Shopify Website Builder Review

An overview of Shopify – 2019

Back in 2014, 15 years ago, Shopify Company started – but nobody expected back then it is going to be a huge business of website building. Some guy named Tobias Lutke wanted to start an online store with a loud name Snowdevil (and you can see the site indeed operates as snowdevil.ca) to sell snowboards. Being dissatisfied with what the website building market of the time offered, Tobias, being a good programmer (and now, one of leading Shopify developers), created his own website based on Ruby on Rails software and launched the e-store in 2 months. In 2006, Tobias and his two friends presented Shopify – an online tool, which allowed everyone to create and run their own online stores. Since 2006, the company has been steadily growing, being called the most fast-growing company in Canada and Ottawa (where its headquarters currently is), acquiring other start-ups and hiring more personnel to implement Shopify plans in the long term. In 2019, the company has over 4,000 employees located in many offices around the world, with 0.67 billion dollars yearly revenue. 

 

An overview of Shopify 

  1. What’s a Shopify builder?

Currently, Shopify builder is an online software, one of the website builders, which allows making an online store fast, effective, do everything within one shell, and to use many of currently existing hundreds (if not thousands) apps, which are easily integrated from its own online app store with an open source API (thanks to which developers of the world can design and build their own apps and then sell them through a Shopify online store).

Shopify builder closely cooperates technically and financially with Facebook, Google, Amazon, eBay, and others – huge retailers, IT companies, and social media, allowing its users to sell their things not only through the stores that they build but also through the connection and data interexchange with the named.

 

  1. How does Shopify website building tool work?

To start working in Shopify, one has to register, choose the payment option (a monthly subscription package or a free trial if you don’t know yet), select a theme, personalize it, choose the payment gateway(s) and download own pieces of merchandise to sell. Thanks to bulk management of goods placed in an online store of Shopify, through the admin panel, it is easy to own and to run stores not only with hundreds of goods but with thousands and tens of thousands.

You don’t have to code anything or know any other technical aspect of the work of your website on Shopify – just do your financial and business job, while Shopify builder is going to take care of technical side. Shopify also offers powerful customer Shopify support, the flexibility of designs, easy scalability, and many tools to have control over your sales, financial and taxation aspects.

 

The pricing policy of Shopify 

Currently, there are four plans of payments in Shopify:

  • for $9 a month, you will not have a store but will be able to sell through social media – it’s a very light plan to start with if you aren’t having many items of goods to sell yet

  • for $29 a month, you get an online store with unlimited products, 2 staff accounts, all-day round reporting, all sales channels, discounts, SSL to sell technically securely (responding to questions of some users like is Shopify safe), abandoned cart recovery, Shopify’s and third-party POS.

  • for $79, you get the mentioned + 5 staff accounts, gift cards and professional reporting, better discounts in shipping Shopify prices, lower commissions for sales, and better POS options

  • for $299 a month, get the mentioned in the previous plus even better discounts in shipping price, even lower commissions for sales, advanced report builder, and third-party shipping rates calculated.

They all look quite the same – the biggest differences are between 29 and 79-dollar plans in Shopify in features and they all differ in commission rates and shipping discounts. 

When you pay for 12 months at once, you get -10% discount in pricing by Shopify. Paying for 24 months, get -20% discount.

 

Advantages and disadvantages: reviews for Shopify

+ High ease of use of the interface of Shopify. But should you have any questions – it is possible to resort to a large number of good FAQ.

+ There is a possibility to choose from one of excellently-looking mobile-friendly Shopify themes and adjust it to your needs. If you don’t see yours from around 200 themes of Shopify, you can make one on your own in a builder or buy one.

+ If you want to dig into the source code of Shopify’s website – you can do it, which widens the flexibility of adjustments.

+ It is very easy to scale your Shopify store up or down.

+ There are so many Shopify apps in its app store to integrate with that it is impossible not to choose everything you need to run the business.

+ Shopify support chat team is one of the points of their excellence (and rapid growth of their business).

- URL structure should have been better – if you take care of the SEO. And you cannot change it manually in Shopify. But the good thing is that Shopify builder has many sublevels of navigation, which is often a weak point in other web builders.

- It is not easy to create a multilingual store, as there is no built-in solution by Shopify. You can try doing it through Shopify plugins but we haven’t seen the elegant solution.

