Shopify Reviews 2015: The Ultimate Ecommerce Platform?

shopify review 2015

Shopify was founded in 2006 by Tobias Lütke (CEO of the Year in Canada), Scott Lake and Daniel Weinand. Since the launch, the platform has quickly grown from a small player to one of (if not the) leading ecommerce solutions. The company is currently powering more than 100,000 online retailers. Some of their most notable customers include among others General Electric, Amnesty International, Tesla Motors, Encyclopedia Britannica, Foo Fighters, GitHub, and many more. If you are looking for an ecommerce solution with a lot of great features that still remains easy to use for the novice users, then you should definitely give them a try.

Shopify Video Preview

My colleague Stephanie recorded a quick video that sums up this review. Give it a go if you’re in a hurry.

Shopify Features

I have tested quite a few ecommerce platforms in the past, and I must admit Shopify has the most thought-out feature set I have ever encountered. Almost everything you need to run your own online store is taken care of by a distinct feature. It doesn’t matter if you are planning to run your store fully online or from a brick and mortar setting, there is something for everyone.

The company has one of the most complete dashboards or control panels I have ever seen, everything is taken care of from here, whether you want to add new products or manage new orders everything is done through the dashboard. You can also use the dashboard for generating discount codes, or just need to examine the latest reports.

Shopify Selling Online or Offline

If you are looking to sell your products in an actual retail setting, then they offer Shopify POS. This includes everything you need to sell your products offline, both on the software and hardware side. The software used includes an iPad app, which makes selling your products in a retail setting much easier. With the app you can use the credit card reader to swipe the customers credit card right there, you can even purchase additional hardware from the company such as a cash register, a receipt printer and even a barcode scanner.

The company also offers one of the biggest App Stores out of all ecommerce solutions; they offer dozens of free and paid apps that will enhance your store. These have been divided into different categories such as Marketing, Sales, Social Media, Shipping and Customer Service. Thanks to their formidable content management system (CMS) you can easily create additional pages, as well as pages through which your clients can easily contact you. Furthermore Shopify makes running your own blog super easy, since everything is handled from a single dashboard.

Recently Shopify has updated their check out area and now all of their themes offer a fully responsive checkout. With responsive checkout your site automatically adapts to the size of your screen. Furthermore the company has changed the way the checkout works meaning you can now customize this area to look just like the rest of your store. 

Shopify Ease of Use

You could fear that with all the features offered it would be easy to become overwhelmed with the platform, however luckily that isn’t the case with Shopify. It literally takes minutes to open and create a basic store; and from there it is easy to create something absolutely stunning.

One great feature is the fact that you can test your store before releasing it to the public; this can either be done through the live editor or even online. If you should need a domain name then you can easily buy your own domain through the dashboard, this makes it much easier compared to other competitors who force you to purchase your own domain through third-party hosting sites.

A lot of emphasis has been placed on making their platform as easy to use as possible, while still offering advanced features for those who might need the additional features. One part of the platform I really enjoy is the fact that you can easily drag and drop different links to create your own personalized navigation menu. Furthermore, as we will discuss later, editing and customizing your own theme really couldn’t be any easier.

Shopify Pricing

Shopify offers five different pricing plans, they offer a starter plan for just just $14 a month, while their other plans range from $29 for their basic plan to $179 for their biggest plan. If you pay for a full year in advance you will get a 10% discount, equally if you pay upfront for two years you will receive a 20% discount.

Shopify Pricing Plans

If you want to sell your products both online and offline, then Shopify offers plans ranging from $78/month to $228/month. Furthermore if you wish to only sell your products offline, then they also offer a plan for that, which can be quite handy.

The cheapest offline plan starts at $49/month while the most expensive costs $199/month. Unlike with the other platforms, all plans come with unlimited bandwidth and, with the exception of the starter plan, an unlimited number of products you can sell in your store.

Shopify Templates and Design

One area where Shopify really excels is their themes and their design; the company offers some of the most professional looking themes of any ecommerce platform. The themes can be found in the Theme Store. The company offers both free themes as well as paid themes, with the paid ones ranging from $80 to $180.

