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Shopify Unbiased Review: Gateway to e-commerce or a Money making trap?   2020 was a year of unprecedented and unfortunate events globally, but it was also the year of a bloom in the world of e-commerce and online businesses. When the world wide lock down posed a challenge to their existence, the business-world brought up online platform as the befitting response. When the shops were physically closed, people went online to search, research and shop products. The businessmen also tapped this opportunity and made the most of the new trend. This is where Website creators and developers like Shopify comes to the rescue of small scale businesses, startups and even established businessmen who are less technically equipped. This detailed review can be your guide on whether to trust your business with the most-hyped Shopify or not. What is Shopify? Shopify is a user friendly all-in-one e-commerce application which not only helps businessmen to build own online ecommerce stores, but also to run and grow their business, even without the knowledge of coding and minimum technical know-how. It offers a variety of tools to customize the store according to the needs and interests of the user and the business. More importantly it also helps to access the target audience for the particular product by reaching them on their social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. How Shopify does all of these? Shopify is a hosted solution meaning that the user does not require to buy a web space or web hosting and install any software, but it runs on its own servers. By paying a fees ranging from $29/month to $299/month, the user can run or manage his store from anywhere in the world as long as he can access a web browser and internet. Shopify offers numerous themes, templates,order managing tool, payment manager, customer contact tools and various other facilities for the user customization, efficient running and exponential growth of the business and their popular and paid themes at just Avenue ($180 USD).   Why is Shopify so hyped?                                                                                                                                               Shopify claims to have born with 5 people in a shop and grown to a workforce of 5000 people and powering around 1,000,000 businesses worldwide. From 2016 to 2019, businesses on Shopify contributed $319billion to the global economic activity.Click here to see their Economic Impact Report We have seen such websites mushrooming and then shutting down one fine day creating issues for the users. But what makes Shopify stand out from all of these?   Let’s discuss some of its outstanding features below.   Salient Features: Ease of use: Shopify has a very modern and easy-to-use interface which can be handled by the users even without any knowledge about coding. Like most contemporary websites, there is a Menu on the left side where you can access different features and on the maim window on the right, you can edit them. Below is a screenshot of their interface.   Themes & Templates : Shopify offers a wide array of modern, professional  looking and responsive templates for the user to choose from. There are 9 free templates and 64 paid or ‘premium’ templates each of them  with 2 or 3 variations. All of these themes look appealing and easy to eye across all devices ranging from desktops to mobile phones. Here are some examples of free Shopify templates.       The cost of premium themes range from $100 to $180, however if you are not happy with the ready-made designs you can freely create website template with the assistance of easy to access theme codes and lot of support materials to give your online store a unique look.   E-commerce features: Add and manage Products: Users can add products, fill in the product details (title, description, images/videos, price and SEO options) and easily add categories to give an organized look to your store.Shopify allows you to add up to  100 variants, each in 3 different options (color, size, style etc.). Large stores can add even more variants   Paymentprocessors and Transaction fees: Shopifyprovides more than 100 payment processors, like Stripe, 2Checkout, PayPal etc. along with their own system Shopify Payments. However, there is an extra transaction fee charged for not using Shopify payments which is 2%, 1% or 0.5% depending on the plan.   Shipping: Shopify has an efficient shipping system where shipping rules can be set easily (Flat rates, free shipping, region wise rates etc.) for particular products, collections or the entire store. But the most remarkable feature is that it connects your store to carriers like FedEx, UPS and USPS etc. and provides real-time shipping rates at checkout to the end customers.   Pricing: Is Shopify cost effective? Shopify provides 5 basic plans as follows: Shopify Lite : $9/month, but it does not allow creating a fully- functional standalone store. Basic Shopify : $29/month Shopify : $79/month Advanced Shopify: $299/month Shopify plus: Custom pricing       Like other ecommerce website creators, Shopify does not limit the reach of audience in the basic plans, but differs in accessibility of features like staff accounts, transaction /credit card fees, shipping discounts etc. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, which can be usually extended if you need more time to complete your store.   Customer Support : Shopify provides 24/7 customer service through e-mails, live chats or even phone by requesting a callback. Phone support is one of the key customer service feature that makes Shopify different from its competitors like Squarespace.   CONS: The other side of the coin Shopify charges extra transaction fees if you do not use Shopify Payments which adds up to a considerable amount. Most of the useful features are available only in the higher plans. The Interface does not have ‘Drag & Drop’ function while editing pages which takes a step behind other apps like Squarespace, WordPressand Bigcommerce. The images added with different aspect ratios will not be cropped automatically to uniform ratio giving your store an unprofessional look.   The Verdict!!! Shopify is no-doubt a one stop solution as well as a perfect Launchpad for your online business at in an affordable budget. It will always be better if you start with the Basic Shopify  plan ($29/month) and later upgrade if needed.

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