Lemonstand vs Shopify Compared: Which is Better for Ecommerce?

(Last Updated On: August 18, 2018)

Admit it. Shopify is undeniably in the league of the biggest ecommerce platforms today. It’s one of those principal tools you’ll think about every time someone is seeking to build an online store.

According to Datanyze, close to 270,000 websites are currently running on Shopify, translating to a significant market share of slightly over 9%. That alone makes it the third most dominant ecommerce platform, behind WooCommerce and SquareSpace.

shopify

Well, good for them. Not only for controlling such a huge chunk of the market. But also because of the simple fact that such popularity is usually perceived as a vote of confidence by the mass. That’s why many entrepreneurs are usually confident about jumping into the Shopify bandwagon.

But, here’s the thing about ecommerce entrepreneurs. We all know that market dominance does not always correspond with feature superiority. How the provisions fit your business is a different thing altogether.

A company might be as big as Google and enjoy a cult-like following, but still lose out to a much smaller competitor when it comes to the actual details of their respective offerings. That’s why a part of the ecommerce market predominantly leans towards the smaller service providers.

Admittedly, there’s always that increased risk factor attached to smaller platforms. But, of course, taking a sneak peek wouldn’t hurt at all. Besides, Shopify was also a micro-solution at some point.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about the super small providers. Not at all. I’m more interested in the mid-sized bracket, particularly solutions undergoing exponential growth.

One of the most notable ecommerce platforms here, as we’ve seen from the industry trends, is Lemonstand. The phenomenal growth it has been experiencing over the past couple of years has expanded its user base to nearly 70,000 websites.

lemonstand screenshot

So, what attracts businesses to its corner? And most importantly, how does Lemonstand compare with Shopify? Which of the two is the most ideal solution?

To help you with this, I’ll walk you through a detailed Lemonstand vs Shopify review, evaluating all the principal features and functionalities that would be critical to your online store.

So let’s fire away….

Lemonstand vs Shopify: Overview

First things first. The basics.

Lemonstand

Lemonstand, to begin with, is an ecommerce solution specifically optimized for enterprises seeking to drive increased growth. It prides itself in providing an exceedingly customizable environment with complete access to site codes. It’s also known for its high-level flexibility and overall ability to keep up with changing user needs.

lemonstand shopify comparison

You bet “Lemonstand”, as a name, is rather odd but quite interesting. But its general user experience is nowhere close to the taste of lemons.

It fundamentally provides features for the whole ecommerce pipeline. From website creation and hosting, to store management, plus the corresponding marketing.

Shopify

Shopify, the big brother, is not so different when it comes to the operating principles. It’s also an extensive ecommerce platform, seeking to facilitate more than just small businesses. It’s also optimized for mid-sized and large enterprises.

Branded by some as one of the leading platform solutions, Shopify is particularly known for its wide array of features for store building, management and product selling. Plus additional provisions to facilitate offline selling.

shopify screenshot

Come to think of it, Lemonstand and Shopify sound alike, right?

But, make no mistake. While their primary approaches are essentially the same, the bulk of their distinct features are actually quite different. Only a few elements have been mirrored across the board.

The result?

Well, of course, they have varying functionalities for starters. That pretty much means that they essentially affect users differently.

That said. Let’s see how your online store would fair with each.

Lemonstand vs Shopify: Features

Design Tools and Templates

Lemonstand

My apologies. But we’ll start off with some bad news. That Lemonstand is not such a great website builder for amateurs.

Your options are pretty limited here. You can either go with the starter theme, minimal customization or proceed to unpack it with its default settings.

lemonstand story theme

However, there are a couple of things to smile about. Like the fact that your website categories, images and products are unlimited.

Additionally, users have access to a wide range of free open-source web templates and themes, all designed professionally. But sadly, you cannot adjust them further for a more personalized look.

Extensive tweaks are only possible when you advance to the secondary website elements. Product design, for instance, comes with many settings for Changing the fonts, styles, colors, etc.

If this seems to be a bit too cumbersome, you’ll love the much simpler blogging interface. Setting up a blog and posting your articles is as easy as pie.

To top it off, Lemonstand has also simplified its checkout design process. The default option should work well for a typical ecommerce site. But, if you still need further adjustments, the whole creation process is quite straightforward.

All things considered, I found the overall design process to be quite intuitive, but fairly limiting when it comes to personalizing the underlying site framework.

