Best All-Around eCommerce Platform
- Sell across multiple channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay
- Brilliant inventory system which helps you manage your store
- Came first in our research for sales features and customer score
- You have to create your storefront between the editor and dashboard, meaning you must flick between the two.
- The only platform to enforce its own transaction fee with Shopify Payments
- Content doesn’t automatically reformat if you switch to a different theme
Shopify is an eCommerce website builder that helps everyday people and businesses build their own online store.
But before we get stuck into Shopify, let’s just clarify what an ‘eCommerce website builder’ actually is:
An eCommerce website builder is an online platform that helps people with varying levels of technical competency build their own eCommerce website.
- You don’t need to know how to code
- You don’t need to spend a fortune hiring a web developer
- You don’t even need to wait for your IT guy to make changes or updates
Amazing, right? Now that’s cleared up, we can get to all the juicy details!
Shopify is used by all types of people, from budding entrepreneurs to multi-million dollar businesses.
Harry’s Razors is just one example. It’s an eCommerce shaving company that has built an incredible online store using Shopify, and it’s going from strength to strength! Here you can see some of the little things that make it so successful.
Shopify’s well-designed themes, powerful management tools, and world-class apps help its users grow from small-time retailers into eCommerce empires.
That’s all well and good, but we don’t want to just take Shopify’s word for it. We created our own tests with in-depth research to discover exactly how good Shopify was compared to other online store builders out there.
After speaking to the public, you told us what was important to you. So, with your help, we’ve gone away and tested the best eCommerce platforms on the market. Now we can tell you exactly how good each one really is.
Ecommerce website builders often struggle to combine power with ease of use. Shopify has married the two perfectly.
After testing it ourselves, we got everyday people to give Shopify ago. We asked them to build their own eCommerce website and score how easy (or difficult) they found certain tasks.
Well, the results are in… and they’re glowing!
People loved the sheer simplicity of its interface. It’s clean, clear, and simple to use.
Shopify’s dashboard provides a gentle slope into designing your own eCommerce website.
Here’s just a couple of things people really liked:
“It was so good, really easy. It was just very user-friendly. It guided you through the important areas, the most are the inventory. The questions at the beginning, adding a product, subtle prompts – everything was just very clear.”
” All in all, it was a really easy approach to creating an online store. I had complete control over how and what I want to be placed within my site, with the benefit of being able to change anything as and when I wanted.”
We crunched the numbers and the stats match their words. On average, people found Shopify:
- 14% easier to use than BigCommerce
- 12% easier to use than Squarespace eCommerce
- 9% easier to use than Wix eCommerce
Shopify Customer Satisfaction
On top of testing how easy Shopify is to use, we wanted to know what people’s overall thoughts were.
We asked Shopify users how likely they’d be to recommend Shopify, and their answers were almost unanimous.
88% of people would recommend Shopify to a friend who’s looking to start selling online.
Shopify’s sales features are the best around. It has all the core tools you need, from analytical tracking and payment gateways to multi-channel integration and abandoned cart recovery.
Not only that, Shopify has more than 1,200 apps.
This means if there’s a particular feature you need that Shopify doesn’t have, you can be sure of finding it in the app store, either as a free add-on or an extra monthly charge.
Below we’ll cover some of the key sales features Shopify offers…
48% of people begin searching for a product on marketplaces, such as Amazon – it’s now more important than ever to diversify your revenue channels.
Shopify allows you to integrate your online store with some of the biggest online channels out there. You can connect to a Facebook store, Instagram shop, and marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.
Being able to sell across multiple channels puts your products in the shop window. It’s like owning four brick-and-mortar shops, but only paying for one – why wouldn’t you want to sell in multiple locations?
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Abandoned cart recovery is where your website automatically sends your site’s visitors an email if they leave your online store without checking out.
It may not seem important, but the reality is more than 3 out of 4 online shoppers leave a website without completing a purchase. Just think of the money you could be missing out on!
You can set your Shopify store to generate abandoned cart emails, so you can rest assured you’re getting the best possible chance of making each and every sale.
Payment Options and Transaction Fees
Shopify supports more than 100 different payment gateways. These include household names like PayPal, Stripe, Amazon Pay and Apple Pay. It also has its own payment gateway: Shopify Payments.
Just like processing credit or debit card payments in physical stores, each payment option comes with a transaction fee. Think of this as paying entry to get into a bar – you need to pay in order to go inside and get a drink (or in this case process a payment!)
If you use Shopify Payments, Shopify waives this fee, so you only pay for the transaction using an actual debit or credit card. Should you opt for another payment gateway, however, you will be charged an additional fee by Shopify. This comes through on your monthly invoice.
On top of that, Shopify Payments also allows you to sell in multiple currencies. Shopify will automatically adjust the currency your site shows based on the customer’s location, and amend the price of products according to current exchange rates. The currencies Shopify Payments currently support are GBP, EUR, USD, CAD, AUD, HKD, NZD, JPY, and SGD.
For these reasons, it’s better to use Shopify Payments. If you want more information on payment and transaction fees, Shopify provides further details here.
3D Secure is another crucial feature. This protects merchants when processing credit card transactions that may be fraudulent, meaning that, should anything go wrong, the bank is liable, not you.
