Shopify Review

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Date Established
2006
Location
Canada

Highlights:

  • User-friendly
  • Attractive UI and designs
  • Excellent customer support
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Customizable and HTML CSS friendly

Overview:

Shopify is a fully web-based eCommerce Shopping Cart that gives you the ability to sell retail goods online. You can create your store, pick your design, customize it to suit your brand, add products, adjust tax and shipping settings, manage orders, manage customers, get sales reports, and so on. It’s a feature-rich sales register for online retailers, both big and small. The software sits on Shopify’s servers, which all but nullifies the cost and effort of maintaining your own servers.

Shopify is based out of Ontario, Canada, and has been in business since 2006. The original software was developed by the trio Tobias Lütke, Daniel Welnand, and Scott Lake, who created Shopify when their own snowboarding business needed a better online shopping cart than what was on the market. Rather than complain and move on, they created their own solution. Shopify now serves more than 243,000 merchants, and that number is growing daily with clients like the Foo Fighters, Amnesty International, and Github (see full gallery here). These merchants together have now totaled over $14 Billion dollars in transactions.

The original release of the software was very good, but when Shopify 2 rolled out in April of 2013, it came with more robust and merchant-minded features, as well as a cleaner backend. It also added a live Theme Editor, and better search and filter functionality to its admin. The ability to issue partial refunds (without having to go through PayPal) and improved analytics and reporting tools are also bright spots in the new version.

We extensively researched and tested this software. Keep in mind that the info you’ll read in this review applies to Shopify’s latest version. In my opinion, Shopify is one of the best (if not the best) shopping cart platforms on the web today, although I can’t say that it isn’t without its downsides. Even so, the beauty, simplicity, and customer support earned Shopify a near perfect rating. Continue reading our Shopify review for all the details.

Get Started With Shopify

Pricing:

All Shopify plans come with a fully functional 14-day (no credit card required) trial. There are no setup or cancellation fees. While their plans are offered on a month-to-month basis, users can opt to subscribe for a 1-year contract, payable up front, for a 10% discount, or 20% for a 2-year contract. The prices below reflect the eCommerce pricing only. Prices may vary when including Point of Sale (POS) systems and hardware.

Lite plan: $9/month

Credit Card Rate:

  • 2.9% + 30¢ Online

Transaction Fee:

  • 2%
  • No transaction fee if you use Shopify Payments. If you choose an external payment gateway, there will be a variable transaction fee, based on your plan.

Features:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited number of products
  • Unlimited online storage
  • Facebook integration
  • Chat & Email Support

Basic plan: $29/month

Credit Card Rate:

  • 2.9% + 30¢ Online

Transaction Fee:

  • 2%

Additional Features:

  • Pinterest integration
  • 24/7 Support
  • Shopify Mobile
  • Discount code engine
  • Free Shopify Card Reader
  • Online store and Blog

Pro plan: $79/month

Credit Card Rate:

  • 2.6% + 30¢

Transaction Fee:

  • 1%

Additional Features:

  • Gift cards
  • Professional reports
  • Abandoned cart recovery

Unlimited plan: $179/month

Credit Card Rate:

  • 2.4% + 30¢ Online

Transaction Fee:

  • 0.5%

Additional Features:

  • Advanced report builder
  • Real-time carrier shipping

Enterprise: If you’re planning on selling over a million dollars per year, you’ll need to contact them for special pricing.

I’m not too fond of Shopify’s transaction fees, although they do get waived if you use Shopify as your credit card processor. The other carts that I’ve reviewed like Magento, BigCommerce, and Volusion don’t charge any transaction fees, so that’s something to consider when making your decision. It’s absolutely worth crunching the numbers with your projected yearly sales to determine if these fees are something you can handle. Shopify does offer unlimited bandwidth on all plans, however. Some hosted shopping cart vendors have been known to gouge customers on hidden bandwidth fees, so that may even things out a bit.

Web-Hosted or Licensed:

Web-Hosted.

Ease of Use:

Front End (customer-facing):

The most important aspect of a Shopping Cart is not how easy it is for you to use; it’s how easy the customer finds it to use. No customer will depart with their hard-earned cash if the sales process is frustrating. That’s a sure way to have a very high volume of abandoned carts. Furthermore, most of those customers will not return, or worse, will not recommend your store to their sphere of influence.

With that in mind, Shopify gets 5 stars in the Ease of Use department. I do not give a perfect score lightly. The Shopify cart was very easy to set up and manage. I was able to complete a mock transaction and test how the software works from both the customer side and the admin side. If I had been a customer transacting a deal, I would have felt assured that the retailer was legitimate, organized, and professional. The icing on the cake is that I saw no Shopify branding, giving me a consistent shopping experience.

