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You can hardly find a better solution for your online store. With impressive templates, great in-built toolset and over 1,500 available apps Shopify can power all kinds of stores. Unprecedented functionality and possibilities for customization come together with all the necessary tools to manage your Shopify store to perfection with minimal effort.
Shopify has a 14-day trial.
Shopify is a site builder designed to create online stores quickly and easily. Even without any previous experience with such platforms you could create a shop within a couple of days. With some experience behind your back even a single day could suffice.
What truly makes this builder excellent for shop owners is the great degree of automation. There are templates for order confirmation, shipping prices based on geographical zones and even a PayPal wallet, in case you don’t have one yet. Practically all elements for a smooth shop management are covered with the initial setup. This is something extremely useful, especially for people who want to open their first online store.
Naturally, all these functions can be edited and personalized but you can have the shop running in no time with the default settings and adjust them on the go.
There is a hefty number of themes to choose from. Some are paid, others are free, some can be customized a lot, others just a bit.
What is valid for all Shopify themes is their optimization for all major browsers and across all platforms. They are versatile, responsive and pretty. While choosing you can read a brief description of each template, which reveals its basic characteristics and the idea behind its design.
One downside of the templates is the programming language used for creating them. Liquid is Shopify’s own language and due to its rarity some Shopify reviews complain about the fact that you’d need to hire a Liquid developer for in-depth tweaks of the theme code. Otherwise, the code of each template is fully accessible and can be played with as much as your heart desires.
For me that’s not necessary a setback, because the themes are numerous and there are many apps (more details below) to meet all your needs. Besides, hiring a developer of any coding language is bound to burden your budget by some margin.
Speed tests reveal that Shopify websites could perform very well, but they could be quite sluggish as well. This is hardly a surprise because, by default, all online shops need some serious optimization.
Typically, web stores are full of images; from the home page onwards products are visible everywhere. Smaller or larger, many pictures inevitably increase the response time. Database queries, necessary to display the available stock in real time, also take time.
I tested four random Shopify sites. They were rather big. One of them performed really well, while another extremely poorly. The other two had response times slightly above average. Further analysis revealed that the quick site was fully optimized, while the slowest one was in dire need for some image compression.
If you put the effort and apply the necessary optimization techniques, your shop should display good to very good speed metrics. Shopify learning centre can teach you how to make the images smaller without compromising their quality, as well as other useful tricks. The Shopify support team also can give you a helpful hand.
As I mentioned earlier, all templates are optimized across all platforms. This usually translates into good speed on mobile devices as well, given that the necessary optimizations have been applied.
Shopify deploys a Content Delivery Network (CDN), which means that websites load equally fast throughout the world.
Doubtless one of the most important aspects of any successful website, the SEO elements are covered rather well by Shopify. You can insert meta tags, create alt-text on images, provide each page with a description, edit URLs and generate a sitemap. The site builder also helps you avoid duplicate URLs and generates automatically a robot.txt for the search engine crawlers.
Additionally, all Shopify plans include an SSL certificate. It is necessary to encrypt the transactions and other sensitive data, and helps with the ranking.
Diverse and functional, the Shopify apps exceed 1,500. More than enough to achieve anything you desire in terms of functionality. Hundreds of these apps are free.
Many of the people criticizing Shopify are quick to point out that the lack of diversity, the seemingly similar design solutions of this platform are the very reason why Shopify is bad. This is less and less true as the time goes by because both themes and apps become more numerous. The latter are particularly handy for securing a pleasant and unique shopping experience.
Even though Shopify comes with all the necessary tools for running a shop from the get-go, the apps can help you adjust the entire management process according to your taste.
Shopify and Facebook, 2-in-1. You’ve heard about this cool feature, haven’t you?
But how does Shopify work with Facebook exactly?
In short, you can display your shop through the social media platform. Virtually complete integration can be achieved through a simple click and you can expand your reach tremendously. Pretty sweet, eh?
Shopify can make your life easier on another front, too. This ecommerce platform really excels at data security and absolutely all shops built through it are automatically PCI compliant. This perk alone saves a ton of headache to potential shop owners.
You can test Shopify through a 14-day trial, but if you wish to set up your store there you should choose one the 3 available plans.
On monthly basis, the smallest costs $29, the next one is $79, while the most expensive package would set you back the whooping $299.
These fees might seem a bit scary but a quick glance across the board shows that they are competitive… before including the transaction fees. Through Shopify own payment gateway there are no fees but if you prefer to use PayPal or another payment facilitator, then the fees must be calculated carefully.
With the basic plan Shopify charges 2% for each transaction. This fee halves, going to 1% and to 0,5% with the regular and the advanced plans, respectively.
All plans include 24/7 support, unlimited products and hosting space, no restrictions in bandwidth, an SSL certificate and fraud analysis. Should you pay a full year in advance, you could save 10% off the price; prepaying for 2 years reduces the cost by 20%.