Shopify Reviews: The Best Ecommerce Platform? (March 2017)

Lots of people ask us which ecommerce platform is the best suited for a company just getting started with an online store. If we gave you the long answer it would be a little more complicated. However, a short answer to that question is that Shopify should be able to offer all the functionality you need. It's filled with tools for launching a site within minutes, and you don't have to worry about self hosting or buying a domain name from a third party. You'll find my full review below and for more Shopify reviews  from our readers check out the comments area.

In that respect, one could call it the perfect out of the box solution, built with pricing plans that cater to small starter stores as well as shops that are bringing in millions of dollars in sales.

The reason we like Shopify so much is that it's not like WordPress or Magento, (which are great as well,) but you need some sort of development knowledge to keep your site running smoothly. On the other hand, it's not like some of the more simplified solutions like WIX and Weebly, where you're going to have a tough time scaling up.

Shopify is right in the middle, where complete beginners can create products, manage inventory and share promotions, all without having to take a development class. In addition, more advanced designers gain access to CSS and HTML files, and you can upgrade to gain more advanced features as your store grows. Overall, it's a beautifully constructed ecommerce platform with plenty of themes that look modern and stylish but also simple, minimal if that's what you're looking for.

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 220,000 online retailers. Some of their most notable customers include 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.

The Platform's Top Features: Shopify Reviews

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 reason Shopify manages to achieve such a strong feature-set is because they either have a tool built-in, or they let you install it with an app.

For example, taxes and shipping are included in the Shopify interface, yet for most of the themes you're going to have to find a free app for social media buttons. Both options work, and you often don't have to pay any extra money when opting for an app.

Shopify reviews: shipping

The company has one of the most complete dashboards or control panels I have ever seen. All tasks, from processing orders to managing inventory, are given to you on the backend. If you have any familiarity with WordPress, it actually looks pretty similar to that interface, with the tabs on the left side for you to access quickly. You can also use the dashboard for generating discount codes, or for examining the latest reports. (In fact the reports on Shopify are my favorite out of all the ecommerce platforms. They're organized, clean and simple, with options like sales by billing address, sales by traffic referrer and gross sales by product title).


If you are looking to sell your products in an actual retail setting, then you can opt for the Shopify POS. This includes everything you need to sell your products offline, both on the software and hardware side. The software 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 customer's 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.

Shopify also offers one of the biggest App Stores out of all the ecommerce solutions; they provide hundreds 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.

Keep in mind that the entire Shopify feature-set is hard to walk through in a single section, but it's worth mentioning that each of the Shopify themes are responsive with mobile ready checkouts. The responsive checkout means that your site automatically adapts to the size of your screen, whether it be through a tablet or smartphone. Along with direct Facebook and Pinterest integration, gift cards, discount codes and a decent custom profile, the company has pretty much perfected the built-in features.

In general, if you need a feature that's only in the app store, you can test it out, and move onto another option if it's not working out on your website.  

Something New: Shopify Sections

Shopify Sections is an exciting new feature that doesn't exactly give your a drag and drop builder, but it comes close. The visual editor offers a wide variety of content sections that you can insert onto your homepage. For example, you might want to place a slideshow, button and product carousel towards the top of that homepage.

It's done with the click of a button. After that, you can adjust the order of those sections by dragging and dropping them in the sidebar.

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Shopify Ease of Use

Shopify reviews: dashboard

Is it intimidating to handle all of the features in Shopify? Not really at all. In fact, we like the feature-set for companies that are just getting started with web design, since a few steps are given to you for getting your site up and running.

So, you could simply stick to the handful of steps offered in the dashboard (adding a product, customizing the look of your website and finding a custom domain,) or you could expand your store with the help of apps and custom coding.

Shopify reviews: app_store

The apps install within seconds, so it doesn't take a genius to handle those. However, if you are more of an advanced developer, Shopify has the tools for you as well. The only area that may be of concern for people with more advanced coding and development skills is that an FTP client is not included with the ecommerce platform, somewhat hindering the control you have over the site.

In terms of pre-publication, Shopify gives you the opportunity to test your store before it goes public, and the live editor is pretty nice for seeing your changes immediately after a setting is adjusted.