Back End (admin panel):

As for getting the online store set up, it only takes a few minutes to open and create the bones of your store. When you first start to build your site, you can preview how it will look before you go live. You can view your store either via the live editor in the backend or online by using a password, which is emailed to you when you sign up for a free trial. To make the process of opening your store even easier, Shopify also offers a service for purchasing and setting up a domain name (under “store settings” then “domain”) or walks you through how to use your current URL in your store.

Your admin homepage outlines the four main steps you’ll need to take before you start selling: adding products, customizing your branding, setting up your domain, and determining your shipping and tax info. But of course, the seasoned retailer knows they will also want to spend time writing store policies, adding a shop description and product details, integrating add-ons like Google Analytics and more. Inputting collections (aka categories), customer info, items, images, etc. is very straightforward. The improved Fraud Detection and Partial Returns features offered in the new version only sweeten the deal.

Overall Experience:

In the eCommerce world, simplicity is critical. If a business owner has to spend more time learning the cart rather than launching their store, they are likely to look elsewhere for a more manageable shopping cart. Shopify makes it easy to get off the ground, and allows you to fine-tune later on.

Some final notes about Shopify’s ease of use:

  • Adding products is a cinch, compared to some of the competition.
  • You can drag and drop links in your navigation menu to rearrange them.
  • There’s a blog/article section that comes standard with every shop, and adding pages or blog posts is incredibly easy to do.
  • Editing themes couldn’t be simpler.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Since Shopify is a web-based (hosted) eCommerce software, all you’ll need is an internet connection and an updated browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari). There are no hardware or operating system requirements, but it’s obviously better to have updated technology.

If you choose to add hardware to your physical store location, Shopify has retail hardware packages that they support.

Features:

Shopify is one of the more feature-rich carts out there, and that’s not just a nice way of saying “complex.” Some of the advanced features are optional (like editing your own HTML code) while others are completely automatic (like shipping and tax calculators.) Shopify is excellent at being highly accessible for the newcomer and online guru alike.

I’ve compiled a list of highlights that Shopify offers. Most of these features are offered at every subscription level, but a few (such as support for Gift Cards and the real-time shipping calculator) are exclusive to the higher paid plans. The exclusive features don’t strike me as a hook to get merchants to spring for more expensive plans; the feature sets actually seem well tailored to the size of business they are designed for. Here are a few highlights:

Design:

  • Website builder. Some shopping carts out there are designed to be embedded in pre-existing sites, but Shopify offers an in-house tool for designing a complete online store.
  • Themes. No coding required. While there are plenty of free themes to choose from, the average price came in around $150.
  • HTML CSS friendly. For those who want to customize their store or add unique features, you may dig to the code as much as you like.
  • Mobile friendly. Most themes have designs for your desktop computer, and your phones and tablets as well.

Dashboard:

  • Mobile Management. Log in to your dashboard and keep your store running smoothly, as easily as if you were in your office.
  • Fulfillment. Connect with fulfillment centers, or perform single or bulk fulfillment actions.
  • Google Analytics. Shopify includes traffic and referral reports to give you a bird’s eye view of your store.
  • Abandoned cart recovery. To help increase your conversion, you can set up emails to be automatically sent to customers who have not completed their transactions.
  • Reports. Reports on products, inventory levels, sales, and more are exportable to your preferred 3rd party tools.

Reports overview

Checkout:

  • 45+ payment gateways supported for the U.S., and many more for other countries. Accept all major credit cards, and even trendy alternatives like Bitcoin.
  • Automatic taxes. Shopify can automatically detect your region for calculating state and county tax rates.
  • Automatic shipping rates. Available in the Unlimited plan, shipping rates are retrieved real-time from most major carriers.
  • Secure checkout with a 256-bit SSL Certificate. This is the encryption that is used by all the major U.S. banks, ensuring your and your customer’s data is secure.

CRM:

  • Guest checkout. Shoppers who are new to your store may want to try out a few products before committing to yet another online account.
  • Customer accounts. For your loyal returning shoppers, you can offer account creation, which helps you manage orders and order history, offer related products, and include them in special promotions.
  • Customer Profiles. Quickly locate customers and customer groups, track shopping habits, offer targeted promotions, and more.
  • Email templates. Whether you’re sending out marketing blasts, digital receipts, or abandoned cart notifications, there are customizable email templates to keep your communication clean and consistent.

Products:

  • Organization. Keep products organized into groups for specific seasons, certain promotions, or admin-level considerations like vendor price and inventory count.
  • Inventory Control. Includes options such as low-stock freezes, so you can’t dig yourself into a hole by out-selling your supply.
  • Digital Downloads are supported.
  • Variations. Options such as size, color, accessories, or bundles can be tracked separately in your inventory.

Create size variants

Web:

  • Unlimited Bandwidth. Shopify doesn’t penalize you for have successful online traffic.
  • SEO tools include product-level SEO data, like titles and meta tags
  • Social Media integration. Customers can browse your products without ever leaving Facebook, and Buy Now buttons can be added to sites like Pinterest.
  • Promo codes can be generated for certain customer groups, certain product bundles, and other special promotions.
  • Gift cards are able to be produced in the Professional and Unlimited plans.

