Shopify Review: Can a Web App Make Your Products an Online Success?

Shopify has turned quite a few heads in the online arena. As the popularity of the internet has soared, more ambitious business people have been trying to tap into its money-making potential. A number of services and resources are available to help make the process easier, including solutions like Shopify.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a hosted shopping cart that allows users to sell products and services on the web. It is hands down one of the most, if not the most, popular applications of its kind available right now. The service comes with 24 hour support, which is a huge plus.

In fact the minds behind Shopify aren’t afraid to be up front about how they treat their customers. A real time customer feedback chart is presented on the support page that clearly displays what percentage of users were happy, neutral or displeased with the support they received. Needless to say, the satisfied bar seems to remain well over 85% while the other two linger at less than 7%.

The Best Shopify Features and Benefits

Appealing and practical features are a must-have for services like Shopify. It’s extremely important that the application provides reliable, seamless functionality that isn’t too complicated to ensure a good user experience. What can Shopify offer your business?

  • Mobile Commerce Means a Bigger Customer Base

Shopify lets users glide right into the mobile market with free, built-in mobile commerce shopping carts. This feature allows the user’s customers to explore their catalog on any mobile device. That’s a huge plus for businesses and independent sellers that want to stay on top of modern trends as well as those who want to find ways to increase sales.

  • SEO-Friendly CMS So Customers Can Find You

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a necessity for any business operating on the web. Even if your online sales are only part of your company’s offerings, you need SEO to maximize your efforts. Shopify includes an SEO-friendly CMS that supports today’s best practices, including Meta tags, title tags and header tags.

  • Web Store Hosting with No Limits

The last thing you want is an online shopping cart that becomes a bottleneck for traffic and sales. Shopify makes sure the online success of your product is never throttled by providing unlimited hosting. There are no bandwidth limitations or additional charges for high volume months. The service also boasts a 99.94% uptime stat which means you almost never lose sales due to Shopify inaccessibility.

  • Virtual Storefronts You’re Proud to Display

Appearance is very important when selling a product or service online. Customers are wary of shoddy website designs or pages that look dated or cluttered. Shopify provides its users with access to over 100 professionally designed store themes. These include elegant layouts in a variety of styles, perfect for any kind of product or industry. The site even lets users filter and sort designs by industry, features, price, popularity and more!

  • Learn About Your Customers While You Sell

Shopify stores sales information for you so everything you need is organized and easily accessible. The app goes one step further by putting together stats that provide valuable insight into what your customers want and how they behave. Users can see which items are selling better, which aren’t doing so well and how sales vary from one month to the next.

  • Customer Care Made Easy

Good customer service is important no matter which online shopping cart you use. Shopify makes sure you have all the tools needed to take excellent care of your customers. Customers can create unique accounts at checkout to encourage them to keep coming back for more. Users can also put together customer groups so you can easily break down your customer base by purchase history, location or other factors. Individual groups are extremely helpful when coming up with targeted marketing campaigns and promotions.

  • Creating a Web Store Takes Minutes

It takes no time at all to setup your Shopify web store. The process is streamlined so you can easily setup your business’ site and get your products listed fast. Simply choose a store design, add items and you can immediately begin accepting orders. The sooner you get your virtual shop up and running, the sooner you can start generating revenue on the web!

  • Total Shop Control without a Third Party

Shopify lets store owners stay in control when making decisions about selling and design. The application includes easy to navigate interfaces as well as the ability to add or remove products anytime. You never have to pay for a third party professional to handle changes in your catalog or to setup sales, promotions and more.

How Much Does Shopify Cost?

Cost is a pretty big concern for any business owner, especially those managing smaller companies and startups. Along with its attractive features list, Shopify makes itself appealing to users because of its reasonable pricing.  You can operate your own online store starting at under $15 per month.

All new Shopify users are given access to a free 14 day trial. No credit card is needed to begin the trial. Once the 14 days are up, the user will have to choose one of the following plans:

  • Shopify Starter Plan

The Starter plan is the cheapest online selling solution Shopify has to offer. This plan costs just $14 per month and allows the user to add up to 25 products to their online store. The Starter plan also includes 2.9% + 30 cent online credit card processing fees, 2.7% in-person credit card processing fees and 1 GB of storage space plus chat and email support.

