Shopify is a fully hosted ecommerce shopping cart platform that was founded in 2006. They currently have over 100,000 active online stores all around the world. The ecommerce platform is known for its ease of use, gorgeous store designs, scalability, and excellent customer service. They also an impressive list of well-known clients from various industries, including 50 Cent, LMFAO, Tesla Motors, Amnesty International, Epic Meal Time, Penny Arcade, and General Electric. Although they do have a lot of big companies using their platform, Shopify is best suited for small businesses and throughout this review will tell you why.
Basically, if you are looking to create an online store then Shopify offers all the features you could possible require:
In many ways you can call the Dashboard your main hub, this is where you can control everything from adding new products to managing new orders, you can also use the dashboard for generating discount codes, as well as examine the latest reports.
Once you are ready to add the first product to your store all you need to do is click on the product tab in the sidebar on the dashboard, Shopify will then automatically take you to the following page:
As you can see in the image above everything from title of product, description and price is right there just waiting for you to decide, you can even give your product a distinct SKU. For future shipping rates you can also add the weight of your product.
If you want to add a discount code to your store then you can simply click on the discounts tab (see above) and you are instantly greeted with an option for adding discount codes, where you can either have the site generate a code for you or you can come up with your own. Furthermore you can decide whether this discount code will be available for a limited number of customers or an infinite number.
Themes and Theme Store
Shopify offers a plethora of themes just waiting for you to add your own personal touch, these can be found in the Theme Store. They offer both free themes and paid, the paid ones ranging from $80 to $180. There are templates for every kind of shop you can imagine, honestly if you cannot find a theme in the theme store then chances are you simply missed the one you were looking for, trust me it must the in there somewhere.
If you feel the themes available in the store just are not really what you were looking for, or you found the right theme but somehow feel it is missing the final touches then you can edit it to your hearts delight, simply open the template editor and start editing until you feel it is exactly what you were looking for.
One of the biggest aspects of selling your own product is being able to sell them no matter where you are and that is where Shopify POS enters the picture. Shopify POS is an iPad app that allows you to sell the products from your store in an actual retail setting. Say for instance you are at a trade fair and need to sell some of your products then you can simply open the Shopify POS app on your iPad, and instantly you have access to your stores catalog, you can see all your products and inventory. With the app you can use a credit card reader to swipe the customers credit card right there and send them a confirmation email automatically (almost as in the Apple stores).
If you are on the go but wish to keep an eye on your store then the company offers a mobile experience as well. Simply download the Shopify App to your device import your store and you can then control it directly from your device. The app includes access to your Dashboard from where you can see information such as daily revenue, unique visitors, page views, referrals and search terms. You can also look at the current orders and quickly react if any need your immediate attention. Using the Shopify mobile app is free, though you do need an account with Shopify in order to utilize the app.
One thing I really like about Shopify is the fact that they offer a 14 days free trial, the trial is fully functional and can be cancelled or upgraded at any time. Furthermore the company does not charge a setup fee or a fee if you decide to cancel your plan. Another great addition is the fact that if you pay for a full year in advance you will get a 10% discount, and similarly if you pay upfront for two years you will receive a 20% discount.
As you can see in the image above Shopify offers five different pricing plans, they offer a starter plan for just $14 a month, their basic plan will set you back $29/mo, while their professional plan costs $79/mo, and their second biggest plan costs $179. Finally, the biggest plan is the “plus” account, aimed at those users who plan on selling products worth more than million dollars (yup, that’s you!), however in order to sign up for this account you need to contact them directly for a special price rate.
In my opinion the biggest strength of Shopify is that the whole website and dashboard are very easy to use, from the minute you sign up to the moment you launch your first store everything is very intuitive. Personally I have never seen another ecommerce platform that was as smooth as Shopify.
Secondly I would say that a big strength is the fact that you get to control almost every aspect of your online presence. Some online store solutions will only host your products but the store design will be their own.
Another strength I really like is the fact that with Point Of Sale or POS you can sell your products not only online but also in a physical setting, what’s great about this is that if you sell a product using Shopify POS you online inventory is automatically updated at the same time.
Finally I think the fact that you can manage your orders from the internet as well as through the mobile app is very convenient, sometimes you are not near a computer with internet connection, however most of us carry our smartphones with us everywhere.
The dashboard can sometimes be a little overwhelming especially if you are just starting your first store. There are a lot of settings you can change and a lot of things you can alter on your store, and these can be a little overwhelming in the beginning.
Secondly I would have liked to see no transaction fees. Shopify charges a 1 or 2% transaction fee depending on the plan you have signed up for.
Another weakness I found was that they offer rather few free themes; personally I would have liked to have a wider variety to choose from.
Should you need any form of support then Shopify is there for you, regardless of which pricing plan you have purchased they offer 24/7 free customer support for all their clients, this includes phone support as well as chat and email support. Furthermore Shopify offers an extensive system on their website this includes support ranging from forums to manuals and FAQ.
After having used Shopify for some time now I can say that if you are looking to start selling your products online then you should really give it a try. If you are looking for a simple experience with some great designs and solid customer support then you should be looking no further. I recommend Shopify to all my friends, I really suggest you sign up for the 14-day free trial and take it for a spin, I am sure you will not be disappointed.