4.9

Usability
Affordability
Flexibility
Store Designs

Shopify Review Summary

Shopify is 100% the best e-commerce platform around. Shopify has the widest range of sales tools available along with free and premium themes & apps (plugins) for everything that you can dream of.

Anyone can make an online store using Shopify. No programming knowledge is required – everything is very simple and intuitive to set up. It takes about 5 minutes to register and have your store set up. Shopify is also one of the most affordable options for creating an online shop. Keep reading if you are interested in our more in-depth review of Shopify.

E-commerce Platform
Total score

4.9

Pros

Easy to use Great inventory system Flexible Affordable Beautiful free themes Easily add multiple payment methods

Cons

Plugins usually cost Some payment methods have a transaction fee Managing many plugins can become difficult

This Shopify review is meant for people either looking to start an e-commerce business or switch the platform they are currently using.

I am sure by now you know how difficult it can be to start an e-commerce business and create a beautiful store. There are so many difficult aspects of setting up an e-commerce business:

  • Which e-commerce platform to choose?
  • Should I self-host?
  • Which payment methods to use?
  • How to manage inventory?
  • How to design a beautiful store?
  • How much does it cost to run a store?

Our Shopify review will answer all those questions and help you get started with your e-commerce business today!

So what are you waiting for? Let’s find out if Shopify suits your needs.

What is Shopify?

Quick answer

Shopify is a huge e-commerce platform that suits anyone looking to start an e-commerce business. No programming skills required at all.

Shopify is an e-commerce platform created in 2005. Shopify has reported that they host stores for over 1 million businesses with a total volume of 41 billion dollars all over the world.

Shopify’s clients range from small businesses making a couple hundred in monthly revenue to multi-million dollar monthly. That means Shopify is an excellent choice for businesses looking to find a solution for the long term.

Can you guess why Shopify is so successful?

Simple – the whole secret behind their business model is making the creation of online stores as easy as possible. In other words – they have successfully created a platform so easy to use that anyone can start an online store!

You do not need programming skills, designing skills or server managing skills at all to run a successful Shopify store. Although some HTML & CSS knowledge goes a long way if you are not entirely satisfied with any of their themes.

What makes Shopify extremely powerful is the wide range of tools to choose from. There is a plugin for literally everything – starting from automated e-mail marketing to showing users pop-ups about on-going discounts.

Later on in this Shopify review, we will discuss different themes, apps, and features available in Shopify.

How does Shopify work?

Quick answer

Sign up for the 14-day trial, choose your theme, payment providers, add products and you are good to go! Anyone can build a store using Shopify, even a total beginner.

Getting started with Shopify boils down to following simple steps:

  • Register a Shopify account (14-day trial)
  • Choose and customize a theme
  • Setup plugins (not required)
  • Setup payment processors (gateways)
  • Add shipping methods
  • Link your domain (not required)
  • Add your products
  • Publish your store and accept orders!

Shopify handles all the hard stuff for you – hosting, servers and backups to make sure your valuable data never gets lost.

So how can you start?

Well, you could just go ahead and sign up to Shopify. The best way to learn will always be experimenting with different options yourself.

Or…

You can keep reading this Shopify review and we will break down all of these steps and give you a step-by-step tutorial to get your first shop up and running.

How much does Shopify cost?

Quick answer

Shopify offers a 14-day trial for you to build your store. After the trial, you have to subscribe to one of their plans starting from $29 / month to 299$ / month. We think that for most stores the $29 / month plan is all they will ever need and more.

To start off Shopify offers all of its customers a 14 day trial period to make sure Shopify is the right tool for creating your online store.

After the 14 day trial period you have to subscribe to a monthly plan. Shopify offers 5 different plans. Take a look at the plans below to choose which one would suit you.

I think most people will be more than satisfied with the Basic Shopify plan ($29 / month).

Shopify’s Lite plan is the cheapest option available. Shopify Lite allows you to sell your products on an already existing website or Facebook page by adding buy buttons.

For example, if you already have a blog and you are looking to sell your handcrafted soaps.

However Shopify Lite does not include the functionality to create a fully functional online store. You will need to choose from the other 4 available plans to do so.

Basic Shopify is the cheapest plan for businesses looking to build a fully functional online store.

