Shopify Review (2023): Is Shopify the Best Ecommerce Platform? Shopify Pros and Cons

Read real Shopify reviews on costs, functionality, SEO, security, and more to get a quick idea!

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Lots of people ask us which ecommerce platform is the best suited for a company just getting started with an online store. The short answer is that Shopify offers all the functionality you need, so we're here to offer a detailed Shopify review with information about its features, pricing, user interface, and who should consider Shopify in the first place.

Shopify is filled with tools for launching a site within minutes, plus you don't have to worry about self-hosting or buying a domain name from a third party. 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.

You'll find our full Shopify review below. For more Shopify reviews from our readers check out the comments area.

No time to read? Here's a short summary of what Shopify has to offer and why it's perhaps the best platform to use when launching an ecommerce business:

Our Verdict

Ease of Use
Templates & Design
SEO & Marketing
Customer Support
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What are the Pros and Cons of Shopify?

Pros 👍

  • Shopify is very easy to use and doesn't require any technical skills from the user. Complete beginners can utilize the drag-and-drop design functionality, but there are still advanced features for developers, like adding custom code and tapping into the Shopify API.
  • Shopify is ready for anything you might throw at it. You can sell shippable goods, digital products, services, or anything you want.
  • Shopify gives you a great selection of store designs. They all look modern, beautiful, and are optimized to maximize sales. These designs come as “themes,” allowing you to launch a professional-looking store within minutes – all without having coding experience.
  • The cheapest plan starts at $5 per month. If all you want to do is sell products on social media, like Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, then you can do that with the cheap Shopify Starter plan at $5 / month.
  • You can sell your products via multiple channels, not just through the online store. Shopify even lets you integrate their system into your existing brick-and-mortar storefront. Other channels include social media sites, Amazon, Etsy, and eBay.
  • Shopify is fully hosted. You don't need to worry about any server-related issues or any maintenance at all. It's an all-in-one SaaS (software as a service) where you pay a monthly fee and receive everything you need to build a website.
  • There's 24/7 customer support. Shopify support is some of the best in the business, and the online documentation is extremely impressive.
  • Shopify gives you mobile apps for iOS and Android. You can manage your store on the go by accepting orders, fulfilling products, and customizing parts of your website right from your phone or tablet.
  • There are no transaction fees if you use Shopify Payments. This is Shopify's own payment processing module. There are hundreds of other payment processors to choose from, but it's quite the attractive offer to consider Shopify Payments.
  • There are more than 2000 apps and plugins available in the Shopify App Store. This means that you'll be able to integrate your Shopify store with countless third-party services and also add new functionality at the click of a button. Apps fall into categories like accounting, social media, product supply, and website optimization.
  • Shopify scales very well, which means that no matter the size of your store, Shopify will be able to handle it. And the pricing structure reflects its ability to scale, seeing as how you never have to pay for features you don't need, but there's always an upgraded pricing plan available once your store grows.
  • Shopify has a great inventory keeping module if you happen to be selling shippable goods.
  • The dropshipping functionality is top-notch. Integrate with a service like AliExpress to immediately list products on your website that only ship to customers after someone makes a purchase. You don't have to store any of the products!
  • There's a 3-day free trial. Many competitors offer a free trial, but Shopify has one of the longer ones. We also like that the changes you make to a Shopify site during a free trial get saved for you to come back and continue building (even if the trial has lapsed and you need to upgrade to a paid plan – all customization are still there!)
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Shopify Review: Summary ⭐

Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms available, and also one that’s the easiest to use while giving you all the features you might ever need.

As soon as you sign up, you’ll get access to the full toolset required to build and then manage an ecommerce website. Shopify lets you customize your website design, create a product catalog, set prices, payment methods, taxes, and then even add extra features via installable extensions.

With Shopify, you can sell pretty much anything you wish – physical products / shippable goods, digital products, services, and you can also establish a dropshipping operation.

Shopify’s most popular payment plan is $39 / month, and for a limited time you can enjoy a 3 day free trial and then pay only $1 per month for the first 3 months.

👉 Click here to go to Shopify * 👉 Shopify Launch Checklist * 👉 How to Start a Shopify Store

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How Does Shopify Work? 🤔

shopify homepage 2023 - shopify review

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 alongside BigCommerce, Squarespace, Wix and WooCommerce.

The company is currently powering more than 3.9 million live online stores worldwide.

Clearly, there has to be a reason why Shopify has grown to be this popular and held its position in the market for so long.

Perhaps its main advantage is that Shopify offers a great balance between ease of use and functionality.

On the one hand, Shopify is incredibly friendly even for beginner users who haven't operated an ecommerce store before. And on the other, it delivers all the features that a business owner might need. Plus, you don't have to take a web development or coding class.

That being said, more advanced users gain access to the website code and development API, and can upgrade their Shopify plan to get more robust features as their store grows.

Overall, it's a beautifully constructed ecommerce platform with plenty of themes that look modern and stylish but also simple and minimal if that's what you're looking for.

If you're curious, some of the more notable brands using Shopify include: General Electric, Amnesty International, Tesla Motors, Encyclopedia Britannica, Foo Fighters, GitHub, and many, many, many more.

📹 Here's a video review of Shopify created by our colleague Joe.

Shopify video review:

YouTube video

Try Shopify risk-free

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Shopify Pricing Explained 💰

Shopify pricing can be a bit confusing at first.

The main thing to know is that there are two components that add up to your final Shopify bill:

  1. The monthly or yearly fee you pay for the Shopify system itself.
  2. Payment processing fees that are a percentage of your revenue.

To make this clearer, we've put together a Shopify fees calculator, which you can use to work out how much you will be spending each month exactly – based on your revenue.

If you opt for the yearly Shopify plan, you can take advantage of a generous discount — making your initial year's payment in full instead of monthly gives you 25% off your package.

Since Shopify prices increased in February 2023, for ‘Basic Shopify ‘Shopify’ and ‘Advanced Shopify’ to $39, $105 and $399, paying for a year in advance reduces the monthly costs for the ‘Basic,’ ‘Shopify’ and ‘Advanced’ plans to $29, $79 and $299 respectively.

Try Shopify for 3 months for only $1 per month!

Shopify has begun offering a special deal for sellers who sign up for a new Shopify plan. That deal? Pay Shopify $1/month for 3 months of full access to the platform! And that pertains the $39 Basic Shopify Plan, and the $5 Starter Plan.

» Start your free trial here «

But before you calculate away, consider the following factors:

Four main Shopify plans:

There are four main columns in the calculator. Each column corresponds to a specific usage plan of Shopify. Each plan has its specific traits and limitations, hence the price differences. We discuss those plans further down in the review. If you're not sure which you should choose, read below.

Shopify pricing calculator:

Shopify fee calculator

A drawing of our mascot, cat Shopify plans
A colorful piggy bank illustration Most popular😎! Basic Shopify Shopify Advanced Shopify Shopify Plus
Total Price
Plan Fee 10% discount for annual plans $32 $92 $399 $2000
Credit card rate 2.9% + 30¢ 2.6% + 30¢ 2.4% + 30¢ 2.15% + 30¢
Transaction fee None None None None
Features Included
Staff accounts 2 5 15 Unlimited
Numbers of products Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
File Storage Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Shopify Shipping discount up to 64% up to 72% up to 74% Outstanding
Print shipping labels Included Included Included Included
Discount Codes Included Included Included Included
Fraud analysis If you use Shopify Payments the fraud analysis tools are included. If you choose an external payment gateway, you need to upgrade to Shopify or Advanced Shopify for fraud analysis tools. Included Included Included Included
24/7 support Included Included Included Included
Website and blog Included Included Included Included
Free SSL certificate Included Included Included Included
Abandoned cart recovery Included Included Included Included
Gift cards Not included Included Included Included
Professional reports Not included Included Included Included
Advanced report builder Not included Not included Included Included
Third-party calculated shipping rates Not included Not included Included Included

We assumes average order value to be $50

Shopify Plus requires a minimum 12-month commitment.

