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Shopify Review: Is It the Ultimate Ecommerce Solution for You?

Last updated: May 02, 2023
This article has been written and researched by our expert Avada through a precise methodology. Learn more about our methodology





This Shopify review will help you understand the basics of Shopify and its features, as well as the pros and cons of Shopify as a whole.

Key takeaways
  • Shopify is an all-in-one e-commerce platform that provides everything you need to build an online store right within this platform.
  • As a hosted platform, Shopify handles the technical aspects of running an online store for you, such as security, updates, and backups. Therefore, you don't have to worry about managing your own server or hiring technical staff.
  • Shopify is an excellent solution for individuals or small to large businesses that want to focus on building and growing their online businesses without touching a code.

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What is Shopify?

Shopify is an all-in-one ecommerce platform that allows sellers to create and manage their stores online. It offers all the necessary tools and features to set up an online store, including customizable templates, payment gateways, inventory tracking, apps and integrations, and more.

Shopify Review: Pros and Cons

Pros of Shopify:

  • Self-hosted platform: You don’t need technical skills to manage web hosting, security, and backups. It is easy to use for non-technical users and offers free and premium paid themes with different functionalities.
  • Pricing Variety: Shopify offers three primary pricing plans catering to different business sizes, and users can save 25% with an annual subscription.
  • Flexible Payment Options: Shopify Payments eliminates transaction fees, and the platform offers various with payment gateways for customer convenience.
  • Trial Periods and Discounts: Users can enjoy a 3-day free trial, annual subscription discounts, and special deals for initial months.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Shopify’s intuitive dashboard, drag-and-drop tools, and pre-built themes make store management and design easy.
  • Abundant Sales Features: Shopify provides a range of apps, shipping management, dropshipping, abandoned cart recovery, and other sales-oriented tools.
  • Strong SEO Tools: Shopify integrates reporting, blogging, email marketing, multilingual options, and more to enhance website visibility.
  • Customer Support: Shopify offers 24/7 support through various channels, a help center, and video tutorials.
  • Security Measures: The platform ensures SSL security, PCI compliance, and automated backups to safeguard customer data.
  • Wide Range of Industries: Shopify caters to diverse industries, making it suitable for retail, fashion, beauty, food, electronics, and more.
  • Themes and Designs: Shopify provides a variety of mobile-responsive themes with customization options for visual and product management.

Cons of Shopify:

  • Transaction Fees with Third-Party Gateways: Depending on the chosen plan, users may incur transaction fees when using third-party payment gateways.
  • Interface Challenges: Some users have experienced occasional frustrations and complexities while navigating Shopify’s interface.
  • Customization Limitations: Deep customization of certain aspects may be limited, and some developers may find restrictions in making specific changes.
  • Mixed User Reviews: While many users praise Shopify’s user-friendliness, there have been instances of dissatisfaction with customer service and limitations.
  • Costly Shopify Plus Plan: Shopify Plus, designed for high-activity businesses, starts at a higher cost of $2000/month.
  • Limited functions on the Free Plan: While Shopify offers a 3-day trial, the free plan is limited, and some features may require additional costs.

What do customers like most about Shopify?

Our careful analysis shows that there are three biggest factors of Shopify that really satisfy its users:

  • Ease of use (66% of Shopify users)
  • Robust feature set (8.1% of Shopify users)
  • Dedicated customer support (7.6% of Shopify users)

Indeed, it’s crucial to have an easy-to-use platform, reliable customer support, and a feature-rich environment like Shopify. Without them, e-commerce sellers could face significant challenges:

  • A complex interface can hinder a seller’s ability to manage their online store efficiently, leading to confusion and frustration.
  • Without quick and reliable customer support, technical issues can go unresolved, leading to lost sales and damaged reputations.
  • Without access to a feature-rich ecommerce platform, online businesses may struggle to streamline their operations, manage their inventory, and grow their customer base.

Overall, Shopify’s essential features are crucial to the success of e-commerce sellers, and without them, online businesses may struggle to thrive in a competitive market.

That’s why according to BuiltWith, Shopify has a significant market share (about 16.4% of ecommerce sites globally in 2023) in the ecommerce space. That means Shopify has become a go-to choice for many entrepreneurs and small businesses, and the trend of using Shopify has been on the rise.

Who do we recommend Shopify for?

Shopify may be a good fit for you if you’re:

  • Small to medium-sized businesses looking to set up an online store quickly and easily without significant technical expertise.
  • Solo entrepreneurs or small teams looking to manage their e-commerce operations in-house without the need for extensive resources.
  • Businesses in industries such as fashion, beauty, and home goods, where aesthetics and design are important.
  • Businesses with a subscription-based business model. Shopify offers built-in support for recurring payments and subscription-based businesses, making it a great option for businesses looking to monetize their products or services on a subscription basis.
  • Startups looking to scale their e-commerce operations quickly.
  • Influencers or Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) looking to monetize their brand and products.
  • Businesses looking for an ecommerce platform that integrates with a wide range of third-party systems and tools.