If there’s something missing, you can most likely find add-ons to complete your site in Shopify’s App Store.

Web Design:

As I mentioned above, the dashboard in Shopify 2 received a complete makeover. The end result is a refined, functional admin. I especially like the super intuitive, live theme editor (found under “Themes,” then “Theme Settings” in the backend.) This new tool lets you customize your store’s design elements while tracking changes in a preview window without having to first publish the changes. I love that as soon as you save a change–switch the font from Arial to Verdana, for example–it instantly appears in the live editor without having to refresh the pop-up screen.

Shopify’s Theme Settings make it really easy to customize the most important areas of your template without requiring you to edit the raw files. Shopify gives you an incredible amount of control in a “for dummies” format, which is essential for anyone who doesn’t have an in-depth knowledge of web design.

As of the date of this review, there are over 100 premium themes to choose from, several of which are free, with new skins from third-party developers being uploaded all the time. These themes are some of the best looking designs that I have seen. Very clean, very stylish, very professional. If I was just starting out, I would definitely choose to purchase a theme over hiring a design firm. It would protect me from one more headache, and save some hard-earned cash in the long run. However, if you do need a design pro, then head over to the “Experts” section. You’ll be sure to find one there.

Your own domain name can be added, or you can purchase custom one through Shopify for as little as $9.

Integrations and Add-Ons:

There are entirely too many integrations and add-ons for me to list here. Chances are, if you can think of it, Shopify has already made it available in its App Store. In addition to apps developed by Shopify (there’s a popular Shopify iPhone app that’s free to download), you’ll find a plethora of accounting, social media, marketing, reporting, and more third-party add-ons. They’re all there.

Some of the apps are free, and others cost a small fee, so if you’re consistently adding new paid apps to increase the functionality of your store, then things may get pricey. Check out Shopify’s App Store to browse offerings.

Payment Processing:

Shopify is compatible with more than 45 gateways, including top names like Visa and PayPal, so chances are great that you’ll be able to work with your credit card processor in order to accept payments from buyers around the world.

In August of 2013 the cart rolled out Shopify Payments. The in-house credit card processor seamlessly integrates into merchant accounts, instantly ‘green lights’ payments, enables easier chargeback recovery, and lets merchants view payments in real-time. If you decide to use Shopify Payments, your transaction fees will be lifted regardless of your plan, and you can add on a second processor like PayPal for no additional fees. You can read more about the program here. At last check Shopify Payments was only available to merchants based in the U.S.

Customer Service and Technical Support:

Shopify offers phone, email, and live chat support in addition to a whole slew of other resources, including a support center, Knowledge Base, a discussion forum, and a Shopify “Experts” page where you can find experienced professionals in design, marketing, development, and photography.

It’s clear that Shopify puts time and effort into customer relationship development, since the more your store grows the longer you’re likely to be a customer. I could spend hours clicking around Shopify’s own Blog which spotlights topics like SEO, dropshipping, and growing your business.

The company also has Facebook and Twitter accounts that can serve as additional support channels should you not have any luck with the above resources.

While Shopify used to lack 24/7 phone support, I am happy to see that merchants can now contact a support person directly for assistance with different numbers for users based in North America, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

Phone numbers are available for UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. See the list here.

My overall experience with Customer Service and Technical Support was positive. I submitted one general question and one technical one, and in both cases, I got a satisfactory response the same day.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

I had a hard time finding many negative reviews of Shopify 2. Overall, the online chatter seems to be very positive. However, Shopify is not completely without complaints. The main things that customers have been talking about are:

  • Add-Ons Can Get Expensive – Some users are a bit upset with how expensive the add-ons can become. Since Shopify is focused on minimalism right out the box, most store owners have to buy add-ons to increase the functionality of their store.
  • Transaction Fees – There are quite a few customers complaining about Shopify’s transaction fees, which is understandable. Nobody wants to pay out a percentage of their sales, especially when they’re already doing it with their credit card processor. Keep in mind that Shopify Payments users are exempt from transaction fees.
  • Checkout Redirects to Shopify.com – When someone wants to pay for the product that they bought from your store, they will be redirected to the Shopify domain (checkout.shopify.com). It’s possible that seeing the domain change may scare off some customers, but I haven’t seen any studies to verify the claim.
  • Designers Don’t Like Liquid Templating Language – Some hardcore designers and developers are complaining about Shopify’s use of Liquid Templating. Apparently there’s a slight learning curve, and designers prefer to work with something that they already know.

