Overview

Shopify (shopify.com) is an Ottawa, Ontario-based merchant account provider that specializes in e-commerce solutions for small businesses. Founded in 2005, the company offers a broad range of services for online businesses, including debit and credit card processing through an online shopping cart, website creation and customization, marketing and SEO solutions, payment gateway integration, and an app store with a large number of additional features. In mid-2013, Shopify launched its own payment processing platform called Shopify Payments, which is powered by Stripe and is the primary payment option advertised by the company. Merchants can set up their own merchant accounts and payment gateways through third parties (such as PayPal or Authorize.net) and integrate these accounts into Shopify, but they will be subject to additional transaction fees. The company also offers an in-store point of sale (POS) system compatible with the iPad for merchants with retail locations. The CEO of Shopify is Tobias Lutke.

Standout Features

The Shopify app store offers a huge base of add-ons and plugins for merchants, and an early 2013 rollout of Shopify 2.0 also brought with it some new and interesting features. All of the company’s merchants will receive support for over 70 payment gateways, an SSL-secured shopping cart, their own domain name, and unlimited bandwidth. Merchants who sign up for Shopify Payments will receive real-time payment tracking and a chargeback recovery service, which alerts merchants to chargebacks, provides customer contact information, and even prepares customized order information to help merchants dispute chargebacks (Related: How to Fight Chargebacks). As for the Shopify app store, additional features available to all merchants include accounting integration, email marketing integration, digital download support, rewards programs, and social media integration.

The company also offers a service called Shopify Mobile, which allows its users to accept payments using an iPhone and a mobile card reader. Shopify Mobile is available to existing Shopify customers at no extra cost with the exception of a variable per-transaction fee.

Key Points

  • Sales & Marketing: Shopify does not hire independent sales agents and has not received any complaints about its sales practices.
  • Costs & Contract: Shopify offers multiple pricing plans that operate on a month-to-month basis and do not charge an early termination fee.
  • Complaints & Service: Shopify has received more than 40 public complaints.
  • BBB Rating: Shopify has an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and has received 93 complaints in the past three years.
  • Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Shopify

Response from Shopify

Are you with Shopify? Add your own voice here!

a

Sales & Marketing

Key Points - Sales & Marketing

Employs Independent Resellers No
Advertises Deceptive Rates No
Discloses All Important Terms Yes

Shopify appears to primarily market itself through its website, through its growing online customer base, and through strategic partnerships. The company does employ a sales team to handle inbound inquiries, but it does not appear to engage in telemarketing or in-person sales. We have located a handful of Shopify complaints that mention misleading or deceptive advertising by the company, but upon further investigation, these complainants seem to have simply been confused or dissatisfied with the service they received.

Although the Shopify website does not seem to intentionally obscure its contract terms, it is not entirely clear about its pricing structure. The company’s “Pricing” page (see Shopify.com) lists a series of transaction fees that vary depending on whether merchants are signed up for Lite, Basic, Standard, Advanced, or Plus pricing. These fees are only applicable to merchants who are signed up for a merchant account/payment gateway through Shopify Payments. Merchants who have integrated a third-party payment processor with the Shopify platform will pay 2% plus their third-party transaction fees on the Basic tier, 1% plus their third-party transaction fees on Standard, and 0.5% plus their third-party transaction fees on Advanced. Since Shopify Payments is now the company’s default merchant account, it’s likely that most new merchants will not encounter these additional charges, but the merchants who are subject to them will not be able to determine this simply from the company’s Pricing page.

Response from Shopify

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Shopify Marketing Example

a

Costs & Contract

Key Points - Costs & Contract

Swiped Rate 2.4% To 2.7%
Keyed-in Rate 2.4% To 2.9% Plus $0.30
Early Termination Fee None
PCI Compliance Fee None
Equipment Lease Terms None

While the company does not offer much in the way of the minimalist, pay-as-you-go pricing found with most Shopify competitors, it does return a lot of value for its various monthly pricing plans. All Shopify plans are month-to-month contracts with no setup fees or early termination fees, and PCI Compliance fees are built into the company’s monthly rates. Merchants can pay $9/month (Lite), $29/month (Basic), $79/month (Standard), $299/month (Advanced), or a customized amount for large merchants under the Plus pricing plan. Shopify’s transaction fees and added features are generally proportional to the monthly expenses paid by the merchant. As noted in the Sales & Marketing Tactics section of this review, the company will charge additional percentages on transactions if a merchant decides to process payments through non-Shopify Payments gateways.

