Review of Shopify

September, 2013

Rating: 5/5

Shopify is one of our favourite solutions for creating on online store. We particularly recommmend it for small businesses looking to set up an online store, with basic or middle-of-the-range features.

Shopify is an ecommerce service that manages your products, orders, customers, discounts, reports and the other basics needed for selling products online.

Before you choose Shopify, here are the key things you need to know.

ecommerce pricing
Shopify’s pricing is some of the best value for smaller businesses

First, pricing. Shopify is one of the best value solutions for smaller businesses. In our review (October 2013), Shopify was the cheapest of all of the major solutions for stores that didn’t need advanced features, selling up to a few thousand products. Prices range from $29-$179 per month, depending on the level of features needed (including reporting, drop-shipping, abandoned cart recovery, and file storage). As you look at higher tiers, the per-transaction fees decreases. Shopify also offer a $14 starter plan, with very basic features (no customising of themes, no discount codes, no drop shipping).

Shopify walks you through setting up your store
Shopify walks you through setting up your store

Second, Shopify is very easy to use; in our opinion, it is the most simple and user-friendly ecommerce software on the market. There is a great walk-through which helps you set up the store. The key information is pre-entered (things like tax rates and shipping) based on your location. We found the process very simple, helpful, and not too daunting.

The Shopify App Store
Shopify provides good integration options

Third, Shopify provides good integration with many other services small businesses use. They integrate with popular fulfilment and dropshipping services - like Amazon, Shipwire, or Webgistix, among others. Like all of the ecommerce solutions, Shopify supports a wide range of payment methods like PayPal, a huge list of credit card gateways, or other payment methods (money order, COD, bank deposit, etc.). There is a fast-growing app store, which lets you extend the functionality for digital downloads, tax reporting, accounting package integration, search engine marketing, email marketing, upselling, social reviews, drop shipping, inventory management, and more. We found the app store to be high quality and comprehensive. We also liked Shopify’s integration with Google Apps.

The Shopify theme store provides high quality themes, and is good value
The Shopify theme store provides high quality themes, and is good value

Fourth, the customer experience is critically important for online stores. We found Shopify’s customer experience very good. The experience of using your store is largely dictated by the theme that you use. Shopify’s theme store is very strong, with hundreds of well-designed themes, and some of the best value in the industry. Shopify supports customer accounts, which makes the purchasing process easier for returning customers. For more advanced marketing and customer management, you may want to look at Shopify’s app store.

Finally, Shopify’s advanced features should be suitable for most small businesses, however they are not as comprehensive as some of the competitor ecommerce solutions. We particularly like Shopify’s iPad point of sale (POS) solution, which is great if you also run a bricks-and-mortar shop. Shopify also provides a decent reporting engine, good control to manage your website and blog posts, and support for discount codes and promotions.

In summary, Shopify is Inspector Jones’ recommendation for small businesses setting up an online store. It is a well-designed, simple, easy-to-use solution. We like Shopify’s balance of simplicity and power. It’s one of the most popular ecommerce solutions in the world, and for good reason.

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive ecommerce solution, I recommend having a look at Volusion.

The Sales Pitch

Never sold online before? It’s easy. Shopify is perfect for beginners and experts alike.

You don’t need to have any technical or design experience to easily create a beautiful online store.

Simply choose a stylish ecommerce website design, easily customize your online store, add products, and you’re pretty much ready to accept payments. Got a question? Simply ask your very own Support Guru and they’ll be happy to help!

Whether you already have products, are looking to sell digital goods or are interested in drop shipping ‘ Shopify has a complete solution for you.

Features

Over 100 themes, flexible website designs (create your own template), start accepting orders in minutes, extend with apps, customer profiles, customer accounts, customer groups, website CMS, blogging, directly handle payments, simple and secure checkout, free SSL certificate, multiple languages, multiple taxes, multi-currency, fixed-price or weight-based shipping, automatic carrier shipping rates, Level 1PCI DSS, Unlimited bandwidth

Customers
70,000

CXXVI, Pop Chart Lab, Hard Graft, Tattly, Hiut Denim Co, BlackMilk, Luhse Tea, So Worth Loving, Forty Ninth Parallel

Tech Information
Service Name
Shopify
Parent Company
Shopify, Inc.
Website
No. of Staff maintaining this service (estimated)
Medium (100-499 people)
Compliance
PCI DSS Level 1
Service-level
99.94% uptime (track record)
Support
Telephone, Online, Email, Community, 24x7
Mobile Devices
true
Head Office
USA