Have you ever heard of Shopify? In the rare case you haven’t already heard of this eCommerce giant, you’ve surely know some sites it’s helped to build. Does Amnesty International, GitHub or the Foo Fighters ring any bells? Well you better believe their websites were all built on Shopify. The eCommerce platform that currently powers over 500,000 online shops, also helped its users’ businesses handle over $40 billion worth of sales.
What is Shopify?
Shopify claims its “not just an eCommerce software, [rather it’s] the best eCommerce platform that has everything you need to sell online, on social media, or in person.” The company is based in the capital of Canada with its HQ in the city of Ottawa. Their sleek platform is perfect for those interested in starting an online store. From rookies to experts, anyone can benefit from what Shopify has to offer.
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Is Shopify Safe?
As you run your eCommerce store, security is never something to be taken lightly. Especially when you’re handling the payment info of your customers. So the answer is yes. Shopify is very secure. It hosts its shopping cart on a Level 1 PCI DSS compliant server. In other words, it meets industry standards.
Most of their plans even come with a free 128-bit encryption SSL certificate for your website. This ensures all transactions are handled in a secure manner.
The fact that Shopify offers payment processing services is very convenient and truly provides an all in one solution. You don’t have to worry about incorporating other payment gateways if you choose not to. Everything will be ready to go for you.
So to answer your question, is Shopify safe? The answer is YES.
How to Set Up A Shopify Store
You see the real beauty of Shopify when it comes time to set up your online store. If you don’t know how to set up a Shopify Store, don’t worry. It’s extremely simple, quick and easy to do.
Setting up a store on Shopify is very quick and easy. The company boasts that it only takes 10 minutes to learn how to set up a Shopify store.
In fact, its huge list of themes you can choose from allows you to have your storefront ready in just minutes. It doesn’t get much easier than that. If you’ve used WordPress, this is something you’ll never take for granted.
You can start by signing up for the free 14 day trial. All it requires is your name, email and a password for your account. After that, you will be led through a setup process that involves submitting your website and domain information. You can even purchase the domain at this point if you don’t have one yet. Only if you choose to buy a domain will you be required to enter your credit card info.
Being a one stop shop for building your website, Shopify has tons of third party developers building themes, plugins and more. All of these help expand the features your website can provide for its users.
Some popular ones include names like:
- Oberlo – to seamlessly set up your very own dropshipping business.
- Conversio – use your receipts as a sales tool by customizing them and including future discount codes.
- Exit Offers – makes a final attempt to convert web visitors by presenting an offer when they are about to exit your site
- RetargetApp – helps you convert visitors who didn’t make a purchase by simply setting up a re-targeting campaign via Facebook Ads.
Is Shopify mobile friendly?
Yes, Shopify offers mobile-responsive themes to provide a seamless experience for your users. This way you don’t have to worry about any complex coding to ensure it works across multiple platforms. All of this is taken care of for you.
Not to mention, they ensure your site is mobile friendly for SEO purposes too.
Consider Shopify in these areas:
Users love Shopify for its simple, clean and easy to use dashboard. It’s been designed to perfection. Not only does Shopify offer a seamless experience with everything you need to run your online store. It also does this in a very simple way that its users love.
There really isn’t another service out there that can beat Shopify when it comes to a faster, easier and straightforward setup process.
Suite of Features
Within your Shopify dashboard you can manage your inventory levels, assign product SKUs, view your sales and web traffic stats, and so much more. You’ll have access to everything you need to run a successful online store.
Themes and Plugins
Shopify has lots of support from third party developers who contribute storefront themes and plugins that help you run your business.
Shopify offers top notch customer service. You can contact their support team 24/7 via email, phone or live chat. Not to mention, their team of experts live and breathe eCommerce. They’re always building stores and testing new ideas which are documented and shared with its members.
As we mentioned earlier, Shopify’s eCommerce platform is extremely secure. Your site and customers will be in very good hands.
As with any software, depending on your level of service, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee to use Shopify. The fees are money well spent when you consider the features you receive in exchange. Also, you should be aware of transaction fees that you could be charged. However, there’s an easy way to avoid these fees by using Shopify’s in-house payment system.
