Shopify Review (Still The Best Ecommerce Store Builder?)

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Shopify is the most popular ecommerce platform on the planet. This all-in-one ecommerce software powers over 1 million merchants and have generated over $155 billion in sales. This Shopify review covers the ins and outs of this hugely popular online store builder

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Shopify Review (Summary)

About

Shopify is the world's leading all-in-one SaaS ecommerce platform that lets you start, grow, and manage your online store.

💰 Cost

There are four Shopify plans: Shopify Basic costs $29/month, the Shopify Main plan costs $79/month, the Shopify Advanced plan costs $299/month. There is also the Shopify Lite plan that costs $9/month. Finally there is Shopify Plus (enterprise ecommerce and starts a $2,000 per month). (Compare Shopify plans here.)

😍 Pros

Fully hosted and all-in-one platform meaning you don't have to worry about the technical stuff. Huge (free and paid) app marketplace, and custom themes. Abandoned cart recovery, 100+ payment gateways, simple to use storefront, SKU and inventory management, built-in SEO, marketing, analytics, and reporting, flexible shipping rates and automatic taxes. Excellent customer support, self-help documentation, and community. Sell across multiple channels, both digital and physical products (integrated POS). All features.

😩 Cons

Shopify’s built in payment processor only allows you to sell from certain countries, and you have to pay transaction fees if you use third-party payment gateways. The cost of using apps can quickly add up. Email hosting isn't included. The Lite plan comes with limited Shopify features.

Verdict

“Shopify is the best fully hosted ecommerce platforms on the market today. Shopify pricing is reasonable and comes with hundreds of built-in features and thousands of apps. Shopify gives you everything you need to get started selling, via your online store, social channels or your physical shop through their integrated POS.”

 
shopify review

Powering more than 1M online businesses Shopify's annual revenue topped $1.57 billion in 2019, which is up 47% from 2018. And in this 2022 Shopify review, we’ll go over why a recent survey shows that 88 percent of its users recommend Shopify.

Who are the 12 percent that didn’t connect with the site? What makes this platform so widely used and wildly prominent in the ecommerce sphere? Is it approachable enough for a newcomer, designed for experienced tech pros, or does it fall somewhere in the middle?

By the end, you should be able to answer all those questions and more. Because my goal isn’t to just deliver an in-depth Shopify review: I hope to help you decide whether this ecommerce platform is right for you specifically.

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Find out why 1M+ businesses use Shopify's powerful and easy to use ecommerce website builder. Start your free trial now!

 

Why This Shopify Review?

The cool part about this Shopify.com review is that it was written by someone who started a business from scratch on Shopify a few years ago and has since become an avid user.

However, I’m no stranger to a wide range of other ecommerce tools, including BigCommerce, 3dcart, Wix, Squarespace, WooCommerce, and Magento. Later on, we’ll compare how Shopify stands out compared to those major competitors, as well as what exactly this reviewer was selling on those websites.

There’s always the possibility that your business fits better into a different ecommerce platform option. But you’re likely here because you’ve heard all sorts of (probably great) things about Shopify, and you’re weighing whether you should give it a try. So, let’s get one of the more obvious questions out of the way:

What Can I Use Shopify For?

It’s a fully hosted all-in-one ecommerce website builder, so that question should be obvious, right? But the truth is that you could always just open up an Etsy shop or, heck, why not just make an eBay profile and sell your wares on there? Because you’re looking for a robust platform that you can house your entire business within, and that’s where Shopify comes in.

shopify reviewed

While perusing the reviews of Shopify, you’ll see a wide range of valid opinions, but they’re coming from just a wide range of people. They have different goals, niches, industries, experience, the list goes on. However, if you use Shopify, you’re doing (very generally) one or more of four things:

Starting a brand from square one
Selling online
Selling in-store
Marketing your brand

Let’s review each of these five areas, and see how the Shopify platform makes doing them easier, better, or—at the very least—different.

Starting a Business on Shopify

You have an idea for a business, and you’re looking for a place to begin. Or, you’re taking your side hustle and moving it to a platform like Shopify where it can grow. If that’s the case, then Shopify is all but made for you.

Unlike platforms like WordPress, which is pretty complex, and even Squarespace, which is definitely approachable but quite limited, Shopify is built for shopping. Could you tell from the name? And, moreover, it’s built for folks who aren’t looking to build everything from scratch.

What does that mean for you? Well, if you’re already a WordPress expert, why even consider Shopify? Put that expertise to good use! And further down this review, we’ll get into how you can integrate it with your existing website.

shopify's dashboard

A Robust Resource for Startups

In this review, we’ll go through all the reasons how this site seems to have it all. And if you’re not already familiar with the enormous number of marketing tools available to you online, you’ll likely discover a plethora of avenues you can go down to achieve your business goals and beyond.

