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Shift4Shop vs Shopify: Which Is The Best Ecommerce Builder ?

by Matt Turner
Published: Last Updated on
Shift4Shop vs Shopify

Shift4Shop, previously known as 3D Cart, is an e-commerce store-building platform. It comes loaded with tons of good inbuilt features, however, it leaves little room for creativity; more on this later. Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms. It is known for its ease of use and customizability, offering a wide range of tools and features to help users manage and grow their online businesses.

Both platforms serve a variety of industries, with Shopify having a more robust interface while ShiftShop with its end-to-end enterprise-grade free subscription. But which one is better? This Shift4Shop vs Shopify comparison will help you find out.


Shift4Shop, formerly known as 3D Cart, was founded by Gonzalez Gill in 1997. The platform hosts more than 17,000 stores selling a wide range of items. It limits certain aspects of features but improves SEO capabilities, which helps sellers find their store on Google.

Shopify is a SaaS eCommerce solution that provides everything you need to create a website. It powers over 4.1 million stores worldwide with hundreds of e-commerce features, advanced reporting, and tons of payment options. Millions of stores are hosted on Shopify because it is a complete e-commerce solution with total control over design elements.

Premium Plan Starting at: $29.99/month

Free Trial: 15 Days

Shift4shop vs Shopify

Premium Plan Starting at: $29.99/month

Free Trial: 3 Days

Shopify Rating

Shift4Shop vs Shopify: Pros and Cons

Shift4Shop Pros and Cons

Free plan*Not beginner friendly
SEO Prompts to help with an online presenceExpensive paid plans
Feature-rich e-commerce solutionNot-so-flexible themes
Multi-channel sellingLimited customizability
Unlimited Product Listing

Shopify Pros and Cons

Easy to setup interfaceAdvanced plans are expensive
Over 6000 app integrationsHigh transaction fees on sales on other payment options
Modern and responsive themesUploading product images is complicated
Ideal for larger storesFewer free themes
Over 100 payment options
Limited customization compared to competitors

Shift4Shop vs Shopify: Ease of Use

On Shift4Shop, getting started is simple. Sign up to receive the store URL and login/password in a welcome email. Once set up, you’re redirected to your store dashboard, which is relatively simple and has a quick video tutorial to get you started. You can also contact support from the dashboard; we felt it is really convenient.

However, when you truly begin the store setup process, such as changing the color scheme, typography, and catalog appearance, you realize it takes work to maintain consistency throughout the store website. The tutorial is interesting, but the drag-and-drop builder lacks the flair of Wix or Squarespace.

We couldn’t find any option to change the Hero section from the drag-drop section and were only allowed to add a few elements like text, spaces, buttons, photos, etc.

The navigation menu on the left side of your dashboard is a gem. Every option can be seen with a click and is another click away from editing. For example, when you click customers, you can see the customer list and manage customer groups.

The marketing section allows you to create store promotions, use SEO tools, create newsletters and even use Shopping engine plugins to index your store.

Shift4Shop Dashboard Navigation

Shopify is known for its user-friendly interface and is a popular choice for beginners looking to start an eCommerce business. It is a hosted platform, which means that it takes care of the technical aspects of setting up a website, such as hosting and security.

This makes it much easier to use than open-source platforms like Wix and BigCommerce, which require users to handle these tasks themselves. As a result, Shopify has become a trusted choice for millions of businesses around the world.

There’s definitely a learning curve but with its intuitive interface and easy-to-use features, it is possible to get a store up and running on Shopify in a matter of minutes.

If you’re curious about the user-friendliness of Shopify, you can try the platform for free for experience. If you’re wondering how to get started with Shopify, read our Shopify Review.

In our testing, we still found Shopify to be a bit frustrating, and making visual changes took time and learning. However, Shopify is undoubtedly leagues better than BigCommerce and Weebly

Shopify backend Interface

Shift4Shop vs Shopify: Website Design and Flexibility

Shift4Shop has 111 free themes, to be exact, covering almost every industry. However, if you want to create a DIY or custom store, you’ll have to create the theme or template yourself.

The best part about Shift4Shop themes is that when you change to other themes, your content gets reformatted, adjusting to the theme’s layout; this is a feature we haven’t seen on many platforms. But when you select a theme or change a theme, check everything because not all the templates have the same features.

It is tough to show your creativity and customization on Shift4Shop without using third-party apps. So in terms of complete design flexibility, Shift4Shop won’t blow you away. Competitors like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly still lead ahead.

That said, if you want help with designing your store, you can check out Shift4Shop experts. They charge a small fee but they will get the job done for you.

Shift4Shop free themes

On Shopify, the simplest way to improve the appearance of your store is to use a custom theme, which can give your store a professional and polished look. By investing in a high-quality theme, you can make your store more appealing to customers and increase the chances that they will return to make additional purchases.

