Shopify is among the best-known eCommerce store builders today, but is it the right solution for you?
Choosing the best tool to create your eCommerce store can be daunting due to the many options available today.
In this Shopify review, I will cover its features, benefits and disadvantages, pricing and plans, and other aspects that will help you make an informed choice.
- Shopify is a dedicated eCommerce website builder that business owners of various sizes can use to build and manage their online stores.
- It integrates all your business into a single platform that provides the tools to manage your products, payments, inventory, and shipping.
- The most affordable Shopify package is the Basic Plan, which costs CA$51 monthly. The Shopify and Advanced Plans are CA$132 and CA$517 per month, respectively.
Shopify is a dedicated eCommerce website builder that business owners can use to create their online store, subscription or even a Shopify dropshipping website.
Founded in Canada in 2006, it was created to provide merchants with an eCommerce solution that answers their needs. Today, Shopify runs more than 4 million online stores.
As a fully-hosted commercial solution that operates on its own servers, Shopify provides web hosting services, eliminating the need to purchase or install other web hosting software.
Regarded as an easy-to-learn platform, Shopify has a modern and intuitive interface that most users find beginner-friendly, as it requires no previous technical or coding skills.
This all-in-one platform has what you need to help you create and customize your web store using a broad array of templates, features, tools, and apps.
Shopify also allows you to market and sell your products in multiple places and across channels.
Shopify integrates all your business into a single platform with a range of tools that make it easy to manage your business from a single point.
Through Shopify, you can perform the following:
- Build a website and customize an online store
- Sell your products or services on multiple channels
- Handle products, payments, shipping, inventory, and other business processes
- Create, implement, and assess online advertising campaigns
Once you finish setting up your Shopify store, you can sell in person, on the internet, via mobile, or at brick-and-mortar shops, as well as through social media and online marketplaces.
As a Shopify merchant, you can use the platform’s various services, including payment processing, inventory management, and blog and marketing tools.
Shopify has several features that help merchants build an eCommerce store quickly as well as various tools that simplify and optimize business processes.
Shopify provides online stores and custom storefronts that you can personalize to showcase your brand and create a seamless Shopify online shopping experience.
Through the Shopify Storefront API, it is possible to have complete control over your eCommerce website.
Selecting and modifying templates and incorporating the elements necessary to operate your business is also easier.
Promoting and selling your products across multiple channels is easier when you do it from one centralized place.
Shopify lets you do just that. Through your Shopify store, you can sell your products anywhere your target market is, whether on social media, at online marketplaces, or in physical stores.
Shopify Markets is a cross-border management tool that gives merchants the advantage of selling to multiple countries worldwide from one source.
With this feature, you can identify, set up, launch, optimize, handle, and expand your international markets from your Shopify store.
Shopify POS is a point-of-sale app flexible enough to support any business and lets you manage your enterprise from a dashboard.
You can easily integrate it with your Shopify online store, allowing you to process orders, accept payments, provide receipts, and perform other tasks from your mobile device.
Shopify apps deliver numerous benefits for eCommerce merchants, such as the ability to add features and functionalities that improve customer experience.
A range of free and paid apps are available in the Shopify app store, from product reviews and photos to chat and FAQ automation, customer service, upselling, cross-selling, protection and tracking, etc.
Store owners who already have an eCommerce website or are using a different eCommerce platform can take advantage of this feature.
With the Store Importer app, you can make the process of importing your products, order data, and customers to the Shopify platform more straightforward.
Shopify offers five plans to suit varied merchant needs. These are Basic, Shopify, Advanced, Plus, and Starter.
You can pay your chosen plan on a month-to-month or yearly basis. A 3-day free trial is also available if you want to try the service before committing to anything.
- Monthly: CA$51/mo.
- Credit card rates (online): 2.9% + 30¢ CAD
- Credit card rates (in person): 2.7% + 0¢ CAD
- Yearly: CA$38/mo.
- Transaction fees: 2%
- Best for small online stores
The Basic Plan includes everything you need to create your store, process payments, and ship products.
The package comes with basic reports, two staff accounts, up to 1,000 inventory locations, and a 45% shipping discount.
- Monthly: CA$132/mo.
- Credit card rates (online): 2.7% + 30¢ CAD
- Credit card rates (in person): 2.6% + 0¢ CAD
- Yearly: CA$99/mo.
- Transaction fees: 1%
- Best for growing your business
The Shopify package gives you the tools to level up your business through features that help you grow your business online or in-store.
The plan includes professional reports, five staff accounts, up to 1,000 inventory locations, and a 50% shipping discount.
- Monthly: CA$517/mo.
- Credit card rates (online): 2.4% + 30¢ CAD
- Credit card rates (in person): 2.4% + 0¢ CAD
- Yearly: CA$389/mo.
- Transaction fees: 0.5%
- Best for larger online stores
Shopify Advanced features a custom report builder, 15 staff accounts, a maximum of 1,000 inventory locations, and a shipping discount of up to 53%.
It helps merchants accommodate their growing business, determine up-to-date shipping rates and options, track business performance through comprehensive reports, and configure settings for international markets.
- Yearly: From CA$2,677/mo.
- Transaction fees: 0.15%
- Best for high-volume businesses
The Shopify Plus plan is designed for high-growth, high-volume businesses needing a platform to reach more customers, convert checkouts, and scale fast.
The plan includes 99.99% uptime, faster checkouts at 10,000+ per minute, and unlimited bandwidth. It also offers automation for complex processes, built-in security, data encryption, and protection from bots and fraud.
- Monthly: CA$7/mo.