Shopify Themes

Once you have found the right theme, you can easily customize the look and feel to your hearts delight, simply by opening the template editor and editing your theme until you feel it’s exactly what you are looking for. If you have created a theme that you would like to use for your store, then you can upload your own template.

Simply go to the Theme pages and scroll down until you find the upload theme button, then just add your own theme.

One thing I really prefer about Shopify is the fact that they don’t cover their templates in ads and logos, in fact you will have to look very hard to find any indication that the site was built on Shopify. 

Shopify Inventory

Inventory management is an important part of running your store, and Shopify has you covered in this area too. Once you are ready to add inventory to your store then all you need to do is press the product tab in the sidebar on the dashboard, you will then automatically be taken to following page:

Shopify Product Page


As you can see in the image above everything from title of product, description and price is customizable, what is great is the fact that you can give each product a distinct SKU, as well as adding a bar code.

Shopify SEO & Marketing

If you have an amazing store but your customers are unable to find it, then chances are you will be very disappointed with the sales figures. Shopify offers great features for both SEO and Marketing. Thanks to built in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features your site will easily be found on all major search engines such as Google, Bing and yahoo.

If you really want to customize your store even more then the company offers customizable H1, title and mega tags, moreover their URLs are all SEO friendly. The company has also partnered with Google in order to give you $100 when you spend $25 on advertising with a new AdWords account, and the moment you sign up with Shopify you also receive a $50 credit for new Facebook Ads accounts.

To help boost your marketing, they have created a discount code coupon generator to help promote your products on different social networks. Your customers can also sign up to your newsletter to be kept in the loop of changes you make on your site. Read this post if you want to learn more on which is the best ecommerce site builder for SEO.

Shopify Payments

Traditionally if you wanted to accept payment you would have to use a third-party payments processor like Stripe, PayPal, or others that would charge a certain fee per transaction. The company has created their own payment processor called Shopify Payments, if you decide to sign up for this program then all transaction fees will be lifted regardless of your plan.

Shopify Payment Options

With the basic payment plan Shopify charges 2.9% + 30c per transaction, while the company charges 2.5% + 30c and 2.25% + 30c per transaction, for the Professional and Unlimited plans per transaction. At the moment this plan is currently only available in the U.S. and Canada. Other than Shopify Payments the company also offers integration with more than 70 different payment gateways, these include accepting payments from credit cards, Google Checkout, PayPal and many more.

These gateways all come with their own transaction fees, as these can get a little confusing, I strongly advice that you familiarize yourself with these before signing up, as you might otherwise be surprised at just how much is charged as a fee.

Shopify Security

Security is taken very seriously in ecommerce and therefore they have created their shopping cart platform as well as their hosting to be Level 1 PCI DSS compliant, in other words your data is secured. All pricing plans offer 128-bit Free SSL certificate at no added cost.

While data security is very important to etailers, many also worry about their store always being available, and Shopify provides their customers with a 99.94% uptime guarantee. Furthermore the company creates secure backups of all your data, so even if your store should for some reason disappear, it will be backed up and ready to be restored within minutes.

Shopify Support

If you find yourself in the need of support, then Shopify has one of the best offers in the industry. Regardless of which pricing plan you decide on the company has 24/7 full customer support, this includes phone support as well as chat and email support. Another great form of help offered by Shopify is the access to a sizeable support system directly through their website, this includes user forums, tutorials as well as FAQ’s.

Shopify Support Dashboard

If you are just beginning your journey as an e-tailer then Shopify has created the Ecommerce University. Here users gain access to eBooks, videos and guides, with the purpose of helping customers learn the ins and outs of running their own web store.


After having taken advantage of the features offered by Shopify for quite a while I can say if you are looking to sell commodities online, or looking to sell your products in general then you ought to give Shopify a try. I would gladly recommend Shopify to everyone, if nothing else then at least give their 14-day free trial a try, I am certain you will not be disappointed.


Since the initial review of Shopify, they have continued to make improvements to their platform. The fact that customers are no longer redirected to a checkout.shopify site when completing their purchase is a very big plus. It helps to make the shopping experience more fluid. One thing I would like to see in the future would be a few more free themes, however this is still a minor complaint, and I would still gladly recommend Shopify to anyone who is looking to start their own online store.

