You see Shopify ads, Shopify stores and promotion by others about how Shopify is changing the lives of so many people, by enabling them to build an eCommerce store and be able to run a business of their own from home. But the bottom-line questions are, is Shopify legit? Can you make money with Shopify?
This review will go in-depth on how it can help you build the online store / business of your dreams, so keep reading. 🙂
Pricing: Free trial / $9 a month / $29 a month / $79 a month / $299 a month
Shopify has been around since 2004, and since it has stood the test of time, you can rest assured that it is one of the most legitimate online platforms. It was created by Tobias Lutke and has grown tremendously since its first launch. Shopify has definitely advanced with technology and offers various ways of making an online eCommerce store a success. We’ll be diving right into these details shortly.
My First Impressions
What I like, is that you can sign up with an email address and a password, no need for credit card information, just so you can try it for free. Afterwards, you are asked a few questions that that advises Shopify of what you may need help with, whether you are a beginner or an expert.
The back office is neatly designed with everything that you will need right at your fingertips; your orders, products you sell, customer information, analytics (to determine how many visitors you get, your sales, your conversions, etc…), discounts you want to offer, as well as the Apps section, equipped with tools upon tools to help your business get off the ground as fast as possible.
The training included within Shopify is just enough to help you get started and make a few sales. What I don’t like about their training, is that it is scattered. It means, that you have to go looking for information. There aren’t lessons that you can follow one after the other in proper sequence to help you build the website properly, so you could potentially find yourself wasting time, trying to get to the information you need.
Apart from the getting-started training, you also have the Shopify blog, where you can learn about tons of tricks and tips of running an online business / eCommerce store. Again, it is not much training but mainly tips and tricks, and what will help you understand background mechanisms better. Unfortunately, nothing that is progressive as you grow your store.
If you are looking for anything beyond the minimums, you will have to hire a Shopify Expert who will take a look at your website and help you improve in areas that are lacking, in order to provide a better user experience for your shoppers and increase sales. This is definitely a neat feature if you have the money to do so, and kick-start your online store to success.
I mentioned the App section before and this is exactly what/where most of your tools are going to be. The Apps within the Shopify store work similarly to the apps within the AppStore for Apple; they are there to help you boost your sales, manage your inventory, keep up your customer service levels and much more!
Many of the apps within are completely free to use.
One App that is worth mentioning, specially if you are a newbie thinking of using Shopify to open your online store ( and have no idea where you’ll get your products) is the Oberlo app. Oberlo is free to use with Shopify and helps you find products to sell to your customers, mostly from Aliexpress.
Oberlo sinks all images of the product to your online store. One important aspect is the fact it will automatically filter and only show you the products that are mailed via ePacket, in order to quicken shipping time, that will result in better customer satisfaction.
Right before you publish it to your website, you are given a chance to update the title, pricing, the shipping cost and the product details to your liking. Once you click publish, the product almost instantly appears on your website for the shopping pleasure of your visitors.
There are a few ways to request help; the online chat, the Shopify help center and the Community Forums. These are pretty self-explanatory.
The online chat found on the bottom-right hand corner of the screen is available 24/7 in case you are stuck while working on your shop.
The Shopify Help Centre is more like an FAQ section, where you will find questions that most newbies have, and also the answers to those questions. This is of course also available 24/7.
If you cannot find what you are looking for there, then you can always go to the Community Forum, where there are hundreds of thousands of online shop owners who are ready to assist you. They were just like you when they got started so they are the best people to ask for help, because they understand your situation and are the ones who have had the most experience working on this side of the screen. You can use this 24/7.
Pricing and Plans
There are quite a few membership options available with Shopify, and at different monthly prices. The different options are tailored to a range of business needs. Therefore, whether you are a newbie or an eCommerce expert, you can rest assured that you will find a plan that will suit your needs, without breaking the bank.
Here is a breakdown of what is included within each of the options;
1) Shopify Free Trial– Pretty self-explanatory, this is a free plan that will allow you to try out Shopify for 14 days. You only need an email address, your name and a password to sign up and you’re good to go!
