Shift4Shop review – Read the pros and cons of the Shift 4 Shop ecommerce platform (2021)

Shift4Shop (known previously as “3dcart”) is one of the oldest e-commerce software platform providers on the internet. And in fact they have been around for more than 20 years, which is longer than some of their main competitors put together! However, old isn’t always good and that can be especially true in a fast-moving space such as ecommerce. And indeed, in this Shift4Shop review we examine how good their ecommerce platform is in 2021.

Summary of our Shift4Shop review: Shift4Shop is a free (for US-based store owners) or at least a relatively cheap (for store owners from outside the USA) ecommerce platform that is easy to use. Shift4Shop’s ecommerce templates are not the flashiest, but they can be great for selling lot of different products. Given its strengths and strong background, it is easy to conclude that Shift4Shop is one of the top ecommerce platforms of 2021. Go to Shift4Shop.

Who owns Shift4Shop: The ecommerce platform known previously as 3dcart and now as “Shift4Shop” was bought in November 2020 by a payments company called “Shift4 Payments”. Shift4 Payments is listed on The New York Stock Exchange and at the time of writing this has a market valuation of more than $5 billion. Given those things, it should be reasonable to assume that Shift4Shop is extremely safe and secure.

Summary of Shift4Shop (3dcart) reviews by others: The most frequently mentioned pros of the platform seem to be that it is easy to use and fairly priced. And then in terms of the possible cons of Shift4Shop, it is good to know that, there has been some complaints about SSL certificates and 3rd payment gateway integrations (comment: one can assume that the integration with Shift4 Payments works very well). Go to Shift4Shop.

Good to know when opening your Shift4Shop account: At least in my experience Shift4Shop does not ask you to pick a username and password while registering and instead generates and emails them to you.

Looking for more information about Shift4Shop? From below you can find our full Shift4Shop review.

How easy is to use Shift4Shop?

The one word answer to the above question would be: extremely. Shift4Shop has really paid lot of attention to designing the back-end of the e-commerce platform in such a way that anyone can easily use it for starting an e-commerce store.

Things such as adding products to your store, choosing the theme for your e-commerce business and selecting payment methods to offer to your customers are very easy to do. In addition to that what I really like about the Shift4Shop store builder, is that there is nothing unnecessary – nothing that will confuse you when you are trying to create your store.

When compared to its main competitors, I would say that Shift4Shop is easier to use than BigCommerce and about as easy to use as Shopify (looking for a full Shift4Shop vs Shopify comparison? See this page).

Shift4Shop themes & templates in 2021

Update February 2021: It seems that Shift4Shop might be in the process of making all their themes free.

Shift4Shop offers both free and premium themes. The collection of the free Shift4Shop themes is especially impressive. At the time of writing this the company has more than 50 completely free themes for you to use for your store. The number of the free themes is massive when compared to, for example, Shopify which only offers around 10 free themes to their customers. And best of all these free Shift4Shop themes also look quite nice. They are not the flashiest e-commerce themes around, but will certainly do the job if you are on a tight budget and are trying to build an online store inexpensively.

As mentioned Shift4Shop also has premium e-commerce themes. At the time of writing this there are actually fewer paid premium themes than there are free themes – the number of premium themes is exactly 50 as of early 2021. The one time fee for a specific premium theme ranges from $149 to $199.99.

The premium themes look on average bit nicer than the free themes, but there isn’t a huge difference – so you certainly don’t HAVE to buy a premium theme for your store when you are getting started. However, as the premium themes are relatively cheap when compared to the amount of revenue they can contribute to your store via higher conversion rate, it might be a good idea to invest into a theme that you really like and feel that will maximize the conversions.

What is striking about the Shift4Shop templates, is the fact that they are very heavily focused on showcasing a broad range of products on your homepage. This is a big difference when compared to, for example, Squarespace which is better suited to showcasing couple of products. So if you are running a business that sells lot of different products, it might be an especially good idea to go with Shift4Shop.

In general I would label the Shift4Shop templates as more traditional type of e-commerce themes than the e-commerce templates offered by most of their competitors. This means that if your customers tend not to be very young, Shift4Shop might be a great choice for you – if you are looking for flashier ecommerce templates Squarespace or Zyro ecommerce might be a better choice.

