The Canadian company Shopify launched its online store platform in 2006. The goal was simple: provide an easy way to sell products online that frees sellers from all technical hurdles.

Shopify states that there are already more than 600,000 businesses that rely on their platform to sell products. Given the fact that there is only a free trial but no free plan, this is an impressive number indeed and makes them one of the leading store builders worldwide.

In our test, we’ll find out how easy or hard it is to setup and maintain a Shopify online store. How much knowledge do you need beforehand and what are the limitations? Is Shopify a reasonable alternative to other big players like eBay or Amazon’s marketplaces? We’ll also take a look at the differences between their paid plans to give you a better picture of which plan makes the most sense.

Let’s find out the secret behind Shopify (or rather, if there is any secret to it)!

Find our fully detailed review here: http://www.websitetooltester.com/en/reviews/shopify/ To try Shopify for free, click here: http://www.websitetooltester.c... Shopify Review: Is it the best eCommerce platform? 2014-04-11 https://img.youtube.com/vi/Ai9Csq3RurQ/hqdefault.jpg

Shopify’s Online Store can be tested for 14 days for free here.


Shopify Pricing


Basic Shopify

Sell unlimited products. Shopify will charge a 2% transaction fee unless you use Shopify Payments.



With more ecommerce features like gift cards and abandoned cart recovery. Transaction fees are 1% unless you use Shopify Payments.


Advanced Shopify

Get advanced reports and automatically calculated shipping rates. Transaction fees are 0.5% unless you use Shopify Payments.

Pro and Cons of Shopify

Ease of use

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about technical stuff at all. Nearly everything can be done with a few clicks. Shopify provides great beginner guides and extensive documentation.


Both quality and quantity of their designs are excellent and they are mobile-friendly (responsive). In case you don’t find one that fits your needs among the roughly 170 themes, you can either create your own or buy one.


The core system and templates are already great, but it doesn’t stop there. You have full access to the code and can add new functions via their app market or API (for programmers).


Shopify is very powerful, but still user-friendly. It’s easy to scale for small and big online stores.

Future Proof

Shopify is one of the biggest and most successful ecommerce solutions out there. The chances that this platform will be shut down are close to zero.

URL structure

Blog post, as well as regular pages (e.g. About us), have a URL structure that is not ideal for SEO. Shopify uses subdirectories such as /pages/ or /blog/news/. BigCommerce, for example, let’s you freely choose URLs.

Domain and email hosting

While domain names are not part of the premium packages, they can be purchased through the Shopify interface for a reasonable price. Email hosting requires an external solution like G Suite, though.

Multi-language store

This is not a standard feature. There are apps and templates available. However, they are either expensive or pretty limited in their functionality

Rating Details

criterion rating comments

Ease of use

Shopify has many features, but it is logically structured. Setting up an online store is not really complicated. Designing and arranging elements can be done with a live preview in the backend. There are also iPhone and Android apps that let you manage your store on the go.

Choice and flexibility of templates

Shopify templates are modern-looking and responsive (compatible with tablets and smartphones). There’s also enough variety to choose from.


It comes with most of the SEO features that online stores need. A downside is that some URLs get extra terms added (e.g./products/ or /collections/). Check our detailed SEO review for more information.

Basic functions

Product presentation

Zoom function, picture gallery, video – it’s all possible.

Product variants

First you define up to three options (e.g. size, color, material), then you add the variants (e.g. S,M,L,XL). From that Shopify will then generate all possible combinations, which can be up to 100. If you need more you can use one of their apps.

Cart function


In the “Shopify” plan there is an “Abandoned cart recovery” feature integrated. Among other things, it allows you to remind your visitors with an automatic email to complete their purchase.

User ratings


Buyers can leave a product and user feedback.

Article numbers


Add your own SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) numbers to each product.

Checkout, payment & shipping

Payment options

Credit card (including Stripe and Authorize.net), PayPal, manual payment options and even BitPay for Bitcoins. There are more than 100 external payment processors available. They have even introduced their own Shopify Payments Gateway, which will waive the Shopify transaction fee for all plans (Currently available in the U.S., UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong). More details.

Sale of digital goods


It is possible to limit the number of downloads or the time of availability. Delivery is handled via email. Supports the new rules on charging VAT for digital goods in the European Union.

