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Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms available today. People can set up and manage their online stores with ease thanks to its design. However, like any tool, it has its strengths and weaknesses. With insights from actual user reviews, let’s learn what Shopify is and explore its key pros and cons. 

What is Shopify 

Shopify is a comprehensive eCommerce platform that assists individuals and businesses in creating, managing, and expanding their online stores. Founded in 2006 by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake, Shopify has since grown into one of the most popular eCommerce solutions in the world, powering over a million businesses across 175 countries. 

Key Features of Shopify 

  1. Website Builder: Shopify provides an easy-to-use website builder that enables users to create professional-looking online stores without needing any coding skills.  
  1. Product Management: Add, organize, and update products with ease. Shopify supports various product types, including physical items, digital downloads, services, and even memberships. The platform also allows you to manage inventory, track stock levels, and set up automated reminders for restocking. 
  1. Payment Processing: The platform offers integrated payment processing through Shopify Payments, which supports major credit cards and several local payment methods.  
  1. Shipping and Fulfillment: Shopify shipping streamlines the process with built-in tools for setting shipping rates, printing shipping labels, and tracking shipments. It also integrates with various fulfillment services and third-party logistics providers to help you manage order fulfillment efficiently.  
  1. Marketing and SEO Tools: It also comes with a range of marketing tools to help you promote your store and attract customers. Create discount codes, gift cards, and run email marketing campaigns directly from the platform. 
  1. Analytics and Reporting: Understanding your store’s performance is crucial for growth. Shopify provides detailed analytics and reports on sales, customer behavior, and marketing campaigns. These insights help you make data-driven decisions to enhance your business strategies. 
  1. App Ecosystem: One of Shopify’s greatest strengths is its extensive app ecosystem. The Shopify App Store offers thousands of apps that extend the functionality of your store. Whether you need advanced inventory management, additional marketing tools, or specific integrations, there’s likely an app available to meet your needs. 
  1. Mobile App: Shopify’s mobile app allows you to manage your store on the go. From your smartphone or tablet, you can add products, process orders, and check key metrics, ensuring a constant connection to your business. 

Who Uses Shopify? 

The Shopify platform is suitable for a wide range of users, from small startups creating their first online business to large enterprises looking to scale their operations. The platform’s flexibility and scalability make it an ideal choice for: 

  • Small Businesses and Startups: Shopify’s ease of use and affordable pricing plans make it accessible for new businesses.  
  • Established Brands: Larger businesses benefit from Shopify’s advanced features, such as Shopify Plus, which offers enhanced customization, dedicated support, and additional resources to manage high-volume sales and complex operations. 
  • Entrepreneurs and Dropshippers: Shopify supports dropshipping, a popular eCommerce business model where you sell products without holding inventory. The platform integrates with various dropshipping apps, making it easy to find and sell products from third-party suppliers. 

Pros of Shopify  

To further explore the benefits of using Shopify, let’s look through the pros the online store platform offers. 

User-Friendly Interface 

Shopify’s clean, intuitive interface makes it easy for beginners to set up and manage an online store without needing any coding skills. 

The platform is designed to be accessible, which means that those with no technical background can still create fully functional Shopify stores quickly. The drag-and-drop functionality allows users to customize their store’s appearance by simply moving elements around, making the design process straightforward.  

Comprehensive Features 

Shopify offers a wide range of elegant themes, both free and paid, to help you create a visually appealing online store. These are available in the Shopify theme store, designed by professionals to cater to various industries, ensuring that there’s something for everyone. The customization options allow users to modify these themes to suit their brand’s unique identity.  

It also lets users create their product descriptions easier with Shopify Magic. It’s an AI tool that automates writing product descriptions and creating marketing content, so you can focus more on growing your business. 

However, it’s important to note that while the free themes are great for starting out, many advanced and highly customizable themes come at an additional cost. Also, while AI is good as a tool, it’s always important to double check its output for accuracy. Rewriting it can also add a little bit of human touch, so it becomes more compelling. 

Offline Selling with Shopify POS 

Shopify doesn’t just help you sell online; it also supports offline selling through its Shopify Point of Sale (POS) system. This feature allows you to sell products in physical locations such as brick-and-mortar stores, markets, and pop-up shops.  

