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Contents

Weebly Review – 7 Pros and 4 Cons Revealed!

Although technically branding itself as a web host, Weebly is more than that. It joins the ranks to top sitebuilders such as Wix in offering rapid-build capabilities for websites. In fact, the amount of extended functionality you can build into Weebly sites are suitable for eCommerce.

For the uninitiated, sitebuilders offer users a set of tools, usually like building blocks that they can use to visually assemble a website. Yet what makes Weebly a little more special is the fact that even with such great features, anyone wanting a website can use it and even publish their site for free. With a few caveats, of course.

This means of building websites is becoming increasingly common, with many sitebuilders sprouting up across the net. Some are good, some are great – so what makes Weebly special, if it is? Starting up in 2007, Weebly grew to host around 50 million sites globally before it was acquired for a whopping $365 million in 2020 by Square, a payments processing company.

This indicated two things to me – that Weebly was thriving and that eCommerce was going to get even bigger on the platform. Of course, the purchase also meant that Square would be able to gain a leg up on the global eCommerce business scene as well.

Let’s explore some of the pros and cons of Weebly as it is today.

Table of Contents

Pros of Weebly

Cons of Weebly

Weebly Plan & Features

The Bottomline

What We Like About Weebly

1. Solid Site Speeds

Weebly registers a solid A rating in the BitCatcha speed test. Not unexpected given that it is intended to host eCommerce sites. Response rates are fantastic in the US but tend to drag on the further they are from that zone.

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Although this is fairly normal given that their servers are most likely to be based in the US, the response rate from Asia as indicated by the results from the Japan server were a little disturbing.

Although showing good Time to First Byte (TTFB) in WebPageTest results, some weakness was revealed in image compression and content caching which might have contributed to the poor response from some servers.

Overall however, these are pretty good results, nonetheless.

2. Templates To Start With

Many moons ago, Weebly has a ton of templates to choose from but for some reason they cut it down to a more manageable 35. I’ll be honest here and say that I’m a little on the fence about the whole ‘number of templates’ thing.

On one hand, it feels as if a reduction in the number is cutting cost somehow. It is probably due to the necessity of pruning out older templates that would not fit well for mobile responsiveness.

Overall, I feel that the templates on offer do give users a broad enough spectrum to act as a launching pad into designing their own sites without turning them into mindless zombies who are hoping for a one-size fits all.

3. Editor Is Simple And Easy To Use

Once you’ve chosen your template you can then move on into the drag and drop editor. With some rapid sitebuilders, the term ‘drag and drop’ is figurative, but with Weebly it is literally a drag and drop editor.

To build the pages you want, all you must do it to drag objects from the tool bar on the left of the screen and drop them into the page area at the location you want. There are many things you can add, from plain text boxes all the way to complex product listing blocks.

You are ready to go right form the time you hit the editor – no need for additional downloads, no ridiculous loading times or any extra steps needed. If you want a basic site, everything is right there from the start.

Given the simplicity of the layout and ease of use, I would say that it would be hard not to be able to use the Weebly editor to build regular sites. This makes it a great choice for absolute beginners to website building.

Additional Editor Features

  • Customized Code
    For the more advanced users, you can customize things even further with your own HTML and CSS files. This means that Weebly is also suitable for developers who need greater control over the layout of their websites.
  • SEO Integration
    Although not very extensive, the SEO features that Weebly has built into the system allows for the entry of header and footer code, Search Engine Indexing control as well as redirects. This is more than what I have seen so far in many cases.
  • Allows Contributors
    From the settings page you can also invite people to collaborate with you on your website. This might be good if you would like the input of a designer, or writer or someone who specializes in a different field.

4. The Weebly Mobile App (Now At Version 5.0)

There is a lot of detail on the Weebly Mobile App so don’t discount it just because of the term ‘mobile’

This is something I haven’t seen yet, other than with Weebly. Don’t be fooled by the term ‘mobile’. The Weebly Mobile App is exactly what the whole term means – Weebly has an app that will work on your mobile device and let you edit your site there.

The world is shifting to mobile and even on my own websites I am seeing mobile users far exceed the number of visitors that come from desktops. SO why not shift the development experience to mobile as well?

