“One of the best reasons to choose Shopify as your e-commerce platform is for the integrated tools. For a small business just starting out, there’s no need to subscribe to an email marketing program — just use Shopify to keep tabs on customers, communicate with them about sales, and automatically send abandoned cart recovery emails. It’s an ideal all-in-one solution when you’re new to e-commerce sales.” – Amy Nicol Smith, Digital.com e-commerce expert editor

Shopify, with its comprehensive SEO and marketing tools, is popular and relatively easy to use. It also has attractive themes and supports multichannel selling admirably. Many online sellers appreciate Shopify’s scalability along with powerful apps and integrations.

Limited customizability and reliance on apps are major drawbacks of Shopify. Small businesses may find Shopify’s hefty transaction fees too pricey.

You have many options as you choose the best e-commerce platform for your business. We’ve investigated and reviewed many of the most popular platforms and, despite the limitations, it doesn’t get more popular than Shopify.

Continue reading for our deep dive into the pros and cons, features, and recommendations if you’re considering Shopify for your online store.

Shopify Standout Features

Support
  • Live chat
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Community forum
  • Help center
Uptime100% (based on the previous two weeks)
Best ForLarger businesses or companies looking to scale
Strengths
  • Wide range of apps
  • Robust customer service
  • Mobile-responsive themes
Weaknesses
  • Higher priced than similar competitors
  • Limited customizability
Promotion14-day free trial

What Are the Pros and Cons of Shopify?

Pros

  1. Scalable
  2. Multiple sales channels
  3. Customizable design
  4. Extensive app store
  5. Robust customer support
  6. Mobile responsive themes

Cons

  1. Significant learning curve
  2. Few built-in features
  3. Higher priced than similar competitors

Pros of Shopify

Scalable

Shopify allows extensive customization using its back-end editor, from storefront themes to third-party app integration. It comes with helpful sales features and tools to help you manage and scale your business without too much hassle, including analytics and abandoned cart recovery.

I particularly like the ability to have multiple users manage the store. I also found its order and inventory management features impressively useful.

Multiple Sales Channels

I like that Shopify makes it possible to sell through multiple channels aside from my online store. It requires integration on the back end but most of these are free, so I found it a big help in increasing sales. The various channels include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Shop app: Add the Shop channel to sell on the Shop app if you trade in specific regions and countries
  • Facebook: Post products directly on Facebook using the Shop tab
  • Blog or another website: Embed Buy Buttons that connect with the checkout of your Shopify store
  • Instagram: Use the Instagram Shopping feature to create a shop on your Instagram profile where you can tag products in stories and posts
  • eBay: List products directly to eBay
  • Amazon: Sync products between Shopify and your Amazon Professional Seller account
  • Handshake: List your products in this wholesale marketplace exclusive to select Shopify merchants
  • Wholesale channel: Create a dedicated storefront in addition to your retail store for business-to-business (B2B) transactions, available for Shopify Plus subscribers

Customizable Design

Shopify offers eight free and 68 paid store themes and templates, most of which come in two or more variants. That’s not impressive in terms of numbers, especially compared to the hundreds of close rival BigCommerce.

However, I found Shopify’s themes highly customizable at the code level using Liquid code and come with social media icons, free updates, and free stock photos by Burst. It’s also SEO-friendly, which gets my vote.

Extensive App Store

Like most website builders, Shopify has an extensive library of apps and extensions in its App Store. You can choose from 4,050 free apps, from store designs to sourcing and selling products. You can also opt for paid apps and plugins from its list of nearly 3,000 options.

Robust Customer Support

When it comes to customer support, I appreciate that Shopify doesn’t skimp on ensuring that customers can get all the help they need when they need it. The platform offers 24/7 customer support through live chat, email, and social media. Self-sufficient customers can find tons of assistance through frequently asked questions (FAQs), extensive documentation, video tutorials, and more on the community forum and help center.

Mobile Responsive Themes

All 91 themes (76 in the Online Store 2.0 architecture) offered on Shopify are mobile responsive. For me, it means less worrying about how my storefront and product pages appear on different devices. Pages resize automatically, depending on the customer’s device.

