Shopify Review (2022) — The Key Pros and Cons

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Shopify review (logo)

In this Shopify review, I look at one of the most popular online store builders available and provide a complete overview of its key pros and cons. Is it right for your business?


There is a huge number of online store building tools now available, and choosing the right one for your business can feel really difficult. Shopify is probably the best-known ecommerce solution currently on the market — but is it actually the best fit for you?

Well, in this review, I’m going to help you find out. I’ll cover the platform’s pricing, templates and selling features in depth — and by the end of the post, you’ll have a clear idea of whether Shopify is the right ecommerce solution for your project, or whether you’d be better off with an alternative.

Let’s dive in with an important question. What is Shopify?


What is Shopify?

Shopify is a web application that lets you create your own online store. It provides you with a wide range of ‘themes’ that can be customized to meet your own branding requirements, and allows you to sell either physical or digital products.

The platform aims to let beginners build an online store themselves — you don’t need to know how to code to use Shopify.

However, the platform also caters for developers, because it provides full access to CSS, HTML and Liquid (Shopify’s templating language).

Example of a Shopify theme, 'Craft'
Example of a Shopify theme, ‘Craft’

How does Shopify work?

Shopify is a ‘hosted’ solution, meaning that it runs on its own servers, and you don’t have to buy web hosting or install any software to use it.

You build and manage your Shopify store in a web browser — so, as long as you have access to the Internet, you can run a Shopify business from any location.

Now, the platform’s ‘big idea’ is to give you the key things you need to build and market an online store ‘out of the box’: templates, a payment processor, a blog and even email marketing tools are included on most Shopify plans.

That said, you can customize a Shopify store more extensively through the addition of apps — more on these later — or using custom code.

Finally, you don’t own a copy of Shopify, but instead pay a monthly fee to use it.

I’ll come to pricing shortly, but first a quick note on something important: the number of people using Shopify.


The number of Shopify users — and why this matters

Shopify was founded in Canada in 2006 by German-born entrepreneur Tobias Lütke, who realized that an ecommerce solution he created to sell snowboards could actually be used by — and sold to — other businesses.

Fast forward to today, and the platform has generated over $543bn in sales, and is now used by millions of merchants in 175 countries — according to Internet stats company Builtwith.com, Shopify currently powers around 3.8 million online stores. Over 10,000 staff now work for the company.

These statistics matter because when you choose a hosted solution for your online store, you are placing a huge amount of trust in the company providing it.

There have been instances in the past of similar services closing down — for example, Magento Go — resulting in serious problems for their users, who had to migrate their stores over to a different platform at very short notice.

However, Shopify’s large user base and market share makes the prospect of this happening very unlikely.

Now: how much does Shopify cost to use?

Shopify review — video version

If you’re in a hurry, you can watch the video version of our Shopify review below.

Free Shopify trial | Subscribe on YouTube


Shopify pricing

There are five Shopify pricing plans available, with the following monthly fees:

  • Starter — $5 per month
  • Basic — $29 per month
  • Shopify — $79 per month
  • Advanced — $299 per month
  • Shopify Plus — custom pricing.

(The above prices are in USD; if you’re based outside the US, you’ll find that the plan names and features are the same, but fees will be in your own local currency, and broadly equivalent to the US ones.)

There are a couple of things it’s worth mentioning quickly here:

  • If you pay annually for your plan, you can avail of a sizeable discount

    paying for your first year’s service upfront rather than monthly gives you 10% to 50% off your plan (with the precise discount depending on location). Paying for 2 or 3 years in advance gives you a 20% and 25% discount respectively.
  • Additional fees apply to make the most out of Shopify’s point-of-sale features, which let you sell goods in a physical location. (I discuss these in more depth later on in this Shopify review

    ).

There is also a free trial available, which lasts for 14 days (and can usually be extended if you need more time to finish building your store).

You can access this free trial on the Shopify website.

Shopify pricing for its most popular plans
Shopify pricing for its most popular plans

Key differences between Shopify plans

All the Shopify plans provide the core ecommerce functionality you’d expect — on every plan, you can create catalogs of unlimited products, accept credit card payments, sell gift cards, offer discount codes on purchases and make use of a wide range of third-party apps.

But there are a few key features to watch out for — and not miss! — by selecting the wrong Shopify plan.

These are:

  • A fully-featured, standalone online store — The ‘Starter’ plan doesn’t let you create one. Instead, you can use the Starter plan for selling on social media and messaging apps; and for adding a ‘buy button’ that you can embed on existing websites.
  • Point of sale features — you can only use Shopify’s ‘point-of-sale’ system to sell goods in person (i.e., in retail outlets, market stalls etc.) if you are on a ‘Basic’ plan or higher.
  • Staff accounts — the number of ‘seats’ you get varies by plan

    (from 1 user on ‘Starter’ to 15 on ‘Advanced’).
  • Reporting — full reporting functionality is only available on the $79+ plans.

  • Third-party real time carrier shipping — this is available as a paid-for add-on, via an annual purchase of your plan, or on a monthly ‘Advanced Shopify’ / ‘Shopify Plus’ plan

    .
  • Inventory locations — you can assign inventory to retail stores, warehouses, pop-ups etc. on any plan, but the number of locations you can use varies with each.

  • Transaction / credit card fees — these get lower as you go up the pricing ladder.

  • Shipping discounts — the more expensive the plan, the more generous these are (the availability of these discounts depends on your country, however).

  • International selling features — you can only set country-specific prices for your products on the ‘Advanced’ or ‘Shopify Plus’ plans (on other plans, a straightforward currency conversion will be applied). The same goes for adding duties and import taxes at checkout — you’ll need to be on an ‘Advanced’ or higher plan to do either.

Shopify Plus, the enterprise-grade version of the platform, provides additional functionality and elements aimed at big corporations, including:

  • the option to host and manage ten stores using one account
  • guaranteed server uptime

  • enhanced

    API access

  • ‘white glove’ level of support via a dedicated ‘Merchant Success’

    programme
  • access to more apps and integrations
  • more

    sophisticated options for selling in multiple currencies

  • sales automation tools.

(Our Shopify vs Shopify Plus comparison gives you a more detailed overview of all these differences).

Shopify buy button
The ‘Starter’ plan lets you use a Shopify ‘Buy Button’ to sell on other websites, but if you need a fully-editable online store, one of the other Shopify plans will serve you better.

I’ll explore all the core Shopify ecommerce features shortly, but first, let’s take a quick look at how Shopify lets you accept payments for your goods.


Accepting credit cards using Shopify

There are two ways to accept credit card payments with Shopify: with Shopify Payments, its built in payment processing system, or by using a third-party payment gateway.

Let’s look at both options in turn.

Shopify Payments

The cheapest and easiest option — for users in countries where it is supported — is to use Shopify Payments, Shopify’s built-in payment system.

If you use this, you don’t have to pay any transaction fees at all on any plan except the ‘Starter’ one.

(If you’re on the ‘Starter’ plan, you’re looking at transaction fees of 5% per sale when you use Shopify Payments. This is quite a high rate).

Additionally, there’s a credit card rate to factor in — in the US, depending on your plan, you can expect to pay a credit card processing fee of between 2.4% and 2.9% of each transaction.

(In other countries, this rate can be considerably lower).

Setting up Shopify Payments
Setting up Shopify Payments

Other payment gateways

The other way to accept payments in Shopify is by using a third party ‘payment gateway’ — of which there are over 100 to choose from.

If you do this however, Shopify will apply a transaction fee to each sale. On the ‘Basic’ plan or higher, this is 0.5% and 2% depending on the plan you’re on; a 5% fee is applied if you’re on the ‘Starter’ plan.

So, unless you’ve got a good reason not to, then using the built-in ‘Shopify Payments’ payment processor will usually work out as the most cost-effective option.

However, you should note that Shopify Payments is only available only to users based in certain countries / territories, namely:

  • Australia

  • Austria

  • Belgium

  • Canada

  • Denmark

  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany

  • Hong Kong

    SAR
  • Ireland

  • Italy

  • Japan

  • Netherlands

  • New Zealand

  • Singapore

  • Spain

  • Sweden

  • United Kingdom

  • United States of America

So if you’re not selling from one of those countries then you will have to use a separate payment gateway provider, and you will encounter additional transaction fees for doing so.

Now that we’ve gone through pricing and payment functionality, let’s discuss how Shopify stores actually look.


Shopify themes – how good are they?

Shopify provides 9 free ecommerce templates (or ‘themes’) that you can use as the starting point for your store design.

Examples of some free Shopify themes — ‘Boundless,’ ‘Simple’ and ‘Brooklyn.’
Examples of some free Shopify themes — ‘Boundless,’ ‘Simple’ and ‘Brooklyn.’

Now, this number of bundled templates is small by comparison to the range offered by key competitors like Wix or Squarespace (these two platforms offer 800+ and 140+ themes respectively).

The free Shopify themes are attractive however, and they are fully responsive too, meaning that they will automatically adjust their layout to suit the screen size of the device they’re being viewed on (smartphone, tablet, desktop computer etc.).

And, if the free templates don’t appeal, you can use a paid-for or ‘premium’ theme — of which there are now 87 available. Most of the premium themes are provided in a few variants, further extending the template choice available to you.

The premium themes range in price from $180 to $350 and, as with the free ones, they are all fully responsive.

Responsive theme
Shopify’s themes are responsive, meaning they will automatically adapt themselves to suit the device they’re being viewed on — mobile, tablet, desktop etc.

In the Shopify theme store, you can browse all the free and paid templates using a range of filters, including:

  • template price
  • industry type

  • catalog size
  • features

This means that you should be able to find a suitable theme for your store without too much difficulty.

In terms of the aesthetics, the Shopify templates are all professional in appearance, easy on the eye, and very contemporary in nature — no complaints at all here.

Using Shopify's filters to select a theme
Some of the filters available to you to help you choose a Shopify theme

You can browse all the Shopify themes here.

