In this Shopify review, I’ll take a look at the platform’s functionality, features, value for money and help you decide whether it’s the right fit for your online business.
Shopify is the world’s most popular all-in-one Commerce solution with over 800,000 active online stores.
But popular doesn’t always mean good, right? Before starting this Shopify review I suspected that a lot of people chose Shopify simply because it’s the biggest name in the industry – the default option, the Internet Explorer of eCommerce platforms.
However, a deeper review of Shopify made me realize.
It’s popular for a reason.
Shopify is an eCommerce platform, trying to offer a common online sales solution for both total beginners and seasoned eCommerce professionals. This platform strikes a solid balance between great usability and advanced features.
There are powerful online store tools and features, and they’re all rounded up with great customer service, and a beginner-friendly management interface.
Furthermore, all Shopify stores are fully customizable. Along with intuitive template editor, you can also edit your site’s HTML and CSS code, add custom code files if you need to. That allows fine-tuning all aspects of your store.
On the other hand, the store builder and design interface isn’t always very flexible as it depends on the theme you use – and the best ones can cost you a fair bit of money.
You also might need to pay extra for Shopify’s third-party apps and plugins to improve your store’s functionality.
However, some of them are absolutely worth it and really help to give your store an additional superpower with you requiring no additional coding or website management skills.
Actually, “requiring no additional skills” turned out to be a theme I noticed all across Shopify. It’s a beginner-friendly option.
Shopify comes with a huge range of training resources, allowing those with even the most limited tech skills to get their own online store up and running.
All things considered, Shopify is a widely appreciated eCommerce provider for a good reason. It’s powerful, offers lots of tools and features, and provides intuitive out of the box eCommerce solutions.
But now – let’s bring some more detail in this Shopify review and have a look at how things look from very, very up close.
Shopify offers three main subscriptions which cost from $29/month to $299/month. To put it briefly – Shopify prices are slightly higher-end, but still well within the industry’s standard.
What does that money give you?
Shopify’s cheapest complete eCommerce subscription is the Basic Shopify plan. It costs $29/month and gives you access to all of the platform’s standard online store tools, lets you list unlimited products, and comes with 24/7 support.
The Basic Shopify plan also comes with shipping discounts of up to 64% with selected carriers, a range of payment solutions, and access to the Shopify point-of-sale app (if you’re interested in selling in physical locations).
It provides simple analytics tools, allowing you to monitor your sales and sales channels.
The mid-range Shopify plan will cost you $79/month and will unlock a suite of more advanced tools. On top of the features that come with the Basic Shopify plan, it allows you to sell gift cards and gives you access to professional reports which contain a wealth of information about your store’s performance.
The Shopify plan will also give you access to better shipping discounts and lower transaction fees, along with more advanced analytics tools.
Shopify’s most expensive standard eCommerce subscription is the Advanced Shopify plan. It will cost you $299/month, but it comes with some of the most powerful eCommerce solutions available.
For example, the Advanced plan gives you access to detailed reports and sales data analysis. You will be able to integrate third-party shipping calculators with your store, and transaction fees will be even lower.
But now, let’s talk about something entirely different – Shopify Lite. It will only cost you $9/month, but it isn’t a complete eCommerce solution.
So what is it instead?
Shopify Lite allows you to sell products on your Facebook page, add Messenger support to your online store, add a Buy Button to your self-hosted store, and accept physical point of service sales.
But…It doesn’t actually give you an online shop. This plan merely adds additional features to your existing platforms. Therefore, it can’t be compared to Shopify’s other plans. But it remains a useful tool for those who want to sell a few things through their existing website or social media page.
It’s worth noting that Shopify offers an obligation-free 14-day trial. It doesn’t ask for any payment information until the end of the trial period, so a lot of users (me too!) got to test a lot of the features by simply signing up and getting to work – no credit details required.
When it comes to pricing, Shopify obviously isn’t the cheapest option on the market. However, if you look into the features it offers - it's decent value for money. And you also get a good trial period to test things out.
