The Bottom Line: Shopify.com is the best eCommerce Platform out there. It is an eCommerce platform that allows individuals and businesses to create online stores. If you’re looking for simplicity, beautiful design, and great customer support, then Shopify is the solution for you. However, if you barely sell products and cost is an issue, then you might want to look elsewhere.
For those who are interested in running an online business, there are a number of different ways to go about setting up an e-commerce shop. Self-hosting is a common DIY route, however, this can be extremely difficult if you have no background in programming, web design, and site optimization. A quicker option is to use an e-commerce platform, but with the variety of options out there, it’s important to narrow down what you are looking for in a program before you sign up.
Examples of the most important features to look for in e-commerce software for internet entrepreneurs is a customizable design, SEO-friendly, integration with third-party software apps and services, and an easy one-page checkout process. Shopify has all of these and much more.
Shopify was founded in 2006 by Tobias Lutke, Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake, with the intention of creating a better way to sell their snowboards online. Shopify is a scalable storefront that includes a shopping-cart system that can handle everything from a store with 100 products to a whopping 50,000. The biggest difference is Shopify is completely customizable with full HTML and CSS tweaking, so while you can just grab one of their polished templates and get started, you can also edit that template or start from scratch to get the exact look you want. One of the best improvements of Shopify is the ability to process credit cards without going through the painstaking process of opening a merchant account. You could still technically get your own merchant account and then integrate with Shopify. Check out their examples page to see examples ranging from corporate shops to single-owner stores.
SUMMARY PRICING TABLE
|Price per Month||$14||$29||$79||$179|
|Hated Transaction Fee||2.90%||2.90%||2.50%||2.25%|
|Per Transaction Fee (cents)||30¢||30¢||30¢||30¢|
|Chat & Email Suppport||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Real-Time Carrier Shipping||NO||NO||NO||YES|
|HTML/CSS theme editing||NO||YES||YES||YES|
- Store Fronts – Choose from 100+ professional themes or make your own by hiring professional Shopify developers at Elance or Freelancer. You can also use the experts at shopify.
- Easy to Customize – Every website template comes with its own settings but you can quickly and easily customize your website’s design. Additionally, it has one of the biggest libraries of apps and extensions available out there. For example, Mailchimp can be installed into the shopify account allowing you a level of integration that helps your marketing efforts.
- Marketing & Social Media – Shopify helps you track your customers. You can filter a list of clients who have spent the most money in your store, and then use this list for social media and email marketing campaigns. Users also receive statistics regarding who is visiting their shop, where they come from, and how many times they visit.
- Blogging Platform – Shopify includes a full website blogging platform to help you get involved with your customer community.
- Customer Insights – The Customer area in your shop admin lets you learn more about your customers and their shopping habits. The best feature is that you can remind potential buyers to come back to the store when they abandon their shopping cart.
- Has its own Payment Gateway & Accepts Over 70 Payment Gateways – A payment gateway is an e-commerce application service provider service that authorizes payments for e-businesses. In other words, it is the connection between the customer’s credit card and your bank account. The Shopify website shopping cart integrates with many payment gateways to accept credit cards from all over the world.
- Integrate with UPS, FedEx, or USPS – Business and Unlimited plans users can receive automatic shipping rates from major shipping carriers like UPS, USPS and FedEx.
- Security – At no additional cost, your website’s shopping cart includes an 128-bit SSL certificate to keep your information secure. Shopify is certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant, which means your shop can accept VISA, MasterCard, and other credit cards as payment.
- Search Engine Optimization – Shopify also automatically generates sitemaps.xml files so new products and site changes are indexed and show up on search engines quickly.
- For Developers – Awesome Theme & API Documentation.
- For Non-Developers – Shopify manual with great resources,
- Responsive mobile themes – they theme you select adapts to a mobile platform
- Add-Ons Can Get Expensive – Some users are a bit upset with how expensive the add-ons can become. Since Shopify is focused on minimalism right out the box, most store owners have to buy add-ons to increase the functionality of their store.
- Checkout Redirects to Shopify.com – Once you check out your product you will be re-directed to checkout.shopify.com. This is a common compliant but it is due to lack of knowledge about the alternative. I can promise you that if you knew your alternatives you wouldn’t be complaining about this.
If you’re looking for simplicity, beautiful design, and great customer support, then Shopify is the solution for you. We believe that it is the best eCommerce platform available out there. They’ve figured out how to make the core features required for a shopping cart work without overwhelming the store, allowing the store owner time to give exceptional customer service to their customers.
That being said, Shopify is definitely not without its downsides. They lack some built-in features that the other carts come standard. Finally, many merchants are upset about the fact that their customers are redirected to a Shopify URL during checkout.
Regardless of what I say, I think you should take Shopify for a trial run. It’s important to test out the product for yourself to see how it works for you. The trial run allows you to sell stuff without even having a payment gateway in place.