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Millions of businesses around the world use Shopify. Some have had success just months after the launch of their stores. Some made the switch to Shopify after decades of sticking to another eCommerce solution. These intriguing high-fliers make it tempting for you to jump on the bandwagon and join the Shopify community. But a reasonable question emerges at the same time: is Shopify legit?
We figured the reason you are here is that you have the exact same concern and are looking for a comprehensive review of Shopify. Look no further, this article is guaranteed to give you valuable insights into one of the leading eCommerce platforms on the market.
If you are a reader of our GemPages blog posts, you would know that we always try to frequently pump out informative, up-to-date articles that cover every nook and cranny of this resourceful eCommerce platform. That said, let’s go over what this ever-so-popular website is, and how it can help boost your business.
Shopify is a multifunctional eCommerce tool that helps you build your online store in just a few steps. Though offering a similar service, Shopify has many unique features that set it apart from other well-known eCommerce websites, namely eBay, Amazon, and Woocomerce. It embraces a communal business model, where your store is powered by Shopify and is a part of the Shopify ecosystem, while still celebrating exclusivity by giving you fullfledged freedom to run your business.
So, how does Shopify work?
Unlike eBay, where you are obligated to sell your products alongside other stores on their main website, Shopify allows you to build your own storefront, with a separate domain name, customization options, and branding flexibility.
After creating an account, you can start tweaking the settings and build your online store with Shopify right away. All the necessities, such as adding products, themes, payment options, and shipping options are easy to navigate, with a nifty Setup guide by your side for faster configuration.
Your store will launch whenever you are ready. If you want to include or forgo any detail, no sweat! Changes can still be made after your business has been established, thus, don’t worry about doing it perfectly right from the start.
Example of a website built with Shopify.
After your store has launched, Shopify aims to help you with marketing and branding as well. The built-in SEO optimization features streamline the process of boosting your store’s ranking on search engine result pages. A plethora of free apps is also available for you to customize, drive traffic and connect with your customers in every stage of managing your store.
The logistics of your business are also handled with inventory tracking, order management, shipping options, and more.
Think of Shopify as your righthand man, but nobody can see him except you. Shopify will be behind the curtain as your business progresses to provide you with advice and assistance along the way.
If you want a thorough guide on how to set up your Shopify store from scratch, check out our blog post: Shopify Tutorial: Set Up Your Store from Scratch to Finish (2023)
Snowdevil - the stepping stone for Shopify.
To get a full view picture of what Shopify is today, we need to trace back to when the company was founded. Kickstarted in 2004 by Tobias Lütke and Scott Lake, the primitive idea of Shopify was formed under a different name - Snowdevil, an online store for snowboarding equipment. Soon realizing its potential, the founders decided to officially launch Shopify as an eCommerce solution for businesses of all shapes and sizes in 2006.
Though started slow, the company began to see steady growth in 2007 when it adopted the subscription plan business method, which is still standing to this day. This change reduces transaction fees for merchants, which was a huge setback before.
From then on, subtle, but widely fruitful adjustments such as an app store, mobile integration, and Point of Sale system were introduced. The company got a grasp on what the competitors were doing, and they improved it. Gradually, they were building a reputation and becoming a household name for a standard eCommerce platform. In 2022, Shopify’s revenue was a whopping $5.6 billion dollars with 649 million customers who have made a purchase from a Shopify-based store. These numbers are expected to grow more and more in the next few years.
These days, the company is worth $74 billion, has over 4 million stores, and is one of the go-to solutions for both beginner and veteran business owners around the world.
A review would not be complete without a pricing rundown. Shopify aims to cover the needs of its users, from individuals with a side hustle, to enterprise-level businesses with higher demands.
In a nutshell, you will there are five subscription plan options:
The most popular Shopify subscription plans.
Apart from these plans, Shopify makes it easy for first-time sellers to start their business without spending big bucks right away via its 3-day free trial and afterward, a monthly fee as low as $1 for the first three months. This way, you can test the water with the price of a lemonade per month before fully committing.
What about the associated fees when managing your Shopify store? Most of these extra fees come from the transaction and credit card fees, which vary from country to country. Since Shopify operates globally, over 100 different payment methods are available. This feature gives the platform an edge over other eCommerce websites with a more limited list of payment gateways. Merchants around the world are prone to pick Shopify for convenient payment settings and currency conversion.
With this in mind, ever since the launch of Shopify Payments, the website has adorned this method with numerous benefits to encourage sellers to utilize its very own payment gateway, one shining asset being the no transaction fee on all orders. However, as of now, this payment option is only available in a handful of countries.
All in all, there will be costs to run and maintain any business, both digital and in-person. With Shopify, these fees are often transparent and can be minimized, according to each person’s preferences. It is worth noting that the higher the plan, the lower the costs. For instance, the transaction fees are 0.5%, 1%, and 2% for its most popular Advanced, Shopify, and Basic plans, respectively.