The Shopify POS system integrates seamlessly with your online store, syncing inventory, orders, and customer data. This ensures that your sales channels are always up-to-date, providing a consistent shopping experience for your customers. It makes selling items in-person a breeze, with features like barcode scanning, multiple payment options, and customizable receipts.  

Reliable Hosting and Performance 

The platform ensures that your Shopify store runs smoothly with high uptime and fast loading times, both of which are essential for maintaining customer engagement and satisfaction. Shopify’s built-in hosting means that users don’t need to worry about finding a separate hosting provider, and the platform takes care of all technical aspects related to server management and security.  

Payment Processing 

Shopify supports a variety of payment gateways, including its own Shopify Payments, which simplifies transactions and can help reduce transaction fees. This flexibility allows merchants to choose the payment methods that best suit their business needs.  

Shopify Payments integrates seamlessly with the platform, providing a hassle-free payment processing experience and avoiding the additional transaction fees that come with third-party payment processors.  

Search Engine Optimization and Marketing Tools 

Shopify includes built-in SEO tools to help optimize your store for search engines, improving your chances of attracting organic traffic. These tools allow you to edit meta tags, create custom URLs, and add alt text to images, all of which contribute to better search engine rankings.  

Additionally, Shopify offers various marketing integrations, such as email marketing and social media advertising, enabling you to reach a broader audience. You can even create discount codes and gift cards for your marketing strategy. 

Shopify is designed to grow with your business, making it suitable for small startups as well as large enterprises. The platform can handle increasing traffic and sales volumes, ensuring that your store remains stable and performs well as your business expands. Shopify also supports multi-channel selling, allowing you to reach customers on various platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon.  

Cons of Shopify 

Shopify has its advantages, but don’t get too excited just yet. Before you make a big business decision, think about the possible problems that can come with using Shopify. Now, let’s outline all the potential drawbacks of using Shopify: 


Shopify charges monthly fees, which can be expensive for small businesses. Plans start at $39 per month for Basic Shopify and go up to $399 per month for Advanced Shopify. While these plans offer various features, the costs can be challenging for startups and small businesses on tight budgets. Plus, many advanced features require paid Shopify apps, adding to the overall cost. 

And if you don’t use Shopify Payments, transaction fees apply, which can be a drawback for some users. Trustpilot reviews also highlight frustrations with Shopify’s billing practices, such as continual attempts to deduct money and the challenges in resolving these issues: 

And here’s another review from a previous user:  

Aspiring online business owners should opt for a feature-rich web hosting and website builder package without hiding the extra hidden costs. 

Customization Limitations 

While Shopify offers a range of themes, the selection of free themes is limited. To access more advanced and customizable themes, users often need to pay additional fees. Moreover, deeper customization often requires knowledge of coding (HTML, CSS, and Liquid, Shopify’s templating language).  

This can be a hurdle for users who lack technical skills and need to hire developers to achieve the desired look and functionality for their store. Trustpilot reviews have users expressing frustration over the need for expensive Shopify apps to achieve basic functionalities and the lack of refunds for hidden costs. 

Here’s another customer explaining their difficulties with Shopify: 

When choosing an online store builder, having lots of user-friendly themes and plugins is key, otherwise it can be frustrating for beginners who want an easy setup and unique design without extra costs. 

Content Management 

Shopify’s blogging tools are basic compared to dedicated content management systems like WordPress. You can create and manage a blog, but the features might not be enough if your business relies a lot on content marketing. This can make it harder to keep your audience engaged with regular blog posts and updates. If blogging is a big part of your strategy, you might find Shopify’s capabilities a bit limiting. 

One Trustpilot user complained about the system’s bugs, with the majority of their website’s images missing: 

If the users’ content requires a large number of images, it can be a major disadvantage to their business. In this case, a website that integrates WordPress may be more advantageous. 

SEO and Marketing Limitations 

Some users have reported issues with Shopify’s URL structure and duplicate content, which can impact SEO efforts. The platform’s default URL structure is not as flexible as some users would like, and managing duplicate content requires additional effort. These SEO limitations can affect your store’s visibility on search engines, making it harder to attract organic traffic.  