But does Shopify support your product type? Well, as Shopify is the biggest ecommerce platform worldwide, chances are your product type is supported. To be more specific, here are some types of products that could benefit from using Shopify:

  • Retail: Shopify can be used by businesses that sell physical products, such as clothing, home goods, and electronics.
  • Food and Beverage: Shopify can be used by businesses that sell food and beverage products, such as coffee, tea, and snacks.
  • Beauty and Wellness: Shopify can be used by businesses that sell beauty and wellness products, such as skincare, cosmetics, and supplements.
  • Arts and Crafts: Shopify can be used by businesses that sell handmade or artisanal products, such as jewelry, pottery, and textiles.
  • Digital Products: Shopify can be used by businesses that sell digital products, such as e-books, music, and software.
  • Services: Shopify can be used by businesses that offer services such as consulting, coaching, and design.

Shopify review: Pricing

Subscription fees

Shopify offers five Shopify pricing plans, each with varying levels of features and benefits. Here’s an overview of each plan:

Starter Plan

Pricing: $5 per month

With the Shopify Starter Plan, you won’t have a Shopify online store or website for customers to visit. Instead, you can use the Shopify “Buy button” to sell products on a website outside of Shopify. The Buy button acts as a shortcut for buying your products. When a customer clicks a Buy button, it opens a checkout page, enabling them to buy the product immediately without going to an online store.

The Starter Plan may be a good option if you’re just starting out and want to dip your toes into the ecommerce market. It’s the cheapest plan available, and it allows you to add ecommerce functionality to your existing website or social media channels without breaking the bank.

To see if it’s a good fit for you, you can take a look at Shopify Starter Plan.

Basic Shopify Plan

Pricing: $39 per month

This is the cheapest Shopify plan that allows you to build your own online store. It provides all the essentials for a new ecommerce business, including a website, hosting, SSL certificate, and access to the Shopify App Store. If you have staff and would like to create individual logins for them, the Basic Shopify plan provides two staff accounts with customizable permissions. This plan also gives you access to free Shopify themes that you can easily customize to build your brand.

The Basic Shopify Plan also offers some basic reports. In addition to finance reports, it also includes acquisition reports, behavior reports, and marketing reports. These reports provide you with insights into your online store traffic to help you expand your business.

The Basic Shopify Plan is for you if you’re ready to build your own online store. It’s affordable, easy to use, and comes with a range of useful tools and features to help you run your business.

Shopify Plan

Pricing: $105 per month

The Shopify plan includes all the features from the Basic plan and provides you with greater insight into your sales trends with access to more reports. These reports range from a website cart analysis to shopping behavior, sales reports, retail sales reports, and profit reports. The Shopify plan also includes more in-depth marketing reports to measure the effectiveness of campaigns and activities in generating traffic and sales, as well as customer reports that highlight average order and expected purchase values.

The Shopify plan is a good fit for businesses seeking an affordable e-commerce solution to build their own online store.

Advanced Shopify Plan

Pricing: $399 per month

The Advanced plan contains all the features of the Shopify plan and has lower credit card rates and transaction fees than both the Basic and Shopify plan.

The Advanced plan comes with 15 staff accounts. You also get access to carrier-calculated shipping, which displays your shipping carrier’s negotiated rates at checkout. This is especially valuable if you live in an area that is not eligible for Shopify Shipping, a shipping service offered by Shopify.

The Advanced plan also includes Custom reports. This allows you to modify default reports and create custom reports using Shopify’s filtering and editing features. With this feature, you can track your store’s performance and monitor your business’s growth.

The Advanced Shopify Plan is the way to go if you’re a big business that is handling high order volume, needs to scale up, and wants to use analytics to look for new growth opportunities.

Since 2023, Shopify offers new users a special deal: new sellers can subscribe to any of these above plans for only $1 per month for the first three months. You can click here to see more about this deal.

Also, please note that the pricing for the Basic Shopify plan, Shopify plan and Advanced Shopify plan varies depending on your location. The mentioned pricing above applies to US merchants. If your business is in a different region, click the check button below:

Shopify Plus

Pricing: custom (starting from $2,000)

Shopify Plus is the enterprise solution and also the highest-level pricing plan. With it, you can access an enhanced admin to manage all of your Shopify stores from one location. You also get the tools to automate your most complex processes and manual tasks across stores and apps. Some other great features include a customizable checkout, expansion stores, unlimited staff accounts, access to exclusive APIs, and much more.

With this Shopify pricing plan, you also enjoy VIP support to help you faster and access to the merchant success program to help define your business goals. Overall, you always get the most out of the ecommerce platform.