And here are some less frequent complaints:

  • No Real-Time Shipping in Lower Plans.
  • No one-page checkout.
  • Can’t create custom checkout URLs/fully customize checkout pages.
  • Room to expand internationalization.
  • No Discount Codes in Starter or Basic Plans.
  • Limited to 100 Product Variations – Apps like the Product Customizer can help you get around that for a small monthly fee.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

You can find a large number of positive Shopify reviews directly on the Shopify website, but that’s no surprise. Elsewhere on the web the feedback that I’ve read about Shopify is very positive, with most people praising Shopify’s ease of use and excellent customer support. I personally agree with those reviews. Most users are happy with Shopify 2 and report few issues transitioning to the updated software. Here are some user highlights:

  • Easy to Use – This is by far the most frequent glowing review that I’ve read about Shopify. They’ve really nailed the “simplicity” thing. I am yet to try another shopping cart that is easier to use than Shopify. Kudos on this one.
  • Gorgeous Themes – I couldn’t agree more with the online chatter about this one. Shopify’s themes are really nice. And they just keep getting better.
  • Excellent Support – A lot of people are raving about Shopify’s customer support, which is a rarity in this industry. Most shopping cart providers fall short on the customer service end, but Shopify seems to be doing well.

And here are some less frequent positives:

  • Full-control over HTML/CSS.
  • Unlimited bandwidth.
  • Offers a CDN (Content Delivery Network).
  • Automated daily backups.
  • Mobile-friendly.
  • Good track record for server uptime.
  • Compatible with many payment gateways.

Security:

After speaking with a Customer Service Representative, I was able to determine that Shopify is certified as Tier 1 in PCI compliance. They employ 256-bit encryption, and offer free shared SSL certificates, which is an additional charge for some of their competitors.

More information about their hosting solution can be found here.

Final Verdict:

It may have taken more than five years to roll out, but Shopify 2 is proof that good things come to those who wait. Shopify has a decisive edge in the shopping cart market, even compared to up-and-comers like Spree Commerce and LemonStand; it remains ahead of the curve by offering a slew of features at every price point, and by staying ultra competitive with those prices while maintaining user-friendliness.

I especially appreciate the ability to use multiple registers/locations (iPads and traditional registers alike) with no-hassle inventory syncing. And for larger retailers, the added feature to automatically email users who have abandoned their carts could definitely prove to bolster the bottom line.

If you’re looking for simplicity, great customer support, and nice looking designs, then Shopify is the cart for you. This company has figured out how to focus on making the core features of a shopping cart work without overextending the product. By doing so, they’ve created a great shopping cart solution, and freed their time up to provide exceptional customer service to their users.

That being said, Shopify is definitely not without its downsides. The biggest of which are transaction fees and add-on expenses, which price Shopify slightly above the cost of most other shopping carts. Shopify also lacks a few built-in features that come standard with some other carts (e.g. one page check-out).

Would I choose Shopify if I was building an online store? In spite of the negatives, I can honestly say yes. But regardless of what I say, I recommend taking Shopify for a trial run. It’s important to test out the product for yourself to see how it works for your business.

Get Started With Shopify

Erik Robie

Erik Robie

Erik is a writer, small business developer, and photographer, making his home in Northern Colorado. He has been publishing his writing for 15 years, and occasionally sells his photos when he can pull himself away from the keyboard. When he's not writing the CRM, HelpDesk, and Shopping Cart categories for Merchant Maverick, he can usually be found on his mountain bike, playing volleyball, hiking with his camera, or keeping the local coffee shops in business.
Erik Robie

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39 Comments

    Clive

    I have used Shopify for 8 years. I have 3 stores running. I would not recommend Shopify. They are now too big and simply do not care. They are willing to go home on the weekend and leave your store down (Yes that’s all three) I then get an email on the Monday morning from Alan Hill “Hopefully it resolved itself over the weekend for you! ” No it didn’t. So you keep calling and get bright eyed little well meaning bunnies, now called Guru’s, who unfortunately are just not trained but worse not empowered.

    RatingNot Rated
    Jann Richardson, Owner LAMPGOODS

    I left BigCommerce after they changed my monthly rate by 500%.! I’d been with them for nearly 2 years and overall was pleased, but when they increased it without an option, I looked to another source and decided on Shopify.
    I have been using Shopify for 3 months and I am thrilled! My top reason is my Google ranking! It has continued to increase and I am now ranked HIGHER than I had ever been with BigCommerce. My only negative with Shopify is when you call in for help, BigCommerce wins on this one.

    Go with SHOPIFY you won’t be disappointed and contact me if you have questions.

    RatingNot Rated
    Matt B.

