Shopify Review 2022 – The Best eCommerce Platform?
These days entrepreneurs and visionaries have countless SaaS tools at their disposal to start or grow their businesses. Without a doubt, one of the biggest ecommerce platforms in the industry is Shopify.
If you’re trying to find the perfect solution for your online store, Shopify typically comes at the very top of the list of options. It’s an all-inclusive ecommerce solution that caters to anyone who wants to take a chance on selling goods and services online.
We will guide you through all the essential characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks of the Shopify platform.
A Closer Look at Shopify
In a nutshell, Shopify is a subscription and cloud-based ecommerce platform. But that definition barely scratches the surface of everything Shopify encompasses for store owners.
Whether you’re already running an established enterprise or starting from zero, the Shopify experience typically has three stages.
The first step is to purchase the core product. Then, you get to choose the Shopify plan that best suits your needs, learn about the built-in tools, and consider your options.
Stage two is about adding more Shopify products and services. Every independent business needs different tools to evolve. This is typically where business owners consider various payment options and other exclusive solutions to Shopify customers.
The third step is all about further customization and unique approaches. While Shopify doesn’t require you to know any code, there are options to implement specialized solutions that aren’t available on the platform.
Indeed, there isn’t one right way to use Shopify, but understanding these layers is beneficial to most new users.
The Advantages of Using Shopify
Currently, over a million merchants are using Shopify to sell their goods and services. That includes both physical and digital products.
Plus, there are nearly 220 million platform users worldwide. Of course, these numbers tell their own story about Shopify. First, however, we want to get into more specific benefits of this incredibly successful ecommerce platform.
An Instant Storefront
With Shopify, building an online store is more straightforward than having to start from scratch. Everything you need is in one place, so you don’t have to worry about searching for the right tools.
Your online store is fully web-hosted as well, which is an essential part of all Shopify plans. However, some business owners might worry about the quality of web hosting and uptime.
That’s understandable, but fortunately, Shopify has 99.99% uptime, including storefronts, checkouts, and payment processing.
The uptime calculation doesn’t account for outages from third-party services, errors in apps, and scheduled maintenance downtime.
Impressive Theme Store
One of Shopify’s most prominent selling points is the integrated themes. As a result, the platform has developed a grand and versatile library of online store themes.
There are free options with Shopify templates and those that cost a fee. The theme store is fun to browse, and you can get an accurate view of what your store would look like for both web and mobile users.
Shopify allows shop owners to optimize for large images, add a home page video, change the size of every item within a theme, and so much more. Also, as a shop owner, you have the option to build your own Shopify theme if you want.
Shopify Point-of-Sale Access
One of the ways Shopify differs from many other ecommerce platforms is by letting its customers sell their products in person.
So, if you already own a market, a pop-up shop, or a good old brick-and-mortar store, the POS service might be right for you.
There is a built-in version of POS in every Shopify plan, but you can expand it. Essentially, once you register for Shopify, you can order the accompanying hardware and use the retail kit in your store.
The Full Shipping Setup
Starting an online store can be overwhelming for countless reasons, and one of those is the entire shipping system. Even if you don’t plan to ship internationally right away, there are many factors to consider when it comes to getting your product into your customer’s hands.
With Shopify, you can create the perfect shipping setup that fits your business, whether that’s creating bulk orders, dropshipping, or arranging pickups with UPS and DHL. Shopify shop owners can also generate and print a customized shipping label for their business.
Customers in the U.S., Canada, and Australia also have live tracking features and the option to implement negotiated third-party calculated shipping rates. It’s a well-oiled machine and makes the shipping setup effortless for Shopify customers.
Automated Tax Calculations
Becoming a merchant on Shopify means charging taxes on sales. If the idea of calculating taxes fills you with dread, you can relax.
Shopify takes care of everything and keeps track of all the changes in international tax laws and regulations.
The platform is quite vigilant as managing and tracking tax rates saves so much time for Shopify customers. However, there is an override option when it’s necessary to address specific taxation situations.