But, here’s the catch. Customization is only seemingly minimal while you’re grazing the surface. Extensive personalization is indeed possible, but only through an experienced developer.

coding lemonstand

Too bad for average entrepreneurs. Because it’s quite obvious that the only way to fully capitalize on the platform’s flexibility is hiring a professional web developer to handle the intricacies.

And yes, you’re dead right. This pretty much beats the whole purpose of having a website builder.

Shopify

Thankfully, things are more promising when we cross over to Shopify.

I have to admit that this is indeed one of the aspects that Shopify continues to excel at. And to be fair, it partly explains why Shopify has managed to secure such a large user base. Pretty obvious once you think about it. That to attract users, you have to get your basics right.

Now, the process of choosing a theme is quite straightforward. There are tens of free, professionally-built themes that are also well-optimized for different types of ecommerce sites.

shopify screenshot

Quite a number tickled my fancy. But I’m a sucker for exclusivity. So I proceeded to check out the much broader category of themes on sale.

The prices tags here fall on both ends of the spectrum. For what it’s worth, I’ll agree that the most attractive ones start at $100.

Here’s the kicker though. The free templates come with fairly limited customization options. Probably to trigger users to cough up cash for the paid ones, which are undeniably more flexible.

Certainly a cheap trick, to say the least.

Moving on, you can tweak your theme through Shopify’s template editor. Alternatively, you can also leverage Shopify Sections, a much faster editor with drag and drop functions.

Ultimately, after customizing a selected theme, you can proceed to upload and embed your own template.

It really is that simple.

Verdict

Evidently, Lemonstand provides more customization than Shopify. You can adjust pretty much any element in your store and overall website. Unfortunately, you’re going to need a skilled developer to handle this.

Shopify, on the other hand, is seemingly more inclined towards simplicity. Getting your store up and running is super easy and pleasantly straightforward. You can handle everything without any coding knowledge.

Online Store Management

Lemonstand

The first thing I liked about Lemonstand’s selling features is the provision for different types of products.

lemonstand store management

Well, by now, supporting physical products goes without saying for most, if not all ecommerce platforms. And Lemonstand does quite a good job at this by allowing an unlimited number of products. You can literally sell everything you own.

The other category of online sellers are creatives, who mostly deal with digital products. Lemonstand also supports this, allowing users to sell graphic designs, games, music, art, photos, ebooks, and digital downloads.

And guess what? You’re not limited to either of the two options. You can deal with both digital and physical products at the same time. In fact, you don’t even have to create separate categories. They can be displayed alongside each other.

But that’s not all. There’s still another category of online sellers. I’m talking about subscription services, which essentially provide products and solutions with periodic payments.

Now, Lemonstand has also factored this in. It provides subscription boxes for your customers. Consequently, you can comfortably build various subscription packages for your leads, each with varying parameters. For instance, you can set different billing intervals or multiple pricing tiers in line with the corresponding package offerings.

When it comes to shipping physical items, you can adopt a third-party integration called ShipStation. It will subsequently link your business with renowned shipping brands like DHL and FedEX.

And the best thing about this is automated shipment handling. Even the smallest details like shipping rates charged by the respective shipping companies are calculated and availed in real time.

Sounds good overall. But, of course, there will be no selling without traffic generation and subsequent lead generation.

Well, Lemonstand handles the two fairly well. On traffic generation, the service directly facilitates on-page SEO. This refers to the SEO that is usually implemented within the site.

For this, Lemonstand comes with, among other features, mobile site support, URL structure optimization, plus text and image optimization. More specifically, URL shortening, keyword analysis, title and tag optimization, image structuring, plus much more.

Page load speed is also adequately optimized by Lemonstand’s content delivery network. It basically replicates your site’s content and stores it in multiple servers positioned at different locations worldwide. Consequently, your visitors are able to access content relatively quickly from the nearest servers.

Well, that pretty much covers on-page SEO. Then there’s what is known as off-page SEO, which is largely dependent on your own efforts beyond the website. This is where we place strategies like guest posting, external link building etc.

But, to effectively achieve all that, you’ll need a well-built blog in your website. Lemonstand provides for this too, through its CMS system. It comes with a wide array of tools for creating just the right articles and blogs to boost your SEO.

In a way, it performs like WordPress when it comes link creation, plus title, meta-description, keyword, and URL slug customization. In addition to that, you can create announcements and edit web pages.

lemonstand new pages

Now, let’s assume you’ve done all that and consequently attracted some traffic. What happens next?