- They do have transaction fees – that’s the point of earnings for Shopify company but it can be challenging for the owners of e-stores.

 

What rating details Shopify has?

  1. A high ease of use: structured content, apps, and the logic of the work.

  2. Modern and flexible templates, as well as the opportunity to create own and buy one.

  3. SEO is powerful in everything one may need but the URL structure.

  4. Fabulous product presentation abilities.

  5. Generation of product varieties automatically by Shopify based on the entered features by you for each product.

  6. Great cart and managing an abandoned one in every subscription package.

  7. A possibility for the buyers to leave feedback.

  8. Assigning of unique numbers to each product in the Shopify store.

  9. The hugest number of payment options.

  10. Sell digital Shopify products.

  11. Shopify coupons, discounts, promos, shipping and tax calculations.

 

Speed and security of hosting in Shopify 

Shopify builder has an A class of speed of loading of pages thanks to code-optimal pages and load-optimal images. The page’s average load times are 3.5 seconds for each page (excellent).

When it comes to processing credit and debit cards on its hosting, SSL and HTTPS completely secure the transactions. So when it is needed to load up pages fast to showcase your merchandise to a potential buyer – Shopify builder does great. When it is needed to pass transactional financial data to have rigid compliance with PCI DSS requirements of financial institutions and payment systems, it copes excellently with the task, securing the connections, bank end and front end, imposing all required levels of encryption and decryption, and still does not slow down the entire route of data due to high code optimization of pages.

 

How do you choose the best subscription plan of Shopify store?

It depends on what you actually need from your store on Shopify:

  • For 29 dollars a month, almost every functionality is opened instantaneously (which is much more powerful than in non-specialized website builders) and it is hard to believe that for beginners, the delivered things won’t be good enough to make the trade.

  • For $79 a month, you get some bigger number of options, for sure, but there is no such a vivid gap in the functionality between $79 and $299 packages. 

The biggest things differing the three are 1) the size of the commission and 2) discount for the Shopify cost delivery (the first one is important mostly to you while the second one – to your customers). And that is where you have to sit down and calculate the revenues based on what you pay on a monthly basis and how many commissions you give out – to find out, which package will be financially expedient to you.

 

Online payments in Shopify 

Shopify builder offers a number of gateways to accept literally any kinds of payments in nearly every currency of the world:

  • Debit and credit cards

  • Bitcoins and other ‘coins’

  • PayPal (though a very easy integration of checkout for the bigger convenience of customers)

  • Own payment system called ‘Shopify Payments’ – the simplest way to organize a payment system in your store with full automation and security

  • Bank transfers

  • Cash On Delivery (COD).

Plus – you can adjust your own refund policy and things connected to check out – like the additional discounts for the goods connected to the one that has just been sold using Shopify. 

One of the most astounding features is that you can largely expand the site, going offline – registering your own POS (Point Of Sales) and take payments offline using Shopify’s software downloaded onto your tablet or phone. Thus, you receive the fusion of online and offline – profitably connecting your brick-and-mortar business with an online one, as selling the things from the offline store, it is possible to automatically update the stock residuals that you have listed on the site, maintaining the stock up to date. The possibility to register third-party points of sale largely expands this functionality, creating a powerful fusion of your offline and online efforts. 

Connecting these with one (outer) database (as a separate app), you will be able to get deeper thanks to powerful analytics, which will not load your site (which is good for the speed).

 

Themes and design possibilities of Shopify 

Themes are another powerful side of the Shopify platform. Around 200 templates with great sophistication and functionality are allowed to be personalized to the user’s needs. It is easy to see how every theme will be shown on a PC/laptop screen, mobile, and tablet.

In the selected theme of Shopify, it is easy to remove the demo products and replace them with yours – as many as you need. Hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands are not a problem. The demo products placed in templates are just to make you see them visually in order to understand if this theme is what you need.

The customization abilities are easy for users to resort to them, following one by one on the list. You can change the colors, play with fonts, replace the logo, select things that you want to see on the homepage, and other stuff.

 

App store of Shopify 

Existence of own store of apps (paid and free both available) boosts up the number of things your website can do. 