The Weebly Mobile App is available on both popular platforms – iOS and Android. This means that you can use it on your iPhone, iPad, Android phone or Android tablet. Not only can you check your site statistics and other data, but you can actually edit your website as well.

It offers users a true touchscreen drag and drop editor that not only works with the basics, but even lets you manage complex backend tasks such as order processing, fulfilment, inventory check, acceptance of payments and so on.

If you choose to, you can work offline and be able to sync any changes made when you get connected back to the Internet. This is a truly powerful app and seriously extends the capabilities of Weebly.

Aside from website building, here’s what else you can do on the Weebly Mobile App;

  • Track Data
    Review your site statistics and see how it is doing at any point of time, anywhere.
  • Leverage on Insights
    Through this tab you can have detailed information on business intelligence matters, such as where most of your traffic comes from, what kind of products sell best and so on.
  • Site Overviews
    In case you manage more than one site, you can have a bird’s eye view of all of them from the Websites Tab. Or grow your network by buying new domains and adding more sites right on the app.

All these features in a single mobile app makes Weebly really stand out from the competition. From their offerings, I’ve seen a high focus on smaller eCommerce sites and this app just solidifies my belief. It would be ideal for the small-scale entrepreneur who would likely be working on the go a lot of times.

5. Weebly App Centre

Not to be confused with the Weebly Mobile App, the App Centre gives you add-on options to increase the capabilities of your website. This is something that I believe every sitebuilder should have, since it keeps core business and extended functionalities separate.

This way, users who only need basic functions won’t get an interface that is bogged down with tons of extras they will never likely use. At the same time, users needing extra features can have a selection of them to suit their needs.

The Weebly App Centre covers five main categories of apps – eCommerce, Communication, Marketing, Social and Site Tools. They come in a mixture of either free, free to try or premium, so not every extended feature will cost money.

Prices vary greatly though, so do pay attention if you intend to use any of them. They might start from as low as $3+ per month or cost as much as over $100 a month depending on which app you choose.

Here are some of the Apps which I think can help some eCommerce sites stand out for very little cost;

  • Promo Bar
    This tool fixes a responsive and customizable promo bar on your site that you can use to highlight certain sales or featured products. You can even offer discount codes or any other information you’d like to bring attention to.
  • MarketGoo
    One of the Apps you’ll need to install if you decide to use Weebly’s SEO analysis feature. It can help do a check on your site and let you know what you need to fix to optimize your SEO, something that is sorely needed for eCommerce sites.

While there is a great deal of apps that are from third parties, Weebly also has some that it has built itself. Some of them are interesting, such as the Code Block app. This app allows you to show users formatted code – great if you are maybe running a programming tutorial site.

There are even apps to help you build more advanced site features such as tables and tabs!

GET A FREE SITE @ WEEBLY

6. Bonus Extras

Aside from their main feature which is as a free sitebuilder, Weebly comes with a couple of bonus extras;

  • Free domain
    This applies to every plan, even the free one. Of course, the paid plans get you a real domain, but free plans can be hosted on Weebly subdomains unless you decided to get your own.
  • Free SEO Report
    If you install the MarketGoo App, you can get a free SEO analysis report on your site if you publish it. This can help new users tweak their SEO settings for better optimization.
  • Easy to Upgrade
    All of Weebly’s plans are scalable, meaning that if you buy into a plan and find that you need a better one, you can scale up at any time. It’s convenient and allows you to test the system starting at whatever level you are comfortable with.

7. You CAN Move Away From Weebly

There are many reasons why you’d want to move away from a service provider – increasing prices, better deals elsewhere, not being able to acclimatize to the platform or even deciding to move to a new platform like WordPress. No matter the reason, it’s always good to have an option.

This was something which I found to be unrealistic about Wix in that it locks its users in and requires them to ‘do or die’ with the platform.

Thankfully, Weebly is more realistic and allows its users to export their sites and even has a tutorial to teach you how to do so.

Most website builders lock you into their ecosystem and don’t let you move. The only way is to delete your site and start over. You may never need to do so if you’re happy with Weebly, but at least you can if you wanted to.

What We Didn’t Like About Weebly

1. Freeloaders Are Stuck On The Weebly Domain

Of course, I can’t really blame Weebly for this since it costs money to give away domains (and why should it give them away for free?!). However, facts are facts and free plan users will have to be content to have their site named www.something.weebly.com.