Shopify also offers a lot of great marketing tools, but while you can do email marketing, social media ads, and basic SEO right from the platform, it might not be as powerful as some dedicated marketing tools out there.  

Often, you’ll need to buy extra apps to get more advanced features, which can add up in cost. So, while Shopify covers the basics well, you might find yourself needing more specialized tools as you grow. 

Here’s a review commenting on Shopify’s marketing capabilities and extra costs:  

Customer Support Issues 

While many users praise Shopify’s customer support, some have run into delays or difficulties with more complex issues. The quality of support can vary—some people have great experiences, while others struggle to get timely and effective help. This inconsistency can be frustrating, especially when dealing with critical problems affecting your business. Trustpilot reviews show mixed experiences, with many one-star reviews highlighting poor customer support as a major issue.  

Here’s another passionate review from a frustrated user: 

Bluehost: An Online Store Alternative 

If you’re looking for a more customizable and potentially cost-effective solution, consider Bluehost. It has a 4.1 rating on Trustpilot, with more than 13,000 reviews. 

Known for its robust hosting services and seamless WordPress integration, Bluehost offers a versatile platform for eCommerce through WooCommerce. This combination gives you greater control over your website’s design and functionality without incurring high monthly fees. 

Here are a few other benefits that come with Bluehost: 

  1. Cost-Effective: Bluehost’s hosting plans start at a lower price point compared to Shopify, making it an attractive option for small businesses and startups. You can avoid the higher monthly fees associated with Shopify, especially as your business grows. 
  1. Customization: With Bluehost, you can take advantage of WordPress’s extensive customization options. You have access to thousands of free and premium themes and plugins, allowing you to create a unique online store without needing advanced coding skills. This flexibility can save you money on hiring developers and purchasing expensive apps. 
  1. Content Management: Bluehost, combined with WordPress, offers superior blogging and content management capabilities. WordPress is renowned for its robust blogging features, making it easier to engage with your audience through regular posts and updates. This is a significant advantage over Shopify’s more basic blogging tools. 
  1. SEO: WordPress is well-regarded for its SEO capabilities. With the right plugins, you can optimize your site’s SEO to a much greater extent than with Shopify. This can improve your store’s visibility on search engines, helping you attract more organic traffic. 
  1. Reliable Customer Support: Bluehost’s customer support is highly regarded, providing reliable assistance when needed. Unlike the mixed reviews for Shopify’s support, Bluehost is known for its consistent and effective customer service, which is crucial when dealing with critical issues that impact your business. 
  1. Scalability: Bluehost’s scalable solutions can grow with your business, ensuring that you have the resources you need as your online store expands. Whether you start small or have plans for significant growth, Bluehost can accommodate your needs without the high costs associated with scaling on Shopify. 

By choosing Bluehost, you get a powerful and flexible platform that can address many of the cons associated with Shopify. Whether it’s lower costs, better customization, superior content management, enhanced SEO, or reliable support, Bluehost provides a compelling alternative for building and growing your online store. 

Shopify Pros and Cons: Final Thoughts 

Shopify is a powerful, user-friendly platform ideal for many eCommerce businesses, especially those looking for a straightforward setup and comprehensive features. Its ease of use, reliable hosting, and extensive app marketplace make it a top choice for beginners and experienced users alike. However, it’s important to weigh the costs and customization limitations before committing to the platform.  

For those who need more flexibility and are willing to handle some technical aspects, Bluehost provides an excellent alternative with its robust hosting and extensive WordPress capabilities. 

Whether you choose Shopify or Bluehost, both platforms offer strong support to help you succeed in your eCommerce journey. By carefully considering your business needs and the pros and cons of each platform, you can make an informed decision that will set you up for long-term success. 

  • Minal Agarwal

    Minal is the Director of Brand Marketing at Bluehost. With over 15 years of business experience in the technology industry, she strives to create solutions and content that fulfill a customer's needs. She is a dog mom and a stickler for calendaring.

    Masters in Marketing Management
    Previous Experience
    Strategic Partnerships, Customer Success, Events and Community
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