Shopify App Store
It’s not only the Shopify theme library that makes this platform versatile. Shopify offers free and premium versions of applications with various functionalities.
Once your online business store takes off, you’ll want to explore specialized features and learn ways to improve the website.
The Shopify app store has over 6,000 apps at the moment, and the number keeps growing. The apps range from store design, marketing, and shipping to using the top tools to generate organic traffic to your business.
By taking the time to explore the app store, you’ll find practical solutions for boosting conversion rates and generating professional reports for your business. The possibilities are endless. It’s all a matter of how you use them.
Excellent Cart Recovery Options
According to research presented by Shopify, close to 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned, a staggering number to consider, especially if you’re running an online store.
But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Shopify has taken significant steps into developing a shopping cart recovery system. The focus on minimizing cart abandonment is a vital part of the overall philosophy of Shopify.
The goal is to get the lost shoppers back and prevent them from going to the competition to buy the same product. All Shopify plans contain the cart recovery feature, but users can also purchase more advanced tools from the app store.
By utilizing this feature, you can generate automated emails, add discounts, figure out the best emailing schedule, and so much more.
The Disadvantages of Using Shopify
Admittedly, Shopify doesn’t have any major flaws at all. Even if there’s a theme or app you don’t like, there’s always another you might prefer. However, there are two unfavorable aspects of this e-commerce platform worth mentioning.
The basic structure of Shopify offers a lot, but to get the whole experience of running an online store, you will need some add-ons.
Indeed, there are free apps and customizations too, but they can’t compare to paid services. Depending on what type of service you choose, you may have high monthly costs just to maintain your e-store.
As your business grows, the need for more specialized features and services will also increase. Therefore, the cost of using Shopify might financially set back small- to medium-sized companies substantially. However, view it as a long-term investment that has great ROI potential.
A Slight Learning Curve
Building a Shopify store means building a business, which is, by default, challenging. So, when we talk about a Shopify learning curve, it’s not about the ease of use or even about the functionality of apps.
It’s more about learning how to use Shopify to your advantage. Creating your online store into a profitable business might take months of experimenting with Shopify.
Most Shopify users go through a series of trials and errors until they get it right. However, it’s crucial to remember that it’s the platform that guarantees you the tools to build a successful business and that, ultimately, your success is up to you.
Is Shopify Easy to Use?
Probably one of the most important questions for potential new business owners is whether Shopify is easy to use. While the answer might differ depending on who you ask, the consensus is that the platform is highly intuitive.
Shopify’s primary appeal is a platform suitable for beginners and those with some experience with e-commerce businesses.
Anyone can start a Shopify store as the barriers to entry are intentionally low. The whole point is to attract many merchants who aren’t familiar with website building or writing code yet want to run their stores. Everything about Shopify’s interface is modern and accessible.
Many users appreciate the drag-and-drop editor section that makes playing with the outline of the website super easy. You can rearrange the pieces on each page until you find the perfect
However, you don’t need to commit to any particular design if it doesn’t suit you. If you want, there’s an option to edit the website’s code and precisely get the design you were envisioning.
Open an Online Store in Minutes
Making your online store work and creating revenue might be a complex process but opening a Shopify store isn’t. Instead, you can have your own business up and running in a matter of minutes.
First, users have to sign up for a Shopify account. Then, you provide your personal information, and your store name and tell the platform a bit about the business you’re building.
Choose one of the pricing plans or start the two-week free trial and get started. Once you’re done with this part, you’ll be redirected to your Shopify store dashboard. The user-friendly interface has all the sections you’ll need on this journey.
The products, customers, analytics, and orders are all there, easy to reach. If you already have a domain for your website, Shopify lets you seamlessly transfer it. But if you don’t, you can use the Shopify platform to register a new domain.
How to Manage Inventory on Shopify
Running any store, on-site or online, requires you to pay much attention to inventory management. Knowing the exact quantity of a particular product available for sale at any moment is crucial for e-commerce success.
