Is It Really the King of Ecommerce Platforms? (2021)

If you’ve started looking for an eCommerce platform, you’ve perhaps heard of Shopify. That’s in consequence of Shopify controls about 20% of the eCommerce platform market [1], making it the second most used on-line retailer builder, solely behind WooCommerce. In our hands-on Shopify consider, we take a look at the ensures equipped by Shopify, uncover its shining choices and decisions for scaling up an web enterprise, whereas moreover going into important particulars equal to pricing, purchaser assist, and ease of use.

Keep learning our Shopify consider to be taught if it’s the correct place to your on-line retailer.

📚 Table of contents:

What is Shopify?

Shopify falls proper into a category of merchandise known as eCommerce platforms. These are software program program features for developing commerce-oriented web pages with product pages, shopping for carts, and checkout modules.

Shopify is a SaaS (software-as-a-service) eCommerce platform, meaning it’s accessible by manner of an net browser, and in addition you pay a recurring cost to make use of the on-line software program program in its place of downloading it for one greater cost.

What’s further, Shopify maintains all of the underlying software program program and {{hardware}} for you – you in no way must fiddle with web internet hosting, updates, security, and so forth.

In fast, anyone can go to the Shopify web page, start an account, and begin selling merchandise, processing funds, and creating content material materials.

In phrases of selling, Shopify supplies decisions for:

  • Selling bodily merchandise on-line
  • Selling digital merchandise on-line
  • Selling at bodily areas (using Shopify POS)

What choices should you anticipate from Shopify?

There are dozens of built-in choices along with:

  • Support for selling limitless merchandise
  • Point of sale assist for in-person transactions
  • Gift taking part in playing cards and low price codes
  • Multiple on-line product sales channels
  • Finance tales
  • Email promoting and web advertising and marketing campaigns
  • Fraud analysis
  • Support for a quantity of employees accounts
  • Abandoned cart restoration
  • Shipping value calculations
  • Free SSL certificates
  • Shipping reductions
  • Integrated price processing
  • Global selling decisions equal to completely completely different languages and currencies

Shopify moreover has an app retailer to pick out from lots of of completely different retailer extensions. Some app lessons embrace:

  • Store design
  • Marketing
  • Fulfillment
  • Shipping and provide
  • Customer service
  • Store administration
  • Conversion
  • Merchandising
  • Product recommendations

You can also administration how your retailer appears using Shopify themes.

How does Shopify study to completely different platforms?

You have a quantity of eCommerce platforms to consider, so what makes Shopify stand out? Are there factors of Shopify that can push you in direction of one different decision?

Shopify pricing vs rivals

Shopify is very similar to most principal platforms with its pricing plans.

For event, the $29 per thirty days Basic Shopify pricing aligns with the major plans from BigCommerce, Squarespace, and Wix. Weebly has some lower-priced plans, nevertheless they’re not as good of a value, significantly in phrases of eCommerce decisions.

Shopify pricing goes from $29 to $299 counting on what you need, and they also provide enterprise choices as your company grows, all starting at $2,000 per thirty days in the Shopify Plus plan.

Many outlets might be prime quality with the $29 plan, a minimal of to begin out. This makes Shopify pretty moderately priced versus the opponents.

Finally, Shopify has a $9 per thirty days Shopify Lite plan if it is good so as to add straightforward on-line eCommerce devices equal to Buy buttons to an current web page. Keep in ideas, nonetheless, that the Shopify Lite plan is under no circumstances an precise on-line retailer with an entire shopping for cart.

Shopify design vs rivals

With an entire lot of beautiful themes, it’s safe to say that Shopify excels in the design space. You choose a theme, customise it using drag-and-drop sections, then add product pages for an entire on-line retailer interface.

In widespread, platforms equal to Squarespace and BigCommerce are recognized for further “modern” designs, so that you’d presumably ponder these for individuals who’re looking for visually spectacular templates. However, Squarespace and BigCommerce themes rely carefully on large, high-resolution photos, so we’ve found some points with that. First of all, many retailer owners don’t know strategies to optimize large photos, inflicting gradual net web page load speeds. And what happens in case your photos aren’t the absolute highest of prime quality? Well, they get stretched out and look horrible.

That’s one of the causes we like Shopify, in consequence of media elements tend to look further pure in your designs, and there’s no wish to hire an pricey photographer to nonetheless create an exquisite web page.

We wish to see an entire drag-and-drop builder in the future (correct now that’s solely accessible on the homepage), nevertheless normal, Shopify helps you design a quick, expert web page, all with out having to know one thing about coding or progress.

Shopify purchaser assist vs rivals

All on-line retailer owners must have an eCommerce platform with responsive purchaser assist. Luckily, Shopify leads the method with its 24/7 assist by manner of dwell chat and e-mail. You can also attain out to the Shopify neighborhood to speak with completely different retailers.

Shopify moreover beats out most of the opponents referring to on-line sources.