Cons of Shopify

Significant Learning Curve

Some users claim that Shopify is easy to use, but that isn’t true for everybody. It takes a while to get the hang of using the editor, and blocking can be challenging. It took me a few hours to set up a store, mainly because I had to keep switching from the back end to the front end to make product and aesthetic tweaks.

I also found that integrating a few third-party apps and configuring store features required technical skills. However, it got easier after watching a few video tutorials and checking the forum for advice.

Few Built-in Features

I would expect open-source software, such as WooCommerce and OpenCart, to be barebones, but not a paid platform like Shopify.

While Shopify includes essential features to build an online store, you need to install quite a few apps to get necessary functionalities, such as being able to sell digital goods or engaging in dropshipping.

While most of the apps are free, you might have to pay for certain features integral to your store. You might also need to spend time figuring out which app works better for your store. Depending on the complexities of your requirements, you’ll find that basic coding skills may be needed.

Alternatively, you can reach out to the customer support of each individual app — a process I felt was quite tedious.

Higher Priced Than Similar Competitors

Shopify plans are reasonable, but your monthly costs might be more than you expected.

Shopify prefers that you use Shopify Payments as a payment gateway. To promote its payment gateway, it charges a transaction fee on top of the regular payment gateway fees if you use a third-party payment gateway. Shopify applies this fee even if you’re in a country or region where Shopify Payments is unavailable. If you install a paid app with a monthly fee, that also adds to your overall costs.

For example, Shopify’s Basic plan costs $29 per month while BigCommerce costs $29.95 per month. However, if you don’t use Shopify Payments, you pay a 2% transaction fee to Shopify on top of credit card fees. If someone buys $100 worth of products from your store, you pay Shopify $2. You avoid that additional fee with BigCommerce.

Shopify has fewer built-in features than BigCommerce, such as single-page checkout. Adding one-click checkout to Shopify may cost you an additional $9.95/month.

Small Businesses

Smaller companies such as Pipcorn or With Love from Brooklyn use Shopify’s professionally crafted themes and robust seller tools to set up shop online and sell directly to consumers. Both of these companies started in the founder’s homes using Shopify to manage the entire sales process to sell products nationally.

International Sellers

The critical advantage of Shopify is its focus on providing stores with the ability to reach a broad audience. Features such as multilanguage themes and international market management allow you to localize the buying experience and make it easy to operate globally, no matter the size of your online business. You’ll find brands including KKW Beauty, Kylie Cosmetics, and Gymshark use Shopify to manage e-commerce sales for their billion-dollar brands.

Major Brands

Shopify currently has over four million live websites on the platform, including some famous brands such as Mattel, Fitbit, Hyatt Hotels, Kraft Heinz, Anheuser-Busch InBev (Budweiser), Nestle, and Tesla.

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

Sellers Lacking Coding Skills

Shopify is a hosted solution — meaning it has its own servers — so that you don’t need to download any software or pay for hosting. You also get all the essentials for selling products online, such as templates, payment gateway, blogs, and sales and marketing tools, so that you don’t need any coding skills to start selling online.

If you need more functionality, you can always find what you need from the 7,000-plus apps and extensions available in the Shopify App Store.

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

Businesses That Want an Intuitive Interface

While Shopify isn’t the most accessible platform to set up an online store, the dashboard is easy to use once you understand where everything is. It has a clean and intuitive interface where everything you need to manage your store is on the menu to the left.

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

New Users

New users with no coding experience will be glad to know that Shopify ensures subscribers can get help at any time by providing live chat with human agents 24/7 for urgent needs. Shopify also offers email support, video tutorials, webinars, a help center, and a community forum. You can access online courses conducted by more than 90 verified instructors on-demand from Shopify Learn if you need expert assistance.