    First let me say, I really find the Shopify platform useful. We moved our store http://www.iConvertwireless.com from Bigcommerce to Shopify. Everything was going well. We signed up for shopify payments (stripe processes their payments) and were initially approved. 7 days later they said we were selling a prohibited item. We sell smartphones / cell phones. We can’t find those in their TOS as prohibited items. They do have telecommunications equipment / phone sales but if you google that you will see that category (category 4812) is meant for utilities as it lists telegraphs, water, gas, etc. We have called and emailed Shopify.com support about this problem but they say the risk management decision is final and won’t allow me to talk to a supervisor about the issue. So after we went to the trouble and expense of moving our website they are insisting we can’t use their payment system and because we can’t we owe an additional .5% as a fee for not using Shopify Payments (which again, we would use if we could). Needless to say, we were not thrilled about this as it could effectively DOUBLE our monthly Shopify.com fee. So our main shopify complaint is we are getting charged a fee that we didn’t intend on and now we have done all the leg work and invested both time and a lot of money in the site. And then is it worth the pain to move back to Bigcommerce? You should ask yourself that if you are considering the move to Shopify.

    RatingNot Rated
    Dmitri

    This may be a good platform to start your online experience with, despite the high fees.

    However, i’ve run into an unexpected hurdle that I can not seem to resolve. I have had a chargeback (stolen credit card) from an order. It was settled, i had to pay out of my pocket. After I covered the $2,000 chargeback willingly to keep my store operating, they froze my orders and would not let my money out of my account. They have started a fraud investigation on me, and requested my re-seller agreements and shipping and tracking information for my latest orders, which I produced promptly. This is not the frustrating part. I understand the importance of security and fraud prevention, and would assist in any way I can to resolve the issue.

    It has now been two weeks since I submitted all the required information for review, and I have not heard anything back. No “we’ve received it and its in review” no “we need more information”…. NOTHING. I have been calling back and they would not let me talk to the person who requested the information from me, because he is either out of the office, or “we are unable to transfer your call directly to him”. I have sent many emails directly to the “investigator”, starting off with nice and progressively more frustrated, but still professional and non-offensive. I have only requested an update…. and still NOTHING. At this point Shopify is holding $9,000 worth of my orders, and I can not get a simple damn email back from them either requesting more information, or simply to tell me that they’re in the process of review; I just cant reach them.
    My suppliers will not allow me to ship any more items until I pay my account with them (obviously), and I had to put a stop to my store’s advertising and marketing efforts to prevent orders from coming in that I can not fulfill.

    Again, I am all for security and fraud protection, but the lack of communication, and total lack of concern for their customer’s business is unnerving and infuriating. Food for thought.

    Rating22222
    GENE HILLEN

    Same thing is happening to me they are holding $10,296.71

    RatingNot Rated
    Tim

    I was asked to look into this for a friend who wants to possibly use this for a retail store.
    Does the 2.9% get added to the actual credit card rate?
    Does that mean you will be charged 30 cents + 2.9% plus 3.9% (or whatever the credit card rate is)?
    So 6.8% + 30 cents, in this example?

    RatingNot Rated
    Tom DeSimone

    Hi Tim,

    No, in this case the 2.9% + $0.30 includes the wholesale cost as well as the markup. So that’s the flat rate that you pay, with no additional surcharges or markups.

    RatingNot Rated
    Chris Kille

    Tim, the 2.9% + $0.30 is the Shopify Payments merchant services rate. This would be the only fee for merchant services you would pay, since you are using their payment processor (they waive the 2% service fee for merchants who use their processing). If you bring your own processor to the table, you would be subject to their 2% service fee. So you would never be subject to 2.9% + X.XX% + 2%

    RatingNot Rated
    Richard Marion

    Shopify: The best startup site for your small business

    After a long search for the best ecommerce website builder, I finally settled on Shopify. Shopify is great site to start out with if you own a small online business. If you have no experience with web design, like most new business owners, this will be perfect for you. The entire site is user friendly too, no messy html codes. Shopify’s best features are the templates, the app store and its customer support. These three things became the deciding factor in choosing Shopify and I can’t be any happier with my decision.

    Professional Templates:
    The key to having a successful online business is having an eye appealing website. The better your site looks, the more trustworthy it looks, which helps drive sales. One of the first things I noticed about Shopify is the professional looking templates they have to offer. I was only a couple of weeks into my business and it looked like I was well established thanks to the appearance of my website. Not only do the templates look good, but there are well over 100 different ones to choose from. The only downside is that some of the best templates do cost extra money. If this option isn’t for you though, shopify has more than enough free templates to choose from, which is what I started with.

    Online App Store:
    Another great feature is Shopify’s App Store. The store includes hundreds of apps that helps you market and manage your business. All of the apps are automatically integrated with shopify, which makes them much easier to use. Similar to the templates though, some of the apps cost extra money. Some are one time payments and others you have to pay on a monthly basis. Some of them are really worth the money though. As a small business owner, you’re not going to have a lot of employees so having apps to make up for that is perfect. I downloaded my first app and before I knew it I had over 20. They’re really beneficial, trust me.

