If ecommerce is your main source of revenue, you need a serious online store with top-notch customer support behind you 24 hours a day, a comprehensive set of ecommerce features that grow as your store grows, and an intuitive drag-and-drop website creator in one. Shopify does all of this and more—simply put, the company knows ecommerce. Keep reading to learn what we love (and don’t love) about Shopify to see if it’s right for your next ecommerce adventure.
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Compare Shopify to The Best Ecommerce Website Builders
Shopify is deemed the gold standard by many. Thousands of ecommerce businesses swear by it, and we’re no different. After testing and researching a dozen ecommerce builders, we found it best for users that want peace of mind knowing there’s a 24/7 support team ready to jump in at a moment’s notice. Are there cheaper options out there? Yes. Are there simpler, more beginner-friendly tools? Absolutely. But Shopify’s customer service is second to none—with four ways to get in touch and the most in-depth guides, tutorials, and free resources we’ve seen, you won’t find this level of support anywhere else.
If you want something simple, beginner-friendly, or more budget-friendly and are willing to sacrifice concierge-level support, you may be better off using something else. If that sounds like you, see all of our top picks to learn about our scoring methodology, when it makes sense to invest, and an in-depth review of all of our favorite ecommerce builders on the market.
Shopify: The Good and The Bad
Discounts: To create stronger customer relationships and improve ecommerce marketing, Shopify users can offer their customers discounts. Users can promote sales on products, set up automatic discounts, and make discount codes.
When a specific product has been added to a customer’s shopping cart, users can set up an automatic discount trigger without needing a code. Users can set up specific sales on products, showing customers the original price of the product. This ensures them that they are getting a good deal and helps with customer conversion.
When creating a manual discount, users can set it up as a percentage of a product’s price or as a fixed amount. A discount code can be modified to go into effect depending on variables like a customer’s minimum order amount, the number of times the code can be used, what product collections the discount applies to, and the date range for which it is valid.
Sales Channels: Shopify is not the only platform that can be used to sell products. Shopify’s Sales Channels feature lets users download outside sales channels. Third-party channels like Instagram, Amazon, Facebook, Messenger, and Handshake can be used to sell products. These channels can be integrated through Shopify’s app store.
Shopify Point-of-Sale uses physical hardware and computer software to merge storefront locations with online stores. If a business is selling to another business, Shopify Plus’s wholesale channel is a great option. For third-party websites, users can implement the “Buy Button” to instantly turn the site into an online store.
Experts Marketplace: Shopify lets users hire third-party agencies and freelancers to help them operate their business. The Expert Marketplace is there for any user who needs help with store setup, troubleshooting, branding, content writing, sales, or marketing. This helps new business owners relieve stress by outsourcing activities they would prefer not to do.
Extra Support: Helpful customer support is essential when running an online store. If a store is broken, it may be unable to sell products until it’s fixed. If a user needs help with support, Shopify gives him or her four contact options. Shopify’s agents are available 24/7 via phone, chat, email, or Twitter. This ensures user issues are resolved quickly and effectively.
In addition to excellent customer support, Shopify provides users with a knowledge base, FAQ page, and help forum. The help forum allows users to interact and create creative solutions to common problems. Shopify’s help center educates users through video tutorials, descriptions, and ecommerce definitions.
Different Product Types: Shopify has different features and settings depending on if a user is selling a physical product or a digital one. Users can set up drop shipping stores, manage shipping, and fulfill orders when selling physical products. Users can distribute products with a downloadable link or by sending an email when selling digitally.
Multiple Payment Options: Shopify customers can send money in a variety of ways including credit cards, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, and cryptocurrencies. For a more efficient check-out process, Shop Pay allows customers to input their shipping and payment information to decrease the number of steps needed to make another purchase.
Shopify users can select one of the countless third-party payment providers available. Customers will be redirected to an outside website when using an external payment provider. However, they will be able to pay directly on a user’s website if he or she is using a direct payment provider. To bypass fees, Shopify Payments can be used instead.
Reporting and Analytics: Shopify reports allow users to see important sales, marketing, and customer information. Its analytical tools help users determine critical insights about their customers and track recent business activity. Shopify users can have a full understanding of how their business is performing with data on total business growth and daily website traffic.
Abandoned Cart Recovery: Abandoned cart recovery is a highly effective way to drip on customers who procrastinate or get distracted while shopping on a site. If a customer leaves anything in his or her shopping cart, this feature can be used to retarget them via email. This can be set up automatically and scheduled to be sent at strategic times.
Total Monthly Price: While its plans’ pricing competes with some ecommerce leaders, Shopify is far from the most inexpensive platform. More importantly, Shopify’s monthly subscription is not the only thing a user will pay for. If users choose a third-party payment processor instead of Shopify Payments, they will be charged additional fees. Monthly costs for apps and plugins add up as well.
Transition Difficulty: If a Shopify user is ready to move their online store to a new platform, they are in for an inconvenient transition. Shopify permanently removes online store data when an account is closed. Instead of helping users transition to a new platform, it locks them in by making it hard to switch. This is common with ecommerce platforms but something to consider.
Poor Blogging Capabilities: Shopify does not value content marketing as much as some users would like. Content marketing is important because it boosts organic traffic, educates customers, enhances social proof, and grows brands. While Shopify has a blogging feature, it is extremely basic. This is something we would like to see Shopify improve going forward.
Shopify Pricing and Options
Shopify is separated into five different pricing plans. Its starter plan is called Basic Shopify, and it costs $29 per month. Shopify’s regular plan meant for growing businesses with one store costs $79 per month. Advanced Shopify is intended for growing businesses with more than one store, and it costs $299 per month.
