some other solutions offer, Shopify provides a wide selection of premium templates at affordable prices (much less than if you were to hire someone to build a site for you). In addition, users have access to template CSS and HTML codes which allows for customization of existing templates and/or creating a totally unique website from scratch.

Two other features that make Shopify stand out are the POS system and its fully integrated payment processor. With these, not only can you handle online transactions, but you can also process in-person payments. Even for businesses not ready to have a full-blown online store, with the Shopify Lite plan you can have a website to promote your business and process credit card transactions (online and in person). Shopify provides both the software and hardware necessary to run a retail business online and at a physical location.

With Shopify, businesses can also sell their products on other websites by using Shopify Buy Buttons, or on social networking sites such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

If Shopify doesn’t have a feature that you need built-in to the platform, you can surely find a tool in the App Store that will get the job done. Shopify does a fantastic job organizing the 1000+ options available by grouping apps into collections. This makes looking for what you need easy and efficient.

In addition to apps that will increase the functionality of your website, there are dozens of applications available to help you promote your website, manage transactions, handle accounting, and more – everything you need to run your business.

100’s of 3rd party plug-ins & apps

Integrated point of sale system in the online store

Fully integrated payment processor for both online and in-person CC transactions

24/7 Support

f

Very limited number of free templates

Limited Blog features

No single page checkout

Transaction fee even if you don’t use Shopify’s payment processor