    Great customer support:
    Lastly, Shopify has great customer service. Many ecommerce sites advertise that they have good customer support, which I have found to be very untrue. I have never experienced a support system as great as Shopify’s. They have a true 24/7 anytime support system and I know this from personal experience. I called at 3am one time and a customer service rep solved all of my problems by walking me through each and every one. For people who are just starting out there are going to be roadblocks and a lot of questions so having someone who’s there to help at your disposal 24 hours a day is a great feature to have. I can’t say enough good things about this.

    All in all Shopify is your best option when looking to build your ecommerce site. It’s easy to use, professional, it has cutting-edge features and its customer support is hands down the best out there. I hope this review was helpful and I wish you the best in your ongoing business endeavors.

    Rating55555

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Gil

    We have used Shopify for our online store and generally we are very pleased.

    However, with time and usuage stupid little problems appear and Shopify’s ability to sort them out (and sometimes to even understand them) is very frustrating.

    We are based in the UK and most of our shipping is domestic.

    However their site is unable to understand that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are two separate sovereign countries.
    This is like assuming that the US and Canada are the same country.
    It makes shipping impossible without doing a custom rate and defeats the whole principle of online stores.
    It’s a small niggle, a 10 minute fix, but…

    Get your act together Shopify and listen to your customers

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Sam

    I tried Shopify and to be honest had a terrible experience with them. I tried and tested two premium themes both of which were not fit for purpose, they both had issues with menus resizing in iPad, support is useless for themes both developers couldn’t, really have cared less. I would advise using a different ecommerce platform. I purchased an app only to discover that the app was transferring my data out of shopify secure server to the apps own servers! There was not any mention of this in the App Store I only spotted it after checking url it was redirecting all my product data and variation to another server I have no idea where, how is this secure? After complaining with shopify guru (what a joke) I was told to maybe try a free theme and never mind basically don’t ask too many questions. It us not a solution I would recommend to anyone who is serious about their business.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Bernard

    Nice write up here Erik. I want to point out one thing that seems to be overlooked about Shopify. Yes they have very inexpensive plans when you first sign up – and you can upgrade to more expensive plans as your needs grow – makes sense! But my main gripe with the Shopify model is that most of the worthwhile apps / extensions that you can integrate into your web shop are an additional monthly cost. This takes what was once a pretty reasonably priced service to astronomic heights, fast.

    The other thing I don’t love about Shopify is that it’s NOT AS EASY AS IT LOOKS. The ads and promo videos make it look like you simply sign up, choose a template, and you’re ready to make millions in minutes. They definitely over hype the ease of use. It actually takes a good amount of know how and getting used to to get the website to look and behave the way you envision in your head. I still have my first site with them, but I signed up with Setmysite for my main business’s website (we sell medical equipment, and there are lot of strange things that go into the sales process which makes my selling needs more complex than the average joe) and the Setmysite guys built a custom site and the addons were all one-time fees, great support. But I like Shopify’s free templates, I like that they give you access to the code (we hired a developer a few times to make some customizations) and I like their support. If you have some technical know-how and you have realistic expectations, Shopify is great. If you need some help with designing the site and putting everything together and making it work correctly, I like Setmysite. For something simple though, you can’t beat the starting rate that Shopify offers. It’s a no brainer for guys just getting started in online selling.

    Rating33333

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Billy

    Our company was really interested in using Shopify. Until we learned of a few issues that conflicted with our business. Shopify has no way to modify the checkout page and since we do a lot of business with the US Government, we need to have the ability to accept tax exempt credit cards. Apparently it is not possible. Unless anyone knows of an add on that would work for us. Also, it is not possible to hold an order for longer than 7 days or it results in a charge back. If anyone can offer alternate ideas, I would love to hear them.

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    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Blake Schreck

    We moved to Shopify from BigCommerce for their POS and I must say, it’s great, but to us that’s about where it ends. Their cart is good, but basic and does not include many options that other carts have standard, but you can buy an app that will do it which is more money…it adds up fast! One example is with phone orders. You can’t take phone orders through the control panel. When asked why they would not implement this, they said it was for customer credit card security, but in the same sentence, said we should take phone orders directly through our site…is that not the same security risk? I would agree that their support is good, but when you have a basic cart with a bunch of apps built on top of it, there’s not much to support. I can’t think of one time that called and wasn’t told that the problem was caused by someone else. I can go on and on, but bottom line, we’re moving back to BigCommerce. Anyone who has migrated a site knows what a pain it is, but the positives outweigh the negatives.

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    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Brad

    Helpful review. There are definitely some beautifully made themes in Shopify’s theme store with styles for everyone. We ended up purchasing the Retina Theme which gave us the building blocks and tools to create a great first website. With a bit of additional help from online html and css editing tutorials like http://www.codecademy.com/ we were able to get our shop to the level we wanted – http://www.hollowlegstore.com/
    We would definitely recommend Shopify to anyone looking for an e-commerce platform!