Shopify Plus is the right choice if your business has high-volume sales, a large social media following, works with well-known influencers, or if you’re ready to scale globally with stores in many different countries.

Shopify Payments and Transaction Fees

It’s worth noting that Shopify charges transaction fees on top of its monthly plan fees. There are two types of fees you’ll be charged here: transaction fees and credit card rates.

The final fees vary depending on the following factors:

  • whether you use Shopify Payments
  • which plan you’re on
  • your region
  • method of transactions (online or offline)

Shopify Payments, Shopify’s in-house payment gateway, allows you to accept credit card payments directly through your online Shopify store. It’s a convenient and easy-to-use payment option that eliminates the need for third-party payment gateways, which can be expensive. With Shopify Payments, you don’t have to pay transaction fees. However, in case you don’t use Shopify Payments, you’re charged 0.5–2% additional transaction fees besides the credit card rates.

Subscription plan Transaction fee Credit card rate
Shopify Starter 5%
  • 2.9% + 30¢ USD online
  • 2.7% + 0¢ USD in person
Basic Shopify 2%
  • 2.9% + 30¢ USD online
  • 2.7% + 0¢ USD in person
Shopify 1%
  • 2.6% + 30¢ USD online
  • 2.5% + 0¢ USD in person
Advanced Shopify 0.5%
  • 2.4% + 30¢ USD online
  • 2.4% + 0¢ USD in person

It’s worth noting the credit card rates above are for US-based sellers. You’ll be charged a different amount if you’re based in a different country.

Ease of use

Navigating the e-commerce landscape has never been smoother with Shopify’s user-friendly interface. Here’s why Shopify is a breeze:

  • Abundance of Pre-built Themes: Dive right into designing your dream online store with Shopify’s extensive collection of pre-built themes. No coding is required – simply choose a theme that resonates with your brand and customize it perfectly.

  • Central Dashboard Mastery: Take charge of your entire e-commerce empire from a single, central dashboard. Whether it’s managing orders, inventory, or customer interactions, you’re just a few clicks away from a streamlined operation.

  • Drag-and-Drop Magic: No tech wizardry needed! With Shopify’s intuitive drag-and-drop feature, crafting captivating web pages is as easy as pie. Simply drag elements where you want them and watch your store come to life.

  • Newbie-Friendly Interface: From seasoned pros to fresh-faced newcomers, Shopify caters to all. Its crystal-clear and simple interface welcomes beginners with open arms, making the learning curve a gentle slope rather than a daunting hill.

Embrace simplicity, dive into creativity, and enjoy the ease of managing your online store with Shopify’s intuitive platform.

Note: The experience with Shopify’s interface has sometimes left users feeling a bit frustrated. Some have encountered discomfort and a sense of complexity while navigating the platform. Switching between different sections, such as moving from the front-end editor to the back-end, has also posed challenges, contributing to moments of inconvenience.

Despite these occasional frustrations, it’s worth noting that Shopify continually seeks to enhance its user experience and address these concerns.

Shopify Review: Sales features


Shopify offers a flexible built-in shipping system, allowing merchants to set up custom rates based on whatever they prefer, like:

  • the price or weight of the item
  • flat rates
  • local delivery/pickup rates
  • calculated real-time shipping rates.

With Shopify’s built-in shipping features, merchants can also create zones to cover groups of countries.

It’s worth noting that Shopify offers two shipping services called Shopify Shipping that make shipping much cheaper and faster.

Shopify merchants based in the United States, Canada, or Australia can use the Shopify Shipping service, which is included in all the three main pricing plans, to print shipping labels and provide preferential rates on shipping. They can also get up to 88% postage discounts on the high-level Shopify plan.

Moreover, Shopify has partnerships with USPS, DHL Express, UPS, and Canada Post, which saves merchants the hassle of sourcing their own couriers. They can also install apps if they need extra shipping functions.

Besides, Shopify recently announced Shop Promise, expanding its fulfillment team with the acquisition of Deliverr, in a move to make its delivery services more competitive.

With Shop Promise, users can enjoy a reliable two-day delivery option and easy returns on items to the customer at no additional cost. This service also reveals helpful tracking and insights in a single dashboard for ease of use when checking orders.

However, if a merchant is not based in a country where Shopify Shipping is available, they can still use third-party calculated shipping rates. However, note that third-party calculated shipping rates will charge you some extra fee and are only available if a merchant:

  • pays monthly for an Advanced Shopify or Shopify Plus plan
  • subscribes to the Shopify plan on an annual basis
  • subscribes to the Shopify plan and pays an additional monthly fee.


Shopify offers a wide range of dropshipping apps in the Shopify App Store that makes it easy to source and sell a variety of products from different suppliers. At the time of writing, there are 454 such apps available, including popular services like Spocket, Ali Express, and Modalyst.

