Cart Features (Core)
Marketing Tools (Core)
Set-up and Design
Great cart for beginner to intermediate users but not recommended for businesses with over 4MM in sales or high volume merchants.
Shopify is a powerful eCommerce solution that works well for most online business owners. It is a dependable and well-known software that points merchants towards the 3rd party vendors in its AppStore for what seems like an unlimited feature set. If you don’t mind spending the extra money, Shopify is a great shopping cart choice.
The Good – Shopify is considered one of the better shopping cart platforms on the market today and has what we consider to be some of the top selection of templates available from any cart.
The Bad – While a robust app store may be considered a bonus to some, the à la carte mindset at Shopify will nickel and dime users with features that other carts include for free. The endless choices may also seem overwhelming to eCommerce newbies. They have done away with their past transaction fees but still seem to be priced on the higher end.
Cool Features – With ‘Shopify Mobile’, an iOS toting eMerchant can easily manage their online business, even when they’re out and about. The ability to access all of your orders, products, customers and sales data is pretty awesome, in our opinion.
Store Setup and Design
If the look and feel of your online business is a top priority to you, Shopify is a great eCommerce software for the job. They have a very user-friendly design center that now lets you see your storefront as you’re creating and making changes to it. With over 70 templates, some of which are responsive design templates, you won’t run out of beautiful themes. Make sure, however, to narrow the search if you only want to consider a responsive design. This will help you avoid the extra time and money it takes to setup a separate mobile site as responsive themes adapt to any computer, tablet or smart phone.
Shopify has a new “Theme Settings Editor” to compliment its already easy-to-use “Liquid” templating language and gives complete design control through HTML and CSS. Their software codes clean and you can find many well developed features in their app store to help you craft your perfect storefront.
To save precious time and get your store up and running in a hurry, use Shopify importing and exporting tools to bulk upload your products. Their fully loaded CMS (content management system) will allow you to have total control over your store’s navigation, content pages, and design options.
To understand how Shopify works, think of an à la carte menu. Shopify is an advanced but basic shopping cart software. To get the many of the marketing and management tools you will need, you must rely on their “AppStore”, which is run by 3rd party vendors. If you’re comfortable with this idea and like the competitive edge it may give you, you’ll have a world of options at your disposal. If the nearly unlimited social media, marketing and management add-on choices seem overwhelming, time consuming and expensive to you, you may prefer a more inclusive software.
In general, the team at ZippyCart see Shopify’s AppStore as a progressive feature set and we predict that in the near future, AppStores like it will become an eCommerce norm. Because of the amount of research and financial investment these extras may require, however, we do recommend them to eMerchants who have the time and funds to invest. Even many your basic eCommerce necessities must be found in the Shopify AppStore.
So of course, some of the best SEO and social media options are available if you choose Shopify as your shopping cart software. They also offer targeted email marketing, free advertising credits with signup, discounts and coupons. Keep in mind, however, that there are several important features missing from the base packages until you get into the higher priced levels, like remarketing for shopping cart abandonment.
Online merchants who put their trust in Shopify are in good hands when it comes to the online security of their store and client base. They are certified at Level 1 PCI-compliance and offer a free 128-bit SSL certificate. Shopify also has a global CDN network that will ensure maximum uptime for your site and speedy page loads.
Product and Store Management
Like internet marketing, the tools needed for product and store management are mostly found in the AppStore. Shopify does provide a free built-in mobile commerce shopping cart and an app that lets iOS users manage their stores from Apple devices.
Shopify supports more than 70 payment gateways, handles most major shipping carriers and provides automatic shipping rates. If you’re looking towards international sales, you’ll love that they also calculate multiple currencies and offer over 50+ checkout languages. One of the most important factors in store management, however, is a user-friendly checkout setup, which Shopify handles perfectly. They handle payments directly, no 3rd party merchant account required (additional fees will apply).
Shopify has a great reputation and a loyal following, in part, because of its attentive customer service options.
- Contact support by phone: available 24/7; numbers are easily found on the site
- Live Chat: 24/7, but you may be queued quite 1+ hours waiting for an agent
- Submit a support ticket: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and wait for reply
- Forums and online documents: Accessible anytime
- Email your ‘person’: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (response times vary)
Shopify is one of the top eCommerce solutions on the market today. It offers an enormous feature set and several tools that are hard to find elsewhere, like an iOS store management system and responsive designs. Its ease-of-use makes Shopify seem geared towards the beginner eMerchant but they also offer skilled tools, such as access to HTML and CSS. Shopify prices may be more suited for more successful, established stores but if you don’t mind spending a little extra and putting some time into the multitude of cutting-edge AppStore options, Shopify is a great choice for any online store!
We’ve looked at the experiences other customers had with Shopify and found the postings to be generally positive, unusual for a company the size of Shopify. At the time of this review, they had an “A+” rating with the BBB and had 14 complaints within the last 3 years, primarily dealing with product / service issues and billing / collections. To avoid any bad experiences, be sure to take advantage of the full trial period they provide. During this time you should be getting your store as close to competition as possible. If you need to subscribe to the service, purchase the most inexpensive package possible. All eCommerce solutions will be happy to upgrade you at any time so don’t feel pressured to purchase the “premium” package until it’s necessary to do so. If you’re purchasing a template, be sure to ask about the return policy. Once you make the purchase, dedicate time right after the purchase to fully test the template to make sure it’s free of bugs and will work for your business.