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Shopify Review 2021: What Is Shopify & How Does It Work?

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Shopify Review

Shopify logo

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.

Rating

4.8

Safe & Legit

Service Fees

Earning Potential

Payout Process

Pros

  • Sell anything and anywehere on Shopify
  • Extremely quick way to start your own e-commerce store
  • 14 days free trial available
  • Thousands of apps available to improve your store

Cons

  • No free plan available (from $29 per month)
  • Additional transaction fees for using external payment gateways

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Hostgator

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Up to 60% discounts for purchasing hosting plans for more than 12 months in advance

Unmetered bandwidth – no limit to traffic that your site may get

Teachable

Teachable logo

One-stop-shop platform helping you create, market and sell your online courses

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Shopify

Shopify logo

Sell anything and anywehere on Shopify (E-commerce, Dropshipping)

Extremely quick way to start your own e-commerce store (6 steps process)

14 days free trial with thousands of apps to improve your store

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
Price $29/month $79/month $299/month
Online store
Online blog
Unlimited products
Staff accounts 2 5 15
Shipping discount Up to 64% Up to 72% Up to 74%
Discount codes
Gift cards
Fraud analysis
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.

Drophsipping

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.

what is dropshipping

E-Commerce Store

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. 

Blog

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.

how to start a 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.

Membership Program

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: 

  • E-books
  • Email templates
  • E-courses
  • Lightroom presets for photographers
  • Audio downloads 
  • Printables
  • 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:

  • Photos
  • GIFs
  • Videos
  • 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:

  • Stripe
  • Shopify payments
  • PayPal
  • Skrill 

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?


Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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 Alternatives


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.

Shopify

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