SSL encryption


Customer data and payment transactions are encrypted via SSL (https). Included at no additional cost. You can now even use your own checkout domain.

Customer log-in area


Visitors can check out with a guest account or create their own personalized login. It’s even possible to let your customers decide whether or not they want to create an account.

Coupon codes


Fixed price, percentage, free shipping. You can set a maximum amount of usage and expiry date.

Shipping cost settings

Shipping rates can be set for each country individually or by shipping carrier (UPS, FedEx, etc.). You can also choose fulfillment/dropshipping with services like Amazon.

Tax settings

Is able to pull US tax rates automatically. Individual tax rates for other countries can be set individually. Allows you to display VAT prices on your product pages.


Article management

Shopify tracks all items you have in stock. There are also settings to receive notifications automatically. There is even a new POS system to manage both your online and offline inventory. This also allows you to take offline payments via an iPad.

Confirmation emails customizable

Yes. You can edit every notification email as you wish.

Importing product data


Product data can be imported from Magento, eBay, WordPress and CSV. This saves a lot of time and makes moving previous web stores to Shopify easy.

Exporting product data


Exporting a CSV-file is also possible.

E-Commerce analysis


Shopify offers reports in its “Shopify” plan and higher; product reports, order reports, and more are available (you can see how orders vary from month to month, for example). Moreover, it’s always possible to integrate Google Analytics.

Exporting order data


Export your orders in a CSV-file. There are also direct integrations for accounting tools such as Xero and QuickBooks.

Total Score


An excellent solution both for ambitious beginners and professionals. Shopify offers you a platform that makes selling not only easy, but also provides the tools to improve your sales. Definitely not the cheapest solution out there but thanks to their support and ecosystem, Shopify takes much of the headache out of running an online store. Try it for free.

Shopify Review Conclusion: Is this tool for you?

Shopify Top Choice EcommerceAfter having tested Shopify for a couple of weeks, we have to admit that we are quite impressed. To compare it with small-scale online stores like Weebly or Squarespace almost seems unfair as they easily beat them in every single category – except price.

Features and Templates

Adding products as well as setting up payment and shipping options works absolutely painlessly: no important service is missing. That makes both ordering and paying easy for your clients. Their layouts can be modified to a large degree without any programming knowledge.

But Shopify is not only an online store. You can also use it to do content marketing via a blog and also add content pages. And that’s what we find so fascinating: Shopify can be handled by an absolute beginner while at the same time providing a great looking, cutting-edge online store.

Just in case you’re missing a function or want to change the layout, most of the time you are only one click away. New templates and apps can be installed with one simple click via their app store. If you should need a function that doesn’t exist, it’s possible to create it since Shopify has a powerful template language called “Liquid.”

No matter how fast your business and requirements grow, with Shopify you don’t have to be afraid of moving to another platform and restarting everything from scratch (unless you become another Amazon, that is).

Shopify’s flaws

Of course, quality has its price. Shopify is not the cheapest solution, and even in their “Shopify” plan ($79/month) they charge you a 1% transaction fee. But you can bypass this fee by signing up for Shopify payments, which is their own payment gateway.

In their “Basic” plan ($29/month), they offer telephone support and the ability to modify your entire template. Find our full analysis of Shopify’s pricing plans here.

Still looking for flaws in Shopify? We’ll give you one: you won’t be able to set up a multilingual store out of the gate. However, we found an app priced at (a relatively steep) $17.50 per month that can help you create a multilingual store.

If that’s not an issue for you, Shopify might be THE answer to all your ecommerce questions!

Try Shopify 14 days for free (no credit card needed)

Our recommendation: before going “big,” consider picking the “Basic” plan ($29/month) if you need more features you can always upgrade. WordPress users can integrate Shopify Lite for only $9/month.

Is Shopify the right choice for you?

you want to sell physical and digital goods

you require customer logins

you need an easy way to integrate third party ecommerce features and apps

you would like to have full control of the templates

you need a wide range of payment options

you want to open a multilingual online store

your store is only a small side-business of your main website

Shopify Example Site

Shopify Alternatives

BigCommerce and Shopify are relatively equal. But for some, even their small differences can be crucial: BigCommerce is in the lead when it comes to SEO. This added flexibility can be valuable in competitive markets. Also, unlike Shopify, BigCommerce doesn’t charge any transaction fees. However, they will put you into a higher pricing plan as you hit certain thresholds in your sales. Check out our Shopify vs BigCommerce comparison for more details.