Shipping – especially for international businesses – can be tricky. Shopify does a great job here, providing everything you need to complete your customers’ deliveries efficiently and effectively.
From free shipping to customer experience to partnering up with vetted shipping providers, Shopify has it all.
Shopify has partnerships with USPS, DHL Express, UPS and Canada Post. This saves you the hassle of having to go out and source your own courier.
Shopify also allows you to amend shipping rates based on weight, order value or location, print shipping labels for deliveries and returns and supports dropshipping too.
Shopify has 10 free themes, with 50+ more ranging from $140 to $180. Its themes are all mobile responsive, meaning they will automatically adjust to fit mobile and tablet screen sizes.
Mobile responsiveness is crucial in today’s eCommerce landscape. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2017, mobile sales accounted for 64% of Shopify users’ overall eCommerce sales.
Its storefronts are also multi-lingual, so you can get them automatically translated into different languages. The languages currently available are English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese.
Customizing Shopify Themes
When you select a Shopify theme, it’s important to work out what features you need. It’s far easier to find a theme that has the features you need built-in than it is to shoehorn them into another!
Most customization is done through Shopify’s editing interface, while other edits are done via the dashboard. Confused? Here’s the difference:
The editing interface is where you can change your site’s aesthetic. This includes things like where your logo appears, what your text says, and how you align your images.
The dashboard is more technical. This is where you’ll add products, create discount codes, and change your theme. You can change themes at any time, but bear in mind you will need to reformat your site’s content.
One major plus point with Shopify is its images. Product images are vital to sales, and Shopify has its own image editor which lets you crop, resize and add filters to images.
It also has free stock images for more generic banner photos and/or backgrounds.
Shopify offers 24/7 phone and live chat support, and can also be contacted through email or social media.
Your main resource for help, however, is Shopify’s excellent Help Center.
If you opt for Shopify’s Plus plan (we’ll talk more about that in a second), then you’ll receive your own dedicated support agent, known as an MSM (merchant success manager).
They act as your personal point of contact and are intended for enterprise-level businesses that may have a more complex set-up process.
Truth be told, if you’re looking for something free, Shopify won’t be able to help – you’re better off checking out Big Cartel.
But, if you’re looking for a robust yet flexible online store builder that can help you grow your sales and manage administrative tasks, Shopify is a great choice.
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial alongside three core pricing plans: Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify.
Plans range from $29 to $299 depending on the number of tools and support you need. The price also changes if you subscribe on a monthly or annual basis:
|Shopify Pricing Plans||Monthly ($/month)||1-Year ($/month)||Savings (%)||2-Years ($/month)||Savings (%)|
Think of it as a loyalty discount. The longer you commit to Shopify, the more money you save.
Now, let’s get into what you actually get for your money – are Shopify’s plans good value?
If you consider the pricing of Shopify’s plans, the Abandoned Cart Recovery tool alone – which comes with the ‘Shopify’ and ‘Advanced Shopify’ plans – is worth the step up in price.
Outside of Shopify’s three main plans, it also has a Lite plan, at $9 per month, and Shopify Plus, which you can get a bespoke quote for.
Shopify Lite lets you sell through an existing site – like a personal blog – or even through Facebook. Shopify Plus is designed for enterprise-level businesses and takes care of order management, giving you and your team more time to focus on marketing your products.
Still not sure which plan to go with? Why not sign up for a 14-day free trial and see how you get on?
Shopify Plus Review – what we think of Shopify’s enterprise-level eCommerce plan.
From powerful management tools and well-designed themes to world-class apps and features, Shopify really is the best all-round eCommerce website builder on the market.
Shopify is designed for big businesses and small ones who have aspirations to grow. Its analytical and management tools help you keep track of everything, and there’s a ton of features that can help you scale up quickly.
Its pricing plans may seem expensive compared to other products out there, but for what you’re getting, they’re a good value for money. Besides, if you’re really serious about selling, your profits will make the monthly fee feel like a drop in the ocean.
From our research, Shopify had the best sales features and customer score of any builder.
All in all, we can’t recommend Shopify highly enough. But don’t just take our word for it – sign up for a 14-day free trial today and try it yourself.
Why should I use Shopify over hiring a web developer?
Website trends are constantly changing, and what’s in today may be outdated tomorrow. Shopify ensures it keeps on top of any and all changes, updating features and releasing new apps constantly, so you can make sure your site stays ahead of the curve.
You don’t want to be forking out hundreds (maybe even thousands) for a web developer to perform updates every two years. With Shopify, you’re in total control.
Will I lose what I’ve done if I upgrade after a free trial?
Don’t worry – as long as you upgrade to one of Shopify’s premium plans within the 14-day free trial, all your content will be carried over. Two weeks should give you plenty of time to decide if Shopify’s the right product for you, before committing to investing in it!
What’s the difference between Shopify and Wix?
Good question. Wix, similar to other platforms like Squarespace and Weebly, is a website builder that offers eCommerce functionality. Shopify is purpose-built for eCommerce, meaning that if you want an online store, it’s your best bet.
If, however, you want a website and just the option to sell a few products on the side, Wix eCommerce is definitely worth exploring further