I may be repeating myself a bit – but Shopify is very easy to use. Sure, there’s still a certain learning curve in certain things – but considering the complexity of some of the tasks, Shopify does a great job in making things simple.
Is it so easy, even an online reviewer could do it?
To find that out, I dedicated this part of my Shopify review to set up an account, navigate through the dashboard, customize my store and actually do some work there.
Some say that starting a new online store can be difficult. Clearly, those people used something else rather than Shopify, because things went very smoothly.
For starters, Shopify asks for very little personal and zero payment information when you sign up. To get started with its 14-day free trial, all I had to do is provide my name (no one’s checking, you can name yourself Scrooge McDuck) and email address. Then, all that’s left is a simple questionnaire.
This questionnaire is designed to help Shopify provide tailored services based on your experience, goals, and the type of store you want to build. It starts by asking how much online selling experience you already have. In order to test the experience a complete beginner would have, I selected the “I’m not selling products yet” option.
Following this, Shopify will ask for a few more personal details, including a business address and phone number – those will be needed once you actually start selling.
Once you’ve provided enough information, you will be taken to the Shopify dashboard, where you will be able to start customizing your store and adding your first products.
All things considered, setting everything up was very simple – but the real test lies in actually using the thing.
So, here goes nothing…
Once I’d signed up for an account and worked through the initial steps, I explored the Shopify management dashboard. I found it quite intuitive and easy to navigate, which is consistent with the idea of Shopify being a great choice for beginners – and pretty consistent with other Shopify reviews out there.
The first thing that stood out to me was that Shopify provides a short list of tips to help you get started. The homepage also contains informational videos, links to useful articles, and other guidelines.
But now, it’s time to seriously get into Shopify and do some work. I worked through each of the main menu options to gauge how effective they really are.
The “Orders” tab lets you manage existing orders, create new orders, and view abandoned carts, among other things. I particularly like the smooth order management interface and the ability to tag orders according to their status or type.
As expected, the “Products” tab lets you do everything from adding new items to your store to managing your inventory. You can organize products into collections if your store’s quite large, and everything can be arranged via category, price, or some other product tag.
Adding a new product can be done either manually or automatically. Manual addition requires you to enter information about the product, add photos, and specify prices.
On the other hand, you can add products automatically in one of two ways. If you run a standard eCommerce store and ship your own items, you can upload a CSV file that contains your product information. This allows you to add multiple items at once – and rules if you use a different eCommerce option and want to move.
Alternatively, dropshippers can add new products via any one of a selection of apps. Two of the more popular dropshipping addons are Oberlo and Dropified, but there are plenty of options out there for stores in all niches.
Moving on, the “Customers” tab allows you to view specific customer details, including their order history, email marketing preferences, and any other relevant information they have provided. You can also categorize customers, which is a great tool that I use because it lets me direct customized marketing or special offers to specific groups of people.
The “Analytics” tab gives you access to Shopify’s detailed data collection and analysis interface. You will find information about things like:
Under the “Analytics” tab, you will also find a range of detailed reports about visitor acquisition and behavior, marketing, finances, and your inventory. You can even view your site’s live visitors, what they’re doing, and where they came from.
The “Marketing” tab contains great tools that are designed to help you increase your visibility and get your products known. You can sync both your Facebook and Google accounts with your store, and you can view and manage past campaigns.
As you would expect, the “Discounts” tab lets you create new discount codes, manage existing codes, and view past campaigns. What more there is to say, except that it works? (It does – and very well)
Finally, the “Apps” tab allows you to add and manage the apps that you’re using on your store. The Shopify App Store contains a great selection of useful plugins.
They’re also sorted by category and goal – so there are separate selections for dropshippers, beginners, marketers, vendors looking to do point-of-sale and so on.
So overall, how does the dashboard feel?
I found the Shopify dashboard both very easy to navigate and very beginner-friendly. It’s straightforward – and that’s the best thing about it.
