Shopify Review 2020

Shopify logo

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 2 April 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the best way to communicate with your customers and clients is online. Whether you’re looking to sell your products or services over the web, show off your creative work, or simply get your company’s name and details out there – the first thing you need to do is set up a website. Fortunately, DIY website builders enable you to set up your own website quickly and easily – and they’re pretty inexpensive, too.

In these unusual times, we understand that time is money. That’s why we’ve done all the research for you – testing and comparing top website builders on price, ease of use, features, customer support, and more so you don’t have to. We’ve selected and reviewed our five favourite builders for businesses like yourscheck out our quickfire comparison here to compare Shopify with our other top recommendations.

An Introduction to Shopify

Shopify is an ecommerce website builder platform which currently hosts over 500,000 online stores. With Shopify’s simple and intuitive user interface and dynamic functions, you can easily set up all your products and customise your store’s appearance, make sales, control inventory and track orders without needing any special technical skills. As of spring 2019, you can now create Snapchat ads directly from your Shopify store with the Snapchat Ads app, showcasing your products to even more mobile phone users than ever before.

Who Can Use It?

Shopify is an ideal ecommerce website builder platform for anyone wishing to sell anything online. From single product marketers to specialty boutique stores, Shopify is an ideal and very practical choice for functionality, affordability and ease of use. No coding experience is required, and every feature is supported by beginner guides and helpful hints.

Ease of Use
Shopify Themes
Shopify’s App Store
SEO Functionality
Shopify Prices
Help & Support
The Verdict

The Shopify User Experience

Shopify’s ecommerce builder has been created with its users in mind. From the time you first start building your store you’ll notice how intuitive and simple the process is. That simple functionality flows through to the further development and management of your store.

Some of the things that Shopify have done to make store building and management easier include;

  • A drag and drop user interface
  • Website wizard to guide you through your store set up
  • Access to Burst, a free bank of stylish stock photography
  • A great 24/7 support system with live chat, email and phone options
  • A list of preferred partners and experts that are available if required

Shopify Templates/Themes

Shopify currently has 10 free modifiable themes with excellent features, all designed to make your store look awesome. Additionally there are well over 50 premium themes in a variety of product categories ranging in price from $140 to $180 to choose from.

Unsure whether to take the plunge and invest in a premium theme? Our advice would be to view your online store as though you are a traditional high street retailer. In the bricks and motor world of retail, appearance is everything. Visual merchandisers spend hours perfecting window displays and mapping out your in-store journey. Online retail is no different. If you are serious about your ecommerce store, we highly recommend investing in a paid theme – your customers will thank you for it!

Shopify paid theme

Mobile Friendly Themes

Once again, Shopify takes the stress out of mobile ecommerce with its fully responsive, mobile-friendly themes. You are also able to edit your store directly from your mobile or tablet.

Shopify’s App Store

Shopify has one of the strongest app stores of all the ecommerce website builders. There are currently around 1,200 apps that can dramatically enhance the efficiency and performance of your Shopify store. Shopify invite app companies to integrate with their product, meaning users get access to an extensive range of professional apps. These apps allow you to do ecommerce tasks like:

  • Manage your inventory
  • Generate discount codes
  • Auto-send emails to customers
  • Track order shipping
  • Create exit-intent popups
  • Capture store visitor emails for marketing purposes
  • Improve store SEO

Shopify’s vast range of apps mean you can quickly and easily extend your online store’s functionality – with no stress whatsoever!

Shopify App Store

SEO – How Shopify helps you draw visitors to your site

Shopify has a good range of SEO functionality. You can edit title tags and meta-descriptions for all your pages, and ALT tags for all images. You can also automatically generate sitemap.xml and robots.txt files and canonical URL tags for your Shopify site, which can significantly boost search engine results for your respective product pages.

The wide range of SEO apps in the Shopify apps store ranging from ‘free’ or $1.99 to $20+ per month can also greatly assist. Depending on your budget, you’re sure to find something to suit that will really help to simplify and streamline the entire SEO process.


There is no free plan on Shopify, but don’t let that put you off. With Shopify’s 14 day free trial you can explore the possibilities it offers without the need to submit any credit card details. Once your 14 day trial ends, the fees, which include hosting, and all the essential tools are as follows;

PlanFeaturesCredit Card RatesTransaction Fees (0% with Shopify Payments)Price*
Basic ShopifyUnlimited products, 24/7 Support, 2 Staff Accounts2.2% + 20p2%£29/month
ShopifyBasic + 5 Staff Accounts, Gift Cards, Abandoned Cart Recovery1.9% + 20p1%£79/month
Advanced ShopifyShopify + 15 Staff Accounts, Advanced Report Builder1.6% + 20p0.5%£299/month

* approximate prices. All prices originally quoted in dollars.

There is also an enterprise plan, called Shopify Plus, for high volume retailers which is subject to application, as well as a Lite plan costing just $9 per month.

Processing Fees

Depending on the plan that you choose, you will have to pay transaction fees for payment gateways using PayPal and Stripe, which range between 0.5% and 2% but these are nominal amounts that all payment gateways and carts will charge you. You can however use Shopify’s own ‘Shopify Payments’ in-house payment gateway which waives the transaction fee for all purchases.

On top of the transaction fees, Shopify charges a flat rate of 20p per transaction handled, plus 1.6% to 2.2% depending on which Shopify plan you choose. These are known as credit card processing fees and are applicable across all ecommerce purchases, without exception.

Shopify trial

Help & Support

One of the comforting things about Shopify is the emphasis they place on providing help and support whenever it is needed. There are 5 basic forms of support:

  • Live chat box – including indicators for ‘Current wait time' and ‘Average wait time'
  • Live phone call – available for UK, North America, Australia, New Zealand or Singapore
  • 24 hour response email – for more detailed enquiries with attachments
  • Social media – for smaller issues that can be resolved in a tweet
  • Help Center – a whole library of FAQs and tutorial videos

Shopify takes support seriously, and this is reflected in the quality and depth of service you’ll get when you find yourself dealing with one of their support team. All team members have to undergo rigorous training in all aspects of Shopify so that they can answer your questions no matter what aspect of Shopify they relate to.

Shopify’s extensive support systems can end up saving you valuable time (and money!) if anything goes wrong.

Shopify help and support


Shopify Pros:

  • 14 Day trial with no credit card sign-up requirement
  • Simple and quick to set up
  • Built in hosting with fast page loads
  • SSL site encryption with excellent inherent security
  • Sell across Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon and eBay
  • Free + over 50 affordable and attractive premium store themes
  • Over 1,200 app extensions to optimise your store
  • Built in cart with zero fees option
  • External payment gateway options

Shopify Cons:

  • App inclusions can increase monthly running costs substantially
  • Choice of free themes could be larger
  • Editing of themes requires knowledge of Liquid coding language (difficult to master!)
  • Sale processing fees can add up, depending on the package you choose

    Next Steps

    Shopify provides an ideal platform where you can get started quickly and run business on a protected platform with only nominal overheads. Shopify website builder is extremely hard to beat when comparing feature for feature and cost effectiveness with any other ecommerce website builder. Visit Shopify today and begin building your online store.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a writer for Expert Market, specialising in a range of cool topics. He loves web design and all things UX, but also the hardware stuff like postage metres and photocopiers.

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