  • Shopify Basic Plan

The Basic plan is next in line, coming in at an affordable $29 per month.  This plan along with the two more expensive plans include unlimited products, Shopify mobile, free card reader and access to the discount code engine. The Basic plan also includes the same credit card processing fees and file storage space as the Starter plan. The Basic, Professional and Unlimited plans can be upgraded to include a Shopify POS add on for $49 per month.

  • Shopify Professional Plan

The Professional plan is Shopify’s mid-range option. This subscription costs $79 per month and includes lower credit card processing fees. Users are charged 2.5% + 30 cents for online credit card sales and 2.4% for in-person credit card sales. The storage limit is increased to 5 GBs. Additional features specific to the Professional and Unlimited plans include gift card capability, professional reports and abandoned cart recovery.

  • Shopify Unlimited

The Unlimited plan is Shopify’s most expensive pre-set subscription option. This version costs $179 per month and upgrades to include unlimited storage space, 2.25% + 30 cent online credit card processing fees, 2.15% in-person credit card processing fees, advanced report builder and real-time carrier shipping features.

  • Shopify Plus for Enterprises

If Shopify’s four subscription options aren’t enough to meet your business’ needs, the service is also available as Shopify Plus. The Plus version is designed specifically for high volume enterprises. Users should contact Shopify to discuss a quote. Enterprise level subscriptions start at $995 per month and include dedicated account management.

Did Shopify Impress Users?

While some users dislike the credit card processing fees, Shopify was largely well received. The service encompasses all the core areas that a business needs to start selling on the web. Shopify appears to be actively listening to its customers because the service has made several improvements in the past, including the option to use Shopify Payments to waive the credit card processing fees.

Shopify’s 24 hour, seven day a week support is also a huge plus. Users don’t want to feel helpless when a technical issue emerges outside of traditional business hours. Shopify offers multiple ways to get in touch whenever users need assistance, which is definitely a boon to its customer satisfaction stats. Users can choose from phone, live chat and email support or visit the Shopify forums.

Speaking of the forums, this resource is another great benefit that lets users connect and discuss common issues and topics related to selling online. There are boards for accounting and taxes, manufacturing and crowd funding, wholesale and drop shipping and other topics. Users can also request community feedback on their Shopify store or post a listing for entire ecommerce sites they are selling.

Users were also quite happy with Shopify’s versatility. The service works for any industry and is compatible with more than 600 apps that can be easily plugged into the user’s web store. These range from inventory management to reporting, shipping, marketing and social media. That way the user can setup a centralized system that meets their individual business needs perfectly. Users should note that some of the add-on apps are not available for free, which means the total monthly cost will go up when using certain add-ons.

Shopify’s servers are another reason so many users are choosing this service. The servers are very fast which is great considering that most internet users won’t wait more than a few seconds before moving to a different website. Shopify pairs its impressive speed with security so you don’t have to worry about building barriers against hackers. Your information is secure, which will make your customers very, very happy and will help you become a trusted brand in your market or industry.

Is Shopify the Best Choice for Your Business?

Shopify has a lot to offer and comes in a handful of different sizes that are perfect for a wide range of businesses. Smaller organizations can go with the Starter or Basic plans to ease into online selling. Established businesses and those that already see high sales volumes are also considered with the Professional, Unlimited and Plus options.

Anyone who plans to sell more than a product or two can benefit from using Shopify. Users don’t have to be tech savvy to setup their online store, which means you never have to spend big bucks to hire a professional developer – unless you really want to. Even the site designs are covered so you can pick out a fitting storefront that matches your business then customize it with unique colors.

If you know a bit more about web design or plan to hire a professional, Shopify will still accommodate you.  The service allows users to create their own store design using HTML or CSS so you never feel forced into a pre-made template. It’s a win-win for everyone, from the new retailer timidly testing the online marketplace to the seasoned tech expert who wants to create a completely unique selling environment for their cutting edge products.

To Shopify or Not to Shopify?

Should you give Shopify a try? The service comes with a free two week trial, so there’s really no reason not to give it a go. No credit card information is needed so you don’t have to worry about being unexpectedly billed after the trial is up if you change your mind. Shopify manages to incorporate all the selling necessities into one user-friendly, centralized service that can save you a lot of time while allowing you to make more money on the web. Building your Shopify store takes minimal effort so you can invest more energy into other areas of your business, like online marketing and product development. Shopify is definitely worth a look no matter how large or small your business may be.

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