Let’s use each of these features to see how Shopify stacks up against a list of Shopify alternatives. Though you should know, Shopify competitors are up against a beast.
|Overall Rank||eCommerce Platform|
With the rise in eCommerce, many companies have arrived on the scene to lend their tools and expertise, prior to Shopify’s arrival in 2004.
BIGCOMMERCE vs SHOPIFY
SHOPIFY vs BIGCOMMERCE
BigCommerce competes head to head with Shopify on almost every front. An easy to use dashboard, fair prices, eye catching layouts and solid support teams. You name it. BigCommerce hit the scene 5 years after Shopify. Now it provides services for over 95,000 users including some big names like Toyota and Gibson Guitars. Their platform has handled over $8 billion in transactions for its users.
But there can only be one winner in BigCommerce vs Shopify. Let’s get right to it:
Both platforms boasts very clean and easy to use dashboards for building your online store. You’ll notice that BigCommerce’s dashboard looks oddly similar to Shopify. However, it’s said that some of its features require some more time and attention to learn compared to Shopify. Both are very similar, but Shopify’s lets you dive in right away and start using your dashboard to its full power.
Just like Shopify, BigCommerce is cloud based. This means you can access your entire eCommerce dashboard from the web.
Suite of Features
Again both Shopify and BigCommerce offer a competitive suite of features. There is no doubt, that you’ll have access to every possible app you could need to make your store extra special.
While BigCommerce offers a wide selection of stylish themes, it’s hard to compete with Shopify on this front. Especially when you’re up against Shopify’s drag and drop WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) site editor.
The two platforms offer tons of third party plugins for expanding the function of your website. However, Shopify takes the cake for the best selection of plugins to build your business. With over 1,500 options, these apps are designed with the eCommerce store owner in mind. When you see what we’re talking about, it will all make sense.
BigCommerce and Shopify go head to head when it comes to customer support. Both offer 24/7 support via email, phone and live chat. It’s said that BigCommerce has made huge strides in recent times in terms of customer service. Now users claim it’s the best they’ve ever received. But that’s no reason to not consider Shopify. Remember, with Shopfiy you get all of this and access to its team of eCommerce experts.
Just like the other top eCommerce platforms (including big brother Shopify), BigCommerce offers its users site wide HTTPS encryption. This means all sites are protected with SSL certificates which help with conversions and SEO rankings. Google always looks favorably upon secure sites. Its hosting services are also on par with Shopify. Both are Level 1 PCI compliant – in other words, up to industry standards.
The on-boarding process is just like Shopify’s. First, you sign up a for a free two week trial. This only requires you provide your contact info and website details. It’s not until the end of this period that you’re asked for payment info. Beyond the trial period, both monthly plans both start at the same price.
SHOPIFY vs SQUARESPACE
SQUAREPSACE vs SHOPIFY
When it comes down to Squarespace vs Shopify, both are solid tools for building your online shop. You may have seen their commercials during the Super Bowl or somewhere on YouTube. Either way, it’s a great platform.
But does Squarespace stack up against Shopify on the eye catching elegance factor? We reveal the outcome of Shopify vs Squarespace here:
Just like Shopify, Squarespace offers a carefully guided sequence for its users. Other than that, it offers a very clean layout. It’s very eye catching, much like Shopify.
Squarespace makes the process very easy for you to get started. It starts by asking you about the purpose of your site so it can tailor some settings for you. This provides a great starting point. The reason for these initial questions is that Squarespace is used for many different types of sites. Whereas Shopify dedicates itself solely to eCommerce – where it really shines.
Suite of Features
The thing that sets Shopify above Squarespace when it comes to building an online store is that Shopify is solely designed for this purpose. Squarespace on the other hand is a general web building platform. It offers some eCommerce functionality, but it does not go into as much depth as Shopify’s tools.
