Shopify Review: Is It the Best Ecommerce Solution for You?

Home » Shopify Review: Is It the Best Ecommerce Solution for You?

Shopify is a complete ecommerce platform that lets you build an online store and sell on multiple sales platforms. It is one of the most popular ecommerce site builders on the market, as evidenced by thousands of highly rated Shopify reviews. Its user-friendly interface and scalable features make it one of the best ecommerce solutions for small businesses. Shopify also has a leading point-of-sale (POS) software app, making it a great fit for multichannel sellers.

When to Use Shopify

Shopify is our top pick for the best ecommerce platforms, scoring a 4.68 out of 5 based on our evaluation. We have personally found that Shopify is one of the easiest solutions to use, allowing you to create an online store with a full-blown website and sell on multiple channels. Shopify is also one of the top software that we would personally recommend as retail experts.

Based on our reviews, Shopify is best for:

  • Businesses with online sales as a profit driver: Shopify’s website builder, sales tools, and inventory management features are powerful and allow you to scale your business effectively. Shopify is a solution that will grow with your business, and it makes our list of the best POS inventory systems as it can handle large and complex product assortments across multiple channels.
  • Online stores that would like to sell on social media: Shopify enables you to do business through other platforms such as Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Amazon, Pinterest, and Instagram. While most ecommerce platforms offer social media integrations, Shopify is at the forefront as it has exclusive partnerships with companies like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to allow in-app purchases.
  • Entrepreneurs wanting to try a dropshipping model: Shopify connects to hundreds of dropshippers via plug-and-play options found in the Shopify App Store.
  • Multichannel retailers: Shopify tops our recommended multichannel POS system as it offers a world-class POS and ecommerce system that connect seamlessly for omnichannel sales like buy online, pickup in-store and browse in-store, buy online.

When Shopify Would Not Be a Good Fit

  • Brick-and-mortar stores needing an online ordering solution: If you run a brick-and-mortar store and would like to add an online component for pickup or local delivery sales, then Square Online is your best option. It lets you build a full website or a simple one-page site for free.
  • Restaurants and online food ordering: If you need an online ordering system for your restaurant, Tock to Go is a user-friendly and economical option specifically designed for restaurants. Also, Toast is an all-in-one POS system with integrated online ordering for pickup and delivery.
  • Enterprise ecommerce businesses looking to save on transaction fees: If you have high-volume sales, you might be losing a lot of money with Shopify’s payment processing fees. You might be better off using BigCommerce, which lets you choose your own payment processor so you can shop around for low rates. BigCommerce offers special low rates for PayPal payment processing, and, unlike Shopify, it does not charge a fee or markup for connecting an outside payment processor.
  • If selling is not the main focus of your small business site: If you need a small business website, Squarespace is our recommended website builder for a user-friendly, all-in-one solution.
    If you need a fully customized website and online store on your own servers: WooCommerce and PrestaShop are better options. These are open-sourced platforms primarily geared toward developers.
    If you already have an existing WordPress website and would like to build or add an online store: A WordPress ecommerce plugin, such as WooCommerce, would be a better option. It has robust features similar to those of Shopify and has the advantage of being as customizable as WordPress.
  • If you want an ecommerce website and a content website: We recommend Squarespace. Shopify is great for ecommerce, but it’s not as fluid when it comes to maintaining content—the WYSIWYG editor isn’t as user-friendly and powerful as Squarespace’s drag-and-drop page editor.

Shopify Overview

Pros

  • User-friendly and intuitive interface
  • Scalable platform
  • 24/7 support
  • Print discounted postage straight from Shopify
  • Powerful reporting tells you which items are most likely to sell
  • Access to hundreds of additional features and integrations via Shopify app store

Cons

  • Costs at least $29/month for a full ecommerce store
  • No low-stock alerts without upgrade
  • Shipping calculator requires an annual plan
  • Shopify themes are not that customizable
  • Third-party apps can be pricey
  • Advanced features like reports, fraud analysis, gift cards, and real-time shipping rates only available on higher-tier plans

Shopify Store Examples

We looked for retail stores that use Shopify’s platform to give you an idea of how you can utilize it as your whole site, a store extension, or as part of your social media channel.