Shopify themes are known for their clean, elegant, and attractive designs. They are created by professional designers, so you can trust that they will be functional and easy to use. To edit a template, you can use Shopify’s dragdropr (drag and drop) to adjust elements and make the template work according to you.

If you’re not sure if investing in a premium theme is worth it, you can try out one of the free themes available on the Shopify platform. Free themes, such as Sense, Debut, and Dawn, can provide a good starting point for your store and allow you to see how a new theme can improve its appearance. You won’t get as many free themes as Shift4Shop but you’ll get more customization.

Elegant Shopify Themes

Shift4Shop vs Shopify: Marketing Tools

To ensure that your online store is successful, it is important to be visible and attract a large number of customers.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Shift4Shop offers straightforward and useful prompts and tools to optimize your store. Unlike on Etsy or Big Cartel, you can actually see all the options and change things accordingly. If you forget anything, a pop-up feature reminds you to complete certain steps to make your store rank higher on search and shopping engines.

There is almost every feature that you won’t feel like missing anything if you know basic SEO. You can:

  • Submit your sitemap to Google and Bing.
  • Check sitemaps for different pages.
  • Enable the AMP setting to make your store load faster.
  • Create and manage redirects.
  • Use Google Analytics and Tag Manager, and much more.

Shift4Shop offers API integration, and access to over 1000 third-party apps with the help of Zapier. You can still use the apps and API to build your dream store even if you’re on the most basic plan. Some of the apps include Hubspot and Zendesk.

Shift4Shop SEO Features

Shopify includes various marketing and SEO tools to help users promote and grow their online stores. These tools can be handy for small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to establish an online presence and reach a wider audience.

However, Shopify lacks in terms of keyword optimization and support, something that’s offered by Shopify’s closest competitor, Big Commerce. Some of the key marketing and SEO features offered by Shopify include:

  • Blogging tools
  • Reporting or Analytics tool
  • Email Marketing integration
  • Multilingual website option

To determine the effectiveness of your SEO efforts, it is important to use reporting tools that provide insights into how visitors are interacting with your website. These tools can help you identify what is working well and what may need improvement.

Mobile App

Shift4Shop’s one of the major drawbacks is the lack of a mobile app for on-the-go editing and selling. But if you want to access your Shift4Shop dashboard on a mobile, you can open the website in the browser and do almost everything.

We must say, this wasn’t convenient, but the responsiveness of the website on mobile made some tasks doable. You definitely wouldn’t want to edit the template on the phone.

This is a downer, given that many of Shift4Shop’s competitors offer mobile apps to make running a store easier. So if on-the-go-selling is one of your preferences, Shift4Shop will disappoint you.

Shopify has a dedicated mobile app that allows you to sell on the go and edit your store’s theme. You can adjust the layouts, arrange or rearrange items/elements and even install a new theme.

Having a mobile app gives you more freedom to do things you otherwise couldn’t do without a computer. So, if on-the-go selling or managing your store is something you want, Shopify is the better option.

Payment and Charges

Shift4Shop: Payment is yet another department where Shift4Shop excels. It offers almost every major or known payment processor including PayPal, Pay Later, Apple Pay, Venmo, and many more. Even crypto payments can be used. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Shift4Shop leaves every competitor in the dust when it comes to payment options.

You can also calculate shipping charges and taxes on the product inventory page. The shipping costs are customizable, and you can opt for UPS, FedX, DHL, and more services.

You can also integrate one of many apps for other options like address verification. By doing this, you’ll make your selling and shipping process much easier while lessening the worries of Paypal transactions.

On top of that, Shift4Shop doesn’t charge any transaction fee on any of their plans to help boos sellers’ growth. However, payment processing charges will incur on credit cards.

Shopify Payment is Shopify’s in-house payment solution for online credit/debit card transactions. It is also the only payment solution where Shopify doesn’t charge a transaction fee.

Let’s say you want to use other third-party payment options. In that case, Shopify will charge 2%, 1%, and 0.5 transaction fees in Basic, Shopify, and Advanced plans.

There’s also a transaction fee when a customer buys a product using a credit card. The fees are:

  • Basic: 2.9% and $0.30 for online, 2.7% for in person
  • Shopify: 2.6% and $0.30 for online, 2.5% for in person
  • Advanced: 2.4% and $0.30 for online, 2.4% for in person

This transaction fee is nothing to be worried about as it is quite normal. Every time someone buys a product online or offline using a credit card, the processing fee is charged. Similarly, on Shopify, the transaction fee is charged. These fees help Shopify operate your store.

Abandoned Cart Email

Shift4Shop also offers abandoned cart functionality. So when a buyer leaves with items in their cart, you can use the Abandoned Cart email notification to notify the buyers about the items in the cart.

