Shift4Shop Review: Cons & Pros after Using it! [2021]

Have you heard the news? Shift4Shop is releasing Version 8 soon, an update that will be the first major upgrade of any top ecommerce platform in 2018.

Well, that’s if you’ve heard of Shift4Shop in the first place. If you’ve been interested in having a solid platform for your online shop, you’ve probably come across the names Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, and so on.

And when you encounter the name Shift4Shop, it’s not as often—what gives? Is it even worth looking into?

I’ll answer that for you: yes, absolutely. First of all, it’s still generally regarded as one of the top e-commerce platforms, and secondly, it doesn’t slouch on what it offers its clients at all.

Ultimately, I think the deciding factor for most people would just be how it feels, because it doesn’t lack so seriously in any area that it’s an incomparable service to Shopify, BigCommerce, or any other big name.

Get Shift4Shop’s free trial here.

So why Shift4Shop?

Well if you ask them, it’s because they have everything you need and everything you want. Customizable, easy to use, secure, feature-packed, affordable…the list of adjectives goes on.

Though we can’t take what they say at face value, Shift4Shop does in fact seem to be a pretty solid service to me. Let’s take a look at why.

Shift4Shop Review: The Cons

I like going with the bad news first.

So basically, Shift4Shop has evolved a lot over the years, and they’ve fixed up a lot of their more serious flaws. The user interface is one such thing that in my opinion, is now totally fine and easy to use, but some negative comments still come up, so I’ll list this as a potential con for some of you.

Other than that, it’s not the most customizable service out there—you’ll have to drop some money if you really want to get into the nitty-gritty and exercise full control over the details.

The only other main con I can think of is that Shift4Shop sort of balances out being so feature-rich by making a chunk of these features unavailable unless you pay extra.

No, there are no hidden fees, but some things you might want will cost you.

Past that, a lot of cons are now outdated, and I think any other ones that seem to come up—customer support gets a criticism every now and then—are more subjective than something we can all agree is a downside.

Shift4Shop Review: The Pros

Cool, now we can get to my favorite part—the good news.

Like I said, a lot of what Shift4Shop used to be more lacking in has improved a lot.

Themes are a good example: they only had a few free, bland themes. Now they have 68 free templates you can use, in addition to a lot more you can pay for.

Shift4Shop's theme

Ease of use I’ll give as a plus—maybe not everyone will agree, but I think Shift4Shop’s user interface is very straightforward and intuitive.

And though I said the extra costs of some features are a downside, it’s important to remember that there are a lot of features. It’s a very equipped package, even with an entry-level account.

Customer support, I’ll definitely list like a pro. In addition to basic customer service, there is a host of documentation and other resources available in a variety of formats. Most of it is free, though some things you may have to pay for—even so, it’s very comprehensive.

As always though, the devil’s in the details. Now that you have an idea of the basic pros and cons, let’s go a bit more in depth.

Shift4Shop Review: Pricing

Okay, so let’s take a look at the pricing because let’s face it—pros and cons aren’t static, they need to be viewed in context with the cost. You can view the official details of the tiered pricing plans here.

First off, like other top e-commerce software, Shift4Shop has no transaction fees or set-up fees, and as far as I can tell, has no hidden fees—though there are a couple of things that will cost that you, which I’ll get to later.

setup-fees

As for the tiered pricing structure, Shift4Shop is barely different from other ecommerce platforms.

The lowest tier, a Startup account, is $19 a month, whereas Basic is $29 a month and Plus is $79 a month. Pro, the fourth tier, is $229 a month.

Shift4Shop Plans

Features Startup Basic Plus Pro
Transaction Fees 0% 0% 0% 0%
Storage Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Bandwidth Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Number of products Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Price $19/mo $29/mo $79/mo $229/mo

If you pay per year, however, Basic is $26.10 a month, Plus is $71.10 a month, and Pro is $206.10 a month. These plans are very similar to BigCommerce, Shopify, and even LemonStand, except Shift4Shop’s third tier is notably cheaper.

And like most other platforms, the most important features are packaged into the entry-level pricing plan, though in my opinion Shift4Shop offers more features as you upgrade that is common for other leading brands, for which the main difference in upgrades is the number of sales allowed rather than amount of features.

But in exchange, Shift4Shop does not impose those aforementioned sales limits. In fact, for all accounts, there are no transaction fees, order limits, product limits, or a bandwidth limit. So if you get really lucky on a Basic plan, great news—you won’t have to pay an annoying upgrade fee to account for your increase in sales.

The only main downside is that you might miss some features from a Basic or maybe even a Plus account, and there are limits on the number of staff accounts permitted: only Enterprise has unlimited, whereas Basic, Plus, and Pro have 2, 5, and 15 respectively.

Overall, if you’re worried Shift4Shop is going to be overpriced or not worth your money, you can relax—it’s pricing is normal, and even a bit cheaper than standard.

Shift4Shop Review: Features

For sure, one area Shift4Shop does well in is its features.

Now as I just said, these features vary more based on your pricing plan than with other leading e-commerce platforms, but you’ll still get a good bundle even with a Basic or Plus account.

For one, the fundamentals mentioned earlier—unlimited bandwidth, unlimited sales, etc—are all big pluses. And as it should be, you get a domain and hosting included in your package.

As for more minute features, even with Basic, you’ll get a built-in blog, phone orders, integration with eBay, Facebook, and Amazon, single page checks out, and more.

Most of the features are essentially the same things you’ll find universal to good e-commerce software, but a few things stand out.

For example, Shift4Shop has an Abandoned Cart Saver tool, which is a wonderful tool that emails reminders to shop visitors who made it to the checkout page but didn’t complete their purchase. Note though, that this is only available for the upper two tiers.

