I have been doing Shopify shopping cart development for the past five years. Shopify is available only as a software, which means that you mostly host your website on the Shopify servers.  There are currently over 1000 free and paid plugins available for Shopify that enhance its out of the box functionality.

Shopify was originally developed by its founders for their online snowboarding store. It is a Canadian based company that is located in Ottawa. The company claims that they have 150,000 merchants that collectively exceed seven billion in annual gross revenue. Shopify was developed on the Ruby on Rail platform.

Shopify’s main competitors are Big Commerce and Volusion. These are the most often compared shopping carts that Shopify is reviewed against. One of the main selling points for going with Shopify is its speed and security. Shopping carts are known to run notoriously slow, but Shopify seems to stand out amongst its competitors. This is especially true when it comes to site load speed.

Like any hosted shopping cart or one that is sold as a software service, it provides its customers with an out of the box, turnkey solution. Another advantage selling point of Shopify is that it has been rated in the top tier for customer support. The advantage over Big Commerce is that Shopify does offer 24 hours support and this includes weekends.

Another advantage Shopify has is its built-in tools for SEO for the monitoring and maintenance of the site. This includes a naturally clean code and URL structure. Most shopping carts require third party add-ons while Shopify does this natively. Shopify has the ability to easily create landing pages. This can be valuable when running Google Adwords or direct product marketing campaigns.

Shopify gets great marks when it comes to available themes and the ability to modify per a custom’s design specification. It contains free out of the box solutions and a wide variety of paid themes available for purchase.  These themes or templates can be upgraded as your business grows or changes.

A drawback to Shopify is that it has its own proprietary language to modify the template’s layouts and structure. This can be a little cumbersome when used to the PHP methods that most of the other shopping carts are using.  Another drawback is that the Shopify cart blogging capabilities are a bit limited versus that of other carts.