The company is pretty much hell-bent on making their interface the easiest in the industry. What's interesting is that they are walking a fine line, since it's still a platform that can satisfy those with more experience with coding and what not. Overall, importing hundreds of products is simple, and making an item from scratch uses quick tools and settings for things like images, videos, titles, pricing, discounts and more.

I don't really see any beginner or intermediate developer having a problem with Shopify. At the same time, most advanced developers are going to be just fine. There's the select few who are planning on scaling up incredibly fast who might get a little bogged down with the Shopify interface.

However, Shopify has enough flexible pricing plans to keep your comfortable for a significant period of time.

Shopify Pricing Makes Sense

Shopify offers four different pricing plans, and the lowest starts at just just $9 a month. While their other plans range from $29 (for their basic plan) to $299 (for their biggest plan,) you do have the opportunity to try out a free, 14 day trial before committing to anything.

If you want to sell your products both online and offline, then Shopify has plans that you must call in and speak to a rep to setup. 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 $29/month while the most expensive costs $299/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.

That said, let's outline some of the online plans for you to understand which one is best for you:

  • Lite – $9 per month for credit cards rates of 2.9% + 30¢, a Shopify buy button (so your site is technically not a real online store,) Facebook selling, POS integration, fraud analysis, manual order creation and shipping codes. One staff account is provided.
  • Basic Shopify – $29 per month for everything in the previous plan, credit card rates of 2.9% + 30¢, an actual online store, 24/7 support, fraud analysis, manual order creation, discount codes, a website and blog, and a free SSL certificate. Two staff accounts are provided.
  • Shopify – $79 per month for everything in the previous plan, credit card rates of 2.6% + 30¢, an actual online store, gift cards, professional reports and abandoned cart recovery. Five staff accounts are provided.
  • Advanced Shopify – $299 per month for everything in the previous plan, credit card rates of 2.4% + 30¢, an actual online store, advanced report builder and real time carrier shipping. 15 staff accounts are provided.

Each plan allows for an unlimited number of products, unlimited file storage, shipping label discounts and a retail package if needed.

If you want to learn more about this, check out my full guide on Shopify pricing.


Shopify Templates and Design

One area where Shopify really excels at is its themes and design. The company offers some of the most professional looking themes of any ecommerce platform. As of this article,  the company has around 21 free themes for you to choose from. On the other hand, you can pay for a theme, and select from over 100 options. The nicer ones start at around $100, but you may be able to locate a few that are cheaper.

The Shopify Sections functionalty (for dragging and dropping certain sections with the theme) is live for most new themes. Therefore, if you're starting a new site, you shouldn't have any problems getting Shopify Sections. Unfortunately that leaves all the currently running sites in the dark with Shopify Sections.

However, Shopify claims that all online stores will get Shopify Sections by the end of 2016, which is hopefully going to be the case.

As we talked about above, CSS and HTML modules are given for you to make more advanced customizations to the themes you buy. In my experience, the free themes aren't as easy to customize, and Shopify probably does this to get you to purchase premium options. The theme selection includes categories like clothing, electronics, food, toys and much more. I've had my eye on Shopify for quite some time now, and the company seems to share new themes on a consistent basis, and the designs are looking more and more modern.

Shopify reviews: theme store

My main concern with a theme design is how quickly people can checkout and get through the shopping cart process. The Shopify themes have both two and three step checkouts, and you can tryout tools for things like social and guest checkouts.

Once you've found the right theme, you can easily customize the look and feel to your heart's desire, simply by opening the template editor and editing your theme until you feel like it’s exactly what you are looking for. On the other hand, the new Shopify Sections feature is sure to speed up your editing, since it's a rather simple drag and drop editor.

If you have created a theme that you would like to use for your store, then you can upload your own template.

Go to the Theme page and scroll down until you find the Upload Theme button, then just add your own theme.

None of the Shopify themes have Shopify branding. In fact, it's not that easy to find any trace of the Shopify brand on your own site. This is a wonderful thing for beginners, since it's not going to affect your search engine rankings, and people will think you designed the website yourself. 

Shopify reviews: frontend

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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 Products tab in the sidebar on the dashboard. You will then automatically be taken to the following page:

Shopify reviews: add product

As you can see in the image above, everything from product title to description and price is customizable. In addition, you can give each product a distinct SKU, as well as a bar code.