Package Free

Shopify

Package Free sells beauty and household items that come package-free, drawing inspiration from its founder Lauren Singer’s mission to create less wasteful consumer behaviors. Its product pages utilize product reviews, social media share buttons, and product variants.

Allbirds

Shopify

Allbirds is a footwear company that offers products from threads made from wool and eucalyptus, simple designs, and packaging made from 90% post-consumer recycled cardboard. Aside from its online store, it uses Shopify to sell on its Facebook page.

Simply Quinoa

Shopify

Simply Quinoa’s website uses Squarespace, as it has more content, but it uses Shopify for its shop. The design transition and integration are seamless. Its product page features related products, an image gallery, product reviews, and social media share buttons.

Shopify Pricing

Shopify pricing plans come in four tiers, with all plans providing unlimited and free website bandwidth and a “Buy Button” that you can add to your social media channels. All subscriptions also come with the following features:

  • Unlimited products
  • Sell in 133 currencies
  • Shopify POS
  • Gift cards
  • Online sales channels
  • Fraud analysis (when using Shopify Payments)
  • Manual order creation
  • Discount codes (i.e., welcome codes for new customers or exclusive discounts to your social media followers)
  • Customer support (24/7 live chat and phone support in English; 24/7 email support in multiple languages)

Shopify Pricing Plans

Shopify

Shopify Lite is startup-friendly and ideal for sellers who want to: 1) add products to their existing blog or standard website; and 2) sell on Facebook or in-person using a mobile device. It also allows you to send invoices and accept online payments, but it does not let you build an online store. Basic Shopify, meanwhile, lets you build your own online store, market your website with its blogging functionality, and sell on other channels (e.g., Amazon, Facebook, and Pinterest).

The Shopify plan includes all of the features in Basic, plus advanced capabilities—like cart recovery, gift cards, and expanded reporting capabilities. With this plan, sellers who use Shopify Payments to process credit cards pay a lower processing fee; if you sell more than $25,000 per month, this package may be for you.

On the other hand, Advanced Shopify is designed for high-volume sellers who use all of the capabilities of the Shopify plan but still need additional features—such as real-time shipping rates and customizable reporting. If you sell more than $110,000 per month, this plan is most ideal.

As your business grows and your needs go beyond what’s offered in Advanced Shopify, you can contact the provider for a customized ecommerce package through Shopify Plus, the company’s enterprise solution. This starts at $2,000 per month and includes custom discounted processing fees.

Shopify Features

Shopify

Shopify makes it easy for you to start building your online store by offering a 14-day free trial. Signing up is an easy process, with Shopify only asking for an email address and store name. You are then taken to a step-by-step guide for setting up your store.

Website Builder

Shopify offers 10 free themes, although only Dawn is built using OS 2.0; the other nine are vintage. There are a few dozen paid themes for OS 2.0 ranging from $150–$350, all of which include multiple styles and are mobile-commerce ready (if not mobile-first).

Your store comes with a full blogging platform and content management system (CMS), allowing you to set up your store and include website pages such as about, contact, and blog pages.

Shopify’s themes are sleek and stylish and come with most features needed to help you run a store effectively. It is perfect for those averse to coding as it is easy to set up global designs such as font and color choices for your store. With OS 2.0, you can also add, edit, and rearrange content blocks on the front-end—no code needed.

However, even if Shopify’s content editor is user-friendly, it is still not as flexible as Wix’s drag-and-drop builder, for example.

If you choose a Vintage theme, from the old version of Online Store, any customization needs to be done through coding—something that most users are not familiar with. A workaround most users turn to is a third-party app called DragDropr, an integration that activates a drag-and-drop builder to your website theme.