There is also another small technical problem if you are a free plan user and that is you’re basically stuck with the Weebly subdomain even if you own your own domain. Weebly only allows custom domains if you’re either made the purchase through them or are a paid plan user.

You also get stuck with Weebly branding on your sites, by the way.

2. Limited Blogging Tools

Although you can have a blog section on Weebly, it’s a bit different compared to WordPress which is more dedicated to content and allows extended functionality there. Weebly’s blog posts are sort of made up like their sitebuilder in which you drag and drop bits and pieces onto a canvas.

The experience is a little strange, but that might just be me since I am used to the WordPress environment. There are limits on how you can construct each blog post – the format is fixed, as in title and content.

Given the massive number of bloggers floating around the web and how Weebly has a free plan, I just felt that this was one area in which they could have put a lot more focus. After all, it’s not as if they are restricting themselves to eCommerce sites only.

3. You Better Be Used To Offline Photo Editing

There isn’t any way to put this neatly, so I’ll just lay it out – you can only do a few things with Weebly’s built in photo editor – Zoom, Blur, Darken or apply a colour filter. I’m not sure why but I just have this very odd feeling about an image editor that won’t even let you crop one.

That’s something which is very basic and given the scope of what Weebly has accomplished, I am really at a loss to explain why they’ve crippled image editing in this manner.

4. Pay For More Help

I understand that to support customers costs money, but Weebly takes that a little further than necessary. Your help/support level depends on which plan you buy in to. Naturally, it does have the basic stuff which is available to everyone. This includes a knowledge base, FAX and even some video tutorials.

It also has other channels of support – live chat, phone or email. Unless you are on anything other than a free or starter plan, you won’t have access to their phone support or priority support.

The Weebly Community – Not exactly a hotbed of activity

While it does have a community forum, I browsed the area briefly and it did not seem very active. There were several topics, but very little interaction. I’m not sure if you can depend on the Weebly community for assistance.

Weebly Plans and Pricing

At the entry level, Weebly has a free plan that comes with a lot of restrictions. Yet that is expected, and it is a wonder that they offer it as entirely free instead of a trial. This is something that not many are willing to do these days and I laud Weebly for having it.

If you’re a little more serious about your website, then plans start from $4 per month onwards all the way to $25 per month.

The Free plan gives you storage space, a Weebly subdomain and free SSL but nothing else more. This would still be good for some use though – for example a personal website, blog or portfolio. These can be basic and don’t need to be overly snazzy.

The Starter Plan at $4 per month isn’t much better but it does include a free domain name which Weebly values at $19 (although a .com elsewhere will set you back much less). This plan doesn’t include eCommerce features.

Once you go above those, the Pro and Business Plans are for those who, well, mean business. These plans allow you to list products for sale and turn your site into an online store. There is a catch even though you are paying more though and that is the transaction fee of 3% that Weebly levies on your sales.

In all honesty this rate is reasonable since you can make use of their payments and shopping cart features. If you were to go it on your own, you’d likely have to pay more to process payments online through a third-party.

The number of products you can list depend on which plan you choose and only the most expensive Business Plan allows you to sell digital goods such as software licenses or things like that. It also gives you access to coupons and inventory management.

Verdict: Is Weebly a Good Buy?

I love Weebly because it doesn’t feel the need to oppress customers through mandatory buy-ins and extortionate rate. In fact, even for the Business Plan at $25 per month, you’re getting features that would cost you much more than if you were to implement them yourself on another web host.

While the editor is nice and spiffy, it does have some flaws – but I can live with those. If I were to compare this with another eCommerce oriented sitebuilder, my thinking is that it would come out a champ in certain areas.

It does seem built for entry level eCommerce stores, however, and anyone who needs to have a big product catalogue may need to shop elsewhere. Unfortunately, at the same time they seem to be weak on the blogosphere zone.

The end result has left me wondering if Weebly really expects to compete purely on small to medium eCommerce sites alone.

Weebly Ecommerce Review 2020: The Easiest Way to Sell?

Ease of Use
Payment Options

Weebly Ecommerce is made for small to medium-sized online stores that want to start selling online quickly. There’s no complicated setup or maintenance involved. Therefore, it’s perfect for beginners and users that don’t want to get lost in technical details.

