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Shopify Review [2020]: Pros, Cons & Alternatives (w/ Real Experiences!)

Shopify Review 2020: Pros, Cons, and Alternatives - Featured Image

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If you’re looking or an in-depth Shopify review, you’re in the right place.

Odds are, if you’re here, you’re looking for ways to sell your products or services online effectively, and you’re trying to decide if Shopify will work to achieve your goals. In this article, my goal is to show you what Shopify is, how it works, and to help you decide if it’s a good option for your business sales needs.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an e-commerce solution, founded in 2004, that was created to simplify the process of setting up a store and selling products online. At the time of this writing, they’re market leaders in the industry, and compete with companies like WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, BigCommerce, Magento, and others.

Entrepreneurs nowadays have to make the tough decision of where to start their websites when many very good options are out there. Take a look at how other website builders and content management systems compare in terms of popularity…

How does Shopify Work?

Let’s say you run a craft business, and you create handmade products. Using Shopify, you could set up an online store, upload pictures and descriptions of your products, attract customers, and sell your handmade goods.

Shopify offers many themes and apps you can use to customize the look, feel, and functionality of your store, so you can sell your products online and offline.

What does Shopify Integrate with?

A cool feature of Shopify is the integrations. Shopify integrates with Zapier, which opens opportunities for an immense amount of automation. As an example, you can integrate with software like Quickbooks, so when a new sale is made on Shopify, the transaction is automatically updated in Quickbooks. Shopify integrations can help you manage customer support, email marketing, project management, and more.

Can you use Shopify even if you don’t have products or services?

Many new entrepreneurs don’t have products or services when they get started. Instead, it’s common for them to fall into opportunities like network marketing, however, with Shopify, you can source products from other people as an affiliate or dropshipper, and sell them in your online store. Companies like Oberlo make it easy to source products for sale in a Shopify store even if you don’t create them yourself.

How do I get Started with Shopify?

Shopify offers a try before you buy option, so you can sign up for a 14-day free trial, play around with the Shopify settings, see what it’s like to set up a store, and decide if it works well for you.

Who is Shopify for?

Shopify is best for:

  • Those who don’t want to use WordPress or another alternative for e-commerce
  • Those with products
  • Those who want a retail feel
  • Those who want a nice online store without coding
  • Those who want good sales conversion options like gift card sales, limited time offers, and more
  • Those who want detailed analytics and integration with ad platforms

Shopify Tools and Training

Shopify has a huge blog, lots of tutorials in their knowledgebase, many Youtube creators who do video training, and Udemy creators that offer training courses as well. There are many resources you can use to learn how to make Shopify work well for you.

The Shopify blog extends beyond tutorials on the software. They talk about how to run a business overall: customer support, legal, accounting, sales, and more.

Shopify Support

Shopify offers support before, during, and after your free trial. They offer 24/7 support thru their community forums, their help center, and in-person by email, chat, and phone.

What does Shopify do Well

  • Shopify offers a very customizable e-commerce solution
  • They’ve priced their software where it’s much less expensive to start an online retail store than it would be offline
  • They offer phone, email, and chat support to customers
  • They have an immense amount of training resources
  • The themes are apps are constantly being added onto–adding further customizations to the stores
  • They have great analytics
  • They offer great integrations
  • They’re very responsive to complaints

What doesn’t Shopify do Well

  • They charge transaction fees on each sale, and don’t refund transaction fees when businesses refund the customer
  • They close stores without explanation
  • They don’t service individuals they consider as “high risk”

Shopify Review Roundup

I’ve compiled a summary of what others have said about Shopify, so you can see what customers say: good and bad.

Common Positive Shopify Reviews

  • I was able to build a very nice looking store
  • I was able to dropship items and make money
  • I sold my products online thru Shopify and my customers complimented me on the user experience
  • It’s been very easy for me to launch new products to the market quickly

Common Negative Shopify Reviews

  • Shopify closed my store without reason
  • Shopify kept the transaction fees after I refunded my customer
  • Shopify placed a hold on my money due to the volume of chargebacks
  • I keep getting charged

Most Helpful Positive Shopify Review

Shopify has many advantages and cool features, but here are my top favorite ones:

Adding products as well as managing payment and shipping options and processing orders is absolutely painless.

