During the last couple of years, many online store builders have appeared on the market, and picking the right one for your niche represents the first step towards building a great online store. Shopify with more than 400,000 satisfied users without a doubt is the best, and easiest to use e-commerce platform available on the market these days. Small learning curve, a multitude of great features makes it easy to perform e-commerce activity on Shopify.
To kick things off, those who are just starting out can register for a 14-day trial, during which they’ll be able to test out most of the features that Shopify provides to build an excellent e-commerce website. After the 14-day period, users can then choose which pricing solution best fits their needs.
In this Shopify review, I will target some of the main factors that a potential user must know before choosing to conduct his/here commerce business on the platform. These factors include usability, themes, speed, responsiveness, SEO, billing, integration, features, support, and a FAQ.
Because e-commerce platform is all about selling products, let’s get to the core functionality of the platform- adding and maintaining products in Shopify sites. Shopify allows you to quickly add multiple variants of the same product and vary their prices based on the size, material, and color of the product. With options to easily include product details such as weight, price in the product description, possibility to change color, the format of descriptions and with options to add images in multiple angles, Shopify makes it incredibly easy to make product pages and products look good while making them search engines friendly. Additionally, options like uploading products in bulk, easy categorizing of products using collections, creating manual discount collections, options to share products or collections on social media makes store maintenance a lot easier.
Themes are bound to ensure the success of any e-commerce platform, as they are the design language of your site, and one of the main factors that can attract other users. With this in mind, let’s discuss Shopify themes. All designs available on Shopify are bound to be extremely responsive and are created using Liquid, a platform’s language. On installing the Shopify themes, full access to code is given, thus allowing modifications to the design.
Being a search engine friendly website builder, Shopify makes sure that their every theme is contrast tested to have a better display on all devices, generates valid HTML, be accessible with keyboard shortcuts and functions properly on all major browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and IE9.
Shopify also allows designers to create new designs and sell them on Shopify Marketplace. Every design submitted to Shopify will undergo a strict evaluation process to make sure it is responsive and search engine friendly.
When it comes to running an online store, speed represents an essential factor, as most visitors tend to be impatient and want to leave a slow loading web store. To stay ahead in this aspect, Shopify uses world class CDN, run by Fastly, to load website fast throughout the globe, at no extra costs.
It all sounds awesome! But let’s see how these cool things translate in numbers. We chose four random sites built on Shopify and ran a speed test using Gtmetrix. Proofs time!
Shopify Loading Speed Test
Page speed grade on GtMetrix, for all four sites show around 70, which is a bit more than average. Because websites on Shopify being mostly web stores with loads of images, better image size optimization might make website loading speed better. Among those four sites, the sites with better page load speed tend to have better CSS sprites combining.
As mentioned earlier in designs section, every Shopify theme is responsive. The same four sites tested for page load speed were also tested for their responsive and mobile friendly nature. All of the sites that we have tested were responsive and rendered well on desktops, mobile phones, and tablets. But regarding loading speed on mobile phones, we did see some surprising results.
Below are the results for sites we tested. All the sites fluctuate around 45 on Google Page Speed Insights which seems to be a poor score. However, it is also important to keep in mind that those are e-commerce sites with homepage sizes of 3-4mb.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
No matter how good the store looks, unless it won’t get traffic from search engines, commerce activity won’t start. Shopify offers a multitude of options to improve the on-page SEO of the web store, and the first thing I would like to mention in that category would be the ability of every Shopify theme to generate clean code to make search engine crawling easy. Like all other website and store builders, Shopify also allows you to edit header tags, meta descriptions, titles of every page, product, post, and also has options to avoid duplicate content. Shopify also allows you to edit URLs, generates sitemaps automatically and provides free SSL certificate for every paid plan. Additionally, if you want to use Shopify to review products, it has apps to makes such reviewing process quite easy.
Shopify offers a significant number of Apps—over 1,500—so you can add more function, automate a lot of business tasks, and, customize your store to satisfy your every need. Shopify has a total of 644 free apps that can be used to facilitate almost any function an online store needs. Not only this, but Shopify also comes along with a total of 1104 advanced, paid apps, which can be used to add numerous extra features to your online store. Some of the areas that the apps can help facilitate, include, but are not limited to sales, marketing, customer service, shipping, inventory management and more.
Shopify Loading Speed Test
Shopify is expensive, and other transaction charges make it even more pricey. Fortunately, it does offer Shopify payment gateway, which can help you save transaction costs if you are from United States, Australia, Canada, and Ireland. For those from other countries, Shopify supports 70 payment gateways to accept credit card payments, and as mentioned earlier by using other payment gateways, there will be Shopify transaction charges+credit card fees of 2.9% + 30cents. PayPal can also be integrated directly into the payment section.
Order section on dashboard displays the list of orders placed by the customer, list of pending orders. Order placed and not delivered is an unfulfilled order. Product shipped to the customer is a fulfilled order. The order section also manages to send confirmation emails about confirmed order to customers. Order fulfilling can be automated, semi-automated or manually done. For automation, all you need is the one-time configuration of delivery with checkout. Additionally, for Shopify users in USA and Canada, shipping can also be automated with Shopify Shipping. Shopify order section also allows you to check details about abandoned customers who add a product to cart and don’t buy which you can use for remarketing process.
The Sales Channels
Shopify has sales channels to let- you sell your products on websites, social media, mobile apps. You can manage them individually through sales channel option in the dashboard.
The Buy Button
This is the basic sales channel with which you can sell products on your website or blogs built on other platforms like WordPress, Tumblr, Squarespace. The button can also be added directly to emails sent through the email marketing campaigns.Buy button can be integrated and customized according to the blog or website theme so that you can maintain the brand of your blog or website
Shopify with messenger option allows you to connect with Facebook account and business page to interact with your customers from Facebook.
Shopify allows you organize your shop on Facebook. There are detailed guides on how to organize the Facebook shop. You can also only use the option to get social media attention if you’d like to.
Point of Sale (POS)
A point of sale (POS) feature is also available. After installing the POS app from the sales channel, you should be able to enable the retail packages. It’s worth pointing out the fact that the bigger package you decide to buy, the more POS staff accounts. POS app is compatible with iPad or iPhone, which will help you manage multiple points of sale, using your phone.
This is yet another of the many great features being offered by Shopify. It represents an official Facebook marketing partner, which will allow you to market your store on the internet, by helping you run Facebook and Instagram-based ads. It also uses dynamic ads, which can increase your ROI, and retargets customers.
Upon using an e-commerce website builder, the chances are that you will need to get in touch with the customer support team at least once. If this is the case, Shopify has a live chat feature. On a typical working day, reaching customer support via live chat might take around 5-10. If you don’t want to wait in queues for live chat, you can send Shopify an email explaining your issue, and you’ll likely get a reply soon.
Customer support team from Shopify are both patient and friendly. They refer to themselves as e-commerce gurus and are bound to offer you the support that you need. During my test, I chatted with the support team for around an hour, on various issues, and was more than satisfied with their response. In addition to theses, Shopify also provides support via phone.
What is the cost to renewal a domain if purchased from Shopify?
Can edit the code of template on Shopify ?
How many free/premium sites can I build on one Shopify account?
Can I edit my Shopify website from mobile?
Can I use 3rdparty payment gateways for Shopify store?
Can I accept offline payments like COD, cheque or mode of transfer etc.. ?
Does Shopify has livechat support
Does Shopify offer any high priority support for instant response?
Can I connect paypal to Shopify online store?
Can I edit my mobile website?
Can I add SSL to my website ?
Can I able to publish the site after 14 days free trial ?