Shopify is a web-based, fully-hosted e-commerce platform that emphasizes ease of use. It is reasonably priced and offers a 14-day, no-risk free trial; the account automatically cancels itself at the end of the trial period unless you purchase a plan. Shopify admits that it lacks some of the more advanced features of other e-commerce platforms, but it offers the basics that most merchants need. You can pick and choose the rest through add-ons and applications.

Shopify has a selection of over 53 themes for setting up an online store. These templates are nothing short of beautiful; the quality is amazing. These themes are mobile responsive but only nine of them are free. The remainder are a one-time purchase ranging from $120-$180.

Shopify keeps up with what’s happening with SEO practices, including such features as a customizable H1. You can write title and meta tags as well as product tags. A sitemap.xml is automatically generated for your store. You can even create discount codes and coupons. In the higher plans, you can offer gift cards.

How Does Shopify Work?

Editing Shopify’s themed templates is relatively simple. It utilizes the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, making updating content on your pages quick and painless. They recently introduced a new method for editing theme templates. Called Sections, it is an incarnation of drag-and-drop that lets you arrange the order of the widgets in your storefront by dragging and dropping elements into a toolbar. It is only available on some themes at present but there are plans to extend it to all templates.

If you prefer coding, Shopify has an HTML/CSS editor called Liquid. It is Shopify’s own coding language and what they used to build the themes. It is a flexible code that allows you to feature changes in the admin on your site. There is a learning curve for Liquid, but it is an easy-to-learn coding system and easy-to-use computer language.

Shopify comes with everything you need to get started and set up shop right away. Unless you need all the bells and whistles, Shopify probably has enough features to get you up and running. Additional functions are available through applications.

What Makes Shopify Stand Out?

Shopify offers a wide array of features, some standard and some add-on. Some are only available at higher plan levels, so you’ll want to examine each before you decide which is best for you.

One feature that stands out with Shopify is you can display your checkout in over 50 different languages. Shopify will also calculate shipping rates for UPS, USPS and FedEx. You can adjust the factors to fit your shipping policies, such as a fixed shipping rate, a tiered rate or a rate based on weight or location.

Shopify also offers an abandoned cart recovery feature. When a customer leaves your site while items are still in their carts, an email can be automatically sent to them to encourage completion of the purchase. Shopify will also calculate tax rates based on customer locations and your location.

Shopify lets you include a product review section for your customers to give your products star ratings. They can also write comment-style reviews. You can also use Shopify’s built-in analysis functions to view product reports, traffic reports and export reports. Or you can integrate your site with Google Analytics.

Common Reviews of Shopify

One of the most commonly mentioned positives for Shopify is the speed and security it provides on a global platform level. Shopify provides 100 percent SSL while keeping their sites running fast. The integration with payment providers is seamless, meaning store owners always get paid. Customers report very low wait times for pages to load.

Many reviews sing the praises of Shopify’s customer support. They offer an enormous database of FAQs. If you can’t find your answer there, there is online chat and email support available. If you call support, you get a real person on the other side who is knowledgeable and helpful. And all support features are available 24/7.

Shopify is frequently lauded for its marketing features. They don’t offer all the latest bells and whistles, but they do offer the basics — and they do the basics really well. They have their own app store where you can integrate other features as you see fit.

Is Shopify for me?

If you’re looking for a working online store platform that’s easy to set up and just as easy to use on a daily basis, Shopify will get the job done. It isn’t an expensive system but it can effectively run your entire online business.

The platform is as simple as it gets, so even an extremely novice beginner should have no problems working with this system. You can effectively have an entire online store launched in a matter of minutes – yes, seriously.

Shopify offers everything you may need as the owner of an online store. You can manage your full array of products and inventory, while handling payments, taxes, sales reporting at the same time your store is completely optimized for search engines. You can even integrate your brick-and-mortar store under Shopify. It doesn’t get much better.

3dcart is an all-in-one e-commerce platform that provides merchants with a feature-rich, easy-to-use platform for building, maintaining and managing an online store. When merchants create a 3dcart account, they have access to built-in social media integration, email marketing tools, a blog, order management software, merchant email, a point-of sale app that’s mobile compatible with iPad, and more. 3dcart is equally accommodating for large and small retailers, providing the tools needed to grow and expand online businesses.

3dcart is cloud-based and iPhone and iPad compatible. The starter plan is competitively priced with a low monthly fee and no transaction or setup fees. Merchants receive unlimited storage, so you don’t have to limit the number of images, videos or other content that you store in your website. There is a bandwidth limit of 4GB in some cases, however, so higher-quality images and videos may take longer to load. If you have a high-product business, you will probably need a higher-level plan to accommodate a product count over 1,000.

How Does 3dcart Work?

Many rate 3dcart as one of the more difficult web-building platforms to work with. Most also agree, however, that the full feature set makes up for a higher learning curve. You can drag and drop images to where you want them, but most other types of information are editable only in the admin panel.

If you want a blog to accompany your site, you can use the 3dcart built-in blog, or you can integrate WordPress into the site. This is a good way to keep customers informed about your business or any industry updates you want to publicize.

3dcart uses a content delivery network (CDN), which is a series of connected servers around the globe. This means that when customers access your website, the CDN directs them to the closest server, cutting down on load times for pages your customers wish to view.

What Makes 3dcart Stand Out?

With 3dcart, you gain access to free templates to help you design a great-looking e-commerce website for your business. You can manipulate the design features to create a site unique to your business, and you don’t need coding knowledge to do this. You can design your website from scratch using HTML or CSS without any training in coding techniques.

3dcart has its own Facebook store where you can promote and sell your products. 3dcart includes built-in SEO tools so you can get the maximum amount of promotion you need to drive traffic to your store. These built-in tools mean you won’t need to invest in extra SEO services.

Use of mobile devices to access e-commerce websites and services is a necessity in today’s market. 3dcart provides mobile store templates so you can attract smartphone customers. You can send coupons and promotions to customers through email. You can also make use of 3dcart’s free newsletter manager.

If you’re a QuickBooks fan, you can easily integrate your existing account into your 3dcart account to manage your reporting and statistics tools.

Common Reviews of 3dcart

Views on 3dcart vary around the internet. Some love it and will use no other platform, while others describe it as “disorganized” and “confusing.”

One thing that is rarely disputed is the security that 3dcart supplies. It is Level 1 PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant. It also comes with FraudWatch to protect customers against fraudulent transactions. Every plan with 3dcart includes a free GeoTrust 128-bit SharedSSL, but you only gain access to that SSL certificate if you use 3dcart’s specific checkout domain.

3dcart is not perfect, but it isn’t terrible either. The plans are competitively priced and reasonable, and a wide range of features is already built-in. The recent restructuring of the customer support team has apparently begun to show results. There is also some mention of 3dcart’s policy of no full or partial refunds, causing some contention with a few customers. The best suggestion is to be certain you read the fine print before signing up for any service.

Is 3dcart for Me?

3dcart is an affordable and reliable e-commerce website building platform. It offers features such as unlimited storage, a Facebook store and a built-in blog generator at no extra charge. With the tools provided and with very little knowledge of website building or coding, you can make a good looking, SEO and customer-friendly e-commerce website for your business or services. Distinctive features will appeal to enterprise business owners. If you have a large volume of high-quality images or video content, the limited bandwidth with 3dcart can slow down your site, which can drive away some customers. If bandwidth isn’t an issue, then 3dcart may be worth a test drive for your business.