Shopify themes and customer support

One thing worth considering when deciding on a theme is whether or not it is officially supported by Shopify.

All the free themes are — but if you use a premium template, you may occasionally need to contact the developer who designed it for help with installation or customization queries.

All in all, Shopify’s template offering is of a high quality — but if you are not content with the options provided and wish to create something that is truly unique, there is always the option of building your own theme.

It’s easy to access the Shopify theme code, and a lot of support materials, videos and tutorials are provided to help you develop your own template (or modify an existing one so that it contains the features you need).

Shopify's most popular premium theme, 'Impulse'
Shopify’s most popular premium theme, ‘Impulse’

Once you’ve started a Shopify trial, picked your theme and decided upon a plan, you can focus on selling with the platform.

So, let’s look at how easy it is to do that.


Interface and ease-of-use

Shopify is pretty easy to use – it’s got a clean, intuitive interface and provides a generally good user experience.

In common with many other contemporary content management systems, a menu on the left allows you to access features or content, which you can then customize or edit on the right.

The Shopify interface
The Shopify interface — as with a lot of content management systems, a menu on the left allows you to select features or content, which can then be manipulated on the right.

The interface lets you set up and manage a variety of ’sales channels’.

Key ones include:

  • An online store: this is your main website

    , which you can host on your own domain.
  • Facebook: a tab on your Facebook page where users can browse and buy your products.

  • Buy Button: this channel allows you to embed ecommerce functionality — via ‘buy buttons’ — on any website or blog.

  • Instagram: this allows you to make your Instagram posts ‘shoppable.’

  • Shopify’s ‘Shop’ channel — this allows you to make use of accelerated checkout features via the ‘Shop Pay’ system and sell on Shopify’s Shop app.
  • Wholesale: this lets you create a separate, password-protected storefront where you can sell products B2B (note: Shopify Plus customers only).

The above list covers the key sales channels that you can use ‘out of the box.’ Several others — including big-hitters like Amazon, Ebay, Etsy and Pinterest — are available via third-party apps.

All in all, it’s fairly easy to use these sales channels — and the interface in general — but there’s a couple of issues worth zooming in on, to do with content layout and images.

Content layout

Shopify recently introduced a new theme format, ‘Online Store 2.0’ (OS 2.0), and this unlocks a lot of extremely useful content presentation options that weren’t previously available in the platform.

Chief amongst these is a a new drag-and-drop builder that lets you add blocks and sections to page layouts, and move them around with ease.

Shopify's new drag and drop editor
Shopify’s new ‘Online Store 2.0’ drag and drop editor

There is a confusing aspect to page editing in Shopify’s new OS 2.0 format though.

In order to access the drag-and-drop page builder, you have to use the ‘customize theme’ option (in the home section of your Shopify dashboard) rather than simply finding your page and editing it in the more obvious ‘pages’ section.

And, rather than being able to use the drag-and-drop editor to change the content of your pages, it is used to edit page templates. You still have to edit page content using a basic WYSIWG editor (see screenshot below) — and then apply the relevant template you’ve designed to it.

Shopify’s ‘WYSIWYG’ content editor.
A ‘WYSIWYG’ content editor is still used to edit page content in Shopify

You get used to this, but it makes for a bit of an odd workflow.

Another improvement that could be made to the new drag-and-drop editor involves forms — at the moment you can only drop a simple ‘contact’ or mailing list signup form into page templates.

The options for creating contact forms are currently quite limited in Shopify
The options for creating contact forms are currently quite limited in Shopify

It would be better, as is the case with competing platforms like Squarespace or Wix, if a fully-fledged form builder was available for creating more bespoke forms.

So, if you need to create add custom forms to your Shopify store, you will currently need to resort to some coding, or the purchase of an app.

Overall though, the new Online Store 2.0 is a really big step forward for Shopify — and hopefully these issues will be ironed out soon.

Product images

If you upload images to Shopify with different aspect ratios, they won’t be cropped automatically to a uniform ratio.

In other words, your product catalogs will consist of a series of differently-shaped images — something that can impact negatively on your store design.

You can get around this problem by cropping your all your images to a uniform ratio using a photo-editing app (like Photoshop) before you upload them — or afterwards, using Shopify’s built-in photo editor (pictured below).

Shopify's photo editing tool in action.
Although Shopify gives you access to a photo editor that lets you manually crop your images to consistent ratios, it would be better if this could be done automatically.

(Of the two approaches, the former is probably best.)

You could also add a bit of code to your template to force images to display in a certain ratio — but this won’t be ideal for those without technical skills.

There’s also the option of using a paid-for app to standardize your image ratios (of which quite a few are available from the Shopify app store) but this will obviously increase your costs a bit.

These issues with the drag and drop editor and product images aside, the interface is very user friendly. It shouldn’t present too much of a learning curve to users who are setting up an online store for the first time.

Now, let’s take a look at using Shopify in another way: in a physical location — at ‘point of sale.’

How to save on Shopify

If you’re interested in using Shopify, you can save considerably on your subscription if you purchase your plan in a particular way. Here’s how:

  1. Start a trial using this link.
  2. When your trial is over, choose a one-year, two-year or three-year plan. Depending on term length and your location, you’ll save between 10% and 50% on your plan costs.

Shopify Point of Sale (POS)

One particularly strong feature offered by Shopify that deserves a special mention, and helps it stand out from its competitors, is its comprehensive Point of Sale (POS) functionality and hardware.

Shopify's point-of-sale hardware. The 'Point of Sale' kit allows you to use Shopify to not only run your business online, but to sell in physical locations too.
Shopify point-of-sale (POS) hardware

Shopify’s POS hardware lets you use the platform to sell not just online but in physical locations too, using your iOS or Android device. A wide range of hardware is available to purchase — barcode readers, tills, receipt printers etc. — to help you do this.

In many territories — including the US, EU and the UK — you can buy these items online directly from Shopify’s hardware store (pictured below). If not, you will need to find an authorized reseller.

Shopify's official hardware store
Shopify’s official hardware store

There are several applications for these point-of-sale tools. For example, they allow you to sell…

  • in a ‘brick and mortar’ retail outlet
  • in a pop-up shop

  • from a market stall

  • at an event

    .

And all whilst keeping your offline and online sales data in sync, and your inventory figures accurate.

It’s important to note however that POS is not available on the ‘Starter’ plan; and you’ll need to pay for a ‘Shopify POS Pro’ add-on get the most out of the point of sale features.

The cost for the ‘POS Pro’ add-on is quite high: $89 per month, per location. So, if you run a few physical stores, your monthly POS outgoings will increase substantially.

(Shopify POS Pro is included with all Shopify Plus plans).

The main differences between Shopify POS Lite and Shopify POS Pro
Key differences between Shopify POS Lite and Shopify POS Pro

Although the built-in POS features (‘Shopify POS Lite’) cover the basics, and will be fine for merchants with simple needs, you will need the add-on if you want to:

  • work with an unlimited number of store staff

  • facilitate ‘buy online, pick up in store’

  • facilitate exchanges

  • provide custom printed receipts

  • define staff roles and permissions

  • create purchase orders
  • attribute sales to particular staff members (for commission or performance-analysis purposes).

The below video provides a demonstration of the Shopify POS system, or you can learn more about its features here.


Importing and exporting

Importing products and data

As with similar store builders, Shopify allows you to import product data from a CSV file (a spreadsheet format where data is separated by commas).

Importing products via CSV in Shopify
Importing products via CSV file in Shopify

This is useful if you want to bulk upload a lot of new products to your store, or if you are migrating data from another ecommerce platform.

Another option for moving product data across is Shopify’s free ‘Store Importer’ app, which helps you bring data across from a wide range of popular online store builders, including BigCommerce, Squarespace, Square and Etsy.

Using the Shopify 'Store Importer' app to bring data from Etsy into the platform
Using the Shopify ‘Store Importer’ app to bring data from Etsy into the platform

As for text-based data, If you want to import posts from a blogging platform such as Bloggr, Tumblr or WordPress, your options are to:

  • copy and paste content

  • use the Shopify AP

    I
  • invest in a third-party app (such as the ExIm app).

Exporting products and data

You can export product data to CSV file format very easily with Shopify.

When it comes to exporting pages and posts though, this isn’t doable out of the box. If you have the relevant technical skills however, you can make use of Shopify’s API to get them out of the platform.

Alternatively, you can use a third-party app to export your content (ExIm is again a good choice here – it gives you a wide range of options for getting your content out of the platform).

And speaking of options…


Working with product variants and options in Shopify

Shopify allows you to create up to 100 different variants of a single product.

However, out of the box, these variants can only involve 3 product options.

Editing product variants in Shopify.
Editing product variants in Shopify

So, for example, if you were selling shoes, you could allow users choose from up to 100 different versions of a particular shoe, each involving 3 different product options (for example colour, size and style) — but you couldn’t allow them to pick a shoelace colour on top of this.

Thankfully, a workaround exists involving third-party apps — there are quite a few available (like ‘Infinite Options,’ pictured below) that lift these limits, but you will need to pay for them.

The 'Infinite Options' app
The ‘Infinite Options’ app lifts the restrictions Shopify places on product variants

Another option is to add ‘line item property’ code to your store to capture more product options, but you’ll need to be comfortable with editing code in order to do so.

Adding more product options using line property item code in Shopify
Adding more product options using line item property code in Shopify

The bottom line is that if you are selling something that doesn’t involve a large number of variants and product options you will be absolutely fine with Shopify — and if your needs are more extensive, apps do exist that get rid of the limits discussed above.

That said, it would be better if a more flexible approach to product options was available ‘out of the box’ (as is the case with rivals BigCommerce and Squarespace, which both offer much more generous product option and variant limits).