- Transaction fees: 5%
- Best for adding a buy button to an existing web store or social media
The Starter plan lets you create a Starter store in minutes and is ideal for selling products through social media, SMS, email, and messaging apps.
It includes a simple online store, a mobile point of sale, product pages, checkout, access to Shopify apps, order management, and an integrated fulfillment network.
- Free trial
- Introductory price of $1 for your first month on whatever plan you choose
- 25% discount on yearly plans
- A quick and affordable way to create your online store
- Easy to build websites
- No coding needed to build a web store
- No setup fee
- Upgrade or downgrade at any time
- Easy cancellation
- Certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant
- Multiple payment processor
- Supports different e-commerce business categories
- Numerous available channels to help customers build their stores
- The basic plan has very limited features.
- Plans with more features are expensive
- No email hosting
- Limited customization
- Limited options for free Shopify templates
- A transaction fee is charged for each sale you make.
- Using third-party payment gateways other than Shopify Payments incurs processing fees.
Shopify is among the most straightforward e-commerce platforms that beginners with no coding knowledge or experience can use to start selling.
Although there is, what I see, as a reasonable amount of learning curve to be expected (like other eCommerce tools), Shopify does not require you to possess technical skills.
Beginners can take advantage of extensive documentation, while Shopify resources providing support are available to help you get started in creating a Shopify website.
You can also ask for assistance via email, chat, phone, the online Help Center, and the community forum.
While Shopify is known as one of the best eCommerce website builders, it is not the only one that can provide what you need to start building your online store.
Find out below well-known alternatives to the Shopify eCommerce website builder, what they include, and how much they cost.
Wix lets you create an advanced eCommerce store as well as grow and manage your business with a custom storefront and integrated sales channels.
With a Wix eCommerce store, you can perform various tasks, such as:
- Showcasing up to 50,000 products
- Selling on social channels and marketplaces
- Sourcing and selling high-quality products with dropshipping
- Accepting secure online payments
- Managing all transactions from your Wix dashboard
Wix offers three premium business and eCommerce plans: Business Basic at CA$28/mo., Business Unlimited for CA$36/mo., and Business VIP for CA$49/mo.
WooCommerce is a free customizable, open-source, beginner-friendly eCommerce website builder for WordPress-based online stores.
It allows you to do various tasks, such as setting up product displays, managing orders, and accepting multiple payment getaways.
Although WooCommerce is a free, open-source software, it has costs related to setting up your online store:
- Hosting – $6.95 to $12.95 per month
- Domain Name – $15/year
- Theme – $35 to $129 for a professional theme
- Plugins – up to $150/year
- Security – $10 to 450/year
- Developer Fees – Up to $6,000
Squarespace is an all-in-one platform that provides small businesses with the tools to build an eCommerce website to sell anything online.
The platform features website templates, domains, extensions, marketing tools, email marketing, scheduling, social media tools, professional email, etc.
All Squarespace plans include the following:
- Product management
- Product, service, or software sales
- Over 30 third-party extensions for various tasks, including SEO, taxes, and drop shipping
- Payment processing
- Sales reporting
- High-quality eCommerce-specific templates
- Squarespace support
Squarespace plans and pricing are as follows: Business – $23/mo.; Commerce (Basic) – $27/mo.; and Commerce (Advanced) – $49/mo. All plans are paid monthly or yearly.
BigCommerce is an eCommerce platform that enables businesses of all sizes to create, innovate, and grow online.
This cloud-based tool helps you create online stores using customizable templates and manage your business through a centralized dashboard.
Its wide range of features include:
- Unlimited products, file storage, and bandwidth
- Staff accounts
- Sales channels (multi-storefront, point of sale, Amazon/eBay/Walmart, and Facebook/Instagram)
- Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay
- Mobile-responsive website
- Payment processing
- Professional reporting tools
- Service and support
Businesses of any size can benefit from the different plans BigCommerce offers: Standard – $29/mo.; Plus – $79/mo.; and Pro – $299/mo. A free 15-day trial is also available.
Now that we have covered the basics of Shopify and some basic details about its closest competitors, we go to the all-important question: Is Shopify for you?
As I have discussed above, Shopify is a dynamic solution to create and host your eCommerce website that does not require you to be a coding or IT expert.
Thus, whether you are a beginner or a skilled professional in website building, you will find that Shopify has the features and functions you need to run and grow your business.
The platform is ideal for you if you want to be able to do the following:
- Sell physical and digital products
- Seamlessly integrate various features and apps into your eCommerce site
- Manage everything related to your business
- Build a robust online presence for your brand
- Have a central platform for everything you need to grow your company
- Use a solution that can scale with your business
- Have the option to choose a pricing plan that suits your budget
Whether you want to have a standalone online shop or integrate your existing website to create a Shopify store, it opens up tremendous potential for your business.
From building and maintaining your brand to gaining the loyalty of your target market, and increasing your sales, investing in Shopify can be a wise business choice.
Yes. Shopify uses the Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption protocol to secure financial and sensitive information as transactions occur. Also, all Shopify stores are PCI-compliant by default to help ensure the safety of payment information and business data.
Yes. It will, however, depend on several factors, such as the kind of business you want to establish, how saturated your market is, the value you offer to your audience, how you promote your product or service, and the effectiveness of your marketing techniques.
If you are a Shopify Balance user, you will receive your Shopify Payments in one business day. If you follow a payment timetable, Shopify will adjust your pay period according to your schedule.
Shopify charges a fee of 2.4% to 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for all online purchases. For in-person purchases, the charges range from 2.4% to 2.7%. Using other types of payment getaways will incur a transaction charge of 0.5% to 2%, depending on your chosen Shopify plan.