Their layouts (templates) can be modified to a large degree without any programming knowledge.

Shopify can help you with your content marketing too as it comes with a blog and more. Although with some limitations.

It’s possible to change your store’s look and add extra-functionality by installing new templates and apps in seconds.

If you are a programmer (or hire one), you can have complete control over your online store customization.

Having official 24 hours support is something I value a lot.

No matter how fast your business grows, Shopify can accommodate small, big and colossal ecommerce projects.

If you are into dropshipping, Shopify integrates with several apps/providers.

A nice perk is that you can sell offline with their PoS solution.

Josep Garcia, websitetooltester.com

Most Helpful Negative Shopify Review

One customer complaint placed on 22 June 2020 at the BBB summarized the experience of many others who complained. They said:

My Shopify store was closed without informing me, or providing any details of the issue. I was not even given a chance to possibly rectify whatever risk flag was raised – I know I have done nothing wrong, I haven’t sold any products that don’t comply. I still continue to get chargebacks when I haven’t had access to the store for almost two months. Shopify is being completely unreasonable and heavy-handed. They say they want to help small businesses, but they are inaccurately and unfairly shutting us down for no reason. There is no customer service at all in these situations – they just say goodbye and good luck not even acknowledging the time and resources that business owners put into creating these online stores that they highly profit from. And they continue to charge us fees after taking control on our stores! This is absolutely ridiculous!

Shopify vs. Others

At the time of this writing, Shopify powers over 800,000 stores, which is astronomical. Most customers have to decide at some point whether Shopify is the best option or another.

Typically, they choose Shopify because of these competitive advantages:

  • There are lot of apps and themes to improve functionality
  • It’s scalable: big and small stores can use it
  • You can have an unlimited number of products
  • The support is helpful
  • You can sell online or offline
  • It integrates with fulfilled by Amazon, Oberlo, and other companies for dropshipping
  • The reporting is detailed

People who choose to go away from Shopify usually choose an alternative because:

  • They want lower overhead costs
  • They want more features for the price
  • They’re not able to sell on Shopify because Shopify won’t allow
  • Their store has been shut down
  • They don’t want transaction fees
  • They don’t want a retail feel
  • Or, it doesn’t work well to sell what they’re selling

How much does Shopify cost?

Shopify plans range between $29/mo and $299/mo. You get more advanced analytics and reporting, and less processing fees with the higher tier plans.

My Final Opinion About Shopify

Overall, Shopify is a great option for selling products online. They offer really good software and robust features that are working for nearly 1 million online stores. If you’re interested in Shopify, hopefully, this Shopify review gave you lots to consider, and helped you decide if it’s a good solution for you. If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments section below, or if you want to try it out, create your 14-day free trial and see if it works well for you.

Popular Shopify Alternatives

SamCart

If you're looking for a solution that has robust features you can use to sell products or services (including recurring subscriptions, physical or digital products), SamCart could be a great option for you. Offer upsells, downsells, order bumps, and more.

Podia

If you're looking to sell digital products online courses, webinars, or digital products, Podia could be a great option for you.

Clickfunnels

If you're looking for detailed analytics and a way to upsell, downsell, offer order bumps, and manage affiliates, Clickfunnels could be the option for you.

Shopify - E-Commerce and POS Solution

8.9

Reliability

8.0/10

Ease of Use

9.5/10

Pricing

8.0/10

Support

9.5/10

Features

9.5/10

Pros

  • Very customizable
  • Phone, email,and live chat support
  • Much lower cost than starting retail offline
  • Robust features like shopping cart abandonment and detailed analytics
  • Simple to use and scalable

Cons

  • Processing Fees can add up
  • Shopify's payment gateway is restricted to certain areas
  • Customers complain of having their stores shut down without warning

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