Founded in 2004, Shopify is one of the leading e-commerce platforms on the market. Designed with small/medium-sized business in mind, the Shopify system revolves around the idea that simplicity and beauty are two sides of the same coin.
For just $29/month, you get access to an elegant, fully personalized online store, reliable hosting services, social media integration and 24/7 support. Shopify has managed to take all the complexity out of e-commerce site-building, and replaced it with a system so intuitive and easy to use that first-time e-commerce retailers can make plenty of money off of their online sales. With partners like Amazon, Uber, and Facebook, it’s no wonder that more than 200,000 businesses are using this e-commerce powerhouse.
Simple and fully customizable website design
Full social media integration
14 day free trial - no credit card needed
100+ design templates
70+ international payment gateways
Fully functioning blog platform
Built-in mobile friendly shopping cart
Rock-solid hosting and security
Add-on apps can be expensive
Not the most innovative blogging software
Ease of use is great, but it’s not worth much if you’re left with a boring online store. This is where Shopify’s attention to detail truly comes to light. With over 100+ professional templates available, Shopify has ensured that every single one of their customers gets exactly what they’re looking for. Keep in mind: while there are plenty of free themes available, there are a few paid themes.
Now when it comes to customization, you’re generally given two options: templates or access to the code. Fortunately for you, Shopify went ahead and decided to offer full customization for both methods.
If you’d rather stay away from anything to do with coding, your online store will still have that professional, sleek feel. That being said, if you’re looking to edit the HTML and CSS of your online store, Shopify provides you with full access. No matter what you choose, Shopify has some of the most visually impressive website designs on the market.
Keep in mind that any customization, even by the code, is for visual design only. Like other major e-commerce platforms Shopify does not allow you to edit source code to change the functionality of the shopping cart.
Basic Shopify - $29/month ($312 for one-year contract at $26/month)
Shopify - $79/month ($852 for one-year contract at $71/month)
Advanced Shopify - $299/month ($3,192 for one-year contract at $266/month)
When you consider that simplicity is one of the major selling points of Shopify as an e-commerce site builder, it’s no surprise how much emphasis was put on integration. This is particularly noticeable when it comes to the payment options that Shopify offers.
For starters, your online store will instantly be compatible with more than 70 external payment gateways. From Paypal to Stripe, Shopify makes it easy to accept payment from just about anywhere in the world.
Where Shopify really starts to pull ahead of the pack is with their social media e-commerce integration. By allowing you to sell directly from your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages, Shopify has made it easier than ever before for your customers to purchase from you.
Speaking of the importance of social media, the importance of digital marketing is something that can’t be stressed enough, especially if you’re a first time e-commerce retailer. There’s no denying that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical component of your site’s visibility on search engines like Google and Yahoo. Realizing the importance of having a holistic approach, Shopify made sure to provide support for the most effective SEO practices.
Customizable H1, title, and meta tags are all supported by Shopify’s site-building software. Beyond that, Shopify has incorporated SEO-friendly product reviews into its platform.
There’s not much beyond that basic functionality with Shopify’s native SEO tools. However, there is an extensive app marketplace where you may be able to add SEO specific apps to your store to help improve your organic search visibility.
This might be the most impressive aspect of Shopify’s site building software. Having a beautiful website design may be valuable, but having a store that provides you with peace of mind is truly priceless.
Forget about the fact that hosting protects both your business and your customers from cyber attacks. The main concern that small businesses have when it comes to their e-commerce store is experiencing downtime and tarnishing their brand. When you consider that a spotless reputation can be ruined by a website crashing on Black Friday, it’s no wonder that retailers are looking for guarantees.
While Shopify doesn’t pretend to be perfect, it has gotten pretty close. Historically, Shopify has had 99.99% uptime. Your Shopify plan also comes with daily backups of all your information, an secure socket layer (SSL) certificate to keep your customers’ information safe and completely unlimited bandwidth.
Aside from having 24/7 monitoring for downtime, Shopify understands that problems can arise at any time. Shopify has a dedicated support team that’s available 24/7, by phone, email or live chat.
For problems that are less urgent or if you’re just curious about something, Shopify has tutorials, user guides, ebooks, webinars and plenty more. No matter what your problem, Shopify seems ready and willing to help you push through it.
Shopify has received glowing recommendations from the e-commerce world, and it’s easy to see why. Behind the scenes, Shopify is an efficient, reliable service that understands the importance of consistency.
If you’re a budding e-commerce retailer, Shopify is going to be your best bet. Its website designs manage to be user-friendly and highly customizable all at once. It’s simple, thorough, and easily one of the best values for launching and maintaining an online store.