Payment Processing

Shopify

Shopify has built-in payment processing, which allows you to start taking payments immediately without the hassle of setting up a third-party solution. However, you are not locked into using Shopify’s payment system and can choose to integrate with your preferred third-party provider.

The only catch with using a third-party processor is that Shopify will charge an additional fee ranging from 0.5% to 2% per transaction. So, most small businesses, especially those just starting, are better off using Shopify’s built-in solution.

It is worth noting that using Shopify Payments gives you the Shop Pay feature and the ability to set up a local currency on your checkout page. Shop Pay allows your customers to save their payment details between Shopify stores for faster checkout. It’s similar to Apple Pay or Google Pay in that shoppers can complete orders in one click.

Shopify also has PayPal Express Checkout and Amazon Pay, so you can easily enable those payment types in your settings. Under Alternative Payment Methods there are a few dozen other payment methods you can enable as well, including many buy now, pay later (BNPL) options like Klarna, crypto payment through Coinbase, and many international payments.

Product Management

Shopify

The “Products” tab gives you an at-a-glance view of the products you have on hand and how many are coming in, and it allows you to manually set actions to take when inventory runs low. Additionally, each item you sell has an editable product page where you can input and modify variants such as descriptions, prices, and shipping.

Adding products to your Shopify store is intuitive. You can choose to set them up one by one from its interface or import them via a CSV file. Product information such as title, description, images or videos, price, and SEO options can easily be filled in on the product page.

One advantage of setting up products in Shopify is the ability to quickly make your product live in other channels once you connect it to your chosen platforms. Aside from social media channels, you can sell your products in bulk (or wholesale) through the Handshake wholesale marketplace, and set up dropshipping through Oberlo. Oberlo’s basic version is free and comes with an extension to import directly from AliExpress and plenty of other suppliers.

Shopify lets you sell an unlimited number of physical and digital products. However, take note of the following:

Lackluster features for digital products: If you want to sell digital goods, you’ll need a separate app installed (either Shopify’s own or a third-party app) unless you want to send customers digital files manually.
Limited product variants: Shopify limits you to three variants per product. For example, if you are selling shirts, you can define options for size, color, and material. These options can have multiple variants (e.g., Size: S, M, L; Color: Black, White, etc.). Shopify will then generate all possible combinations, which can be up to 100 per product. If you need more, you can use one of the third-party apps available in the App Store. Other ecommerce platforms, like BigCommerce, don’t have these limits and support up to 600 combinations.
No custom product or work order tools: If you need to add custom fields to a product such as order customization (e.g., engraving), this also requires the use of additional apps. This could quickly add up in terms of costs and be limiting for stores with complex products. This is another feature that is readily available in BigCommerce.

Inventory Management

Shopify

Shopify has one of the best inventory management systems, although the most advanced features require a paid upgrade. All account levels can import items, manage returns, and view basic inventory reports.

Its free app, Stocky, is available on all plans and lets you manage all of your inventory, including stock transfers, label printing, and purchase orders. Real-time tracking between multiple locations is possible, as well as low-stock order alerts—although you need to set this up manually and not depend on EOQ (Economic Order Quantity) reports. However, advanced inventory reports—such as forecasting and COGS (cost of goods sold)—are only available on higher plans.

Order Management and Fulfillment

You can manage your orders across multiple sales channels in your dashboard and also connect with third-party fulfillment centers and dropshipping carriers. After a customer places an order (in any of your active sales channels), it appears in the Orders area of Shopify. You can create orders manually in the backend to record orders that you’ve made outside of Shopify or send your customers invoices.

Besides fulfilling orders and taking payment, you can tag open orders, add notes to them, review the order’s timeline, or follow up with the customer. You also have the option to automate some steps, including payment capture, digital download fulfillment, and order archiving.

Shipping Tools

Shopify

Shopify lets you set up three main methods for product delivery: shipping, local delivery, and local pickup. Shipping rules can be set up easily (e.g., flat rate, free shipping, country or region-based rates) for individual products, collections, or your entire store. For businesses with multiple locations, you can set shipping rates per location within each shipping profile for greater control over costs.