Shopify Review Rating

So what do you think of  Shopify? Let me know what’s your opinion in the comments. 

Shopify Rating: 5 - Review by

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I'm a web design blogger and started this project after spending a few weeks struggling to find out which is the best ecommerce platform for myself. Check out my current top 10 ecommerce site builders.

42 Responses

  1. Dani July 17, 2014 / 2:11 am

    I’m trying to start an online business to market my free lance copy writing services. Since Shopify will provide me with a domain name, will it insist on throwing its adds up on my page, or can I avoid this? How is this reflected in the payment levels? Thanks!

    • Catalin Zorzini July 17, 2014 / 1:42 pm

      Hi Dani, thanks for stopping by. Shopify would not show any ads on any of the plans they offer. You have complete control over every aspect of the website, even for the starter plan, which is $14 a month.

  2. Victoria October 23, 2014 / 12:54 pm

    We would just like to add that although the support is 24/7; support knowledge comes from other Shopify shop owners and a lot of them with limited or no technical skills to resolve issues. (one woman we talked with had a little knitting shop..)

    Suggested a re-review and give accurate points on the support. More time does not equal better support. Have you tried calling support at Shopify? I’d say from our experience, unfortunately only 10-15% are skilled to answer any tech issues you may run into.

    • Catalin Zorzini October 30, 2014 / 4:31 pm

      Hi Victoria, I personally had great experience with their support and most of my clients are pleased too, so thanks a lot for sharing your experience!

  3. Catalin Zorzini October 28, 2014 / 4:02 pm

    Hi Victoria, I personally had great experience with their support and most of my clients are pleased too, so thanks a lot for sharing your experience!

  4. Ruby shaikh November 21, 2014 / 7:45 am

    5 Reasons People Love Shopify
    1. Shopify Is Easy to Use
    2. Shopify Is Hosted
    3. Reliability
    4. Customizable Design
    5. The Shopify App Store
    24/7; support
    Shopify Expert

  5. Steve November 21, 2014 / 4:09 pm

    I’m thinking of starting a costume jewelry site as an addition to a current wholesale business. We would have approximately 100+ styles with 2-3 digital photos for each style. Would Shopify be the right platform for this online only retail business?

    • Catalin Zorzini December 6, 2014 / 12:07 pm

      Hi Steve, yes that sounds like a perfect scenario for a shop built on Shopify. Cheers

  6. Ruby shaikh December 6, 2014 / 10:17 am

    10 Reasons People Love Shopify
    1. Shopify Is Easy to Use
    2. Shopify Is Hosted
    3. Reliability
    4. Customizable Design
    5. The Shopify App Store
    6. Simple to use
    7.Unlimited, 24/7 toll free Shopify support
    8.Conveniently run your store on the go
    9.1-click integrations
    10.Start selling in no time at all

  7. Hiroshi Fujikage December 12, 2014 / 1:19 am

    Just wanted to point out a typo on the Shopify Payments section.

    The profesional plan charges 2.5% + 30cents not 5% + 30 cents

  8. Graham December 14, 2014 / 2:56 am

    The transaction fees are the killer – 0.5% on monthly sales of $40k add an extra $200 per month – is it really worth that much more than bigcommerce?

    • Catalin Zorzini December 30, 2014 / 11:57 am

      Hi Graham, in my experience the 200 a month difference makes sense compared to BigCommerce for a 40k+ business. Moreover the commission is 0 if you use Shopify Payments

  9. Jens Anders Bakke March 2, 2015 / 2:39 pm

    Just a heads up, if you need multi level categories and/or more details per product, shopify just doesn’t cut it..

    • Yo_Its_Me March 18, 2015 / 7:23 pm

      I’ve been researching for hours trying to find out where I can move my 3k products to, since my current site provider is not mobile friendly…do you, or does anyone know which sites are:

      mobile friendly
      allow multi-level categories
      allow you to customize title tags (and change them later if you want)
      allow me to enhance meta tags
      have secure checkout
      have great customer support
      are easy to use
      allow me to add a blog
      allow me to own the domain name (and without their domain as the root)
      and are competitively priced?