Basic Shopify includes all the features needed to build a good looking, fully functional online store. You can add an unlimited amount of products, create discount coupons, install custom themes, plugins and manage your inventory easily from their easy to use dashboard.

Also, you will have a 24/7 support available in case you run into any problems during your journey.

The only downside with Basic Shopify is that unless you use Shopify Payments, you will be charged with a 2% transaction fee.

The general “Shopify plan” includes everything that Basic Shopify has. In addition to Basic Shopify’s functionality, it also unlocks creating gift cards for your customers and professional reports.

Also with the general “Shopify Plan” the transaction fees for non-Shopify Payments goes down from 2% to 1%.

Shopify’s “Advanced Shopify” is the plan meant for more advanced users, or “Big Boy Shops”.

Advanced Shopify plans include everything from Basic Shopify and the general Shopify plan. In addition to that, it includes the advanced report builder functionality and the ability to calculate shipping fees automatically using third parties (like UPS or FedEx).

In addition to the previously mentioned functionality, the transaction fees for non-Shopify Payment transactions goes down to 0.5%.

In case your store is already earning big bucks and you are looking to let someone else manage your orders, while you focus on building your brand and business then Shopify Plus plan is meant for you.

Shopify Plus includes professional support at all times with order management taken care for you.

Shopify Plus is not meant for someone looking to create a new online store to sell their products, but rather for someone who already has a fully established business.

Shopify Pricing

Saving money on Shopify plans

If you are in it for the long term then I suggest you take a look at their annual and two-year plans because they offer a significant discount.

  • Using an annual plan (pay once per year) you will receive a 10% discount compared to paying monthly.
  • Using a two-year plan you will receive a 20% discount compared to paying monthly.
Shopify PlanMonthly Pricing1-Year Pricing (-10%)2-Year Pricing (-20%)
Shopify Basic $29 / month $26.10 / month $23.20 / month
Shopify $79 / month $71.10 / month $63.20 / month
Advanced Shopify $299 / month $269.10 / month $239.20 / month

10% and 20% saving might not seem a lot but in the end, keeping your costs down is always a good thing!

In the next section of this Shopify review, I will give you a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up your first store.

How to use Shopify?

Quick answer

Register to Shopify now and “learn as you go” is probably the best strategy.

In this section, I will give you a step-by-step tutorial that you have been waiting for to set up your first online store with Shopify.

So what are you waiting for?

Let’s get started.

Registering an account (14-day free trial)

In order to create your first store, you have to sign up as a Shopify user.

Click here to get started with your 14-day free trial.

After your trial ends you have to choose a plan to keep your store running.

Shopify registration form.
Registering as a Shopify user.

Store name

The store name when you are registering does not really matter if you plan using your own domain instead of Shopify’s subdomain (store_name.shopify.com).

Choosing a theme for your store

After creating an account on Shopify. Click the “Online Store” and then “Themes” links to get started with theme customization and selection.

Shopify's theme picker.
Shopify’s theme picker.

On this page, you can choose your preferred theme from the “Free themes” library or “Theme Store” where you can find premium themes.

If you are having a hard time choosing a theme for your store just scroll down a bit to find my favourite free and premium Shopify themes.

After choosing a theme for your store, click the “Customize” button to get started with personalizing your theme.

Shopify's theme editor
Personalizing a theme.

Shopify’s user interface makes editing themes extremely easy. You can add new elements to your store by clicking the “Add section” button and editing already existing elements by just selecting them. All the options associated with an element will be shown once you have selected an element.

Setting up payment gateways (processors)

Don’t worry the hardest part is now over…

In order to set up payment gateways click the “Settings” link in the left menu of your admin dashboard. On the settings page, you should see “Payment providers” link, click that.

Shopify settings.
Payment Providers Settings page.

By default, Shopify has already enabled Paypal as a payment processor for you. If you do not have a Paypal yet, it will be automatically created for you once the first order comes in.

You can add more payment providers by clicking the “Choose third-party provider” button. Shopify has a total of 62 payment providers available (along with Stripe and Worldpay for example).

Setting up shipping carriers

To add a list of shipping carriers to your store go to “Settings” and “Shipping“.

Shipping Settings.
Shipping Settings.