The last thing you want is a customer ordering an item, and you need to send an email apologizing that it’s no longer available or processing an order and shipping the wrong one. Improperly managed inventory can start a chain of other problems, so it’s vital to get it right from the start.
Fortunately, Shopify has inventory tracking to help you avoid all of that headache. There is a designated ‘Inventory’ area in your Shopify store where you can keep track of the number of products, adjust the count, and view all changes whenever you want.
Plus, you can manage the inventory history for any product and get custom reports. But Shopify goes a step further. It allows you to get notifications when stock levels of a specific item are low.
Over 200 apps in the Shopify app store specialize in inventory management, and a little under half are entirely free.
Shopify Payment Gateways
When you subscribe to Shopify’s platform, there are several payment processor options to consider. Choosing a payment gateway is essential as the merchant can communicate transaction information to their customers.
If you want to securely accept credit card payments, PayPal, Apple Pay, and other forms of payments, you can rely on Shopify for help. The good news is that Shopify has streamlined the payment process by introducing Shopify Payments.
It’s their way of cutting out the middleman and eliminating all the extra transaction fees. In addition, this system removes all the hassle of setting up a third-party payment system, as all major payment methods are automatically included.
However, you are not obligated to use Shopify Payments, even though the lack of extra fees is a significant incentive. Shopify enables its merchants to integrate over 100 payment providers from around the world. It’s important to point out that costs for these integrations will vary depending on the provider.
The Shopify Payments service, digital wallets, and credit card providers are not the only way you can set up payments on Shopify, though.
The e-commerce platform has expanded its payment processing technologies to accept cryptocurrency payments. This opens up many possibilities for merchants these days, as the cryptocurrency trend is on the rise. Finally, keep in mind that you can activate and deactivate any payment method at any time.
Shopify has been around since 2006, and since then, the company has expanded its services to match the needs of modern-day online merchants.
That included allowing seamless third-party integrations. So, for example, you can integrate an efficient email marketing tool or connect with accounting software like QuickBooks.
Furthermore, you can connect Shopify with professional integrations platforms such as Zapier and streamline the entire process.
Is Shopify Mobile-Friendly?
Not too long ago, a website’s mobile responsiveness wasn’t the top priority for website designers. It was a nice-to-have detail as most people didn’t browse and shop from their mobile devices. We’re convincingly not in that world anymore, and Shopify has kept up with these changes.
Having a mobile-friendly site is an uncompromising requirement for a successful online business of any kind. For e-commerce websites, that’s even more so the case.
When a potential customer is browsing through your products on their lunch break, the website needs to be fast, easy to navigate and encourage them to stick around. If you want to start a profitable online store, it needs to be mobile responsive.
Fortunately, Shopify is an excellent partner, and nearly all its themes are optimized for mobile use. But some look better on smartphones and tablets than others. That’s why it’s vital that you check what the store will look like on mobile before you settle on a specific theme.
Apart from seeking a mobile responsive site, you need to make sure you have an SEO-friendly theme, multiple homepage layouts, and a generally responsive design.
Shopify and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If your online store doesn’t rank well on the search engines, that can seriously slow down its growth. The Google and Bing algorithms might be ever-changing and somewhat frustrating, but there are many straightforward ways to improve the placement of your store in searches by using Shopify.
For new online sellers, optimizing their content is vital. While you can develop a powerful marketing strategy by relying on your SEO knowledge, Shopify can automatically include several efficient options for its users.
Bult-In SEO Features
When it comes to SEO, Shopify offers ready tools for all its customers. The best part is that some of the search engine optimization is automatic.
Your website will receive auto-generated relevant tags assigned to pages to ensure no duplicate search results.
Also, all the .xml and .txt files are generated automatically for more convenience. Furthermore, the theme you choose will include title tags for the store name.
Every Shopify theme has social media linking options and sharing buttons which are crucial for ranking. As a store owner, you can edit all the title tags, meta descriptions, URLs, and even alt text for images.