Shopify info
Source: Shopify
BasicShopifyAdvanced
Price$29/month$79/month$299/month
Best forNew usersSmall businesses

International sellers

Small businesses

International sellers

Major brands

Basic Features
  • Online store
  • Unlimited products
Customer Service
  • 24/7 support
  • Unlimited contacts
Scalability
  • Staff accounts (up to two)
  • Inventory locations
Staff accounts (up to five)Staff accounts (up to 15)
Sales Support
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Gift cards
  • Discount codes
  • Unlimited contacts
  • International market management
  • Language translation
  • Currency conversion
  • Local payment methods (using Shopify Payments)
Order Management
  • Manual order creation
  • Inventory Locations (up to four)
Inventory locations (up to five)Inventory locations (up to eight)
ReportingStandard reportsAdvanced reports
Marketing
  • Customer segmentation
  • Multiple sales channels (availability varies by country)
  • Marketing automation (emails)
  • Market domains
Shipping
  • Shipping discounts (77% for DHL Express, UPS, or USPS)
  • Shipping labels
Security
  • Free secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate
  • Fraud analysis
Point of Sale (POS)Shopify POS Lite
Transaction Fee (When not using Shopify Payments)2% per transaction1% per transaction0.5% per transaction
Tax CalculationsAutomatically estimates and collects duties and import taxes at checkout
Shopify info
Source: Shopify

Shopify Basic Plan

$29 – Best for Small or New Businesses With Low Product Volume

The Basic Shopify plan costs $29 per month. While that may seem like a good deal, you need to remember that both credit card fees (2.9% plus 30 cents per online transaction) and transaction fees (2%) are higher on this plan than on the Shopify and Advanced plans. But for $29, you get a Shopify-hosted storefront. You can also offer as many physical or digital products as you wish.

The Basic Plan is great for sellers just starting out and who don’t plan on selling large volumes of products at first. With features like gift cards, abandoned cart recovery emails, and more (not to forget email, chat, and phone support), this is a great plan that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, especially if your monthly revenue is less than $5,000.

Shopify Plan

$79 – Best for Businesses That Plan on Scaling Quickly

Starting at $50 more than the Basic Plan, this standard pricing plan costs $79 per month plus 2.6% and 30 cents per credit card rate transaction, which is lower than the basic plan.

While it’s quite the price jump from the Basic Plan, you receive pretty much all of Shopify’s features, including professional reports for convenient analysis.

Since the Shopify Plan has country-specific domains in addition to percentage-based international pricing, this plan is better suited for businesses selling internationally. Though it does not offer advanced reporting, the abandoned cart recovery tool is the plan’s coveted feature. This is a great plan for businesses or stores bringing in more than $20,000 per month

With the 0.2% difference in transaction fees at this stage, it becomes more cost-effective to upgrade to the Shopify Advanced Plan.

Shopify Advanced Plan

$299 – Best for Established Businesses With High Revenue

At $299 per month, some might consider this the most expensive plan for a standard store. But with dashboard access for 15 staff accounts, an advanced reporting tool, and third-party shipping rates, you get all the bells and whistles making it worth your money, and the credit card payment rate (2.4% + 30¢) and transaction fees (0.5%) are also the lowest.

The Shopify Advanced Plan works well for international sellers who want to set individual prices per region or country and prefer a third party to take care of shipping. The Shopify shipping discount is the best here compared to the other plans. This is a great plan for businesses with monthly revenue of more than $75,000.

Other Shopify Plan Options

Not sure the standard plans are right for you? Consider these other plan options from Shopify.

Customization

Shopify plans include a myshopify.com URL by default. If you want a custom domain to display, you must buy it separately from Shopify or a third party.

You can add as many as 10 domains or subdomains to your store, and Shopify automatically generates a free transport layer security (TLS) certificate ― an improved version of an SSL for each domain.

Prices range from $5 to $50, depending on the available domain extensions. You might also see domains available on resale for much higher prices but my advice would be not to go there. With a bit of creativity, you should be able to find a domain name that suits your business.

While GoDaddy might seem like the cheaper option when buying a domain, in the long term, Shopify is the better choice since the domain prices on the platform don’t fluctuate each year.

Shopify Plus (From $2,000)

Businesses with high volumes and deep pockets can also sign up for Shopify Plus, starting at $2,000 per month. With Shopify Plus you’ll get these features and more:

  • Multiple store management
  • Faster checkout
  • Advanced automation
  • Built-in video
  • Augmented reality (AR)
  • 3D features for product pages

Shopify Lite ($9 per Month)

If you have an existing website to sell in person, you can also subscribe to Shopify Lite for $9/month. With Shopify Lite, you get Buy Buttons that you can embed on your website and accept credit card payments through your smartphone at fairs, events, and anywhere else.