      • Catalin Zorzini March 24, 2015 / 5:52 pm

        Hi there, Lemonstand would fit the bill for your requests mate:

  10. Marie Ange May 1, 2015 / 12:04 pm

    Im hesitating between big cartel and shopify. When you sayf with shopify payments fees are lifted you mean they charge 0% per transaction? Also, is shopify and big cartel compatible with adsense? I cannot find an answer anywhere! Tx a lot!

    • Catalin Zorzini May 7, 2015 / 10:25 am

      Hi Marie,

      Yes they don’t take any fees if you go with Shopify Payments.

      You can add the adsense code to both Shopify and Big Cartel but neither would offer this feature out of the box.

  11. noignrnc June 1, 2015 / 9:21 am

    Help please! My husband and myself are over 60 years old, and our old online storefront (that we’ve used in conjunction with eBay for over 10 years) has just informed us they’re discontinuing service in a couple of months. I’m lost! We *need) to have a built-in Customer Loyalty program (or an add-on that’s free, or very reasonably priced) and ‘real time shipping’ (from at least USPS, but hopefully UPS & Fedex)….and I just can’t seem to find what I’m seeking. We no longer need eBay integration…but need to be able to accept PayPal (and probably need assistance setting up a merchant account). Any/all information or suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.

  12. T Symonette July 5, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    Thank you so much for this article. I was almost swayed into going with Big Cartel until I did a little bit of research. Thanks to mainly you, and a few other websites, I have decided to go with Shopify for my upcoming ecommerce site for affordable and stylish women’s clothing and accessories.

    Much appreciated!

  13. David Penney July 25, 2015 / 7:56 pm

    I am currently using Office 365 for my entire web presence: website, online store, email, with my domain name hosted by a third party (Melbourne IT) in Australia. I understand that Office 365 are cancelling their website service so I am now looking for alternatives. Can I transfer my entire web presence to shopify whilst keeping the same email (does shopify provide an email service?) and website address? If so, how do I go about transferring the domain from the current host to shopify and can I design my shopify site over a week or so before I actually make the transfer? I am based in the UK. Will buyers from overseas e.g. Japan be able to purchase my goods via the Shopify Payments system? Thanks

    • Catalin Zorzini July 27, 2015 / 12:19 pm

      Hi David,

      Gotcha! Yeah I can confirm that you can move your web presence over at Shopify and keep your email address. More info on this here.

      Also, your international buyers (Japan etc) will definitely be able to make purchases from your store if you setup Shopify Payments.

      Hope it helps.

  14. Artro August 13, 2015 / 4:46 pm

    Hi there Catalin! Great job you are doing.
    Could you please tell a bit more about Introduced shopify payment?
    Not sure if I understood right what is it? What are the advantages and limitations?
    For example Stripe has quite limited geography of countries to receive payments from, PayPal, well PayPal is PayPal. Third-party gateways have their own pros and cons and it’s another story.
    Getting back to Shopify payment, how does it look technically? Let’s say, how do I link my bank account? I’m from Mongolia.

    • Catalin Zorzini August 13, 2015 / 9:40 pm

      Hi Artro, currently Shopify Payments is offered in the US, the UK and Canada. If the merchant’s business is based outside of those countries, Shopify Payments wouldn’t be an option at this time. Did you check these guys? I’m pretty sure they cater to Mongolia.

  15. Cathy September 7, 2015 / 3:12 am

    I am leaning heavily on the Shopify platform. However, when it comes to Shopify payments involving Stripe, I am viewing so many, many bad reviews. Can you help me with any persuasion or facts that will help me have more confidence in Stripe gateway?

    • Catalin Zorzini September 8, 2015 / 11:38 am

      Hi Cathy, I think Strips is great but depends if you’re based in the US, Canada or UK? Cheers

  16. Shrey Singhvi September 20, 2015 / 2:08 am

    Hi Catalin, great job on your blog!

    Can you explain what you mean by “The fact that customers are no longer redirected to a checkout.shopify site when completing their purchase”?

    I thought all buyers at Shopify are required to complete their purchase through the checkout.shopify link to which Shopify doesn’t allow access to developers for any customisations?