Other factors that have impact on the price:

Other factors that play a role in your Shopify pricing are things like whether you're using Shopify Payments (Shopify's own payment processing mechanism), whether you're ready to pay annually vs monthly (there's a 10% discount if you pay annually), and how high your credit card fees are. Experiment changing the values in the calculator to see what impact those factors have on your bill.

Shopify technically offers a total of five pricing plans. The most popular Shopify Plan among new online store owners is Basic Shopify at $39 / month. It comes with all the features a new store owner would need, and allows for reasonable growth before you have to upgrade. Speaking of upgrades, the next plan up – simply called “Shopify” – is $105 / month and provides a good platform for growth and expanding your business.

Additionally, you have the opportunity to try out a free, 14-day trial before committing to anything.

What's also worth pointing out is that Shopify is not only your “online store system”, but you can also use Shopify tools in your actual brick-and-mortar business location or store. Shopify makes available their POS (Point Of Sale) package that allows you to set things up quickly, and have your offline sales added to the main Shopify system. Having everything in one place surely does make doing business a lot easier.

How Much does Shopify Cost?

new shopify pricing 2023

Here's a summary of the Shopify plans currently available and the most important details about them:

Here are the main differences between the Shopify plans. ⤵️

Shopify Starter: $5 / month

Basic Shopify: $39 / month

Shopify – $105 / month.

Advanced Shopify – $399 / month.

Shopify Plus: from $2,000 / month

All plans allow for an unlimited number of products, unlimited file storage, shipping label printing, and a retail package if needed.

Want to fast forward to which specific features each Shopify plan comes with?click here

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Shopify Review: General Shopify Features Available in All Plans 🧰

We've tested quite a few ecommerce platforms in the past, and Shopify has the most thought-out feature set we've encountered. Almost everything you need to run your own online store is taken care of by a distinct feature.

Let's first discuss the general features that come with all Shopify plans, and then get into detail on which unique features you get with each pricing plan.

What are Shopify's Most Important Features?

If you spend a lot of time browsing through Shopify reviews or checking out the highest-ranked CRM and website builders online, you'll notice that Shopify has a lot of features to offer.

The question is, what are the most important ones you should be paying attention to?

We've scoured through many Shopify reviews from leading companies online, and tested the software ourselves to come up with this list of the most crucial components on Shopify:

  • Abandoned cart recovery: The average cart abandonment rate online today is around 68.81%. This means that about 7 of every 10 customers leave your store without buying anything. Fortunately, Shopify offers automated email triggers and other tools to help with abandoned cart recovery.
  • Automated shipping calculation: Shipping products to customers all around the world? Don't worry about calculating those complicated shipping fees – just let Shopify do the hard work for you! The real-time carrier shipping service calculates the exact cost of shipping for specific products based on their weight and the customer's location.
  • Shopify POS: You can take payments for your Shopify store either online, or offline, thanks to Shopify's point of sale systems. Read our Shopify POS review for more info.
  • Customer profiles: Ensure that you always have the best information about your target audience with custom user profiles. This is excellent for when you want to segment your marketing and sales campaigns.
  • Easy discount codes: Sales and discounts can help to boost revenue. Shopify provides a fantastic “Bulk discounts” solution that allows you to generate discount codes for free shipping, percentages, and dollar amounts.
  • Social media integration: If you've got a big social following, you can recreate your Shopify ecommerce website on Facebook through the “shop” tab. Allow people to buy from you directly without having to go to your site.
  • Let Shopify Fulfillment Services help: Shopify offers dropshipping solutions so you can avoid the time-consuming aspects of running a store, like shipping, packaging, and handling.
  • Shopify Experts: As we've mentioned elsewhere in our Shopify review, you can access Experts for additional guidance and support in design, programming, marketing, and more. This ensures you always get the most out of your online store.

If all of those features aren't enough to get you excited, there are also things like hundreds of professional themes, a full blogging platform, unique domain names and SSL certificates, 70 payment gateways to choose from, marketing and SEO support, and more.

The Main Advantage of the Shopify Features

It's this:

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 that they either have a tool built-in, or let you install it through an app.

For example, taxes and shipping are included in the Shopify interface. Yet, for many of the themes, you're still 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.

The company has one of the most complete dashboards or control panels we have seen. All tasks, from processing orders to managing inventory, can be done in an easy to grasp manner.

The platform also provides an interface called Shopify Partners, where developers can play around with new websites without having to open up free trials every time. It's like a sandbox interface.

You can install new themes, customize full websites and seamlessly transition from a Shopify Partners website to a launched site. Not only that, but you gain a commission for every client you bring on board with Shopify.

shopify partners page

Moving forward, the reports in Shopify are my favorite out of all the ecommerce platforms. They're organized, clean and simple, with options like looking at 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 card right on the spot. You can even purchase additional hardware from the company such as a cash register, a receipt printer and a barcode scanner.

Also, Shopify offers a mobile app with which users can:

  • respond to chargeback disputes directly in-app
  • review all inventory changes made to their products in the last 30 days
  • fulfill items

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 (most paid apps will ask you to pay a monthly fee). These have been divided into different categories such as marketing, sales, social media, shipping and customer service.

Thanks to their formidable content management system you can 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 available in their theme store, is responsive with mobile-ready checkouts.

The responsive checkout means that your site automatically adapts to the size of the customer's screen, whether it be through a tablet or smartphone. Along with direct Facebook and Pinterest integration, gift cards, discount codes and a decent customer 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 always test it out, and move onto another option if it's not working out on your website.

Shopify Review: Inventory Management Features

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:

inventory section of shopify

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 barcode.

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 Review: SEO and Marketing Features

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 (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 to each product page and customize your own target keywords, URLs and more.

If you really want to customize your store further, the interface offers customizable header, title, and meta tags. Also, the URLs are all SEO-friendly.

Furthermore, 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.

gift cards in shopify review

And it allows you to create specific discount codes with options for percentage and dollar discounts. You can also set “Buy X Get Y” discounts, or free shipping codes to prompt customers to convert.

shopify discount codes

Along with selling options on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, your marketing game is in good hands with Shopify. Shopify has also introduced product tagging on Instagram, which allows you to link directly to your product page.

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

👉 Read this post if you want to learn more on which is the best ecommerce store builder for SEO.

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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.

shopify 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 them 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.

There are a number of reasons why people choose Shopify Payments, however, it does have setbacks as well. Below, we explore them a bit more:

The Pros and Cons of Shopify Payments:

Pros 👍

  • Shopify transactions fees – while it's to be expected that you will experience transaction fees when using Shopify Payments, you won't have to pay the extra 0.5%-2% transaction fees for other payment methods.
  • Shopify integration – Shopify Payments are available immediately and don't need to be integrated into your store separately, so you can begin accepting payments right away.
  • Shopify security – the payments service from Shopify is highly secure and detects fraudulent transactions. You have the options in your checkout to add a verification system by address and value to ensure that the payments are genuine.
  • Saved customer details – when customers visit your ecommerce website, they can save their shipping and billing information for later. When they come back, all that info is there already, which, in turn, leads to a higher conversion rate.
  • Shopify fees – you are rewarded with lower transaction fees depending on the volume of sales you're generating.
shopify payments homepage

In the end, the pros definitely outweigh the cons, and using Shopify Payments will reduce your overall operating costs.