Shopify also offers a hardware package for retailers that costs an additional $49 per month. This package includes an iPad stand, barcode scanner, EMV and swipe card reader, cash drawer, and receipt printer. Per-transaction pricing for this POS app is 2.7% on the Basic plan, 2.5% on the Standard plan, 2.4% on the Advanced plan, and a keyed-in rate equivalent to the online Shopify per-transaction rate for each merchant’s pricing plan. The Shopify POS system includes inventory syncing, analytics, email receipts, multiple staff accounts, customer tracking, syncing between online and retail stores, and additional apps. Retail merchants should be aware that the Spotify POS app does not currently support tipping. Overall, Shopify’s pricing delivers a large amount of features for the price charged, and there are very few online complaints about the company’s pricing.

Response from Shopify

Are you with Shopify? Add your own voice here!

a

Complaints & Service

Key Points - Complaints & Service

Total Online Complaints 40+
Live Customer Support Yes
Most Common Complaint Fund Holds

Shopify offers phone, email, and live chat support to all tiers of service. We are currently able to locate a handful of negative Shopify reviews that outright accuse the company of being a ripoff or a scam, but the issues mentioned by these complainants do not appear to be widespread or especially problematic. The 40 or so available complaints list fund holds, difficulty cancelling service, billing issues, chargeback problems, and trouble operating the company’s service. Company representatives responded to some of these complaints in a timely fashion and offered to resolve the issues, although it is unknown how the complaints were ultimately settled. Generally speaking, it does not appear as if there is any one persistent problem with Shopify’s products, and the company’s readily available customer support staff is a major plus in this category.

Response from Shopify

Are you with Shopify? Add your own voice here!

b

BBB

Key Points - BBB

Product & Service Complaints 40
Billing & Collection Complaints 37
Advertising & Sales Complaints 15
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints 0
Delivery Complaints 1

Note: We have adjusted this company’s BBB rating according to our own standards. To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.

Shopify has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2012 and is currently showing an “A+” rating on the BBB website. The company has had 93 complaints filed against it in the last three years. Thirty-seven complaints were related to billing and collection disputes, 40 were due to problems with the product or service, and 15 had to do with advertising issues. Shopify successfully resolved 27 of these complaints, while the remaining 66 either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final response from the merchant. This marks a significant increase in complaints from the time of our last review, and we have accordingly adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “B.”

Response from Shopify

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Shopify Logo

Shopify Bottom Line

Shopify rates as a reliable merchant services provider for e-commerce merchants. The company is showing very few complaints online and appears to offer a large number of services for a competitive price. Although it is possible to integrate preexisting merchant accounts, payments gateways, and websites with Shopify’s shopping cart, the company’s best prices and services are reserved for merchants who start fresh with Shopify Payments. For more information, visit the Shopify website.

Hi, I’m Phillip and I’m disgusted by the state of credit card processing in the U.S. and abroad. I believe that the industry has been overrun by people who engage in fraud and deception in order to steal money from hard working business owners. I’ve made it my mission to expose the companies and individuals who engage in predatory marketing, pricing, and contracts, or just provide terrible service. Along with uncovering the bad guys, I’ve also discovered the good guys who do stand out from the status quo. CPO is a website where you will find ratings and reviews of these companies along with advice on how to save money and which service providers consider. Together we can move the industry in a positive direction. If you would like to help support my work, please checkout “Fee Sweep” my eGuide to getting the lowest possible fees when accepting card payments. If you haven’t heard of “interchange” this advice will save you hundreds, even thousands, in processing fees.

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4 Reviews Leave Your Review Below

  1. After Square failed to pay out over $4,000 in sales and refused to provide any explanation, we switched to Shopify for POS as we had the web program. We LOVE IT! So easy and simple and ties in the retail to the web sales and tracks inventory so well. Always get tech support (a bit of a wait on the phone) talking to a REAL person who really knows the program! I am thrilled!!

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Please reply to this comment with your business name and location in order to authenticate your testimonial. Thanks!

  2. Ordered and paid via PayPal. My Discover card has been charged, BUT no delivery of purchase. Have filled out a form with them, BUT NO REPLY. Not feeling very happy with this company. Will never order again because of lack of customer service. Will report to BBB and let PayPal deal with this.. I GIVE UP.

    1. Sounds like a problem with the vendor more than Shopify itself. Can you describe the situation in more detail?

      Asking because I’m curious how many BBB complaints involve things that Shopify can/should fix vs the number of complaints that should have been filed against the store owner.

      Thanks.

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