Shopify is one of the most popular shopping carts for building an online e-commerce site. It offers a wide variety of features and a choice of several plans. If you are thinking to start an e-commerce site, you have many choices of shopping carts to choose from, such as CS-Cart, PrestaShop and of course, Shopify. So, is Shopify a good value compared to its competitors?
In this review we’ll be looking at some of Shopify’s notable features and benefits to help you decide if it’s worth trying.
Main Shopify features
Throughout my 10 years experience setting up online stores and trying various shopping cart applications, I find Shopify has some really impressive features. Let’s look at some of them today.
Large Choice of Themes
You can choose from more than 100 premium and free themes. This makes it possible to find a theme that closely matches the type of product you will be selling.
Themes are not generic looking, but created by top designers (such as Happy Cog, Clearleft and Pixel Union) to give your store a quality look.
Sites are Easy to Customize
Once you’ve chosen a theme, you have many opportunities to customize your store. the Theme Settings editor lets you create exactly the look and design you want. Shopify uses a liquid templating language that is especially designed to help you customize your online store. If you need help with this process, you can consult with experienced Shopify experts with vast experience in e-commerce design.
Secure Shopping Cart
In order to sell online, you must be able to set up a secure and customer friendly shopping cart. Shopify supplies you with a secure and reliable shopping cart that is Level 1 PCl-DSS compliant to give your customers assurance that it’s safe to shop with you.
You can accept credit cards and PayPal as soon as your store is online. The shopping cart integrates with more than 70 payment gateways (2Checkout, Authorize.net, BitPay, Cardstream, iPay88, Moneris, NetRegistry and more), ensuring that your customers will find it easy to make payments.
Search Engine Optimized Store
Your online store will be optimized for the search engines. Shopify’s CMS and shopping cart have built in SEO features to ensure that customers can easily find you on Google, Yahoo and Bing. Your store will automatically generate sitemaps.xml files. This means that whenever you make changes to your site or add new products, they will be indexed by the search engines automatically.
Unlimited Web Hosting
All of Shopify’s plans include reliable, unmetered web hosting with fast servers, unlimited bandwidth and more than 99% guaranteed uptime. This means you don’t have to sign up for web hosting elsewhere to start your online store!
On top of that, you will be glad to know that Shopify uses CDN (Content Delivery Network). This ensures that your customers will be able to load your website very quickly no matter where they are.
Today’s online customers are just as likely to be using smartphones as computers. To cater to these customers, Shopify includes mobile commerce features that allow people to browse your store and make purchases from mobile phones and tablets. Your online store will be easy to navigate from Blackberry, Android and iPhone devices.
Shopify offers around the clock support by email, phone and live chat. If you have questions about any of the features or you need help in setting up your store, you will always find help available. There is also a forum where you can talk to other members. Experienced members can answer your questions, share marketing tips and give you feedback on your store.
One of the most appealing features of Shopify is that it allows you to try it for free for 14 days. There are a few different pricing plans from which to choose, which we’ll be looking at below. However, it’s hard to really know how you like something until you try it.
The two week free trial gives you time to test all the features and see if you’re comfortable with using the application. You have nothing to lose!
Shopify pricing options
Compared to most other online e-commerce platforms and marketplaces, Shopify offers a comprehensive, professional and user friendly interface.
How much does it cost to use Shopify? There are 3 plans to choose from, starting at $14 per month. All plans Basic and above include unlimited products, 24/7 support, Shopify Mobile, free Shopify card reader and no transaction fees.
This is the least expensive plan at $14 per month. It allows you to sell up to 25 products. This plan is great for a new store and allows you to “test the market” to see if your products can make a profit or not!
The Basic plan, which costs $29 per month, includes 1GB storage. You can add unlimited number of products.
This plan costs $79 per month and includes 5GB storage, gift cards, professional reports and abandoned cart recovery (to help you get sales from customers who “abandon” their shopping cart).
This plan costs $179 per month and includes unlimited file storage, all of the benefits of the Professional plan, advanced report builder and real time carrier shipping.
The 14 day free trial can be applied to all of the above plans.
The Starter plan is good if you want to test drive your new store with a small number of products. For most online stores, the Basic or Professional plans are sufficient. You can always upgrade to a higher priced plan as your store grows.
Is Shopify a good cart?
If you are starting an online store, the type of shopping cart application you use can have a huge impact on your success. When customers land on your site, it’s not just your products that they notice. They will also observe the look of your site, the overall professionalism and whether it looks like a trustworthy and secure place to shop. Of course, the user friendliness of the buying and checkout process are very important too!
Shopify has a lot to offer when it comes to features, security, flexibility and the ability to create a great looking store. You can choose the plan that’s right for the size of your business and you can even try the system for two weeks for free. You can compare Shopify with many other e-commerce applications that are available. But the options offered by Shopify are hard to beat.