All Shopify prospects purchase entry to a knowledgebase, weblog, video guides, enterprise applications, podcasts, enterprise encyclopedias, comparability devices, and a listing of neighborhood events to group with completely different retailers.

Our consider of the Shopify retailer creation course of

In this half, we’ll stroll you through strategies to create a Shopify account, implement a viable web page design, and add your first product. Throughout the course of, we’ll highlight the professionals and cons of the Shopify interface and the manner easy it is to make use of the dashboard.

If you ever need a further detailed look, you might also study our full Shopify tutorial.

Signing as much as your retailer

To begin, go to the Shopify homepage and click on on on one of the Start Free Trial buttons. Here, you’ll fill in your e-mail take care of and create a password.

We like how there’s no requirement to variety in a financial institution card. The free trial goes for 14 days, after which, you might each select a premium plan or just let the plan go defunct.

You moreover acquire a verify space title with the .myshopify.com subdomain following your web page title. And they supply a web site shopping for system inside Shopify while you’d choose to make the space further expert.

Exploring the Shopify dashboard

Something I’ve been impressed when engaged on this Shopify consider is that inside the Shopify dashboard, you purchase entry to a contemporary, modern admin portal with menu devices for:

  • Orders
  • Products
  • Customers
  • Finances
  • Analytics
  • Marketing
  • Discounts
  • Apps

This makes the Shopify dashboard easy to make use of, significantly when paired with the search area at the excessive.

There’s moreover a Sales Channels half in the most essential menu, which helps you to add as many product sales channels as you want (equal to your Online Store, Shopify POS, Facebook, or eBay).

online store button

Shopify excels with speedy on-line retailer progress and by making the course of really easy that even a non-developer can come to Shopify and start selling on-line.

That’s partially in consequence of of the getting started data , which reveals buttons for

  • Adding merchandise
  • Customizing your theme
  • Adding a web site
  • Setting up price gateways
  • Reviewing your supply settings
add a product

Controlling the design of your Shopify retailer

All design work is accomplished by going to Online Store > Themes.

The Shopify net web page builder supplies a visual preview to the correct, along with a listing of customizable content material materials modules. You can add your particular person content material materials block or make the most of the ones already inserted by the put in theme.

It’s good how one can click on on and preserve any content material materials block to tug it up or down the itemizing. Not to say, you might click on on any of the content material materials blocks to reveal distinctive content material materials settings.

As an occasion, the theme we presently have put in supplies an Announcement Bar, Header, Image Banner, and Featured Collection of merchandise.

edit content blocks

Each content material materials block presents pretty a pair of settings to customize, all of which might be situated inside the header. For occasion, you could possibly presumably alter the color scheme setting or add a emblem to look in the header.

upload logo

Under the Themes half, Shopify comprises hyperlinks to browse an entire lot of free themes and premium themes. We like the premium ones the most, nevertheless they’ll value you spherical $50 to $150.

As with most of the Shopify interface, together with a theme takes no rather a lot of clicks.

pick a theme

Adding a web site title in Shopify

As an “all-in-one” eCommerce platform, Shopify provides a portal to purchase domains. You would typically ought to go to a third-party provider or a web internet hosting agency for a web site title, nevertheless every web internet hosting and a web site search system come alongside alongside together with your subscription.

add domain button

It solely takes a pair of seconds to variety in the desired space title and see if it’s accessible. Once you uncover the best one to your agency, you’re succesful of purchase and activate it as your principal space.

add a domain

Configuring Shopify Payments to acquire money from prospects

In the earlier, Shopify has excelled with price processors, seeing as the manner it allowed you to hyperlink to an entire lot of third-party gateways, along with price methods equal to PayPal and Google Pay. None of that has modified, however it has become easier with the Shopify Payments decision.

Shopify Payments has no added transaction fees aside from the commonplace financial institution card processing cost (starting at 2.9% + $0.30) and in addition you’re succesful of decrease financial institution card fees as you enhance your Shopify plan.

You can full the course of by clicking on the Activate Shopify Payments button. Then, variety in your checking account data and watch as you’re accepted for a price processing account inside a matter of minutes (supplied you meet all the requirements).

Shopify review of payments

We must level out that Shopify nonetheless supplies integrations with an entire lot of completely different price processors. However, they price you additional transaction fees to make use of one thing outdoor of Shopify Payments, which is disappointing for individuals who ought to go together with PayPal or one different third-party processor.

Reviewing Shopify supply settings

During our Shopify consider, we found that Shopify provides a bit to deal with all widespread and variable supply fees.

Shopify review of shipping

You can also scroll down on the net web page to hunt out supply label reductions for principal suppliers. Along with that, you purchase entry to packing slip templates and a bit to hook up together with your group service accounts.

Shopify helps integrations with principal carriers along with USPS, DHL, and UPS. One draw again is that you will have to place in an extra premium app for points choices equal to dwell supply fees and label printing.

Shopify review of shipping settings

Adding merchandise in Shopify

Shopify product pages embrace a myriad of fields starting with the title, description, and product standing.