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Shopify vs the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

In May 2018, GDPR took effect and brought in new regulations in regards to how companies need to handle personal information of their European customers.

This regulation has made things really problematic for many businesses across the globe. (1) The rules were not that clear, and (2) the fines were extreme – even up to €20 million or 4% of the annual worldwide turnover. For most businesses, a penalty like that means bankruptcy.

Shopify, though, really came in ready and did some fantastic work to protect their users and customers. In short, at this point, all business running on Shopify have the tools required to make their operation comply with the regulations.

Specifically, here's what Shopify put into place:

  • They updated their terms of service to include a data protection addendum, which explains how Shopify handles your European customers' information
  • Shopify updated their privacy policy to clearly state what rights individuals have under the act and how data is being processed
  • Information has been modified in regards to how cookies are stored on your storefront
  • Created a free privacy policy generator which you can add to your store
  • Changed the marketing opt-in which allows you to have it as unchecked for your Shopify store
  • Produced a 16-page white-paper on how Shopify will approach the legal requirements

The app store interface has also been updated so that it shows what specific customer information is being kept by the individual apps that you have installed in your store.

(Shopify recommends that you speak with a lawyer in regards to data protection so that you are clear on how this will affect your particular business.)

Shopify has also worked out a way where you can request that the details of an individual customer can be deleted from all of your apps. That option is available in your customer privacy area. It looks like this:

Shopify gdpr
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Shopify POS Go (A Mobile Point of Sale)

A huge part of selling online and in person is remaining flexible. That's why Shopify offers both mobile selling solutions for online and retail stores.

The retail portion of that is called Shopify POS Go, which is a physical piece of hardware to expand the functionality provided through Shopify POS. It connects mobile-centric merchants to their entire inventory collection, allowing them to walk around and make sales, access customer information, and have the right information about products when customers ask questions.

Shopify POS Go

Shopify sells the Shopify POS Go device for a one-time fee of $399, but we recommend opting for the POS Go and Case bundle, since it only costs $428 + tax, and that gets you a sturdy case and strap to latch to your hand (which is essential if you plan on walking around with the thing).

We see the Shopify POS Go device as a solution for:

  • Interacting with customers while on the floor
  • Accepting sales from customers in line or along the curbside
  • Accepting sales while on the go, like at trade shows or industry events
  • Handling any type of flexible ecosystem where you must go outside or move around in order to make the sale or look up product information
  • Running your entire point of sale infrastructure
  • Pairing with more traditional POS hardware, like checkout counters, printers, and cash drawers

Shopify POS Go is intended for small, medium, and large businesses. Shopify states that it's best for small businesses that need the flexibility to sell whenever, wherever, and however merchants want. For mid-sized, and large businesses, Shopify POS Go offers mobile selling hardware that looks professional and is both functionally rich and reliable.

To begin, Shopify POS – the point of sale software from Shopify – is natively installed on all Shopify POS Go devices. This means shops have access to payment processing, customer data, and inventory information, all from a portable device. And there's no relying on personal iPads or iPhones that may have outdated software or questionable connectivity – the Shopify POS Go is designed to only run Shopify POS, and it seamlessly connects to Wi-Fi using the 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac standard, which is the most accessible, reliable Wi-Fi standard for the 5 GHz band. There's also the option to connect via the 2.4 GHz band, giving you full connectivity. The only downside is that there's no ethernet connectivity; most competitors don't offer this either, but there are a few (like Stripe and Square) that give you Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity.

Moving on, Shopify POS GO provides a multi-faceted payments system with scanning included. You can accept payments no matter your location (as long as you have a Wi-Fi signal), using tap, swipe, chip, or QR processing. This is an area where Shopify POS GO stands out, as there are no current competitors with devices that accept QR  processing. There's also an integrated barcode scanner (most competitors require an additional hardware component) for scanning in 1D and 2D barcodes, making it easy to scan inventory while on the floor or on the go. This allows merchants to scan and sell products without typing in any information. Simply scan the product, watch it pop up into the POS, then process payment for the customer.

We're also impressed with the performance and battery life of the POS Go. Merchants require reliability throughout a day of selling, so it makes sense that the Shopify POS GO has a Qualcomm SDM 665 processor for the highest performance computing; in short, you shouldn't experience any lag while working with the device. We like this, since your device processing shouldn't affect the flow of a sale; if anything, the only thing you should ever get frustrated about is your internet connection.

Shopify POS Go connection

Another part of reliability with the Shopify POS Go involves its battery. There's a 3960 mAh battery inside the POS Go. Pair that with its quick charging capabilities to ensure that you have battery power for a full day of selling.

But what about durability? POS devices receive heavy use; they get passed to customers, from employee to employee, and moved around your store for all sorts of reasons. It's bound to get dropped at some point, so you need a sturdy case and screen to ensure no cracks occur. The Shopify POS Go features enhanced durability compared to standard smartphones due to its Gorilla Glass 5 screen, which is made to prevent damage from most drops. You'll also receive a protective phone case with hand strap if you opt for the protection bundle (which we highly recommend).

Overall, the Shopify POS Go is an excellent tool for busy retail stores, large and small. It's recommended as the foundation beneath any smooth point of sale system; after which, you can add more traditional hardware like a centralized checkout counter.

The only unfortunate part is that the traditional checkout modules from Shopify don't sync with the Shopify POS Go. They run perfectly fine side-by-side (so you can still access the POS (with inventory, customer data, and payment processing from each device), but a Shopify POS Go won't sync or communicate with a traditional checkout console or cash register.

Therefore, we suggest using a collection of Shopify POS Go devices to fuel your point of sale, then add however many traditional consoles you need as backups, or for those particular customers who are looking for the standard checkout counter.

Other than that, we see the Shopify POS Go as an excellent solution for ecommerce and retail businesses that require flexibility for making sales, along with a professional-looking mobile selling device that's not only filled with features but far more reliable than using a smartphone with the Shopify POS app.

👉 Read our full Shopify POS Go Review.

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Shopify's Mobile Ecommerce

What's great about Shopify is that you can also manage a lot of your operations from the mobile app.

Here are some of the tasks you can complete through the Shopify mobile app:

  • Take and upload product photos
  • Edit product details such as pricing
  • Add products to the store
  • Fulfill orders
  • Offer refunds
  • Look up customer details
  • Manage fulfillment options
  • Purchase and print shipping labels
  • Design most of your online store by swapping themes, uploading logos, and changing design elements like colors and fonts
  • Handle social media posts and advertisements
  • Manage advertising and marketing campaigns
  • Get stats on conversions
  • Set custom SEO
  • See live sales information and view real-time traffic
  • Receive order notifications (see below)
  • Contact members of your team
shopify mobile app

The app is available for both iPhone and Android.

The fact that you can fulfill orders is a fantastic option for events or fairs that you are attending. The Shopify app also integrates with third-party marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy so users can effectively manage their sales and inventory over multiple platforms.

The mobile app is completely free to download, but you must have a Shopify ecommerce account, which does require a monthly subscription. We particularly like how merchants can actually setup and launch an entire online store from the convenience of their phone or tablet. It's probably not the best design experience when creating a full-fledged ecommerce shop, but the drag-and-drop editor and visual designer work pretty well for managing the vast majority of design settings.

Keep in mind that although the mobile app does give you the ability to manually create orders (and you have the option to install the Shopify POS app on your phone for card swiping), the real way to process payments while on the go is with the Shopify POS Go device. This way, you can carry along a dedicated unit with Shopify POS installed. It's durable, separated from whatever other apps you may have on your phone, and provides four card processing options, which aren't available through the app. The general Shopify app is more for managing your store, while the Shopify POS go (as well as the Shopify POS app) is for scanning products and collecting payments.