Shopify does a great job of giving you the freedom to keep it simple and build from there. You can have nothing more than a webpage that sells a single product. You can have a Shopify site that puts the site you’re reading this one to shame. The possibilities are endless because it was built that way.

google trends

Creating a Brand from Scratch on Shopify

You’ll have a lot of fun with the first few steps of starting a business with Shopify. You can even begin before you’ve come up with a name, with a Business Name Generator that’s freely available, no need to open an account. You likely won’t find one that hits the nail on the head, but you’ll get tons of ideas.

Shopify also has a fantastic logo builder tool that you can use to create something from scratch or start from a template. I’ve heard of many people drafting something up with the simple graphic design platform Canva. But if you’re planning to house your business entirely on Shopify, you might as well create a logo here.

The only thing more important than the name and the logo is deciding what you’re selling. And since you need to create a unified look through your store and across all advertising channels, you’ll want to do this first thing.

How Shopify Helps Build an Online Presence

Once you have all the basics locked down, you want to sell your product. And because Google’s SEO Algorithm can’t yet immediately recognize your greatness, you need to get your name out there.

Shopify has a ridiculous number of marketing apps and built-in SEO tools to help get your brand noticed. I recommend going with the best-reviewed, most popular apps, but feel free to browse around. You may just discover an up-and-coming option that puts you out ahead simply because you’re not doing what everyone else is doing.

Directly through your Shopify account, you can quickly and easily:

Get a custom URL or import one you already own.
Browse both free and paid stock images.
Create an entirely unique store.

Setting Up a Store in Shopify

dashboard

You can open up a store, whether you have an inventory of products or not. In fact, the dropshipping business model is one of the more popular avenues to pursue on Shopify. You can select the products you want to sell through their partnership with the dropshipping company Oberlo.

The customer pays you the retail price, you take that money and buy it at wholesale, and the dropshipper does all the packaging and shipping directly to the customer. Boom, profit.

But whether you’re selling your own items or using Shopify for dropshipping, you can choose your store theme based on a variety of templates (some free themes, most are paid Shopify themes). You’ll customize your products to your heart's content, including adding descriptions (Shopify has apps for that too). And add whatever else you might want, like an “About Us,” FAQ page, and so on.

Then you’re good to go. I think, all told, you could roll out a functioning store in less than a day, no kidding!

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Find out why 1M+ businesses use Shopify's powerful and easy to use ecommerce website builder. Start your free trial now!

 

Should You Do the Free Shopify Trial?

I always recommend starting off with a free trial, even if you know you’re going to become a paid user. For one thing, you can only have one Shopify store at a time, so if you get far in the beginning and decide you want to just start from scratch, delete everything and start over without feeling like you wasted any money.

While writing this review, Shopify was offering a 90-day free trial, which is incredible. But that’s in the throes of the novel coronavirus pandemic, so it’s certainly temporary. Still, it’s worth it to take advantage of whatever the free trial offer is, even if just the standard 14-day free trial.

Shopify Capital is a credit program for qualified businesses, which is another potential avenue for startups looking for some seed money to hit the ground running with advertising and beyond. It could be worth looking into.

Do You Need to be a Licensed Business to Start a Shopify Store?

settings

Technically: no. You don’t have to be a licensed business to open your own Shopify Store. You would just need to pay taxes on any income by filing self-employment taxes, which require quarterly payments.

However, I strongly recommend opening a licensed business as soon as possible, preferably before you sell your first product. You want to be protected from personal liability, and it has its tax advantages, especially important if you’re employed elsewhere and a Shopify store is a side hustle.

Types of Online Stores on Shopify

shopify store types

The type of online store you open on Shopify is pretty much limited to your imagination. Are you selling infrared saunas? Then maybe I’ll review you sometime soon! Are you delivering made-to-order prints or clothing? Are you selling food or drink? Accessories or crafts? Books, comics, novels, lit mags?

This is an honest Shopify.com review, so let’s be honest here: this is a for-profit company, which means they want as many customers as possible. That means their platform is designed to accommodate every type of business imaginable (as long as it can be done online).

Selling Online with Shopify: A Review

I’m warning you right now: time slips away when you start building your store. They make sure it's ridiculously easy to customize, and you can end up getting carried away and realize that eight hours have gone by and all you’ve done is played with the background color. That’s not a bad thing, it’s actually a testament to the approachability and ease of use.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXWgHlnVVEY

It’s Hard to Beat the Shopify Online Store

shopify themes - paid and free theme

Literally. It’s difficult to so easily create such a good-looking website – if it’s even possible at all. But if you have a hyper-specific vision for your store in mind, you could build it from scratch or customize a Shopify template by editing directly in the HTML backend. Best of both worlds!

When you have existing imagery of your products, all you have to do is drag and drop the files directly onto the site. You can create galleries, slide shows, or static images. You can put text anywhere you want. You can browse dozens of themes and play around with them.