Transfers, Inventory, Collections and Gift Cards are seen as tabs in this area as well. I like the Inventory tab because it features all of the items in your store, all organized into a clean and manageable list. The product page also offers several options for things like SEO, shipping and the imagery that users are going to see when landing on this product page.

Shopify SEO & Marketing

Shopify reviews: gift cards

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 the built in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features, your site will easily be found on all major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.

What's cool is that even though the SEO settings are automated, you can go into each product page and customize your own target keywords, URLs and more.

If you really want to customize your store further, the company offers customizable H1, title and mega tags. Also, the URLs are all SEO friendly. Shopify has partnered with Google in order to occasionally give you advertising money for a new AdWords account. I certainly wouldn't base my decision on which ecommerce platform gives me money to advertise on Google, but I guess it's a nice bonus.

The gift cards are extremely user-friendly, and you don't have to go out to find a third party app for better gift card features. It depends on your payment plan, but once you get everything activated it allows for gift card codes in the checkout area.

The discount codes are generated on the backend as well.

Shopify reviews: discount code

To help boost your marketing, Shopify created a discount code coupon generator to promote your products on different social networks.

Along with selling options on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, your marketing game is in good hands with Shopify. However, you should know that social media following and sharing buttons are only in the app store. Yes, you can create an online shop through Facebook, but the buttons are in the app store.

Finally, the email collection form is pretty simple. It certainly does the job and integrates with the major email options like MailChimp, but many ecommerce stores tend to look towards the app store to find something more suitable.

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

Shopify reviews: payments

We covered credit card fees in the pricing area earlier, but it's worth noting that you do have the option to integrate with over 70 different payment gateways.  These include accepting payments from credit cards, Google Checkout, PayPal and many more.

The gateways all come with their own transaction fees. Since these can get a little confusing, I strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with these before signing up, as you might otherwise be surprised at just how much you'll have to pay.

In short, Shopify has one of the biggest lists of supported payment gateways out there. This doesn't mean you'll use them all, but it opens up more opportunity for people from all over the world. It also gives you a chance to research which of the payment gateways are going to work for your particular business.

Shopify Security

Security is taken very seriously when you run an ecommerce site. Therefore Shopify has its shopping cart hosted on a Level 1 PCI DSS compliant server. In other words, your data, and the data of your customers, is secure. In addition, all pricing plans (besides Lite) offer 128-bit Free SSL certificate at no added cost.

While data security is very important to retailers, 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 crash, it will be backed up for restoration later.

Shopify Support

If you find yourself in need of support, then Shopify has one of the best teams in the industry. Regardless of which pricing plan you decide on, the company has 24/7 full customer support, which 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, including user forums, tutorials and FAQ’s.

If you are just beginning your journey as an online seller, Shopify has created something called Ecommerce University. Here users gain access to eBooks, videos and guides, with the idea of helping customers learn the ins and outs of running their own web store.

Overall, you have the ability to either speak to a professional or learn about the system yourself. Obviously some people hate waiting on the phone for a support rep, so we feel like the forums, courses and videos are enough for you to figure out your own problems if you'd like. So, the support team has something for everyone, and in my experience they're pretty darn knowledgeable and responsive.

From videos to podcasts, and success stories to a huge encyclopedia of ecommerce terms, the Shopify online support seems to improve on a regular basis. Heck, the last time I did this article I don't recall them having an ecommerce podcast.


Who is the Shopify ecommerce platform built for?

Beginners, intermediates and advanced users (the ones looking to speed up the development process by not spending much time on coding or more complicated processes).

I would gladly recommend Shopify to everyone, if nothing else then at least give their 14-day free trial a try. I'm certain you will not be disappointed.

Since our 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.

It's also nice to see a homepage builder (Shopify Sections) that has draggable elements.

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.

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So what do you think of  Shopify? Let me know what's your opinion by in the comments area, which is dedicated to Shopify reviews. 

Shopify Rating: 5 - Review by

Catalin Zorzini

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.

112 Responses

  1. 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!

    1. 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. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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

  5. 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?