If you’re thinking of starting an ecommerce business, you might want to consider dropshipping. With this business model, you don’t have to worry about making, storing, or fulfilling any products. Instead, you act as a middleman between the customer and the supplier. When a customer places an order on your site, you send the order to the supplier, who then ships the product directly to the customer.

To use dropshipping with Shopify, you’ll need to install a dropshipping app in the Shopify App Store.

NOTE: Some other review channels may not update this yet, but you should be aware that Shopify’s previous dedicated extension, Oberlo, has recently shut down. But there are other dropshipping options available, such as DSers, Spocket, and Printful.

Abandoned cart recovery

Shopify’s abandoned cart recovery allows store owners to automatically send messages to trigger customers’ buying decisions based on their previous behaviors, such as a guest abandoning their cart during the checkout process. However, this automation only works if the lead has provided an email address, either during an abandoned checkout process or a previous sale.

We can say that abandoned cart recovery is one of the most impressive features that Shopify offers. Abandoned cart recovery can help improve the abandoned cart rate by up to 15%. This can significantly impact your overall revenue.

With Shopify’s approach to abandoned cart recovery, merchants can configure the process exactly the way they want via editable workflows. Merchants can add conditions or actions to each step of the process.

Abandoned cart recovery is included in the three main Shopify plans (Basic, Shopify and Advanced), making it more accessible and affordable compared to its competitors. Other ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce and Squarespace only offer abandoned cart recovery on their higher-priced plans.

Accepting multiple currencies in Shopify

If you’re looking to sell products in multiple currencies, Shopify has got you covered. Unlike many other ecommerce platforms, Shopify allows you to sell in multiple currencies, which can be a big advantage for increasing sales rates. However, be aware of these things.

#1: Your store visitors will have to manually select their preferred currency using a country selector. This is prompted by a pop-up, which some users may find a bit intrusive. It would be better if the currency conversion process was more seamless and automatic.

#2: It’s important to note that currency conversion only works if you’re using Shopify Payments. If you’re based in a country that doesn’t yet support Shopify Payments, you’ll need to use a third-party app to enable this feature.

Shopify Point of Sale (POS)

With Shopify’s POS system, businesses can not only sell online but also in physical locations. A wide range of hardware, including card readers, barcode scanners, tills, and receipt printers, is available to purchase to facilitate this. Shopify also offers a dedicated device, called Shopify POS Go, which is an all-in-one solution with a built-in barcode scanner and card reader. It connects to a business’s Shopify account over WiFi, making it easy to get started with POS.

The Shopify hardware store sells POS equipment in many countries, including the US, several EU countries, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK. However, businesses based outside of these countries can still purchase Shopify POS hardware from authorized resellers.

Shopify POS Lite Plan is included with all Shopify plans. However, it’s worth noting that Shopify POS is not available on the Starter plan. And if you wish to use the more advanced features, you can consider upgrading it to the Pro plan. The cost for the Shopify POS Pro add-on is $89 per month per location. This cost can add up for businesses with multiple physical stores.

Shopify Plus includes Shopify POS Pro for free.

Selling digital products

If you want to sell digital products like ebooks, music, or software, Shopify can help with that too.

In order to sell digital files, users need to install a separate app. Without installing an app, your customers won’t be able to download the digital product. One of the most widely used app is called the “Digital Downloads App.” This app is free and easy to use.

With Shopify’s Digital Downloads App, you can send digital products, like music, video, and images, to customers. While Shopify limits the file size of the digital products you can sell, it’s still a decent amount—up to 5GB. This limit is much higher than other platforms such as Wix, which limits downloadable product size to 1GB, BigCommerce to 512MB, and Squarespace to 300MB. And if you need more than 5GB, there are still some workarounds like third-party apps to host larger files or file-sharing services like Dropbox to deliver the products.

Payment Options

Shopify supports a very wide range of payment gateways—over 100 payment gateways, including popular options like PayPal, Stripe, Amazon Pay, and Apple Pay. It also offers its own in-house payment gateway, Shopify Payments. Using Shopify Payments is super beneficial as transaction fees apply to all payment gateways except Shopify Payments, which waives the fee. Selling in multiple currencies is also possible with Shopify Payments. This means the platform lets customers pay for their orders in their local currency and automatically adjusts the price of products according to current exchange rates.

Shopify Payments currently supports 9 key currencies, including USD, GBP, AUD, CAD, EUR, HKD, JPY, NZD, and SGD.

It’s essential to consider an ecommerce platform that has the range of payment options. That’s because offering multiple payment options can help improve customer satisfaction, reduce cart abandonment, and expand the business’s customer base. By providing different payment methods, businesses can cater to various customer preferences and avoid losing sales.

