Thanks to eCommerce hosting sites like Shopify, we are truly in the golden age of SMBs (small and medium-size businesses). It is now easier than ever before to set up your online business, even with limited resources and technical know-how.

Shopify is a hosted platform for eCommerce stores that allows anyone to sell their products online. Founded in 2004, it has its headquarters in Ottawa, Canada. It has since grown to be the world-leading platform of its kind, even competing with giants like Amazon.

However, unlike Amazon, Shopify gives you full control over how you want to run your business. Depending on the plan you choose and pricing, it allows you to customize and elevate your online business to higher levels. This detailed Shopify review covers its different features by which it stands out from its competition.

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Shopify Pricing

Shopify has different plans to suit various businesses. Shopify Lite allows you to add a payment button on any website or blog and costs only $9 per month.

For medium and large businesses looking to move multiple products, Shopify Plus offers enterprise-level solutions with shipping, credit card payment processing, an online store website, and blog, among others.

Shopify Plus comes in three packages:

$29/month

Basic plan

Best for a new business

$79/month

RECOMMENDED

Shopify plan

For a growing business

$299/month

Advanced plan

For a big business with individual needs

Packages differ by the number of locations available, the number of admin staff allowed, and third-party calculated shipping rates.

Apart from these standard options, there are also other fees such as:

  • Platform transaction fees. If you use Shopify Payments for credit cards, you can expect to pay:
    • 2.4%  + $0.3 for every online transaction in basic Shopify, and 2.7% + $0 for in-person purchases.
    • 2.6%+ $0.3 for every online transaction in regular Shopify, and 2.5% +$0 for in-person purchase.
    • 2.4% + $0.3 for every online transaction in advanced Shopify, and 2.4% + $0 for in-person purchases.
    • Third-party payment processors, such as PayPal or Stripe, will cost you an additional 2%, 1%, and 0.5% per transaction, respectively.
    • Shopify POS Pro will cost $89 per month.
  • Add-on fees for apps, themes, and other features.

Shopify’s pricing is focused on value. Since it is a platform that aims at giving maximum convenience, it’s pricing gives maximum value compared with many others.

Shopify Themes

Shopify runs on a theme system, with ready and custom-built options available depending on your plan. You can also buy themes separately to have your store stand out from the rest.

You get 9 free themes when you open your store with Shopify, with an additional 64 premium themes for a one-off price of between $160 and $180. Themes come with features such as mobile-friendly design, drop-down navigation, free stock photos by Burst, social media icons, and free lifetime updates.

You can also choose from thousands of professionally designed themes on ThemeForest for $19 going up. Another great place to buy fantastic and unique themes is OutOfTheSandbox and Pixelunion, where you can buy themes for $100-$450.

Here is how you can choose your Shopify theme, or you can also visit the Shopify theme gallery to see what is available.

Shopify Apps

No single platform can provide all the features an online business might need, which is why you need an option to extend your storefront through apps and extensions. Shopify excels at this, with inbuilt support for various for app sections and snippets to extend capability.

Shopify even has its own Shopify App Store. Here, you can get a large selection of free and paid apps. You can use these to improve your marketing, social media strategy, sales, online chats, and other functionalities for your store.

While Shopify provides all the core functionalities and features needed, it is always worth considering what kind of capabilities you require. Some needs can only be solved by paid apps, which you can find on the app store or hire a developer to incorporate.

Shopify Support

When you start your online store, you are bound to encounter a lot of challenges. One of the best areas where Shopify stands out is through its world-class customer support.

Expert representatives are available 24/7 to answer your questions and solve challenges either online, offline, and on social channels. You can expect support within 24 hours of lodging your inquiry, and 100% resolution for all queries.

There is also a vibrant Shopify community that you can always reach out to for faster assistance. The Shopify eCommerce University has loads of information through webinars and articles, and in time, you will become a Shopify expert in your own right.

If all else fails, you can hire a Shopify expert to give you personalized assistance with your problem.

Shopify Sales Channels

Every business depends on effective marketing to grow, which is why Shopify has numerous sales channels in which to grow your business. You can add buying options to platforms such as Facebook and Instagram through the Shopify Lite plan for only $9 a month.

You can also integrate other eCommerce platforms such as Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. If you have physical stores, Shopify also has a POS integration solution so that you can manage and monitor the performance of your whole business from a single point.

The Amazon integration feature is particularly impressive and is more advanced than any other available on other platforms. In three easy steps, you can get your Shopify store integrated with Amazon and receive payments via Amazon Pay.

Shopify Shipping

Shopify has an exclusive shipping model that allows both you (as the merchant) and the buyer to track the package until delivery. Shipping rates are highly competitive, with better discounts of up to 74% for the more expensive Shopify packages.

Shopify lets you manage shipping rates depending on the delivery address and package weight. Different shipping vendors like DHL Express, UPS, or USPS are all available to help you get closer to your clients both locally and globally.

If you would like to save more on shipping and will be dealing primarily with small packages, you can also use USPS Priority Mail Cubic®. There are also options to print brand-specific shipping labels.