You cannot build an online store with Shopify Lite. Instead, it lets you sell products from an existing website.

Choosing Your Shopify Theme

In my opinion, Shopify offers some of the most modern and professional-looking themes. You’ll find more than 100 themes in both free and paid versions. They’re also customizable, so you can fine-tune your chosen theme until it’s right for you. I consider the following essential factors when choosing a theme.

Mobile Responsiveness

This is essential today, more than ever, since more than 90% of users access the web via their mobile devices. I found most of the 91 mobile responsive Shopify themes to be professionally crafted and attractive. It offers 17 free themes (eight in OS 2.0) and 74 paid (68 in OS 2.0). Paid themes start from $150.

Theme Filters

While there are many options to choose from among the paid and free themes, find one that caters to all your requirements. If a free theme doesn’t have features essential for the smooth running of your business, you should consider a paid theme — you won’t be breaking the bank here. I have experimented with enough free themes to know there’s something for all kinds of business requirements, at least when you’re starting out.

You can filter free and paid themes by industry, catalog size, layout type, and design. Sort the results by price, popularity, and most recent filters to find the theme that best suits your needs quickly.

Theme Features

Themes come with various features, depending on the one you choose. You can check out the features by selecting a theme. Shopify also provides a suggested use for each theme.

You can decide between free and paid versions by looking for catalog size, layout design, and other features essential to your business. Then, see which themes offer these features and go with the one that best meets your needs. You’ll be sure to find multiple options in both versions.

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

Customizing Your Theme

Once you’ve chosen your theme, you can customize it using the theme settings. You can change the:

  • Colors
  • Typography
  • Layout
  • Checkout settings
  • Social media links

All changes apply throughout the store.

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

I didn’t choose an OS 2.0 for our test because I wanted to experience the theme’s flexibility without resorting to editing the code. I found that the customizable sections of the site created quite an attractive and mobile-friendly store.

I suggest adding products before customizing the store. You see the visual impact of the store more easily, helping you decide on the changes to make.

Important Notes About Shopify Themes

Some themes allow you to switch from one currency and language to another if you sell internationally. The multilanguage option is available for English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, and Italian.

On the downside, Shopify doesn’t officially support some paid themes. If you chose a premium theme, such as Prestige from a third-party developer, you need to contact the developer directly for support.

Store Design

Anyone can create a decent storefront using the theme editor appropriate for most industries with Shopify’s professionally designed and customizable themes (on or off OS 2.0). The theme editor is straightforward and allows you to make considerable changes to the appearance of your store (at least the homepage for traditional themes) with minimal effort.

I was able to use the design features and customize what I needed. However, I am not a coder, so changing the codes in the themes wasn’t possible. It’s easy to navigate the basic design features once you understand how to use Shopify. All you need is enough time on your hands if it’s your first time using Shopify to learn how the platform works.

Product Upload

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

There are two ways to add a product on Shopify: individually or in bulk using a comma-separated values (CSV) file. Go to the Admin page to add each product manually, then:

  1. Click Product.
  2. Add product.
  3. Then fill in all of the fields. You can specify the product type, tags, price, tax code, and cost per item.

To upload products in bulk, you need to use a special CSV template. To ensure your CSV file functions correctly, the first line should have column headers specified in the product CSV description table and each column needs to be comma-separated.

Shopify info
Screenshot of a portion of the special Shopify CSV template. Source: Digital.com

Of course, you want to add photos and other media of your products, and Shopify allows you to include alt text to help with your SEO. You can upload as many as 250 images, video links, and 3D models (if the theme allows it) for each product, which is extremely helpful to shoppers.

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

There is, however, a limit on the total number of videos and 3D media. Shopify won’t crop your images for you, so you need to ensure your images are a uniform size. You can crop your images in Shopify’s photo editor after uploading them, but it would be so much better if you could avoid that extra step. Note also that you can only add images to variants, and each image cannot be more than 20 MB.