Product management

One of the most significant features of Shopify is its full inventory management system. You can easily track your stock levels, monitor orders, and update your product listings. Additionally, Shopify enables you to offer multiple product variations with different prices, weights, and attributes. To make it easier for your customers to browse your store, you can organize products by category, type, sale items, price, and more.

Importing and exporting

Shopify allows you to import and export product data from a CSV file, so you can bulk upload or download a lot of products to or from your Shopify. But that still costs a lot of time. That said, besides manual import and export, Shopify App Store also offers a range of data importing apps.

Product variants and options

Shopify lets you create up to 100 different variants of a single product, but it limits you to only 3 product options.

For example, if you were selling T-shirts, you can have up to 3 product options, including color, size, and print. A variant could be blue, medium, and galaxy print, and there could be up to 100 of such variants. If you need more product options, you can consider using third-party apps that lift these limits, such as ‘Infinite Options.’

Overall, we must honestly say that Shopify’s approach to product options is not as flexible as BigCommerce or Squarespace’s.

Shopify product categories and collections

Shopify offers an excellent way of handling product categories. There are two ways you could add products to a collection: manually or automatically. With automated collections, you can set up rules based on product titles, tags, etc. Following these rules, the system will automatically categorize your products so that they end up in the correct collection.

Shopify review: A comprehensive look at marketing features

Email marketing

Shopify, recognizing the importance of email marketing to the success of a store, has provided Shopify Email, a built-in email marketing tool for its platform since 2019.

Initially, Shopify Email was a basic tool that allowed users to send branded newsletters. However, it has evolved significantly in recent months and now provides more extensive segmentation options, automated mailouts using conditional logic, and deep integration with Shopify’s ecommerce tools.

Although it may not be as sophisticated as dedicated email marketing tools such as GetResponse or Mailchimp, Shopify Email’s deep integration with Shopify’s platform and its free plan that allows sending up to 10,000 emails per month makes it an attractive option for many merchants. In addition to Shopify Email, the platform also provides built-in email shoutouts, which require coding. Alternatively, third-party apps such as Seguno, Klaviyo, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, and Privy can be used for email marketing campaigns.

Shopify also provides tools for review marketing, reaching new audiences, running campaigns, and automating marketing strategies.

Additionally, the platform includes abandoned cart recovery emails, which can be customized with discount codes to entice customers back to the store.

Blogging in Shopify

Blogging is a critical activity for online merchants as it helps to increase organic traffic to your site. Fortunately, Shopify has a built-in blogging tool that allows you to create content that will boost your site’s visibility in Google search results.

The Shopify’s blogging functionality is generally good—Shopify gives you an adequate range of blogging tools that support display categories, comments, an RSS feed, and blog-specific SEO. Yet, it’s not as sophisticated or powerful as that found on other platforms such as WordPress. It lacks blogging analytics, archive functionality, social bookmarking, and blog-specific search features.

For instance, you can only use tags for blog post categorization instead of tags and categories, as is the case in most professional blogging platforms. Nonetheless, the built-in blogging tool meets most merchants’ requirements quite well, and you can easily hook it up to Disqus commenting tool with some configuration.

If you’re not satisfied with the built-in blog functionality, consider a third-party app for help. DropInBlog is an option as it has pretty many WordPress-style features like SEO post analysis, product embeds, categories, and multiple contributors.

Shopify is primarily a selling platform, so if you require powerful ecommerce and standard blogging tools, it’s a great choice. But, if blogging is the core of your business, with ecommerce as the secondary bit, then you’re better off with a website builder that has ecommerce functionality added on. Although Shopify is better than other ecommerce website builders such as Volusion, Big Cartel, GoDaddy, and Ship4Shop for blogging, it’s not as good as website builders like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace.


The Shopify platform provides a comprehensive range of reporting tools to help you keep track of your business performance. The platform offers various reports, including sales, customer, marketing, search data, finance, and abandoned cart reports, right in the Shopify Dashboard. However, the more advanced reports and analytics tools are only included in the more expensive Shopify plans, which may be a drawback for some users.

To get more detailed data, you can consider adding Google Analytics to your Shopify account. Doing so will give you additional insights into your store’s performance, such as tracking sales and analyzing customer behavior.

However, Shopify is missing blog-specific analytics, which may be important for businesses that use blogging as part of their marketing strategy. If this is a crucial feature for you, you may be better off with other platforms like Wix or Squarespace.

Shopify Store

Shopify App Store is a treasure trove of over 8,000 free and paid-for applications that provide additional features to the store’s core functionality. This makes Shopify App Store larger than those of its competitors. These Shopify apps can either add specific functionality to your Shopify store or let it work with other important business apps.

The wide range of apps is a significant advantage of using Shopify but can also be a disadvantage. On the one hand, you can access a very wide range of apps to add functionality to your Shopify store or integrate it with other tools and platforms. However, some Shopify apps require payment, which can add up quickly, especially if you need features like product reviews, AMP, additional product options, and custom fields.