    Rating55555

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    munica valiton

    One year later SHOPIFY has increased their monthly store rate by more than 50 %.
    I just joined, it has been 24 hours, over 200 items for sale , not one sale yet, but staying hopeful !
    YOU MUST UPGRADE THE NEW PRICES
    todays price is :
    $69/month
    Choose this plan Plan basic
    Basic

    Start selling your products today with basic Shopify features and low credit card rates.
    Credit card rates
    Online: 2.9% + 30¢
    In Person: 2.7% + 0¢

    $119/month
    Choose this plan Plan professional
    Professional

    Get more sales with features like gift cards, professional reports and abandoned cart recovery.
    Credit card rates
    Online: 2.5% + 30¢
    In Person: 2.4% + 0¢

    $219/month
    Choose this plan Plan unlimited
    Unlimited

    Save time and money with our lowest credit card rates, advanced report builder and carrier calculated shipping.
    Credit card rates
    Online: 2.25% + 30¢
    In Person: 2.15% + 0¢

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    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Timo

    Great review, Erik! Very thorough. We really like the quality of the reviews on merchant maverick in general.

    ———– Our conclusion in short – excellent, but not the best solution for Europe. Tends to become expensive with add-ons ————

    Our conclusion on Shopify is that it has a lot to offer, and that it is probably the best solution overall in the current ecommerce software landscape. However, if you want to enjoy the many features and excellent plugins that are available, the costs do add up a lot (Bigcommerce, for example, offers more plugins included already in the cheaper packages). In short, it tends to become expensive.

    As we focus on the European market primarily, we found that Shopify is sometimes slow to adapt to European conditions, and we would not recommend Shopify as the first choice in Europe.

    Rating55555

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Erik Robie

    Thank you, Timo! That is very useful info about how Shopify responds to the European markets. Thanks for the addendum!

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    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    omonla

    Anyone ever used Vendevor?

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    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Noussira

    This is about Shopify Experts, The Mango Yard.

    Do not work with them. They are scammers. I hope Shopify does something about this.

    Buyer beware.

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    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Donovan Biela

    They have a pretty decent API, but I thought for such a popular eCommerce platform they would support batch updates/inserts…sadly they do not. The API call limit is 2 per second, so you have to plan accordingly if you plan on making a lot of requests to their API. The docs aren’t the greatest either, I find myself being confused on what certain fields mean a lot of the time. Decent coverage though, I was pleasantly surprised to see you can get cart contents via the API!

    Rating33333

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    503 Woodmont Drive

    Good UI but some of the simple options available with other ecommerce products are unavailable or cost extra. For example, if you want to calculate shipping for each item (as opposed to a flat shipping charge) you have to pay $20 extra monthly. Also, you cannot adjust image sizes. If you want a different size image for the category page and the product page, you have to upload 2 images.

    Rating33333

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Kanon

    I just want to share with everyone something I learned about RTCS (Real-time Carrier Shipping) with Shopify. If you purchased any of Shopify’s plans, other than the $9.99 LITE plan, RTSC is a free add-on. The trick is they don’t tell you that. You have to ask for it to be added to your site.

    Rating33333

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    aaron pruss

    Well for starters I found out about this site through Facebook and currently have an eBay online store selling video games for the past 3 years, but am looking to now expand out of the eBay universe. My main question is do you guys do any sort of integrating with eBay so I could sell through shopify and eBay at the same time. This has been something I have been trying to do for a long time now and would love some info. Thanks for your time.

    Rating55555

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Paul Burkhart

    After getting set up with Shopify recently for a show, I was amazed at how easy it was to get started. I was just using the site as a POS cash register and that was all that I needed. Well, once I had started using it and had about $2500 in sales I received and email that seemed to come from Shopify that asked me for my drivers license so that they could verify my identity. It took me many days of going back and forth with them to verify it really was shopify and then sending them my drivers license. They immediately came back and asked for a color copy ( I had sent mine in a scanner). I couldn’t believe that they hadn’t asked for this up front before I had twenty or so orders in their system that they wouldn’t pay me on. I figured out I could photograph my id and so I did and sent it to them and they then asked me for my suggestions as to how I could prove who my company was. I suggested sending them my FEIN approval from the US government and they agreed and asked me what more I could give them. It became apparent that Shopify for some reason was stalling me. I am now on a 45 day wait period and if nobody requests money back from a transaction then they will deign to transfer my money to my account. This company is terrible and the above review has no bearing on my experience which was totally negative and indecipherable. It was as if they didn’t want my business.

    Rating11111

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Wendy

    I to am having issues with – not sure if it’s Stripe or Shopify. Firstly they to,d me they were withholding my money for 7 days. I now discover they want a copy of my passport or drivers. licence. My gosh I will not be waiting 45 days before both companies will be investigated by Australian Authorities.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jim

    Which plans provide Real-Time Shipping?