Currently, Shopify has its fulfillment center in the US and will be opening one soon in Europe.

Shopify Payments

Another huge advantage you get when you set up your eCommerce site is the use of Shopify’s versatile and secure payment platform. You can set it up to automatically accept all major payment methods. However, some countries don’t accept it, so here’s a list of countries where you can use Shopify Payments.

For the rest of the countries which don’t allow it, Shopify also supports additional payment services like Stripe and Paypal. You can set these up for an additional cost of 0,5-2% of every fulfilled order. There are also COD (cash on delivery) or Bank Transfer options you can use, but these are not popular with buyers.

Ease Of Use

Shopify has been constantly improving since its inception in 2004. Today, it is one of the most user-friendly platforms to help you launch your online store. You can even do it on a weekend – that’s how easy it is.

There are simple, intuitive ways to add new products, product categories, export/import products, orders, or clients. You can even add Facebook Pixel or Google Analytics. All it takes is a little effort to grasp its gentle learning curve.

If you are in Europe, tax laws stipulate that you have to submit VAT subject to country-specific tax rates. Shopify calculates these automatically for you, saving a lot of time and hassle. It also converts currency automatically to make the user experience better.

Multi Language

Shopify is a truly global platform, with translation options if you want your shop to be available in more than one language. However, you will need to use Shopify translation apps such as Langify (from $17.50) and Weglot (free for 2000 words translated, costs $9.90 monthly for up to 10,000 words.)

Dropshipping

If your online store uses a dropshipping model, Shopify has got you covered. It offers full integration for third-party dropshipping apps like Oberlo, Ordoro, Inventory Source, eCommHub, and Printful. That way, Shopify makes it easier than ever before to set up your drop-shipping business online.

Mobile App

Shopify offers capable mobile solutions to help you manage your online business on the go. Thanks to the Shopify Mobile app for both Android and IOS, you can manage orders, shipping, payments, customers, and staff from the palm of your hand.

SEO

Shopify has comprehensive tools and options to optimize your online store’s search engine ranking via various SEO tools. SEO is great for marketing, given that almost 70% of people start their product search online with a Google search.

To help you drive more traffic to your store, Shopify has various options to fully optimize your site for SEO.

  • Custom Title tags and meta tags, even for product collections. These help search engines identify what’s on a page better and thus better offer them as search results.
  • Advanced search console.
  • Automatically generated sitemaps.
  • Fully integrated with CDN – a large network of servers placed in such geographical positions that they can offer blazing fast response for page loading, caching, payment processing, and more.

Shopify offers a world-leading uptime of 99.98%, about the same as Google, Amazon, and similar giants. It also has an SSL security certification and enjoys full-time maintenance and continuous upgrades by the best software engineers and programming experts.

Other

Shopify boasts other major advantages compared to direct competition such as BigCommerce and Volusion. The advantages come from solutions tailor-made to make your experience better and more fulfilling.

Staff account from 2 to 15. It’s very useful to have more than two team members in your shop to handle administrative duties. These include hiring client support specialists, SEO experts, accountants, among other duties. For every account, you can add permissions to limit the level of access every admin member has in your shop. The number of staff allowed depends on the Shopify Enterprise package you choose: 2 for basic, 4 for Shopify, and 15 for advanced Shopify.

Manual order creation (Draft order) – If you have orders outside of Shopify such as those from physical promotion and customers who prefer to call in, you can create the orders in your Shopify admin account and send them their invoices through mail.

Discount codes – You can create a discount for each product or category, such as an offer like buy product x and get product y for free. Other options include discount coupons to take percentages off product prices or cart totals. However, you can have only one automatic discount with Shopify. An automatic discount is where a buyer doesn’t need to add a discount code, it will apply automatically in the cart.

Customer loyalty – Apart from discount codes, Shopify also allows you to create coupon codes to promote customer loyalty. You can create targeted campaigns in 5 minutes or less, and you can also integrate reward apps such as Swell, Smile.io, Beans, LoyaltyLion, among others.

Abandoned cart recovery – If a buyer left their cart and did not make a purchase, Shopify will automatically send an email reminder to the buyer. The email contains details of all products in the cart and can be scheduled to be sent in 1h, 6h, 10h, or 24h.

Gift cards – A gift card is a special type of product. It works like a prepaid stored-value balance given or mailed to the recipient for future use. Its value can be used as payment toward future orders from your online store and is available on all Shopify plans.

Shopify reports – The success of your online store will depend on how efficiently you run it. As with any other business, you will need to run lots of reports and analysis tools to measure how well you are doing. Shopify has various tools to help you generate relevant reports. The more expensive packages will generate more information to help you grow your business proactively. It also includes integration for other performance analysis tools such as Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to start your online store, Shopify is the place to go. It is the world’s leading eCommerce platform that offers full control of your shop while handling the demanding technical side. All you need is the product, product knowledge, and the will to make it work.

As the most user-friendly platform, it allows you to get your online store ready in hours. Register for your free trial to get started with Shopify and realize your entrepreneurship dreams today.