Another disadvantage of having too many apps is that it can slow down your store’s performance, which can have negative implications for SEO. This is why competing platforms like BigCommerce include more functionality out of the box, reducing the need for additional apps and potentially saving you money in the long run.

Nonetheless, the Shopify App Store is still an excellent resource for store owners looking to add extra features to their websites, and the sheer number of options available is impressive. It’s worth exploring the app store to find the right tools to take your Shopify store to the next level.

Shopify themes

Shopify’s themes are top-quality, and there are plenty of options, both free and premium, for you to find the right one for your online Shopify store.

You can choose from 12 free themes like the cool ‘Dawn’ and ‘Refresh’ templates. Though the number of free themes is smaller than other platforms like Wix or Squarespace, they still look great and work well on any device. There are also 119 premium themes that cost between $180 to $360. And the number of both free and paid themes is still increasing.

All of the themes, free or premium, are fully responsive, which means they adapt to fit any screen size. You can filter the themes by price, industry type, catalog size, and features to find what you need. They also come with customizable content sections, SEO tools, drop-down menus, free updates, mobile-friendly design, social media icons, built-in styles and color schemes, and free stock photos from Burst.

Most of the Shopify themes have a pretty consistent look—all have a professional and modern vibe. You can even build your own theme using the platform’s code and tutorials to make it unique. Just keep in mind that if you use a premium theme, you might need to contact the developer for help with installation or customization.

We must admit that Shopify free themes are already pretty great, with the basic features and good-looking interface. However, if you wish for something greater, then Shopify premium themes with more advanced merchandising features, like an integrated customer review section or advanced product option display, can be a better option.

You can click here to compare how free and premium themes look in the Shopify Theme Store.

Content layout

Shopify has introduced a new theme format called ‘Online Store 2.0’ (OS 2.0) that offers many content presentation options that were previously unavailable.

It is a significant improvement for Shopify.

The OS 2.0 comes with a drag-and-drop builder that makes it easy to add blocks and sections to page layouts.

However, accessing the drag-and-drop page builder can be a bit confusing. You need to use the ‘customize theme’ option from your Shopify dashboard to access it instead of finding your page and editing it in the ‘pages’ section. Plus, to edit page content, you still need to use a basic WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor and then apply the relevant template you’ve designed to it.

The new drag-and-drop editor has some limitations, especially when it comes to forms. You can only add a simple contact or mailing list signup form into page templates. To create more bespoke forms, you’ll need to do some coding or use an app like Shopify Forms.

Product images

When you upload images to your Shopify store, they won’t automatically be cropped to a uniform size if they have different aspect ratios. This can result in a jumbled, inconsistent look for your product catalog, which isn’t good for your store’s design. Luckily, you can easily fix this by cropping your images to a consistent ratio before or after uploading them. Shopify even has a built-in photo editor that you can use to do this.

While you can also force images to display in a certain ratio with a bit of code, this may not be the best option for non-technical users. Or else, you can use a third-party app, which may involve some extra fee, from the Shopify App Store. Overall, Shopify is a user-friendly platform that’s easy to set up for first-time ecommerce store owners. Just remember to make your product images consistent for a polished and professional look.

Shopify review: Tax rules and VAT MOSS

Selling products online can be tricky, especially when it comes to dealing with taxes in different jurisdictions with varying tax rates. But Shopify makes it easier for store owners by offering automatic tax calculations for most territories. This feature is not available on all ecommerce platforms, and those that do offer it usually only cater to a limited number of countries.

Shopify’s automatic tax calculation feature applies to registration-based taxes for countries such as Australia, Canada, the European Union, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. So, store owners can save time by not having to manually apply tax rates themselves.

Another standout feature of Shopify is its ability to cater to the EU’s VAT MOSS rules for digital products. VAT MOSS requires sellers to add Value Added Tax (VAT) to each product sold to consumers in the EU on a per-country basis. Shopify automatically calculates and applies the appropriate digital tax rate, which is a big plus for store owners. Other ecommerce platforms may require manual tax rule setup, adding to the complexity of the tax process.

Overall, Shopify’s automatic tax calculation tool is a time-saver for online store owners, and its ability to handle VAT MOSS rules is a unique selling point. It’s important to keep an eye on everything to ensure accuracy and compliance, but this feature certainly takes some of the headaches out of selling online.

Shopify review: Security and backing up data

When it comes to online sales, security is a top priority. Fortunately, Shopify takes care of most of the security concerns, so you don’t have to. As a hosted ecommerce solution, Shopify is responsible for keeping the software and plugins up-to-date, which is great for reducing the chance of security vulnerabilities. Additionally, Shopify handles PCI compliance, which ensures that customer payment information is kept safe during transactions.