Shopify also offers the abandoned cart feature on all of their plans. So when a buyer with items in their cart leaves the store and doesn’t return, this feature notifies them, enticing them to come back and complete their checkout.

This feature is super important given that almost 70% of users abandon their online shopping cart. This simple step can help boost sales.

Shift4Shop vs Shopify: Pricing

Unlike many other e-commerce building platforms, Shift4Shop doesn’t have much difference in tiered plans. In fact, their End-to-end plan offers almost the same features as the Pro plan and can be used free forever if you can process $500 worth of payment through the Shift4 payment processor every month. Otherwise, the plans are:

  • Basic: Starting at $29/month, you enjoy unlimited listings, and total control over your inventory, the only caveat being you can sell up to $100,000 worth of items in a year.
  • Plus: Everything from the basic plan with additional Q&A, Customer group segmentation, product comparison, and a sales cap of $250k a year.
  • Pro: Every feature you get in the free end-to-end enterprise-grade plan, you will get in pro, which includes, automatic shipping, delivery notification, and a sales cap of $1 million each year.

Shift4Shop won’t let you compromise on anything. You can sell unlimited products, use a custom domain, get 1000GB of storage, and more. If you can find a way around the limited customizations, Shift4Shop is an absolute value for money. With the value Shift4Shop offers, it gives competitors a hard time, hence, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ for value for money.

Shift4Shop pricing

When choosing a plan, you need to be very careful about it. You don’t want to choose a plan in which you require any more features in the future, and you also would not like to waste your money on tools you will not use in the near time. And don’t forget about the monthly subscription fee you will be charged for. 

Shopify Offers

  • Shopify Lite at $9/month: In this plan, sales can be processed through the same website or Facebook. For each transaction, 2.9% is taken by Shopify along with another $0.30.
  • Shopify Basic at $29/month: A website of Shopify and the transaction fees same as of Shopify Lite. In this plan, users can also benefit from the provided two employee accounts and can also use the discount codes.
  • Shopify a $79/month: There is a drop in the transaction fees in this plan which is 2.6% and $0.30/transaction. Get all the features of basic Shopify and accounts for five employees plus gift cards. 
  • Advanced Shopify a $299/month: Transaction fees are reduced to 2.4%, along with $0.30 for every transaction. You also get accounts for fifteen employees plus advanced reporting options to level up your sales performance. 
  • Shopify Plus: This is for sellers with a high volume of sales and a huge amount of transactions in a minute. The fees and all other associated costs are flexible and vary from seller to seller and his needs. 
Shopify Pricing Plans

Shift4Shop vs Shopify: Customer Support

Shift4Shop offers more than enough ways to contact the support team. You can call, chat, email, or contact them on their social media profiles. The contact team is available 24/7 throughout the year.

We found that the quickest way to reach customer representatives is via phone calls, as emails and support tickets take time. We heard several sellers say that the chat features often leave them in the queue waiting for hours. However, we connected to a chat staff within 10 minutes of our testing.

What made this whole customer support thing better was accessibility. You can chat or access contact information right from your dashboard. Even the help guides or tutorials can be accessed from the dashboard. Overall, Shift4Shop has one of the finest customer support, worth getting ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Shhift4Shop Customer Support

Shopify offers comprehensive customer support with help materials available in 21 languages. The support staff is available 24/7 and can be contacted via email, live chat, or phone. Remember, the 24/7 phone support is available in English only. Service hours may vary depending on the region you live in.

Shopify’s support offering is superior to some of its competitors, such as Squarespace, which does not offer phone support. Connecting with a representative is fast, and efficient.

With Shopify support, we found that for more technical inquiries, such as help with CSS or other coding elements, the standard support service may not always provide the desired answers.

If you face technical problems, asking questions in the Shopify community could prove to be more helpful than queuing with support.


The Bottom Line: Shift4Shop Vs Shopify—Which one is better for you?

Shift4Shop is an interesting choice. On the one hand, it doesn’t have much to offer regarding design. On the other hand, it offers many good features and deals that seem too good to be true. But we tested the platform and didn’t have to pay to access any features since everything is free. The end-to-end plan is a real deal, with the only requirement being; to process $500 through the Shift4 payment processor.

Shopify has flexibility and customization, and features and costs are almost identical. However, you will enjoy advanced reporting features, which Shift4Shop lacks. Since Shopify is the go-to e-commerce platform for millions of sellers, the chances of finding help on the internet are much higher.

If you’re a beginner without experience, go with Shopify for its easy-to-create platform. However, if you’re experienced and confident you can process over $500 worth of goods, Shift4Shop is for you. It lacks advanced reporting, which you can manage with third-party tools, and hire someone to create a good-looking store for design.

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