About Shopify

Category: Website Builders
Shopify enables small and medium-sized businesses to build and run online stores relatively easily. It provides all the required tools that make it possible for business owners and merchants to market and sell their products, process payments and engage customers, all in one place

Company: Shopify Inc.

Shopify enables small and medium-sized businesses to build and run online stores relatively easily. It provides all the required tools that make it possible for business owners and merchants to market and sell their products, process payments and engage customers, all in one place. Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, Shopify has also launched an API platform alongside an App Store to create a huge opportunity for developers who are building sellable apps that can simplify digital commerce for merchants and businesses.

In-Depth Analysis

0 Overall
Price 3.5
Ease Of Use 4.5
Features 4.0
Support 4.5

Pros

  • Diverse App Store with 6,000 integrable apps designed for the Website Builder
  • Comprehensive analytics dashboard
  • Internet-wide digital marketing reporting
  • Scalable and suitable for all business sizes

Cons

  • Free version is not useful
  • Users outside Shopify Payments supported countries have to use commission-based 3rd party apps.

Shopify Comparisons

VS
VS
VS
Plans & Pricing

Shopify offers a broad range of plans to fit users and businesses of all sizes from individuals trying to push a one-off sales campaign to large enterprises with hundreds of millions in annual turnover. 

Starter
$5
/mo
14-day FREE trial
Basic Shopify
$25
/mo
14-day FREE trial
Shopify
$69
/mo
14-day FREE trial
Advanced Shopify
$299
/mo
14-day FREE trial
Enterprise
$2000
/mo
14-day FREE trial
Ease of Use

Interesting enough, I find the Shopify Website Builder quite easy to set up and use. The drag-and-drop feature makes it intuitive for even novice designers to work with.
For new users, the setup process is worth mentioning. By answering a 3-question survey, Shopify will recommend a suitable theme for your brand and make the setup process incredibly easy. Also, a setup guide is available on the right-hand side of the dashboard for you to always look at every step of the way.
Integrating an app, also, is simple enough for a 12-year-old to figure out. In just a few clicks and third-party signups, your app will be integrated into your website and begin functioning just as you want it.
However, the functionality and accuracy of these apps depend on the developers. Shopify Documentation provides a broad catalog of the functionality and design of these apps. However, combing through documentation can be daunting. What I do instead is skim through the user reviews on the app to catch a glimpse of the overall users’ sentiment.
The 14-day free trial offered by Shopify is basically useless. However, it gives you the time to set up your website and populate it with actual products without making any major financial commitments. Nevertheless, the store will be password protected. So, only people whom you share the password with can view it. Sadly, you may not be allowed to process any orders until you choose a paid plan.

Customer Support

Being a $40 billion company, it’s almost impossible to imagine that Shopify has a below-average customer support team. They do have interesting 24/7 customer service channels, including

Phone Support:

Shopify allows its customers to request a call back from a certified agent. That way, time-conscious customers who are more comfortable discussing their challenges through a phone call can receive prompt support.

When requesting a call-back service from their phone support team, I received a call from the team within a minute of the request. It turned out that my mobile was in a different room and in Do Not Disturb mode when the call came. However, they called back about 6 minutes later and the rep was patient and elaborate on his answers.

Email Support:

Shopify offers email support to users. Like the phone support, this can be pretty hard to find but if you go through the guides and use the Live Chat option, you may not really have a need for this option. It’s there, however, for those that prefer it.

In my experience, they can take a while to get back to you. I reached out to the Shopify Plus team for enterprise-level support and I got a response approximately 3 hours later. Not a very detailed email, I’d say but it was a decent start of a journey to ShopifyLand (if that’s even a thing).

Live Chat:

Shopify also offers a live chat feature, although this feature is quite hard to reach. When using a live chat option, an expert responds to you within 5 minutes. The first time I requested a live chat, I had an “Advisor” attending to me in 1 minute, which was fast. Here’s a transcript from the live chat.

Guides and FAQs:

One of the things that makes email support, live chat, and phone support hard to reach are the guides and FAQs. Shopify has a magnificent reservoir of guides that answers almost every question you may have when using its Website Builder product. This reservoir is equipped with a search function, making it easy for users to find whatever answer they need.

Shopify Community:

The Shopify Community is also an available support channel to discuss the nuances of building and managing an online store.

Experts and shop owners, managers, and developers come to the Community to share suggestions and workarounds for solving each other’s challenges when using the Website Builder and other products.

