Shopify Review : An eCommerce Platform To Still Use


What is Shopify and How Does it Work?


Shopify might be one of the best-known brands in the ecommerce world, but not everyone knows what this tool is, or how it works. In simple terms, Shopify is a software that you pay for using the SaaS model – in other words, you subscribe for the service. Usually, if you pay for a year’s worth of support at once, you’ll benefit from a slightly reduced cost.

With Shopify, ecommerce business owners and merchants can create a website and use an in-built shopping cart solution to sell both digital and physical products to customers around the world.

Shopify even offers a system that allows customers to quickly and easily manage things like shipping requirements, and inventory tracking. Using Shopify, you can get access to a state-of-the-art admin panel, where you can see the products you have for sale, write descriptions, process orders and so much more.

Shopify Pricing – How Much Does Shopify Cost?


Here’s a breakdown of the pricing for each plan:

  • Lite Plan – $9 per month + a Buy button
  • Basic Shopify Plan – $29 per month + 2.9% and 30¢ per transaction
  • Shopify Plan– $79 per month + 2.6% and 30¢ per transaction
  • Advanced Shopify Plan – $299 per month + 2.4% and 30¢ per transaction
  • Shopify Plus Plan – pricing plans start around $2000 per month + 2.15% per transaction

It is no secret that we think Shopify is a great ecommerce platform, there is a reason why it tops our list. It used to be that setting up an ecommerce store took a lot of hours as well as a lot of know-how. Today, however, that has changed and setting up an online store only takes a few minutes. With a few mouse clicks and a little typing, you can set up your own online store on the web.

There’s a reason why Shopify is such a popular platform. Perhaps the biggest reason lies in the fact that creating your first online store has never been easier. In the video below, we show you how you can set up your own Shopify online store in less than 15 minutes.

If you want to learn more about Shopify, then you can either sign up for their 14-day free trial, or you can read the full Shopify review here. If you have a Shopify site that needs some work or trying to start a Shopify site from scratch, services like Storetasker can help you find the right developer, and, if you want to discover more ecommerce websites for inspiration check out our sister site ecommerce design.

How to Use Shopify – Step by Step Guide

Sign Up for Shopify


The first stage of setting up your Shopify store is also the easiest. In order to start using Shopify, all you need to do is sign up for an account. Navigate to the Shopify website, and click on the Get Started button. Fill in your desired email address, password and store name.

Remember, you’re going to need to choose a unique name for your store, otherwise Shopify won’t allow you to purchase the domain.

After you click Next, tell Shopify about yourself by specifying how much you plan to sell and if you’re already selling. Click on the Enter My Store button when complete. It will then ask you if you’d like to make a brick and mortar store or an online shop. For this tutorial we’re only going to make an online shop, so select that option and click Next.

The following page asks you to fill in personal information such as your name, address and phone number, all of which is used to configure currencies and tax rates.

Add a Product to Your Shopify Store


Once you’re properly signed up with Shopify, the software will take you directly to the admin screen for your new website. Here is where you’ll be able to start customizing your store and uploading products for your customers to browse through.

When going to your Shopify backend it outlines a nice step-by-step process on how to completely set up your shop. The first button asks you to add a product, so you should click on that first.

The Add product page is similar to something you would see on WordPress. You can fill in details like a title, description, price, and vendor. Feel free to complete however much of the product page you’d like. Just make sure you save the product at the end.

Remember, the images connected to your product can make or break your chances of a sale, so it makes sense to choose images that will appeal to your target audience. Don’t make the mistakes of overlooking the importance of your website visuals.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you can set up collections or groups of products according to your individual needs too. For instance, if you were a clothing website, you would be able to set up a page that was specifically for men’s clothing, or specifically for shoes and accessories.

With Shopify, you can arrange for the same products to show up in a number of different collections, making it easier than ever for your customers to find the items that they need. When you do add a collection to your store, you’ll be able to select how products should be added to it. For instance, you can have products that meet with a certain criteria automatically added to your store.

Customize the Look of Your Shopify Website


Go back to the main dashboard, and select the Customize the Look of Your Site button. This area asks you to customize anything from logos to colors. This takes a bit of tinkering, but the main part you want to focus on is the link that asks you to Visit the Theme store.