On one hand, this is a major plus of Shopify builder – you can integrate many new things to the pages of your store, improving the visual representation, sales, reporting, checkout and interconnections amongst the pieces of good. But, on the other hand, there are two feasible drawbacks:

  • The more paid apps you install, the more are your initial expenditures to set a store (if paid at once) or monthly expenses (if the app works on a monthly subscription)

  • Some things like having an AMP format or more custom fields to the view of your goods only decided with the installation of apps (most often, paid ones).

 

Support of Shopify store

The Shopify customer service is excellent in the degree of support – which positions it out of its nearest competitors. You can reach them using an e-mail, phone, and live Shopify chat – and these are open for you in the 24/7 regimen. These come in addition to their extensive FAQ, which is helpful on its own (Squarespace website builder, for instance, does not provide an option of phone support, while some other builders on the market may not give some other channel, like chat or e-mail). 

For your information – e-mail support is the most common channel of the provision of assistance to consumers and if it is not provided by some builder that you are using (or planning to), then it is the first natural sign of terrible support. And if the support is terrible – then something is wrong with its functionality (as a rule) or this builder is awfully outdated (this is the most commonly met situation). So, the conclusion: without e-mail support, a website builder is a terrible option, which must be abandoned immediately. 

In the case with Shopify builder, things are great – and it is rather hard to find another support of such high quality on the market.

 

For whom Shopify suits the best? 

Shopify builder is more than just ‘fine’ solution. It is a perfect and most powerful choice for people desiring to have an online store packed with functionality of visual representation, sales, interaction with customers, shipping, and payment options. The two nearest competitors of Shopify builder (WooCommerce and BigCommerce tools) offer nearly the same, altering the number of services that they deliver. For instance, BigCommerce offers the absence of payments for financial transactions but limits all users in annual sales (if you want more than offered – you should opt for costlier ‘custom’ subscription plan).

It is a specialized tool, too – unlike the bulkiness of other website builders, Shopify is specifically designed to create and run stores – it was its initial concept and it has been ever since. So if you want some fancy blog, a portfolio site or business catalog – opt for another tool online (dozens of them out there are waiting for your attention).

 Beginners are going to appreciate its high simplicity in setup, adjustment, and running. The entire process to start using it since you first time enter it takes around 1 minute. The number of Shopify templates and a fantastic number of payment ways that Shopify builder offers will be to the liking of people who can’t find anything like that in other online or offline tools.

There is no need to know how to code – and users who do not have such knowledge will be delighted with the possibility to make everything, not getting into the depths of what they do not suppose to know. 

 

Promo codes and coupons in Shopify store

Coupons, discounts, and promos are a large advantage of Shopify builder. It is possible to set up varying types of them:

  • -% from the regular Shopify stock price

  • minus fixed price

  • preferences in the delivery (in term of money or speed)

  • discounts to connected pieces of merchandise (like when buying a new tablet, a user gets -30% for earphones and -$15 for any other further purchase in own account). The discount can be any, from -1% to -100% (which enables you to create such features as ‘buy one get one for free’).

The above-mentioned can be adjusted in the start and end terms; to make the terms apply for certain conditions of sales (for a group of goods or an individual good, or some amount of money spent on the procurement can trigger the discount).

 

Our conclusion

It’s amazing how an idea of one man has turned over years in many-billion business (according to information of Shopify builder company, for 2018, all 0.8 million stores that globally operate on Shopify platform have generated over $41 billion sales, which makes it 51.250 dollars for 1 average store or over $4,200 sales a month). The numbers tell that this store builder is a powerful Shopify e-commerce solution, which is only going to be chased by its closest competitors but there are no strong signals that they are going to overtake the leader, which Shopify builder currently is. 

Our estimation of this tool is 9.5 out of 10 possible stars. We have deducted 0.5 stars for the monetization model of Shopify, which lives by charging owners of stores a percentage from sales (thus, unintentionally, slightly driving inflation up). The rest of the features are highly useful for sales, which literally everyone can start effectively and smoothly. 

The simplicity of its templates, their effectiveness at the beginning, and all-embracing types of payment channels make Shopify store builder available in all countries of the world, where the regular banking system exists. Availability to accept Shopify payments in Bitcoins is a tribute to modern world’s financial development – and something like this is a part of a very effective way to be in touch with your customers, offering them perfectly tailored solutions from region to region.