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Shopify Review: Unique Features in Each of the Shopify Plans ⭐

Let's now explore each of Shopify plans and their features a little deeper. ⤵️

Shopify Starter

starter plan

At just $5 per month, Shopify Starter is possibly one of the cheapest options available to people who are looking to sell online. However, the price is so low because it doesn't actually provide you with a standalone online store website.

In a nutshell what the Shopify Starter plan offers is:

  • Access to the Shopify interface where you can create new products and set their details (price, description, colors, sizes, etc.)
  • A Buy button that you can place anywhere on the web – on your own website outside of Shopify, on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other website builder or social site
  • Use Shopify's system to handle the orders coming in, manage your sales, set orders to fulfill, and do anything else that's required when selling products online
  • Use the Shopify system to sell in person during events or when on the go
  • Share products on Instagram and WhatsApp
  • Send customers to a Shopify checkout page (not your own domain's checkout) for payment processing
  • Monetize your bio link with a mobile landing page creator with all your products included on the page (this also has a link shortener and tracking powered by Linkpop)
  • Views statistics lie for sales, revenues, top products, and more

Embedding Products on to Your Website With Shopify Starter

The way Shopify Starter works is that it allows you to create products in the Shopify user interface, and set up individual Buy buttons for them. You can then take those Buy buttons and publish them anywhere on the web.

The publishing part itself is done via a quick piece of code.

When setting up your buttons, you get to customize the way they look, the sizes, the colors, the images used alongside, etc. Then, when you're done, Shopify gives you a piece of code that you can post on any website. The code looks something like this:

buy button code

It looks complicated, but all you have to do is copy the code and paste it into the destination site. There are also some quick link buttons if you don't feel like embedding (this way, you just send someone a link to your store, or a product, instead of placing a Buy button on a previously created website).

The code mentioned above will allow you to display a picture, price and description for your product. There is no restriction to singular products, so you can add as many products as you like.

If you already have a website on a service like WordPress or Wix, the Shopify Starter will allow you to display your products on that site.

Additionally, when you want to use a Buy button on a social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp (or you simply want to share product information through those sites) you get a special embed code and link for that as well. Speaking of which:

Selling on Instagram and WhatsApp With Shopify Starter

starter plan from shopify

If you already have a good following on Instagram and you aren't that interested in creating a separate online store, then Shopify Starter is a great option for you.

The tools are easy to use – you can quickly generate a new Buy button and use it on your Instagram page. Keep in mind that this can technically be done on any social network; however, Shopify already provides a quick integration with Instagram and WhatsApp, making it a little easier.

Overall, you're able to chat with your customers via messages in Instagram, or through WhatsApp. Customers can even purchase your products directly from the chat window. Live chat can be effective when selling to a younger demographic. Data indicates that 71% of shoppers between the ages of 16-24 demand quick responses via live chat / messenger apps when shopping.

Selling Digital Products With Shopify Starter

One of the many awesome things about Shopify is that it allows you to sell digital products as well. Think things like eBooks, audiobooks, guides, courses, and media files.

You can sell all of those with Shopify Starter. It's all managed similarly to normal products, where you get a Buy button and links to all of your products for sharing anywhere online.

Selling digital goods is usually done via Shopify's own digital downloads app, but there are also some fantastic third-party providers that you can use alternatively. These include Fetch, Send Owl and Sky Pilot.

However, it's worth mentioning here that you're unable to sell digital products on some social sites; for instance, Facebook has rules about not selling digital items.

Using Shopify Starter for Inventory Management


As we touched on earlier, Shopify Starter gives you the ability to process payments and manage your inventory if you sell your goods in a physical store.

Shopify Starter allows you access to the Shopify admin area so you can create orders manually when needed. You can also accept credit card payments, and Shopify will update your inventory automatically.

Monetize Your Social Media Bio Link

link in bio

It's clear that Shopify is using its Starter plan to target social media influencers and workers in the creator economy. These “creators” often share much of their content on social media sites, so they're limited to one bio link and a small bit of text. Therefore, link shorteners and mobile landing page companies have become more popular, helping creators make one link that sends followers a landing page with several buttons (like a very simplified website menu).

Shopify saw that creators needed a solution, so it complements the selling tools in the Starter plan by also providing a bio link and mobile landing page generator.

This is powered by a service called Linkpop, which helps users generate a link to place in bios on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other social sites. The shortened link leads to a mobile landing page (that you can customize) with all of your products inside Shopify. Therefore, you can sell directly from social media, since customers use the checkout module on the landing page.

Other Things to Know About Shopify Starter

Shopify Starter is the only plan that doesn't offer customers support by phone. What you get is email and live chat support.

As for features, here's the general roundup of what to expect from Shopify Starter:

  • A simple storefront page
  • Fast and secure checkout through Shopify (a redirect, not your own domain)
  • Unlimited products
  • A Linkpop bio link for social media, along with a mobile landing page builder
  • Order management and fulfillment options in Shopify
  • Access to all Shopify apps
  • A contact page to communicate with customers

Dropshipping is also possible on the Shopify Starter plan. To get started, you will need to install a third-party app from the Shopify app store. The most popular Shopify Dropshipping apps are DSers (read our DSers review), Printful (read our Printful review) and Spocket (read our Spocket review).

Is Shopify Starter Suitable for Me?

Shopify Starter is ideal for businesses that:

  • want to add ecommerce to an already existing blog or website
  • rely on social media followers (influencers)
  • rely on created content (those in the creator economy)
  • need a bio link with mobile ecommerce landing page
  • want to sell on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and WhatsApp
  • are happy with just live chat and email support
  • need a backend system to manage their inventory and payments
  • want to see how Shopify tools integrate with their offline store activity
  • want to start with a very low budget
  • don't mind having a separate checkout page (not on their domain)

Read our Shopify Starter review.

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Basic Shopify Plan

The next plan up is the Basic Shopify plan which starts at $39 a month. Unlike the Shopify Starter plan, this one gives you the full power of the Shopify system and allows you to create a standalone online store.

Some of the key features of Basic Shopify:

  • Two Shopify staff accounts
  • A complete ecommerce website builder
  • A checkout module that's on your website (not just a redirect to a Shopify subdomain)
  • Unlimited number of products
  • Unlimited file storage
  • 24/7 phone, email and live chat support
  • Fraud analysis (detects fraudulent activity on your Shopify account)
  • Discount codes you can offer to your customers
  • A blog module
  • Abandoned cart recovery (contact visitors who have left their details but didn't complete their purchase)
  • Selling on multiple sales channels, such as social media and marketplace sites
  • Multiple inventory locations
  • Manual order creation
  • A free SSL certificate for securing transactions
  • Gift cards
  • Basic reports
  • Customer segmentation
  • Marketing automation
  • Unlimited contacts
  • Shipping discounts and labels
  • Access to Shopify POS Lite (Pro is $89 per month)
  • International commerce tools like market domains, subfolders, international market management, language translation, currency conversion, local payment methods, and product pricing by market
Shopify basic plan

Basic Shopify Templates

We will cover templates in more detail in one of the next sections, but it's worth quickly highlighting what is available with each Shopify package.

At the time of writing, with the Basic package, you have access to 9 free templates and 88+ paid ones.