Shopify Plus was built for large businesses, and it starts at $2,000 per month. Finally, Shopify Lite is only $9 per month. Shopify’s plans also charge a small fee when using third-party processing. Before signing up for Shopify, you can try it free of charge for 14 days.
Shopify is one of the top products in its space, and it charges accordingly. While it’s more expensive than Wix and Squarespace, it has similar pricing to BigCommerce and Shift4Shop. Overall, Shopify has competitive pricing for a high-quality ecommerce website builder.
If you’re new to ecommerce, Basic Shopify is the best plan to start with. It gives each account two staff members with Shopify admin privileges. It gives users an ecommerce website and blog and lets them sell unlimited products.
Shopify’s sales channels allow users to sell on social media and online marketplaces. Its Locations feature lets users assign inventory to up to four warehouses, retail stores, or pop-ups. It includes discounted shipping rates of up to 77% from USPS, UPS, or DHL Express.
Other features include discount codes, manual order creation, free SSL certificates, gift cards, and abandoned cart recovery. It also includes fraud analysis and lets users print shipping labels. It’s important to note there is a 2% fee when using a third-party payment provider.
For global business, users can sell in 133 different currencies. To ensure pricing consistency, users can round prices up or down. With Basic Shopify, users can sell in up to five different languages.
Shopify’s next plan is simply named “Shopify.” It’s intended for growing businesses that only have one retail store. It has everything included in Basic Shopify plus professional reports and USPS Priority Mail cubic pricing.
It allows five admins instead of two, and it lets users assign inventory to up to five locations instead of four. It has up to 88% discounted shipping with USPS, UPS, and DHL Express. Fees for third-party payment providers drop to 1%.
For global business, Shopify lets users create country-specific domains so international SEO is optimized. It also lets users raise or lower product prices in different countries by customizing its overall percentage change.
Shopify costs more than double the amount of Basic Shopify. Besides a few additional features and lowered third-party payment fees, it is not considerably different. We think Shopify could do a better job of making its second plan more unique than Basic Shopify.
Advanced Shopify is for growing businesses with more than two retail stores. It includes everything from Shopify plus advanced report building, third-party calculated shipping rates, and customizable international pricing per product.
Its third-party payment processing fees drop to 0.5% and its limit on available Shopify admins raises to 15 users. It allows inventory assignment for up to eight locations.
Advanced Shopify is considerably higher priced than Shopify and Basic Shopify. It does allow way more available admins, and customizable pricing of each international product is a bonus. It’s important to evaluate your business needs before you decide if it’s worth paying the steeper price for the advanced plan.
If you have a large business needing enterprise-level solutions, Shopify Plus could be right for you. More than 10,000 leading brands including Heinz, Staples, and Allbirds use Shopify Plus. While some ecommerce platforms can take up to a year to transition to, switching to Shopify Plus takes less than four months.
Shopify Plus’s Shop Pay provides up to 60% faster check-out times and up to 18% higher conversion rates. It uses modern technology like video, 3D media, and built-in AR when customers land on the product pages. Shopify Plus includes powerful automation and integration tools to create a smoother ecommerce experience.
Shopify Plus is a great platform that can be managed by a much smaller team compared to competitor platforms of this size. Users report high satisfaction and ease of use, and the platform sets itself apart from Shopify’s other plans.
Shopify Lite is for those who already have a website or for merchants wanting to sell in-person. Like Shopify’s other plans, it comes with free marketing tips and podcasts, 24/7 customer support, and automatic syncing across sales channels. Unlike Shopify’s other plans, it does not allow users to build an online store.
With Shopify Lite, users can immediately turn an existing website into an online store. This can be done by adding a Shopify Buy Button to website items with a few clicks. It includes a Point-of-Sale (POS) app that lets in-person merchants accept payments from Android and iOS devices. It lets users send invoices directly to customers and create custom, phone, and wholesale orders.
Other features include financial reporting, order management, customer profiles, email carts, gift cards, split-bill, in-store inventory, and custom discounts. For only $9 per month, this plan is a great way to benefit from Shopify’s capabilities if you don’t need to build an online store. Most competitors don’t even have a comparable plan, and this makes Shopify Lite stand out.
Shopify’s Point-of-Sale (POS) system is not one of its primary plans, but it’s worth mentioning. It is perfect for ecommerce businesses with a physical storefront. With Shopify POS, store owners receive a card reader, mobile barcode scanner, cash drawers, and a receipt printer. It includes a mobile app and lets users connect their physical location to their online store.
Shopify POS Lite is included for free with all Shopify plans. It includes a one-year warranty on hardware and accepts popular payment methods including American Express, Visa, and Mastercard. Shopify POS Pro can be purchased by adding $89 per month per location to an existing plan. It includes a two-year hardware warranty and omnichannel selling features.
How Shopify Ranks
Shopify specializes in ecommerce and has most of the features and benefits needed for any online store owner. Its added support is what makes it stand out specifically.
To learn more about the best ecommerce website builders, check out our top picks here.
Wix – Best website builder for most
Web.com – Most powerful fulfillment & inventory features
Zyro – Best price for customer tracking and analytics
BigCommerce – Best for rapid scaling
Squarespace – Best for showcasing and selling creative work
Shopify – Best for anyone needing extra support
Weebly – Best for small stores that want to stay small
Shift4Shop – Best for limitless customization
When choosing the right ecommerce platform for your online store, you must know what you’re looking for. Shopify’s Sales Channels, Experts Marketplace, and Discount features are excellent additions to its platform. Avoid Shopify if you place extreme importance on content marketing. If you need extra support, Shopify has the agents and resources to solve your ecommerce issues.