Shift4Shop (formerly 3dcart) Review (2021) – Is it Any Good?

shift4shop Review

What is Shift4Shop?

Shift4Shop might be a name that is new to many people but the lineage goes back quite a long way as it was originally 3dcart, which is a fully hosted ecommerce platform that was founded in the late 90’s.

But 3dcart was acquired by Shift4 Payments in 2020 and was rebranded as Shift4Shop in early 2021.

But is the platform any good? Check out the rest of the review to find out!

Shift4shop-logo

Pricing
Features
Theme Selection & Customisation
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

Total out of 5

3.9

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Shift4Shop Pricing

One of the first things that Shift4 did was overhaul the 3dcart pricing structure, which was a bit complex to be honest and simplified it to three standard plans:

Shift4shop-logo

Basic

$29.00/m

Unlimited Products
Unlimited Bandwidth
Up to $100k Annual Sales
No Transaction Fee
Free SSL Certificate
24/7 Online & Phone Support
2 Staff User

Shift4shop-logo

Plus

$79.00/m

Unlimited Products
Unlimited Bandwidth
Up to $250k Annual Sales
No Transaction Fee
Free SSL Certificate
24/7 Online & Phone Support
5 Staff Users

Shift4shop-logo

Pro

$229.00/m

Unlimited Products
Unlimited Bandwidth
Up to $1m Annual Sales
No Transaction Fee
Free SSL Certificate
24/7 Online & Phone Support
15 Staff Users

The pricing of the Basic and Plus packages are very much inline with the competition at $29/m and $79/m respectively but the Pro package is somewhat cheaper, especially than the equivalent plans from Shopify and Bigcommerce, which come in a $299/m. If you pay annually, you also get a 10% discount.

The three plans above all come with annual turnover limits, which means that if you hit these limits within a 12 month period, you will automatically be moved onto the next package but the limits are quite generous at $100k, $250k and $1 million. If you go over the $1 million, then you will moved on to a custom package.

If you live in the USA, you can use Shift4Shop completely for free but there is one big caveat to this and that is that you can ONLY use the Shift4 Payments Gateway but if you want to use any other payment gateway, then you will need to use a paid package.

Free Trial

It seems as though Shift4Shop have cancelled their free trial but now give the first month free but you do need to enter all of your details, including billing details before you can get started. So you can try it out for free, you just need to make sure you cancel before the 1 month period is up if you don’t wish to continue.

Get Started with Shift4Shop

Payment info Required

Customer Reviews

Before I get full on into my review, I thought I would take a look at what some of their existing customers thought of the platform. For this I look on Trustpilot, Facebook and Google.

Trustpilot Logo

2.6 out of 5

FaceBook Logo

No Reviews

Google Logo

No Reviews

Shift4Shop Features

So what do you get for your money, well that is what I am going to look at next and to try and make things easier to understand, features that are only available on the Plus and Pro plans will be marked with an *.

Below is just a summary of the features, a complete list is available on the Shift4Shop website.

Ecommerce Tools

  • Single Page Checkout – allows customers to checkout on a single page, streamlining the checkout process
  • Saved Carts – let customers save their cart so that they can come back and complete their order at a later date
  • Digital Downloads
  • Unlimited Product Variations – create as many variations as you want for your product listings
  • Advanced Product Options – offer variations like size and colour with inventory tracking, unique SKU codes and more.
  • Returns Module – streamline the returns process with the built-in RMA returns module
  • 2 Factor Authentication – secure your admin login with 2 factor authentication
  • Product Comparison* – let customers compare products side by side so they can see which is the best option
  • Product Q & A* – let customers ask questions about your products in a similar way to Amazon’s Q & A feature
  • Recurring Orders* – set up a subscription service for frequently purchased products
  • Pre Orders* – let your customers pre order products

Marketing & SEO

  • Built in SEO Tools – including customisable Title’s, URL’s, meta data, 301 redirects, XML sitemaps and more
  • Blog – add content to your site with a fully featured blog
  • Product Reviews – let customers leave reviews on your products
  • Google Customer Reviews – let your customers reviews about your business on Google
  • Up Sell and Cross Sell – increase order value by upselling and cross selling on product pages
  • Social Wish Lists – let customers create a product wish list and share in on social media
  • Discounts & Coupons – create discount codes and sales for your products
  • Mailchimp Integration – manage email marketing by integrating your Shift4Shop store with Mailchimp
  • Affiliate Program – get bloggers and influencers to promote your products by having your own affiliate program
  • Promotion Scheduler* – schedule sales or promotions, so you can market them before hand
  • Loyalty Reward Program* – encourage repeat customers by having your own loyalty program
  • Back in Stock Alerts* – allow customer to get notification when their favourite products come back into stock

Reporting & Analytics

  • Business Reports (profits etc)
  • Customer Reports
  • Site Stats (visitors, referrers etc)
  • Marketing Reports
  • Products & Inventory Reports
  • Payment Methods Reports

Payment Gateways

  • PayPal (inc Pro & Express Checkout)
  • Stripe
  • Klarna
  • Square
  • Sagepay
  • Worldpay
  • Authorize.net

Most of these features come in the form of modules, which means that you can pick and choose which features you want active on your store and they can easily be installed/uninstalled from the modules section of the dashboard.

Some of these modules work as integrations with third party tools such as MailChimp and will require an account with the third party in order to be able to use them within your Shift4Shop store.

Theme Selection & Customisation

One of the biggest changes from the change to Shift4Shop was that they made all of their themes free to use, which means that they now have a selection of over 100 to choose from, meaning that Shift4Shop has one of the largest selection of free themes.