Despite what I’ve been told as a child – looks do matter. And that’s especially true when it comes to your eCommerce store. Good news though – Shopify makes it pretty easy to make your store look just the way you want it to.
There’s a very beginner-friendly design interface and some great tools to help you personalize your store.
But let’s start with the themes.
After all, the first thing that you should do when you’re customizing your Shopify store is choose an attractive theme. You basically have three options here: you can choose a free Shopify theme, upload your own theme, or pay for a premium theme from the Shopify theme store.
To keep things simple, I stuck with the “Debut” theme, which is the standard Shopify theme that’s pre-installed with new stores. It’s worth noting that the editing interface changes with each theme, which means you might have access to different customization options if you’re not using the same theme I was.
I look at more Shopify themes in detail on the Shopify templates section of this review!
What is working with a theme like?
Well – I have to warn you, this is not a drag-and-drop editor, meaning you can’t personalize things pixel-perfectly and place all the elements exactly where you want to. Each theme has its rules you have to oblige to.
That’s done mostly to stop your website from breaking apart too much.
However, Shopify does allow you to edit most standard elements via the “Theme Settings” tab within the store editor. You can change your store’s color scheme and fonts, integrate your social media accounts, upload a favicon, and customize your checkout pages.
You can also change the layout and content of each page on your store – to some extent. Each page is separated into sections, which can be edited individually via the menu on the left of the editor. At the least, this allows you to add and remove images and create your own text for each section.
You can also add and remove sections, which lets you control what content is shown and in what order it’s shown. Unfortunately, however, you can’t really control the exact positioning of each section or of different elements within each section without editing your store’s code files.
One thing I will say is that I found Shopify’s code files quite complicated, and the editor – just a little bit lacking in features. Be prepared for a bit of a learning curve, or using a third-party code editor.
One of the other things that I really like about the Shopify editing interface is the way it lets you switch between mobile and desktop editing. This allows you to look at how your store is going to render on all types of devices before you publish any changes.
You can further edit your store via the other customization pages on your builder dashboard. The “Blog posts” tab allows you to add and manage custom blogs, which is great for content-focused stores who want to tell a story (and maybe build a strong SEO presence while they do it).
Likewise, the “Pages” and “Navigation” tabs let you manage your store’s pages and menus respectively, while the “Domains” tab lets you connect custom domains and subdomains.
Finally, the “Preferences” tab lets you update your site’s SEO information, connect your Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel accounts, and enable password protection for your store.
All things considered, I found the entire Shopify management and editing system very beginner-friendly and straightforward to use.
The only thing that requires special skills is fine-tuning your site’s design by editing your code files, but this is an optional endeavor anyway.
Although it’s primarily a desktop platform, Shopify also comes with a mobile app that allows you to manage your store on the go. I spent a bit of time playing with it, and I found it to be a very useful tool that definitely streamlines day-to-day store management.
For starters, the Shopify mobile app offers much the same functionality as the browser dashboard. It lets you access the same tabs and make the same changes to your store.
One of the things I really like about the Shopify app is that it allows you to manage orders on the go. This means you can fulfill orders when they are placed, even if you work a day job. You can also reply to customer queries and address concerns as they arise.
I also like the fact that the Shopify App allows you to manage your products and keep track of your inventory. When I’ve used Shopify in the past I found this feature very useful, especially when products ran out of stock during the day.
After running through the Shopify mobile app I really couldn’t find any problems with it. Sure, it’s not going to be as easy to edit your site and do things like add blog posts through a mobile interface, but the functionality is there if you need it.
Overall, Shopify does its absolute best to be easy to use. With so many features available, it can be difficult to pull it off - but most people will be fine.
Shopify offers a decent selection of online store templates but they’re either pretty basic or pretty expensive. However, the fact that it lets users upload custom themes and edit all code files is a big positive in my eyes, as this really allows complete design flexibility.
