Shopify: E-commerce platform review
Shopify helps you sell in person, on social media and through your own online store.
Shopify is a hosted e-commerce platform that helps users create unique online stores. But although digital stores are its bread and butter, Shopify also offers point-of-sale hardware and tools to sell on social media.
- Choose this provider if you run a small- to medium-sized business and want to start selling online.
- Consider something else if you operate a business in a high-risk field.
|Solutions||In-store, Mobile, E-commerce|
|Products||Payment processing, Website builder, Inventory tracking, Shopping cart software, Shipping software|
|Monthly fees start at||$29/month|
|Processing fees start at||2.9% + $0.30 online; 2.7% in person|
What's in this review?
Shopify offers services to meet many of your e-commerce needs:
- Payment processing. Accept credit cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay with PCI-complaint software and secure 3D checkouts.
- Point-of-sale software. Process payments and track sales on a tablet or smartphone across multiple storefronts and devices.
- Point-of-sale hardware. Offerings include card readers, iPad stands, retail hardware packages, barcode scanners, receipt printers, cash drawers and more.
- Website builder. Create a business name and logo, lock down a domain and build your website with the help of Shopify’s free stock photos and themes.
- Shopping cart software. All Shopify online stores come with secure shopping carts that integrate with over 100 payment gateways and are Level 1 PCI-DSS compliant.
- Shopify Shipping. Shopify Shipping offers real-time order tracking, exclusive carrier rates from trusted carriers, shipping insurance and bulk order fulfillment.
- Shopify Capital. Access business capital of up to $500,000 through Shopify with a simple online application process, no credit check and access to funds within two days of an accepted offer.
Shopify offers services to meet many of your e-commerce needs:
- Business name generator. Still haven’t found the right name for your business? Use Shopify’s business name generator for hundreds of potential business names in seconds.
- Online store plugins. Shopify directly integrates with over 3,200 apps and plugins — available through the Shopify App Store.
- Business marketing. Grow your business with online marketing campaigns through Google Smart Shopping, Facebook Ads and Kit.
- Free stock photos. Rove Shopify’s collections of high-resolution photo collections and select images for your online store.
What apps does Shopify integrate with?
Shopify’s App Store offers over 3,200 plug-ins and services — both paid and free — for your online store. App integrations include:
Shopify pricing and fees
Try Shopify with a free 90-day trial — no credit card needed. After the trial ends, sign up for one of three paid plans: Basic Shopify, Shopify or Advanced Shopify.
Accepting payments through third-party software comes with a transaction fee of between 0.5% and 2% (depending on which Shopify plan you choose). You won’t pay this transaction fee if you use Shopify Payments.
Your customers can use all major credit cards on your Shopify store. Online credit card transaction fees range from 2.4% to 2.9% plus $0.30. For each in-person card transaction, you’ll pay a fee of between 2.4% to 2.7%.
|Shopify Lite||Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify||Shopify Plus|
|Credit card rates||2.9% + $0.30 online; 2.7% in person||2.9% + $0.30 online; 2.7% in person||2.6% + $0.30 online; 2.5% in person||2.4% + $0.30 online; 2.4% in person||2.15% + $0.30 online; 3.15% + $0.30 for international and AMEX orders|
|Transaction fees||None for Shopify Payments; 2% for third-party processors||None for Shopify Payments; 2% for third-party processors||None for Shopify Payments; 1% for third-party processors||None for Shopify Payments; 0.5% for third-party processors||None for Shopify Payments; 0.15% for third-party processors|
|Number of products||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
Do I need Shopify Plus?
With Shopify Plus, you may save in credit card and transaction fees depending on your sales volume. (Your exact rates will vary depending on the size of your business.) The additional savings on shipping may also be worthwhile.
Logistically, you may need many staff accounts, an advanced report builder or real-time carrier shipping. Consider all of these factors when deciding whether to sign up for Shopify Plus.
How much technical experience do I need?
Shopify is designed for users to set up an online store without any technical background or expertise. You don’t need special skills or equipment — only a computer and Internet access.
Setting up shop through Shopify typically takes a few days — although most users report needing to tweak their website in the following weeks as they get up and running. If you get stuck, Shopify support is available 24 hours a day by phone, email and live chat. And Shopify offers an extensive library of merchant resources, including forums, a blog, how-to guides, podcasts and even a business encyclopedia.
For more information, read our guide to selling on Shopify.
How do I contact Shopify support?
Support for Shopify merchants is available 24 hours a day by:
- Phone. Merchants in North America can call 855-816-3857 to speak with a Shopify rep.
- Email. Fill out a secure online form on Shopify’s website for a response within one business day.
- Live chat. From Shopify’s website, open up a live chat window to connect with a Shopify rep.
- Twitter. Tweet at Shopify for a direct response from the support team.
What design options does it have?
Shopify comes with a variety of free and paid themes to help you create a sleek, functional website. Choose from four free website themes, or upgrade to one of Shopify’s eight premium themes. Premium theme prices range from $160 to $180. Both free and paid themes come in two to four different styles to help you customize your website.
Free themes include:
Pros and cons
- App integrations. With a robust library of over 3,200 app and plugin integrations available, the Shopify App Store connects you with the tools you need to increase your website’s functionality.
- Sales channels. Sell through Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Facebook Shop, Amazon and eBay.
- 24/7 support. Phone, email and live chat Shopify support is available around the clock.
- Shipping discounts. Receive competitive rates from USPS, UPS and DHL Express with discounts of up to 74%, depending on your Shopify service tier.
- Limited staff accounts. Even Shopify’s Advanced service tier limits staff accounts to no more than 15 users.
- Processing fees. If you opt for a third-party payment processor, be prepared for processing fees of 0.05% to 2.0%.
Customer reviews and complaints
Shopify is an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with an A+ rating. But it only receives 1 out of 5 stars based on its 53 BBB reviews. On Trustpilot, Shopify has a TrustScore of 1.5 out of 5 based on 500 reviews.
A majority of merchants on the BBB criticize Shopify for closing their accounts due to the high-risk nature of their businesses. Other reviews mention transaction holds and ongoing charges after having closed their Shopify accounts.
How do I sign up with Shopify?
To start your free trial, go to Shopify’s website:
- Enter your email address. Click Start free trial.
- Create an account password and enter the name of your store. Click Create your store.
- Tell Shopify more about the products or services you sell. Select your level of revenue. Click Next.
- Enter your full name, residential address, phone number and business website (if you have one). Click Enter my store.
What other products will I need?
Shopify offers plenty of features to get your business up and running, but you’ll need a couple other services before you can sell online:
- Payment processor. If you don’t want to use Shopify Payments, you’ll need to sign up for payment processing with a third-party provider.
- Checking account. Business checking accounts provide a secure place for transaction funds to be deposited.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an Ottawa-based e-commerce platform that helps you sell online and in person. It was founded in 2004 and started out as an online platform used for selling snowboards. Today, over one million businesses around the world use Shopify’s online store builder, payment processing and point-of-sale solutions.
Compare merchant services providers
Shopify is a great tool for businesses, and its built-in tools can help merchants grow their stores. But enterprise-level shops will be better off using Shopify Plus and high-risk merchants may want to explore Shopify alternatives.