While free themes are great, premium themes can be very appealing to. Premium themes will come with extra modifications, so if you want to dive down into the very smallest details of how your website looks, then it might be a good idea to pay a little extra for a professional theme.

You’ll also find that you can make a lot of adjustments to how your site looks and performs if you access the CSS and HTML aspects of the theme. If you don’t have a coding expert in-house, you can always check out the Shopify Experts page for some extra help.

There are plenty of Shopify experts that specialize in product descriptions, Shopify themes, email marketing, and lots more. You can tap into the Shopify Experts community for almost anything.

Some of the things you’ll be able to change about your Shopify theme:

  • Fonts
  • Color schemes
  • Items that appear on the page
  • Related item functionality
  • Homepage carousel slides
  • Logos

Setup Your Domain with Shopify


After you choose your template and design your website to your liking, it’s time to select a domain to make your site official and make it live.

Go back to the dashboard and click on the spot that asks to Add a Domain. This asks you whether you want to transfer a domain or register a new one. Choose the domain you like and walk through the steps to make the purchase. You’ll also need to specify which Shopify payment play you’d like to go with.

Remember, you can either purchase a domain from Shopify and have it added directly to your store, or you can buy your domain name elsewhere and add it into Shopify – it’s totally up to you. You will need to update your DNS records if you’re uploading an existing name, however.

You can also test your order system before you jump into selling online by going to the Admin section of Shopify, clicking on Settings, and going to your Payments settings. From the Payments area, deactivate it before you continue, then select a credit card gateway to test. You can click “Bogus Gateway” for testing, and then place an order just as if you were a normal customer.

How do Shopify Payments work?


Once your Shopify store is ready and set up, the next thing you’ll need to think about is how you’re going to start taking payments from your Shopify customers.

Shopify offers the “Shopify Payments” option is probably one of the simplest ways to access and manage your payments online (read our Shopify Payments review). The Payments system means that you don’t have to set up a merchant account with another provider like Square or Stripe. What’s more, Shopify Payments integrates fully with your online store, so you can view all your payouts as a Shopify admin easily.

If you choose to use Shopify Payments for accepting customer cash, then you’ll need to set up something called a “Pay Period”. Basically, this is the amount of time between the day that your customer places their order on your store, and the time that the order funds are sent to your bank account. Funds from orders placed on Friday and the weekend are usually grouped together and sent in a single payment.

Crucially, just because there’s an option to set automated payout dates on your Shopify account, doesn’t mean that you have to wait forever to receive your money. By default, the Shopify payments gateway will give you the money you’ve earned for a specific day as soon as those funds are processed and therefore available. However, if you’d prefer to get paid weekly, or at another interval rate, then you can choose to do that too. If you select a recurring date for when you hope to be paid, then the payout will be scheduled for that specific day. To schedule your payouts:

  • Go to Settings and Payment Providers
  • Click on “Manage” in Shopify Payments
  • Click on “Payout Details” in the Payout Schedule
  • Click Save

Shopify Payments does come with access to a few useful features, such as payout balances and fee tracking. Within the admin section of your Shopify account, you can sync your payments with their orders, and therefore see how much you’re receiving from an individual order. The Shopify Payments system also comes with just one fee – the card rate that you need to provide to the card company for the transaction. There’s no subscription transaction fee.

A lot of third-party payment processors do come with a subscription fee that you need to pay alongside the price of typical credit card fees.

How Does Shopify Shipping Work?


We addressed Shopify’s shipping options briefly in the sections above. However, if you’re planning on selling physical products from your online store, then you’re going to need a plan for how exactly you’re going to ship items to your customers.

The good news is that the Shopify store builder does come with a built-in suite that allows you to automatically calculate the rates that could be right for you and your customers using reliable sources like DHL, and UPS. With the Shopify Shipping feature, you’ll be able to process online orders rapidly, and print valuable shipping labels without worrying about issues like dealing with additional plugins. This is one of the features that really makes Shopify stand out over other ecommerce website builders.

Unlike other online software solutions like WooCommerce, Shopify has pre-existing arrangements with some of the world’s largest shipping carriers to help customers reduce the costs of serving their customers as much as possible. What’s more, shipping features are included in every Shopify platform, to find them, you just need to go into your Settings page and click on the Shipping option.