At the time of writing this Shopify review, it had access to 74 different online store templates.
On top of this, only 10 of these templates are free. The remaining 64 range in price from $140 to $180, which I felt was quite steep, especially if you just want to try Shopify out to see if it’s the right platform for your needs.
I do like the fact that Shopify categorizes its themes in various ways. For example, you can select your theme based on the:
These are obviously only starting points to help you choose the theme that’s most similar to what you want because you can customize every aspect of your store’s design once you get started.
Meanwhile, each theme has its own page which contains a wealth of information to help you make your choice. Most also come with comprehensive documentation files, help videos, and other support services.
The main negative aspect of Shopify’s relatively small template library is that it can be hard to build a truly customized website if you don’t have a lot of coding experience. This is largely because most of the templates on offer are quite generic, with limited built-in customizability.
Can’t seem to find the right theme in the Shopify store?
Not all is lost – as the platform allows third-party templates, there are plenty of options to choose from. What’s better, some of them are genuinely cheaper and still include a lot of the great premium options.
Although I certainly can’t give Shopify a perfect rating on the store template front, it does okay. I was disappointed with the lack of free themes, and the premium ones are pretty expensive. But when there's a will, there's a way, and you can find some good deals on Shopify templates somewhere.
I’ll be brief. There’s no surprise, Shopify logically offers a great selection of eCommerce features.
As part of this Shopify review, I explored some of the main features to see how functional they really are, and how does Shopify work to make everything function together.
Dropshipping makes it simple to sell items you don’t even have physically – instead, fulfillment is outsourced to another company, and you get to keep the profit!
So, how does Shopify cater to those looking to take up dropshipping? Pretty well, actually.
When I was trying to build my first dropshipping store back in the ancient times of late 2015, I came across “The Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping” on the Shopify website. It really tells you everything you need to know about starting your own dropshipping store, and I’d recommend reading it – thee guide absolutely holds up even today.
But of course, the help goes way beyond that. Shopify’s app store includes nearly 200 apps focused on dropshipping and print-on-demand services.
Which one should you pick, depends entirely on your budget, needs, and dreams.
One of the most popular options is Oberlo.
How does such an app work within Shopify’s ecosystem? Well, I was very impressed with the smooth management interface and the beginner-friendly process.
In Shopify’s trademark fashion, everything was simple and practically seamless. All the payment information and the registration process worked together with Shopify, too.
It was a similar theme with most top-rated applications: they were unified with Shopify’s own system, making the learning curve extremely small.
So, overall, Shopify completely nails dropshipping. There are more options than you’ll ever need, they work flawlessly, and there’s a free guide that can help you master it. No issues there.
All in all, Shopify is one of the best dropshipping platforms that I’ve worked with. When used in conjunction with apps like Oberlo, it’s streamlined and beginner-friendly, and I’d definitely recommend it.
Shopify does provide a native payment gateway which allows you to accept credit and debit card payments, but that’s not everything – it also works with over 100 other payment providers throughout the world.
It’s important to realize that the payment gateways you can use will depend on the country in which you’re selling. As an example, I had a look at the payment providers available in the United States.
And, I have to admit I was surprised by just how long the list was. Notable choices include PayPal, CoinBase Commerce, Skrill, and Amazon Pay, but there are plenty of options for you to choose from.
All things considered, Shopify’s integrations with payment providers throughout the world is impressive, and it allows you to tailor your store to the needs of your customers.
However, there’s a certain issue you may have to consider when using a gateway – it’s something I missed in other Shopify reviews, too.
Unlike various other leading eCommerce platforms, Shopify does charge transaction fees on every sale you make. These vary according to the subscription you’re using.
When you use Shopify’s own payment system, all transactions come with a combination of a 30 cent fee and a percentage of the total sale. Shopify’s low-end Basic Shopify plan has fees of 2.9%, while the Shopify plan charges 2.6%, and the Shopify Plus plan takes 2.4%.
