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Shopify is an eCommerce platform that enables anyone to build their own online store with minimal experience needed. The platform offers many tools that make it suitable for new eCommerce store owners to build their websites from scratch. In addition, Shopify also offers integrations with many 3rd party tools to help owners simplify business processes and increase the ease of running a store.
- Free 14 day trial period available – you can test out the different functions of the platform and build a website before you commit to a subscription.
- Build a website in under 2 hours – Shopify has a drag and drop website builder and pre-built templates, so you can build your website in no time.
- Many payment options available – choose from over 100 different payment gateways that your customers can pay via, including PayPal, iDEAL and more.
- Wide range of apps – choose from Shopify’s catalog of over 6000 apps to improve your store, including email marketing apps, review apps and more.
- No free plan available – a paid subscription to Shopify starts from $29 per month which may be quite high especially for new stores.
- Transaction fees – there is an additional 2% fee for using external payment gateways, although there are no fees if you use Shopify payments.
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What is Shopify & How Does it Work?
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows anyone to build an online store. Whether you’re just starting a new online business or want to take your established business online, Shopify gives you an opportunity to set it up without hassle.
It’s important to mention that you don’t have to have any technical skills to get started. Moreover, for a monthly subscription starting from $29, you can build a fully functional online store where you can sell any product you have – physical or digital.
What are Shopify Plans?
Shopify offers 3 different pricing plans for different needs.
Basically, the plan you need depends on your business size.
If you’re just starting your online store for the first time, I highly recommend you start with the Basic Plan and move your way up as your business grows.
Let’s take a look at Shopify Plans and compare their differences:
|SHOPIFY PLANS||BASIC SHOPIFY||SHOPIFY||ADVANCED SHOPIFY|
|Shipping discount||Up to 64%||Up to 72%||Up to 74%|
|Shopify payments||2.9% + 30¢ USD||2.6% + 30¢ USD||2.4% + 30¢ USD|
|Other payments||4.9% + 30¢ USD||3.6% + 30¢ USD||2.9% + 30¢ USD|
Other than these 3 main plans, Shopify also offers additional plans – Shopify Lite and Shopify Plus.
Shopify Lite costs just $9/month and allows you to add shop features to your existing website and accept payments.
Shopify Plus offers enterprise-grade solutions for high-volume merchants and its price is a matter of negotiation based on the features a business needs.
What Can You Sell on Shopify?
There are literally unlimited business ideas you can turn into a reality with Shopify. Let’s take a look at what types of business models you can consider.
Dropshipping model is convenient for many new entrepreneurs as it doesn’t require you to hold inventory in advance. Instead, buyers pay for products you offer and only then you pay the manufacturer to ship that item directly to your customer.
If you can hold the inventory, make products by hand or manufacture it locally, you can set up an e-commerce store using Shopify and handle shipping yourself.
If you provide a highly valuable content on your blog, you could create a member-only access to your content. This way only people who paid for it can read your blog.
Sell a Service
If you own a service-based business, you could offer your customers to book online or in-person consultation through your site.
You can sell a membership product or create member-only access to your content on your website.
For example, you could sell subscription boxes or if you have a yoga studio, you could charge members to access certain content on your website.
Sell Digital Products & Courses
Digital products could include:
- Email templates
- Lightroom presets for photographers
- Audio downloads
- Clothing patterns
How to Start Selling with Shopify?
Setting up your online store on Shopify is pretty straightforward. Let’s go through the process step-by-step so you know what you need to do to start your very first Shopify business successfully.
Step 1 – Sign Up with Shopify & Start Your Free Trial
When you sign up for Shopify for the first time, your free 14-day trial will start. This time is completely enough to set up your basic store and understand if the platform is right for you.
During your sign up process, you’ll be prompted to create your store name, which you can change later on. After filling out a few basic registration fields, you’ll find yourself inside of the Shopify dashboard.
Step 2 – Add Your Products
Once you’re inside the Shopify dashboard, navigate to the ‘Products’ section available at the left side of your screen and click the ‘Add Product’ button.