Digital.com’s expert provides more context here:

“[Site] speed, as it relates to online stores or even just business websites is all about page load speed. Many web hosts use CDNs to help reduce the load when your page populates images and videos. Shopify is a fast service but you can improve speed by using smaller or fewer images and third-party apps.” – Digital.com E-commerce Expert, Amy Nicol Smith

Abandoned Cart Recovery

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

The abandoned cart recovery feature is available to all Shopify subscribers, including Shopify Lite, and is eminently useful for online sellers weeping over an average 69.82% cart abandonment rate.

You can configure the store to send a default or customized email automatically to shoppers after they abandon a cart to encourage them to come back and complete their purchase.

Reviewing abandoned cart history can also help identify possible reasons why shoppers don’t complete their purchases. For example, if most people leave their carts after multiple attempts to pay for an order, your checkout process might be the problem.

However, this feature is only available for shoppers on your online store, Buy Button sales channel, and wholesale channel. Shoppers that abandoned carts on social media channels and Shopify POS won’t receive a recovery email. But Shopify does have a few apps that can be added to your store to prevent this from happening.

The Abandoned Cart Messenger by Booster Apps uses Facebook to recover abandoned carts via Facebook Messenger. It works well on desktops, tablets, and mobile phones and can be set up within 2 minutes without any coding. Consistent Cart – Abandon Cart by CartKit and FB Messenger Marketing by Recart are some other options that work with Facebook Messenger.

SEO

Shopify makes it easy for subscribers to do content marketing and boost on-page SEO with its built-in blogging tool. However, it lacks the sophistication of platforms, such as WordPress, particularly the ability to use categories and keyword optimization.

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

Other built-in SEO functionalities of Shopify make it a strong favorite with many e-commerce stores.

Aside from on-page SEO, you can use the following fields to help you with your SEO efforts:

  • Titles
  • Meta descriptions
  • Headings
  • Alt text

Shopify lets you take complete control over adding sitemap URLs and dictating what URLs search engines can crawl by tweaking the robots.txt file. It also prompts you to add 301 redirects when you change the URL of pages so that you can avoid lost search rankings.

The content delivery network (CDN) helps to load images faster, making it possible to achieve a 1.3-second average page load time. This can help you gain favor with the search engine ranking gods. The free SSL and mobile-first design of Shopify’s themes don’t hurt, either, because Google tends to favor secure and mobile-friendly sites when ranking search results.

One slight flaw in the SEO setup is that you can’t change an image’s file name to make it more SEO-friendly directly on the store. You need to reupload the image with the new SEO name, which can be a massive time suck if you’re looking to optimize the file names of many images.

Payment Processing

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

Shopify has built-in Shopify Payments for payment processing that you can set up easily for your store to accept credit card payments, purchase orders (POs), and more. It also comes with fraud management features.

Given its convenience and security, it makes sense for subscribers to use Shopify Payments. You can also avoid paying transaction fees on top of the typical processing fees that credit card companies and payment platforms, such as PayPal charge.

In my experience, Shopify’s integrated payment gateway makes the whole payment process easier and more consolidated. You don’t have to worry about insane charges that platforms like PayPal levy. You also don’t need to worry about adding multiple payment partners for your users’ convenience. Shopify Payments is a one-stop solution that takes care of all your requirements at very little cost.

However, Shopify Payments isn’t available in all countries. Subscribers who cannot or choose not to use Shopify Payments must pay transaction fees of 0.5% up to 2% for using a third-party payment gateway.

For these reasons, Shopify becomes less attractive for online sellers in ineligible countries and regions and those who prefer to use payment gateways other than Shopify Payments.

Mobile Support

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

Shopify puts mobile devices to good use in two ways:

  1. The Shopify app is available on Android and iOS that lets you manage your store on the go. You can add or edit products, view reports, view orders, fulfill orders, and coordinate with team members.
  2. The Shopify POS app lets you process payments for in-person purchases. You only need a compatible mobile device to process cash and credit card payments. If you don’t want to enter the card information manually, POS hardware, such as a card reader is available for purchase from Shopify.

Shopify POS comes in two variations: the Lite included with any Shopify plan, and Pro, which costs $89 per month per location and free for Shopify Plus plans. The Pro version has features not available with the Lite, such as inventory management, omnichannel selling, and in-store analytics.

