It is the biggest eCommerce platform in the United States. Most merchants use it to power their stores.
So, what is it about Shopify that makes it the eCommerce giant that it is? Are online stores that aren’t on Shopify missing out? Can your business afford it? Can an eCommerce business of any size use it? Read our comprehensive Shopify review to learn more.

These are all great questions and we want to answer them all. Here is a rundown of what you can expect to see in this post.

  1. Shopify: An Overview
  2. Key Features of the Platform
  3. Advantages & Disadvantages of Using Shopify
  4. Platform Comparison
  5. Frequently Asked Questions About Shopify
  6. Should You Use it for Your eCommerce Business? Our Recommendation

shopify review

Shopify: An Overview

Founded in 2006, Shopify has grown steadily and is among the top 20 largest publicly traded Canadian companies by market capitalization, often receiving positive Shopify platform reviews.

Catering to an industry that is itself showing no signs of slowing down, the platform has grown tremendously by empowering online retailers to create and manage their stores.

Its comprehensive set of tools and integration capabilities make it one of the most commonly-used eCommerce solutions in the U.S.

Key Features Of Shopify

The platform has an extensive and ever-evolving array of tools and features that eCommerce businesses can leverage. Some of the most popular Shopify features are:

  • Storefront Design: There is a range of customizable templates and themes for businesses to choose from.
  • Payment Processing: It supports several types of payment options making it convenient for merchants and customers.
  • SEO Support: Shopify has built-in SEO features that help you optimize your online store and improve your eCommerce marketing efforts.
  • Analytics and Reporting: It provides users with in-depth analytics and reporting features, including sales reports, traffic reports, and customer data analysis.
  • App Integrations: The platform offers a variety of third-party integrations and add-ons. The Shopify Plus features include social media integrations, email marketing, and inventory management tools.
  • Order and Inventory Management: It allows users to easily manage their orders, track inventory levels, and receive notifications when stock levels are low.
  • Shipping and Tax Management: Shopify provides shipping and tax calculators that help users calculate and charge appropriate shipping and tax fees for their products.

With all these useful features, it’s natural to think that it is by far the best eCommerce platform. You aren’t wrong! Let’s see what are some specific features that make the platform great for eCommerce.

shopify review

Pros of Using Shopify For eCommerce

Easy To Use And Set Up

The sharp learning curve on many platforms is one of the biggest challenges for business owners and their marketing teams. While we won’t call it a cakewalk, the platform is relatively intuitive. Setting up a store on Shopify involves just a few steps:

  • Customize the design you want
  • Add your products
  • Set up payment and shipping options

In addition, it has a large database of helpful resources, such as guides and video tutorials. Not only that, but the company is supported by its community, which provides helpful tips to new users.

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that its ease of use is one of its key selling points. If you’re wondering what are the pros of Shopify, its user-friendly interface is certainly one of them.

Customizations Make It Useful For eCommerce Branding

eCommerce is a competitive industry. You aren’t just competing with other online retailers, but you are also competing with a never-ending stream of online content in the form of news and entertainment.

Add to this the fact that customers have limited physical touchpoints with your business and you’ll see that it can be extremely difficult for an eCommerce business to stand out.

This makes branding and consistency even more important to your business. While you can do this through photography and copy, one of the pros of selling on Shopify is that it provides both free and paid themes for you to select from.

Use the theme editor on Shopify to adjust the look of your store to match with other marketing collateral and your brand’s identity.

Mobile Friendliness and Fast Page Load Speeds

You don’t need to be an owner to know that page load speeds are crucial for your site’s success. While this is important for anyone who has a website, fast page load speeds are indispensable for an eCommerce business.

On the other hand, many product images and videos used to showcase your products can slow down your site.

Shopify’s clean code and infrastructure ensure your site isn’t a victim of slow loading speeds, making it one of the pros of Shopify. Additionally, it hosts your online store on fast, global servers and doesn’t limit its bandwidth.

The same applies to mobile friendliness. Shopify reveals that retail mobile commerce sales hit $359.32 billion in 2021, an increase of 15.2% from 2020. It estimates that these sales should more than double to reach upwards of $700 billion by 2025.

As a business owner, making your website design mobile-friendly should be a priority.

All themes are responsive, leveraging Shopify features, which means they can adjust to fit any screen, including mobile phones. However, not all themes are automatically mobile-friendly, so you should either pick one that is, or customize your theme to make it mobile-friendly.