When you raise a question in the Community, you could receive a response within 8 minutes on average. Most of the time, a licensed Shopify expert helps you resolve the issue within 10 minutes.

Shopify Learn is a support channel equipped with courses that teach users how to run a successful online store. Most of these courses are anchored by renowned e-commerce experts including Timothy Ferriss, Jason Wong, and others.

Blog:

Like many other platforms, Shopify maintains an active blog that is updated with 2-5 posts per month. The Shopify Blog informs users of industry trends, new feature offerings, and best practices for running a successful online store.

Documentations for themes and APIs:

Shopify Documentations are created for businesses with in-house developers. These documentations help these developers understand and customize the 70+ themes on the platform and add-on apps on its App Store.

24/7 Help & Support
24/7 Help & Support
They have support across multiple channels
Phone Support
Phone Support
Available in English 24/7. Calls returned within minutes.
Live Online Chat
Live Online Chat
There's a live chat feature, though hard to reach
Email
Email
Email support is available to all customers
Video Tutorials
Video Tutorials
Variety of video tutorials on the website and YouTube
FAQ
FAQ
Shopify has a magnificent reservoir of guides
Blog
Blog
The Shopify Blog informs users with new posts every month.
Features & Functionality
Design

Shopify Website Builder boasts myriad features and functionalities, some of which can be found in competitor products. Some unique features that bring small and medium businesses, especially to Shopify are the following.

Free no-code customizable themes

Shopify provides up to 70 free themes for new users to work with. These themes are easily customizable with the available drag-and-drop feature, making it possible for users with zero coding and design skills to build a custom website.

Powerful customizable POS software

The POS software allows merchants and shop owners to set up their inventory and collect payment in-store through their mobile devices. With this powerful POS feature, you can have your customers view your products online and order in-store, and vice versa.

Mobile friendly

Shopify is built with mobile users as the center focus. So, every website built on the platform is responsive and allows mobile users to easily navigate your online store.

Features
  • 100+ Templates
  • Add HTML Code
  • Blog Templates
  • Portfolio
  • Drag & Drop Editor
  • Multi-lingual Website
  • Fully Customized
  • Mobile-friendly
Marketing

Detailed analytics

The detailed analytics dashboard brings all your audience’s activities into one place. Here, you can track your digital marketing efforts, product sales, returns, returning customers, carts, and many more. The Analytics gives you a comprehensive overview of how your business is growing and reveals where to make adjustments.

 

Integrations

The Shopify Website Builder allows the integration of over 6,000 apps with which users can customize and automate their business. The available applications are designed to perform various functions, including marketing, dropshipping, payment processing, etc.

However, a few app integrations stand out from what’s obtainable among Website Builders.

Buy Button

The Buy Button is a free integratable app that allows your social media followers to directly order a product without having to visit the product page or pursue several links.

Product sourcing

Small-size retail businesses sometimes don’t have a product in stock. That doesn’t mean they can’t offer it to their customers. Product sourcing app integrations on the Shopify Website Builder make it possible for merchants to source for ordered products from other merchants on the platform which may be fulfilled by themselves or the original seller.

One of the top-rated apps for sourcing products globally is Zendrop with over 250,000 users helping each other sell products.

 

Features
  • SEO Tools
  • Social Media Integration
  • Widgets + Apps
  • Newsletter Tool
  • Monetization
  • Visitor statistics
Hosting
Features
  • Multiple Sites
  • Free Custom Domain
  • Unlimited Space
  • Unmetered Bandwidth
Multimedia
Features
  • Free Stock Photos
  • Video Plug-Ins
  • Audio Plug-Ins
Good For
Features
  • Blogging
  • Online Stores
  • Automatic Website Building
Verdict

Being one of the biggest ecommerce platforms designed for merchants and SMEs, it’s hard to ignore the enormous opportunities that come with choosing Shopify as your preferred platform. But let’s not kid ourselves, you really can’t do much with the free package.

Paid options are relatively inexpensive. You can try the Starter or Basic plan for a start. Integrating certain apps may attract additional costs from the app developers. Overall, though, I think it’s a good bang for your buck considering the cost of setting up and designing a solid website with top-grade security for payment processing.

Augustine Ojeh
Author: Augustine Ojeh
Augustine is a freelance writer with a focus on organizational productivity; diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI); marketing and sales; and startup ecosystems in developing economies. He plays 8-Ball Pool when stressed and Chess when anxious.
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