I have always promised a short review of Shopify so I thought I would start the year by actually delivering it.
Prepare to spend a little more than other carts to use Shopify. That will probably be your only complaint though. It is the designer and developers choice of shopping cart software because of how easy it is to customise and how simple it is to train end users.
While it does not have the feature set of the other major carts by default most every piece of functionality can be added (sometimes at a small cost) from the Shopify AppStore. There are many free Shopify themes to help you minimise the upfront costs but given how wonderful it is to work with you can feel confident letting your imagination go wild, everything is possible with Shopify.
The bullet points
PRO Super simple to use and manage. No bloated features. Very clean, very attractive screens [insert image]
PRO Some very beautiful free themes.Better than the premium themes of most shopping carts
CON A small per transaction fee that can build up quickly on busy carts
CON No newsletter support or integration, although there is a MailChimp app in the app store that allows you to connect your store to your MailChimp lists.
CON SEO doesn’t exist, to get META tags (keywords and descriptions) you need to pay an extra $6 a month in the AppStore. There is integration with Google Product Search and Google Website Optimizer. No rich snippet support but you can find a tutorial and code snippet here.
PRO Very well organized backend that makes it simple to see how you store is performing and what needs your attention.
What does Shopify do better than every other cart?
It is very easy to use, looks great and let’s you get on with the business of selling and fulfilling orders. If you just want to sell online this could be your best option.
It is the most visually customizable shopping cart on the market. There is nothing you can not make a Shopify theme look like. There are no visual restrictions or generated markup and code to deal with, the liquid template engine is a developer and designers dream.
What is the downside of using Shopify?
Out of the box it does the bare minimum. No gift certifictaes, no wish list, no SEO. Probably not a downside if you just want to sell products and make money. Almost every feaure you could possible need is available via the Appstore for a usually minimum sum.
No default facebook store (although you can purchase an addon from the AppStore)
What payments methods are supported by Shopify?
All the major credit card gateways, Paypal, Google Checkout and several cusotm methods like Money Order, Bank Deposit and Cash on Delivery.
What shipping methods does Shopify support?
FedEx, UPS, USPS are the only shipping providers supported at the moment. Shopify does support various fulfillment services including Amazon, Shipwire and Webgistix.
Would I recommend Shopify?
This Shopify review last updated January 2012
Want a second opinion? Stephanie from http://ecommerce-platforms.com put together this great video review. Follow the clip to their youtube channel for more video reviews on Big Commerce, Magento and more.