As an eCommerce marketing agency, our website design services team at Clicta Digital prioritizes mobile-friendliness for our clients. In addition merchants can use the Shopify app to easily manage their store from their mobile devices too.

A Variety Of Secure Payment Integrations

From surprise costs at checkout to a frustratingly complicated process to security concerns to limited payment options — there are a few reasons for an alarmingly large cart abandonment rate.

Shopify addresses this issue by offering several payment options, highlighting it as one of the pros of selling on Shopify.

Customers can choose to pay without using a credit card through services like PayPal, Meta Pay, Amazon Pay, and Google Pay. If you want to let customers pay via a credit card you can use Shopify Payments or go with a third-party provider.

Integration With Other Tools

Business owners never sleep! Okay, that is an exaggeration, but only slightly. You are not only listing your products, managing inventory, and making sales. You are also building customer relationships and implementing various marketing strategies.

Shopify features simplify this process for you. You can integrate several external tools directly on the eCommerce platform to simplify the process. For example, you can integrate Google Merchant Center.

It will enable you to list your products directly from your store so shoppers can find you on Search, YouTube, and more.

Improved Customer Experience

From improved site speeds to mobile-friendliness to secure payment options, there are several ways to ensure a positive customer experience via Shopify.

An example of a Shopify feature that makes the shopping experience seamless for your customers is the Shop app. If your online store meets requirements, your store products will automatically be listed in the Shop app.

This app enables customers to track packages, discover new stores and products, and make purchases easily. It also works as a marketing tactic for your business.

Similar to the Amazon shopping app, Shop makes the checkout and shopping process extremely easy for your customers.

Let’s also take a look at some cons of using this eCommerce platform.

shopify review

Cons Of Shopify

The Price Can Add Up

To take full advantage of the platform and its various features, you may quickly find yourself spending some big dollars. It is not to say that Shopify’s pricing isn’t affordable for smaller businesses.

In fact, we have helped several of our clients to transition to Shopify. Not all businesses need all the bells and whistles.

You can always start with a basic plan and upgrade as your business needs change, but one of the cons of using Shopify is that additional features may require higher-tier plans. It may be a good idea to start a 14-day free trial to explore the platform and assess whether you’ll require extra features.

Limited Options To Build Specific Pages

While it’s easy to get started on it, and the platform has built-in SEO features, if you want to customize your online store more precisely, you may want to enlist the help of a professional. It is also not easy to build specific landing pages.

For instance, if you want to build a landing page for a Google ad you are running, the process may be time-consuming and need more advanced skills.

Transaction Fees For Using Third-Party Payment Gateways

Another disadvantage of Shopify is it charges transaction fees for using third-party payment gateways. It means that for every sale made through a payment gateway other than Shopify Payments, it charges a fee on top of what the payment gateway charges.

These fees can add up over time, especially for businesses with high transaction volumes or smaller profit margins.

Inability To Self-Host Reduces Control

The platform does not allow you to self-host your eCommerce store. This means your website and all its data are hosted on Shopify’s servers rather than your own. While this may not be a big deal for some businesses, it does mean you have less control over your site.

One of the disadvantages of Shopify is that not being able to self-host also means they can take down or suspend your store if it violates their terms of service or acceptable use policy.

No Control Over URL Text

By default, Shopify creates URLs based on the product or page title. While this may work for some businesses, it can be frustrating for those who want to customize their URLs for SEO purposes or to match their brand’s naming conventions.

It could hurt your SEO efforts as customized URLs often perform better in search results. Unfortunately, the biggest disadvantage of Shopify is that it does not provide the option to edit the URL text, which can be a significant drawback for some users.

However, workarounds exist, such as using redirect URLs or creating custom collections with the desired URL structure.

shopify review

Compare With a Few Other Popular Platforms

There are more players in the eCommerce platform market than before, including WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce. How do they compare with Shopify?