If you have a business idea, you can join Shopify. The various subscription plans provide sellers with different budgets the option to start selling without any friction.
Entrepreneurs with no prior experience have found success and built a reputation for themselves on their first try with Shopify. The shift to a digital outlet via Shopify has also paid off for other recognized companies. Whether you are a team of passionate entrepreneurs or a single mom that is looking to make some money on the weekend, Shopify is a good place to start. Even if you have not had a clear-cut product idea in mind, dropshipping is a conducive option that simplifies your entrepreneurial journey.
Shopify has 31 apps available in the app store.
Shopify makes apps that support your every need while managing your store. Since they are developed by the host themselves, these apps will integrate seamlessly into your business. Below are our picks for the most essential made-by-Shopify apps:
Shopify’s reputation is undeniable. Nonetheless, this blue checkmark does not automatically cancel out the security issues that both sellers and buyers can run into.
For sellers, the risk of a data breach does exist. No matter the size of a business, when sensitive, confidential information gets accessed by an unauthorized party, it may lead to detrimental consequences for one’s company. In 2020, Shopify came forward to report on a data breach incident that impacted less than 200 merchants on the platform. The investigation determined that this cyber attack was orchestrated by two Shopify employees, who have been terminated from the company. The affected merchants were also supported as needed.
As buyers, the security risks are much lower and less severe. One rule of thumb when shopping is to only enter your credit card information into a form encrypted with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). This security protocol is indicated by a padlock symbol next to the form.
Example of an SSL-secured payment form.
So, is Shopify reliable?
Yes, we would definitely recommend using Shopify, both to sell and to buy from. Despite having security issues during its 17-year appearance in the public’s eye, we commend the company’s transparency and swiftness in resolving problems, and their effort to prevent similar issues in the future. Several notable features that Shopify currently implements to maximize security for its merchants and buyers include:
Overall, Shopify can be trusted as a host to run your business with. Evidently, it has powered some of the most influential brands on the market (i.e. Colourpop, Popsockets) and billions of dollars in transactions. The 24/7 customer support ensures that you will get the help you need in an instant. For Shopify Plus members, a dedicated account manager is assigned to assist them should any problem emerges, including security issues.
We have mentioned the security problems that can potentially happen to your Shopify store and the solutions the platform provides to omit these risks. That said, fraudulent activities are easily preventable from your end. By taking the following extra steps as recommended by Shopify itself, your store will be further protected from fraud.
Moreover, Shopify advises all business owners to look into data breach insurance to take a step further to protect and revive one’s business in case of a data breach.
For your convenience, we have compiled a list of Shopify’s pros and cons to give you a better understanding of what this platform is about.
User-friendly interface: easy for beginners to build their store.
Customization options: users can personalize their store with a wide variety of tools and features.
Subscription plans: different plan options to accommodate businesses of all sizes.
Payment methods: a copious selection of payment gateways are available.
Add-on apps: both made by Shopify and third-party-owned apps are available for integration.
SEO optimization: built-in SEO optimization tools to boost your store in search result pages.
Internationalization: sell your products worldwide with dropshipping, translation tools, and currency conversion.
Customer support: offers 24/7 customer support via phone, email, and live chat.
Technical knowledge: advanced features require a certain level of technical knowledge to unlock and manage.
Traffic: sellers are in charge of generating traffic to the site, as opposed to an existing traffic flow of traditional eCommerce platforms.
To sum up Shopify with one word, we reckoned ‘legit’ is a good choice. While not perfect, it is still on top of the list as one of the most prized and trustworthy eCommerce solutions out there. After 17 years in the biz, Shopify has never stopped improving its services in every facet and has sealed its position as the go-to platform for online businesses in this modern digital era. Given the goals of your business, choosing a suitable eCommerce platform to house your store is critical.
No matter what your budget is, Shopify has got you covered. This is one of the reasons why Shopify’s target audience is not bound to one specific demographic.
Technically speaking, Shopify has a user-friendly interface, automated features, free apps, different payment options, and so on.
From a marketing standpoint, Shopify helps you optimize SEO, promotes targeted ads, email, and social media marketing, and offers a built-in blogging tool to showcase your content marketing skills.
One interesting element about Shopify is that it allows users to build their storefronts with other third-party apps. GemPages is a conversion-driven page builder that helps you customize your store with our extensive template collection to achieve the result that you desire.
With all of these factors in consideration, we can guarantee that Shopify is a legitimate eCommerce platform. This goes without saying, but success is determined by the actual business owners. Having a Shopify storefront does not assures profits. However, building your business with Shopify is a brilliant move that is worth a try.
We have composed this article with verified information that contains no bias to give you the most honest Shopify review. The legitimacy of the platform has been proven through success stories and testimonials of thousands of active businesses. Whether you are a first-time entrepreneur researching which platform to settle into, or a long-time brick-and-mortar owner who has decided to go digital, we hope this article has helped you take a step forward in leveling up your business.