      1. So do I have to pay for Shopify service basic plan at $29 AND pay $29 a month for credit card processing (Shopify payments)? I’m looking at the basic plans. I want them to host and process credit cards.

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

    1. 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?

      1. Hi Yo-Its-Me,
        This comment is a little behind, but Magento 2 and 2.1 is now a much simpler interface and doesn’t have to cost much more than Shopify if done right and quickly.
        There are quite a few Cons to Shopify I don’t see listed in this review.

    2. Hello Jens
      Is this means there option to create product options are limited? If I each my product has multiple option where the price changes with every option and this options are unique to each product, will that not work well for us?

    3. Agreed…I just learned that the hard way when I tried to migrate over from Volusion, only to find my core products, with 10 optional customizations and multiple variants per option wouldn’t work on Shopify. They skirt around that item in their marketing, so do your homework before jumping all in. Shame too…I really liked the platform, but that limitation kills it for me.

  7. 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!

    1. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

    1. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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?

  14. 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.

  15. 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 !

  16. 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?


  17. Hi!

    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?


  18. 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??

  19. 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)?

  20. 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.


  21. 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.

  22. Hi

    I already have a website for my online store. Can I easily move/switch to Shopify with current design and content? Moreover, is there a possibility to use shopify payment gateways on my website?

  23. Very helpful article (and website)! Curious about the throttling Shopify performs on product updates though (avg 2 calls/sec, 4o burst)? If we plan on running a portfolio of discrete sites, each having a reasonably large SKU count (5000) and each with volatile inventory levels, we are concerned about our ability to keep assortment fresh and that Shopify isn’t a good fit. Do you know if the same constraints exist with Shopify+ or whether BigCommerce, etc might be a better fit for this type of usage?

  24. I got a love / hate with shopify. Was great starting out, easy and got the job done. Now that I am pushing 1,200 products and $10-30k in sales I feel shopify is limiting my growth.

    Frustrating features I need but they dont have:
    Multiple promo codes per purchase, as I can’t offer free shipping and 20% off to the same transaction.
    All the BOGO sales plugins and standard sale plugins add a duplicate product to account for the discount, this wreak havoc with all the multi channel inventory systems and just doesn’t work if you have product on other channels like Amazon.
    No ability to display variant products (especially colors) on the category page, so a customer must click into the product and then scroll through the variants to see (all my red products). And when they filter by color, it return the parent default images, so again they must click on all the products one at a time to see the red variable for each product.
    Also, working with lots of products is a time consuming nightmare. Wanna sort by SKU, YOU CANT. product title is the only way to sort when editing products, so with 1,000 products in two categories, it’s a nightmare.
    Another big nightmare, export your products to do a bulk edit, then import. DONT, when exporting it don’t export all your data, so you can lose all your meta causing your Google shopping campaign to mysteriously vanish and stop working, not to mention setting your seo back in time.
    Would love to find a developer that could snap their fingers and solve some of these issues but a lot of the shopify gurus I called just wanna do boiler plate fixes that most people can do once the know the system for a few months.

    Anyways, shopify could be amazing if it just went the last mile, but they seeme to quite the race short, because most of these items are complaints that have been raised over and over and over since 2013

  25. Shopify is disappointing us. First they want to hold monies for 30 days because of our business.. High end consignment. We have been using PayPal over two years and they payout in five days. Shopify wants 2% – we wanted out of their Shopify Payments and 30 days payout schedule. so in total we have to fork over 4.9 percent. Secondly if a customer cancels their order after we have shipped it Shopify refunds it back to the customer, fails to pay us and we have to incur a chargeback fee!! …. and we have no clue where our merchandize is! The whole appeal process can take 90 days! With paypal they tell the customer to take up their beef with the seller, or their visa company. We fell PayPal is protecting us .. .esp. as we have shipped the product.

  26. According to the annual report in 2015, Shopify is one of top 10 popular e-commerce platforms, with 9% of market share.

  27. I have a developer working to migrate my store from Big Commerce to Shopify. I am shocked to find out that there is no field to enter your cost basis for each product in Shopify. How are you supposed to run profit reports without the cost basis? For point of reference, I have about 1200 items and do about $520k in sales annually.