The online store is part of any of the Weebly packages, meaning you can create an online store entirely for free! But don’t get too excited. If you want to get rid of the ads and use your own domain name (which you probably do), you have to purchase a plan. To learn more about each plan’s features, check out this detailed plan overview.

Next, let’s have a look at all the ins and outs of the Weebly online store. Optionally, feel free to jump directly to our conclusion.

Weebly Ecommerce Screenshots

Weebly online store prices

Sell unlimited items. Gives you access to most ecommerce features but only on a Weebly subdomain. Comes with ads.

Personal

Like Free but also allows you to use your own domain name.

Professional

Adds the shipping calculator and removes the Weebly advert.

Performance

All Professional features + advanced ecommerce features (e.g. abandoned cart emails).

Monthly prices based on a 1-year contract. Free domain the first year. It renews at $19.95 per year. Check our pricing guide for more information.

Pros and Cons of Weebly

Very easy to use

The online store integrates seamlessly into the website builder and couldn’t be more intuitive.

Supports physical goods, digital goods and services

No matter if you sell laptops, MP3s or coaching sessions, Weebly’s web store is able to accommodate it.

SSL-encryption on your own domain

When checking out, your customers will still be seeing your URL and not a third party domain.

Shipping and tax calculator

It’s all semi-automatic and saves you plenty of time.

No offline payment available

Customers can only check out via credit card and PayPal.

PayPal only in the highest plan

A standard payment method that is only in the highest plan available.

No integrations with other platforms

There’s no elegant integration with other platforms like Facebook or Instagram available. Similar online stores like Wix and Squarespace have that feature.

Rating Details

We look at the sign-up process, instructions and general ease-of-use from a beginners perspective.

Well structured, clean backend design: this makes adding products and managing the store fairly easy.

Whether their themes are responsive and optimized for selling. We also check if they can be modified via the HTML code.

“> Choice and flexibility of templates

The online shop gets seamlessly integrated into the website. It all looks very clean and is optimized for mobile phones and tablets.

We check not only how well you can optimize the general website but also specific product pages.

All product URLs, SEO titles and descriptions can be edited. This is very useful for Google and other search engines.

Possibility to add product videos and whether it offers a zoom effect for images.

Clean look. Adding a photo gallery, video user review and other useful information isn’t a problem.

What options and variants you can define (e.g. color, size etc.). Is there a maximum number of possible combinations?

Very flexible! Add both different options (e.g. colors, sizes, etc.) and modifiers (individual upgrades) to products.

Whether it features a cart function at all. If yes, can you send a reminder to customers who left their cart without purchasing?

The cart is pretty flexible since it recognizes what kind of product you offer (physical good, digital good or service).

Can your shoppers leave reviews for the products they purchased?

Users can leave a star rating of products they bought from your store. You’ve got full control of whether you want to publish the product review or not. In the Performance plan you can even send out automatic reminders for your customers to leave a review.

Add as many products as you wish. Inventory tracking is available.

Checkout, payment & shipping

The options for your customers to pay.

Only online payment! Credit card and PayPal are available. Keep in mind that PayPal requires the highest plan. No additional transaction fees by Weebly added.

To sell photos, videos or music, for example.

“> Sale of digital goods

Control the download options for your files. After the purchase, set a max. amount of valid days or downloads. Of course, unlimited downloads are also possible.

Is https being used for the entire store or for the checkout process only?

Included! Weebly websites are always SSL-encrypted to ensure your customer’s privacy and safety.

Whether customers can create accounts for easier repeated shopping.

“> Customer log-in area

Customers can store their shipping information here for faster checkout and see their order history. Very important: not compatible with Weebly’s Membership feature!

3 options: percentage, fixed price and free shipping. Combination with certain orders, categories or items possible. Alternatively, you can also offer gift cards to buy with different amounts (e.g. $10, $99, etc.).

We check how shippings costs work internationally and also whether there is a real-time cost calculator.

“> Shipping cost settings

Worldwide and regional shipping options: free shipping, flat rate, weight, total order price, item quantity and real-time shipping carriers: UPS, USPS, FedEX, DHL. Optionally: onsite pickup with opening times and instructions is available. Payment must be done online though.