The theme showcased below (the Dawn theme) is one of the most popular free Shopify themes. Although it's very attractive, it's also kind of overused, so if you want to set yourself apart from the rest, you might want to look at other options. The paid themes start at around $250 a piece (one time payment) but most of them float around the $300-$350 range.

dawn shopify theme

Most of the free website templates offer the following functionality:

  • Header slideshow you can use to highlight your top products
  • Dynamic product grid, which changes based on how many products are being shown
  • Slide-out cart, which enables visitors to add products to cart without leaving the website
  • Mega menu, which is great for sharing more buttons to products in the menu
  • Quick view tool for customers to see immediate information about a product without leaving their current page
  • Sticky header so that your menu and logo don't leave the user's view

The premium themes vary in their features, but you'll almost always see added functionality, such as:

  • Store locater tools
  • In-menu promotions
  • Color swatches
  • Translations (particularly for the EU)
  • Stock counters
  • Age verifiers
  • Back-to-top buttons
  • Before/after image sliders
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Event calendars
  • Infinite scrolling
  • Quick menus
  • Countdown timers

Shopify Point of Sale

On the Basic plan, you get the full functionality of the Shopify POS system.

This gives you access to:

  • a powerful POS software
  • a customizable POS terminal
  • the use of hardware including barcode scanners, receipt printers and shipping label printers
  • the Shopify POS Go mobile payment processing device
  • custom staff permissions
  • adding third-party software to the POS system (including Shopify POS)
  • the possibility to configure up to five store locations
  • register shifts
  • unified reporting
  • advanced inventory management with inventory forecasts
  • omnichannel selling
  • product QR codes
  • discount codes, order notes, offline cash transactions, and much more
shopify pos

The Shopify POS system is designed for both the occasional seller at pop-ups, events and fairs, as well as the seasoned seller who has their own store and multiple members of staff.

There are two versions of Shopify POS: Shopify POS Lite and Shopify POS Pro. The Shopify POS Lite product is included with every pricing plan, starting with the Basic plan. You can upgrade to Shopify POS Pro (with any plan) for an extra $89 per month.

There are many defining features of the POS system:

  • Payments Shopify POS allows you to offer store credit instead of refunding the customer with the payment method they used. Combined with the gift card feature, you can accept this in-store as well as online.
  • Advanced Checkout – Attach notes to orders and keep track of special requests. Customize your receipts so that you can promote your brand, your online store, opening hours and promotions. Additionally, tax is automatically calculated based on your location.
  • Discounts – Coupon codes you have created online can also be used in-store. Create specific in-store discounts and run reports to see how well they have performed.
  • Shopify Store Management – View all past orders made online or in-store, which can be categorized by customer, product or date. Save time on your accounting by integrating the Shopify POS system with Quickbooks or Xero.
  • Customer Management – Create customer profiles and analyze their shopping habits as well as contact information and location. Collect email addresses in store to use for your email marketing.
  • Products – Track your inventory across your physical and online channels so you stay on top of your inventory. For retail stores, you can also offer wholesale prices and loyalty programs.
  • Hardware – Download the Shopify POS app on your Apple or Android device. All hardware included is free of charge and comes with a 30-day return policy.
  • Analytics – View, analyze and export sales reports by location, a specific staff member or customer. Export product reports to see what's selling and what isn't.
  • Mobile – Look up your customer profiles on your mobile and contact them directly through the app. Add products through the app and also take new product photos.

Shopify Gift Cards

Gift cards are great for larger online businesses that are already recognized brands, and the gift card feature is included with the Basic plan.

Customers can come to your ecommerce website and purchase a gift card for a friend or family member. These are great for birthdays and holidays. Additionally, you can also issue gift cards as a reward to your customers.

Basic Shopify: Blogging

Your Shopify store comes with a built-in blog module. This can be a fantastic tool to help you build your audience and help generate more traffic to your ecommerce store – which, in turn, can lead to more sales.

adding a blog post in shopify

You can publish new posts using this module, add images and other media, set tags, categories, and also tune up the SEO parameters of each post.

That said, the functionality of the module is limited compared to solutions like WordPress – which is meant to run blogs primarily. This is understandable, since Shopify focuses mainly on the online store component.

Basic Shopify: Abandoned Cart Recovery

Abandoned cart recovery allows you to identify people who add products to their carts but do not complete the purchase. This feature used to be only available on the higher plans, but now users of Basic Shopify can use it as well.

Shopify lets you send emails by hand to people who abandoned their carts, or you can opt for a more automated option where Shopify sends them on your behalf.

Then, the abandoned checkouts screen lets you track which visitors completed their purchase after receiving an abandoned cart email from Shopify.

This is a fantastic tool to help you generate sales at no additional marketing cost, and it's one of the main things that make Shopify the number one ecommerce platform for many people. This feature isn't usually what Shopify's competition offers in this price range.

Basic Shopify: Fraud Analysis

The fraud analysis from Shopify helps you identify any fraudulent activity on your account, which would otherwise incur chargebacks or cause other issues.

Shopify provides indicators of whether an order could be fraudulent. The indicators can include:

  • AVS checks – has the credit card passed these?
  • Did the customer provide the correct CVV code from the back of the card?
  • Does the IP address of the order have previous fraudulent activity?
  • Did the person placing the order try one or more cards?

Other Things to Know About Basic Shopify

Basic Shopify can handle just about any type of online selling situation. You can always upgrade to Shopify POS Pro for a more advanced retail point of sale, and it also comes with marketing automations and customer segmentation. You are, however, limited to basic reports. Along with that, the plan is lacking third-party calculated shipping rates, and ecommerce automations. You also don't get USPS pricing, shipping insurance, or estimated duties and import taxes. Finally, the Basic plan has the highest credit card rates from Shopify Payments; they're still the industry standard at 2.9% + $0.30, but the higher plans offer lower rates.

Is Basic Shopify Suitable for Me?

Basic Shopify is fantastic for sellers who:

  • do not have a massive budget or are just starting out
  • want to build a fully functional online store and website
  • want to manage all their orders, sales, packages in one easy to use interface
  • have the ambition to start blogging and want to build a community around their store
  • want the ability to recover abandoned carts and generate extra sales that way
  • value 24/7 phone support
  • don't need ecommerce automations
  • only require basic reporting
  • don't need third-party calculated shipping rates
  • have fewer than 2 staff members working on the site

Shopify Plan

The next plan is the one simply called the Shopify Plan, which starts at $105 per month.

This plan has all the features of the Basic plan, but also includes:

  • 5 staff accounts
  • More inventory locations
  • Standard reports
  • Higher shipping discounts
  • Ecommerce automations
  • Shipping insurance
  • USPS pricing
  • Lower credit card processing rates

Shopify Professional Reporting

When it comes to reporting, every Shopify user can access the primary dashboard where they can see an overview of what's going on in the store. Additionally, with the Shopify plan, you get access to the following types of reports:

  • Sales reports
  • Profit reports
  • Customer reports (5 out of 7)
Shopify professional reports

Shopify Sales Reports:

Sales reports allow you to get information about the orders your customers have placed based on channel, time or staff member.

These reports can be extremely valuable for your marketing, as they can tell you which areas are bringing in the most sales.

Shopify Reviews - sales by referrer

You also have the ability to customize your sales reports by adding the following features:

  • average order value
  • ordered quantity
  • returned quantity

The average order value is particularly important, as this can inform you about where you should set your free delivery threshold. Let's say your average order is $80, then try putting your free delivery at $100 and watch your average order value increase.

Shopify Profit Reports:

Profit reports calculate the total cost of your products and then work out your profits.

You can view profit reports based on a number of factors, including:

  • product
  • SKU number
  • POS location
  • discounts and refunds

We particularly like the profit reports based on discounts and refunds. Let's say you run a campaign and offer 10% off your whole site, the report will inform you what the margin is after the discount has been applied.