While Squarespace and Wix have more templates, the ecommerce features of Shopify beat out Wix and Squarespace in my book, and the templates aren’t going to be a good enough selling point to compensate for that. (Read my Squarespace vs Wix comparison.)

Review of the Shopify Shopping Cart

Amazingly, you can accept over a hundred forms of Shopify payments if you live in the United States (I can’t attest to other locations). This includes all the major credit cards and e-wallets, as well as for cryptocurrencies and beyond.

Further, they’ll calculate everything based on the local taxes and currency of the shopper. So if you’re an international seller, you know that your checkout will be translated to accommodate wherever the shopper is located, their local currency included.

If you haven’t already guessed, you can pre-set your shipping rates, or have Shopify calculate the shipping automatically, although that requires the Advanced Shopify plan. If you have a variety of items, however, it’s likely worth the upgrade, even if it’s just for the automatic shipping calculations. You don’t want to undercharge on that!

shipping zones

Shopping Cart Security

Shopify also guarantees the highest level of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which means their security measures are scrutinized more so than most companies. They utilize state-of-the-art encryption to keep all info safe and secure. And they paid out over $850,000 to whitehat hackers over the years for reporting bugs that have all been patched.

In fact, Shopify will pay out as much as $50,000 for identifying specific security issues, making the incentive to report vulnerabilities competitive with exploiting them.

pci compliance

When you open an online store on Shopify, your site will automatically feature 256-bit SSL encryption, which instills total confidence in your shop for visitors that their payment data is secure. Since there will be little to no evidence that your site is hosted by Shopify, this is a great way to guarantee safety for your brand specifically.

How to Manage Your Shopify Store

I love the Shopify mobile app, but I get into more details on that a few sections down in this review. (Spoiler: You can do pretty much anything from a mobile device.)

However, it’s the robust dashboard, whether the desktop or mobile version, that really blows me away. They cover all the potential bases, and it’s an addictive tracker of your growth, sales, visitors, order tracking, and more. It’s a top-down but crystal-clear data presentation that I can’t say enough good things about.

reporting

How does the Shopify dashboard compare to its competitors? Every ecommerce software has an interactive dashboard component, but none are as clean and everything-in-one-place like the Shopify version. For the less techy folks, it’s near-perfect.

How Specific Can You Organize Your Inventory?

Shopify allows you to add as many dropdowns as you need for your products, although you’ll likely have to download an app if you have more than one or two.

For example, if you’re selling a T-shirt that comes in different colors and different sizes, the customer will have two dropdowns, one for color and one for size, and the product image can even change when you do.

inventory management

Is this unique to Shopify? No, you can do the same at (I’m guessing) all ecommerce platforms, including all those that I have experience in, from Magento to WooCommerce. But it’s still important to mention.

You can also list each item separately by color, design, size, and whatever the case may be depending on your industry. This might also be a great SEO strategy, as each product page is its own opportunity to get recognized by search engine algorithms.

How Powerful Is Shopify As a Web Host?

The web host capabilities of Shopify are downright impressive. You get unlimited bandwidth, although that should be standard since your business growth would be stunted otherwise. Shopify also updates your web capabilities automatically, no need to take your site down and make your customers wait for an update. That’s a great way to lose them!

But what might be my favorite component of their web hosting is the unlimited domain name email address forwarding, which can be incredibly useful. That way, you create different emails for different departments and streamline customer communication. You don’t want your custom design requests to go to your IT department, after all.

reliable ecommerce web hosting

While it’s likely wise for massive companies to invest in more specific server space, most store owners will never have a bandwidth problem while using Shopify as their web host.

Reviewing Data from Shopify Sales

I’ve already gone on about the Shopify dashboard, where you can find most of the data you’re looking for all at once. But you can get a lot more in-depth with the data collected from your ongoing sales. Shopify is designed to be as robust or as minimal as you want it to be.

The most obvious data points are which products are moving and which ones are staying on “the shelves,” so to speak. Google Analytics is directly compatible with your store’s setup too, so you’ll have all those insights at your disposal. You can pull up all your traffic and referral reports quickly and as detailed as you want, and export them to a variety of file types, like Excel and PDF.

You may not need every data point, but if you ever hire an expert, they should ask for all of it to give you the best chance of converting more customers.

Is the Shopify App Better Than the Rest?

shopify app store homepage

It’s not hard to tell right off the bat that Shopify is designed for the every-person, meaning hyper-intuitive navigation and extremely easy management is a key selling point. So making a simple mobile app that allows you to do practically everything from your phone just comes with the territory.

Shopify offers the best ecommerce store mobile app on the market. Period, end of story! Have I tried them all? Admittedly, no. But I have tried many, and this is by far my favorite ecommerce software in terms of navigation, accessibility, and features Shopify provides.