On top of this, you will be charged an additional 2.0%, 1.0%, and 0.5% with the Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify plans respectively when you use an external payment provider.
All things considered, Shopify’s transaction fees aren’t too large, but they are certainly worth keeping in mind – your eCommerce costs may expand considerably when accounting for them.
If you’re looking to use Shopify to send and receive emails to grow your business, I’ll have to stop you.
Unfortunately, Shopify doesn’t offer a native email marketing system.
Luckily, there’s nothing a good application won’t fix. There are ways to collect subscribers, to whom you can then advertise through a third-party plugin or external email marketing platform.
One of the most popular email marketing apps for Shopify is Privy. To provide a complete Shopify review, I had a quick look at its services and how easy it is to integrate with your store.
Now, I like this app because of its advanced features. It really offers the complete email marketing package, allowing you to create custom marketing campaigns, perform A/B testing, and send email newsletters and other marketing messages to your subscribers.
All things considered, Shopify performs fine on the email marketing front. It certainly isn’t as powerful as it potentially could be, but it does give users access to a range of apps and they can help you get what you need.
When you’re starting your first eCommerce store scalability might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, if your business grows so far, your eCommerce plan or platform can’t keep up with the demand, it can turn into a massive problem.
Fortunately, Shopify performs quite well where scalability is concerned.
None of Shopify’s plans impose any selling or product limits, which means that you’re free to create a store that’s as large as you want. However, its transaction fees can become significant if you start selling large volumes.
Fortunately, these transaction fees decrease as you sell more items. The enterprise-level Shopify Plus platform runs on very low transaction fees and hosts some of the largest eCommerce stores in the world, supporting the idea that it’s a very scalable system.
And, since Shopify Plus is designed for large stores with huge visitor numbers, you can rest easy in the knowledge that your store won’t crash, even if you experience a huge spike in traffic.
And then there’s the whole “Shopify Enterprise” thing, where you get a custom plan, depending on your needs. Will that be enough for your business?
Well, it’s good enough for Drake, Kim Kardashian, and Lady Gaga – so it’s good enough for me, too (humility is a virtue).
Ultimately, Shopify offers great scalability. Transitioning between its low-end and high-end plans is straightforward, and the Shopify Plus plan is designed to run even the largest eCommerce stores.
Shopify doesn’t offer native digital download support, but once again, don’t worry.
There’s an app for it.
Which one should you pick, and how do they work?
First, I looked at the Digital Downloads app.
Created by Shopify itself, this app allows users to add digital products to their store, automatically send download links to customers, and manage their product library. However, some people are quite unhappy with the fact that digital downloads sometimes just don’t…work?
That’s not great.
Looking elsewhere, there are third-party apps like Send Owl. They’re a great choice for those who want to build stores with more complex digital libraries.
SendOwl allows you to upload your products to its servers, creates expiring links whenever you sell a digital item, and makes managing your library very straightforward with its intuitive interface.
And the people love it, too. There’s only an issue – the plans start at $9/month, so you’ll need to pay extra for that extra quality.
All things considered, Shopify makes it possible to sell digital products. But you get what you pay for – and if you’re serious about this, consider a premium app.
It’s worth noting that Shopify only allows you to create one store per subscription. For most people, this won’t be an issue. However, it can be annoying if you want to build and manage more than one online store.
In this case, you will have to open multiple Shopify accounts, pay multiple sets of subscription fees, and log in to a different dashboard every time you want to switch stores. It’s something worth keeping in mind.
It comes as a shock to probably no one - Shopify absolute nails eCommerce. However, you may need to use its app store to get the best options possible. And they might cost you a fair bit extra, so do the research on the apps and features you may need.
If you’re planning on growing your online store, then search engine optimization (SEO), is extremely important. Fortunately, Shopify performs quite well on the SEO front, and it comes with a range of tools that you can use to boost your store’s search engine rank.