Shopify product discount margin

Shopify Customer Reports:

The customer reports really dive into your analytics, and can give you invaluable insight into the behavior of your customers.

The reports include info on:

  • customers over time
  • first-time vs returning customer sales
  • customers by country
  • returning customers
  • one-time customers
Shopify one-time customer report

These reports can help you turn those one-time buyers into returning customers. From your dashboard, you can see how much they've already spent and whether they will accept email marketing from you.

Other Things to Know About the “Shopify” Plan

With the Shopify plan, you can register up to five staff accounts as opposed to just two on the Basic Shopify plan. There's also the huge upgrade to Standard reports. In addition, you receive ecommerce automations (for building workflows and automating manual tasks), USPS pricing, shipping insurance, and cheaper fees for credit card processing.

Is the Shopify Plan Suitable for Me?

The Shopify Plan is a great choice for:

  • those who expect to start getting a high volume of sales
  • stores that want lower credit card processing fees
  • merchants that crabe more in-depth reporting on your customers' buying habits and your profits
  • online stores with the need for more staff accounts or inventory locations
illustration of a cat climbing a ladder

Advanced Shopify Plan

The next plan is the Advanced Shopify plan, which comes in at $399 a month.

You get all the features available in the main “Shopify” plan plus:

  • set up to 15 staff accounts
  • advanced report building
  • third-party calculated shipping rates
  • up to eight store locations in the POS module
  • lower credit card processing fees
  • estimated duties and import taxes for international sales
start a business with shopify

Advanced Shopify Report Building

The advanced report builder in Shopify allows you to create custom reports and then customize them.

First, you have the ability to choose which sort of report you like to set up, and then you can edit and filter the columns within that report. You can also share it with members of your team.

Shopify reviews - custom reports

All of your custom reports are then saved in the Reports section of your Shopify dashboard so that you can easily access them whenever you like.

Advanced Shopify Third-Party Calculated Shipping Rates

With this feature, you are able to use your carrier account to apply calculated shipping rates at the checkout.

You also have discounted shipping labels provided by either USPS or Canada Post. You have access to the shipping rates of FedEx, UPS, USPS and Canada Post. Within your shipping admin area, you can add a percentage markup to the price that's calculated to cover packaging costs.

It's also possible to decide which services of a particular carrier you want to offer, such as Expedited Parcel, Priority and XpressPost.

Is the Advanced Shopify Plan suitable for me?

The Advanced Shopify plan is very suitable for sellers who:

  • process a high number of online transactions
  • require advanced reporting with a particular focus on the business elements such as profit and margins
  • use carriers to ship products and want a discounted rate
  • have a larger team of people working with the store online
  • have more store locations
  • want to show estimated duties and sales taxes at checkout for international sales
  • are interested in decreasing credit card processing fees to their lowest possible level with Shopify (2.4% + $0.30 per transaction)
  • would like to reveal third-party calculated shipping rates at checkout
illustration of a cat climbing a ladder

Shopify Plus

Lastly, there is Shopify Plus, which is Shopify's enterprise solution for large or rapidly growing businesses.

Shopify Plus is a bit separate from Shopify's main offering – you won't find it on the main pricing page – and it comes with its own focus on original challenges that big businesses tend to struggle with. Those challenges touch upon things like security, quality of fulfillment, and API integrations.

shopify plus

The price of Shopify Plus varies depending on your specific business requirements. We can say that the Shopify Plus pricing does start at $2,000 per month.

You will be given a dedicated account manager who will help you with the onboarding process, as well as manage your account and offer support throughout your journey.

Shopify Plus Multi-Channel Sales

Shopify Plus allows you to integrate 20+ channels within your Enterprise dashboard, including Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, and more.

Your customers also get to use 100+ payment providers, which helps you generate more sales since no one is left behind.

Shopify Plus Scalability

If you experience spikes in sales during certain times of the year, such as Black Friday or the holiday season, then you'll be happy to know that Shopify Plus can handle any amount of peak traffic you throw at it.

Shopify Plus processes over 10,000 transactions per minute and has a 99.98% uptime when doing so.

Shopify Plus Integrations

If you have your own custom app solution, or you want one of Shopify's technology partners to bring your idea to life, then Shopify Plus can help you with that. There are 1,500+ professionally built apps and plugins available.

Is Shopify Plus Suitable for Me?

Shopify Plus is for enterprise businesses that meet the following criteria:

  • an extremely high volume of sales
  • have a bespoke CRM system and need Shopify to speak to it
  • want to automate workflows for the team
  • have peak sales periods and need guaranteed uptime and security
  • want an account manager they can speak to whenever needed

Ultimately, Shopify Plus is not something that a lot of users will need to ever trouble themselves with. The three main plans – Basic Shopify, Shopify, Advanced Shopify – are going to be a better fit for 99% of the users.

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

illustration of a cat climbing a ladder

Shopify Review: Ease of Use 😌

So, how intimidating is it to enter Shopify for the first time and start working?

Not intimidating at all – is the answer.

In fact, Shopify is one of the easiest to use ecommerce platforms out there, especially if you're a business that's just getting their ecommerce adventure started.

As soon as you sign up, you'll see a user-friendly dashboard, and you'll be taken by the hand through all of the main steps on your way to configuring your store and making it available to the public.

shopify dashboard

Shopify has a prominent search bar in the dashboard, helping you quickly type in keywords and find what you're looking for without much thought.

For example, you might want to find a certain product or customer. In that case, all you have to do is punch in the right words, and Shopify will return everything that matches – be it a product, an order, customers, etc.

The search bar also delivers support documentation and directions to certain features (should you type in relevant keywords).

search bar

Adding products to your catalog is also quite straightforward.

All of the necessary fields are there (like Title, Description, Sale Channel, and Price), and everything is nicely laid out on the screen.

product page

Setting a new design for your store is similarly easy to do. The template directory comes categorized based on niche, purpose, design style, and Shopify also lets users know which templates are the most popular. Then, installing your theme takes only a couple of clicks. (More on Shopify templates in one of the sections below.)

shopify themes

Theme aside, you'll probably want to craft some of the key pages of your site by hand – pages like the homepage or the about page.

Shopify lets you do that in a simple way with something called the Shopify Sections.

The visual editor offers a wide variety of content sections that you can insert onto your page. For example, you might want to place a slideshow, button and product carousel toward the top of that page.

Shopify Sections

It's all done with the click of a button. After that, you can adjust the order of the sections by dragging and dropping them into place. It's a relatively easy way to completely adjust the look and order of the modules on your page. We like this feature for all experience levels, but especially beginners.

Sections adjustment

The same sentiment transfers over to other areas of the platform. For instance, when you're ready to install new apps and extend your store, you'll see that most of them need only a couple of clicks to be enabled.

shopify apps

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 also satisfy those more experienced with coding.

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 since Shopify also comes with many features that those types of users require.

illustration of a cat climbing a ladder

Shopify Review: Shopify Themes and Design 🎨

One area where Shopify really excels are the themes and designs available. The company offers some of the most professional-looking themes of any ecommerce platform. At the time of writing, there are eight free themes available and more than 60 paid ones (in the range of $160-$180 a piece).

There used to be more themes in the catalog before, but Shopify decided to purge the old ones and stick to only modern stuff that's optimized for modern audiences and search engines.

That being said, each theme is not just “a single theme,” but actually comes with a handful of styles included. For example, a theme called Impulse comes with three distinct styles that differ not only in the color scheme, but also in how the elements on the page are presented.


As you can see, the Bold preset from the Impulse theme looks drastically different:


There are multiple collections and industries highlighted in the Shopify theme store, so we're fairly confident you'll be able to find something that fits your business model.