It’s thought that people mainly use Squarespace for creating non-eCommerce websites like ones used for:
- Sharing information
- Displaying portfolios
- Promoting businesses like restaurants and other non-eCommerce ones
Choose from 84 themes to apply to your store on Squarespace. As of late, they have made lots of improvements to these choices. It’s been noted by users. But with Shopify, eye catching themes are never a question of doubt. With many FREE options and over 100 themes to choose from, you will for sure find what your are looking for.
You won’t find a wide selection of plugins on Squarespace itself. Instead, there are found on Squarefront, aka app central. You can connect to tons of Google apps, payment gateways and more. It just doesn’t quite have the depth of Shopify’s 1,500+ strong app store.
Squarespace also just doesn’t have access to Shopify’s experts – which is something you have complete access to 24/7 as a member. And while Squarespace has 24/7 support too, you’re limited to email during after-hours.
Squarespace uses PayPal and Stripe to process all of its transactions. Both of which are PCI compliant, just like Shopify. Also, Squarespace and Shopify both offer free SSL certificates to its users and their websites.
Although Squarespace is about $3 cheaper on a monthly basis, it’s worth spending the few bucks for the extended features offered by Shopify. Not to mention, your website will be up and running much quicker with Shopify too.
VOLUSION vs SHOPIFY
SHOPIFY vs VOLUSION
Volusion is one of the biggest names in the ecommerce software space – next to Shopify, that is. Arriving on the scene in 1999, Volusion powers over 40,000 websites. Some popular names include the likes of Element Outfitters and Evutec.
Volusion is not to be doubted. But can it beat Shopify? The battle between Shopify vs Volusion is going to be a good one. Find out below:
Volusion focuses on its back end user experience just as much as Shopify does. What’s this mean for users of Volusion vs Shopify? Expect clean, easy to use dashboards to build and manage your store. This is perfect for anyone who has no or very little experience building websites.
The process to set up your website with Volusion is quick and quite simple. However, it’s the selection of present themes and plugins that lead users to favor Shopify.
Suite of Features
Just like Shopify, you’ll have access to features like being able to manage new and current products, process transactions, handle shipments and view reports of your business’ performance. Both platforms also allow you to follow up with users who abandoned their cart.
And here’s something very important to consider. You can find other articles promoting Volusion’s one page checkout. But from a marketing perspective, this is no good. Shopify’s two page checkout process allows you to collect a user’s info on the first window before requiring them to pull out their credit card. People tend to be more comfortable providing their contact info versus their credit card info. So in the case they get cold feet at the last minute and decide not to click the ‘Submit’ button after entering their credit card info, at least you’ve got their name and email. Now you can keep in touch with them via email and pursue abandoned cart leads. Food for thought.
Volusion offers 13 free templates which are fully responsive across both desktop and mobile platforms. However, this is only a fraction of what Shopify offers. Plus it’s said that Volusion’s themes have industry standard designs. Conversely, users rave about the eye catching elegance of Shopify’s themes.
Even though it’s been around longer, Volusion’s library of plugins may be seen as lacking. Especially when compared to Shopify. Volusion surely has room to keep expanding its selection of plugins beyond the basics. You will find more creative plugin solutions via Shopify.
Access to Volusion’s support team is comparable to Shopify. Namely, it’s available 24/7 via email, phone or live chat. That being said, Shopify Experts are something unique to Shopify. This is not something you’ll have access to as a Volusion user, as it’s for Shopify members only.
Volusion will securely host your website according to industry standards. Their platform is PCI/CISP certified and all of its sites are secured with SSL certificates. This ensures that your customer and web data is safely guarded at all times. This is on par with Shopify’s top notch security measures.
Since your hosting will be through Volusion on a shared network, you’ll have to be aware of how much bandwidth your site is using. If you use more than your allotted amount, then you’ll be charged with over usage fees. On the other hand, all of Shopify’s plan come with unlimited bandwidth usage so that will never be a source of hidden fees.
WEEBLY vs SHOPIFY
SHOPIFY vs WEEBLY
Weebly is yet another eCommerce solution that’s great for newbies and seasoned web builders. Started in 2006, just two years after Shopify, Weebly has made impressive strides towards building its platform.