Shopify vs Squarespace video comparison

Shopify trial | Squarespace trial | Shopify vs Squarespace comparison


Using Shopify product categories and collections

Although there’s room for improvement regarding how Shopify handles product variants and options, the way it handles product categories is superb.

You can manually add products to a collection or — and this is a huge time saver for users with large product ranges — use ‘automated collections.’ 

This basically means setting up rules (based on product titles, tags etc.) which automatically categorize your products so that they end up in the correct collection.

Setting up an automated collection in Shopify
Setting up an automated collection in Shopify

This can save you hours if not days of data entry and manipulation — especially if you have a large number of products in your online store.

You’ll need to make sure you name or tag your products in a consistent way to take advantage of this functionality however, as the automation only works if you have a very consistent naming convention applied to product titles, tags etc.

But used in the right way, it’s great.

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Shipping products

Shopify is flexible when it comes to shipping, allowing you to set:

  • Free shipping rates

  • Flat rates

  • Price-based rates

  • Weight-based rates

  • Local delivery / pickup rates
  • Calculated (‘real time’) shipping rates

It’s easy enough to set up shipping rules based on price or weight, and you can create ‘zones’ to cover groups of countries really easily.

Setting up shipping options
Setting up shipping rules in Shopify based on weight and country

When it comes to real-time shipping rates — where carriers provide live estimates at checkout, based on distance, weight and the number of boxes needed to ship items — you have two options, depending on your location.

In certain countries — the ones highlighted in the table below — you can use the ‘Shopify Shipping’ service. This lets you provide real-time shipping quotations from local postal services, print shipping labels and provide preferential rates on shipping.

Fulfilment locationAvailable shipping carriers
United StatesUSPS, UPS, DHL Express
CanadaCanada Post
AustraliaSendle
United KingdomEvri, DPD
FranceColissimo, Mondial Relay, Chronopost
ItalyPoste Italiane
SpainCorreos

If you’re based in a country where Shopify Shipping is available, you’ll find the feature included on all plans, and the discounts provided can be quite generous on the higher-level Shopify plans (for example, in the US, you can avail of up to 88% postage discounts on higher-tier plans).

The below video highlights how Shopify Shipping works.

The other option — and the only one for users not based in countries where Shopify Shipping service is available — is to use third-party calculated shipping rates.

However, this will involve an extra cost or upfront investment, because third-party calculated shipping rates are only available if you:

  • pay an additional monthly fee
  • pay annually for your Shopify plan (this will bring a saving, but involves a higher initial outlay)
  • pay monthly for an ‘Advanced Shopify’ or ‘Shopify Plus’ plan.

This contrasts negatively with some competitors, notably BigCommerce, which makes this feature available on all its plans (including its $29.95 entry level plan).


Accepting multiple currencies in Shopify

Displaying prices and facilitating checkout in local currencies can improve sales rates considerably.

And, unlike several other well-known ecommerce solutions — notably Squarespace and Wix — Shopify lets you do this easily.

Unlike several leading competing ecommerce platforms, Shopify lets you sell in multiple currencies.
Unlike several leading competing ecommerce platforms, Shopify lets you sell in multiple currencies

Whilst it’s great to have this as a built-in feature, there is a bit of room for improvement with it.

First, unless you’re on a Shopify Plus plan, or using a third-party app, your store visitors will have to use a country selector to manually choose their preferred location / currency. They will automatically be prompted via a pop-up to do so, and this works pretty well – but some visitors might benefit from a more seamless, automatic currency conversion process (and some users don’t love pop-ups!).

Second, if you want to set specific product prices for specific countries, you’ll need to be on an ‘Advanced’ plan or higher (otherwise a straightforward currency conversion will take place, which might lead to pricing that is inappropriate for some markets).

Similarly, you can only apply duties and import taxes if you’re on the ‘Advanced’ or ‘Shopify Plus’ plan.

And finally, currency conversion only works if you’re using Shopify Payments. If you are based in a country that doesn’t yet support Shopify Payments, you will need to use a third-party app to do so.

The lowdown on multi-currency selling is that Shopify is a pretty good option for merchants wishing to do this, but there’s a bit of room for improvement.

BigCommerce, for example, lets you sell internationally using third-party payment gateways, without the need for currency selectors and with more control provided over per-country pricing rates — all on its entry-level plan, too.

Building a multilingual website with Shopify

In addition to facilitating transactions in multiple currencies, Shopify lets you sell in multiple languages.

With the exception of its ‘Starter’ plan, all Shopify plans let you create up to 20 translated versions of your store.

When you enable multilingual selling, a language ‘folder’ is added to your domain. So you’ll end up with myshop.com/fr, myshop.com/de etc.

Alternatively, you can use ‘international domains’ — myshop.fr, myshop.de etc. — to host foreign-language versions of your store.

A new approach to global selling: Shopify Markets

In recent months, Shopify has been rolling out a new ‘umbrella feature’ for its its multi-currency and multilingual functionality.

Called ‘Shopify Markets’, it lets you define selling areas — ‘markets’ based on country or groups of countries. You can then manage currencies, languages, local domains and payment processors for these markets all in one place.

Shopify Markets
Shopify Markets

This new approach works really well and makes managing the whole process of selling globally much easier than in earlier versions of Shopify.


Abandoned cart recovery

Abandoned cart recovery helps you identify users who go part of the way through a purchase only to change their mind about it, and contact them with an encouragement to complete their purchase (usually a discount code).

The good news is that abandoned cart recovery is included on all Shopify plans, meaning that you get this key piece of functionality at a considerably lower price point than its key competitors.

While Shopify gives you an abandoned cart saving feature from just $9, BigCommerce and Squarespace only offer it on their $79.95 and $65 per month plans respectively.

According to competing platform BigCommerce, ecommerce sites have an abandoned cart rate of up to 15%, so being able to recover at least a portion of these sales has very significant implications for revenue (especially where larger sites are concerned).

In terms of how abandoned cart recovery works in Shopify, it allows you to either:

  • view a list of people who’ve abandoned their carts and manually send them an email

  • automatically send one email to visitors to your site who abandoned their carts (containing a link to their abandoned cart on your store).

The latter option is usually the best way to go about abandoned cart recovery, as the automation aspect saves time.

Setting up abandoned cart recovery in Shopify
Setting up abandoned cart recovery emails in Shopify

As you can see from the screenshot above, Shopify recommends that you send your abandoned cart email 10 hours after your site visitor abandons their cart.

This is because according to research carried out by Shopify, this is the time interval that generates the most sale completions.

Overall it’s great that abandoned cart saving is bundled with all Shopify plans; I only have one minor criticism of it, which is that it only permits the sending of one follow-up message (other platforms, like BigCommerce and Wix, let you send more reminder emails).

If you want to get around this limit, you can use a third-party app to do so, however.


Custom fields and file uploads

Some store owners will require their customers to provide some text at the point of purchase (for example, jewellers might require inscription copy; some merchants might like to give customers the option to add a dedication to a product etc.).

Shopify does allow you to capture this data, but it’s a fiddly process — you’ll need to create a ‘line item property’ by manually adding some HTML code to your template.

File upload at checkout
Unlike some competing products, Shopify doesn’t offer an ‘out of the box’ way to cater for file uploads at checkout — custom coding or an app is required

The other alternative is to pay for an app to do this job, which isn’t ideal.

It’s a similar story with file uploads: if you need to offer your customers the option to upload a file (for example, an image to be used on a t-shirt or mug), you’re going to have to get coding or, yes, you guessed it, pay for a relevant app!

The 'Uploadery' app.
With Shopify, third-party apps are required to facilitate customer file uploads with an order.

I would prefer — again, as is the case with BigCommerce — if text fields and file upload buttons were simply options that could simply be selected and enabled when creating products.


SEO in Shopify

Is Shopify good when it comes to SEO?

The short answer is yes — its SEO features are very strong and compare favourably with other hosted site-building platforms.

The nuts and bolts of on-page SEO are certainly very easy to manage — changing page titles and meta descriptions is very easy, as is adding headings and alt text

Editing SEO information in Shopify
Editing SEO information in Shopify

You can also tweak your robots.txt file extensively in Shopify — the platform gives you full control over which URLs can be crawled; lets you add crawl delay rules for certain search engines; block crawlers; and add extra sitemap URLs.

Adding 301 redirects — which let search engines know when a page location has changed — is particularly easy in Shopify. In fact, the platform automatically prompts you to do this, and creates the redirect for you too, if you change a page’s URL.

As forgetting to set up 301 redirects is a common source of lost rankings, this automated reminder is an extremely useful feature.

Shopify’s theme designs are all responsive, meaning they’ll display nicely across all device types, and a CDN (content delivery network) is used to decrease your page loading times — both of these approaches to web design can lead to preferential placement in search results.

With regard to the latter, a new ‘site speed’ report lets you compare how fast your Shopify store is compared to similar ones — you can use this data to try to speed it up (usually by reducing image size or removing unnecessary scripts or apps).

The speed score report
Shopify’s new ‘speed score’ report

You can also — with the help of an app — present all your products and pages in AMP format (a faster, stripped-down version of your content) which can bring some benefits in mobile search results.

And a free SSL certificate is provided, letting you run your store over a secure, https:// connection (something Google approves of).

Finally, unlike some competing ecommerce solutions, it’s possible to get a Shopify store to meet Google’s new ‘Core Web Vitals‘ requirements.

Core Web Vitals are a set of targets relating to the speed, responsiveness and visual stability of a website; sites that meet them can receive preferential treatment in Google search results. There are various apps available for Shopify which can help you meet these targets; alternatively, you can commission a Shopify developer to do so.

The only area where I feel that Shopify could improve its SEO setup significantly involves image file names — if you want to change a file name for SEO purposes, you’ll have to rename it locally and then re-upload it.

The current setup could pose problem for users with a lot of images on their site in need of optimization — it will involve a lot of manual work (or the purchase of an app).

That aside, the SEO features of Shopify are strong.