Each theme has its unique set of features and abilities, plus a set of general features that you'll find in every Shopify theme.

this theme is great for

You can also check out a quick shortlist of other stores using the same theme:

stores using theme

Not to mention, every theme has a fully functional demo, so you can examine things pretty in-depth before making a decision.

Can those Shopify Themes Get you Sales?

Our main concern with ecommerce design is how quickly people can check out and get through the shopping cart process.

Shopify themes have both two- and three-step checkouts, and you can also use additional 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 “Shopify Sections” feature is sure to speed up your editing, since it's a rather simple drag-and-drop editor, basically.

Above that, and if you feel confident with such things, you can make your own modifications via HTML and CSS.

illustration of a cat climbing a ladder

Shopify Review: Security 🔐

Security should be taken very seriously when you run an ecommerce site. After all, you're going to be dealing with credit card info of your customers', their order details, your own product details, and many more sensitive pieces of data.

Shopify knows this and understands the responsibility. Shopify has its system hosted on a Level 1 PCI DSS compliant server. In other words, your data, and the data of your customers is always secure. In addition, all pricing plans (besides Lite) offer 128-bit Free SSL certificate at no added cost.

shopify pci

Specifically, Shopify:

  • Maintains a secure network
  • Protects cardholder data
  • Maintains a vulnerability management program
  • Has strong access control measures
  • Monitors and tests their networks
  • Maintains an information security policy

Moreover, while data security is very important to retailers, many also worry about their store always being available. For example, it's reported that just one hour of downtime on Prime Day may have cost Amazon up to $100 million in lost sales.

Shopify provides their customers with a 99.98% uptime guarantee and helps you avoid losses due to your store being unavailable. Furthermore, Shopify takes care of backing up your store securely and then gives you access to those backups if needed.

Some other things that come into play with security include vulnerability management and access control. With that, you get to specify which users are able to access certain content on the backend of your store.

Overall, Shopify is very security-conscious and seems to always stay up-to-date with what's going on in the world of online security, and implements all the best practices.

illustration of a cat climbing a ladder

Shopify Review: The Shopify App Store 🔌

There are more than 4000 Shopify apps available in total, and they come in all kinds of different shapes, sizes.

shopify apps

And the apps are divided into a handful of helpful categories.


You'll find apps to help you with marketing your store, apps for emails, push notifications, SEO, access control, finances, and a lot more.

Also, in 2018, Shopify shifted focus to a new breed of machine learning algorithms, so that they could provide today's users with a more intuitive and immersive experience. Therefore, the app store now helps you to discover the specific tools that are the most likely to appeal to your individual scenario and business model. Handy right?

Basically, the App Store is a collection of premium and free applications intended to extend and improve the functionality of your Shopify store.

When conducting this Shopify review, one thing we liked most about Shopify's app store was the fact that you don't need to be a developer to use any of the tools you find there. Everything is plug-and-play.

That being said, if you happen to be comfortable tinkering with websites under the hood, you can become a Shopify App Merchant yourself, and join thousands of other developers already in the marketplace.

Shopify even offers a bunch of extra resources to get you started, including a high-level overview of the Shopify development space, and access to the Shopify APIs.

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Shopify Review: Customer Support 👐

If you find yourself struggling to do something with your online store then Shopify has one of the best customer support teams in the industry.

Regardless of which pricing plan you pick, the company has 24/7 full customer support, which includes phone support (not on the Lite plan) as well as chat and email support. Another great form of help offered by Shopify is access to a sizable support section directly through their website, including user forums, tutorials and FAQs.

Shopify Help Center

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 Shopify support rep, so we feel like the forums, courses, and videos are enough for you to figure out most things.

A note on Shopify development request:

When working with an online platform, app or software, it's nice to have access to the developers or at least some sort of feedback system for letting them know what Shopify features you would like to get in the future.

With that, we like to see that the Shopify developers actually respond to the requests with new features being released on a consistent basis.

We consider this a type of support since a company that doesn't listen to customers is bound to lose them eventually.

Shopify thrives in this department, seeing as how they regularly share blog posts about the feature requests they have listened to and implemented.

For example, many ecommerce professionals worry about images slowing down their sites since media is usually what causes website slowness. Well, Shopify responded by optimizing and updating all previously uploaded images, while also providing file modification instructions for future image optimization. This not only helps with SEO, but it speeds up the user interface for all Shopify merchants.

illustration of a cat climbing a ladder

Shopify Review: Frequently Asked Questions 📋

Here are some of the most common questions that people tend to have about Shopify:

Should you use Shopify?

That is a quick and easy yes.

Shopify is arguably the best ecommerce platform out there. When we looked at the top 6 ecommerce systems in the market a while back, Shopify came out on top with a perfect score of 10/10.

You can see that comparison here.

Is Shopify secure?

We've talked about this a bit more in-depth in one of the sections above. Click here to see the full discussion.

Or, here's the TL;DR:

Shopify is certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant. In fact, Shopify meets all of the six categories of PCI standards which include:

  • Maintaining a secure network
  • Maintaining a vulnerable management program
  • Regular monitoring and testing networks
  • Protection of cardholder data
  • Implementing strong access control measures
  • Maintaining an information security policy

Additionally, some of the most notable brands out there use Shopify. Do you think they'd do that if Shopify was not secure?

Is Shopify safe for customers?

  • Yes, it is. The same mechanisms that protect the sellers also protect the customers.
  • Shopify has good fraud-detection algorithms running under the hood, and no transaction data is being sent via unencrypted channels.

Can I make money with Shopify?

Absolutely! That's the whole point, isn't it?

Shopify has a ton of success stories and, ultimately, your success is all on you. Shopify won't impede your growth in any way or prevent you from implementing a given business strategy.

How much does it cost to set up Shopify?

You can find a list of all the pricing packages higher up in the article (click here to find out the exact Shopify cost).

In short:

  • If you're just starting out, and want to build yourself a simple yet fully functional online store, get on “Basic Shopify” which is $39 a month.
  • If you want to test out Shopify's tools for selling on social media and third-party sites, you can try out “Shopify Starter” at $5 a month.

Does Shopify have good SEO?

It does indeed.

Shopify is a great platform that allows you to take care of the basic SEO parameters of your online store.

Among other things, you can:

  • add keywords to product pages
  • optimize your site structure
  • submit a sitemap
  • hide pages to emphasize your crawl budget

Then, if you need more SEO features, you can install some of the specialized SEO apps that are available in the Shopify app store.

How many people use Shopify?

  • At the time of writing, there are more than 3.9 million online stores running on Shopify.
  • That number includes everything from small craft shops to big brands.
  • You can see a showcase of Shopify stores here.

Does Shopify include web hosting?

Every pricing package available from Shopify comes with hosting included.

You don't need to pay for an external host, and you can even set up Shopify with your existing domain name. Alternatively, you can purchase a new domain name through Shopify as well.

In short, Shopify is your one-stop package for building and launching your own ecommerce store – no other third-party solutions required.

Does Shopify host domain names?

Yes, you can buy custom domains through Shopify for prices starting at $11 per year. Your domain will be set up for you automatically, and you'll retain ownership even if you leave Shopify.

Does Shopify offer email inboxes?

  • Shopify doesn't offer email inboxes as part of your online store setup. What you can do, however, is set up an unlimited number of email forwarders.
  • For example, you can create forwarders for addresses like [email protected] or [email protected] and direct them to your inboxes at Gmail or other places.

Do I need a business license to sell on Shopify?

