Shopify VS Wealthy Affiliate REVIEWS – All that you need to know about this two marketing giants
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On the other Hand,
In this Shopify review, we look at one of the most popular online-Site building tools currently available. Read on to find out more about the pros and cons of this marketing solutions.
Our overall rating:
Wealthy Affiliate: 9.8
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a web application that allows you to create your own online store. It provides you with a wide range of templates that can be customized to meet individual users’ branding requirements, and it allows either physical or digital goods to be sold.
One of the main ideas behind Shopify is that users without much in the way of technical or design skills can create a store without the involvement of a design agency or web developer; however, people who are familiar with HTML and CSS will be pleased to discover that Shopify allows you to edit both, giving you a lot of control over the design of templates.
Because Shopify is a hosted solution, you don’t need to worry about buying web hosting or installing software anywhere; the idea is that pretty much everything you need to build and run your store happens ‘out of the box.’
That said, you can customize a Shopify store to meet more individual requirements through the addition of apps — more on which later — or using custom code.
Shopify is a software as a service (‘Saas’) tool – this means that you don’t own it but rather pay a monthly fee to use it. As long as you have access to a web browser and the internet, you can manage your store from anywhere.
How many people use Shopify? And why does this matter?
Shopify was founded in Canada 2004 by German-born entrepreneur Tobias Lütke.
According to the company, Shopify has:
- over 1,000,000 active users
- generated over $183bn in sales.
Now, without getting a mole into Shopify’s accounts department, it’s impossible to verify the accuracy of the above numbers, but it’s safe to say that Shopify is definitely a well-established and successful e-commerce platform with a very large user base.
This is important because when you choose a hosted solution to build an online store with, you are placing a large amount of trust in the company providing it. There have been instances in the past of similar services closing down in the past — Magento Go being a case in point — resulting in serious problems for their users (who had to migrate their stores over to a different platform at relatively short notice).
Shopify’s strong market position and large user base should make the prospect of financial difficulties for the company less likely, which in turn makes the prospect of a store you host with them suddenly disappearing less likely.
We’ll have a look at what you can do with Shopify shortly — but first, let’s check out the pricing.
There are five Shopify prices plans to choose from:
- ‘Shopify Lite’ — $9 per month
- ‘Basic Shopify’ — $29 per month
- ‘Shopify’ — $79 per month
- ‘Advanced Shopify’ — $299 per month
- ‘Shopify Plus’ — fees are negotiable, but generally in the region of $2000 per month.
There is also a free Shopify trial available, which in the light of the COVID-19 / Coronavirus crisis has been extended to 90 days (far longer than the trials currently available from competing products). You can check this free trial out here.
Shopify represents one of the cheaper ways into selling online, with its starter plan, “Shopify Lite” costing $9 per month and allowing you to sell an unlimited number of goods.
However, it’s important to note that the ‘Lite’ plan does not actually allow you to construct a fully-functional, standalone online store: rather, it
- lets you sell via your Facebook page
- allows you to use Shopify in a physical location to sell goods or manage inventory
- gives you access to Shopify’s Buy Button, which allows you to sell goods on an existing website or blog.
The Buy Button works similar to a PayPal ‘Buy Now’ button, but because it links back to Shopify, more sophisticated options regarding tracking orders and their fulfillment status are available. Additionally, you can use a Buy Button to display entire categories of products on another site.
Using the Shopify Buy Button allows you to integrate Shopify into a site built on another platform — for example, Squarespace or WordPress; this is a useful feature for users who are generally happy with their existing website but wish to integrate some Shopify e-commerce functionality onto it.
As you move up the pricing scale, you’ll encounter the ‘Basic Shopify’ plan for $29 per month; the ‘Shopify’ plan for $79 per month and the ‘Advanced Shopify’ plan for $299 per month. Unlike the ‘Lite’ plan, all of these plans do allow you to host a fully functional online store.
Finally, there is also the ‘Shopify Plus’ plan to consider — this, as the name suggests, is an ‘enterprise grade’ solution which is designed more with big businesses in mind; it offers advanced features regarding security, APIs and fulfillment.
So what are the main differences between each plans?