You’ll be able to email and call customers, manage inventory, and review your dashboard while on the go. That’s not just extremely convenient, it feels essential to today’s world.

A Favorite Part of Shopify Is the Customer Support

The customer care team at Shopify is passionate and willing to go above and beyond. To me, that’s a huge selling point. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve pulled my hair out with other customer support teams. And anyone that makes me feel like that will never happen gets a gold star.

shopify support - email live chat and phone support

However, the 24-7-365 support via live chat, online form, email address support, and phone support are not unique to Shopify, and neither is the exceptional customer service. All ecommerce websites dedicated to helping small businesses thrive make sure to have great on-call representatives.

But still, Shopify takes it all a step further than most with other features that will help you reach new heights as an entrepreneur. On top of the standard help center of FAQs, they have really helpful and often fascinating forum discussions where I’ve found countless tips and insights.

A Review on Managing a Brick-and-Mortar Store with Shopify

Shopify is an ecommerce platform that you can also use for your physical storefront. This is an amazing resource for businesses that sell both online and in-store, as you’ll want a streamlined management system that takes all the sales and operations into account.

Some products may sell better in-store than online. Your overall revenue is how you properly allocate funding. And your store can’t function up to its highest levels of productivity and organization without the right Point of Sale (POS) system.

But if you have a separate POS for your store that requires you to upload or (so much worse) manually input the data, human error is bound to occur. Having your online store and in-store operations all run through the same platform is incredibly beneficial.

Shopify Hardware Quality

As sleek and beautiful as the Shopify POS system hard drive might be, they’re awesomely durable, meaning they’ll do fine in both boutique fashion outlets and busy restaurants – and any type of retail and foodservice business between.

The hardware is largely grouped into three categories, although the first encompasses everything you’ll need to set up an in-store point of sale system. The Retail Kit has the iPad stand, card reader, and all the necessary accessories. Each is sold separately too.

point of sale hardware

It’s also all designed to be as versatile as possible. Your staff can carry the iPads around with them to service customers, and the same goes for the card reader. You can even take your POS hardware with you outside of the store to make deliveries, estimates, installations, and so on.

The Shopify POS System Is One of the Most Robust on the Market

While the point of sale system is easy to learn and use, they offer training videos so that you and your staff can become Shopify POS experts together – and any new employees can be onboarded quickly.

Further, the many Shopify add-on apps can facilitate really awesome features for your POS as well. You can book appointments, classes, and seminars while automatically scheduling and tracking attendance. You can sell by product, by weight, or by time. You can quickly change the prices, make products unavailable, and run promotions and discounts. The possibilities really are endless.

So, while I’m going to go over a few of my favorite components, these are in no way a complete list of the ways you can use this POS to you and your company’s advantage.

shopify point of sale

Incredible Payment Flexibility

The credit card fees are excitingly low, although they get lower the larger your POS system package. I kind of wish it was a standard low rate, but it’s still very competitive. You’re also not charged additionally for returns and exchanges, which should be an industry-wide standard.

You can also charge more than one credit card and split up payments. A customer who wants to do that will be highly discouraged if you’re unable to accommodate them. Whether four people want to split a check or one person wants to charge for part of it and pay the rest in cash, Shopify makes sure it easy to do it all.

Basically, you’re in control of your Shopify payments. If people pay with digital points, gift cards, discount coupon codes, or festival tickets, you accept that form of currency and record it in your POS as if it were any other form of payment.

use shopify payments gateways

Game-Changing Tracking and Management Features

This isn’t so much a benefit of the Shopify POS so much as it’s why you invest in a POS solution in general. There’s no better way to keep track of all your purchases and inventory. Staff can clock in and out using the POS. You can switch up cashiers through the system on the fly, so you always know who was handling cash, when, and on what drawer.

All the data can also be synced to your QuickBooks (or another accounting platform) account to keep track of everything for taxes. And you can limit what certain staff can and can’t do. For example, you might not want to allow employees to comp items or add discounts themselves.

Again, whatever level of control or tracking power you want to have over your business, the Shopify POS (and, frankly, all POS systems worth their salt) can make it happen.

reporting

Tools for Building Customer Relationships

The customer-facing tools of the Shopify POS offer some really exciting stuff. More and more businesses seem to be allowing their customers to order directly from the screen. But you can also go paperless and still accept tips by flipping the iPad around to face the customer after taking their order.

They can have their receipts sent directly to their email, and they can sign up for rewards by providing their contact information.

On your side, you’re able to easily search for products and see if anything is in or out of stock. You can create Customer Profiles, which can garner exceptionally useful data and outreach information. You can even integrate your own loyalty rewards program directly through the Shopify POS, no need to go with a third party.

Combining a Shopify Online Shop with a Retail Location

When you’re dealing both in-person and online, you need everything connected on one platform. The benefits far outweigh any additional costs, I promise you. The boost in productivity—and the seamless connection that delivers unrivaled peace of mind—is practically priceless. You’ll be able to look at your whole business and all its facets, not treat it like two separate companies.

