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Shift4Shop claims to be the rocket fuel to launch your ecommerce business — a promise that sounds out of this world.
2.14 billion people buy goods and services online, so of course, you need to get in on that action.
This review will investigate Shift4Shop’s claims and help you decide whether this is the ecommerce platform for you.
Let’s get investigating!
Shift4Shop is an ecommerce software platform that allows you to build your website and online store.
This feature-rich tool includes product and order management software, integrated payment processing, and cart abandonment prevention.
Some marketing and SEO tools are also available — showing that Shift4Shop is moving in the direction of becoming an all-in-one online business platform.
Keep reading as we unearth Shift4Shop’s humble beginnings as 3dcart.
In November 2020, 3dcart was acquired by Shift4 Payments — an integrated payment processing provider and technology solution.
This acquisition was part of Shift4’s move to connect ecommerce on a global scale and put 3dcart (now Shift4Shop) ahead of the competition.
The changes aren’t limited to the name and color scheme — they’ve removed ecommerce fees, knocked out the limitations, and gave Shift4Shop’s customers access to a host of new tools.
Sounds a little too good to be true, if you ask us.
Are Shift4Shop’s features as powerful and accessible as they claim?
Let’s find out.
While many of these features were part of the original 3dcart offering, the rebranding as Shift4Shop has seen some improvements in functionality.
A few new features and bonuses — like a gift card program — have been added.
Let’s see if these features are enough to get you and your business fired up!
As an ecommerce business owner, you may not need a physical store, but an online presence is essential — you need a website.
Shift4Shop’s site builder allows you to build niche-specific sites for all kinds of physical products, without any coding skills.
While this caters well to stores taking their business online, if you’re a service-based business, you might struggle to create a website.
Shift4Shop also includes themes that are mobile responsive and optimized for sales to simplify the process.
You can create “About Me” pages, change your website’s language, and upload and categorize all your products as needed.
The Core Template Engine has some attractive features:
The Core Theme Editor that works alongside the Template Engine allows you to customize the color scheme and design of your website.
You can use built-in presets, alter individual elements, or reset your chosen theme to default at any time.
This editor lets you access the files that make up the theme, but it’s not available across all themes, so advanced customization might not be available to you.
An example of a store designed on Shift4Shop
Shift4Shop lists this as a separate feature, but it uses much of the same software as the website builder.
Using the themes available on the Shift4Shop website designer means that all pages you create will match your chosen design.
The Shift4Shop designer makes use of a content management system (CMS) so you can customize your content without coding.
Shift4Shop makes use of a drag-and-drop HTML builder, however, this functionality is not available across all pages.
If you’re keen on coding, the Core Theme Editor and Page Editor allow you to get stuck into HTML, CSS, and Bootstrap coding.
If you’re looking for assistance, you’ll have to rely on Shift4Shop’s directory of creatives — there’s no indication that you can outsource your own expert.
Shift4Shop gives you the capability to manage your orders from placement to delivery, using an integrated order management dashboard.
Its capabilities include:
Another important area that Shift4Shop supports your ecommerce needs is through its product management dashboard and capabilities.
The software helps you add, edit, manage, and track products with:
Curated customer and user experience (UX) lead to better user journeys which improve your conversion rate.
However, users have stated that Shift4Shop’s interface needs improving — the dashboards are overpopulated and customization is difficult.
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Another essential feature of any ecommerce business is an effective shopping cart.
Customers can checkout without needing to log in and create a profile — both options are Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant.
The Shift4Shop shopping cart offers these integrations:
They also include integration with Alvara — a popular sales tax solution.
One of Shift4Shop’s biggest selling points is its abandoned cart recovery capabilities.
Part of the 3dcart procurement deal was access to Shift4 as a payment provider.
Shift4 allows users to:
This is as good as it sounds — but only if you’re an American-based company using their free plan.
If not, you’re stuck with one of their pricier options, buying expensive plug-ins and upsells to achieve the same level of customization and automation.
According to the Global Consumer Survey Report in 2019, online shoppers use their smartphones to make purchases more often than a desktop.
This means that as an ecommerce business owner, you can’t afford to have a website that isn’t mobile responsive.
Shift4Shop promises mobile-friendly website designs, which ensures that you can accept mobile payments from your customers, and run your business from your mobile device.
The Core Template Engine has the following mobile-friendly features:
They say that you can run your business from your device, but full customization options require a desktop — and often a coding or web-design expert.
This tool is feature-heavy, and there’ve been complaints of glitches and difficulty navigating the software platform — issues that are exacerbated when you work on a phone.
Without marketing, no one will know about your product — if they don’t know about your product, they can’t buy it.
It’s that simple.