It’s moreover attainable so as to add media devices (equal to product photos and films), add the product to a quantity of product sales channels, and place the devices into product types or collections.

type in product details

Once you publish the merchandise, you might immediately look to the frontend of your web page to see it in your catalog.

product on frontend

All formatting comes from the chosen theme, whereas Shopify supplies essential buttons like the Add To Cart button and the Buy Now button.

add to cart button

As for the cart and checkout modules, Shopify takes care of these as successfully.

Customers get despatched to the cart to guage what they want to buy or take away. They then click on on on the Checkout button or choose one other price approach.

checkout button

Finally, the default Shopify checkout area asks the prospects for contact, supply, and price data. After that, your price processor handles the be simply best for you and places money into your account.

Unfortunately, the Shopify checkout half is way a lot much less customizable than rivals equal to BigCommerce and even WooCommerce. It’s attainable with custom-made coding, nevertheless you often ought to settle for a checkout half that seems like every completely different Shopify service supplier.

the checkout module

Shopify consider: the pricing

The Shopify pricing is fairly straightforward. You choose a plan and get all included choices for that plan, along with web internet hosting, an SSL certificates, and entry to the net web page builder.

Shopify supplies 5 plans.

Shopify pricing

Here’s what to anticipate from each bundle:

  • Shopify Lite: $9 per thirty days in order so as to add merchandise and Buy buttons to beforehand created blogs or web pages. It’s not an entire on-line retailer, nevertheless pretty a possibility to enhance one different web page with shopping for cart efficiency.
  • Basic Shopify: $29 per thirty days for an entire on-line retailer, limitless merchandise, two employees accounts, information order creation, low price codes, reward taking part in playing cards, abandoned cart restoration, and additional.
  • Shopify: $79 per thirty days for each little factor in the earlier plan, 5 employees accounts, decreased financial institution card fees, commonplace tales, worldwide domains, and worldwide pricing.
  • Advanced Shopify: $299 per thirty days for each little factor in the earlier plans, 15 employees accounts, decreased financial institution card fees, superior tales, worldwide pricing per variant, and way more.
  • Shopify Plus: Starting at $2,000 per thirty days for a personalised enterprise system.

Themes and apps from Shopify

Themes are usually not any joke with Shopify. Not solely are there every free and premium themes, nevertheless they’re designed to look expert with out requiring an extreme quantity of customization.

They even have themes made just for positive industries like art work and photos, electronics, and sports activities actions.

theme categories

During our Shopify consider, we discovered larger than 80 themes. And as a bonus, each theme has a quantity of sorts that flip the preliminary design into one factor absolutely completely completely different.

Shopify review of themes

As for apps, that’s actually the place Shopify shines.

Hundreds of apps are packed into the Shopify App Store, with lessons for promoting, sourcing, conversions, achievement, and additional.

Shopify review of app categories

Some are free, nevertheless others require a subscription (typically ranging from $2 to $100 per thirty days – it’s dependent upon the third-party app agency).

Shopify consider: Pros and cons

So what are the most essential upsides and downsides of Shopify? See our concepts beneath:

Pros

Everything is included from web internet hosting to an SSL certificates, and an online web page builder to eCommerce choices.

You can design a retailer inside seconds using themes and content material materials blocks.

Add almost any attribute you need with third-party apps.

The on-line assist documentation is unmatched.

It solely takes a pair of seconds to activate a price processor.

Most promoting devices come commonplace, along with e-mail promoting and search engine adverts.

It’s the best platform for cross-channel selling (POS, Shopify, Facebook, Pinterest, and lots of others.).

You don’t wish to fret about maintenance or security – Shopify handles all of that for you.

Cons

There’s no free plan to run a straightforward, restricted on-line retailer.

There’s no purchaser assist cellphone line.

Shopify makes use of a singular coding language, so there are fewer builders you might hire.

You solely get drag-and-drop efficiency on the homepage, and even that is not really an actual drag-and-drop builder.

Although you too can make a weblog, its choices are terribly restricted.

You don’t get full entry to your retailer’s underlying code reminiscent of you’ll with a solution like WooCommerce.

Shopify consider: is it the correct ecommerce platform for you?

We like Shopify for every variety of on-line retailer proprietor. It doesn’t matter the measurement of your retailer, Shopify may also help it. Not solely that, nevertheless Shopify pricing stays aggressive. You moreover get the best buyer assist in the recreation.

The solely motive you may skip Shopify is for individuals who actually need cellphone assist, require a stronger working a weblog interface, need entry to your retailer’s underlying code, or would pretty have a free/further moderately priced decision.

If you’re passionate about one other decisions, you might study our assortment of the best eCommerce platforms or our roundup of Shopify choices. If you want to see the manner it stacks up in direction of one different well-liked eCommerce system, we even have an in depth Shopify vs WooCommerce comparability.

If you’re in a position to get started with Shopify, check out our full Shopify tutorial and our collections of the best Shopify apps and best Shopify themes.

Other than that, inform us in the suggestions if in case you might have any questions on our Shopify consider!

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