Want to know how Weebly shapes up as one of the Shopify alternatives? See Weebly vs Shopify go down here:
Weebly is known for having an extremely easy to use interface. This comes down to its drag and drop features which allow you to customize the elements of your website very quickly. You can choose from a number of elements like:
- Contact Form
- Video Streaming
And many more!
Weebly’s clean interface makes setting up your website very quick and easy. You can pick which elements to add to your website. Drag and drop them, then edit each one to your liking. It’s as easy as that. Before you know it, you’ll have a custom website built and ready to go.
Suite of Features
There are lots of features for you to choose from when building your shop on Weebly. The platform creators have made sure that you’ve got access to everything you need to run your store. Including some cool features like stock photo libraries, video streaming, Google AdSense and more. Despite all of these options, it’s very hard to beat Shopify in this regard.
Finding an eye catching theme on Weebly will surely require some more legwork than it does on Shopify. Once you decide on a theme, you’ll then need to edit it further to bring it up to par with the ones you find on Shopify. Although, some of the newer templates Weebly’s been releasing have been better than early ones. Though, they’ve still got a ways to go to win Shopify vs Weebly.
You can find a bunch of extra apps to add to your site in Weebly’s App Store. There is no shortage here and more are being released all the time. Although some of these apps will not be eCommerce related. On Shopify, all of its apps are designed from an eCommerce approach since the platform lends itself to that sole purpose.
There are two main ways to get in contact with Weebly’s support team. You can either use the live chat system or call them over the phone. Another option is to look for answers to common questions. Weebly has a help center with training and details to solve frequent problems. However, you don’t get access to Shopify’s team of eCommerce masterminds. If you ask any Shopify member, this alone is priceless.
SHOPIFY vs ETSY
ETSY vs SHOPIFY
Etsy is an online marketplace that focuses on homemade crafts and goods.
Want to see how Etsy stacks up against the top dog Shopify? You can witness the battle of Etsy vs Shopify here:
The user experience on Etsy is very simple and straightforward. This makes sense given its reduced customization unlike most other options on the list.
You should note that Etsy allows you to build a store on their marketplace. This is not the same as building your own website for your eCommerce store.
While you can tap into the traffic offered by Etsy’s marketplace, it should not be your main storefront. You need a website of your own where you can control the entire setting. Otherwise, you will be at Etsy’s mercy which can affect your business at any point. For example, if a search algorithm renders your products less relevant then your sales may instantly suffer.
The bottom line is that you should setup your own website first. Then later you can also create a profile on Etsy to increase your presence while driving traffic back to your main storefront on Shopify.
Other than that, the process to setup a profile on the Etsy market place is very straightforward.
Suite of Features
Since you can only setup a profile on Etsy, you are not able to customize your storefront as much as you can with Shopify. You will have to work within Etsy’s preset style guidelines. Basic features are included like uploading a logo or profile photo, listing products and processing transactions.
Themes & Plugins
Since Etsy is just a marketplace rather than a website builder, you will not have access to a library of themes or plugins. All you have access to is Etsy’s marketplace where you can list your products for sale.
Etsy offers support through phone and email channels. You can even drop a request to get a call back in 30 minutes. The other option is to ask a question in their online community of other shop builders. The only thing is, you won’t have access to Shopify’s team of eCommerce geniuses.
Etsy takes security seriously just like any other shopping platform. They even have constant fraud protection and monitoring services. The bottom line is that both buyers and sellers are safe to conduct business.
On Etsy, you’ll have to pay for each item you would like to advertise. As well as a transaction fee when the product is sold and payment is processed via Etsy. Other than that, it’s free to have a profile on Etsy.
BIG CARTEL vs SHOPIFY
SHOPIFY vs BIG CARTEL
Another one of Shopify competitors, Big Cartel is a platform geared toward artists of all types. This includes musicians, photographers, designers, authors and many other creative types. The platforms goal is to allow people to easily share and sell their work. In fact, it was started by a man named Matt Wigham so he could sell band merchandise. It surely caught on as many artists around the world power their stores with Big Cartel.