First, Shopify allows you to add a meta title and meta description via your store’s preferences menu. These are what people will see when they find your store via Google or another search engine, so you need to make sure they are well written and appealing.
Shopify also lets you edit the SEO characteristics of every product, category, and tag page. Like your site’s general meta title and description, page titles and descriptions help those individual pages get found by search engines.
You can also edit the alt text for each image you upload.
Think that’s not enough?
Apps come in handy once again.
The Shopify App Store contains a great range of SEO apps that you can use to help you optimize your site. I’d definitely recommend exploring your options and installing a few apps to help you boost your site’s rank.
There are over 300 SEO and SEO-related apps, covering everything from image optimization to sitemap creation.
One of my favorite Shopify SEO apps is SEO Optimize. It allows you to add more detailed SEO data to your images – something Shopify can’t do on its own.
But it’s not all about the apps.
Shopify gives you full access to your site’s code files – and that is great for SEO. If you’re having problems with things like your site speed, code rendering, or anything similar, you should be able to fix them by editing your code files.
All things considered, Shopify performs quite well on the SEO front. It makes adding basic SEO information quite straightforward, and the great range of apps in the Shopify App Store is a powerful resource.
Shopify offers great built-in analytics tools, and it also allows you to connect your Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel accounts. I was quite impressed with the level of data that Shopify collects and with the clear, in-depth way in which it’s presented.
When I was reviewing Shopify’s analytics features, the first thing I did was navigate to the “Analytics” tab on my store’s dashboard. When I clicked on it, I was taken to a general “Overview dashboard” which presented a wide range of information about my store’s performance and visitor acquisition.
Each metric is presented as a logical graph, so it’s easy to understand. You can change the time scale on each graph, allowing you to monitor your store’s performance over time.
The data collected and presented on the overview dashboard includes information about:
Along with this graphical data, Shopify also provides a range of data reports that give more detailed descriptions of your store’s performance. These reports include information about visitor acquisition and behavior, along with your finances, marketing, and inventory.
Finally, the third built-in analytics feature that Shopify offers comes in the form of its live view interface. Through this interface, you can see exactly how many people are browsing your store at any moment in time, along with their physical location, what they’re doing, and what pages they’re looking at.
Once I had finished looking at Shopify’s built-in analytics tools I also explored its ability to integrate with external tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel.
Both of these can be connected to your store through the “Preferences” tab of the “Online Store” menu. All you need to do is follow the prompts, paste your Google code or Pixel ID in the appropriate box, and click on the Save button.
Shopify even provides in-depth guides to setting up both Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel which you can use if you get stuck.
I have to admit that I really liked Shopify’s analytics tools. They are quite comprehensive and let store owners track pretty much every aspect of their performance. On top of this, Shopify makes it easy to integrate Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel.
Although it’s predominantly an eCommerce platform designed for selling products, Shopify does come with a built-in blogging engine.
I did like how straightforward Shopify made adding a new blog post to my store. Basically, all I had to do was click on the “create blog post” button and follow the prompts.
That’s literally the least complicated tutorial I’ve ever done.
Unfortunately, Shopify’s blogging platform isn’t as sophisticated as it could be. Sure, it allows you to add written content, upload images, and categorize your posts by tagging them, but that’s about it.
Shopify doesn’t let you add categories to your blog, which can make it hard to keep things tidy when your blog becomes seriously extensive. It also offers quite limited SEO blog tools, which can impact your search engine ranking.
But let’s talk about what it has instead. Shopify’s blog engine does allow you to add basic information like an SEO title, a meta description, and a custom URL to every post. Tagging your posts will also help boost your SEO ranking, and including relevant keywords is essential.
One of the things that stood out to me was the fact that I could actually create more than one blog. In the absence of categories, this could be a way to separate your content and differentiate between different types of posts.
In theory, you can add as many new blogs as you want.
Blogs are there to build a community and grow your audience – so it’s important to be able to engage with the people that visit them. Luckily, Shopify does allow you to add comment functionality to your blogs to do just this.