Remember: it’s not just about built-in SEO functionality…

It’s important to remember is that built-in SEO functionality is only one part of the picture when it comes to making your Shopify store rank in search results.

As with any website or online store solution, you’ll still need to do a lot of work in the areas of keyword research and backlink building.

For more detailed information about how to optimize a Shopify store for search engines, you can check out our guide to Shopify SEO.

For more resources on keyword research tools, check out our Semrush review, our Ahrefs vs Semrush comparison, our Ahrefs review, our Moz vs Ahrefs comparison and our Moz versus Semrush comparison.


The Shopify app store

In addition to Shopify’s core functionality, there is also an app store that store owners can visit to obtain apps — both free and paid-for — that add new features.

This contains a huge number of apps (around 8,000) — making Shopify’s app store bigger than those of all the other ecommerce platforms we’ve reviewed. These apps either add specific functionality to your store or let it work with other key business apps.

The Shopify App store
The Shopify App store

This wide range of apps is one of the strongest arguments for using Shopify over its rivals — but it’s also possibly an argument against.

On the plus side, it means that you have a fantastic range of options not only when it comes to adding functionality to your store but when it comes to integrating it with other tools and platforms too.

On the downside, it inevitably leads to lot of situations where getting the functionality you need — relating for example to product reviews, AMP, additional product options and custom fields — involves installing a paid-for app.

And, the more apps you add, the slower your store can perform.

Competing platforms like Wix and BigCommerce, by contrast, tend to include more functionality like this out of the box — meaning that you don’t end up spending quite as much on apps.

Examples of Shopify apps available include:

  • data capture apps

  • accounting apps

  • abandoned cart saver apps

  • multi-currency selling apps

  • advanced reporting apps.

Key business admin apps that are supported via integrations include Xero, Freshbooks and Zendesk.

The app store also lets you integrate Shopify with leading email marketing solutions like Mailchimp, GetResponse, AWeber and Campaign Monitor.

However, with its introduction of a new email marketing feature, you might not actually need to integrate an email marketing tool with Shopify.

Let’s take a quick look at that.


Email marketing in Shopify: ‘Shopify Email’

An absolutely vital part of running an online store is email marketing: sending e-newsletters to your mailing list is key to generating sales.

Recognizing this — and perhaps the fact that other leading platforms like Squarespace and Wix both offer built-in email marketing features — Shopify recently introduced a new tool, ‘Shopify Email,’ that allows you to create email newsletters ‘out of the box’.

'Shopify Email' - the platform’s new built-in email marketing tool
‘Shopify Email’ – the platform’s email marketing tool

This started out as a very basic email marketing tool, which simply allowed you to send branded e-newsletters.

But in recent months it’s evolved quite a lot, and now offers you the option to segment your mailing list more extensively, and automate your mailouts using conditional logic (for example, you can configure Shopify Email so that it sends welcome emails, upsell emails etc., based on particular subscriber actions).

Whilst not quite up there in sophistication with dedicated email marketing tools like GetResponse or Mailchimp, the deep integration with Shopify’s ecommerce tools is great, and the feature will definitely prove useful to many merchants.

If you’re a store owner who likes to manage all aspects of your ecommerce business in one place, you’ll really like Shopify Email.

But arguably the best thing about the tool is the price: you can use Shopify Email to send up to 10,000 emails per month for free, with a $1 fee applying to every additional 1,000 emails sent after that (this is a per-send fee — there’s no ongoing monthly costs to worry about).

You can learn more about Shopify Email here.


Dropshipping with Shopify

Many potential users of Shopify will be wondering how it facilitates dropshipping.

With dropshipping, you take an order, send it to a supplier, and they deliver the goods to your client — you don’t make, store or fulfil any products, and your ecommerce site is in effect a middle man of sorts.

A video guide to dropshipping

The good news is that Shopify offers a very large range of dropshipping apps which allow you to source and sell a variety of suppliers’ goods online very easily (476 at time of writing), with popular services like Spocket, Ali Express and Modalyst are all being catered for.

A selection of Shopify dropshipping apps.
A huge number of dropshipping apps is available in the Shopify app store, but it would be good to see information about which ones are produced ethically.

One thing I’d really like to see from Shopify however is more information on the quality of dropshipping suppliers — maybe an ‘ethical rating’ or similar.

How to dropship with Shopify — video guide

Free Shopify dropshipping starter kit | Subscribe on YouTube

This is because a lot of dropshipped goods are produced in countries where working conditions can be very poor. As things stand it’s hard to be 100% confident that the goods you sell via many of Shopify’s dropshipping apps are ethically produced.

So, if you are concerned about the ethical dimension, you will need to do your own research before committing to a particular app or supplier.

But in terms of the range of dropshipping options available to you as a merchant, the market leader is definitely Shopify.

The Shopify dropshipping starter kit

If you’re interested in dropshipping, I’d recommend that you take a look at Shopify’s dropshipping starter kit — with this, you get 14 days of free access to Shopify plus lots of bundled resources and tools that show you how to launch a successful dropshipping Shopify store.

Tip: you can learn more about droppshipping as a business model in our ‘What is Dropshipping?’ guide.


Tax rules and VAT MOSS in Shopify

Automatic tax calculations

One of the challenges of selling online is that you can end up making sales in a variety of jurisdictions with different tax rates — something you have to reflect in the pricing of your products.

Thankfully, Shopify allows you to apply tax rates automatically for most territories, which is a huge time saver.

Additionally, registration-based taxes (which cater for VAT / state-based taxes etc.) are available for:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • European Union
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Not all competing products facilitate automatic tax calculation, and those that do tend to limit the feature to a smaller number of countries — so a thumbs up for Shopify on this.

VAT MOSS

A really strong aspect of the Shopify platform — and one that is often overlooked in other Shopify reviews — is the way that it caters extremely well for the EU’s VAT MOSS rules (or, to use its full title, ‘VAT Mini One Stop Shop.’).

VAT MOSS is a requirement that sellers of digital products to consumers in the EU add value added tax (VAT) to each product on a per-country basis — i.e., there’s one VAT rate to be applied for France, one for Ireland, another for Germany and so on.

Unlike a lot of competing products, Shopify calculates and applies the appropriate digital tax rate automatically. So there’s no messing about with setting up manual tax rules to worry about.

This is an extremely useful piece of functionality and for me, it’s a USP. 

And speaking of digital products…


Selling digital products

If you want to sell digital products with Shopify, this is perfectly doable — but not immediately obvious how to set up.

A good friend of mine, Diarmaid MacMathuna from Cruinneog — a company that sells an Irish spellcheck tool for Microsoft Word — recently built his new store with Shopify, but initially struggled quite a bit to work out how to sell his software online. This was until he realized that in order to sell files, users need to install a separate app (the ‘Digital Downloads App’).

The good news is that this is free — and easy to use. You can configure it to work automatically, so that a download link is given to the customer immediately after checkout, and a link is emailed to them when their order is fulfilled.

The 'Digital downloads' app.
Shopify’s digital downloads app in action. It can be used to deliver a wide range of online goods to customers, including music, video and images.

There is a limit on the product file size, but it’s a generous one: you can sell digital goods up to 5GB in size. This limit compares very favourably to other platforms — Wix, for example, limits downloadable product size to 1GB; BigCommerce to 512MB; Squarespace to 300MB.

If that’s not enough, you can use third-party apps to host your files, or use file sharing services like Dropbox to deliver them.


Reporting

Shopify provides a comprehensive range of reports, including: 

  • sales reports

  • customer reports

  • marketing reports

  • search data reports

  • finance reports

  • abandoned cart reports.

There is a negative aspect about Shopify reporting worth pointing out however: the most useful reports are only available if you are on one of the more expensive plans — the $79+ ‘Shopify’ plan or higher.

Sales report.
A Shopify sales report.

If you’re not on one of these more expensive plans, you just get a fairly basic set of reports containing topline stats only. While these will let you keep track of key sales data, it won’t give you the kind of detailed sales insights that you’ll need to maximize profits.

(This contrasts negatively with key competing product BigCommerce, which includes professional reporting functionality on all its plans.)

But if you do pay extra to get the reporting functionality, you’ll find it’s very good.

An advanced report builder is also available, which allows you to create your own custom reports — but again, it comes at a high price: you’ll need to be on a $299+ monthly plan to avail of this.


Blogging in Shopify

Blogging is one of the key ways to increase organic traffic to your site — so it’s usually a pretty vital activity for online merchants.

Helpfully, Shopify comes with a built-in blogging tool that allows you to create the sort of content you’ll need to ensure your site is visible in Google search results.

Blogging in Shopify
Blogging in Shopify

However, this blogging functionality is not as sophisticated or powerful as that which you’d find on some other platforms — especially WordPress.

Omissions include version history tools and Yoast-style SEO plug ins; and when it comes to categorization of blog posts, Shopify only allows you to use tags (i.e., you can’t apply categories).

In Shopify, blog categorization is limited to tagging
In Shopify, blog categorization is limited to tagging

(Professional blogging platforms will typically permit use of both tags and categories).

That said, the built-in blogging functionality is generally good and will meet most merchants’ requirements perfectly well. You can also — with a little bit of configuration — hook the Shopify blog up to the commenting tool Disqus, which is useful.

And, as with quite a few standard Shopify features, if you’re not happy with the blogging setup you can always turn to an app for help.

One option worth investigating on this front is DropInBlog, which allows you to make use of more WordPress-style features (for example SEO post analysis, product embeds, categories and multiple contributors).


Managing your Shopify store on a mobile device

Shopify provides two main apps which you can use to manage your store on a mobile device: ‘Shopify‘ and ‘Shopify Point of Sale.’ These are available on both iOS and Android.

The main ‘Shopify’ app scores 4.6 and 4.1 out of 5 on the Apple and Google Play app stores respectively. The ‘Shopify POS’ app fares less slightly well in terms of Google Play reviews however, being rated 3.7 out of 5 by Android users (iOS users are more enthusastic about it, giving it a score of 4.5 out of 5).