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty to find out if Big Cartel is enough to beat Shopify. See Big Cartel vs Shopify below:
With a focus on making things simple for its users, Big Cartel offers a smooth process for setting up your website. And even once it’s set up, their dashboard makes it super easy to manage.
This simple approach to building an online shop calls for an easy setup process. Just like Shopify, you can be up and running in minutes. However, this comes down to Big Cartel’s small suite of basic features that allows for this. Just remember, it’s definitely best-suited for artists selling their work rather than sole purpose eCommerce stores.
Suite of Features
Remember, Big Cartel wants to make things as easy as possible for its users. This means it comes with basic easy to use features. Beyond that, you may find it limiting. Especially once you hit the point of handling large transaction volumes, Big Cartel may not be the best choice. For example, it’s built in tax and shipping rate calculates don’t allow for much flexibility. However, for those looking to get a small and simple shop running, it can help you do that. You’ll have all the tools you need to manage products, customer orders and accounts, marketing efforts and some performance metrics.
The Big Cartel platform is somewhat limited in this regard. You can choose from 13 different themes to use for your website. Despite seeming like a small selection, they are quite easy to customize. Although, you may run into some limitations regarding certain features. Oh, and you should note that 11 of the 13 are seamless across desktop and mobile platforms.
Until recently, Big Cartel only integrated with a select number of third party apps. However, now you can use the Zapier plugin to access over 750 more apps for your site. Compared to Shopify’s 1,500+ options, it may still seem limiting. There’s a clear winner in this section of Bigcartel vs Shopify.
The support team at Big Cartel can be reached during its regular weekday hours via email. This means Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm where you can expect a response within 24 to 48 hours. As you know, Shopify blows this out of the water with around the clock support via 3 different channels. Choose between phone, email or live chat. This means you’ll have no delays getting the help you need for your website. There’s a clear winner in this round of Shopify vs Big Cartel.
Big Cartel ensures all of its stores are secured with a SSL certificate. This protects all buyers and sellers when dealing with private info.
Big Cartel has the option of free and paid plans. However, the free plans are quite limited in features. Also, it only allows you to list so many products. Keep this in mind, since Shopify has no limits on how many products you can list.
WOOCOMMERCE vs SHOPIFY
SHOPIFY vs WOOCOMMERCE
WORDPRESS vs SHOPIFY
SHOPIFY vs WORDPRESS
WordPress is a content management platform where you can build all sorts of websites – including eCommerce ones. Since it began as a blogging platform, it has added lots of features and functionality. Third party developers behind plugins like WooCommerce can be thanked for making WordPress a more eCommerce friendly platform.
WordPress and Shopify are neck and neck, but who will in WordPress vs Shopify? See which one’s the better eCommerce platform:
The user experience tends to be more complex when it comes to WordPress compared to Shopify (see below).
However, these eCommerce features require that you setup various components of your online store manually. Of course, you can find lots of online tutorials, but bear in mind that it will be much more involved compared to Shopify’s 10 minute setup.
Also, you can expect to have to purchase an eCommerce theme if you build your store with WordPress. While it does have an extensive library, not many of them are free. So it’s an added expense to your website which can range up to a few hundred dollars for one with a suite of features offered by most free themes on Shopify.
Just like Shopify, WordPress is loaded with extra plugins you can download, install and activate on your website.
If you require assistance setting up your store on WordPress, you’ll have to rely on its online community to help you solve your problems. With Shopify, you can contact experts directly to speak one-on-one about your problems. Downtime can be crucial when you’re trying to run an online business so you don’t want to risk having to wait for a reply to solve any problems that arise with your site.
Since you can host your store directly with Shopify, it’s more secure than WordPress. With a WordPress and WooCommerce combo, you’ll typically need to host your site using another platform. Depending on which provider you choose, it may leave you exposed. You don’t have to worry about any of this with Shopify.
WordPress charges an annual subscription for all of its paid plans. This means you’re locked in for a year at a time. Adding basic WooCommerce is free and then you can purchase advanced features in the from of plugins. Whereas with Shopify, you can pay as you go on a month to month basis.