WooCommerce should be your preferred choice if you’re not afraid of terms like FTP, MySQL and plugin updates as you’ll have to install it on your own WordPress site. The main reason to choose it over Shopify, from our point of view, is if you need a multilingual website and you need a lot of flexibility. In this article, we’ve compared both Shopify and WooCommerce.

Wix Ecommerce plays in a different league as it’s made for smaller stores. So if you primarily want to have a great looking website with a blog and an added shopping cart, Wix is for you. As it’s geared towards beginners, adding content and managing your store is a lot easier than with Shopify. It’s not to be underestimated as it comes with customer accounts, lots of payment methods and the ability to sell digital products. Read our comparison of Shopify vs Wix here.

Still not sure what store builder you should use? Let our smart finder decide for you in 2 minutes.

Techie Stuff (Mainly for Geeks)

shopify uptime response time

This image shows you the website availability of our Shopify demo website during the last year. Ideally the uptime is 100% with zero outages. In ecommerce you would generally want to have an uptime of 99.95% or higher as every minute your website is down will cost you money. Shopify is as good as it gets with an unparalleled 99.99%!

Response time: nobody likes a slow website. Your online store generally should have an average server response time of less than 800ms or it can feel slow, however, the overall experience also depends on the page speed (see next tab).

ShopifyDesktopMobileUser Experience (mobile)
Template 1877098
Template 2877397
Template 3847397
Average Rating867297.33

For an online store, it is extremely important to load fast. In this test we randomly selected three blank Shopify templates and ran them through the Google PageSpeed testing tool. For an online store, a rating of 82 (for desktop) or higher is desirable.


Can I sell digital goods like MP3s, videos or eBooks with Shopify?

Yes. You can sell files with Shopify. Find more information here.

What payment fees does Shopify charge?

There are two kinds of fees: one that Shopify charges and another that you have to pay to the payment gateway processor you use (e.g. PayPal or credit card payment processors such as Stripe or Authorize.net).

Depending on your pricing tier, Shopify would charge somewhere between 0,5% and 2% plus the payment processor’s fee (typically 3% + 30¢). You can avoid Shopify’s fees by using the Shopify Payments gateway (only available in USA, UK, Ireland, Canada and a few other countries).

Can I upgrade or downgrade my plan easily?

Yes, you can always change your plan type. An upgrade or downgrade will initiate a new billing cycle and close the current one. Existing funds will be credited to your new plan.

How do I cancel my Shopify subscription?

To cancel your online store, go to Settings > Account page.  Select the “Close my Store” option.


Can I use Shopify on my phone?

Shopify has a free app for Android and iOS that will let you create and manage your online store on the go. Among other things you can: process orders, manage products, add and contact customers, change your template and check the performance of your online store.

For more information, please check this page.

Can't play our Shopify video? You can read our Shopify video script here:

We welcome you to this review of the Shopify e-commerce platform! If you have ever bought an article online, chances are that you did it through one of Shopify’s over 90,000 online stores. Unlike eBay or Amazon Market Places, Shopify allows you to sell your products on your OWN website. In this review, we try to find an answer to whether it is really possible to set up an online store without any programming skills.

At first glance, Shopify seems a bit expensive. However, there is a $14 per month plan available, which is little bit hidden on the pricing page. You can upgrade and cancel anytime you want. For all plans, there is a 14 day free trial that doesn’t require your credit card.

After having registered, we see our dashboard. It’s great that Shopify takes you by the hand and gives you hints regarding what to do next. Normally, you would start by picking and modifying your layout. Of course, you could also start immediately by adding new products. Let’s now take a look at the theme.

Here we see our active theme. It looks like this.
As you can see, we have already set up a little online store that sells vintage postcards and envelopes. Let’s now go back to the editor.

Under “Theme Settings,” you can adapt your layout without any programming skills. You see the result in the preview. In case you don’t like the theme, no problem! Visit the Theme Store and pick another one. Provided you or your programmer knows how to code the “Liquid” language, you can also create your very own theme.

Before we add our first product, take a look at some general settings. First, we inspect the checkout. As expected, here you find everything related to the checkout process. You lay down the means of payment, decide if customers need an account to buy a product, set the rules for order processing and give other information, such as “Terms of service” and more.