However, you pay transaction fees if you don’t use Shopify Payments as your gateway. You also pay the regular transaction fees charged by payment platforms.

Inventory Management

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

I like that Shopify includes the inventory locations functionality in all its plans to support multichannel selling. You can track and transfer inventory across multiple locations and sync it with your Shopify store without a hitch. Since it’s built into the platform, no integration is necessary and at no additional cost to you. Moreover, if you’re on a Shopify (midlevel) plan or higher, you can do an ABC analysis to identify products that sell the most.

However, the built-in inventory management system is pretty basic. It doesn’t track fulfillment, handle drop shipping orders, or manage B2B transactions. It also treats other sales channels as expansions of the online store rather than a separate store. That means you need to add an order fulfillment app to consolidate all your orders and a dropshipping app, such as Oberlo, to manage shipping for your dropshipping orders.

If your business focuses primarily on your online store and you have limited stocks, Shopify’s inventory tools can do the job.

Email Marketing

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

If you like to run a tight ship and have everything on one platform, you’ll appreciate Shopify Email. Launched in April 2020, Shopify Email is the simplest but most effective way of sending, managing, and analyzing your email campaigns.

I found it less complicated than platforms, such as Mailchimp and Klaviyo. Since it’s incorporated into the Shopify Admin, you can expect faster load times, convenient tracking and analytics, and more — all in one Dashboard.

It may not be as sophisticated as dedicated email marketing software, such as Constant Contact or Sendinblue, but it’s still quite effective. Shopify Email lets you create newsletters and automate sending of welcome and upsell emails based on specific triggers.

You can also segment your customers to increase your open and click-through rates. The best part is you can send up to 10,000 emails a month, free of charge, and $1 for every 1,000 sent in excess.

However, it has some bugs. For one thing, it doesn’t support HTML in the email source code, which means you could miss vital information about your customers. For another, the workflow is a little confusing as setting up an automated email does not happen in the Shopify Email app but in Marketing > Automations of the Admin panel.

Reporting and Analytics

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

I produced quite a few helpful reports from the Shopify dashboard for the following:

  • Sales
  • Customer behavior
  • Marketing
  • Search data
  • Abandoned cart

You can access the Analytics page on the admin site. It provides data on orders, key sales, and online store visitors. You can see your store’s performance quickly across all sales channels across whatever date range you want.

However, these weren’t available with the Basic and Shopify Lite plans. There, you only get topline stats about basic financial information, such as sales and revenue, discounts, refunds, and tax reports, without going into bottom-line stats such as net income.

I think Shopify missed the mark by limiting access to this feature. Competitors like BigCommerce include detailed reporting features for all its paid plans, so Shopify doesn’t compare so well in this vital functionality. Nothing spurs startups more than getting detailed reports, whether the results are good or bad.

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

You can also determine the performance of your product over the previous three months through Products Analytics. You can see:

  • Net sales
  • Net sales by channel
  • Sales breakdown
  • Net units sold by source
  • Proportion of first-time customers against returning customers

Shipping Options

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

The built-in Shopify Shipping features allow store owners to offer multiple shipping options to their customers. It works with multiple mail classes, including:

  • Canada Post
  • DHL
  • Sendle (Australia)
  • UPS
  • USPS

Shopify Shipping features include:

  • International shipping
  • Overnight delivery
  • Package pickups
  • Shipping insurance
  • Tracking information

Moreover, Shopify offers significant discounts to its subscribers automatically based on their plans.

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

Since Shopify handles all security and compliance issues, you can ensure that all the software you use is updated and safe. Moreover, Shopify has a fraud detection system to prevent card testing and account takeover fraud.

However, because Shopify subscribers share the host servers with millions, data loss is a genuine concern. I suggest backing up your product data by exporting CSV files regularly.

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

Shopify has robust customer support on multiple channels. It offers live chat, emails, phone calls, and checking with the community. However, the user experience varies.