The ‘Shopify’ app lets you view and fulfil orders; add/edit products; view reports and communicate with your team members via an order ‘timeline.’

Shopify’s mobile app (iOS)
Shopify’s mobile app (iOS)

The ‘Point of Sale’ app, as the name suggests, lets you use Shopify’s POS system — you can use it to take card payments in person, track inventory, text receipts to customers and so on.

In addition to the store management apps, there’s a useful app called called ‘Shopify Inbox’ available, which lets you add a live chat service to yous Shopify store. It also makes it easier to answer queries, capture leads or share your product details with customers when chatting with them over Facebook Messenger or Instagram.

The 'Shopify Inbox' app
The ‘Shopify Inbox’ app lets you chat with potential customers over Facebook Messenger and Apple Messages.

There are some other apps available too, including a deliveries app (to aid drivers delivering your products), a logo-making app and an order tracking app.

Of all the above apps, the main ‘Shopify’ app is likely to be the most use to the vast majority of merchants.

The ‘Shop’ app from Shopify

In addition to providing apps that let merchants manage their business, Shopify also provides a more ‘customer centric’ app, ‘Shop.’ This provides its users with an accelerated checkout experience on any Shopify store, a way to pay for products in interest-free instalments and personalized shopping recommendations via the app.

To enable your customers to use the app to purchase goods from your store, you need to add the ‘Shop’ sales channel to your Shopify store.

You can learn more about the ‘Shop’ app and ‘Shop Pay’ in the video below.


GDPR compliance

I am not a lawyer, so please note that the below observations should not be interpreted as legal advice, but I’m going to do my best to spell out some of the key GDPR issues facing Shopify users below.

With the introduction of the EU’s GDPR laws, there are many legal steps that website owners now need to take to ensure that they are adequately protecting EU customers’ and visitors’ privacy.

(California’s CCPA rules present a similar set of requirements).

You need to ensure your data is kept secure; provide access to relevant privacy documents; and prevent any non-essential cookies on your site being run without user consent.

Shopify falls down a bit when it comes to the cookie consent requirement. To ensure GDPR compliance, you need to display a cookie banner to your visitors that:

  • allows them to choose which cookies they want to run BEFORE those cookies are run

  • logs their consent to run cookies

  • allows them to revoke consent at a later stage.

So for example, if you use a Facebook Ads or Google Analytics cookie on your store, you will be breaking GDPR laws unless you have a banner in place that does all of the above.

GDPR-compliant cookie consent banner
Shopify could do better when it comes to providing GDPR-compliant cookie banners

Now, out of the box, there is not a way to cater for the cookie consent issue in Shopify.

However, there are quite a few apps in the Shopify app store which deal with this problem and provide the necessary functionality (note that some are considerably better than others however).

I would prefer if adequate cookie banner functionality was provided by the platform without the users having to recourse to additional apps. It feels like it should be core functionality.


Security and backing up data

One of the main advantages of using a hosted solution like Shopify over a self-hosted one (like WordPress or Drupal) is that — password management aside — you aren’t responsible for the security of your site or hosting.

With a Shopify store, there’s no core software or plugin updates to worry about; keeping software safe and up to date is Shopify’s job.

Similarly, ensuring that credit card transactions are safe for your customers is something that Shopify takes responsibility for (via PCI compliance).

Shopify PCI compliance information
Shopify PCI compliance information

You will need to give some more thought to data backups however; although in an emergency you may be able to retrieve data via a Shopify helpdesk enquiry, it’s safer to either export your product data regularly to a CSV file or invest in a dedicated content backup tool from the Shopify app store.

As the latter option will increase monthly outgoings a bit, this is not ideal.

Tip: Shopify provides two-factor authentication (2FA) to help you secure your account. Always make use of this, as it will dramatically reduce the chances of anyone gaining unwanted access to your account.


Shopify customer support

Shopify’s customer support is comprehensive — help materials are available in 21 languages, and you can contact the company 24/7 by email, live chat or phone (the 24/7 customer support is offered in English; availability of support in other languages depends on your territory).

The support materials are on the whole very clear — the only thing I feel is missing from them really is screenshots. For some reason, everything is completely text-based.

To access phone support you’ll need to request a callback.

Contacting Shopify support
Shopify customer support options

Shopify’s support offering is significantly better than those offered by some competitors — for example, key competitor Squarespace doesn’t provide phone support at all.

There are a couple of issues worth pointing out, however.

First, having used Shopify support in the past, I’ve found that if your enquiry is of a particularly technical nature — i.e., if you want to code something and need help — then you may not always get the answers you’re looking for from the standard support service.

You’re sometimes better off posting a query in a Shopify community forum and hoping a developer gets back to you on it.

This could be improved a bit, I feel — it it would be better if Shopify offered a more direct way for sellers to contact their developers directly for technical advice.

And finally, in order to access the contact details for Shopify’s support team, you’re required to search help pages for a solution to your problem first.

This will annoy some, but it’s increasingly standard practice for support desks for web applications — and it’s not implemented as badly as on some other ecommerce platforms.


Shopify review: conclusion

Overall, Shopify is one of the best hosted solutions for those wishing to create an online store – and arguably the best for anyone who wants to use one product to sell online and in a physical location. It’s also particularly good for users who are interested in dropshipping, or want to sell in multiple languages.

The product is competitively priced — particularly when you consider that abandoned cart saver functionality, a feature which many other platforms charge a premium for, is included on all plans. And at just $5 per month, its ‘Starter’ plan represents great value for anyone needing to sell products on an existing site.

It’s also easy to use, integrates well with a huge range of other apps, and its templates are attractive.

It has a very big user base, which also inspires confidence.

All in all, Shopify is a very good option for anyone hoping to start a new business, or existing small businesses hoping to take their product offering online — but there are some disadvantages of using Shopify to be aware of too.

First, there’s the transaction fees for those using a third-party payment gateway (some of Shopify’s competitors don’t charge any transaction fees at all, regardless of the payment options used).

Second, its limit of three options per product isn’t ideal.

Third, Shopify’s multi-currency selling features, while very welcome, don’t work in all countries or with all payment gateways. And to get the most out of them, you need to be on an expensive ‘Advanced’ or ‘Shopify Plus’ plan (otherwise you won’t be able to set individual product prices for individual countries, or collect import and duty taxes at checkout).

A more complete summary of Shopify pros and cons follows below, but as always we recommend that you try before you buy — it’s worth having a good play with the platform via the Shopify free trial. You can access this free trial here.


Shopify pros and cons

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this Shopify review and have found it useful! To sum up, these are the main pros and cons that you can expect to encounter if using this ecommerce solution:

Pros of Shopify

  • It’s easy to use.

  • The templates are attractive and fully responsive (mobile friendly).

  • Abandoned cart saving functionality is available on all plans, even the cheapest $5 ‘Starter’ plan

    — you’re unlikely to find this feature on competing platforms at a similarly low monthly price.
  • It’s a great option for anyone interested in dropshipping.

  • Its automatic tax calculation tools are sophisticated and have the potential to save merchants a lot of time and admin.

  • True

    multi-currency selling is possible with Shopify — something that can’t be said for a lot of competing platforms.

  • You can use any Shopify plan to create versions of your site in up to 20 different languages.

  • Depending on your country, you can avail of quite generous shipping discounts if you use the built in ‘Shopify Shipping’ service to deliver your products.

  • The Starter plan’s ‘Buy Button’ allows you to use Shopify to add a shopping cart easily to any website or online business presence.

  • Shopify comes with an email marketing tool that lets you send up to 10,000 emails per month.

  • The point-of-sale options are comprehensive.

  • It handles the creation and application of product categories really well.

  • You can extend Shopify’s core functionality easily thanks to a huge range of third-party apps (although note that you will have to pay to use most of them).

  • Search engine optimization features are good.

  • You can create AMP versions of product pages (albeit with the help / additional cost of a third-party app).

  • ‘Starter’ plan aside, there are no transaction fees if you are happy to use the built in payment processing system, Shopify Payments.

  • A large number of external payment gateways can be used with Shopify.
  • You can try Shopify for free, and without submitting credit card details, before committing to it.

  • The discounts for paying annually are very generous (especially in the US and Canada).

Cons of Shopify

  • The number of free themes provided is quite low compared to competing online store builders.
  • Whilst you can create 100 variants of a product, these can only involve up to 3 product options

    . Increasing these limits will involve purchasing a third-party app.
  • Key functionality that you might expect to be provided out of the box often requires installation of an app

    — this can sometimes make store setup slightly more complicated than you might like, add to your costs, or slow your site down a little.
  • Adding custom fields such as text boxes or file upload options, whilst doable, is unnecessarily complicated (or involves purchasing an app).

  • Full reporting functionality is only provided on more expensive plans.

  • The integrated payment processor, Shopify Payments, only allows you to sell from certain countries.

  • The built-in multi-currency feature is only available if you are a Shopify Payments user, and the option to set per-country product prices is only available on an expensive ‘Advanced’ plan or higher.
  • You can’t avoid transaction fees if you use a third-party payment gateway.

  • Transaction fees on the ‘Starter’ plan are very high (5%).
  • Product images have to be uploaded with the same aspect ratio to display neatly alongside each other.

  • When using a dropshipping app, it’s hard to be confident that the goods you’re selling are ethically produced.

  • Getting your site to be GDPR compliant where cookies are concerned will involve use of a third-party cookie banner app.

  • If you’re not using ‘Shopify Shipping’ to provide real-time carrier quotes to your customers, or live in a country where it’s not available, this functionality can work out quite expensive

    , or involve paying for an annual plan.
  • The support materials don’t contain any screenshots to illustrate the features being explained.

Our overall rating: 4.5/5


Shopify alternatives

No Shopify review would be complete without a look at the alternatives!

