Shopify offer 3 main packages. £53 per month is their ‘Most Popular’. Is this because the power of persuasion is easy? they tell you and you believe that if its the ‘Most Popular’ then it must be…right?

2nd-Awards

Basic – £20 per month Professional  – £53 per month Unlimited – £121 per month Package – ‘Most Popular’
  • Free setup
  • Use your own domain
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 100 Products
  • 1 GB File Storage
  • 2.0% transaction fee
  • Discount code engine
  • Real-time carrier shipping
    And many other features!
  • Free setup
  • Use your own domain
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 2,500 Products
  • 5 GB File Storage
  • 1.0% transaction fee
  • Discount code engine
  • Real-time carrier shipping
    And many other features!
  • Free setup
  • Use your own domain
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited Products
  • Unlimited File Storage
  • No transaction fee
  • Discount code engine
  • Real-time carrier shipping
    And many other features!

 

Shopify advertise (correct as of 3rd Sept 2013)

They offer a ‘Most Popular’ package. And in doing so the power of persuasion begins. The power of persuasion is easy, they tell you and you believe that if its the ‘Most Popular’ then it must be the solution for you.

  • Basic – £20 per month
  • Professional  – £53 per month
  • Unlimited – £121 per month

That’s the pricing structure! Now, lets take a closer look

Basic – £20 per month

  • Free setup
  • Use your own domain
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 100 Products
  • 1 GB File Storage
  • 2.0% transaction fee

The above package, in most instances will not be a viable solution, it’s very limited on products and no other features to shout about. Anyone that chooses this package, could be upgrading in no time, why?

a) Well, 100 products is not a huge number to have on an ecommerce website.

b) 1GB File storage is not a huge amount, however it should be substantial for only 100 products.

c) Do you really want to pay 2.0% transaction fee on top of the commission your current or planned payment gateway is charging?

Professional – £53 per month – ‘Most Popular’

  • Free Setup
  • Use your own domain
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 2,500 Products
  • 5 GB File Storage
  • 1.0% transaction fee
  • Discount code engine

Now we get to the ‘Most Popular’ package, so lets drill this down.

a) Free Setup – 99% of all other platforms offer this

b) Use your own domain – 99% of all other platforms offer this

c) Unlimited bandwidth – Just what you need

d) 2,500 products – this could be enough for you

e) 5Gb File Storage – should be adequate to begin with.

f) 1.0% transaction fee – again, do you want to be paying 1.0% transaction fee, on top of £53 per month and more than likely on top of your payment gateway fees. Already this ‘Most Popular’ package is looking less attractive.

g) Discount code engine – This is included in many cheaper alternative ecommerce software packages.

I could not find any additional Free features worth shouting about, and please note that I said Free. Shopify do have a wide selection of addons/plugins/features but they come at a cost.

So is the ‘Most Popular’ option right for you? I can almost be sure that for new start-ups this option is not and is a little overkill… However the lower priced product at £20.00 per month is not really a viable solution – and that is why you will be almost forced to choose the £53 package.

The lower package is designed and aimed at pushing one thing – you towards the ‘Most Popular’ package.  Its a very clever technique used to sign you up for at £53 a month.

Unlimited – £121 per month Package

  • Free setup
  • Use your own domain
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited Products
  • Unlimited File Storage
  • No transaction fee
  • Discount code engine
  • Real-time carrier shipping

Next up – £121 per month package, is this value for money! On the surface it looks to be, right? Unlimited this and that… but lets look closer.

a) Free Setup – 99% of all other platforms offer this

b) Use your own domain – 99% of all other platforms offer this

c) Unlimited bandwidth – Just what you need

d) Unlimited products – Just what you need

e) Unlimited File Storage – Just what you need

f) 0% transaction fee – Just what you need

g) Discount code engine – This is included in many cheaper alternative ecommerce software packages.

h) Real-time carrier shipping – nice option, however most ecommerce shop owners want to have full control over their shipping costs and not link them to carrier services such as Royal Mail.

However, £121 per month is quite a substantial fee, one new start-ups are likely to avoid.

Templates/Themes

Shopify advertise (correct as of 3rd Sept 2013) ‘We provide 100+ beautiful store templates’

This may be the case, but when you look closer many are just variants of the same template, and additionally there are quite a lot that are Black & White in look and feel. Yes you can edit the style sheets, fonts and images, but for non technical customers it could prove difficult. Overall the Free I personally feel that the choice on offer is limited. If you want something a little different, and I say that as I see it (a little different) then Shopify do offer other templates for an additional fee. However, this is pretty much standard across all ecommerce website providers.

Usability

My experience with Shopify is probably taken from a different perspective, my technical knowledge is such that I can change almost anything I want, due to the code being available in the admin panel. If I were to look at it from a non technical side, then its not the best, but not the worst platform I have used, although trying to achieve a drop down menu function is quite difficult – and presuming the majority of shops have categories with sub categories then this will take some mastering.

Apps/Features/Addons

There are a few free apps, however quite a few do seem a little pointless. Shopify have a wide variety of apps from third party providers, however there are a good number that do the same thing, the only difference is who or what company has  developed them. It could to a novice appear like a minefield and you are left to guess which app would be useful to you, or choose based on the reviews – there is a saying that less is more!

One other thing I did pick up on was that any app that i deemed to be beneficial to my trial store, was not free and additionally I found the pricing of the apps, expensive. This may be different for you, however, if I found this to be the case, my opinion would be that many new start-ups would feel the same. For example:

SEO Meta Manager – $30 per month

S Loyalty – Customer Loyalty Points – $19.99 per month

WordWatch – Turns your Product Feed into Product Listing Ads – $39 – $399 per month

If I wanted to add the 3 above, it would be an additional $88.99 per month minimum.

Summary

Overall – Score = 6/10

Shopify seems to be an OK platform; however you may still need a programmer to change certain aspects of the code and style sheets.

Your monthly costs could soon increase dramatically if you need some of the additional Apps.

Value for money compared to some other platforms has a lot to be desired, especially as the minimum package is way off their ‘Most Popular’ package. In my opinion this blatant push towards signing up to the ‘Most Popular’ package is something that I do not find attractive. Add this to the lack of choice of Free templates and the hiked additional Apps, then this is why they get an overall score of 6 out of 10 and awarded ‘second place’.

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