When I use Shopify, I find myself thinking: "I wish all software worked as well as this!" From start to finish Shopify is thoughtfully designed. The interface is organized, language is clear and there's near perfect balance between ease of use and customization. Incredible.
Anyone who's built an online store before knows that creating product variations (size, color) can be deceptively complex. It's why ecommerce software often has painfully complicated variations editor— but not Shopify. Shopify has crafted a simple and clear interface for creating product variations.
Like product variations, discount codes are also deceptively complex (for example: discount codes may need a date range, be for select products only, apply a percentage instead of a lump sum etc). But again Shopify has a thoughtful, easy to understand interface. (This can't be properly appreciated until you've seen other store builder discount editors!)
Another feature that makes life easier for users is the App Store. Shopify’s App Store has hundreds of apps that add extra functionality to a Shopify store. For example: automatic shipping, marketing tools, SEO tools and more. It’s super handy.
User experience is about anything that makes a users life easier. One of the clearest ways Shopify has does this is by creating their own payment gateway called Shopify Payments. While other ecommerce software requires you to sign up with a 3rd party payment gateway, Shopify has managed to eliminate an often confusing and surprising step to building a store.
Any email notification that Shopify sends to customers or the store manager can be fully customized. The email editor is easy to use and includes a collection of helpful variables (example: customer name, billing address). There's also an abandoned checkout email notification— handy! Show Screenshot
Gift Cards are available in the Pro and Unlimited plans. It's as fully featured as you'd expect: you can customize email notifications, bulk manage gift cards and and set expiry dates. Show Screenshot
Flexible and easy to understand discount system. Everything most users will need is included: percentage discounts, free shipping discounts, discounts on all products, discounts on all certain products, usage limits and more. All in an easy to understand interface. Show Screenshot
With over 99 different inventory apps in their App Store, Shopify can integrate with just about any 3rd party shipping service (examples: Shippo, Aftership, Shipstation and more). Show Screenshot
Shopify's app store has hundreds of apps that extend a store's core functionality in sales, marketing, SEO and more. Show Screenshot
You can create digital products and customize their delivery with Shopify's free Digital Downloads app. Show Screenshot
Shopify offers iOS, Apple Watch and Android apps. The Android and iOS apps can send push notifications for new orders, add new products, fulfill orders and more. Show Screenshot
You can build recurring products on Shopify— but it's not a strength. Recurring products have to built with 3rd party apps from the App Store. Most cost around $20 / month. Show Screenshot
A major strength for Shopify is it’s theme marketplace where designers can sell custom Shopify themes (there are also official Shopify themes). Some themes are free and some are paid. Here's a paid theme example:
We were able to pay and cancel Shopify with ease. No surprises or hidden fees.
I founded Site Builder Report in 2012 to help people find the best website builder. My work is supported by earning an affiliate commission when readers choose a website builder based on my reviews. In my spare time I make music (check it out!).
Looking for an alternative? I've reviewed 11 store builders.
Keep in mind that Shopify may have changed since then. If you believe something is out of date in my review, please let me know.