Of the ecommerce solutions I’ve tested to date, I’ve found that BigCommerce probably represents the strongest alternative to Shopify. It’s similarly priced, easy-to-use and its feature set is broadly comparable with Shopify’s.

BigCommerce video review

BigCommerce trial | BigCommerce review

For more information on the product and how it stacks up against Shopify, do check our our BigCommerce vs Shopify comparison.

If you need more flexibility with regard to how you lay out content, or have a particular need to showcase images, videos or blog posts, you might like to check out Squarespace, which has a really lovely approach to managing content. Its drag-and-drop editor is significantly better than Shopify’s.

Squarespace video review

Squarespace trial | Squarespace review

You’ll need to bear in mind that Squarespace’s ecommerce functionality is more limited than Shopify’s, however — particularly where multi-currency selling and point-of-sale ecommerce are concerned. But for an ecommerce beginner with simple selling needs, it’s great.

Check out our Squarespace review, Squarespace pricing guide, Squarespace free trial guide, our Squarespace tutorial and Shopify vs Squarespace comparison for more details on this platform.

(Webflow is also an interesting option for users who want a huge degree of control over layout – check out our Webflow review for more details.)

You might also be wondering whether online marketplaces like Etsy or Amazon are good options for starting an ecommerce business. If so, take a look at our Shopify vs Etsy comparison and our Shopify vs Amazon comparison for more details on how selling on platforms like these compares to using a standalone store builder.

If you already run a website, you might like to investigate Ecwid, which allows you to add an online store to an existing site (Ecwid offers similar functionality to Shopify’s ‘Buy Button’, but with more advanced features). You can read our full Ecwid review or our Ecwid vs Shopify comparison for more information on this product.

If you are on a low budget, then Wix, Big Cartel and Jimdo are worth a look, as they offer selling tools at a cheaper price point. However, as with Squarespace, these products are more ‘general purpose’ website builders and consequently are rather more limited in terms of ecommerce functionality than Shopify (Big Cartel and Jimdo especially so).

Big Cartel vs Shopify video comparison

Big Cartel free plan | Shopify free trial | Subscribe on YouTube

Check out our latest Wix review and our Wix pricing guide for more information about Wix; our Wix vs Shopify, Squarespace vs Wix and Wix vs WordPress comparisons will also help you decide whether the platform is for you.

You’ll find our Big Cartel vs Shopify comparison here and our Shopify vs GoDaddy comparison here.

And finally, there’s always self-hosted WordPress. This is a different beast to Shopify in that it is not a ‘hosted’ solution: you will have to build your own site and host it yourself. However, there are LOTS of ways to sell your products using it.

Shopify vs WordPress video comparison

Shopify trial | WordPress download | Shopify vs WordPress comparison

Got any questions? Leave a comment!

After reading our Shopify review, do you have any queries about the platform, or whether it’s the right option for you? If so, leave a comment below! We aim to answer all questions.

Shopify review FAQ

What’s the best value Shopify plan?

It really depends on your selling requirements, but for me the ‘sweet spot’ plan is probably the mid-tier ‘Shopify’ plan as it gives you the bulk of functionality you need for an online store, including professional reports, full control over multi-currency payments and store translation features.

Does Shopify charge transaction fees?

You can avoid transaction fees by using Shopify’s built-in payment gateway, Shopify Payments. However, if you use a third-party payment gateway, Shopify charges you a transaction fee of between 0.5% and 2.0%, depending on your plan.

Do I need any special hardware or software to use Shopify?

Building a standard Shopify store can be done on any sort of desktop computer, and doesn’t require you to install any software locally. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a Mac, PC or Chromebook — all you need is a web browser and access to the internet to build your store. If you are selling at point of sale however, you will usually need to invest in some hardware, like a card reader, receipt printer or till.

Can I sell video content on Shopify?

Yes — you can use Shopify’s free ‘Digital Downloads’ app to do this, but you might find that a dedicated third-party app like Sky Pilot works better (particularly if your customers need to stream your content).

Can I create multilingual versions of my Shopify store?

Yes. On the ‘Basic’, ‘Shopify’ and ‘Advanced Shopify’ plans you can create up to 5 versions of your sites in different languages; ‘Shopify Plus’ allows you to create up to 20.

Can I sell in multiple currencies with Shopify?

Shopify’s built-in multi-currency feature lets you sell in up to 133 currencies — but it is only available if you are using Shopify Payments as your payment gateway. If you are based in a country that doesn’t yet support Shopify Payments, you can still sell in multiple currencies, but you will need to use a third-party app like Bold Multi-Currency to do so.

Is it easy to upgrade or downgrade my Shopify plan?

Yes, you can do this at any time. The price of your previous plan is prorated and applied against the cost of your new subscription.

Should I use a free or paid-for Shopify template?

For most new merchants, a free Shopify template will work perfectly fine — the bundled templates are attractive and their visuals can be easily tweaked to make your storefront consistent with your brand. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the free templates are all fully supported by Shopify; if you use a paid-for theme, you may need to source support from a third-party developer. That said, some of the paid-for options can provide a more ‘bespoke’ look for your online store.

What’s the best alternative to Shopify?

There are lots of alternatives available to Shopify — we discuss some of them in depth above. However, for us, the most similar ‘hosted’ product in terms of billing and basic features is probably BigCommerce.

How we tested this product — and why you can trust this review

We tested this product via independent research and, more importantly, hands-on experience of it.

We regularly help clients build Shopify stores, and have extensive knowledge of how the platform works. So this Shopify review is based on building many stores from scratch; editing existing ones; and using a wide variety of Shopify apps to configure them.

For more information about the criteria that we use to evaluate ecommerce tools, please see our ecommerce platform buyer’s guide, which contains a list of the factors we typically consider when testing and reviewing products like Shopify.

And finally, we have a strict honesty policy — while we do make use of affiliate links to fund our research and testing, we strive to be 100% impartial in all conclusions.


More Shopify reviews and resources

If you’re wondering which Shopify plan is best for you, you may find our in-depth guide to Shopify pricing and fees useful. We also have a new FAQs resource on the Shopify free trial and a step-by-step tutorial on starting a Shopify store that may be of interest.

Our Shopify review on YouTube will help you get a visual overview of the store builder’s key pros and cons (our Shopify vs Squarespace video on YouTube may also be of interest, as will our Shopify tutorial for beginners).

If you’re thinking of buying rather than building a Shopify store, do check out our guide to Shopify Marketplace Exchange (a website that lets you buy and sell businesses built on Shopify).

And finally, this post is now available in French! Check out our ‘Shopify Avis’ article on the new Style Factory France site.

Comments (71)

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Dear Chris,

I’ve had seen quite a few reviews in my lifetime – none as thorough, comprehensive and detailed as this one! It has helped me a lot to decide if I am ready or not to open and online store, and all the nuances of it.

Only one suggestion for Newbies like me – could I get explanations of abbreviations such as:

CSS

CSV

API

LIQUID

B2B

SEO

AMP Format

Core Web Vitals (Google)

USP

iOS

GDPR Laws

CCPA Rules

PCI Compliant

The rest is impeccable! Thanks, Eddy Gugliotta

Hi Eddy, thanks so much for the very kind words and I’m glad you found the content helpful. I think that where a few of those terms are concerned, there’s a hyperlink to more information about them within the review (if not, I’ll try to add some during the next update!). But happy to expand on them here too:

CSS – this is code that is used to edit your website’s design (colors, fonts etc.)

CSV – a ‘comma delimited’ file (a spreadsheet basically, similar to an Excel file. You can create, open or save these in Excel).

API – application programming interface. Code that lets one app talk to another.

Liquid – Shopify’s own programming language.

B2B – Business to Business. So a B2B business is one that sells to another one.

SEO – Search engine optimization – the tweaks you make to a site to make it more visible in search results.

AMP – Accelerated Mobile Page format. A stripped down, speedier format for web pages.

Core Web Vitals – Metrics that Google uses to evaluate how fast and responsive a web page is.

USP – Unique selling point – the thing about a product that makes it stand out.

iOS – The operating system that Apple uses on its mobile devices.

GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation – data protection laws in use in the EU.

CCPA Rules – California Consumer Privacy Act – data protection laws that apply in California (similar in ways to GPDR).

PCI Compliant – if an ecommerce solution is PCI compliant, it means it meets the ‘Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard’ and processes cards securely.

Hope all that helps!

Shopify cannot merge customer records yet there are all kinds of ways for duplicate customer records to be created. Be prepared for several records existing for the same customer.

A good point Esther – I think there are some apps that address this issue (like Doppelganger — https://apps.shopify.com/doppelganger-app). However, like you I think it would be better if there was a built-in mechanism in Shopify for doing this.

Hi Chris, I have been asked to investigate changing our existing website over to Shopify to capitalise on the Social Media aspect etc. Our web developer has advised that once we change over to Shopify, we no longer OWN the website as we are only renting it from Shopify. Effectively we lose our asset we spent a lot of $$ building. Is this information correct? Cheers.

Hi Cheryl, thanks for your query! So it’s worth having a good look at the Shopify Ts and Cs at https://www.shopify.com/legal/terms to get a full grasp of who ‘owns’ precisely what, but my understanding is that when you set up a Shopify store, you own your domain and content (the most important parts of any website) and Shopify owns the software (you’re paying to use its service).

(Note that I’m not a lawyer however and the above isn’t legal advice – this is just a ‘hot take’!).

If you feel that Shopify’s features are better than those that your current web setup gives you, and that it’s cheaper to switch to Shopify than to invest further in your existing website, then there’s a business case to be made for doing that. Obviously that’s a call that only you can make, really — there are probably a lot of pros and cons of a migration to consider that are particular to your business.

But ultimately I’m not sure that owning the platform is necessarily something you need to dwell on too much — there will always be some third party involved with a website somewhere that might affect its ownership or general existence (whether that’s a hosting provider, developer, plugin etc.).