One of the most ambitious ways to look at the Shopify POS in combination with online sales is potentially eliminating a storefront or opening another location. By considering your books individually rather than taking a step back and looking at all of it in real-time can help you continuously optimize and reevaluate your business’s future. So valuable.

How to Sell Digital Products on Shopify

You’re not going to have a storefront for your digital products, but you’re also not going to have to manage a limited inventory. So why sell on Shopify?

Well, because it’s super scalable and feature-rich. If you’re moving digital products at a pace that requires you to sell directly from your site rather than third-party seller websites like Etsy and Amazon, then Shopify is a great choice.

However, if it makes more sense financially to simply pay part of each sale to a third-party seller rather than the monthly fees of Shopify, that’s the better route.

Put simply: you can sell digital products on Shopify, just like physical items. But I’d be surprised if it made all that much sense if you don’t also sell physical products or services as well.

Marketing Through Shopify

marketing tools

Optimizing your marketing strategy by pulling data from several different sources can get confusing, and confusion leads to oversights. Good thing Shopify lets you do everything in one place.

Your Shopify online store builder is where you can continuously build on your brand. That means writing and publishing blog posts that help your audience and improve your Google search ranking. It means full integration with email marketing and social media marketing, wherein you can lead a customer from clicking your ad to purchasing the product without ever leaving Facebook or Instagram.

It means identifying where your current audience is located, continuously attracting new customers, and actively building new offerings to expand your potential client pool.

Shopify has you covered on all fronts.

Watch this video for marketing tips using Shopify:

Blog and SEO Tools

shopify seo and blogging

You can build a blog directly on your Shopify online store, so your customers can have your insights on top of all your products, all in one place.

I recommend hiring a blogger in your niche to crank out content. It’s worth the investment to have a robust blog initially, and then post something new every week or so – while promoting the existing content on your social media channels.

You can use the Shopify SEO tools to figure out the best strategies, but chances are you’re going to want to outsource some of that content writing. It can be a major energy drain, and you have a business to run.

Don’t forget that you can also use Shopify’s SEO tools to optimize every part of your ecommerce website, from the homepage to the product categories to each product page. And the better you optimize for search engines, the more organic traffic you’ll receive, which further improves SEO.

seo app store

Should You Trust a Google Smart Shopping Campaign?

Shopify’s integration with Google Smart Shopping is awesome if you want to sit back and watch the potential customers roll in. For those who aren’t familiar with Google Ads and just want to get rolling right away, I say go for it. But that shouldn’t be your long-term digital marketing strategy.

google smart shopping

This might be my only major complaint about Shopify: they make Google Smart Shopping sound like either a standard or a no-brainer. Here’s the thing: it’s super limiting, meaning you’re not going to have the kind of control that a PPC expert and digital ads manager would need to do their job properly.

Here’s what you CAN NOT do if you use Google Smart Shopping instead of managing your Google Ads campaigns yourself:

  • Exclude specific search terms using Negative Keywords.
  • Exclude certain ad networks.
  • Exclude specific devices.
  • Control location targeting beyond setting the country. If you run a local storefront, that’s pretty much a deal-breaker.
  • Perform regular bid adjustments.
  • WORST OF ALL: You won’t have Granular Reporting, meaning you won’t know if your traffic is mainly coming from a specific source like YouTube or Gmail ads.

However, some of the limitations are what people who use Google Smart Shopping look for. The ads will be automatically scheduled based, and your audience targeting will be automated as well. That means you can sit back and trust Google to bring in the right audience for you.

Shopify Gives $100 to First-Time Google Ads Users

The requirement is that you need to spend at least $25 on a new account. Also, the $100 credit will only apply to Google Shopping campaigns. Still, that can translate into a lot of ad-spend depending on the competition level of your niche. If you don’t have a Google Ads account yet, there’s absolutely no reason not to take advantage.

google ads $100 credit

What Is Kit? An Overview of Shopify’s Virtual Assistant

What’s impressed me most about Kit is how much it’s improved over time. But even early on, Kit has been a very useful (and free!) app that I use often. This “virtual assistant” can actually write social media ads for you. I always like to go in and touch them up, sometimes even rewriting them completely, but it’s super handy.

Kit is also a great reminder app for email follow-ups, as that to-do list can get cluttered quickly if it’s not automated. Once you touch up the initial customized emails, it can send out all sorts of clever automated messages to maintain customer engagement. I love it.

Here is what it looks like

shop kit crm and assistant

You can also use Kit to do things automatically in other apps, particularly in the marketing niche. I also utilize Kit for accounting stuff and gathering ideas on potential new product avenues. Do you need it? No. Is it great to have and free? Yes and yes.