This is the point where Lemonstand’s conversion rate optimization features come into play.

Lemonstand attempts to minimize cart abandonment by keeping your leads on the site through the entire shopping process. Otherwise, redirecting them to a separate domain at checkout would trigger a significant fallout.

The service also provides for dynamic content and A/B testing. The former boosts conversion rate optimization by triggering selected messages when leads make certain moves. For instance, you can adjust the system to drop a popup encouraging shoppers to continue exploring the store for additional products, each time they add an item to their cart.

A/B testing, on the other hand, helps you increase sales by implementing only elements that you’re certain about. It essentially removes any doubts by allowing you to repeatedly test any new elements added to the site.

Even after leads have been converted to customers upon checkout, Lemonstand still helps online stores increase sales through upselling. You can set the system to suggest additional products that complement what customers are buying.

This strategy would be particularly effectual if you combined it with Lemonstand’s “customer groups” feature. This is built to help you zero-in on selected demographics with various discount offers.

lemonstand discount rules

After selling, you’ll find Lemonstand’s email features quite handy. In addition to marketing emails, it can also send cart abandonment follow-ups, product update news, shipping statuses, order confirmations, and customer receipts.

Finally, you’re going to need your store’s data for future decision making and possible revision of strategies. Lemonstand comes with a custom tracking engine that avails critical analytics about your site’s traffic and consequent store sales.

From your dashboard, you can track parameters like revenue, cart abandonment, and lead conversion, all broken down into the finer details that matter.

Shopify

Shopify takes a slightly different approach when it comes to store management. It does not limit its users to online sales.

Since a fraction of ecommerce sellers also run offline stores, Shopify attempts to bridge the gap by facilitating both types of sales. Offline transactions are handled by Shopify POS, which is compatible with mobile devices like tablets.

shopify products

Now get this. It does not only process payments. It’s also quite handy in inventory management since it can track the stock automatically and maintain sale records.

Just like Lemonstand, Shopify’s inventory is undeniably flexible. While some of its users use it for physical products, others continue to leverage Shopify to sell digital items. And then there are also subscription services, which can comfortably implement subscription plans.

shopify editor

To help your store grow, Shopify also comes with a wide range of marketing features, stretching from SEO to email and social media marketing.

You don’t even have to bother with those intricate SEO details that might be cumbersome. The platform usually implements the principal SEO elements by default. You are then left to work out the simpler things like metadata and headers.

You can also capitalize on Shopify’s social media integration to extend your store’s footprint to various platforms. Google is bound to notice this and consequently improve your site’s overall rankings.

Speaking of which, Google normally has an easy time with Shopify-based sites. Largely thanks to the platform’s sitemap.xml file, which is automatically generated to help search engines crawl through your website.

Moving on to email marketing, you’ll find that Shopify has quite a wide array of tools for lead nurturing via email. The MailChimp app, for instance, is quite effective at managing and running the overall email prospecting campaign.

Since Shopify also allows visitors to drop comments about various products, you could also strategically inspire positive feedback as part of your marketing strategy.

shopify product

When the leads finally make it to the site, you’ll be glad that Shopify applies conversion rate optimization features throughout the entire funneling process.

Your site’s pages, to begin with, will load fairly quickly, thanks to an expansive content delivery network. The subsequent site navigation process should be pretty simple and straightforward since Shopify is optimized for high-level user experience.

As your visitors read through the product details and testimonials, you can leverage automatic popups and welcome bars to engage them and trigger conversion.

Shopify also comes with intelligent search to help visitors conveniently sort through your inventory. Predictive results plus instant search should help them find exactly what they’re looking for in a matter of seconds.

When it comes to the actual checkout, Shopify supports customer information prefilling, cart abandonment follow-up, automatic shipping order processing, and upselling. You can also offer discounts and coupons to boost sales.

And finally, Shopify is as solid as Lemonstand in traffic and sales analytics. There’s a wide range of tools you can use to track pretty much anything- from site visits, bounce rate, key sales, cart abandonment etc.

shopify features

Verdict

Users can sell physical, digital and subscription items on both Lemonstand and Shopify. However, Shopify would be particularly useful to owners who double up as offline sellers, because of the Shopify POS feature.

That said, the services are neck to neck on most aspects of marketing and conversion rate optimization. But, Shopify loses to Lemonstand in URL optimization. While the automatic generation of URLs is ideally convenient, users might end up with long irrelevant URLs. Lemonstand, on the other hand, allows you to edit them straight away.