Naturally, Shift4Shop’s themes automatically adjust to different screen sizes. That means that your customers can easily buy from your store, regardless of if they are using an old PC or a modern mobile phone.

Regular Shift4Shop plans and pricing in 2021

In 2021 Shift4Shop has 3 different regular plans intended for a regular store owner (in addition to these they also have, for example, an enterprise plan). The cheapest Shift4Shop plan is called “Basic Store” and costs $29.00/month when paid in monthly basis and the most expensive regular plan is called “Pro Store” and costs $229.00 when paid in monthly basis.

All of Shift4Shop’s plans have quite good features (for example the option to add an unlimited number of products to your store) and as it is quite easy to change your plan, it might be a good idea to start with a cheap plan and then upgrade later on, if you need even more features than your current plan offers.

Update on $19/month-plan: Before 3dcart become Shift4Shop, the platform offered also a $19/month-plan called “Startup”. That plan is not listed on Shift4Shop’s pricing & plans -page, but international customers appear to be still able to pick it when registering their Shift4Shop account. However, it is possible that the plan will not be offered for much longer.

Free plan

In addition to the normal paid plans Shift4Shop also has a free plan called “End-To-End Ecommerce”. Despite of being free, this plan is actually in terms of features the most advanced Shift4Shop plan. The reason why it is free, is that those who choose this plan have to use Shift4 Payments as the payment solution for their store. “Shift4 Payments” being the payment company that owns Shift4Shop.

It is good to note that even though the End-to-End Ecommerce -plan is itself free, Shift4Shop charges a transaction fee of 2.9%+30c of each sale you make using the plan. That fee is the same as what Shopify charges of their customers who are on their $29/month-plan. And as such it can be concluded that Shift4Shop’s transactions fees are quite reasonable.

Unfortunately though, the free Shift4Shop plan is at least at the time of writing this only available for merchants from the USA.

Dropshipping plan

Shift4Shop recently strengthened its already impressive range of plans by adding a new plan intended for dropshipping. With prices starting from $9.99/month when paid in monthly-basis and going even lower (per month) when choosing a longer subscription, this plan can be a great choice if you are looking for a very cheap way to get into ecommerce. However, the plan is obviously also bit limited in terms of its features. You can find out more information about the dropshipping plan from this page.

Good to know: Shift4Shop’s plans (other than the free plan) have a sales limit

A possible disadvantage of choosing Shift4Shop is that all of their regular plans have a sales limit. Meaning in practice that there is a limit on how much online sales you generate in a year before you will be upgraded to a more expensive plan. With the Dropshipping-plan the limit is $10,000, with the “Basic Store”-plan it is $100,000, with the “Plus”-plan it is $250,000 and then on the “Pro”-plan it is $1 million. Funnily enough, the free plan does not have a sales limit.

Shift4Shop’s customer service

Based on my experience Shift4Shop’s customer service is really good: they offer customer service, for example, via live chat and when using it I got helpful service within couple minutes of asking my question.

Does Shift4Shop seem like a good fit for you? Open a Shift4Shop account.

Questions and answers about Shift4Shop

Do Shift4Shop plans include a free SSL certificate?

Yes. According to Shift4Shop all of their plans come with a free SSL certificate. Online shoppers often see an SSL certificate as a sign of safety and as such the presence of it can make them more inclined to buy from a store that has it installed. In practice you can see if a site has it by checking out its URL and seeing if the site’s address starts with http or https. The latter indicates the presence of an SSL certificate.

Does Oberlo work with Shift4Shop?

Oberlo is the leading dropshipping app. Unfortunately though, it does not appear to currently work with Shift4Shop. That is likely at least to a large extent because Shift4Shop’s competitor, Shopify, owns Oberlo. However, there are several good dropshipping apps that do work with Shift4Shop.

Does Shift4Shop work with 3rd party payment gateways?

Yes. According to Shift4Shop their platform works, for example, with Square, PayPal, Klarna, Stripe and many more.