How to Sell Services on Shopify

While Shopify is potentially a great choice for selling digital products, it’s not really made for selling services. If you’re selling made-to-order custom furniture or something in that vein, then you’re still selling a product. By services, we’re talking about graphic design, coding, accounting, writing, and so on. There are platforms that are far more useful for a service provider.

However, Shopify does have apps designed for selling services, it would just be in tandem with selling your products. Also, this is just my personal opinion – but since they do little to cater to contractor webshops, I wouldn’t be surprised if they agreed with me.

Are the Free Shopify Apps Useful?

For one thing, Kit the virtual assistant is free, so yes, the free apps are useful. I know there are 3600 of them, and I’m not expecting you to go through all. But I highly recommend playing with the search bar and just seeing what they have to offer. With over a thousand free apps to choose from, I’d bet money that you’ll be surprised by some of the tools made available free of charge.

I highly recommend regularly visiting the Shopify app store homepage. Under the Staff Picks and Trending sections, you can discover something interesting and unique you might not have considered. You can also organize things by your goals, like selling products.

shopify app store

Are the Paid Shopify Apps Worth It?

Not to disregard the question, but if something is worth it, it’s worth it. I certainly recommend checking out the reviews, but many of the apps in the Shopify Store let you try them out with a 14-day free trial. Then you can ask yourself, “Would I pay for this?” If the answer is yes, then it’s worth it.

In some cases, you might need to invest in paid apps for your online store to function properly. That’s why your personal experience is going to be the most important review you’ll consider. If it’s not as cost-efficient to run your business to its full potential, even initially, then you might want to consider going with an alternative ecommerce software.

However, before you do, reach out to Shopify customer support to see if they’ll drop some prices down to accommodate you. It can’t hurt to ask! You should also read the Shopify App reviews carefully since a lot of them will point out the flaws and save you time trying them! 

shopify paid apps

Shopify Partners and App Developers

Shopify offers a wide range of other opportunities beyond being a platform for online stores. You can also become a Shopify Partner, which includes folks who build stores for other people, provide your services to businesses in need, and develop Shopify apps. It can be a great additional source of revenue – or a full-time career.

Shopify Partners and App Developers

Shopify Academy Review

shopify academy

First off, the Shopify Academy courses are free. It’s not an upsell area, this is a place that’s genuinely a free resource of super-valuable information.

Let’s be real: Shopify wants you to keep paying your subscription fees and app charges, and the more customers buying your products, the more they’re paid through the (small and reasonable but still existent) processing fees.

That’s not a shot at their team – they need to make money like the rest of us. This is more to drive home that Shopify Academy is a fantastic place to get info from fellow entrepreneurs about the strategies that worked for them. If you’re already listening to all the business podcasts and reading all the success books you can get ahold of, you might as well add the Shopify Academy courses to your repertoire.

Can You Add Shopify to Existing Sites?

Absolutely you can. You can use your Shopify account (including Shopify Lite) to sell products on your website store without migrating all your content to a separate Shopify online store. Shopify makes it easy to simply add a “BUY NOW” button to your existing site and start selling whatever you want.

You do have to open a Shopify account, but it’s not like it takes you to a whole separate Shopify page – the whole process is done directly on your website, which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

shopify buy button on existing website

Should You Hire a Shopify Expert?

A “Shopify Expert” doesn’t necessarily mean someone who’s an ecommerce website builders extraordinaire. The title encompasses a wide variety of professionals within a huge number of specialties.

You can go with a seasoned expert with tons of experience or a newcomer offering their services at a reduced price. Feel free to shop around – the marketplace is ripe with amazing talent that can make your job much easier.

Then again, there are experts who can just build you your entire online store from scratch for you, getting you all set up to sell products, make back the initial cost, and start a profitable new business. Part of their pitch should be that they pay for themselves in the long run.

shopify experts

Shopify FAQ

What is Shopify?

Shopify is the world's leading all-in-one SaaS ecommerce platform that lets you start, grow, and manage your online store using hundreds of built-in features and thousands of apps. Shopify gives you everything you need to get started selling, via your online store, social channels or your physical shop through their integrated POS.

What are the pros of Shopify?

Shopify is a fully hosted and all-in-one ecommerce software where you don't have to worry about the technical stuff. It has a huge (free and paid) app marketplace and custom themes available. Abandoned cart recovery, 100+ payment gateways, simple to use storefront, SKU and inventory management, built-in SEO, marketing, analytics, and reporting, flexible shipping rates and automatic taxes. Excellent customer support, self-help documentation, and community. Sell across multiple channels, both digital and physical products (integrated POS).

What are the cons of Shopify?

Shopify’s built-in payment processor only allows you to sell from certain countries, and you have to pay transaction fees if you use third-party Shopify payments gateways. The cost of using apps can quickly add up. Email hosting isn't included. The Lite plan comes with limited features.

How much does Shopify cost?