Additionally, although both Shopify and Lemonstand come with A/B testing, I prefer the latter due to its revenue optimization feature.

However, in a nutshell, Shopify comes with more features and functionalities, most of which are powered by the wide range of third-party services.

Security

Just imagine you’ve sweated blood to build your online store, only to lose it to hackers right when sales are starting to pick up.

Painfully devastating, right?

Lemonstand

Well, you’d be pleased to learn that the chances of such an occurrence are pretty slim on Lemonstand. The service is seemingly taking web security very seriously.

For starters, the entire system is supported by a framework that is PCI DSS compliant. This is a crucial hosting security standard that’s duly assessed and reviewed by a third-party Qualified Security Assessor.

And that’s not all. The service has also implemented SSL encryption across the board. Not only on the checkout process.

To top it off, you don’t even have to worry about card data encryption on their end. The company continues to assure its users that it does not store or withhold any cardholder data in any situation.

Apart from that, Lemonstand is constantly monitoring its entire content delivery network for any anomalies. In the event of data loss, you should be able to recover previous data versions, thanks to an automatic data backup system.

Well, that pretty much covers the surface. There are more security features that are scalable based on your subscription plan.

Shopify

Shopify, on the other hand, has implemented a security strategy that’s largely similar to Lemonstand’s. Their servers, for instance, are also PCI DSS complIant for adequate data protection.

It further applies 128-bit SSL encryption on all the subscription plans. And get this. This feature is pretty standard and comes at zero added cost.

While data security is critical, there’s also that persistent fear of a possible server downtime. I know how it feels when you’re worried that your site might shut down a minute into Black Friday.

To avoid this, Shopify has optimized server efficiency to a level that the company guarantees 99.4% uptime. But, in the unlikely event that your site is unfortunate enough to end up among the unlucky 0.6%, you should be able to restore backups from Shopify’s secure backup system.

Verdict

Shopify and Lemonstand are quite similar here, and both come with standard security features to protect their users from malicious attacks.

However, Lemonstand has the edge over Shopify when it comes to SSL. By enabling it on every page, Lemonstand assures its users all-rounded security. As opposed to Shopify, which has only implemented SSL on the checkout.

App Integration

Let’s face it. Although all online stores operate under the same principle of remote selling, ecommerce is extremely wide and quite diverse. Two businesses can ever be the same. Even when they’re dealing with similar products and clientele, the finer details will always set them apart.

Now, this is exactly why the bulk of ecommerce platforms come with third-party app support. To help enterprises leverage other applications in line with their individual goals and bottom line.

Lemonstand

Sadly, Lemonstand doesn’t come with a large library of plugins or add-ons. Thankfully, the service makes up for this through an API that can be integrated with third-party applications and services.

lemonstand integrations

Basically, any app with the API can be blended into your store. Some popular services that have already joined the party include Google Analytics, Twitter, PayPal, and Facebook.

But, the integration process is not even half as easy as it sounds. It’s only possible if you possess advanced coding skills. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to hire a developer every time you need a new app for your online store.

Another way to do it is taking advantage of Zapier, a service that was recently assimilated with Lemonstand. This route connects you to more than 500 applications, most of which are optimized for workflow automation.

Shopify

The first thing you’ll notice when you cross over to Shopify’s side is an expansive fully fledged marketplace.

And being popular has everything to do with the fact that it hosts numerous plugins. You see, app developers are always following the multitude, and will always camp right at the crowded marketplaces. Because, in the end, the number of app users is always directly proportional to the corresponding ROI.

That said, it worth noting that Shopify’s marketplace continues to grow steadily. You can find plugins for pretty much anything to do with online selling and CRM here. Reporting, accounting, shipping, customer service, product sourcing, you name it. They have it all.

shopify app store

And yes. If you have the skills, you can also develop your own Shopify tool, and vend it through the marketplace.

Other than that, one similarity with Lemonstand that stands out is Shopify’s integration with Google Analytics. Adopting it allows you to track and monitor traffic sources, conversion rates, and more.

Selling via social media is also conveniently easy, thanks to additional Facebook integration. As a matter of fact, customers don’t even have to leave the main site. Embedding a “Buy Now” button on your Facebook page allows them to purchase anything right off the bat.

Verdict

Shopify wins this hands down.

Lemonstand is doing fairly well at bringing in additional plug-ins on board. Integrating Zapier has proven to be exceptionally beneficial to its overall bottom line.