And if someone calls your shop dumb, you can always manage the comments through the Shopify interface.
You can also apply bulk actions to groups of posts, which allows you to do things like add new tags or publish a number of posts at once.
Finally, Shopify also offers a few advanced blogging features, allowing you to:
All things considered, Shopify’s blogging engine does everything it needs to. It isn’t as advanced as those you would find on blog-centered platforms like WordPress, but it has enough features for store owners to spread their message - and get extra traffic.
In this Shopify review, I mentioned its app store quite a few times. And there’s a reason for it – it’s massive and at the center of everything Shopify is and does.
The Shopify App Store contains thousands of free and premium apps.
The pricing of the apps is very diverse: there are plenty of great free apps, as well as some professional tools that will cost hundreds of dollars per month.
However, that diversity is handled very well.
At first glance, the App Store appears quite tidy. It comes with a range of recommended apps to help you get the most out of your store, which would be particularly useful for those with zero store building experience. At the same time, it allows you to search for specific apps or keywords to find something that meets your needs.
Along with this, Shopify sorts its apps into both categories and collections. I found its collections particularly useful, as they are designed to help stores achieve specific goals.
For example, the “launching your store” collection showcases some great apps to help you get started. If you’re new to Shopify and haven’t ever worked with eCommerce before, then I’d recommend exploring this collection.
And the process of getting a plugin to your website is as easy as clicking “add to store”. All the plugins are up-to-date and security checked by Shopify itself, so installing and using them shouldn’t impose any security risks.
Finally, I had a quick look at adding private apps to my store. Once again, the process is quite intuitive. All you need to do is follow the prompts, enter the relevant information, and add the generated API key to your app.
All things considered, I was impressed with the Shopify App Store. It’s very beginner-friendly, and it contains a great range of apps to help you do pretty much anything you can think of. Some of them may come at a price - but that's entirely normal.
Along with its eCommerce solutions, Shopify also offers a training platform in the form of the Shopify Academy. The Shopify Academy offers a great range of free tools to help you grow your online store – and it’s a good business resource for those trying to learn more.
One of the things I love about the Shopify Academy is that it’s tailored specifically towards beginners with little to no eCommerce experience. This means you can learn how to build and run your store even if you’re a complete newbie.
At the same time, its courses are carefully aimed at specific groups of people. For example, you’ll find information about dropshipping, store design, social media advertising, and using Google Ads for store promotion, among other things.
On top of this, the Shopify Academy also gives you access to a suite of pre-recorded and live workshops that you can use to improve your knowledge. I’ve worked through a range of these and have found them very useful.
If you’re considering starting your own eCommerce store with Shopify, but have little experience, then I’d recommend having a look at the Shopify Academy and the courses it offers.
When it comes to support, Shopify offers three options. The Shopify Help Center contains a range of useful articles, videos, and tutorials that answer a range of the most common questions. Alternatively, you can post your questions in a community forum or contact support directly.
In the past, I’ve found plenty of useful information in the Shopify Help Center. Since Shopify is such a popular store builder, most common questions have been answered.
If your query has anything to do with the general management of your store, then the chances are you will find what you’re looking for here.
Meanwhile, the Shopify community forums are a great resource for questions that are a little more complicated or specific, but which other people may have asked. For example, I’ve used the forum in the past to find out the best way to modify certain code snippets or integrate certain plugins with my store.
Finally, you can contact Shopify support directly if you have questions that are sensitive or more specific to your store. Examples include questions related to your account, billing, or changing your store information.
If you want to do this, Shopify offers four dedicated support channels. You can contact the team on Twitter, via email or phone, or through the online live chat.
I tested out the live chat feature to see how good it was, and I was pleasantly surprised by the speed. I was connected with a member of the Shopify team almost immediately, and they really knew their stuff.
Shopify live support agents deal only with the Shopify’s main platform. So if you’re interested in “where to find X?” and “how to open Y?”, you’re sorted! However, when I asked difficult questions about private plugin integration and API issues, they couldn’t help.