Shift4Shop’s marketing and SEO tools claim to help you market your business, increase your traffic, boost conversions, and build brand awareness.
With Shift4Shops SEO tools, you can:
This looks like an attractive offer, but many of these come standard as part of competitor platforms, most of which have their own integrated and intuitive analytics and reporting.
Shift4Shop includes a built-in blog, giving you access to content marketing, but no user-friendly guidance on how to create one.
They also include access to a Facebook Shop where you can list and sell your products — but no guidance on policy or use, and no mention of Instagram, where 81% of users go to search for products.
The Shift4Shop ecommerce platform has many offers, but each is missing something:
If you’re savvy about digital marketing, you’ll know that the ability to build and use a sales funnel is an expected feature on digital marketing platforms — unfortunately, Shift4Shop doesn’t yet have that capability.
Look elsewhere if you want to make use of funnel marketing and more complex automation that increases your conversions.
Shift4Shop has gone through many updates on its platform, but the oversights in marketing and SEO cannot be ignored.
Your site’s security should be a key concern.
If your website is hacked, and your customer’s information is leaked, you’ll lose any trust your customers had — you’ll lose sales altogether.
Shift4Shop secures your business with the following:
Shift4Shop will assist you in registering and owning your domain name and covering the annual renewal costs.
If you choose to move to another service provider, there’s no indication whether Shift4Shop will retain your domain name or allow you to take over the renewal payments.
If you’re providing Software as a Service (SaaS), your tool is only as good as the support you provide.
There are several options for support if you’re a Shift4Shop user:
Much of the information in the support documents are outdated — the manuals, tutorials, and FAQs are from when the tool was still known as 3dcart.
While the tool is seemingly feature-rich, there are some basic features, like integrated analytics and automation, that are sorely lacking.
Shift4Shop might call itself ecommerce rocket fuel, but the inconsistent support for their customers has them left in the dark.
In ecommerce, every cent counts — you’re often reinvesting your capital gains into your business to keep it going and growing.
You can’t waste your hard-earned income on an overpriced tool that won’t grow with your business — or try to take advantage of your growth.
Let’s grill the Shift4Shop Pricing plans and see if they’re as good as they claim to be.
A criticism of many other ecommerce platforms is the strict limitations set on their free plan — if there’s a free plan at all.
Shift4Shop has its version of a free plan, which has full, unlimited access to all of its features and templates.
However, there’s a catch.
To use the forever-free End-to-End plan, you have to also make exclusive use of the Shift4 payment processor — which has had some suspect behavior flagged by third-party reviewers.
If you’re not willing to put your reputation at risk (and we don’t blame you), then you’ll have to use one of the 3 paid plan options — which are pricey.
This offer is also limited to US merchants only, so if you’re a global customer, you’ll have to pay a premium for even basic access to Shift4Shop.
Shift4Shop’s payment plans
Shift4Shop has 3 paid-for plans, but each of them is limited in significant ways.
For the Basic Store plan, at $29/month, you’re limited to:
$229/month for the expensive Pro Store plan still doesn’t get you access to all the features, and you’re limited to $1,000,000 in sales per year.
These pricing plans are complicated and not scalable unless you’re willing to risk using the unreliable Shift4 payment processors.
Users have mentioned that they’re constantly prompted to purchase upsells and add-ons to solve poor software functionality and limitations.
Can’t wait for Shift4Shop to catch up? If you need an ecommerce solution now, there’s a clear contender who’s been blazing ahead.
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Systeme.io’s pricing plans
Another extremely attractive reason to choose systeme.io as your all-inclusive alternative is our competitive pricing — we really do give you more bang for your buck!
Our pricing options cater to your business at any level and are truly scalable and feature-rich.
To this end, all our plans come standard with the following unlimited features:
We’ve also introduced an annual payment option, as an alternative to our monthly payments, where you can save 30% — a steal considering all the tools you have access to.
That’s right, we have a free option too, but this one is actually free — systeme.io has no hidden agenda that puts your reputation on the line.
When you sign up for our freemium plan you just need an email address — no credit card or banking details required.
Included in the plan you get the following features:
This is everything you need if you’re just starting in ecommerce and digital marketing — it’s also a great option if you want to take us for a test drive, no strings attached.
Shift4Shop was an established force in the ecommerce software game when it was known as 3dcart.
The acquisition by Shift4, a payment processor, should have put 3dcart back in business, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
The move to Shift4Shop has led to some improvements, but these upgrades might not be enough for you.
Choosing Shift4Shop may land you in hot water, so we suggest you let them sort out the red flags raised around their payment portals.
If you need an ecommerce solution that can help you today, look no further than systeme.io — a powerhouse software platform that plays by the rules.
Take it from our growing, loyal customer base and what they have to say about us.
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