  28. This may be a good platform to start your online experience with, despite the high fees.

    However, i’ve run into an unexpected hurdle that I can not seem to resolve. I have had a chargeback (stolen credit card) from an order. It was settled, i had to pay out of my pocket. After I covered the $2,000 chargeback willingly to keep my store operating, they froze my orders and would not let my money out of my account. They have started a fraud investigation on me, and requested my re-seller agreements and shipping and tracking information for my latest orders, which I produced promptly. This is not the frustrating part. I understand the importance of security and fraud prevention, and would assist in any way I can to resolve the issue.

    It has now been two weeks since I submitted all the required information for review, and I have not heard anything back. No “we’ve received it and its in review” no “we need more information”…. NOTHING. I have been calling back and they would not let me talk to the person who requested the information from me, because he is either out of the office, or “we are unable to transfer your call directly to him”. I have sent many emails directly to the “investigator”, starting off with nice and progressively more frustrated, but still professional and non-offensive. I have only requested an update…. and still NOTHING. At this point Shopify is holding $9,000 worth of my orders, and I can not get a simple damn email back from them either requesting more information, or simply to tell me that they’re in the process of review; I just cant reach them.
    My suppliers will not allow me to ship any more items until I pay my account with them (obviously), and I had to put a stop to my store’s advertising and marketing efforts to prevent orders from coming in that I can not fulfill.

    Again, I am all for security and fraud protection, but the lack of communication, and total lack of concern for their customer’s business is unnerving and infuriating. Food for thought.

  29. Hi Dmitri, we are in the same boat after 30 days, why is the seller the one that gets punished after having been scammed. SHOPIFY approved the payment after all.

  30. Hi there, I’m 100% going to use Shopify for my women’s Retail store both on and off line. What I’m finding difficult is deciding which Apps to integrate to help manage my store front and online. There are so many available, I want All of them! I don’t mind paying money if it’s going to save me time, can you recommend a list of Apps for a women’s retail store that would help my business? I really want to be successful right from the beginning. Any help would be wonderful!


  31. Hi Catalin
    We are based in the UK and currently use Volusion as our platform. We’re finding Volusion’s SEO to be weak and also their responsive templates seem old.
    Shopify seems to overcome both these problems.

    However, specific to the UK, :-
    1. we use SagePay as our payment gateway.
    2. we need to be able to display both VAT exclusive and inclusive prices. (we are B to B so main price is VAT exclusive price)

    Not specific to the UK,
    1. Will Shopify allow google shopping data to be uploaded easily? Volusion is good at that.

    Your response will be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  32. Hi I have a question? I am interested in joining shopify, the problem is I don’t have products but would like to open a store front? Do they offer anything where one can get started or have companies that will let you set up store front selling their products. Or do you know of companies that would be interested in doing this.


  33. Very helpful article, thank you. I’m currently using a free standing cold fusion cart Cartweaver with 1300 download products and a database with over 10k customers. I love the admin but the lack of seo friendly features and content management is killing us lately. How hard/costly is it to move the mysql database to shopify? Is it even possible? I need to keep all the customers’ past purchases available for them to download anytime. Thanks 🙂

  34. Hi
    I have read your informative article.
    You have written: ‘The fact that customers are no longer redirected to a checkout/Shopify site when completing their purchase is a very big plus’.

    My site still goes to a shopify site on checkout. When I asked shopify support they said payments must go through the shopify site. Is this true?
    Please explain.

    1. Payments will be managed through the Shopify site, but you can still use your preffered payment gateway. You can find out here what payment gateways are available in your country.

      Here’s a link explaining more about integrating payment gateways with Shopify.

  35. Does or can Shopify (can’t believe Shopify shows up as a misspelled word, here) integrate with the Amazon payment gateway and FBA – fulfillment by Amazon? Can’t find a definitive answer anywhere.

    I sell on Amazon and use their FBA. They handle all the returns and customer service, so I want them to continue to do so, even if sell on Shopify – and I’m happy to pay Amazon their cut to do so. I’m into low brain damage and I don’t want to be the interface between Shopify and Amazon operations.
    Can do or can’t do? What’s the verdict?
    ps: just started building Looks like crap, now, but that’s another story.