This trial allows you to create a free website on a Shopify sub-domain (your website will be something like www.yourwebsite.shopify.com instead of www.yourwebsite.com).
It allows you to try out this website for 14 days, to use as many free apps as you would like, to learn the ways of how an eCommerce website works, to add products or import products from Oberlo, and even gives you the opportunity to make some money in the process.
After the trial is up, you will need to upgrade to a paying plan in order to be able to maintain access to the back-office.
2) Shopify Lite at $9/month – This plan is not one that would be good for a beginner looking to start an online business. Rather it is for somebody who would like to add purchase features on their existing website.
It provides you with a payment gateway from your website, where your customers can pay using almost any method at all! It adds a Buy Button to your products and your visitors are able to then buy directly from you. One really neat feature, is that it can integrate with your professional Facebook account so you can stay on top of customer service!
3) Basic Shopify at $29/month – This plan will allow you to manage your very own eCommerce store, along with a blog. This is the minimum monthly payment if you want to have a fully functional website, that comes with an SSL certificate, website protection, Shopify’s payment gateway and an unlimited number of products to sell!
Not only can you add your own products, but you can also use the Oberlo app, either in sync or on its own, to add products from Aliexpress.
With the Basic plan, you are able to also install and use tons of free apps that will either make your website more appealing and user-friendly, or make your job easier. The amazing fact is that many of them are free! This plan is perfect for beginners.
4) The Shopify Plan at $79/month – I understand that this plan costs quite more than the Basic plan. However, it also includes much more important features.
It includes everything from the Basic Plan, and you also gain access to gift cards, professional reports as well as cart recovery.
Here is why the cart recovery tool is important; most people will not buy on impulse and this tool makes it possible to re-market to those customers. It makes sense to me that they added the item to their carts because they were very interested in them and maybe wanted to come back later to purchase.
There is nothing wrong with sending them a reminder that the item still rests within their cart and that they can buy it whenever they are ready.
Statistics show that more than 50% of customers end up buying when they are reminded about their abandoned items. So why lose the sale to somebody else?
5) Advanced Shopify Plan at $299/month – Given its price, this plan is not just for anybody; it is specifically for high-revenue companies who want more advanced features, such as advanced report building and more staff accounts. Due to the higher revenue of the business, this plan offers the best discounts when it comes to shipping rates and credit card fees.
Don’t forget, that on top of all the extra features included within this plan, that you get all the features of the Shopify Plan (at $79) and all the different themes and apps that are mostly free within the Shopify store.
My final say…
Shopify has definitely kept on top of features, flexibility, customer service, as well as the pricing when it comes to its various plans, tailored to meet the needs of just anybody who wants to start an eCommerce store.
I love the Oberlo app, because it allows you to start earning an income, even if you have nothing of your own to sell. I find the number of free themes and apps amazing, because this really shows the focus on wanting to remove the financial barrier for everybody, such that anybody could become a success. The support is one of the best within the industry, where you are able to receive help 24/7.
The only down-side is the training. It helps you get started and you can start making a few sales but the learning there is very scattered. I understand that there are steps you can take to maximize this learning and other videos online you can watch for free, but learning this way is very disruptive and you don’t really understand where all the pieces go. Having to go to different sources to find the information you need is very time consuming and you can find yourself using your 14-day trial pretty fast.
If the training was present, even at an extra cost, I would personally not mind paying a little bit more, to ensure that what I am building and spending so much time on, will be worthwhile for the long-term. Because, let’s face it, what’s the use of having such a good platform, high-end tools and excellent customer service, when you don’t even know how to use them all properly?
… for the person willing to go through it all, Shopify gets thumbs up from me. Even if the learning is a bit scattered, you can still make the most of it, do your due diligence of learning and succeed being the owner of an eStore.
I know I have gone through quite some information within this review and it is okay to feel unsure about certain aspects of Shopify. My comment section below is open to everybody! So please feel free to ask me questions about this platform, or any other platform, and I will get back to you asap!
If you have had experience with Shopify or are currently a Shopify eStore owner, please share with us your experiences below, what you like about it, what you dislike. I am also curious to know how you are getting around the training side of things.