One area where you will need to take responsibility is data backups. Although Shopify can assist with data retrieval in an emergency, it’s best to export your data regularly to a CSV file or use a backup tool from the Shopify App Store. This will help ensure that your content is safe and easily accessible in case of any issues.

Furthermore, all Shopify plans include SSL security, which encrypts data exchanged between your Shopify store and your customers. This is essential for protecting sensitive information, such as payment details, from potential hackers. Additionally, Shopify is Level 1 PCI DSS compliant by default, meaning that you don’t need to worry about meeting payment industry security standards.

Shopify review: Customer support

Shopify is renowned for its exceptional customer support services. The company provides help materials in over 21 languages, and its support team is available round-the-clock every day of the week. You can contact them via email, phone, or live chat, and they will promptly respond to your query.

Shopify’s help center is quite extensive, with a wealth of information that can help you resolve many issues. Although the materials are mostly text-based, there are several video tutorials on the official Shopify YouTube channel that provide a more visual approach to learning.

Compared to some of its competitors, Shopify’s support offering is significantly better. Squarespace, one of its key competitors, does not provide phone support at all. However, if your inquiry is of a particularly technical nature, you may not always get the answers you need from the standard support service. In such cases, it’s sometimes better to post a question in a Shopify community forum and hope that a developer gets back to you.

Shopify’s support team is available to help you with any issues you might encounter while using the platform. You can access their contact details by first searching through the help pages for a solution to your problem. Although this may be frustrating, it’s standard practice for most support desks for web applications.

Shopify offers various channels through which you can access their customer support services, including 24/7 phone support, social media support, live chat support, a community forum, email support, and a help center. Additionally, the Shopify Plus plan provides advanced specialist support, giving you access to your own dedicated support agent. Even on the cheapest price plan, you still have access to round-the-clock support services, which is a rare feature in the ecommerce builder space.

User Reviews

Throughout this article, we’ve covered the user-friendly features Shopify offers, as well as caveats about certain inadequacies. However, nothing will be more realistic than learning from the real experiences of previous users.

Here are a few real reviews of Shopify experiences that we’ve gathered from reputable websites:

  • Karan V. on G2 - July 25, 2023

Rate: 4.5/5

Comment: “User-friendly eCommerce platform”

“Shopify is one of the best user-friendly eCommerce platforms. I like one thing in shopify that small businesses can also manage their store and increase it’s business in the shopify platform with ease of use. Shopify is very good platform for developers also, where developers can integrate shopify functionalities with web applications. Shopify provides many functionalities that we can integrate with our online store. Shopify provides very rich security and privacy.” However, they also mentioned some disadvantages they experienced from Shopify: “Shopify does not provide deep customization of shopify store. We can’t add some custom changes in shopify. Developers have limited access to modify things like custom changes in the shopify store.”

  • C&L Botanicals on Shopify App Store - October 20, 2022

Rate: 5/5

They commented about Judge.me Product Reviews, one of the most popular apps with merchants across Shopify, as: “Seriously the BEST reviews app!!!! There are so many ways to customize your shop reviews, even if you only have the free account. Customer service is really helpful as well. I never sell the same product twice, and I was having a hard time finding a review app that allows me to put all the reviews on my shop homepage, rather than on a specific product. Judge.me has every sort of customization option possible. I will most likely end up paying the monthly subscription fee to get all the benefits. If anyone deserves my money, it’s Judge.me!”

  • Mike Fernandes on TrustPilot - May 22, 2023

Rate: 2/5

Comment: “Useless customer service, and you can’t do basic things like position things where you want, and you can’t even left align text!! Rich text is always centered and you can’t do anything about it! Wow!! Never seen such useless options before.

Customer service is quite useless. I asked a basic question, like why can’t I have smaller text on mobile and larger text on the desktop version, and they give a weird generic answer and start talking about having to work with custom code. They’re also a bit delicate, so you must walk on eggshells. Different sized text between mobile and desktop versions is basic functionality that Shopify can’t handle.

Spent all this time setting things up, now I have to go find another option. They need to do a better job of hiring qualified people.”

Who can Use Shopify?