Under the Shipping settings you can configure the following:

  • Shipping profiles – adjust shipping prices based on package size and customer’s location
  • Packages – configure different sizes of packages and their shipping prices
  • Packing slips – a printed list of items in a shipment that often goes inside a package
  • Integrations – in case you want to integrate your shop with a shipping carrier to receive shipping prices dynamically

Linking a domain to Shopify store

If you already have a domain that you want to use for your store then head over to the “Online Store” and “Domains” page.

To connect your already existing domain to a Shopify store click the “Connect existing domain” button at the top, which will bring you to the next screen.

Connecting a domain to Shopify store.
Connecting a domain to a Shopify store.

Follow the steps provided by Shopify to connect your domain with your store. It usually takes about 10 minutes to get your domain to work with Shopify.

Adding your first product

To add new products to your store just click the “Products” link and then “Create product” button.

Adding a product to Shopify.
Adding a product to Shopify.

While adding a product you can categorize products by:

  • Product types
  • Vendors
  • Collections
  • Tags

Categorizing your products makes the browsing experience of your potential customers a lot better.

Shopify also allows you to easily set up your inventory management on the products page as well as discounted prices to show your customers.

Shopify Features

Shopify offers everything you need to create an online store, here are some of the most important features of Shopify:

  • Unlimited number of products
  • Unlimited bandwidth and storage (for geeks)
  • Fraud analysis to avoid chargebacks on your orders
  • Discount codes
  • Automatic order status change notifications and invoices to customers
  • Staff accounts with flexible permissions system
  • Finance and overview dashboards and reports
  • 24/7 Customer support in 22 languages

I am sure I missed some of the features that Shopify has because there are just so many of them. I recommend you to try Shopify yourself and see if it suits you.

Shopify Templates (Themes)

Shopify offers 8 free and 64 premium themes for your shop. Premium themes are priced from $140 to $180, which is quite expensive, but considering it is a one-time payment – fair.

Shopify outsources their themes from different designers to get an original and new perspective with every theme.

All Shopify themes (both free and premium) are mobile and SEO optimised, so you do not have to worry about that.

Free Shopify Themes

Here are some of my favourite free Shopify themes.

Brooklyn Theme (Free)

Brooklyn is definitely my favourite of free Shopify themes. I think it is simple to configure and personalize and it looks and smells GREAT!

If you are on a budget I cannot recommend Brooklyn enough, just give it a try yourself.

Unique features of Brooklyn theme:

  • Designed for clothing stores
  • Slideshow option for header
  • Dynamic product grid
  • Video option for the home page
  • Slide-out cart
Brooklyn theme example.
Example of Brooklyn theme.

Click here to view the Brooklyn theme.

Narrative Theme (Free)

The narrative is a great theme for small catalogue or single-page product stores. It looks clean and offers 3 different color schemes – warm, light and cold. The narrative is a great choice for shops wanting to portray trust and professionalism.

Unique features of Narrative theme:

  • Built for small catalogues
  • Designed for visual storytelling
  • Wide (Full-Screen) Layout
  • Fixed navigation bar
Narrative theme example.
Example of Narrative theme.

Click here to view the Narrative theme.

Premium Themes

In this section, I will give you a list of my favourite premium themes that I have found convert sales well and are easy to use.

Icon Theme ($160)

Icon theme suits stores that have a lot of products available – such as clothing stores.

Unique features of Icon theme:

  • Sticky navigation bar
  • Slideshow for the home page
  • Multi-column menus
  • Quick view products
  • Instagram feed integration option
Icon theme example.
Example of Icon theme.

Click here to view the Icon theme.

Maker theme ($160)

Maker theme is another great example of a beautiful theme. Maker theme is suitable for shops with smaller catalogues (lesser amount of products) or single product shops.

Unique features of Maker theme:

  • Built for small catalogues
  • Editorial-style layout
  • Home page video option
  • Multiple slideshow options
Maker theme example.
Example of Maker theme.

Click here to view Maker theme.

Shopify Plugins

Shopify Apps (or Plugins) can further extend the functionality of your store. There is an app available for literally everything you can think of.

Some examples are email marketing, currency pickers, translations.

Here are some of our favourite Shopify Apps available on the “Shopify App Store“.