SHOPIFYWOOCOMMERCEMAGENTOBIGCOMMERCE
Ease of UseIt is an intuitive platform, and one of the advantages of Shopify is that the learning curve is easier to manage. You will only need a professional’s help if you want extensive customizations.WooCommerce can be challenging for beginners, requiring some coding knowledge to fully customize your online store.Magento has a steep learning curve. Building your desired online store requires familiarity with technical terms and coding skills. (You may need to hire a web developer to help create your store).BigCommerce is also easy to use for non-technical users. However, it does lose a few points in this regard when compared to Shopify.
OwnershipOne disadvantage of Shopify is that site owners do not have full ownership of the platform.Fully owned by the site owner.Fully owned by the site owner.Site owners do not have full ownership of the platform.
ECommerce Business TypeSmall to medium-sized-business friendly, but also suitable for larger businesses. Better if you have a complex inventory.More suited for small- to medium-sized businesses.Suited for larger businesses with complex eCommerce needs and their own web development teams.It is better for very large businesses that only sell online.

FAQs About Shopify

Q: Is Shopify good for small businesses? Is there a specific stage at which a business should consider it?
A: Yes, it is a good option for small businesses. In fact, Shopify features were specifically designed to be an accessible and user-friendly eCommerce platform for businesses of all sizes.
Whether starting your first online store or expanding an established business, it offers features to meet your eCommerce needs.


Q: Is it easy to integrate an existing brand/store into Shopify? Can I migrate my existing eCommerce store to Shopify? (tricky process)

A: Yes, you can, but the process can be tricky. The ease of migration will depend on the complexity of your existing store and the level of customization you have implemented. It’s helpful to work with a Shopify expert or developer to ensure a seamless migration.

It provides various tools and resources, including a migration tool that can transfer products, customers, and orders to your new store, highlighting the pros of Shopify.

If you have an existing site, you can integrate your store into your website using Shopify’s Buy Button or other embedded commerce options.


Q: Is one platform better than another when it comes to Search Engine Optimization?

A: While each eCommerce platform has its SEO strengths and weaknesses, Shopify is generally considered one of the most SEO-friendly platforms available. It offers built-in optimization features such as customizable title tags and meta descriptions, clean URL structures, and automatic sitemap generation.

Additionally, Shopify’s website architecture is optimized for speed and mobile responsiveness, which are essential SEO factors that contribute to the pros of selling on Shopify. However, it’s important to note that SEO is a complex and ongoing process.

Your strategy’s success will depend on factors such as content quality, industry competitiveness, and the effectiveness of your backlink strategy.


Q: What are some customer relationship features on Shopify and how easy are they to use?

A: It provides a range of features that can help you connect with and engage shoppers. One of the platform’s most powerful customer relationship tools is its built-in email marketing platform, Shopify Email.

This Shopify feature lets you create and send customized email campaigns directly from your store. You can also use the platform’s customer segmentation tools to target specific shopper groups based on their behavior or purchase history and track campaign performance with detailed analytics.

It also offers other customer relationship tools, such as customer accounts, reviews/ratings, and social media integration. These features are generally simple to use and require little technical expertise, making them accessible to businesses of all sizes.


Q: Can I use my own domain name with Shopify?

A: Yes, you can use your domain name and it is considered one of the best Shopify features. Using your domain name can help you establish a strong brand identity and make it easier for customers to find and remember your online store.

You can purchase a new domain name directly from Shopify or connect an existing domain name to your store. If you already have a domain name, you can transfer it to Shopify or connect it through a third-party domain registrar, like Bluehost or Google Domains.

Once you’ve connected your name to the platform, you can use it for website, email, and other online communications.


Q: Does Shopify provide customer support?

A: It offers 24/7 support through email, live chat, and phone, making it easy to review Shopify and get help whenever needed.

The platform also provides resources (such as an extensive knowledge base, video tutorials, and a user forum) to help users get started and troubleshoot common issues.


Q: Shopify comes with a lot of additional costs (apps, plugins, transaction fees). How should someone go about selecting a plan? Does it help with the selection?

A: Yes, they offer guidance to assist users in selecting the most appropriate plan for their business requirements. Helpful resources include a pricing calculator, a Shopify feature comparison chart, and support from the customer service team.


shopify review

Conclusion

Shopify is an excellent option for businesses launching or expanding their eCommerce presence. It offers an intuitive platform, a user-friendly interface, and robust features that can help streamline your online business operations.

While there are some drawbacks, such as transaction fees and limited control over URL text, the benefits of using the platform with our comprehensive Shopify review far outweigh the disadvantages. Clicta Digital has helped several of our clients migrate their online stores to Shopify and helped build brand-new Shopify websites.

If you’d like advice on your eCommerce business website, schedule a free consultation with us. We will be glad to answer any questions.