Live shipping rates for carriers like USPS, FedEx, and UPS are only available for higher plans such as Advanced Shopify and Shopify Plus. However, if you are subscribed to a lower plan, you can add live shipping rates for around $20/month. You can also get it for free if you pay for your subscription annually. You will need to contact Shopify support to request this.

If your online store is based in the US, Canada, Australia, or the UK, Shopify Shipping provides real-time shipping rates from local postal services. With Shopify Shipping, you can print shipping labels straight from your dashboard and take advantage of shipping discounts, especially if you are on higher plans.

You can also choose to have order fulfillment handled through the Shopify Fulfillment Network or with services like Amazon. You can join the Shopify Fulfillment Network (limited to stores within the US and Canada), where your products can be stored, picked, packed, and shipped from Shopify’s fulfillment centers around the US. You can enjoy fast (and even same-day) delivery, free packaging, branded packaging, and discounted shipping rates.

Multichannel Selling

Shopify allows you to sell products beyond your Shopify storefront. It enables you to do business through other platforms including Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Amazon, Pinterest, and Instagram. While most ecommerce platforms offer tools to sell on social media, Shopify has the most extensive direct partnerships with platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to enable more seamless in-app shopping, catalog management, and order syncing.

Additionally, Shopify allows you to add buy buttons for your products onto any website you manage. However, it lacks compatibility with sales channels accessible by BigCommerce such as Walmart Marketplace and PriceGrabber.

Mobile App

Shopify

Shopify has a mobile app that allows you to capture payments, fulfill orders, manage inventory, and email or call customers. All your data (products, inventory, orders, and customers) is synced with the platform. This mobile app is completely different from the POS app. Businesses use this app to monitor sales and view reports. Every time you make a sale, the Shopify app notifies you with a signature “cha-ching” cash register sound.

Shopify Ease of Use

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Community forum
  • Help center and knowledgebase
  • Webinars, e-books, short courses, and how-to videos are available through Shopify Compass
  • Shopify experts (approved ecommerce designers, developers, and marketers) are available for an added fee
  • Free stock photos and business tools such as logo and slogan maker, business name and domain name
  • generator, gift certificate template, and more
  • API documentation for developers
  • 24/7 phone, live chat, and email support
  • Shopify is one of the most user-friendly ecommerce platforms. You can easily access every feature from each interface window, and all the tools are easily learned and used. Designing and arranging store elements is now easier with OS 2.0. If you have any trouble with Shopify’s features, there’s a wealth of help options including video tutorials, articles, a forum, and 24/7 support.

Shopify provides helpful beginner guides and extensive documentation. Its help page tries to resolve your problem with how-to articles and tips before handing you over to support staff. One of Shopify’s biggest advantages is having a 24/7 support team to assist your concerns. Most user reviews attest to Shopify’s support team being professional and very competent.

What Users Think About Shopify

Shopify has amassed a huge number of online reviews, with a majority of users agreeing with our assessment of Shopify being one of the best ecommerce platforms. At the time of publication, Shopify reviews earned the following scores on popular user review sites:

  • Capterra: 4.5 out of 5 based on 4,050+ reviews
  • G2: 4.3 out of 5 based on nearly 3,800 reviews
  • TrustRadius: 8.8 out of 10 based on about 450 reviews

Bottom Line

Launching your online store with Shopify is as simple as it gets. It’s the perfect option for you when you are just starting out—all you need is your inventory and a smartphone. As you grow, you can seamlessly transition into Shopify’s higher-tiered plans.

Shopify provides you with tools to compete with ecommerce giants, such as product reviews, customer live chat, geolocation to change your language or currency based on the visitor’s location, and a customer return portal—and that’s just scratching the surface. With several pricing plans, you can start a small online store and grow it to an ecommerce enterprise all on the same platform.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Get more stuff

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Expedia