To make the most out of Shopify Shipping for your business, you’ll need to make sure that you fill out all the available details that you can. This means listing dimensions and weights for your products and your available variations. Once you have your carriers linked in with Shopify, you’ll be able to start fulfilling orders for your customers.

Usually, there will be several shipping options available underneath your product information. You’ll be able to choose to leave your customers to choose the selected speed that’s right for them, or you can upgrade your customer to a cheaper or faster service. Remember, while Shopify gives you the option to choose from a wide range of shipping options on your back-end, your customers will only see the calculated shipping rates that you’ve already given them.

How Does Shopify Dropshipping Work?


One of the main reasons why people love using Shopify as their online store building solution, is that it’s incredible flexible. You don’t have to follow a one-size-fits-all strategy for selling. With Shopify, there are many different ways to sell the products that appeal most to you.

One option is to switch from the standard store and ship strategy, to dropshipping. Dropshipping is quickly becoming one of the most popular methods of order fulfilment available in the market, because you don’t have to find places to store and manage your products before you deliver it to customers. Additionally, with dropshipping, there’s no risk that you’re going to end up spending all of your money on stock, just to find that you can’t shift that stock when you need to.

Dropshipping allows merchants to choose a supplier or someone else in the eCommerce world to do the fulfilment part of the sales process for them. You simply list an item that another person has on your website, and when someone orders the product, you send their details through to the company that you’re dropshipping with. That company will then send the item to the customer.

Only a handful of tools available for CRM management ecommerce store building can offer dropshipping at this point. Fortunately, Shopify is one of them. Shopify offers a range of ways for you to take dropshipping credit card orders as part of your Shopify plan.

With Shopify dropshipping, you can link digital products and physical products from dropshippers to your website with services like Oberlo. Oberlo is a dedicated dropshipping app that works exclusively with the Shopify environment.

How Does Print on Demand Work with Shopify?


If you’re currently learning how to make Shopify work for you, and dropshipping isn’t your preferred option, then you can always look for other ways to enhance your ecommerce store. For instance, one of the advanced Shopify features available for today’s users includes “Print on Demand”.

If you’ve never heard of Print on Demand before, it’s a lot like dropshipping, in the way that you’re working with a third-party supplier. With print on demand, you create a pricing plan with a supplier who customizes white label products for you, like bags and hats. It’s a great way for online businesses to add something unique to their sales strategy. Learn more about the Print on Demand online business strategy here.

Like dropshipping with Shopify, the print on demand Shopify account ecommerce solution works through add-ons that you can implement into your Shopify experience. You’ll find dozens of tools on the Shopify app store that you can use to bring customization to your ecommerce site. Most of these add-ons are very user-friendly and convenient. For instance, some of the add-on options include:

What is Shopify Lite?


If you’ve been searching through Shopify account options lately, wondering which one might be suitable for you, then you may have come across the Shopify Lite account. The Shopify Lite plan is a solution for anyone who already has an existing website that they just want to upgrade with some state-of-the-art Shopify functionality.

Essentially, if you want to sell products without maintaining an entire ecommerce store for your company, then Shopify Lite could be just the thing for you. This plan allows users to sell their items on social media, add shopping carts to existing blogs and more. What’s more, although it’s available for a very low price, the plan comes with access to all of the standard Shopify point of sale systems that you need. There’s no option to build your own website or fiddle around with things like SEO (Search engine optimization) or domain names with Shopify Lite. However, you can use the application to access a point of sale when you’re selling at tradeshows or pop-up stores.

The Shopify Lite is perfect for social media selling and basic Shopify shopping cart features, and it comes at a much lower pricing plan than most of the other options on Shopify. For only $9 per month, you can embed shopping cart functionality into any existing website, whether it’s with Wix, Magneto, Squarespace, or something else entirely.

Selling on Facebook with Shopify Lite


The Shopify Lite plan is appealing to some companies because it also allows them to take the selling out of the ecommerce site and into social media. If you’re looking for a new sales channel to help you capture your audience and sell more products, Shopify Lite offers a fully integrated Facebook store option.

The Sell on Facebook option comes with a fully-integrated store for your Facebook account, which allow you to sell your products seamlessly on Facebook. Shopify Lite will also merge with the existing Facebook Business account that you already have set up for your business. The system creates a Shop tab for your social media campaign which comes with product galleries and a secure shopping cart. The Shop tab will also be fully mobile optimized for on-the-go buying too.