Let’s now head to the shipping settings. Here you can define your shipping rates worldwide or for each country individually based on order price or weight.

It’s also possible to calculate the costs with a carrier or fulfillment/dropship service. Finally, let’s have a brief look at taxes. The tax rates are added automatically when you add a shipping destination. Of course, it is possible to change the rate with a tax override as well. Enough preparations. Let’s add a product.

Under “Products” we see a list of our existing products. In the upper right corner, we can “Add a product.” Since this process is quite self-explanatory, we’ll show you the settings on an existing example.

Give your product a name and a description. It works like a simple text editor. If you want, you can add a “Type” and a “Vendor.”

Of course you can also add variants so you don’t need to add the same product over and over again. Upload your images and decide if you want to add your product to a collection. Tags can help your customers find similar products.

Very important: don’t forget to set your search engine settings for higher rankings.
Last but not least, save everything.

This is what our product looks like. Nice, huh?!

Before you launch your online shop, you can do some test orders. If you have received a new order, you will be notified. That’s what it looks like.
By clicking on the order, Shopify provides you with detailed information of the customer and the current state of the order.

Also, very powerful is the Shopify App Store. For instance, the site-wide contact button you see here is from the app store. There are plenty more useful apps available for free.

Similar to a website builder, Shopify also features a blog with all the bells and whistles. A blog is essential for a content marketing strategy in order to pull in search engine traffic. Keep this in mind when deciding on an e-commerce platform.
Here you would fill in your blog posts. Add a picture, some tags, and all the other typical stuff you’d expect in a blog. You can also edit comments in your blog. Here’s the result.

Shopify makes selling online an easy task. Beginners won’t have to face a programming language barrier and pros have the possibility of creating a tailor-made web store. The dashboard is structured logically and that makes working really smooth. Even if you don’t understand every last feature in detail, it’s easy to understand the big picture. Either way, there is a big help forum with tutorials and even telephone support available.

Of course, all this quality has its price. You could say it’s quite expensive compared to other online stores, but we think it’s justified. Shopify provides you with all the tools you need set up a successful online store. The rest is up to you!

If you want to know more about Shopify, please go to our detailed Shopify review.
And if you want to find more information about different online shop providers, please make sure to check out WebsiteToolTester.com.

We hope you found this video useful. We would be very happy if you would like it on Facebook or YouTube! Thank you!

Is there a backup solution for Shopify?

The backup process that Shopify provides is not an easy undertaking as it’s a manual process that involves a lot of steps.

In their App Store you can also find automated solutions: one is Rewind, which has pretty positive ratings and starts at $5 per month. Learn more here.

What is Shopify Exchange?

It’s a marketplace that allows you to buy or sell a Shopify online store. If you are looking for store ideas it’s a great place to shop around as there you can also check what the owners are actually making.

Similarly, it’s nice to know that there’s a marketplace available where you’d be able to sell your Shopify store should you one day want to move on to a new project.

Go to Shopify Exchange.

About Armin Pinggera

armin pinggera

Hi! My name is Armin Pinggera and I've been the tech guru at WebsiteToolTester since 2013. After having tested hundreds of web tools and site builders, I'm convinced that anybody can create a website or online store by themselves. Please leave a comment if you have any questions!

Latest Review Updates

16 Jul 2018 – Mention of Shopify Exchange
07 May 2018 – Information about Backup solutions
20 Apr 2018 – Further details in alternatives
28 Feb 2018 – Changes in the uptime section
12 Jan 2018 – Added Shopify video script
09 Aug 2017 – Mobile phone app information added
31 Jul 2017 – General information update
21 Jul 2017 – New feature: checkout on your own domain
17 Jan 2017 – Shopify’s new templates provide better design options.
17 Nov 2016 – Update in pros & cons (SEO)
09 Aug 2016 – Shopify payments: update in supported countries.
21 Feb 2016 – New pricing – Starter plan discontinued
21 Feb 2016 – FAQ update (WordPress)
03 Feb 2016 – Use case section added
08 Sep 2015 – Uptime, response time and page speed tests added
10 Mar 2015 – Android app available and multilingual app added
26 Nov 2014 – Updated text in product variants
28 Mar 2014 – Initial review of the Shopify online shop

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