    Has something changed here?

    • Catalin Zorzini September 24, 2015 / 4:22 pm

      Hi Shrey, yes that changed a while ago. Now everything is on your own site. Cheers

  17. Patti Shank October 14, 2015 / 1:47 am

    Is Shopify a good alternative for selling digital downloads to people from mainly US, UK, Canada, and India? Are their add-ons to add memberships and discounts? I am assuming I can move my domain name so this becomes my business’ website, right?

    Thanks. Your information here has helped a great deal.

    • Catalin Zorzini October 16, 2015 / 5:04 pm

      Hi Patti, the answer to all your questions is “yes” :) Best of luck!

  18. Heather October 15, 2015 / 1:54 am

    Hi there: great article! Thorough and very informative. Thanks for sharing!

    I read closely and didn’t see any mention about a dropshipping ecommerce website through Shopify. I am starting a dropshipping business and am wondering if most of what you mention in this post as far as benefits and tools etc would still apply.

    I just rec’d a quote for a website to be developed for my business including adding Shopify and the fee is going to be $4,500:(

    My plan of small costs in setting up this business will have greatly succeeded my budget if I have to spend this so I’m wondering if I can successfully set this up with the support of Shopify fairly quickly to look professional and have all the automation I need?

    Thank you for any other info you can provide !

    • Catalin Zorzini October 16, 2015 / 5:02 pm

      Hi Heather, if you’re not too fussy about specific design / development tweaks you will be able to do it by yourself. Good luck!

  19. Sam October 19, 2015 / 12:47 am

    Hi, great site full of useful information!!

    I’m building an online store that will have around 30-50 products with main category and maybe 1 sub-category. I have been told that the best platform to use is BigCommerce followed by 3d cart. The course that I’m following also said that because I’m from the UK and targeting US customers, that PayPal business account would be the best merchant account to use.

    There was no mention of Shopify but having read your review, I’m leaning towards them.

    Would shopify be suitable for me based on the information above and what would be the best option for a merchant/payments processor account?


    • Catalin Zorzini October 19, 2015 / 8:34 pm

      Hi Sam, Shopify would be great for your shop yes!

  20. Katie October 19, 2015 / 11:38 pm


    I went through all the article and all the replies but I am still confused. Can I use my own SSL on shopify or not?


  21. Diane Nesom October 20, 2015 / 11:26 pm

    I am looking for an e-commerce solution. Long story short is that I had my own custom designed site for years, my webmaster quit, I couldn’t maintain it, and it was not cost effective to hire someone to figure it out so I scrapped it and started over. I’m currently with weebly but they don’t have real-time shipping based on destination and weight. I’m working around it with USPS flat rate shipping but I am seeking a better solution. I am a VERY small and VERY niche hobby business and cost effectiveness and accurate shipping are the highest priority since my product is heavy. USPS flat rate is generally great but when people want to add on products, it gets complicated and hard to anticipate the shipping expenses. What would be a great platform for mom/pop hobby shops like mine that really rely on automated, real-time, accurate shipping estimators??

  22. Silviu October 23, 2015 / 8:28 pm

    Great analysis.

    I would like to launch three software products targeting customers from Europe and US. The intention is to package them within a professional layout providing self training details, possible videos etc Would you recommend Shopify? Would I be able to choose different payment schemes (let’s say through Shopify Payments for US and something more appropiate for the European customers)?

  23. Sammy October 28, 2015 / 12:32 pm

    Hi i’m Sammy,
    Living in Australia and wanting to tackle the bikini and swimwear market but also will be featuring other product (beach related and artwork) on my site… will end up having alot of items to sell. I am after a program that is clean and simple but very effective.
    When product title come up I would want them in a pretty large tile as i need my customers to be able to see the intracate details of my products… Needing direction ASAP!

    Can you recommend me a specific website builder as to what you think is best for this type of business.


  24. david November 8, 2015 / 9:05 pm

    Thanks for the great article. One thing I am looking for in a new platform, is one that will allow my 2 websites to operate on the same customer and inventory databases. I am not sure if Shopify or any of the others will do that.

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