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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shopify Review

Shopify is one of the strongest hosted e-commerce solutions out there. Its strength lays in its simplicity. You can sign-up and set up a store in less than 10 minutes. Granted it will be a default template, but that gets the job done for most people starting out. But that's not the only reason why you'd want to use Shopify.

Smooth UI - Ease of Use

The pure aesthetics of the Shopify admin area and frontend area are extremely user friendly. They are easy on the eyes, simple to use, and have a modern looking web 2.0 concept going. And honestly, I'm telling you now, once you look at some of the other options out there, you will not take this easy interface for granted.

I also have to mention, their checkout process is so clean and smooth. You can tell it will convert so nicely into sales.

Liquid Templating Language

While creating a simple store with Shopify is a no-brainer, getting to customize and modify the templates might be a bit of a learning curve for some. For developers and designers who are used to templating engines/languages such as Smarty PHP, using Liquid should be a walk in the park. As a developer myself I found it quite simple and refreshing. However if this templating stuff is all new to you, there will be a learning curve, but its worth going through, because the way they go about it is quite common in alot of systems, so the time spent is not wasted!

Supported Payment Gateways and Methods

Shopify has a great amount of payment gateways to chose from. So whether you'd like to receive payments with Paypal, Google Checkout or by Check, Credit Cards etc... it can be done easily. If you already have a payment gateway you can check out my "Comparison Chart - Shopify vs Highwire vs Big Commerce vs Core Commerce" page to see if its supported.

Performance

I have not seen or heard of any performance issues with Shopify except for a fishy comment that promotes one of Shopify's competitors. This comment seems genuine the first time around, but not so much the second time!

The stores they host load really fast, and they have some big brands on there. Just by looking at the code of their base templates I can tell they know how to code light and clean. They also host their stuff on a CDN which ensures better performance to most of the world (depending on what CDN provider they're using)

Shopify Pitfalls

Every system has its shortcomings, such as missing features that you may need. While Shopify does have its limitations, their app store helps fill in the gaps, but then again on the down side these apps cost an additional monthly fee. This is a profitable business model for app creators, but not so much for you, the end user.

As for their price point, it's a bit steeper than some of their competition. Starting at 29$, while some start at 19$.

To Be Concluded...

To sum it all up, Shopify is a great choice to create your online store. It satisfies most basic needs and does so in such a slick way. They also have a free trial so give it a whirl, and see if it's right for you. If not, I will have more reviews coming in for other solutions that may meet your needs.

Until then, take care, and please do leave some feedback. Let me know if there's something you like or don't like about Shopify and I'll be sure to add it in.

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