This is one of the most important parts of setting up your store, so you’ll need to make a number of decisions here.
Let’s go through the process of adding your product step-by-step:
1. Write your product title and description
Make sure your title clearly describes your product in short. Your description should give potential buyers everything they need to know about the product, whether it’s sizing of your item, instructions of use, materials used in the item, etc.
2 – Upload product photos or other media
You can upload following media to showcase your products:
- 3D models
3 – Set your product price
Once you’ve uploaded images and description of your product, it’s time to set your pricing. This is what buyers will pay to get your product.
4 – Indicate inventory
You should fill out the inventory quantity field if you’re holding an inventory. If you’re dropshipping or using print-on-demand service, you can leave inventory fields empty as you don’t need to track your inventory.
5 – Enter shipping details
Entering product dimensions in this field will let Shopify automatically calculate the shipping rates.
6 – Add product variants
If you’re offering more than one variation of your product – e.g. different sizes or colors – this is where you’ll need to list the variations so that users can select their preferred one. You can also set different prices for different variants of your product.
7 – Organize your products into collections and categories
If your store will have multiple different categories of products, you should organize each product indicating which category it belongs to.
8 – Save your changes
Finally, don’t forget to click the Save button at the top right corner of your product page.
Step 3 – Design Your Store
Find the ‘Online Store’ at the left handside of your Shopify dashboard. Here you’ll be able to select the layout and the theme to style your online store. Shopify offers a range of free themes that you can simply select to be applied.
Step 4 – Set Up Your Payments
There are various ways you can accept payments through Shopify, but the most common ones are:
- Shopify payments
Step 5 – Add a Custom Domain
In order for your store to look serious, you need to purchase a custom domain. The domain name should represent your brand and be easy to spell and remember.
The custom domain prices range from $9 – $14 annually and can be purchased right from the Shopify dashboard.
Step 6 – Publish Your Online Store
At this point, your online store is ready to launch. Shopify stores are protected with passwords so that people can’t access your site until it’s finished. So make sure you remove it before you publish it to the large audience.
To remove the password, navigate to Online Store > Preferences > Password Protection and uncheck ‘Enable Password’ field.
What are the Shopify Pros & Cons?
- Easy to use – you can build your online store without any technical skills or professional help
- Allows you to build an e-commerce store with low costs – $29/month
- Great variety of apps allow you to automate your marketing efforts
- Free designs and layouts set you up for success
- 24/7 helpful customer support
- High transaction fees – an additional 2% where Shopify Payments isn’t available
- Not enough flexibility to change the product page layout
Is it Worth Selling with Shopify?
In general, I would say Shopify gives every entrepreneur an excellent opportunity to build their business from scratch without breaking the bank and hiring a large team to get their online store launched.
This alone means it’s worth considering Shopify as a commerce platform.
Moreover, your Shopify store may turn into a lucrative business if you work much on branding and marketing of your products.
Shopify vs BigCommerce
Both Shopify and BigCommerce allow you to easily build your online shop. But if we compare it on a deeper level, we can say that Shopify provides better designs than BigCommerce does.
The two platforms offer the same fee of 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction. While BigCommerce fee doesn’t decrease as you level up your membership, Shopify will charge you slightly less on each level.
Shopify vs Volusion
Just like Shopify, Volusion is an easy-to-use platform. However, Shopify has more advanced sales features than Volusion, while Volusion can boast for its more advanced analytics and data tools.
While the lowest fee Shopify charges you per transaction is 2.4% + 30¢ on Advanced membership, Volusion fees start at 2.15% + 30¢.
Shopify vs Wix
While Wix is known to be the easiest way of building websites without any technical skills, its e-commerce feature isn’t geared towards larger stores. Sure, you can easily build an online store using Wix, but it doesn’t give you much space, apps and features to scale up.
Both Shopify and Wix charge you the same fee per transaction, which is 2.9% + 30¢. But with Shopify, you have an opportunity to minimize that fee when you upgrade your membership.