Klaviyo is the true swiss knife for e-mail marketing. You can setup advanced e-mail marketing campaigns using Klaviyo, here is an example of a common e-mail marketing campaign that I am sure you have experienced yourself.

  • If customer has not returned to your store in 5 days – send them a reminder
  • If a customer still has not returned to your store in 2 days – send them a coupon code for discount
  • If a customer still has not returned to your store after sending the coupon – remind them that the coupon will expire

You can easily, using drag-and-drop, create such e-mail marketing campaigns using Klaviyo. Furthermore Klaviyo offers a lot of beautiful e-mail templates to choose from to make your life easier so you can focus on actually advertising and expanding your store.

Click here to read more about Klaviyo.

Oberlo is to go to app for dropshippers. Oberlo enables you to easily drop ship items from Aliexpress (mainly China).

Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock.

Dropshipping can be very profitable as items in Aliexpress generally cost a lot less than in European or American markets. It is also very convenient that you do not have to deal with the shipping yourself as you can set the Aliexpress seller take care of it for you. Oberlo automates the whole process of forwarding all the orders to Aliexpress sellers.

Click here to read more about Oberlo.

Kit is an app made by the Shopify Team. Kit is your “personal artificial intelligence assistant” that guides you through setting up Instagram and Facebook ads.

Kit also analyses your visitors, customers and products in order to find the correct target audience you should promote your products to.

Here are some features that Kit has:

  • Setting up retargeting ads in Facebook
  • Build lookalike audiences in Facebook ads
  • Create Facebook and Instagram ads for your products
  • Post Facebook updates to drive customer engagement
  • Create and advertise coupon code to drive sales
  • Generate quick reports to provide insights on sales and marketing performance

Click here to read more about Kit.

Even though there are many awesome apps available, make sure you do not add too many apps. Adding too many apps can slow down your store and make the browsing experience for a potential customer painful.

Shopify Review Summary

In my opinion, Shopify is hands down still the best e-commerce platform around – their user interface is easy to use, plans are affordable and customer support is great.

4.9

Usability
Affordability
Flexibility
Store Designs

Shopify Review Summary

Shopify is 100% the best e-commerce platform around. Shopify has the widest range of sales tools available along with free and premium themes & apps (plugins) for everything that you can dream of.

Anyone can make an online store using Shopify. No programming knowledge is required – everything is very simple and intuitive to set up. It takes about 5 minutes to register and have your store set up. Shopify is also one of the most affordable options for creating an online shop. Keep reading if you are interested in our more in-depth review of Shopify.

E-commerce Platform
Total score

4.9

Pros

Easy to use Great inventory system Flexible Affordable Beautiful free themes Easily add multiple payment methods

Cons

Plugins usually cost Some payment methods have a transaction fee Managing many plugins can become difficult

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Shopify has a free trial for 14 days. After the trial expires you have to choose a plan starting from $9 / month for lite and from $29 / month for full store functionality.

If you already have a product that you can sell then go for it – start selling your product.

If you have no idea what to sell on Shopify then I suggest starting off dropshipping items. The best app to start dropshipping is Oberlo. Take a look at their app and see if you can find anything worth selling.

You can add a Facebook pixel to your Shopify store by going to “Online Store” and clicking the “Preferences” button.

On the preferences page, add your Facebook Pixel’s ID. Shopify will take care of sending the right events for you.

There are many apps available on the “Shopify App Store” to get you started with dropshipping.

Here are some of the dropshipping apps available:

  • Oberlo – dropshipping from Aliexpress
  • Inventory Source – US & Europe based suppliers
  • Printful – dropship custom design clothing
  • Spocket – US & Europe based suppliers

Usually, drop shipping apps forward the order information to the supplier for yours. That makes dropshipping extremely easy and intuitive to use.

If you need help setting up your first store – take a look at the whole Shopify review on this page.

Author

Hey, I am Brian. I have passion for creating websites and helping others to create websites. Feel free to contact me if you have any troubles, I am happy to help. Master of Computer Science at University of San Francisco.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for the review, it helped me a lot when I was creating my first Shopify store.

  2. I’m still learning from you, but I’m trying to achieve my goals. I definitely liked reading all that is posted on your website.Keep the aarticles coming. I enjoyed it!

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