Shopify: E-commerce platform review

Information verified correct on April 26th, 2017

Shopify helps you sell in person, on social media or through your own online store.

Shopify is best known as an e-commerce platform that helps users create beautiful 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.

Here’s an overview of what Shopify is, its features and how much it costs.

Fast, reliable commerce in the cloud

Pros

  • Credit card reader
  • Chip and swipe card reader
  • iPad stands
  • Cash drawers
  • Barcode scanners
  • Receipt printers

Cons

  • Moving from Shopify to another online store may not be easy.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that helps you sell both online and in person. Most customers use Shopify to create an online store, which comes with a web-design template, a blog and such store functions as a shopping cart and checkout page.

Shopify also offers point-of-sale tools:

  • Credit card reader
  • Chip and swipe card reader
  • iPad stands
  • Cash drawers
  • Barcode scanners
  • Receipt printers

If you have your own website, you can use Shopify to embed product listings into your webpages. And with Shopify, you can sell through third-party platforms like Amazon, Pinterest and Facebook.

Do I need to be a technical whiz?

Shopify is designed for nontechnical users to set up an online store in minutes. You don’t need special skills or equipment — just a computer and access to the Internet.

How much does it cost and what do I get?

Try out Shopify with a free 14-day trial — no credit card needed.

After the trial ends, you can sign up for one of the paid plans: Basic ShopifyShopify or Advanced Shopify.

Basic ShopifyShopifyAdvanced Shopify
Monthly cost$29$79$299
Credit card rates2.9% + $0.30 online; 2.7% in person2.6% + $0.30 online; 2.5% in person2.4% + $0.30 online; 2.4% in person
Transaction feesNone for Shopify Payments; 2% for external payment gateways (PayPal, Stripe, etc.)None for Shopify Payments; 1% for external payment gatewaysNone for Shopify Payments; 0.5% for external payment gateways
Staff accounts2515
Number of productsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
File storageUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited

See more feature comparisons on the Shopify pricing page.

Basic Shopify plan

At $29 a month, Basic Shopify comes with everything you need to start an online store.

Processing payments with the plan costs a bit more than through the other plans. And you won’t get features like gift card distribution, abandoned cart recovery and certain reports about your store.

But you’ll still get benefits like discount codes, a blog, staff accounts and the option to add unlimited products.

Shopify plan

AT $79 a month, the Shopify plan is a mid-tier option that’s more than adequate for most stores.

Processing payments is slightly cheaper than with Basic Shopify. In addition to Basic Shopify features, you get the option to create gift cards, five staff accounts, abandoned cart recovery and detailed reports on your store’s activities.

Advanced Shopify plan

The Advanced Shopify plan is $299 a month and is for stores that are selling heavy volume. In addition to the features in the lower-tier plans, you get 15 staff accounts, advanced reports on your store activities and tools for calculating precise shipping rates. Processing payments is slightly cheaper than with the lower-tier plans.

Other plans

Beyond the standard paid plans, you can sign up for Shopify Lite and Shopify Plus.

At $9 a month, Shopify Lite lets you sell through Facebook and Shopify buy buttons you place on your own website. You can also use it to sell merchandise in person. However, you won’t be able to create an online store through Shopify.

Shopify Plus (price varies) is an enterprise plan for large companies. A few perks of the plan include 0% transaction fees and store infrastructure to handle flash sales and special product launches.

Rates last updated April 26th, 2017
Details Features
Shopify: E-commerce platform
Shopify: E-commerce platform
Shopify is the best ecommerce platform that has everything you need to sell online, on social media, or in person. Fast, reliable commerce in the cloud Go to site More info

Have we missed anything in the comparison table? Tell us

  • If the provider quotes a different rate to the one above please let us know

Store themes

One of the hardest parts about creating an online store is building out the website and making it look great. Shopify comes with free themes to help you create a sleek website right away.

Free themes you can choose from include:

shopify themes

Add-ons

Shopify’s App Store offers plug-ins and services — both paid and free — for your online store. App categories include:

App categoriesDescription
Marketing.Email pop-ups, header bars and affiliate tracking.
Sales. Product previews, abandoned cart emails and product recommendations.
Social media.Instagram galleries, testimonials and reviews and sharing tools.
Shipping.Delivery updates, shipping rate calculators and shipping label printers.
Inventory.Bulk product edit, restock alerts and point-of-sale software.
Accounting.Tax and invoicing software.
Reporting.Sales analytics and data exporting.
Tools.Photo resizing, currency converters and announcement bars.
Sales channels.Pinterest Buyable Pins, Shopify Messenger and Amazon.

Payment processing

To accept payments, you can use Shopify Payments or a third-party gateway like PayPal, Stripe or Amazon Payments.

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 a transaction fee if you use Shopify Payments.

Your customers can use all major credit cards on your Shopify store. For each online credit card transaction, you’ll pay a fee of between 2.4% and 2.9% (depending on which Shopify plan you choose) plus $0.30. For each in-person card transaction, you’ll pay a fee of between 2.4% and 2.7%.

Customer service

Shopify has a robust help center that includes topics like moving your existing e-commerce store to Shopify, installing themes and setting up payment methods.

If you need more help, you can contact Shopify customer support 24/7 through online chat, email or phone.
BigCommerce vs. 3dcart vs. Shopify

Frequently asked questions

Will I be locked into a contract when I sign up for Shopify?

No. You can sign up for a 14-day trial that you can cancel anytime. Paid Shopify plans are month to month, and you can cancel them anytime.

Do I need to buy web hosting for my Shopify store?

No, Shopify’s plans include web hosting. The exception is Shopify Lite, which you need to host on your own website.

How does Shopify integrate with Pinterest and Facebook?

Your social media fans can buy your Shopify products straight from Facebook or Pinterest. They don’t have to leave the social media platforms to complete their purchases.

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