Hope this helps a bit?

What about quality of product? Do they have options available for, for example, a t-shirt? Our band friends were NOT happy with the quality of their t-shirts and basically gave up using Shopify.

Hi Karen, if I understand your query correctly you’re talking about dropshipping with Shopify – where customers place the order through your site (for a t-shirt, using your example) and it gets fulfilled by another company.

So in essence if there were flaws in the dropshipped product, the issue you’d have would be with the dropshipping company supplying and delivering your product.

The good news is that Shopify works with a lot of dropshipping suppliers – the bad news is that you’ll have to do your research to ensure that you find a good one 🙂 Established players like Printful tend to be a good starting point for the sort of printed merchandise you’re talking about however.

Hope this helps, Chris

Thanks for your question Jacqueline – yes you can do this easily. You just password protect your Shopify store while you’re building it, and remove the password at the point of go live to make it public. Hope this helps!

My question is: does Shopify promise to keep all the information such as customers data, product data, sales data and financial data, etc. confidential? How can Shopify implement?

Hi Peter, this resource might help on that front:https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/your-account/privacy/GDPR

My question is: once I use Shopify, later on, for any reason, I want to stop Shopify and use other website. Can I export all the information from Shopify? The information may include the customers data, product data, etc.

Hi Peter, yes Shopify lets you export product data and customer data easily enough – see

https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/products/import-export/export-products

and

https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/customers/import-export-customers

for full details as to what you can export.

Hope this helps!

A good review. I am a Shopify user of several years and fairly early on discovered that it is very easy for customers to end up with duplicate accounts through changed and mistyped email addresses. There are hundreds of posts on the Shopify forums going back SEVEN years asking for a merge feature which Shopify have simply ignored. Unfortunately my advice is avoid if a clean customer database is important to you. John

Is Shopify "App Store" really an App Store comparable to Apple’s or Google’s one? I mean, is Shopify ensuring quality and security from the partners creating Add Ons in the App Store or is the code outside of shopify’s boundaries and ‘at your own risk’ protecting customer data when accepting to use those external components?

Hey Dani, thanks for your comment. There is a review process which should ensure quality and security control, yes – you can read about it here:

https://shopify.dev/concepts/app-store/getting-your-app-approved/review-process

Hope this helps? Cheers for reading the review!

Excellent, excellent review of Shopify, thank you.

And some of the user comments are equally as informative.

Thanks very much for taking the time to give your feedback John – glad you found the review useful.

Former (disgruntled) Shopify user. Shopify is a solid platform if you can get away with the basic features. Problem is that their basic platform doesn’t include a slew of features that should be standard in ANY e-commerce store—Add-ons for something simple like adding a "presale" button gets very expensive, very quickly.

Where Shopify falls short, and by short, I mean infuriatingly short, is in their shipping features. Four years ago, I dumped Shopify because their platform lacked flexibility in calculating shipping. Four years later, they are still nickel-and-diming customers with adding "carrier calculated" shipping to their cheaper plans for an additional $20/mo—which is mind-boggling given that shipping fees can make or break an online store.

If you ship and have a limited number of products or products with similar dimensions, Shopify works fine.However, if you have …•numerous products with varying weights/dimensions•offer products that are a mix of POD and manually mailed•want to offer a mix of carrier calculated shipping along with flat rate options on a per product basis•want to offer free shipping above $XXShopify shipping features fail miserably. You will be forced to pay an extra $30/mo for an app … and this assumes that the app can fill your needs.

I’m back in the market for an eCommerce platform and shipping flexibility is the make or break feature.

Hi Chris – thanks again for this thorough review. It was instrumental in me choosing Shopify when I was setting up my business last year.

Now that I’ve been on Shopify for over a year, there’s a couple massive negatives that should be added to your article:

As of March 1st 2020, Shopify no longer returns their 2.9% transaction fee if the sale is refunded. So if a customer returns an item, cancels an unfulfilled order, or a fraudster places an order and the merchant cancels it as fraudulent, Shopify still keeps their 2.9% – meaning these sales end up costing the merchant big-time! There is an angry mob of merchants forming on this Shopify forum discussion: https://community.shopify.com/c/Shopify-Discussion/Transaction-Credits-on-Refunds-Fees-After-March-1-2020-Shopify/td-p/642688

Shopify can’t handle multiple discounts on the same order – e.g. a customer can’t use a discount coupon (loyalty/1st order/etc.) if you’re also running a general percent-off sale (Black Friday, Boxing Day, etc.). Other platforms and merchants of course offer such ‘stacking,’ putting Shopify merchants at a distinct disadvantage. Shopify’s typical answer is to use some extra-cost App, but various merchants report these Apps conflict with other Apps. There’s 20 pages of merchant complaints on this Shopify thread alone: https://community.shopify.com/c/Shopify-Discussion/Multiple-discount-at-checkout/td-p/473968

Plus as you mention, Shopify still doesn’t offer a GDPR-compliant cookie solution. They also don’t have an EU tax-compliant solution for VAT on gift cards (see: https://community.shopify.com/c/Accounting-Taxes/Gift-Cards-and-new-EU-VAT-regulations/td-p/583703). Basically Europe is always an afterthought at Shopify, 450 million consumers be damned.

Thanks for the feedback AJ – your points re: the transaction fee and discount coupons will I’m sure be helpful to other readers of this post. I think the GDPR cookie banner issue is less of a problem in Shopify than other platforms however, because there are quite a few apps available for it that do facilitate fully-compliant cookie consent. However, given it’s such an important issue I think it would be better if this functionality was provided out of the box (Bigcommerce and Ecwid seem to provide this, so I don’t see why Shopify can’t).

Thanks Chris. I would disagree that ‘there are quite a few apps available for it [GDPR] that do facilitate fully-compliant cookie consent’.There are quite a few apps that claim to be compliant, but when you dig into them they fail on basic things like blocking all cookies until consent is granted. See my detailed post on this here: https://community.shopify.com/c/Shopify-Apps/Why-is-cookie-consent-per-GDPR-not-core-Shopify-functionality/m-p/526310A lot of merchants are fooling themselves by installing pointless GDPR decorations and mistakenly thinking they’re compliant.

Hello,

thank you for your article, I am under a French solution called PRESTASHOP (CMS OPEN SOURCE), for 10 years now, I can tell you that I really lost a lot of time and money, a lot of bug , update which melts drop the site, etc …

I’m thinking of shopify, and I would like to have your opinion if this is a good thing, because we have a large catalog and we do not do dropshipping, (Online hypermarket).Your opinion interests me 🙂

Hi Rizk, thanks for your comment. Shopify is a potentially good solution for you as it allows you to host an unlimited number of products (which should hopefully meet your large inventory requirement). One thing to watch out for is product options and variants however – you’re limited to 3 options and 100 variants. So if your products come in all shapes and sizes and you need to give your customers a lot of control over options, then you might need to tread carefully. There are various Shopify apps that you can buy as add-ons however that remove these limits. Bigcommerce is also worth looking at, because it is not as restrictive on the product option / limit front.

I’m impressed with your thorough review of Shopify. Those who are interested in getting their website up and running, will undoubtedly benefit from this review. But therein lies a problem. The review ignores discussing the pros and cons of buying products and services from a website hosted by Shopify. As a consumer myself, I purchased several holiday gifts from Shopify hosted websites. What a pathetic experience. Clearly, Shopify does ZERO vetting of the legitimacy of the businesses it hosts. Even worse, Shopify apparently doesn’t care. This opens the door wide open for disreputable, con artists and scammers. Ignorance is bliss. And very profitable. A regular visit to the website TrustPilot, could be one very simple way to monitor the satisfaction or lack thereof, from consumers using Shopify hosted businesses. I’ve alerted [email protected] Shopify.com via email of two businesses that Shopify hosts that score 0-10 on a scale of 100 in customer satisfaction on TrustPilot. Shopify did not reply to my email. They just don’t care. Shopify is complicit in ripping off anyone buying from their websites. I will never do business with a Shopify hosted business again. Which is a shame, because the legit businesses will suffer. I am not alone. Shopify needs to clean up its act.

Thanks for the detailed thoughts Michael – this is a difficult area for any e-commerce solution or payment gateway provider to deal with, as there will always be people who take advantage of selling tools for fraudulent purposes, and it’s difficult to stop this happening entirely. I agree with you that any service facilitating online selling should be very vigilant however and crack down as much as possible on any fraudulent activity – sorry to hear that you haven’t had a good experience with Shopify stores in this respect.

their support is horrible.I just spent 30 min asking the woman to speak to her supervisor since she didn’t know how to help me and she kept on saying that she wont and that they aren’t responsible.

shopify also doesn’t have any dimension slots for your products so anyone who needs dimensions should not use them.

Their multi warehouse function doesn’t work properly and so unless you pay a lot for apps that will do this for you, you shouldn’t use them if you have products in more than 1 location.

Support is very difficult to reach. I have had a store on Shopify for 8 months and when I try to log into support, while logged into my store,Shopify does not recognize me. Beware of apps as many have plenty bugs and will waste your precious time and $. Such as SPREADR. Import products fine then the next day when you check your margins are gone and the price is as listed from import link. LOL.Bottom line I am migrating to another highly rated ecommerce site.

Shopify has no regulations in place to protect consumers. It is a place for scammers to take advantage of others. Yes, there are legit businesses on Shopify, but there are also a lot of scams and no support system set up for the consumer. I will never use them to buy or sell again.

In case you are looking for AMP support for Shopify, Ampify Me implemented the best AMP app https://apps.shopify.com/ampify-me (and also has PWA implementation as well, so you can have the best mobile setup)

Shopify is great BUT, I’ve used a lot of app/web solitions and Shopify has the worst customer support to me. They are very kind but not performant at all (based on multiple conversations I had with them.)

