Shopify is an ecommerce platform that allows users to create online stores on which they can publish products that store visitors can add to a shopping cart and purchase through an online checkout system.
Shopify stores are hosted ecommerce platform solutions, meaning that the software that runs the store and the store itself come as a combined package. When you set up an account with Shopify, you are given a store owner portal that allows you to do everything you need to sell online, including:
- list the products you want to sell online, including creating new products and editing existing products
- choose a theme for your store and customize it to have the look that fits your brand
- set up a merchant payment processor account to accept credit cards, PayPal, and other payment methods
There are lots of other features available from Shopify that can be used to support your online store depending upon your specific needs related to shipping, ware
Alternatives to Shopify
There are over a million stores online that use Shopify, it’s not the best fit for everyone. Below are some alternatives to Shopify that you may want to consider.
BigCommerce and Wix are both hosted e-commerce platforms like Shopify, meaning you get the hosting and the shopping cart system together when you use those platforms. WooCommerce is a free, WordPress plugin that you install on a host that you choose.
- Closest competitor to Shopify
- Hosted shopping cart
- Pricing plans (monthly)
- $29.95 (Standard)
- $79.95 (Plus)
- $299.95 (Pro)
- Less features, but easier to use
- Another hosted solution
- Pricing plans (monthly)
- $27 (Bus. Basic)
- $32 (Bus. Unlimited)
- $59 (Bus. VIP)
- Non-hosted WordPress plugin (you choose your host)
- Requires more technical hands-on
- Pricing plans: Free, you pay for hosting though
Shopify Free Trial
Does Shopify Have a Free Trial? Yes (14-day)
Shopify’s free trial gives you 14-days to test out how their system works. Shopify’s free trial will not allow you to actually sell any products on a live store. The free trial is only intended to let you try out the features of Shopify. If you want to begin selling on Shopify, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the paid plans.
You don’t need a credit card to start a free trial with Shopify. You just need an email address to get the trial up and running.
Shopify’s free trial period starts as soon as you sign up, not when you begin working on a store, so it’s a good idea to have time set aside to give the Shopify platform a good test run before you commit to signing up for the 14-day free trial.
Shopify has several different plans to accommodate businesses and individuals in their various phases of growth and shopping cart needs. Here are their most common e-commerce plans. The pricing and features for these plans are similar to what BigCommerce (their main competitor) offers.
Outside of these three basic pricing packages, Shopify offers two other plans that extend beyond the spectrum of small businesses to the larger ones who would use the Advanced plan.
Shopify Lite – Buy Button – $9/month
For $9 per month, people who are bloggers or have other online presence can add a basic shopping cart that allows people to purchase products while reading the content.
ShopifyPlus – Enterprise Ecommerce – $2,000/month and up
Shopify has an enterprise solution that starts at $2,000 per month. Enterprise solutions for e-commerce allow enterprise-sized companies to have custom integrations done and offload much of their IT needs to Shopify’s hosted e-commerce platform, which is built based upon the collective experience of handling more than a million online stores.
Shopify is one of the most popular shopping cart systems in the world for good reason. It is a solid product that tends to get good reviews. Here are some Shopify reviews from trusted critics who have evaluated the Shopify feature set, the customer service, and other aspects of Shopify in comparison to other options.
What programming languages are used to create Shopify?