I also thought gift-wrapping was a nice touch, along with some other special checkout options.

I was particularly impressed with Shift4Shop’s Point of Sale app, which really makes an already solid service more versatile. It can handle refunds, email receipts, discounts, gift certificates, custom items, all sorts of cards, and more.

Shift4Shop’s Point of Sale app

Additionally, whatever you feel is missing from your bundle, you can probably find in an app: Shift4Shop definitely excels here, with a plethora of apps available. They’re too varied to go into here, but this is generally considered one of

Shift4Shop’s perks. Of course, some of them might not be cheap.

As a final point, Shift4Shop absolutely excels in the number of payment gateways you can use, at 200—far more than

Shopify or any other leading brand.

Overall, Shift4Shop is definitely feature-packed, but you may have to drop more money to access some more.

Shift4Shop Review: Ease of Use and Customization

Look, ease of use is kind of to be expected of any decent e-commerce solution. Simply put, not everyone can afford a web designer or take the time to learn, and all the features in the world don’t mean much if it’s a hassle to even get your shop going.

Shift4Shop is pretty easy to use, and while I don’t think it’s necessarily easier than other leading brands, it’s just as straightforward (which means it’s really straightforward).

See video below to start selling online in Just Minutes with Shift4Shop.

I’ve encountered some reviews that say Shift4Shop is a little less than user-friendly, and that there’s a bit of a learning curve. I think these might be outdated though, because Shift4Shop’s user interface seems sleek and easy to me.

user-interface

As customization options go, I think Shift4Shop is not stellar, but not so severely lacking. The free themes provided could be better in my opinion.

However, Shift4Shop still has made some improvements here. They used to have not so many, but now they have 68 free templates—that’s a pretty good number, and there are enough differences between them to be “real” choices.

In terms of full-on customization, I don’t think Shift4Shop is the best. You can go to straight HTML customization only if you have the highest tiered account.

For simplicity, I think Shift4Shop will do fine. If you really want to take the reins and customize your shop, Shift4Shop may not be for you, but if you don’t need a fully customizable shop, you’ll be just fine—Shift4Shop isn’t bad here at all, it’s just not spectacular.

Shift4Shop Review: Customer Service and Onboarding

All the basic things you’d expect for customer support are here, but there are some cool additions Shift4Shops provides too.

24/7 support team? Check, of course. Phone and LiveChat? Yup.

Basic stuff aside, having resources to help with onboarding is an essential, and Shift4Shop has an edge on its competitors here by providing a service called Onboarding Coach.

onboarding-coach

It’s basically a team of people you can schedule a 30-minute session with. They’re not just advanced IT people who can help you with setting things up, they’re also there to help you strategize and make good business choices for your e-store.

It’s not just Onboarding Coach though—Shift4Shop provides a slew of articles with handy how-to’s, FAQs, and so on.

They also have a YouTube channel if you’re not much of a reader, an HTML guide if you’re used to HTML and wanted to customize more, a user manual, and even an online university.

I was taken aback by Shift4Shop’s eCommerce University, but it’s definitely a gem. It’s free, and has a ton of courses, webinars, and all that stuff.

In fact, you can even access a lot of this online without an account, so even if you decide not to go for Shift4Shop, you could still use their customer support tools to be more equipped to run your e-store on another platform anyway.

Finally, Shift4Shop provides connections with third parties you can hire to design your shop, help you market, and so on.

But to be honest, I don’t know how well these third parties compare with any other third party you can find and hire on the internet.

Overall I think Shift4Shop definitely excels where customer support and the onboarding process are concerned.

Shift4Shop Review: Security

Let’s be frank—no matter how beautifully designed a service like this is, or how great the customer support, or how many options you get in customizing your shop, this is your business. Security is essential.

In essence, I think Shift4Shop is not significantly better than other top platforms when it comes to you and your customers’ security, and it’s no worse either.

Ultimately, Shift4Shop is PCI DDS compliant, meaning it bears the gold standard of security. Everything is kept up to date, there are regular security checks, all the important information is encrypted, and so on.

PCI DDS Compliant Plynt Certified Shift4Shop

If you really want to take an extra precaution, you can purchase a quarterly McAfee PCI scan for $99, and there are apps from both Shift4Shop and third parties you can add to your store to tie up anything else you’re worried about.

There’s not much to say here—Shift4Shop is, as far as I can tell, very secure and reliable.

Shift4Shop Review: Conclusion

Okay, so let’s wrap things up.

For pricing, Shift4Shop is barely different than other leading services, except the third tier is a bit cheap. If you’re looking for something way cheaper than Shopify, Shift4Shop probably isn’t for you, but if you’re okay with paying standard prices, you’ll still get a lot in return.

Aside from all that, one of the main downsides is you’ll have to pay extra for some features or even upgrade your account if you really need them.

Having said that, you still get a lot of features packed in integration with channels like eBay and Google shopping, countless payment gateways, a strong POS app, and so on—this is definitely one of Shift4Shop’s pros.

Moreover, it’s easy to use, and there are a decent amount of free templates available…though if you really want to take charge, it may not be the best platform for you.

Customer support is another plus, with all the resources available (Onboarding Coach, eCommerce University, etc) really giving Shift4Shop an edge.

Lastly, it’s pretty secure, so you won’t have to worry about yourself or your customers’ information is at risk.

To wrap it up, it’s a strong service that may not be for everyone, but easily could be. Ultimately, I think the deciding factor will be whether it clicks with you or not, because it provides everything you’ll need and more for a decent price.

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