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 a 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 updating this has a market valuation of almost $7 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 have been some complaints about SSL certificates and 3rd party 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 a 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

One of the best things that Shift4 Payments has done since taking over the ecommerce platform now known as Shift4 Shop, is that they made all the store themes/templates free. That is because previously the paid Shift4Shop themes could cost up to $199.99 per theme.

It also seems that Shift4Shop has been introducing new store themes. And in my opinion that is quite welcomed, as some of the old themes look outdated to the point, where using one of them might even hurt your conversion rate.

While the new Shift4Shop themes are an improvement over the old themes, it is good to note that even they are not ideal for all kinds of stores. That is because Shift4Shop’s themes are heavily focused on showcasing a broad range of products on your homepage – which might be an issue if you are not selling a lot of different products.

So if you are looking to sell just a small selection of different products, it might be a good idea to take a look at Squarespace or Zyro ecommerce, as they are sort of the opposite of Shift4 Shop when it comes to theme styles.

When it comes to actually using the Shift4Shop themes, it is nice to know that it is easy to test different themes and additionally, it is nice that Shift4Shop’s themes automatically adjust to different screen sizes. The latter thing means that your customers can easily buy from your store, regardless of if they are using an old PC or a modern mobile phone.

At the time of writing this Shift4Shop offers in total 110 free themes. That huge selection of free themes means that Shift4Shop can be a particularly good choice for those who are looking to build an online store inexpensively.

Good to know: Even though Shift4Shop categorizes its themes under categories such as “Art”, “Fashion” and “Electronics”, you can use a theme from any category for your store. See the themes.

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 on a monthly basis and the most expensive regular plan is called “Pro Store” and costs $229.00/m when paid on a monthly basis.

All of the regular 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 became Shift4Shop, the platform advertised also a $19/month-plan called “Startup”. That plan is not listed on Shift4Shop’s pricing & plans -page, but at least 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 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 transaction 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

In addition to the plans introduced above, Shift4Shop also has a dedicated dropshipping plan. With prices starting from $9.99/month when paid on a monthly basis and going even lower (per month) when choosing a longer subscription, this plan can for many be a good way to get started with ecommerce. However, as the free Shift4Shop plan also makes it possible to do dropshipping, those who are from the US are likely wise to choose the free plan over the dropshipping plan.

If you are interested, you can find out more 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 can 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.

Shift4 Shop app store

One of the things that many people might not know about ecommerce platforms, is that they usually have an app store from which you find plugins that can be helpful for improving your store. Shift4Shop is one of those ecommerce platforms that has an app store.

The current selection of app integrations available via Shift4Shop is not huge, but it does include some apps, such as Printful, that can be quite useful. Based on my experience, it is easy to connect an app with your Shift4Shop store.

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 and friendly service within a couple of minutes of asking my question.

Frequent improvements

Because of how competitive and rapidly changing ecommerce tends to be, it is important that ecommerce platform companies do frequent improvements/updates to their platform. And in 2021 Shift4Shop might very well be the best ecommerce platform when it comes to update frequency: they seem to do several improvements every month.

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

Not sure if Shift4Shop is the best option for you? See our list of the top Shift4Shop alternatives.

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, Shift4Shop should work with several other good dropshipping apps.

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.

Do I have to download something to be able to use Shift4Shop? No, you can operate your Shift4Shop store through a web browser. That means that you should be able to run your Shift4Shop store from anywhere you have an internet access. So, in a way using Shift4Shop is comparable to using, for example, social media.

Ready to try Shift4Shop? Go to Shift4Shop.