Dropshipping isn’t possible with Weebly. If you need it, we recommend checking out Oberlo (Shopify) or AliDropship (WooCommerce).

Will it calculate the US sales tax automatically? Can VAT prices (as required in the EU for example) also be shown?

If you are based in the US, all you have to do is insert your zip code and Weebly adds the tax rate. It also lets you set up individual VAT rates for all other countries worldwide. Taxes will only be shown on the checkout page and not before (which is a requirement in some countries).

Whether it tracks what you have in stock and if there is a reminder email when it falls below a threshold.

Assign an ID to every item. Optionally, you can track your inventory.

To match your branding, it can help to adapt the look & feel of order confirmation emails.

“> Confirmation emails customizable

You can choose from 4 different email themes and fully customize the existing email templates with the same editor. Adding your logo is no problem.

Essential for large stores with many different SKUs.

“> Importing product data

There are several options to import products: CSV-file, Etsy, Shopify and Square. Keep in mind that this will only import your product info, not your product images.

Exporting product data

Exporting product data can be done with a CSV-file.

Does it offer its own analytics solution? Can you add Google Analytics?

You can add Google Analytics for free. Weebly also provides a dashboard with useful eCommerce insights such as sales, orders, conversion rates, etc..

So that you’ll be able to import it into your accounting software. Some stores even allow a direct integration.

“> Exporting order data

There are two export options available: as a CSV-file or directly into Quickbooks (that’s an accounting software). You can define the exact date range.

Weebly delivers a well-executed and easy-to-use online store for beginners. It’s a more solid product than the ecommerce options of their closest competitors Wix and Squarespace.

What can I sell with Weebly?

Opening an online store with Weebly is a walk in the park. Thanks to the well-structured backend, adding products and categories is self-explanatory. You can sell three different types of articles:

  • Products for shipping or pick-up (shoes, books, etc.)
  • Digital items for download (videos, MP3s, ebooks, etc.)
  • Services (consulting, travel trips, etc.)

Even though the shop is meant for small and mid-sized businesses, you can also add products by uploading a CSV Excel file, or transfer your articles directly from Shopify or Etsy.

Which payment methods can I offer with Weebly ecommerce?

You have two options: credit card and PayPal. Unfortunately, there aren’t any offline payment methods like cash or bank transfer available. This means if someone wants to pick up an order on site, they have to check out online to complete the order.

For credit card payments you can choose between Square and Stripe. Both can handle typical cards like Visa, Mastercard, Amex and Discover. On top of that, Stripe can deal with Apple Pay & Google Pay. Since Weebly got acquired by Square, we are surprised that they don’t offer better transaction fee rates. Both will charge the vendor 2.9% + 30 Cents per transaction.

It’s also important to know that you’ll need the Performance plan in order to offer PayPal payments.

What about shipping?

We have to say that Weebly comes with quite a lot of options here:

  • Free shipping
  • Flat rate
  • Order weight
  • Order total
  • Item quantity
  • Real time rates

Your shipping options can be set for specific countries. Can’t provide free shipping for countries abroad? No problem! Add a new rate for the destination.

Since every provider has different rates, shipping can become quite a headache. A cool feature that is included in the Performance plan is the real-time shipping carrier integration. You can connect your UPS, USPS, FedEX and DHL account with your online shop and offer shipping rates. This can even save you some money, because they may offer lower shipping rates. Note that this feature is only available in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

How do taxes work?

If your store is in the USA, you’re lucky: Weebly can add the correct tax rates automatically. Other countries need a manual setup. You pick a country, name the tax and the rate. One problem here is that every country (apart from the USA) only supports one rate. In some cases, you might want a second option for a lower rate, but that’s not possible.

Can I sell outside of my Weebly store?

Obviously, you can sell your products through the Weebly online store, but what about other marketplaces like Amazon and eBay? Unfortunately, there’s no direct integration available currently.

Also, if you were dreaming of starting a dropshipping business, that’s not possible with Weebly. The store can’t communicate with providers like AliExpress or Amazon Fulfilment Service.

Those are more advanced features and will require you to check out Shopify or WooCommerce.