Key differences between Shopify plans
Key features to watch out (and not miss by selecting the wrong Shopify plan) are:
- reporting — professional reporting functionality is only available on the $79 ‘Shopify’ plans and up; and advanced reporting tools (which allow you to create custom reports) are only provided on the most expensive ‘Advanced’ and ‘Shopify Plus’ plans
- gift cards — these are only available on the $79 ‘Shopify’ plans and up
- real time carrier shipping — this is only available on the most expensive ‘Advanced Shopify’ plan
- staff accounts — these allow you to give different members of your team different permissions (something that’s very useful for restricting access to sensitive data); you are allowed 2 staff accounts on the ‘Basic Shopify’ plan; 5 on the ‘Shopify’ plan and 15 on the ‘Advanced Shopify’ plan.
- point of sale (POS) functionality — you can’t avail of all POS functionality, which lets you sell using Shopify in a physical location, unless you are on a ‘Shopify’ or higher plan (I discuss point of sale in more depth below).
Shopify Plus, the enterprise-grade version of Shopify, provides all the main features, but additionally provides some features aimed at big corporations, namely:
- guaranteed server uptime
- API support
- ‘White glove’ level of support via a dedicated ‘Merchant Success Manager’
- dedicated SSL / IP address
- advanced security features.
It’s worth mentioning that you don’t have to pay for plans on a monthly basis – you can pay on an annual or biennial basis. Shopify offers a 10% discount on an annual and a 20% discount on a biennial plans, when they are paid upfront.
Overall Shopify’s pricing structure is fairly consistent with key competing products like Bigcommerce, Squarespace and Volusion; the main difference involves the ‘Lite’ plan really, which whilst not giving you a fully hosted online store, does allow you to make use of many key Shopify features on another website for a very low monthly fee.
If I had a criticism of Shopify’s pricing structure it would be that some features which you might expect to find on entry-level plans — like gift cards and proper reporting — only become available when you opt for a more expensive one (or make use of a paid-for app).
Other solutions, notably Bigcommerce, are considerably more generous with the entry-level feature set, offering a bit more of an ‘all-in-one’ approach.
Let’s take a look at how Shopify actually lets you accept payments for your goods — because this is where some key advantages of using the platform can be found.
Shopify Payments, payment gateways and transaction fees
There are two ways to accept credit card payments on Shopify.
The most straightforward, for users in countries where it is supported, is to use Shopify Payments, Shopify’s built-in payment system.
If you use this, you don’t have to worry about transaction fees at all, which is great. However, there is still a ‘credit card rate’ to consider: in the US, you can expect to pay a rate of between 2.4% and 2.9% of each credit card transaction (plus on some plans, an additional 30c). In other countries, the rate is lower (the UK range of credit card fees, for example, stretches from 1.6% to 2.2%).
The exact rate depends on the type of plan you are on, with the lowest transaction fees (as you might expect) becoming available on the most expensive monthly subscriptions.
Alternatively, you can use a third party ‘payment gateway’ to process card transactions — of which there are over 100 to choose from (far more than are available from competing platforms Bigcommerce, Volusion or Squarespace).
Using a third-party payment gateway requires a bit of configuration – you’ll need to set up a ‘merchant account’ with a payment gateway provider. Depending on the payment gateway provider you use, you can expect to pay a percentage of a transaction fee, a monthly fee or both.
If you use a payment gateway, Shopify will apply a transaction fee as well (of between 0.5% and 2% depending on the Shopify plan you’re on — again, the fee gets lower as the monthly plans get more expensive).
(One thing that’s worth noting about any card fees charged by Shopify is that they won’t be returned to you in the event of you having to refund a customer. So if your business is one with a very liberal return or refunds policy, this may be an issue for you.)
Whether it works out cheaper to use Shopify Payments or a payment gateway will depend very much on the kind of payment gateway you’re thinking of using, and the Shopify plan you’re on.
One important thing worth noting about Shopify Payments is that it is available only for users based in certain countries.
- Hong Kong SAR China
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States of America (note however that Shopify Payments is not available to US territories except Puerto Rico.)
So if you’re not selling from one of those territories then you will have to use another separate payment gateway provider (meaning you’ll definitely need to factor transaction fees into the equation).
As mentioned above however, Shopify integrates with far more payment gateways than other competing products do (over 100 of them), so if you are selling outside of these countries, you should be able to find a payment gateway that’s suitable for your location easily.
Thank you for reading my reviews, if you do have any questions about my reviews, or you have any other questions relating to website creation and building or selling on online, please leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out!
John J J