UPDATE: This review is quite a bit out of date as it was created in 2012. Shopify has continually improved the platform since this time. If you are looking to build an e-commerce site, check out my step by step course at http://cartprep.com for more information.

Review of Shopify

Today we are going to review the Shopify shopping cart system.  For those new to e-commerce, Shopify is one of many platforms that allows you to open your own online store without having to know anything about servers, HTML or web design.  Watch the video below as I walk you through the system or if you prefer to read, see the summary of my review below the video.  If you are a military member let me know as I can get you free upgrades for Shopify.

Shopify Sign Up

What I like about Shopify

Shopify has a very web 2.0 look to it so those looking for a contemporary design will like it.  They also have a variety of interesting templates that can give it a completely different look and feel.  I love the fact that there are tons of paid and free applications to customize and give functionality to your site.  The fact they have an integrated blog makes it easy to do inbound marketing.  It is super easy to set up products.

What I don’t like about Shopify

There is a lot of functionality that is native to other cart programs that you have to add or pay for with apps in Shopify.   For example, a Facebook Store or SEO optimization down to the product level. They also make it difficult to create sub-categories without knowing HTML or CSS.  Their option systems and coupon system are not as robust as other carts.

Who is Shopify good for?

Shopify is good for two types of clients.  Those that run a boutique business without a lot of categories, or new brands that are trying to get their first product, or series of products out to the public.  It gives you a lot of functionality in branding and coloring compared to other carts.

Who is Shopify not good for?

If you have a lot of different products with lots of categories and sub categories it is probably not the best cart for you.  The example I use in the video is if you run a mac accessory store, you need categories for iPhone, iPad, iPod and mac, and then under those categories, sub-categories for iPhone 4, 3gs, 3.  Not only is it hard to create those sub-categories but also difficult to SEO optimize down to the product level.

For many people starting out, Shopify can be a very good cart to use.  It’s simplicity is what makes it both enjoyable to use but also limits its functionality and reach.  If you are a fan of Tim Ferris you know he is a big believer in Shopify.  If it is not the shopping cart for you, you might want to try BigCommerce or 3dCart, both systems I recommend.  As a reminder, if you are a military member and want to sign up, please let me know.  Shopify will let me upgrade you from Basic to Business or Business to Ultimate at no additional charge.  You just need to sign up through my link and then email me with your store name so I can request the upgrade.

If you want to look at some other carts I suggest, you can see the links below:

BigCommerce

3DCart

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