If you are retail owners wondering if Shopify would suit your enterprises, this upcoming fact is good news for you. Shopify is a versatile platform that caters to a wide range of industries. Here’s a breakdown including but not limited to industries that can benefit from using Shopify:

  • Retail: Whether it’s fashion, electronics, or home goods, Shopify provides an excellent platform for online retail stores of all sizes.
  • Fashion and Apparel: Boutique shops, clothing brands, and designers can effectively showcase and sell their products.
  • Beauty and Cosmetics: Brands offering skincare, makeup, and personal care products can create appealing online storefronts.
  • Food and Beverages: Restaurants, cafes, and specialty food businesses can showcase menus, take orders, and manage deliveries.
  • Health and Wellness: Gyms, wellness centers, and healthcare providers can offer services, products, and appointments online.
  • Electronics: Tech retailers can showcase gadgets, electronics, and accessories, and manage their e-commerce operations.
  • Home and Decor: Furniture stores, interior designers, and home decor businesses can display their offerings beautifully.
  • Art and Crafts: Artists, artisans, and crafters can sell their creations directly to a global audience.
  • Books and Publications: Authors, publishers, and bookstores can promote and sell books and literary works.
  • Jewelry: Jewelry designers and retailers can present their exquisite pieces to a wider market.
  • Toys and Games: Toy stores and game shops can reach customers interested in entertainment products.
  • Automotive: Car accessories, parts, and equipment businesses can expand their reach online.
  • Sports and Outdoor: Sports equipment stores, outdoor gear retailers, and adventure tour operators can connect with enthusiasts.
  • Pet Supplies: Pet stores, grooming services, and pet accessory providers can offer their products and services.
  • Music and Instruments: Music stores, instrument sellers, and music schools can showcase their offerings.

Shopify Review: FAQs

Is Shopify good for beginners?

Yes, Shopify is an excellent platform for beginners. It has a user-friendly interface and provides a variety of tools and features that make it easy to set up and manage an online store. Shopify also offers 24/7 support and a wealth of resources, such as guides, tutorials, and forums, to help beginners get started.

Is Shopify safe and legit?

Yes, Shopify is a safe and legitimate platform that has been around since 2006. It is used by over 4 million businesses worldwide and is a publicly-traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Shopify takes security very seriously and uses various measures to protect its users’ data, such as SSL encryption, PCI compliance, and regular security audits.

What are the disadvantages of Shopify?

Although Shopify is a great platform, it does have some potential downsides. For example, Shopify charges transaction fees for using third-party payment gateways, which can add up if you have a high volume of sales. Additionally, some users have reported limited customization options for their Shopify stores, which can be frustrating if you want to create a unique look and feel. However, Shopify is overall good for anyone to start selling online.

Can I sell video content on Shopify?

Yes, you can sell video content on Shopify. Shopify supports a wide range of digital products, including videos, music, ebooks, and more. You can use Shopify to create a digital product and sell it directly to your customers through your online store.

Is it easy to upgrade or downgrade my Shopify plan?

Yes, it’s easy to upgrade or downgrade your Shopify plan. You can do this at any time from your Shopify account dashboard. Shopify will automatically adjust your billing based on the new plan you choose. If you downgrade your plan, you may lose access to some features that were available on your previous plan. However, please note that you can’t downgrade your plan to the Starter Plan.

What are the best Shopify alternatives?

There are several Shopify alternatives to consider, depending on your specific needs and budget. Some popular options include WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, and Wix. Each platform has its own unique features and benefits, so it’s important to research and compare them to find the best fit for your business.

Does Shopify take a percentage of sales?

Yes, Shopify charges transaction fees for using third-party payment gateways. The fees vary depending on your Shopify pricing plan and can range from 0.5% to 2% per transaction. However, if you use Shopify Payments as your payment gateway, there are no transaction fees.

Can I make money with Shopify?

Absolutely! Shopify provides a robust platform for creating and running online stores. Many entrepreneurs have found success by leveraging its tools and features to sell products and services, making Shopify a popular choice for e-commerce ventures.

What is the most appropriate Shopify plan for newbies?

For newcomers, the “Basic Shopify” plan is often a great starting point. It offers essential features at an affordable price, allowing newbies to set up their online store, explore Shopify’s functionalities, and gradually scale as they become more comfortable with the platform.

What are the best marketing features of Shopify?

Shopify offers a range of powerful marketing tools, including social media integration, email marketing, SEO optimization, and the ability to create discounts and promotions. These features help merchants reach their target audience, boost sales, and enhance their online presence.

Is Shopify easy to use?

Yes, Shopify is designed to be user-friendly. Its intuitive interface, drag-and-drop features, and extensive documentation make it accessible even for those with limited technical skills. Additionally, Shopify’s customer support is available 24/7 to assist users with any questions or issues.

Can I use Shopify for free of charge?

While Shopify does offer a free trial period (typically 3 days), using the platform beyond the trial does require a subscription. Shopify offers different pricing plans to suit various business needs, but there is a cost associated with using the platform to host and operate your online store.

Shopify Review: The bottom line

Overall, Shopify is a popular and robust e-commerce platform that offers a range of features and benefits for businesses of all sizes. However, it is important to carefully consider the platform’s pricing structure and potential drawbacks before making a decision. By reading this Shopify review and weighing the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision about whether Shopify is the right fit for your online store.

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. Sam aims to support more than a million online businesses to grow and develop.

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