There are four Shopify plans: Basic Shopify costs $29 per month (2.9% + 30¢ online transaction fee). The main Shopify plan costs $79 per month (2.6% + 30¢ online transaction fees). Advanced Shopify costs $299 per month (2.4% + 30¢ online transaction fee). Shopify Lite costs $9 per month. Shopify Plus enterprise ecommerce starts a $2,000 per month.

I hope this review of Shopify was helpful!

While this ecommerce shopping cart platform isn’t for every type of entrepreneur imaginable, it’s hard to imagine a better candidate for achieving your ecommerce business goals. Happy selling!

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User Reviews

Incredible

Rated 5 out of 5
May 21, 2022

Shopify is great for small and large businesses. And it's really easy to scale your operations with Shopify. Want to add a new feature to your website? There's probably an app that does that in the Shopify App Store. And doesn't matter how much traffic you get, your site doesn't go down or even slow down.

Avatar for Lee HK
Lee HK

Better than woocommerce

Rated 4 out of 5
April 12, 2022

My site used to run on WooCommerce and it was a nightmare. Every couple of days something would break for no reason. Ever since I moved my store to Shopify, it's been running smoothly. I haven't had a bad day yet. The only thing I don't like is that Shopify doesn't offer a drag and drop builder to edit your website.

Avatar for Bjorn
Bjorn

Amazing

Rated 5 out of 5
March 2, 2022

Shopify is the best thing that's happened to the eCommerce space. This company's culture and team is really devoted to building the best product and doing whatever they can to help you compete with giants like Amazon. When you start a online store with Shopify, you don't have to worry about anything. You get dozens of templates to choose from and you can buy premium templates if you can't find one that suits your brand. They even offer a payment gateway that's built right into their service. Shopify is the best eCommerce platform.

Avatar for Gabbi
Gabbi

Amazing

Rated 5 out of 5
February 3, 2022

Shopify is the best thing that's happened to the eCommerce space. This company's culture and team is really devoted to building the best product and doing whatever they can to help you compete with giants like Amazon. When you start a online store with Shopify, you don't have to worry about anything. You get dozens of templates to choose from and you can buy premium templates if you can't find one that suits your brand. They even offer a payment gateway that's built right into their service. Shopify is the best eCommerce platform.

Avatar for Gabbi
Gabbi

Expensive

Rated 2 out of 5
October 6, 2021

Shopify may be the ultimate e-commerce and blogging solution for your business but it's way too expensive for me. It's not budget-friendly at all so I'm looking for other alternatives.

Avatar for Yna C
Yna C

So Happy With Shopify Plus

Rated 5 out of 5
October 4, 2021

I'm running a large, complicated company. I'm even happier than ever there's Shopify Plus to handle everything for me. I only manage my business and Shopify Plus does all the job. This increases my sales and ROI and helped my business grow even more successful each year.

Avatar for Ray A
Ray A

Not so budget-friendly

Rated 4 out of 5
September 23, 2021

Shopify is one of the famous web hosting platforms these days yet somehow costly. I love all the features and how it serves your site well in the e-commerce industry but the pricing plans are a bit high for those working on a budget.

Avatar for Fritz J
Fritz J

A Great Must-Have!

Rated 5 out of 5
September 9, 2021

Shopify for e-commerce is indeed a great must-have! Everything is perfectly made for your online store's success. It's an all-in-one platform that's fully hosted so no worries at all even if you are a newbie. Processing orders and payments are seamless . The pricing plans are quite reasonable and a good investment. Highly recommended!

Avatar for Bryan Shank
Bryan Shank

Too Costly

Rated 1 out of 5
September 9, 2021

I'm not quite impressed with Shopify as the fees are so high. That's too costly for a newbie trying to find the best deals in setting up his very first online store. This is definitely a no-no for me…

Avatar for Keanno F
Keanno F

DO NOT USE

Rated 2 out of 5
March 2, 2021

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.

Avatar for Lucas
Lucas

Go, go, go!

Rated 5 out of 5
February 9, 2021

I recently launched my high-end thrift shop shop on Shopify and have been super pleased. 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. The add-ons for templates will upgrade the feel of your site and worth investing if you have the extra cash for it. I 100% recommend Shopify.

Avatar for Jenna White
Jenna White

Great to use

Rated 4 out of 5
January 14, 2021

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).

Avatar for Desiree G.
Desiree G.

Responsive sites, quick load time, great setup

Rated 5 out of 5
July 3, 2020

There's a reason Shopify has a monthly fee. It's because the back end is so user friendly, and also because the page builders are extremely easy to use. All of the sites are responsive aka they show up on mobile devices perfectly, so no need to worry about that. I have found that their sites load very quickly too.

Avatar for Barry
Barry

Shopify is the best ecommerce platform, period!