  • Chat: The chat option is very convenient ― I received a response in a few seconds
  • Email: It takes approximately one day to get a response to an email and sometimes longer, depending on your reason for reaching out to them
  • Phone: Phone calls are quick ― once you request a call, you typically get a call back within a few minutes
  • Community: Someone new to Shopify can learn quite a bit here; you can join conversations and speak to other members about any queries you may have

However, you need to go through hoops to get to the page where you can access live chat or retail phone support. When you click on 24/7 support, the link first sends you to a page that gives you three options:

  1. Go to the Help Center.
  2. Check the Community Forum.
  3. Do a search.

The quickest way to get to the right page is to search for “retail support” and scroll down. You see this:

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

If you want to get on a call, click on “Contact retail support.” Phone support isn’t available with general support.

However, talking or chatting to a live agent isn’t always productive when it comes to technical issues. The Community Forum is a little better, but it takes some time before you can get a response.

I think that Shopify might want to find a way for its subscribers to access their developers, especially since the Experts Marketplace is no longer the place to hire one.

Linkpop Is Now Available on Shopify

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

Shopify recently introduced Linkpop, a free tool for making a shoppable landing page that shoppers can access through social media apps. You can add a Linkpop link in your social media platform bio for followers to click. When they do, they can view and purchase products without leaving the social media platform.

Shopify Sellers Can Now Add Shipping Speed Status

Store owners can add shipping speeds at checkout so that customers can track the status of their purchases at any time. The feature is only available for stores with multi-origin shipping set up.

You Can Now Automate International Tax Calculations to Your Shopify Store

For those selling outside the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, European Union, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland, you can set up Shopify to calculate taxes specific to a country automatically. However, since you provide the applicable Base Tax rates, you should confirm your figures with a tax professional before implementing the rules.

Track Your Shopify Store Activity With Live View

Shopify info
Source: Shopify

You can now track your store activity, performance, customer behavior, and location using a world map in Live View from any device. The information updates every 10 minutes and provides valuable marketing and customer insights into your online store.

These include the number of active visitors, number of sessions, geographic regions of the most visitors, and total value of sales and number of orders for all your sales channels since midnight.

Features Coming Soon to Shopify

  • Storefront content by market: Customize the storefront content to engage with customers from various markets
  • Product catalogs by market: Tailor product offerings for each market
  • Global inventory locations: Track and transfer inventory to international customers according to available stock at favored fulfillment locations

Compare Shopify Alternatives

E-Commerce PlatformPricingMultichannel SalesAppsBasic Plan Features
Shopify
Overall Rating: rating star (4.1)
$29/monthYes7,070
  • Unlimited products
  • 24/7 support (email, chat)
  • Marketing tools
  • Shipping tools
  • 2% transaction fee
BigCommerce
Overall Rating: rating star (3.9)
$29.95/monthYes1,030
  • Unlimited products
  • 24/7 support (phone, email, chat)
  • Reporting tools
  • Marketing tools
  • 0% transaction fee
Magento
Overall Rating: rating star (2.8)
FreeNo5,731
  • Magento is open-source and
  • customizable to include your
  • preferred features but may
  • require web developer help
Pinnacle Cart
Overall Rating: rating star (3.0)
$79.95/monthYes71
  • Unlimited products
  • Ticket and live chat support
  • Reporting tools
  • No transaction fees
Wix
Overall Rating: rating star (3.0)
$27/monthYes250+
  • Unlimited products
  • Ticket, phone, and social media support
WooCommerce
Overall Rating: rating star (3.2)
FreeNo4,228
  • Unlimited products
  • Email support or WordPress.org forums for self-help
  • Limited reporting
  • No transaction fees

How We Rate E-Commerce Platforms

Pricing is based on my testing of each platform at the base plan and the value provided. I also looked at whether each platform provides multi-channel (online store, online marketplace, brick and mortar, pop up shop, social media) sales features. These features are important to businesses because shoppers tend to research products online but purchase the products in person, directly through “Buy Now” buttons in ads, or in social media.

I also looked at the number of apps available for each platform. Apps allow you to personalize and customize your store. You can add features that your customers prefer or need, enhancing purchasing ease, convenience, and loyalty. Finally, I looked at the various features available in the platform’s basic plans and compared what each offers.

Shopify Alternatives

  • BigCommerce
  • Magento
  • Pinnacle Cart
  • Wix
  • WooCommerce

As one of Shopify’s closest competitors in terms of the target market, BigCommerce is comparable when it comes to prices. It also provides many of the same features like multichannel selling and SEO functionalities.