Great write-up. I’ve been using BigCommerce, been looking to switch to Shopify due to the payment processing options that they offer. Will try them out. Thanks

I tried to close a Shopify account after my credit card was automatically billed through it’s negative opt-out policy. I wasn’t even notified of the renewal. When I complained one month later when I saw the charge on my credit card statement, they had no sympathy. They take no prisoners and have poor customer service.

Wow thanks Chris! That was VERY comprehensive. I’m finding I’m recommending Shopify to more of my clients than I had previously. Woocommerce has let me down badly.

Love your indeph review. Been using shopify for the last few months. Stumbled across your page and learnt a ton of new stuff thanks Chris.

I’ve been bounced around from shopify ‘guru’ to shopify ‘guru’ as I have been having and issue with shopify not capturing my fulfilled items on Shipstation. It’s been 5 months of the issue occurring and almost 2 months bouncing around shopify guru. This is insane!!!!!!!!!!

We needed a store mapper to help customers find our retailers and Shopify Store Locator works perfectly for us. It blends seamlessly into our theme and the ability to add custom map themes from snazzy maps is awesome. https://apps.shopify.com/google-maps-app

As per my point of view, Shopify is the perfect platform to build any kind of small eCommerce website! The con I have faced is that it is not an open source! We need pay to develop on this platform!!!

I have removed the password from my Australian shopify store, and I have purchased something as a trial, which processed OK. However A friend in UK, and one in Columbia have tried to open the store and the get a ‘store unavailable’ message. Do you know why this might be? Do I need to turn something on/off in settings?? Thank you,

Apols for delay in response Sarah. It sounds like a caching issue (where your users in the UK and Columbia were temporarily seeing an older version of your site). If the problem persists however it’s a case of contacting Shopify Support.

Hi Lucas, very informative and useful tutorial.I wanted to ask you, as I am quite new, that if i purchase a domain name from Shopify would that show shopify name too (like powered by shopfiy?)Also what if i purchase a domain through shopify and decide later that I don’t want to sue Shopify and want to keep my domain name- is that [email protected]!

Hi Mishi, thanks for your comment – and sorry for the slow response. If you purchase a domain name via Shopify your site will appear on that domain name. You will be able to transfer it out of Shopify at a later date too. However, from looking at the Shopify manual you might need to bear something in mind about site security:

"Shopify’s HTTP Strict Transfer Security (HSTS) will remain in effect on your domain for 90 days after you close your store to help ensure the safety of your and your customers’ information."

If you have any queries about domains I’d probably suggest giving Shopify a quick email or call before purchasing one from them.

Cheers!Chris

Terrific information! Thank you so much for this writeup … it’s great to hear about your frank, first-hand experience.

If I do choose to go with Shopify, will be sure to use one of your referral links 🙂

Ryviu app builds to import product reviews from Aliexpress and Amazon to ShopifyDown load this app frome here: https://goo.gl/HFPSmnFor information visit website: https://www.ryviu.com

hi, do you know if you can link this to a worldpay card reader i.e do you plug your instore card reader into your laptop along with the shopify stripe and thye link up? in order to print receipts

Thanks for a very helpful article, the only thing missing for me, is how to link it to Amazon? I have been told that you can link Shopify to an existing Amazon listing, but have no idea how to go about it, and was hoping you would explain. Any chance of an update?

Chris I found your detail very helpful – especially the 3 product variations (so you’re stuffed if you have kids/adults, size, colour, male/female for example, as only 3 options allowed – although this may not seem like a big deal, it can catch you out!!). Anyway I’m thrilled with Shopify having considered it against Weebly and WIX. Agree transaction prices from 3rd parties can be hefty.

Many thanks for the kind words Chris – glad you found our Shopify review helpful 🙂 Good luck with your project!

Shopify is great because it easy to use, looks great is fast and basically unbreakable. It is, however, geared towards the North American shop owner. It is very apparent in the absence of a typical European price display mechanism (incl. VAT for EU customers, VAT exempt for non-EU customers).

Basically you have two choices:* Set up prices to include tax: the total price of the product still stays the same for the non-EU customer, the tax is NOT subtracted from the price. The only thing that changes is a text display at the checkout (includes x% tax, or not).* Set up price displays not to include taxes in which case the taxes can actually be subtracted for non-EU customers. Unfortunately the standard price display in this case (net price) doesn’t conform to EU law which requires you to display prices including VAT (if you sell to individuals). So you need to also modify your theme to fix the price displays.

Shopify also doesn’t support the EU reverse charge mechanism: businesses in the EU can sell to other EU businesses without charging them VAT. The prerequisite for this is for the merchant and the customer to have a valid EU VAT ID. Furthermore the merchant is also responsible for checking the validity of the ID.

All of the above mentioned issues are quite basic to selling in the EU and you need third party apps like Sufio or Exemptify to really be EU compatible.

I signed up for a shopify account, and spent a month designing my website. I launched it, and made my first sale a few days after. At that point I was contacted by shopify for security reasons, they wanted my passport, and all my business information, numbers etc… I did sent them all the info they needed, but they decided to cancel my payment gateway plan with them. They said I was not able to get it, as I had logged in to my account from another country! As a matter of fact I live abroad for personal reasons, but my webstore only sells within Canada. I gave them proof of this, as my store has been online for over 5 years, and we are part of several organizations that prove we do business in Canada. It did not matter to them, they proceeded to cancel my account! I was very frustrated, after spending over a month building a website, and setting up buttons for payments, all my work was lost because of this policy. Furthermore they can no longer be contacted by phone, and dealing with this issue by chat was more than irritating. So if you plan on building a webstore in order to gain freedom and be able to travel, don’t use shopify, as they monitor were you login from, and will cancel your account if your away from your country for an undetermined period of time.

With our store, they are unable to offer shopify payment gateway, as a result we are forced to use stripe gateway, that cost extra %2 transaction fees on every order, This 2% transaction fees should have been removed or waived off due to the fact they are unable to offer shopify payment gateway.

The points described in the article are very useful for those who want to start ecommerce online stores. Shopify is one of the most preferred platform to create a functional online store. The post covers most of the aspects of Shopify including features, themes, pricing and pros and cons in an interesting manner. As official Shopify Experts, we strongly recommend Shopify for your online store.

Hello guys!How I can implement e-commerce site to my POS system.Please,if somebody got high professional skills,helps me.I want to know for sure what POS system devices I need to have to connect POS with my computer.I got this POSnew-york-pos.com/

Do NOT use Shopify. We set up and migrated from another platform and boy are we regretting it! They have ridiculous "safety" triggers that put payments on hold, their "risk" analysts are completely unresponsive, customer support says yes to everything but gets nothing done and they are destroying our business. We are losing customers left and right, have had customers literally tell us – we love your products – we hate your shopping portal. Shopify is a complete disaster.

AGREE! Same issues and they charged me large fees for cancelling the transactions that they bullied me into cancelling!

Shopify is one of the most simple and easy to use platforms ever. It is perfect if you are starting your online store from scratch with little to no coding experience. Here is an very easy to follow beginner’s guide you should take a look http://bit.ly/howtosellonshopify

I tried Shopify and to be honest had a terrible experience with them. I tried and tested two premium themes both of which were not fit for purpose, they both had issues with menus resizing in iPad, support is useless for themes both developers couldn’t, really have cared less. I would advise using a different ecommerce platform. I purchased an app only to discover that the app was transferring my data out of shopify secure server to the apps own servers! There was not any mention of this in the App Store I only spotted it after checking url it was redirecting all my product data and variation to another server I have no idea where, how is this secure? After complaining with shopify guru (what a joke) I was told to maybe try a free theme and never mind basically don’t ask too many questions.

Shopify video tutorial for beginners on how to build handmade store using the free Brooklyn theme.

http://www.buildmyecommerce.com/shopify-tutorial-for-beginners-2015-q4/

This might be a new feature, but Shopify also offer a Buy-a-Button feature through which you can incorporate a ‘Buy’ button into your own web site, which links into the Shopify servers to take a payment, leaving you in control of your own site. Of course this is only of use to those who can create their own web sites using a suitable software package, or HTML. There is a lower. Monthly fee for this option, plus an item by item charge. In my case, I am only selling one product at the moment, and I have an IT background. It will not be the solution for everyone.

I’ve been using Shopify and I’m fully satisfied with this web builder. I’ve chosen it as website builder number one for ecommerce sites on WebBuildersGuide.com Yes, Shopify isn’t a budget solution for ecommerce but business always needs best solutions. None website builder can offer such variety of apps in App Store as Shopify. Also don’t forget about any limitations for number of products and categories.

really great in-depth post, I’m considering Shopify for my new site, so that definitely made few things clearer, thumbs up 🙂MaggieCherrie Hub

Great post. I agree with your Shopify positives. I recently launched my iPhone wallet case company jimmyCASE on Shopify and have been super please. I have limited coding experience, but have been able to add the features I need with help from blogs and Shopify support. The integration of apps (Justuno, Yotpo, Google Shopping) is easy. I have found it is worth it to spend $180 for a template to upgrade the look and functionality. I 100% recommend Shopify.

Dan Smithhttp://thejimmycase.com/

"Adding text to the home page in Spotify (at least in the ‘minimal’ template…"

Did you actually mean Spotify or do you agree that Shopify’s choice of name is one of the dumbest in startup history being so close to the music service?

Great blog post! thanks for sharing, this is very useful to me as I’m going to advise a client on which platform to choose. You write really well too.

Thanks for your review, i agree that there could be a few more free themes, and abit more transparency, but other wise its a good product

Thanks for your review. its nice one and helpful.one thing which I do not like is free themes available in themes store.We have more and better paid one though.Here is another review of Shopify from my blog : http://ravisinghblog.in/shopify-review-create-your-online-store-in-minutes

Hey guys – Mark form Shopify here. Thanks for your honest feedback. I will be passing this along to our Product Team. Good luck with your project, let us know if you need any help.