According to the Shopify reviews we've read and the official docs on the Shopify site, whether or not you need a business license depends on your local regulations and laws.

To quote the official docs:

Depending on the type of business you run, you may need a local, county, state or federal license – or none at all. Where your company is located will determine the type of license you need and where to obtain it.

Does Shopify accept PayPal?

  • Store owners can accept payments via PayPal through their Shopify stores.
  • Apart from that, you can also sign up to Shopify Payments – Shopify's own payment module, which will allow you to sell with no extra transaction fees (above the credit card fees).
  • Shopify also supports more than 70 different payment gateways.

Is Shopify good for beginners?

This will be a matter of personal perspective and opinion for most people. However, Shopify is generally seen as a hassle-free and intuitive platform for any shape or size of business (from small businesses to large corporations).

We talked about this topic in-depth in one of the sections above. Click here to read it.

In short, Shopify provides its users with a straightforward interface that makes adding products and then managing customer orders and sales easy to grasp.

Working on your store's design is also very user-friendly. You get to choose from a selection of modern themes and then customize the details how you see fit.

Lastly, if you ever need help, there are countless guides and resources available on the Shopify website and throughout the web to solve any problem imaginable.

How to migrate to Shopify from another ecommerce platform?

With Shopify being one of the most popular ecommerce systems out there, it's often that people decide to abandon their previous ecommerce platforms and move over to Shopify.

Shopify is ready to help users with this move and has a whole guide outlined in the official docs. You can read it here.

From a bird's eye view, migrating to Shopify is done in 11 steps:

  1. Configure your basic administrative settings – Shopify's ecommerce migration system will guide you through this process. Essentially, it's all about deciding who's going to have access to your Shopify services. You'll also need to add staff accounts so your teams can also get their own personal log-in details.
  2. Import your store's content and data to Shopify – You can use a Store Migration app to do this. Shopify has a handful of free options to choose from, including Bulk Discounts and Product Reviews. There also options from third-parties in the Shopify App Store.
  3. Organize your products after migration – After you've migrated, make sure that all of your information has transferred into your system correctly by updating product details and checking through your inventory.
  4. Make your website look great – There are plenty of fantastic themes and extras to choose from. Remember to customize your Shopify theme, or ask for help from a Shopify Expert.
  5. Set up your domain – If you want to upgrade your domain, you can buy a new one directly from Shopify. Alternatively, there's the option to transfer your existing domain into your Shopify account.
  6. Set up your shipping
  7. Configure your taxes
  8. Set up a payment provider
  9. Place some test orders
  10. Invite your customers to create accounts on your new site
  11. Set up URL redirects

👉 This guide elaborates on setting up Google Analytics to your Shopify Store.

What about Shopify Experts?

One interesting feature you might have noticed when reading up on Shopify reviews, is Shopify Experts.

shopify experts page

Shopify Experts are the brand's community of carefully cultivated Shopify ambassadors.

So, what does that mean for you?

Experts are there to help you grow your business with high-quality support and end-to-end services. The program was originally designed to support and empower companies who partnered with Shopify directly. However, anyone can find and use an Expert today.

To hire an expert:

  • Visit the Shopify Experts page: You'll find potential Experts listed by location, or specific talent. You don't need to be close to your Expert to hire them – there's no need to meet face to face.
  • Choose someone with the right talent: There are five categories of Shopify Expert, including Store Design, Store Setup, Marketing, Photography, and Development. You can also find a small group of Experts dedicated to other mini tasks like setting up your Facebook tracking pixel.
  • Check out the profile of your intended Shopify Expert: This usually includes a link to their pre-existing Shopify store. The profiles also showcase the Expert's minimum project budget. This is how much you'll need to pay to get the Expert working for you.
  • Examine their testimonials: As with most purchasing decisions today, it's always a good idea to check out testimonials from other customers that hired the expert before you.

If you can't find exactly what you're looking for on the Shopify Experts page, Shopify also added a “Post a Job” function, which can help to match you to the right person automatically.

So, what if you want to become a Shopify Expert?

Well, you can do that too, our guide here explains everything you need to know about becoming a Shopify Expert.

You'll need to be a brand ambassador for Shopify, and make sure that you're always delivering high-quality work for people who request your services. Shopify holds its Experts to stringent standards, so you'll be under scrutiny all the time. You'll also have to make sure that you're always active within the Partner Community. That means hosting and attending meet-ups and driving new merchants into the Shopify and Shopify Plus environments.

Can I do dropshipping with Shopify?

dropshipping page

There are many different ways to sell with Shopify.

One of the most popular ones? Yep, it's dropshipping.

With dropshipping, you don't have to worry about finding somewhere to store your cargo before you ship it out to customers. Instead, you get someone else to do the shipping for you.

Dropshipping is one of the easiest ways to get started in the ecommerce world.

Shopify offers a range of dropshipping apps from their marketplace that help you source and sell goods. Many regard Shopify to be the best option for dropshipping.

  • Shopify is packed full of solutions that make managing your dropshipping relationships with suppliers easier. One common option is Spocket – which is a dedicated dropshipping app designed to work exclusively with Shopify.
  • Brimming with excellent features: Shopify comes with everything you need to create an entire ecommerce business. Alongside your store builder, you also get solutions to manage your payments, marketing, sales, shipping methods, and more.
  • Simple to use: Shopify is one of the most user-friendly ecommerce and CRM solutions in the market. It's packed with functionality – but it isn't overwhelming or challenging to use. If you ever have any trouble, you can turn to an expert for help, or check out a webinar.
  • It's completely extensible: If you want to add any new features to your Shopify solution, there's an entire marketplace dedicated to apps.

We have a whole separate guide on dropshipping with Shopify here.

illustration of a cat climbing a ladder

What are the Alternatives to Shopify?

Shopify is incredibly popular for a reason – it's effective.

However, if you want to check out what else is out there in the market, you have the right to do it. Here are our picks for the top Shopify alternatives:

  • BigCommerce: Simple drag-and-drop editor with beautiful themes.
  • WooCommerce: Ideal for WordPress users, but more difficult to set up than Shopify.
  • Square Online: Popular for smaller companies.
  • Shift4Shop: A good shopping cart platform, but doesn't come with the marketing tools that Shopify and Shopify Plus offer.
  • BigCartel: An affordable solution with limited features.
  • Magneto: An open-source tool with some of the best reviews on the market – but still has a steep learning curve.
  • Wix: One of the simplest website creators online, also allows you to build an online store.
  • Squarespace: Similar to Wix.
  • PrestaShop: Ideal for people with a limited budget, but not nearly as comprehensive as Shopify.

Here are the top 10 Shopify alternatives for your ready reference, with a brief review of each.

Further reading:

illustration of a cat climbing a ladder

Shopify Review: Conclusion 🏁

Let's answer the main question; who is the Shopify ecommerce platform built for?

Shopify works 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).

We also like it for business owners who simply want to introduce an ecommerce component to their existing websites, and especially if what they want to sell are digital goods.

What's great about Shopify is that it's really easy to start with. You literally only have to sign up, go through a couple of settings panels, and your store is going to be up and running.

What comes afterwards is also equally user-friendly. You can customize your design, add products, set the payment details, even install new features through apps in the Shopify app store.

We would gladly recommend Shopify to anyone who wants to sell online. Plus, there's a 3-day free trial available, so you don't have to commit until you're sure that Shopify will work for you.

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So what do you think of our Shopify review and Shopify itself? Let us know in the comments area below.

Rating: 5.0 - Review by

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Karol K

Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a WordPress figure-outer, blogger, and published author of "WordPress Complete". His work has been featured all over the web on sites like:, Smashing Magazine,, and others.

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