The merged experience between Shopify Lite and Facebook Business will simplify your product management strategy by putting all of your product information and any changes you need to make into the Facebook space. You won’t have to worry about updating pricing and availability or even product descriptions and product images on both channels.

The user-friendly interface available with Shopify Lite also comes with collection ordering only available in Shopify. If you save this feature in Shopify, everything changes on your Facebook account. When your products are no longer available or out of stock, then Shopify will automatically remove that item from your store, so you don’t disappoint your customers.

What is the Shopify Button?


Aside from selling through Facebook with Shopify Lite, you can also take also routes to gain revenue. For instance, there’s also the option to explore the benefits of the Shopify Buy Button. This simple button allows users to add ecommerce functionality WordPress, Tumblr, Magneto, and other websites. All you need to do is embed a buy button into your store.

The really cool thing about the Shopify Buy button is that its customizable to suit any theme, and shopping carts also offer safe checkouts too. You can even head over to the Shopify Experts community for a developer if you need some extra help.

Essentially, with a Shopify Buy Button, you can add products to your blog post and external website without having to build a full ecommerce website. Buy buttons make it easier to purchase products and services by allowing customers to purchase something without having to go to a separate online page to finalize their purchase.

A buy button is a lot like giving your customers a shortcut to accessing your products. You can add buy buttons to your site or blog without having to purchase a full account from Shopify. You’ll also be able to track the orders that customers implement through your buy button using your Shopify admin account. Although you don’t get a full back-end system with Shopify Lite and Shopify buttons, you’ll still be able to keep track of where and how you’re selling online.

Creating Amazon Listings for your Product


There are a few more things that you’ll need to do before you can begin selling with Amazon using Shopify. For instance, you’ll need to purchase something called a UPC for your products. This is basically a unique identifier for your item. If you don’t give Amazon a UPC or an ISBN for your products, then you’ll end up with nothing but error messages.

If you’re using the dropshipping method to resell someone else’s products, then you might already have access to UPCs that you can use. However, if you’ve made the product yourself, then you’ll need to purchase a UPC instead. If you’re an Amazon registered brand, then Amazon waives this requirement for you.

With your UPC lined up, if you’re not currently selling on Amazon, then you’ll need to start making some product listings that convince your audience to buy whatever you have to sell. You can design and implement product listings from within your Shopify account. Simply head over to the Amazon sales channel and fill in the details required. If your product has been made by another brand, you might need to include some specific information shared by that brand.

If you’re not sure what to write, you can always check out Amazon’s search function to see if something similar has already been posted on Amazon.

How Does Shopify Work with eBay?


Amazon isn’t the only merchant environment that you might want to sell with when you get started on Shopify. If you want to expand your sales strategy even further, then you could choose to explore the Shopify and eBay integration too. After all, eBay does have around 170 million buyers to appeal to all around the world.

Just like Shopify’s integrations with Facebook and Amazon, you can expect the eBay integration to sync naturally with your Shopify store. All you need to do is change a couple of things in your admin account to get started.

Start by adding all the products that you want to sell on eBay to your Shopify account, then sync your product information in the available eBay sales channel to create a new eBay listing. You won’t need to manually enter the same product information twice this way, which should save you some time and effort. Shopify also saves you some hassle by allowing you to sync your available inventory on Shopify with all the active sales channels that you have accounts for. Remember, you will need a sellers account on eBay to start selling products that way through Shopify.

Selling Offline with Shopify


Clearly, there are a lot of ways to shop and sell online with Shopify – but what if you want to get out into the world and meet your customers in person? Can you still access the excellent functionality of the Shopify experience? You can with the Shopify POS feature.

If you’re selling in person at pop-up stores, exhibitions and markets, then Shopify Lite comes with a standard point-of-sale feature, including the option to accept credit card payments in-person using PayPal, Square or Stripe. With Shopify Lite, you’ll also access a plug-and-play card reader that you can take with you on the road if you need to accept payments online and offline.

The POS feature allows companies to accept credit card payments, customize tax requirements, and apply discounts. You can also offer to ship products at checkout, process refunds, and take gift cards for partial payment. Shopify also comes with its own dedicated POS team as part of the deal. You even get automatic inventory syncing across all the channels that you’re selling with!

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