However, while BigCommerce is less reliant on apps and does not impose transaction fees as Shopify does, the platform isn’t as intuitive as Shopify. New users find it easier to set up a store on Shopify than on BigCommerce.

Read our full BigCommerce review.

The open-source version of Magento is free, highly customizable, and comes with robust community support. However, because it’s self-hosted, reliant on apps, and difficult for non-coders to set up, Magento loses ground to the more user-friendly albeit paid Shopify platform.

Pinnacle Cart is a surprising contender in the e-commerce platform space against the more established Shopify, but both share many key features and are comparable in price. Pinnacle Cart edges out Shopify by a hair because it’s more customizable and has more built-in features, so it needs fewer apps to make it fully functional.

However, Pinnacle Cart doesn’t have mobile support and not enough users to give others the confidence to try it out, especially since it has no free version.

Read our Pinnacle Cart review.

Wix is slightly more affordable than Shopify and has excellent built-in sales tools, extensive design functionality, and many templates and themes. However, it isn’t as scalable as Shopify, so it’s only a good choice for those small online stores looking to establish their brands rather than going after rapid growth.

Read our full Wix review.

WooCommerce is the top e-commerce plugin for WordPress sites and has a 23% market share in the e-commerce platform space. It’s open-source and free to boot, so it pulls ahead of Shopify in terms of customizability and monthly costs despite being heavily reliant on apps.

However, WooCommerce has a much steeper learning curve than Shopify, and it only works as a plugin for WordPress sites, so Shopify is the better choice for stand-alone e-commerce stores.

Read our WooCommerce review.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shopify

How Much Does Shopify Cost?

Shopify’s Basic plan is $29 per month. You can try Shopify for free for up to 14 days without giving out any credit card information. After the expiry of the trial period, you can choose a pricing plan that suits your business needs.

Do You Need To Be a Designer or Developer To Use Shopify?

Absolutely not! You can have little to no coding experience or design skills, and you can still set up your online store. It also runs on its own servers so that you don’t need to buy web hosting or install additional software.

You can use the online store builder and themes to customize the look and feel of your store. Use apps for more features and functionality. You can also contact the Shopify support team for help.

What Do You Need To Start Selling on Shopify?

All you need is a Shopify Plan and the products to sell to get started selling on the platform. Get started by signing up for Shopify and then proceed to set up your store and add your products. You can also consider starting a dropshipping business if you have no products to sell yet.

Can You Use Your Own Domain Name With Shopify If You Already Have a Website?

You can, but you essentially give up any traction you’ve created with your target audience. Your best bet is to build a Shopify store, prepare your redirects, transfer your products, then point the domain name registered to your website to your Shopify store. You can follow these steps to accomplish that.

How Many Products Can You Sell on Shopify?

You can sell an unlimited number of products in your store under any plan. You can upload as many as 250 images, videos, and 3D media for each product, but there are limits to video and 3D model hosting. For the Basic plan, that’s 250 for the entire site.

Can You Have Multiple Stores on Shopify

Yes, you can, but you cannot have multiple stores under one account. If you want, you can open multiple accounts on Shopify and operate one store under each account.

Can You Have Multiple Domains on My Shopify Store?

Yes! You can add as many as 10 domains or subdomains to your Shopify store, not including your myshopify.com subdomain.

How We Rated Shopify

Our rating process involves a thorough and detailed study of the various features offered viz-a-viz the competition. We looked at the various facets and features offered by Shopify in comparison to other major players in the industry by way of direct testing and through third-party services to ensure an accurate rating. We even created a dummy store and added relevant apps to get a thorough understanding from a user’s perspective.

While we did do a comprehensive overview, we gave more weight to certain parameters that we felt were paramount. These include ease of use, security, impressive customer support, flexibility, scalability, and last but not least, the price.

Shopify scored impressively on all of these counts, emerging as the easiest way to get an online store up and running. All of it at a starting price of $29 a month ― even lower if you’re willing to forego an online storefront ― and with all of the bells and whistles and minus a lot of fuss, making it the most complete, flexible, and feature-rich of the lot.