Shopify is a solely e-commerce website building platform, with plenty of useful features regarding sales and figures. It’s very simple to create a fresh online shop, with lots of modern, clean templates, making it more than easy for a beginner to create their dream online consumer front. Built in to Shopify is an app store, filled with e-commerce apps which can be bought and dropped right into your store. There is a multitude of different apps offering different services but it is really refreshing to see this integrated into website building, as it’s seldom seen elsewhere.
Shopify has a trial account which is activated for free which lasts for 2 weeks. The trail account allows you to create a store under a Shopify subdomain, charging a credit card rate of 2.4% + 20p for each transaction with a credit card. The first upgrade is to ‘Starter’ which comes into effect after the trial period, that offers space for 25 products, 1GB file storage and the same credit card rate as before. The first upgrade which reduces this rate is the ‘Professional’ plan which is $79 per month which entails a 2.1% + 20p rate. “Professional’ and the higher upgrade ‘Unlimited’ are recommended to the larger online stores with more sales as the biggest effect stemming from the money you pay is the reduced credit card rate (1.8% + 20p for ‘Unlimited’).
Shopify’s editor is a new introduction to the service and is certainly an upgrade to the previous system. With the new editor you can see changes in real time, which saves a lot of time otherwise spent switching screens back and forth to get a website looking how you wish. However, and a big however at that, the editor is still extremely lacking in comparison to other available in the website building scene. It is clear that the efforts at Shopify are spent on features and ease of use on the e-commerce side of things, making a users websites not as customizable as expected.
Shopify offers around 100 templates, some ‘premium’ which you have to pay to use. We couldn’t see a big jump in quality from the free themes to the paid themes, leading us to believe that you are simply paying for some sort of exclusivity. Of the paid themes, prices range from $100 to $180, all of which are different colours, designs and layouts. We would have expected there to be more templates from a website building service, as we have seen the number usually be around 500 to 1000, with some even offering many more. To be fair, all of the templates are extremely good looking, and it’s almost hard to pick at some times as they all seem great.
In terms of e-commerce features, you won’t see much better offered elsewhere.The magnitude and usability of feature base is unmatched in the niche market of online shops, with a stand out feature being a discount code generator, which is surprisingly malleable and can lead to much more impressive sales figures. All of the different reports available to see straight from the main admin page seemed super useful, with the ability to check out traffic sources, payment methods used, and most importantly gross sales, undoubtedly very valuable to business.
Help is available whatever point you are at during the Shopify experience. To the bottom left of the page is a question mark, from which you can head to the help center, or choose to hire an expert. Within the ‘Hire an Expert’ option you can choose from Setup Experts, Designers, Developers, Marketers and Photographers, all of which can be beneficial to a beginner and professional alike. Help is also available from the community forums, which hold treasured tips and tricks as well as problem solving assistance.