PRESTASHOP vs SHOPIFY
SHOPIFY vs PRESTASHOP
Prestashop is the final competitor we’ll compare to Shopify. Being an open-sourced software, we’ll have some unique things to consider with Prestashop. This means that anyone can add to the growth of the platform. With Shopify on the other hand, only the company builds its platform.
Prestashop claims to be “the best eCommerce solution”, but let’s see how it stakes up against Shopify:
Prestashop offers its web building software to users for free. Next, you select which features you’d like for your online shop. You can tailor this to your liking. The only issue is if you are not experienced with the technical side of building websites. Then you’ll need expert help. As for the Prestashop dashboard, it sports a standard left bar style layout – much like Shopify. From there, you can easily access the different features to run your store. Overall, it’s clearly laid out and easy to navigate.
Since you have to set up a lot of different elements to get your site ready and running, Prestashop may be tricky for new to building websites. Unless you understand the technical side, you may run into errors that require an expert. Just be ready to spend some money on expert advice in case you run into problems. Based on user feedback, it doesn’t sound like the simplest solution out there. But with Shopify, you don’t worry about any of these issues because they simply don’t exist. The setup process is very efficient and streamlined with Shopify.
Suite of Features
There are tons of features for you to use on your site with Prestashop. In fact, there are over 600 for you to choose from. You’ll find pretty much everything you need to run a successful eCommerce store. From analytics tracking to automatic email follow ups, SEO features, product management and many more. It’s got almost as many as Shopify, giving it a good run for its money.
While offering over 2,000 fully responsive themes across all platforms, Prestashop offers very few free ones. Most of them range anywhere from $30 to $300. Not to mention, you’ll have to gauge the quality of each theme one by one. There is no quality standard like there is with Shopify. Often, you pay for the quality you can expect. Meaning lower priced themes are often few in features.
Prestashop has an Add-ons Marketplace where you can add seamless third party apps to your site. Bear in mind that these will come at a cost. This is where Prestashop makes its money since its software is offered for free. Either way, you’ll find everything from email software to social media plugins, payment gateways and more. Despite this grand selection, Shopify’s is even grander coming in at over 1,500 third party apps to enjoy.
Since Prestashop is an open sourced platform, it makes the topic of user support a unique one to tackle. Due to the nature of open source software, many people are adding to the growth of the platform. This makes it hard to have one team that keeps up with all that’s going on. At least in real-time that is. So the solution is to use an online ticketing system where you can submit inquiries. These are answered via email. The only other option is to buy pricey support plans that don’t seem to offer very much one on one time. Luckily, Shopify takes care of all of this for its users. Plus you can get help right away, any time of the day, and any day of the week.
It’s not too tough to secure your store on Prestashop, but it does require that you remember to do it. Unlike Shopify, you may have to manually set up your free SSL certificates. These ensure all data and customer info is secure and encrypted. If you don’t want to worry about this, you can sign up with Shopify since they do it all for you.
Don’t let Prestashop trick you into thinking it’s free. As with anything of value in this world, it comes at a cost. These costs reveal themselves when you try to expand the functions of your website. The functions that are required to expand your store’s offerings. So while the initial software download is free, it only comes with very basic features. To really get the results you’re looking for, you’re going to need to spend some money on hosting and some plugins. Not to mention, if you are new to this, it can become complex. Shopify makes it much easier to get started since it comes with most of its features already set up for you.
The Verdict – Shopify Build A Business Today
The bottom line is if you’re serious about building a fully functioning and scalable eCommerce website, then Shopify and its team of experts are right for you. Plus it’s never been easier to learn how to setup Shopify.
This way, even if you’re just starting out, you can set your site up in minutes. Plus when it grows to make thousands of dollars in sales, you can easily scale your business on Shopify. You won’t have to worry about transferring it to some platform that can handle larger traffic and transaction volumes.
There are no alternatives to Shopify that win… which means Shopify is the clear winner!
And you do not want to miss the release of the new Shopify Build A Business platform. Let’s go!