Best Shopify SEO Apps
While searching the thousands of apps and plugins available on the Shopify app store, users can find a few efficient SEO tools as well. These solutions can be beneficial when the built-in features are insufficient and you need to be more competitive.
Not every merchant will have an identical marketing and SEO strategy, so not every app will suit everyone. Nevertheless, there are a few excellent apps, and all of them offer a free plan and a paid option.
AVADA SEO is one of the most popular SEO apps on Shopify, with over 1,000 reviews from users. This particular plugin focuses on image optimization, which is essential for ecommerce platforms.
If a potential customer doesn’t have a high-resolution image to see all the product details, they are more likely to skip the purchase. With AVADA, you get effortless image compression, better loading speeds, and automatic alt tags, among other features.
Another SEO add-on with excellent ratings is SEO Booster. If your website continues to be invisible to Google and other search engines, this app could be the solution.
It can learn the SEO status of your website and get insights into its health. You also get updates for your SEO keyword suggestions and push your product rating and price to appear in search results.
Finally, you can check out the Smart SEO marking app on the Shopify app store. It offers multi-language support, automatically generates meta tags, removes any microdata in your theme, and cuts the time you’d spend optimizing the page significantly.
If you want to take search engine optimization to the next level, you can request assistance from a Shopify Expert. But who are Shopify Experts exactly? They are individuals who are either employees of Shopify or freelancers working for the company.
This service is one of the ways Shopify is different from most e-commerce platforms. When there isn’t a built-in feature or an app that can help, Shopify Experts come in to fill in the knowledge gap. So, if you’re struggling to create an ideal SEO strategy, you can ask someone for help.
Shopify reminds you that you’re essentially creating a job by paying for the service. You can find the best fit for your needs through the Shopify platform and get your website to rank higher as soon as possible.
But keep in mind that a Shopify Expert can help with other areas too. For example, you can ask for help with web design, creating the perfect logo, or boosting sales.
Does Shopify Offer Analytics to Users?
As with any major e-commerce platform, Shopify ensures the merchants have access to valuable analytics. The reports are offered in great detail but will vary according to the Shopify subscription plan.
With internal Shopify analytics, reports are thorough and often sufficient. But setting up third-party services is also possible. Therefore, if you’re used to using Google Analytics, Shopify allows easy access.
So, what does Shopify analytics entail? First, every pricing plan includes a dashboard overview, financial reports (payments and taxes), and product analysis.
You will get insight into product performance for the past three months, which can help you understand your buyers better.
Most plans, excluding Shopify Lite, also contain acquisition and inventory reposts and behavior and marketing reports. Merchants can also rely on customer reports and create custom reports to get a unique perspective about specific details.
Shopify Pricing (Subscription Plans)
Shopify has five subscription models, and the company highlights three of them as their standard offers:
- Basic Shopify − $29/mo.
- Shopify – 79/mo.
- Advanced Shopify − $299/mo.
First, let’s take a look at what all three pricing plans have in common. If you choose any of the subscription plans for your online store, you will receive:
- Ecommerce store
- Shopify themes
- Unlimited products
- 24/7 support
- Access to distribution Channels
- Manual order creation
- Special Offers
- Free SSL certificate
- Abandoned Checkout Recovery
- Gift cards
- Shipping labels
- Fraud analysis
- Global selling
- Selling in up to five languages
Even the basic Shopify plan contains enough tools to start your own online store. For example, all three plans offer staff accounts, but the number varies.
The same applies to inventory locations, type of available reports, third-party calculated shipping rates, and discounts. In addition, not all plans support international domains and pricing, nor are the Shopify Payments transaction fees equal.
The good news is that you can always upgrade or downgrade your subscription. However, it’s imperative to keep in mind that these fees don’t cover paying for apps, plugins, and hiring a Shopify Expert.
There are many free applications, but others can cost anywhere from $9 to $50 per month. So, how much Shopify will cost you each month will depend on how many different paid apps you utilize.