        1. Hi Roy,

          As far as I know PayPal (read our review here) is the only payment service that will work for businesses based in Sri Lanka. It can be integrated with Shopify quite easy.

          Bogdan – Editor at

  36. Hi Catalin,
    Thank you thank you and thank you. Another great article, as always. A thourough review on Shoptify. Much appreciated.
    I also read your recent ‘Yo Kart’ review which scored below 4 stars. Do you happen to have an article on ‘the ultimate marketplace platform’?

    I currently have a magento ecommerce website and am hoping to turn it into a marketplace. I’m tossing between buying a magento marketplace extension or a standalone marketplace platform. Any initial suggestions on which option is better?

    Obvisouly I’d like to look for the best ‘bang for the buck’ option. An option that is afforddable for a start-up with minimal budget but has most if not all functionalities. Like sleek and morden interface, great user experience for both buyer and vendor, multilingual, paypal integration etc.

    I’m very sorry for writing such a long message. I’m desperately need a mentor to shed some light. Any advise is appreciated.

  37. With our store, they are unable to offer shopify payment gateway, as a result we are forced to use stripe gateway, that cost extra %2 transaction fees on every order, This 2% transaction fees should have been removed or waived off due to the fact they are unable to offer shopify payment gateway.

  38. Thank you for the great review. You helped me make up my mind and choose Shopify.
    I am actually already convinced that Shopify is the right platform for me, but have a question.

    In your review of Shopify, you write the following: :

    I am looking through Shopify support, but am not able to find this feature at all.
    When you say: LIVE EDITOR, are you talking about an APP that can be purchased separately, or is this an built in feature of Shopify?
    I only found LIVE THEME EDITOR for a fee of $10 per month. Is this the one, which you call LIVE EDITOR?

    The Drag and Drop function of elements is very useful to arrange photos or text blocks as I wish.
    My current website is hosted by Volusion.
    I am planning to move it over to Shopify soon, and plan to do it by myself.

    1. Hi Andrzej,

      Yes the Live Editor is the app that you’ve found on their App Store. It can be really helpful if you have limited knowledge in web design or coding.

      Best of luck!

  39. I switched from 3dcart to Shopify in Feb of this year. I sell 200-300 Christmas ornaments – no variants or complex listings. I made the move because Shopify had buyable pins & alt tags for product images. I had quite a bit of traffic from Pinterest & Google images before and thought this would be a big bonus for me. I was wrong. Neither the Pinterest app or Google shopping app are working well and it’s hurting my traffic. Neither Pinterest or Shopify have an answer.I had to purchase a SEO app just to try and get some help.
    Another drawback is the lack of real-time shipping quotes. I had to go from from the smaller package to the Advanced package just to get this and it does not show the most popular FedEx option I offer – Smart Post. Real time shipping is free on 3dcart.
    Shopify has an impressive list of features and a very friendly support staff, who I enjoy dealing with but if the features don’t work and the only answers are to buy more and more apps, the value is lost.
    Shopify has great template designs and it is easy to set up. This would be a good choice for a beginner site.

  40. I’ve been using Shopify for a few years, and it’s been a great platform for my business.

    However, support has suddenly fallen off a cliff. It’s nearly impossible to live chat anymore, with typically 40-50+ people in the queue ahead of e. It used to be rare it there was more than about 5.
    And half the time now, you get a message “All Gurus are Busy”.

  41. Hi Catalin, very late with this comment, you may be gone…

    I am looking for an alternative to cratejoy, can shopify manage the ongoing monthly payments (subscription) or one time payment only?


  42. Hello Catalin, thanks for the great reviews weldone. Please I need to know if shopify is suitable for small online store looking at the pricing, does it worth it and as well if you can state minimum store that can go for shopify? Thanks.

    1. Hi Samuel, thanks for stopping by.

      Shopify can be a great option for small shops, especially. As we said before, one area where Shopify really excels at is its themes and design so you can have a great looking website out of the box with no coding or design skills required.

  43. My husband and I are starting a antique shop, we have a guy that has a huge warehouse full of cool old items that I know would sell. I was just wondering if shopify is a great place for antique and collectibles. Would it be a safe place to start?