But unfortunately, there has been no update to the theme customisation set up and it is some what awkward and disjointed to use. The main theme customizer and home page editor are both very limited as there is no real control over the layout of your site and the tools aren’t particularly easy to use.

The only real way to make changes to the theme is to edit the HTML and CSS, which honestly is going to be too scary for most to do and in 2021, they really should be looking at introducing some kind of drag and drop editor, which allows you to edit all of your pages from a single interface.

3dcart Customise Theme

Shift4Shop Support

All of the Shift4Shop packages include 24/7 support over all their contact options including live chat, email ticketing and phone support.

Outside of actually contacting their support team, they do have a comprehensive knowledgebase that is full of really good documentation. They also have a community forum, which is always a great place to get answers or just seek knowledge from other users.

Shift4Shop Web Hosting and Performance

As Shift4Shop are a fully fledged ecommerce platform, you do expect them to offer some very robust hosting. While not immediately obvious, they do have a page on their site listing what they offer from their hosting and here are the best take aways:

  • PCI Compliant Hosting
  • 99.9% Uptime
  • 24/7 Server Monitoring
  • Cloudfare CDN
  • Free SSL Certificate
  • Unlimited Disk Space

This all looks great on paper but I like to check how their sites perform in the real world and to do this I put them through my tried and tested method. I took five of their customer example sites and ran them through Pingdom’s speed test tool and Google’s Page Speed Insights, once a day for five days and you can see the results below.

Washington D.C: 1.32 Seconds
San Francisco: 1.48 Seconds

Google Logo

Mobile Score: 36/100
Desktop Score: 71/100

A good overall performance from Shift4Shop, especially on the load times with both comfortably averaging under 2 seconds. There is some room for improvement on the Google scores though as the 36/100 mobile score is quite low and desktop scores should ideally be 80+.

To see how Shift4Shop performed against it’s rivals in terms of speed and performance, check out my Fastest Ecommerce Platforms post.

How Easy is Shift4Shop to Use?

Offering an great selection of features will only get you so far with me as it means nothing if the platform isn’t easy to use. That is why, when I test a platform, I also see how easy it is to use and I look at 5 main areas:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Managing Your Inventory
  3. Managing Orders

Getting Started

Getting started with Shift4Shop has seemingly got a little bit more difficult because when it was 3dcart, you got a 15 day free trial but this seems to have gone and been replaced by your first month being free as when you click on any of the get started buttons on the Shift4Shop site, you are now asked which plan you would like to choose and then enter your business and payment details.

I’m not the biggest fan of this new approach as I don’t like giving over payment info when I’m just testing something out. However, you can easily cancel by going into the billing area of the admin dashboard.

Once you have gone through the sign up process, you will be greeted by a nice welcome screen, which includes a short intro video and a quick start guide to help you get set up.

Shift4Shop Welcome Screen

Overall though, the Shift4Shop dashboard is well laid out and pretty easy to use as the sidebar navigation menu is clearly labelled, the only strange thing is that the design options are under settings rather than having their own heading.

At the bottom of the menu are links to the help section or to open a ticket, an option to add the page you are on to a shortcut menu (which could be useful for quick navigation) and a link to the billing area.

Managing Your Inventory

Shift4Shop have opted for a single page layout for adding a new product and it is very well laid out and easy to use, the only real negative I have is that the description box looks like it came straight out of Word 2007.

There is also a logical flow to the page, which makes it very easy to add a new product. Once you have created a product, you can clone it in the main product list, which can make adding lots of similar products very easy to do.

Shift4Shop Add Product Page

Setting up your product categories is even easier to do as it is a simple pop up on the categories page to add a new one and you can then easily organise them into parent and child categories by dragging them around in the categories page.

Once have added a new category, you can then edit it on the category management page and this brings up all options such as SEO, any page content you want to add and how to display your products.

The final thing under inventory management is how easily can you edit your products once they are created and Shift4Shop offer a few bulk editors that allow you to quickly update things such as stock levels, the pricing editor which uses formulas to bulk update pricing (takes a little bit of getting used to) and the batch editor which allows you to do all of this.

Shift4Shop bulk editor

While all these editors are good, the workflow would be much better if they just had a single bulk editor that allows you to do everything, rather than lots of individual editors.

The one thing that I did note is that you get far more options when you are editing a product or category than you do when adding them in the first place. I would have preferred to have all these options available when I first create the product/category, rather than having to go in and edit it afterwards.

Managing Orders

Order management with Shift4Shop is pretty straight forward and you can do all of the important stuff directly in the dashboard.

You can print invoices and packing slips using the drop down menu at the bottom of the page and also update order statuses in bulk.

You can also do this individually if you wish and also add comments to orders, if there are any special requirements. If you use any third party software, you can export your information via CSV format and one thing I did really like is that you can import tracking numbers in bulk, which can save you a lot of time.

Shift4Shop Order Management

Conclusion

Shift4Shop Review

Paul @ EcommerceGold

Shift4shop-logo
Pricing
Features
Theme Selection & Customisation
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

Summary

Is Shift4Shop a Good Ecommerce Platform?

Not a whole lot has changed since the change from 3dcart to Shift4Shop and while it is a very competent platform, it does fall behind the competition in a couple of areas such as Theme Customisation and general ease of use.

If they simplified some of the options such as only having one bulk editor, having all settings appear on the product page etc it would make the workflow a lot easier.

One area where Shift4Shop is very strong is the features, there are lots of good and very useful features available and some which are premium or paid for options on other platforms.

It will definitely get the job done but some streamlining would definitely take to the next level.

The Good:
• Large selection of features
• 24/7 support
• Theme selection
• Payment gateway selection

The Not So Good:
• Theme customisation
• Workflow isn’t optimal
• Having to give payment details before trial

3.9

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