Also, Shopify has a 14-day free trial, which is a sufficient amount of time to browse around the platform and see whether it’s the right fit for you.
As mentioned, Shopify has two other subscription plans, and they’re on the other end of the spectrum in terms of pricing.
Merchants who want to focus on in-person sales or need the buy button on their existing website might benefit from the Shopify Lite subscription plan.
You don’t actually get to build an entire e-commerce website with this plan, but you can improve the one you already have. The monthly subscription is $9, and the features are understandably limited.
Still, you have access to Shopify customer support, and Shopify regularly and automatically updates orders and inventory. Among other services, Shopify Lite includes:
- Dashboard overview
- Finance reports
- Customer profiles
- QE code product details
- Gift cards
- Discount codes
- Hardware accessories
Shopify Plus is for enterprises. Huge companies such as Nestlé, Red Bull, and Gymshark have recently switched to Shopify Plus for a reason.
This isn’t just another pricing plan for Shopify; it’s an extension of the platform. It’s explicitly designed for entities that have surpassed a specific size and need more control and customization.
Shopify Plus also delivers more automation capabilities, better multichannel functions, and even faster speeds. The starting fee is $2,000 per month but might change as the website generates more traffic.
What to Expect From Shopify Support
As we mentioned, Shopify offers 24/7 support for merchants. With e-commerce platforms, that specific feature is essential. If the website has issues, you can lose money waiting until the next day for it to be fixed. Shopify understands this and genuinely provides exceptional support.
That’s why you can reach Shopify support via email, live chat, and even call them on the phone. Sometimes, the fastest way to explain an issue is to talk to a person directly.
But Shopify’s support is comprehensive. As a Shopify store owner, you get access to the entire Shopify community via forums and discussions about every topic related to e-commerce. In addition, the help center contains excellent user manuals and step-by-step instructions on how to use specific features and make the most of them.
What Is Shopify Compass?
If you want to learn more about Shopify and the best ways to build your online store, you can rely on Shopify Compass.
It’s a specialized customer support page with an impressive quantity of online resources. There’s the e-commerce university, articles, video tutorials, and numerous types of valuable content.
As their user base grows, it’s in Shopify’s best interest to educate them and give them as many tools as possible. It’s Shopify’s stand-out quality, even though the support system isn’t flawless.
Who Is Shopify For?
Even if you get acquainted with all the pros and cons and valuable features, you might wonder if Shopify is right for you. Indeed, the e-commerce platform is not cheap, and it’s best to be sure before investing in something that ultimately doesn’t suit you.
At first glance, one could say that Shopify is for everyone who wants to have a successful online store. There’s no argument about the ease of use and the availability of unique features. Still, who are the people who use Shopify the most?
There are countless types of e-commerce businesses on Shopify. People sell clothing, jewelry, home accessories, pet products, luggage and bags, books, digital products, events, online classes, and so much more.
Shopify even conducted their research on the topic and found that in 2021, the best-selling items are doormats, bike saddles, kitchen towels, storage containers, vehicle carpet and upholstery, and temporary tattoos.
When it comes to Shopify, you can be as creative as you want. If there is a product or service you want to sell, reach out to Shopify. There are limitations, though. You can’t sell anything illegal, and the prohibited products include:
- Drugs of any kind
- Firearms and weapons
Shopify prohibited CBD products until recently, but they’re allowed as long as they’re from industrial hemp.
Is Shopify Right for You?
If you are planning your first ecommerce website or perhaps thinking about expanding your online shop, Shopify is a solid contender. In the e-commerce world, Shopify is a brand to be reckoned with, and it’s unsurprising it has so many users and high-profile clients.
This is an e-commerce platform that will work well for businesses of any size. You can find the right subscription model for you and rely on the apps to help you move forward.
Using Shopify will inevitably save you the time you’d lose on individual web design, SEO, and inventory management.
Furthermore, it’s an excellent solution for people who want to empower their buyers and give them the best shopping experience.