  44. Love the simplicity of shopify and how these is so little room for error when you are starting out. It’s great just to focus on getting the important things right and letting the minor details take a back seat.
    Thanks for sharing the guide and love reading your work!

  45. Hi, thanks for the article. I am looking to start an online children’s clothing boutique. Some of my current favorite boutiques have thousands of likes on their daily postings of newly stocked items. Does shopify help give you the exposure to your customers via Facebook and other social media, or will I have to generate my own likes and exposure? Thanks in advance.

  46. I’m planning to build my online shop, i have two questions about Shopify:

    – I’m based in Spain and my main focuses are Spain itself and Latin America, could I have any problem with payments?, I’ve seen in previous comments that USA, UK and Canada are the only countries that have Shopify Payments availabe, is it still that way?

    -My main product are going to be online lessons, could i have any problem with the data weight?

    Thank you ^^

    1. Hi there,

      Shopify Payments is available only to stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia. If your business is based in Spain you will have to use an external payment gateway and pay an extra 2% transaction fee.

      You get unlimited storage for all plans (including Basic Shopify) so you won’t have to worry about data weight.

      Best of luck,

      Bogdan – Editor at

  47. The thing that keeps me from chosing Shopify is that you have to be at the $299/mo level to get real-time shipping quotes. Really?! Most other ecomm solutions have this at all levels. Seems silly not to be able to provide this basic service. $299/mo is too much to spend for a smaller company that needs automated shipping quotes provided. Unless I’m missing something here…

  48. I’m thinking of switching from Volusion to another service. We keep getting hit with bandwidth charges that end up costing a few extra hundred dollars a month which is ridiculous if you ask me. I’ve been digging into Shopify and Big Commerce and have problems with them both.
    Shopify- like others have previously said have no real time shipping quotes unless you pay $299/month. (no thanks) Product options are limited- this is a fishing business so MANY options need to be listed on the same page (color of bait/style of hook/weight) and the transaction fees seem to quickly pile on top of each other.
    Big Commerce- On the Pro Plan ($199/month) they cap your orders at 3,000/year and if you go over they start charging you for every 1,000 that you go over- kinda makes you want to stop growing your business, no? You aren’t able to set discounts for a specific product- just a group of products or a site-wide discount. They also have no app that you can manage on-the-go. The reviews I’ve read are horrible- I repeat HORRIBLE from previous customers and overall their customer service seems to be sub-par at best. They have even disabled their visitor posts from their Facebook page which leaves me wondering… Why?
    I’m stuck- we want to get out of Volusion because it seems to be stagnant and not geared towards the future or any updates that could easily be done but I also don’t want to make a switch and then regret it instantly.

    1. Hi there Holly,

      have you considered using an app from the Shopify App Store to handle shipping quotes?

      Apps like ShippingEasy could help and they still work with the Basic Plan.


      Bogdan – Editor at

  49. Hi I have a basic eBay uk shop, I’m finding the sales fees plus shop fees to expensive! I am looking at going over to shopify but the one thing that’s putting me off is there doesn’t seem to be a uk helpline phone number? and I’m worried running up a huge phone bill.
    Many Thanks

  50. Hi, so i was recently looking at different ecommerce platform builders that exsist, and I couldnt find much information on the question of, if I choose say for example shopify to help me setup my business and or app, will i be able to move onto my own servers in the future or am I forever stuck having to use there service in order to remain with the basic structure to my business (which is the design templates already used on my site). I know I would probably lose features like ssl and integrated shipping costs (but could I keep the designs I used when making my website and app through them?)

    I’m basically asking what do i get to keep if I decide to cancel there service in the future, and what will I have to do or redo myself if I move off of there service.

    Hopefully this makes sense, and many thanks

    1. Hi David,

      You won’t be able to host a Shopify website on your own server. The most you can do is to export your products and import them on a new platform that will match Shopify’s functionality. And of course you will have to replicate the design as well.


      Bogdan – Editor at

  51. Hi,
    I am based in the UAE and am looking at starting an online store. Though the features of Shopify seem to suffice my needs I am not sure how the payments will be routed? The payment modes that I am considering are Credit Cards and Cash on Delivery.