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Sara Billups

    Hi Jim,

    Real-time shipping is supported on the Unlimited plan only, but it can be added to any other Shopify plan for an additional $20 per month. More details here: http://docs.shopify.com/manual/settings/shipping/carrier-calculated-rates

    Thanks for reading!

    Sara

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    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Kanon

    Does this offer still exist?! I have a client that I may lose if I force them to upgrade to the $179/mo plan just to have Real-Time Carrier Shipping Rates.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    OTS

    Here are the things that I think it hurts or it will hurt Shopify;
    – Very elementary business intelligence reports. I am not sure how a business can run their business with these type of very limited reports.
    – Do not use Shopify Credit card system. It is a: very expensive 2.5% plus 0.30. Money is deposited to your bank 7 plus days (some time 9 days due to weekend.
    I am not sure what others see in this system..If you want to just sell but not manage the business, it may be OK..

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Steve

    I’m sorry but I think your review of Shopify is VERY misleading, uninformed and doing a terrible disservice to your readers. Shopify is a terrible platform. Shopify has been riddled with problems, bugs and instability from day 1.
    Their “support” is none existent when it comes to REAL problems with the software. Sure, they will tell you how to change the colour on your “add to cart” button, but they will deny and lie about anything that is a real problem…until you send them a video of it happening. Then (no longer unable to deny it) they will state that they were unaware of the problem (even though you told them about it weeks-months ago.) At that point, they will state that “you are the only one experiencing it”, even though people on their own Forums have been posting about it for weeks. When you point that out, they will finally, begrudgingly admit that the problem exists and will give you no indication as to when, if EVER they are going to fix it. Read their forums, they are FULL of these examples. No firm release dates for updates, bug fixes, new features etc. are EVER provided. EVER. It took them 4 years to add “Gift Cards” and drop down menus. That is all they have added in the past 4 years. (They also removed functionality in that time. ?!)
    I have been on the platform for approx. 3 years and sell just under 20,000 products. In that time, I have spent 10-20 hours a day, 7 days a week on their software. I can honestly tell you, Shopify DOES NOT WORK.
    For 2+ years their inventory did not work correctly, only after 6+ months of me going insane trying to figure out what was happening, did one of their support staff tell me “off the record”, that the inventory system has never worked. This was the primary reason they developed Shopify 2.
    Shopify 2- what a TOTAL DISASTER.
    For 3 months Shopify 2 could not even save the price, sku, description and inventory correctly. Removing the ability for its users to go back to Shopify 1, the company FORCED its customers to pay to BETA test its new software. Meanwhile, Shopify would sell products 80% BELOW my cost! Every day I would have to email customers, explaining to them why I can not sell them the product that I paid $40 for, for the $9.95 price Shopify was incorrectly displaying. To this day Shopify 2 still can not duplicate a product correctly.
    If you are serious about your store’s integrity and go with Shopify, forget ever having a good nights sleep. I would not use them if it was free. The fees are irrelevant compared to the damage they can and will do to your business.
    I have nothing to gain by posting this review except to know that perhaps I am saving some people months-years of frustration if they decide to go with this deceitful and disastrous company.
    You can immediately see how they are trying to trick their customers right from the day one, by visiting their “pricing” page. Hover over the “0% transactions” fees posted and you will see a hidden pop-up showing you the ACTUAL transaction fees…
    AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Bob

    Pretty disappointed with theme supplier Out of the Sand Box- they are very slow to answer questions and assist. Quite sad because I loved their design (for $140).
    Unless you are a person with a lot of HTML experience, avoid Out of the Sand Box.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jordan

    Really big fan of shopify. I think it’s one of the few companies doing it right. Thanks for your review tough, I am going to bookmark for later reading. Just tweeted this out to my followers. Thanks!

    Jordan.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Kirk Smith

    Shopify has been a fantastic ecommerce site for our small business. It is easy to navigate and the customer service is outstanding.
    Great customer service and a great hosting platform gives Shopify 5 stars.

    Rating55555

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Kirk Smith

    We have been more than pleased with both the Shopify platform and the customer service we have received from the Shopify gurus.
    We had a website for years that was not functional for today. It took up some time to convert the info from our old site to the new Shopify platform, but we are so happy we made the change. I can’t say enough about how much help the Shopify gurus were in answering all of our questions and giving great advice.
    I highly recommend Shopify to any small business owner looking for a comprehensive web hosting platform with future growth capabilities.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jordan

    Great review of shopify…seems like it’s one of the best. Have you heard of any other similar apps/plugins?

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Sara B.

    Hi Jordan, thanks for your comment. Shopify is one of the best carts we’ve reviewed. Check out Ashop Commerce and CoreCommerce for some comparisons.

    RatingNot Rated

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    Bob

    I’m considering Shopify and would like to be updated as new comments are posted.

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    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jose

    One downside to shopify is that they do not integrate real-time price quotes for DHL. A functionality which they refuse to implement for whatever reason.

    RatingNot Rated

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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