in Misc

Shopify Pros and Cons: General Overview

If you are into e-commerce, you are most likely familiar with Shopify, or you have heard of it. Considering that there are thousands of other e-commerce platforms out there, what makes Shopify stand out? Here’s a general overview of the platform.

What’s Shopify

Shopify is a complete fully-hosted platform that offers commerce services by allowing netizens to build their online stores. It comes with several useful features making it one of the best platform choices for businesses aiming at more sales. However, it is not all perfect as it has some shortcomings, too (we’ll get there in a minute).

Shopify supports the sale of both digital and physical goods. Paintings, pottery products, stationery, clothing, drinks, furniture, automotive parts, and furniture are some of the products available on Shopify stores. Some of the digital products in Shopify include event tickets, credit services, pyramid schemes, virtual currency, and adult content.

Since Shopify is a hosted solution, you do not need not to purchase web hosting. You also don’t need to install any software to use Shopify. Withal, you can add some applications if you wish to customize your store. These apps improve the functionality of the store with features such as inventory & shipping management.

As a SaaS (Software as a Service) tool, you have no ownership of Shopify. Instead, you pay a subscription fee to keep using it.

How it works

Shopify acts as a website builder. It is anchored on a base tool that offers an interface-oriented approach in creating a website. As such, coding skills are not necessarily a must-have.

Websites developed out of the Shopify builder are typically hosted on their web servers. Since Shopify uses an optimized server architecture that’s tailored for e-commerce, you are assured of excellent services.

Who can use Shopify?

There is no restriction on who can use Shopify. As long as you have an internet connection, you can create your store. Tesla and Budweiser are some of the big names that use Shopify.

According to Shopify, it currently has over 1 million active users and has recorded sales of over $180 billion. The versatile nature of the platform gives it an edge over others in the market. One key functionality is that it offers scalability to ensure flexibility as the business grows in terms of sale volumes and customer base.

The process of setting it up is simple, which makes it ideal for e-commerce beginners. Its affordable plans (as we shall see below) have also attracted many budding businesses. 

Shopify plans

Shopify offers five plans, each at different pricing.

Basic Shopify: Subscription cost is $29 a month, and there is an additional 2.9% + 30¢ charge for online credit cards.

Shopify: Subscription cost is $79 a month, and there is an additional 2.6% + 30¢ charge for online credit cards.

Advanced Shopify: Subscription cost is $299 a month, and there is an additional 2.4% + 30¢ charge for online credit cards.

The features offered vary with the subscription plan, and you can choose to pay upfront annually or half-yearly. You can also try Shopify free for 14 days without having to provide a credit card.

The difference in features available

The packages vary in terms of the tools and features offered. To make sure you aren’t lost when choosing your preferred plan, here are the main differences:

– The lower plan lacks professional reporting functionality. Advanced reporting tools are offered in the high-end plan. With these tools, you can create custom reports.
– Gift cards are absent in the basic plan.
– Save for Advanced Shopify, the rest lack real-time carrier shipping.
– The basic plan supports 2 member accounts, while the midlevel plan supports 5. Membership in the staff accounts is increased to 15 in ‘Advanced Shopify.’

Member accounts are handy, especially when restricting permission available to different members.

Other features in the Advanced Plan include dedicated IP address, API support, and guaranteed uptime.

Shopify comes with built-in Store Analytics as well as basic SEO features, although these may not be sufficient.

The Good

– Multiple channels retailing support
– Built-in payment service that supports over 100 payment processors
– Excellent site performance (fast time-to-first-byte)
– Offers self-help documentation including tutorials
– Useful add-ons to expand the store
– Has a Shopify abandoned cart recovery feature
– Fully hosted

The Bad

– Shopify uses its version of PHP language, Liquid
– Apps and advanced features are expensive
– Lacks email hosting
– External gateways cost additional charges
– Has no free plan but Shopify throw in a free trial to sweeten the pill

Wrap Up

If you are looking to join in on the lucrative e-commerce market, Shopify is an ideal platform to use. You can create an account easily and expand your market reach. The 14-day free trial lets you explore the platform risk-free.


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.