    1. Hi Alex,

      If you’re not using Shopify Payments (a service only available in United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia) and you want to accept credit cards, you to choose a third-party ecommerce payment gateways for your Shopify store. In you case one that will work in UAE.

      As far as I know 2Checkout is available in the UAE. You can read our review here:

      Best of luck,

      Bogdan – Editor at

  52. Great article – We’ve been using Shopify for over two years now and LOVE it. It has pretty much all the functionality we need, save for a few minor ‘wants’ I’d put on a wishlist. Operating from the UK we’re pleased with the innovation Shopify offers, pretty much everything is rolled out in North America first, but it’s not long before they roll out in the UK. Great integrations with Google Shopping, Paypal, Quickbooks. Campaign Monitor etc etc. Looking forward to a time when they roll out their NA Amazon integration over here. Good choice of augmentation apps like upgrades to order confirmation & shipping notice emails, pop ups etc.
    We bought a Clean Themes template, who have great support also in terms of a couple of custom bits of coding we’ve needed to drop in.
    Couldn’t recommend enough.

  53. Tried to set up a website with them using my registered UK business and bank account. Only to be blocked and sent a template email saying I have been blocked as I pose a risk. There was no content on the website, all I simply did was sign up and provide my bank details.

    The email didn’t even contain a full name of the person writing it and they did not respond to any of my emails. Extremely unprofessional and unacceptable so I have since set up my store on WordPress with no problems whatsoever. I cant help but think that many of the reviews and articles about Shopify are sponsored and just act as cover up for all the negative feedback I have seen on genuine review sites. By far the worst customer service I have come across as a long standing businessman.

  54. I am new to shopify and am using it in conjunction with my facebook ads and my 14 day offer is almost over,am suppose to offer a plan but i don’t have a debit/credit card but i use paypal mostly,how can i be helped.

    1. Hi there, you will need a credit card to pay for Shopify. It is not possible at the moment to pay for Shopify with PayPal.


      Bogdan – Editor at

  55. I’m planning to use shopify for the online children’s store I plan to start. However, the so called 24*7 support is not 24*7 at all. I I’m in Australia. Can you please provide the hotline flyer Aussie.

    1. Hello Shezneen,

      ​Live Chat and phone support are available 24/7. Just head over to the support page here and you can start a live chat (average wait time is 10 minutes) or you can find a phone number for Australia (average wait time is 5 minutes).


      Bogdan – Editor at

  56. im thinking about opening a account. want to test waters with the lite account. Its kinda unclear about what is in the package. do I actualy have a website that people can goto and shop o is it just a facebook selling page. do I get to chose a name and template?

    1. Hi David,

      The Lite plan only allow you to sell on social media, in person, or on an existing website (using a buy now button). Only with the Basic Shopify, Shopify or Advanced Shopify you can build a standalone store.

      The 14-day trial allows you try out the Shopify Lite plan, the Basic Shopify plan, the Shopify plan, or the Advanced Shopify plan before committing to a full subscription.


      Bogdan – Editor at

  57. Hi there!
    I am about to spend all my savings on marketplace business. Shopify looks like a great place for a start. But I dont like the idea of monthly payments. Surely it gives you a quick and affordable start, but in a little while becomes like a slavery. Basically, you rent business. It is not yours. If Shopify dies, your business dies alongside.
    What about downloadable marketplace software? Its more complicated, but I will have total control on my business. Including the server. It also allows full functionality customization, not only design.
    Any clever thoughts on this, people?

    1. Hi Max,

      Using platforms like Magento or WordPress will give more control. You’ll just need to hire some web design and development experts. If Shopify dies, although unlikely, you will still be able to export your store and replicate it on another platform.

      1. Hi Bogdan!
        Many thanks for the answer.
        I’ve checked up on those two options you mentioned. Suddenly simtech development guys popped out of nowhere! They charge high but offer much. Looks like a good deal for me. Simple but responsive design, vendors payout system, separate tools for vendors – like promotion. They agreed to help us with server management. They use cs-cart multi vendor platform. My bro who will take care of technical works on our future marketplace said this is a good platform. What do you say?

        1. Hi Max,

          Cs-Cart multi-vendor is a bit expensive but if you have the budget it is a great option if you to run your site off of your own server.

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