Starting off with a team of 5 in a local coffee shop and growing to over 4,000 — Shopify’s success story speaks for itself.
This dedicated bunch has put an immense amount of effort into perfecting the user experience, and it definitely shows. Over 800,000 business owners trust Shopify with their websites, and you can find big names like Budweiser, The Economist, and Tesla, all running successful stores with the service.
Shopify comes with a 14-day free trial, no credit card required. You get two weeks to thoroughly explore one of the best ecommerce website builders and see if the basic plan fits you or you need a more powerful package.
Ease of Use
When you sign up for Shopify, you are prompted to answer a handful of short questions, which determine the best settings for your store. Once inside, a terrific-looking interface is at your disposal, ready to guide you through the seemingly scary process of building your first online shop.
When it comes to pleasing the novice user, it doesn’t get much better than what Shopify has to offer. Every little setting has a comprehensive explanation, so you don’t get confused along the way. Orders, clients, products, and billing — everything you need to know on how to build an ecommerce website is well within your grasp.
Shopify can rightfully take pride in their feature department. Even with the Basic plan, you can enjoy a ton of useful options like free SSL certificate, abandoned cart recovery, and fraud analysis.
The Point of Sale (POS) is a particular highlight for Shopify, allowing business owners to sell products and receive secure payments from locations and vendors around the world. Available in all paid plans, this option presents a brilliant opportunity to introduce your brand and products to a broader audience.
Many ecommerce website builders include store analytics, but Shopify takes that to the next level. The platform tracks and summarizes vast amounts of statistical information so you can micromanage every little detail of the selling processes.
Rarely can you find client support through as many channels as Shopify has to offer. The 24/7 assistance spans across live chat, email phone, and even Twitter. As if that’s not enough, you can spend hours in the knowledge base, reading helpful guides and learning new tricks on how to improve your ecommerce website even more.
The site builder easily integrates with thousands of third-party apps, which is excellent, but that also comes at a price. Should an external add-on stops working, the Shopify team won’t be able to provide much help.
Shopify excels in the design department as well. The developers have released 10 free and 60 paid themes (ranging from $140 to $180), but there are hundreds more available around the Web. The templates are also highly customizable, so with a bit of CSS knowledge, you can do wonders to the visual outlook of your store.
Shopify ranks among the best website builders for ecommerce in terms of versatility. Benefits like Point of Sale, dropshipping setup, and free SSL often tip the scales when users need to come to a final decision.
You are free to use your own domain with Shopify, but in case you don’t have one — you can quickly start an online business with a subdomain like yourshop.shopify.com.
We already praised the extent of client support you can get with this site builder. The growing and active community that evolved around Shopify is another reassuring fact. Users from all over the world are ready to lend a helping hand and share some invaluable experience when you need it.
The Shopify ecommerce website builder is reasonably priced, at $29/mo for the Basic package. The best thing is that you can start with an even more affordable option — there is a Lite version at $9/mo which still allows you to get the most of building your first online store.
Shopify certainly ranks high, but is it perfect?
A major setback for businesses, especially the ones making a lot of low-cost sales, is the added transaction fee if you don’t use the internal payment system. Credit card fees are also relatively higher, compared to other ecommerce website builders, like BigCommerce. Add that to the extra costs that quickly pile up when you decide to purchase additional plugins and themes, and you already have to start digging deep in your pockets.
Advanced store customization might also prove cumbersome if you are a newbie user. Shopify employs a proprietary markup language called Liquid, based on the Ruby on Rails framework. That might already sound very exciting if you are a developer, but people that lack a certain level of technical knowledge will easily be lost and confused.
Shopify is unquestionably high up in the ranking for the best ecommerce website builders, especially for small and mid-sized businesses. A wide range of features and comprehensive dashboard make up for an effortless first-time experience with site building.
Unexpected extra fees are a significant drawback to consider, but if you believe the investment is worth it — definitely give Shopify a go.