 

Shopify reviews

  1. Henrik from Algeria: I find Shopify store builder a highly useful tool to migrate my old and not too effective e-store from Wix to something really powerful. The number of tools that Shopify offers and their suitability to the current needs of the market of retail sales in Algeria is a very important thing for me and for the growth.

  2. Rowan from Denmark makes a Shopify review: Shopify is extremely user-friendly and very effective for my business. It is easy to add and remove goods from it when I change my assortment (which is a frequent case for my flower business that is influenced largely by seasons of the year). 

  3. Maximiliano from Sweden: I was confused by the huge number of apps, which Shopify offers – and the more I was searching and trying, the more I fell in despair that there are so many of them, and it would take me an eternity to try every. I wasn’t ready for such a huge choice and the need to spend so much time on the selection.

  4. Finley from China: Amazing builder, which made my car rental business to be easily (and wonderfully) represented online. I didn’t need many pages but I did need a lot of options to describe each my car, show multiple pictures of it, tell about the payment policy and so on. I understand that Shopify may be too powerful for such a simple task but I found specifically useful the automation of payments and options of booking, which I connected with the calendar to show when every car is available for the ride.

  5. Jett from the Philippines: Shopify is what I needed for years – and if I knew about this tool several years before, I would opt for it. Bulk management of sold goods and services, great Shopify discount codes and delivery options – these are the points of its power.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How to remove “powered by Shopify”

Go to Site Admin panel – Online Store – Themes – in the right part of the screen, on top – click on Actions – find ‘Edit Code’ – click – search for ‘Footer’ in the search console – click on the found footer – in the opened code find the text ‘powered by’ and, after removing the whole line of code, save changes.

 

  1. How to set up a Shopify store

  • Sign up in the Shopify’s account

  • Set up the store

  • Choose the design for a store

  • Edit settings, including ones of payments

  • Optimize (make personalization)

  • Add the products and make sure they look good

  • Launch the blog (if needed)

  • Add the domain name (if you have one – attach. Or buy one from Shopify)

 

  1. How to make money on Shopify

It is like more an answer to ‘How to make money online’. Some do, some don’t. Shopify is only the technical tool to make your store to be powered and powerful. There is no direct link between ‘making a store’ and ‘become rich tomorrow’. To start making money with Shopify or another store builder, you have to have an appealing set of goods or services you are going to sell, make nice advertising, create the ‘fuss’ around what you’re selling (using blogs, social media, paid posts, and other things), and – generally – to invest a lot of efforts to be heard online so to start sales.

 

  1. How to add the Facebook pixel to Shopify

Find the pixel ID in the Facebook’s Business Manager – All Tools – Pixels – click and copy (or set up it first if you haven’t yet) – go to Tag Manager – choose Shopify – Go to Shopify’s admin panel – Online Store – Preferences – Facebook Pixel – paste – save.

 

  1. How to change the Shopify store’s name

In the admin panel – Settings – General – Store details – Store name – write a new one – save.

 

  1. How to fulfill orders on Shopify

Every order done by customers needs to be shipped. You can do every shipment manually or automatically (configure it in the Settings of Checkout). You can manage them in the admin panel – Orders.

 

  1. How to add Google Analytics to Shopify

In Shopify – Online store – Preferences – make sure you haven’t activated it yet. Then set the Google account. Enable Google Analytics there. Get the track ID. Turn on the e-commerce tracking. For step-by-step information, go here: help.shopify.com/en/manual/reports-and-analytics/google-analytics/google-analytics-setup

 

  1. How to add products to Shopify

Login to Shopify account – Products – Add products – Enter the product details – Add variants and inventory (like price and weight, too) – Add images – Tag it with the collection and assign other tags – Add metadata – Save – view on site. 

 

  1. How to change Shopify URL

In a free version, you can’t unless you will make a new store and move things there from the old. In a paid version, you can attach your own domain and change it whenever you want to.

 

  1. How to find out what Shopify theme a website is using

There is a dedicated website shopthemedetector.com to tell what Shopify examples are in use – in the search field, enter the URL of the interested site and get the answer in seconds. 

 

  1. How many people use Shopify?

There are over 800,000 stores created in Shopify store builder as of the end of 2018.

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