Rated 5 out of 5
July 2, 2020

Shopify is the best ecommerce platform, period! We've been using it for roughly 2 years and I love the functionality of the platform and the support that is available 24×7. It's affordable and their customer service is incredible. I recommend Shopify to anyone starting or growing their ecommerce business.

Avatar for Leona Dee
Leona Dee

Don't really see the point of using shopify

Rated 3 out of 5
June 28, 2020

You can buy your own hosting and install a free shopping plugin like woocommerce on your site for a fraction of the cost of shopify. PLUS they tack on extra fees for each transaction! No thanks!

Avatar for Ashton Drake
Ashton Drake

Know what you are getting into before you sign up

Rated 2 out of 5
May 28, 2020

Sure Shopify is great in some ways, site speed is blazingly fast, easy to use and setup, nice looking and all that jazz, BUT it's impossible to use Google Analytics to track orders through Shopify. This was done so that users have to buy Shopify's higher end plan with built in analytics, which is less powerful than what Google provides. They also don't help at all if you get fraudulent orders, they just guide you to their FAQ page which does little good.

Avatar for Jordan
Jordan

Awesome!

Rated 5 out of 5
May 13, 2020

They cover all the bases – the shipping, taxes, analytics, SSL certificate, and other things that you may not have thought about if you had to build your site with other platforms.

Avatar for Mia in SF
Mia in SF

Good for large scale sites

Rated 3 out of 5
May 3, 2020

Great for big stores. Not good for small stores – too overpriced.

Avatar for Cade O.
Cade O.

New to ecommerce

Rated 4 out of 5
April 22, 2020

I'm fairly new to building online stores. I found that Shopify was pretty easy to use. I liked the flexibility with choosing the different looks of your store and also the fact that they have 24/7 support. I have contacted them a few times and they are always nice and help me with my issue quickly. The cost per month isn't an issue for me because I'm sure I would be paying a lot more if I paid someone to build me a custom website. I look forward to seeing the progress of my store in the future and I am happy to be a Shopify customer.

Avatar for Tim
Tim

Non-store pages aren't setup correctly for max SEO potential

Rated 2 out of 5
March 2, 2020

When you have your blog pages and regular pages like About Us, etc. they url is setup in a way where subdirectories are used – why they haven't changed this is beyond me. Not worth it especially when I could use Wordpress that's free.

Avatar for Kurt
Kurt

I love it

Rated 4 out of 5
February 18, 2020

I feel very secure knowing that Shopify is hosting my store site especially since they have fraud analysis. I also like that they give you discounts for shipping like from UPS and USPS. If you don't use their payment processor then you have to pay extra fee like 2% I think so that kinda sucks but all in all it's worth it to me.

Avatar for Kalin
Kalin

Clean modern designs

Rated 4 out of 5
February 9, 2020

Best looking clean and modern templates to choose from for your website. Looks very modern and professional. Price per month is reasonable. So far I am very happy with my choice to go with Shopify.

Avatar for Courtney
Courtney

Beautiful templates!

Rated 5 out of 5
January 24, 2020

A friend of mine spent $3,400 on her custom built website through a local web designer. I was able to almost recreate the site with Shopify. She asked me how much I spent on the site and I asked her how much did she think I spent and she said $2500. I then showed her the shopify templates and she was blown away, and probably felt incredibly ripped off. I love playing around with the templates and coming up with fresh looking layouts so it was fun for me to recreate her site haha. I will always use Shopify as long as I am still selling things online. I want to look into using the Oberlo plugin for dropshipping too (I LOVED the way this works!).

Avatar for Joyce Lawrence
Joyce Lawrence

Why would anyone use Shopify

Rated 2 out of 5
December 13, 2019

If you don't have a lot of money starting out, don't spend it on shopify, that's 30 bucks a month you could be putting into Google or Facebook ads or product stock. Woocommerce works just as well and is free and easy to use. They don't even provide good support with the basic plan, so really what is the point of using them??

Avatar for Addy
Addy

Buggy system

Rated 1 out of 5
August 24, 2018

Shopify rolls out changes that have a chance of breaking your site – they do these changes with zero heads up. One time, their infrastructure was down and our store didn't work for over 6 hours. This is unacceptable. Also, their SEO sucks with the basic subscription. This might work for you if you have a large following somewhere on social media that is driving the hits to your site, but if you want to grow organically through Google searches you can forget about that with the basic plan.

Avatar for J.G.
J.G.

Love the plugin choices

Rated 4 out of 5
March 24, 2018

Great plugin tools and features, great for scalable businesses.

Avatar for Joeseph T.
Joeseph T.

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Review Updates

  • 23/12/2021 – Minor update
  • 10/06/2021 – Launches Shop Pay installments in the U.S.
  • 16/06/2021 – Shopify Pay is now Shop Pay
  • 24/02/2021 – Shopify pricing updated
  • 19/04/2020 – Review published

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