Square offers a POS option in the US, UK and Canada. You purchase a card reader, and customers who come in your brick and mortar shop can buy items there. The inventory in your Weebly store will be synced.

But this doesn’t change the fact that when customers buy something online, they have to purchase it online with a credit card. Picking it up on site and paying in person is not possible.

Marketing and Promotion

A store with the best products and offers might still fail if people don’t know about it. That’s why a good marketing strategy is key to success. In the online world, you can choose from many different options:

  • SEO: get found in Google through optimizing your content
  • Social media: promote your products on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Email-marketing: Send your latest shop entries and special promos to your customers.
  • Paid ads: publish ads on Google and other platforms and pay for each click.

It’s not a problem to share links to your product pages, but a direct integration with Instagram or Facebook Stores where customers don’t have to leave the platform is not possible.

However, sending a newsletter with Weebly is fairly easy. Its own newsletter tool is called Weebly Promote. The cool thing here is that it knows your entire product inventory. With one click, you choose the article and it’s added to the newsletter. Click send and done! Easy like that.

Conclusion

So should you use Weebly for an online store? Well, it depends! When you want to start with a small online store, it’s definitely worth playing with the free version. Of course, some features like real-time shipping, coupons or item reviews require an upgrade but you’ll get a basic idea of what the shop looks like.

Since the online store is directly integrated into the website builder, you’ll not only get a webshop but also website creator and blog. This is especially interesting when you want to build a landing page for a marketing campaign.

One thing you should keep in mind is that real-time shipping is only available for merchants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. So if you want such a feature in your country, a solution like WooCommerce might suit better (it’s more complicated though).

Also, Weebly is not very flexible when it comes to payment. Only two options and that’s it. PayPal even requires the most expensive plan. Again, WooCommerce provides both on- and offline payments.

Overall, we think that Weebly’s ecommerce solution has a very fair price. The Professional plan, at $12 a month, offers enough to be compared to dedicated solutions like Shopify or BigCommerce. Their entry plans start at $26/month.

Shopify Review | Is It the Best Online Store Builder for You?

The best all-around ecommerce platform out there today.

Powering

500 thousand sites

Starting from
Free trial

Updated: Mar 27, 2020

Best for

Best Overall Ecommerce Platform

Overall rating

5 out of 5 stars

Shopify is a popular ecommerce platform that helps you build your own online store, without needing any tech skills.

Shopify powers over 800,000 businesses and came top in our own in-depth research, outperforming all its competitors. However, it’s not for everyone. That’s why this review dives into Shopify’s sales features, ease of use, prices, design, marketing tools, and more, to help you decide if it’s really right for you.

If you’re in a rush, look below for an at a glance overview of the most important things you should know about Shopify. Read on for more details, as we take you on an in-depth journey through the platform… starting with the question, what the heck actually is Shopify?

Shopify At A Glance

Is It Love At First Sight?

Shopify Pros & Cons

  • Received the highest score for features and customer satisfaction
  • Brilliant inventory system to help you manage your store
  • Sell across multiple channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay
  • The only platform to enforce its own transaction fee, unless you use Shopify Payments
  • Content doesn’t automatically reformat when you switch themes
  • Apps can quickly add up as you add extra features to your store

What Is Shopify?

Shopify is a dedicated ecommerce website builder that helps people build their very own online store.

It really is as easy as that – you don’t need mad tech skills, you don’t need a bottomless budget, and you don’t need to hire anyone to make your dream a reality. This makes Shopify a quick and affordable way of creating your online store.

You could start building today, if you wanted to!

Who Can Use Shopify?

Anyone can use Shopify, whether you’re a first-time seller, or a multi-million dollar business like Harry’s Razors (yep, Harry’s Razors is just one of Shopify’s satisfied customers). All you need is an idea, something to sell, and an internet connection, and you could have an online store live in no time.

With over 1,200 apps, specialized features such as inventory tracking and shipping tools, and a range of price plans, Shopify is a powerful platform to choose. It can be used by any sized store, and is extremely scalable.

How Did We Test It? And What Were the Results?

There’s a lot of hype around Shopify, but we wanted to get to the truth behind the marketing.

We put our world-class methodology to good use, and went digging into Shopify’s designs, sales tools, marketing features, SEO capabilities, and more. As well as testing it ourselves, we even went one step further, asking non-tech experts to try it out and tell us what they thought.