But the sheer number of the add-ons and their corresponding functionalities is nothing compared to Shopify’s arsenal.

Lemonstand vs Shopify: Pricing

Lemonstand

As you start out, Lemonstand helps you analyze its features through a free 14-day trial period. It might be short, but I like the fact that it doesn’t require credit card information.

When the period lapses, you can proceed with any of the following plans according to your average number of orders each month:

lemonstand pricing

Starter – $19/month

  • Standard features
  • Standard email support
  • 75 orders per month

Growth- $69/month

  • Standard features
  • Standard email support
  • 300 orders per months

Professional- $199/month

  • Standard features
  • Priority email support
  • 1,000 orders per month

Premium- Begins at $399/month

  • Standard features
  • Priority phone support
  • Secured saved credit card vaulting
  • Ecommerce success coach
  • Avalara AvaTax integration
  • Higher API limit
  • Sandbox store
  • White-glove support for high-volume retailers
  • More than 1,000 orders per month

lemonstand premium

Shopify

Just like Lemonstand, Shopify also offers a 14-day free trial period.

Their overall pricing strategy, however, is quite different. Shopify Lite is only for Facebook sales, Basic Shopify is built for beginner businesses, Shopify is ideal for growing enterprises, while Advanced Shopify facilitates users who are scaling their businesses. Shopify Plus, on the other hand, is optimized for large enterprises with extensive ecommerce needs.

shopify pricing

shopify pricing part 2

Shopify Lite- $9/month

  • Facebook selling
  • Sell through an existing site

Basic Shopify- $29/month

  • Free SSL certificate
  • Website and blog
  • Discount codes
  • Manual order creation
  • Fraud analysis
  • 24/7 support
  • Unlimited file storage
  • Unlimited number of products
  • 2 staff accounts

Shopify- $79/month

  • All features available on Basic Shopify
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Professional reports
  • Gift cards
  • 5 staff accounts

Advanced Shopify- $299/month

  • All features available on Shopify
  • Real-time carrier shipping
  • Advanced report builder
  • 15 staff accounts

shopify plus

Verdict

Both Lemonstand and Shopify are offering competitive packages that are reasonably priced. Plus, they have optimized their plans adequately for small, mid-sized and large enterprises.

All things considered, Lemonstand is cheaper than Shopify. It might have something to do with the fact that it’s the less dominant service here. But, facts are facts.

Lemonstand vs Shopify: Summary

  • Evidently, Lemonstand provides more customization than Shopify. You can adjust pretty much any element in your store and overall website. Unfortunately, you’re going to need a skilled developer to handle this.

Shopify, on the other hand, is seemingly more inclined towards simplicity. Getting your store up and running is super easy and pleasantly straightforward. You can handle everything without any coding knowledge.

  • Users can sell physical, digital and subscription items on both Lemonstand and Shopify. However, Shopify would be particularly useful to owners who double up as offline sellers, because of the Shopify POS feature.

That said, the services are neck to neck on most aspects of marketing and conversion rate optimization. But, Shopify loses to Lemonstand in URL optimization. While the automatic generation of URLs is ideally convenient, users might end up with long irrelevant URLs. Lemonstand, on the other hand, allows you to edit them straight away.

Additionally, although both Shopify and Lemonstand come with A/B testing, I prefer the latter due to its revenue optimization feature.

However, in a nutshell, Shopify comes with more features and functionalities, most of which are powered by the wide range of third-party services.

  • Shopify and Lemonstand are quite similar in data protection, and both come with standard security features to protect their users from malicious attacks.

However, Lemonstand has the edge over Shopify when it comes to SSL. By enabling it on every page, Lemonstand assures its users all-rounded security. As opposed to Shopify, which has only implemented SSL on the checkout.

  • Shopify wins app integration hands down.

Lemonstand is doing fairly well at bringing in additional plug-ins on board. Integrating Zapier has proven to be exceptionally beneficial to its overall bottom line.

But the sheer number of the add-ons and their corresponding functionalities is nothing compared to Shopify’s arsenal.

  • Both Lemonstand and Shopify are offering competitive packages that are reasonably priced. Plus, they have optimized their plans adequately for small, mid-sized and large enterprises.

All things considered, Lemonstand is cheaper than Shopify. It might have something to do with the fact that it’s the less dominant service here. But, facts are facts.

How was your experience with any of these ecommerce platforms?

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