Even the best have their limits. But I can’t judge too much.
All things considered, I thought Shopify’s customer support services were pretty decent. Both the Help Center and the community forums are very useful resources, and the live chat support is good, as long as your questions aren’t too difficult and specific.
Store performance is a crucial consideration when it comes to both SEO and the user experience and must absolutely be taken into account when choosing an eCommerce builder. To get a complete Shopify review I simply had to subject the store I built to a few different performance tests.
To analyze my store’s performance, I used two industry-leading tests.
First, I tested out its load time and overall optimization using a GTmetrix performance test. Following this, I used a LoadImpact server response time test to see how my store reacted to high visitor numbers.
Impressively, the GTmetrix test gave almost perfect PageSpeed (96%) and YSlow (96%) scores. These are well above average, which tells me that my store’s code files are very well written and optimized for search engine crawlers.
The full load time of 1.5 seconds supports this and is low enough to make sure that the maximum number of visitors is retained.
Adding new features, extensive media, and big plugins will increase your page size and probably have a negative effect on performance. This is a base score – your mileage way vary!
Now – let’s see how Shopify servers handle bigger visitor numbers. To replicate that, I used the LoadImpact test – and it also gave great results. When my store was subjected to 50 virtual users (green line in the image below) making regular requests (purple line) for ten minutes, the server response times (blue line) remained stable and low.
This suggests that my store is hosted on powerful servers that have the ability to keep up with even high visitor numbers.
All things considered, I was extremely happy with my Shopify store’s performance. Both its load speed and server response times were elite, and it consistently performed well under high visitor loads.
All things considered, I was extremely happy with my Shopify store’s performance. Both its load speed and server response times were elite, and it consistently performed well under high visitor loads.
This Shopify review erased pretty much all doubt I had about this platform. It is staggeringly popular – but that’s not only good marketing and herd behavior. Shopify is actually good, and suited to businesses of all sizes and goals.
Is it expensive? Well, that depends. $29/month isn’t exactly nothing. But then again, it includes pretty much everything you need to make a website and start selling. It’s many tools for the price of one.
It’s an intuitive store builder and management interface. You can do everything from fulfilling orders and adding new products to updating your blog from the comfort of the Shopify dashboard.
Shopify also comes with great design flexibility and customization potential. And sure, there’s a limited number of store templates, the fact that it gives you access to your store’s code means you can effectively customize anything you want.
Its online store features are almost unrivaled, and the Shopify App Store provides a great range of plugins to help you get more out of your store.
Finally, Shopify performs very well, comes with great analytics and data collection tools, and offers brilliant customer service.
out of 10
All things considered, if you're a beginner, looking for the way to sell online without any prior experience - I recommend Shopify. If you're an advanced user, in search of advanced features and superior performance - I still recommend Shopify. And if you are not sure whether you want to commit to this platform - I recommend you to take advantage of the free trial to see if it’s the right store builder for you.
Although Shopify is obviously an industry leader and a great choice for those who want to build an attractive eCommerce store, it’s not the only one out there.
There are plenty of other options, that do certain things even better than Shopify does.
BigCommerce is right up there with Shopify. It is priced similarly – but will be as good (if not better) for big businesses, as well as the ones that plan to use a lot of external payment gateways.
Wix has hundreds of beautiful templates, and each of them can be edited with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Put it this way – everything about Wix makes it suited even for the most hardcore of beginners.
WordPress is the most popular and. powerful blogging platform in the world – and WooCommerce helps turn it into the most customizable eCommerce platform out there.
What’s better – it’s completely free, provided you have your very own server space. The learning curve, however, is pretty big. But if you’re determined to make the best out of the freedom you’re given, it may very well be worth it.
GoDaddy website builder is great for businesses that care about function over form. It’s very easy to use – and the basic editing interface makes sure that building your store is completely effortless.