We analyzed all the results, compared Shopify with other platforms we’ve tested, looked at its strengths and its flaws, and calculated scores for each key area – all so we can give you the most accurate and helpful information about this online store builder.

Straight away, we can tell you that Shopify did extremely well in our testing, scoring 4.7 out of 5 stars overall.

4 out of 5 stars

4 out of 5 stars

5 out of 5 stars

4.5 out of 5 stars

5 out of 5 stars

4.5 out of 5 stars

3.5 out of 5 stars

In fact, it outperformed all its competitors, which is why we recommend it as the best all-around ecommerce builder on the market. But nobody is perfect – carry on reading our Shopify review to find out why it did so well, where it fell down, and most importantly, if it’s the right choice for you.

But first, what is Shopify doing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic?

It’s an uncertain time to be starting or growing any business, but don’t worry – Shopify totally gets that. In fact, it has introduced a bunch of awesome new measures to support small businesses in the coming months. These include:

  1. Making physical and digital gift cards available on all plans. That way, your customers can support you without buying any physical products right now.
  2. $200 million available in small business funding (US only). As part of a government partnership, Shopify Capital is offering funding to help small businesses develop at a time when they may be low on cash.
  3. Extending its free trial to 90 days. Shopify has extended its free trial from 14 days to 90, giving merchants even longer to try the service risk-free.
  4. Community support and live webinars. Virtual ‘meetups’ with the Shopify community to share wisdom and support.

Big kudos to Shopify for its speedy response, and its commitment to supporting small businesses now and always.

Shopify User Reviews

We reached out to various Shopify users to get an insight into their experience of using the ecommerce platform to create and grow their online businesses.

USER REVIEW: RIPPEDKIT

“Shopify is a well-maintained platform that provides everything I need for website management, updates, pricing, order fulfilment, customer communication etc.”

While juggling a full-time job with a social life and the gym, Francis found he was struggling to hit his protein targets. Dissatisfied with shakes and preferring snack-type products, he launched his subscription-based website with Shopify, called RippedKit, as a convenient way for like-minded individuals to receive high quality ‘grab and go’ protein supplements.

Q&A with Francis

Why did you choose Shopify?

I switched to Shopify from Cratejoy, which is a subscription-focused ecommerce platform. I moved because Shopify has more features and a cleaner and better-developed user interface. Plus, because it’s such a popular platform, it has lots of apps available which I used to upgrade my store.

What’s your favorite Shopify feature?

Their app store has a huge selection of ‘plug and play’ apps which makes it very easy to add store features without having coding knowledge. You can use this to create a store which competes with bigger brands in terms of features.

Is there anything you don’t like about Shopify?

A lot of the Shopify apps have monthly fees and it can be all too easy to lose track of how many apps you’re paying for and still using, which can create unnecessary costs.

Would you recommend Shopify to anyone else wanting to sell online?

USER REVIEW: EMMA REID

“The Shopify platform is really user friendly and you don’t need to know how to code in order to make a store.”

Having quickly got bored of her job as a receptionist, Emma decided to start her own dropshipping business. Being able to learn by doing and not having to invest a large sum of money, it was an easy decision for her. Emma’s now been dropshipping for around 4 years, making $560,000 revenue in 8 months through her Shopify store. She currently runs tutorials for aspiring dropshippers through her website emmareid.com.

Q&A with Emma

Why did you choose to dropship using Shopify and Oberlo?

I used to dropship on WordPress and then type the customer’s order and address into AliExpress. Back then I couldn’t find a way to automate it so I moved to Shopify for my next store. The Oberlo plugin made my life so much easier.

How long did it take you to build your online store using Shopify?

For my successful stores it took a few weeks to go from concept to a fleshed out store. But the work is never finished. As I learn and grow, my store constantly evolves. So I’m always making changes to it and looking back to see what I can improve.

Building a store is definitely challenging when you haven’t done it before, but there’s nothing that Google (or asking someone who’s been there) can’t solve. As time goes by it’s a lot easier to launch something because you know the process.

What do you like most about Shopify and Oberlo?

That they’re both so easy for a beginner to use and learn.

Is there anything about Shopify and Oberlo that you’d improve?

When dropshipping, it would be nice to be able to fulfill all your orders in one click, or have it sync in the background to AliExpress.

USER REVIEW: ADVANCED DROPSHIPPING ACADEMY

“As a beginner, Shopify just seemed the most reputable and easiest platform to use at a reasonable price. It was a no brainer when I first got started really.”

Looking for a way to make some extra cash, Chris set up his first dropshipping business around 4 years ago leveraging Shopify and Oberlo. The first product he sold was an iPhone case with cats on it, but nowadays he sells anything from sunglasses to snow goggles. Chris now runs Advanced Dropshipping Academy, which helps people build and launch their own dropshipping business.

Q&A with Chris

How long did it take you to build your store using Shopify?

I built my most successful store over a weekend but I tweaked it on a daily basis for almost 2 years based on customer feedback and my own growing experience in the industry.

What do you like most about Shopify and Oberlo?

Just how easy it is to build your own website without any coding skills and how easy it is to connect to suppliers and process orders with just a few clicks. It really doesn’t get much simpler to run a business from home.

Is there anything about Shopify and Oberlo that you’d improve?

I’d like the product description on both platforms to be improved and become more user friendly, especially when it comes to formatting descriptions.

It would also be great to see an app for Oberlo and also an auto order processing function, so as soon as an order comes into your store, it is placed with the supplier and paid for within minutes.

What’s been your biggest success since starting your business?

My biggest success was probably growing my business enough to give me the opportunity to pay off my mortgage. To say that my original goal was to earn £200 a month, being able to pay off my mortgage this quickly still blows my mind to this day.

Would you recommend Shopify and Oberlo to others?

Yes, and I already do! As a Shopify partner I always point people towards the platforms because they have changed my life forever.

Think Shopify’s Right for You?

How Easy Is Shopify to Use?

The first thing you should look at when trying out a builder is how easy it is to use, especially when building an online store. Ecommerce builders often struggle to combine power with ease of use, but Shopify has excelled in this crucial area.

Shopify has a clean, clear, and simple interface that makes setting up your store a breeze, even for total beginners.

Don’t get us wrong – you won’t have your site live in five minutes, because Shopify still packs a serious amount of power into its backend. However, it manages to make its editor smooth and simple to use, which we applaud (loudly).

And it’s not just us who enjoyed Shopify’s interface. After testing it ourselves, we got everyday people to build their own store using Shopify, and score how easy (or difficult) they found certain tasks.

The results were generally positive.

People loved how Shopify helped during the set-up process with questions and prompts, and found it easy to get started. But don’t just take our word for it – here are a couple of quotes from our users:

“It was so good, really easy. It was just very user friendly. It guided you through the important areas, the most being the inventory. The questions at the beginning, adding a product, subtle prompts – everything was just very clear.”

“All in all, it was a really easy approach to creating an online store. I had complete control over how and what I want placed within my site, with the benefit of being able to change anything as and when I wanted.”

Of course, the reviews weren’t all glowing – you deserve both sides of the picture, so here’s some quotes from users who weren’t quite so impressed with Shopify:

“I think Shopify could just shout out a little more, when you are in the storefront page, where certain widgets are – and how to add certain features, too. Maybe just better storefront onboarding – I just felt alone, and a little lost.”

“At times, there is a lack of clarity for a novice ecommerce website creator. Some of the terminology was inconsistent or went over my head. For a do-it-yourself website builder, maybe clearer, easier to understand terms wouldn’t go amiss.”

Overall, though, users scored Shopify extremely well for ease of use – in fact, it came out of testing with a grand total of four out of five stars!

We crunched the numbers to put this into context – on average, people found Shopify 21% easier to use than BigCommerce (Shopify’s main competitor), and 12% easier to use than Wix eCommerce, which is famous for its beginner-friendly editor.

And that’s not all – after testing, we asked users how likely they would be to recommend Shopify, and the answer was positive across the board. 88% of people said they would recommend Shopify to a friend.

The good news is, Shopify has a free trial, so you can try it out yourself to see if it’s the right builder for you. As our user quotes show, trying out Shopify is the only way to know if you’ll find it fantastic or frustrating – find out for yourself if you’ll be a fan!

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