Shopify is a great selling option for businesses of all sizes since it is an all-inclusive platform.
Businesses can easily create and maintain an online store for an affordable monthly price.
You can promote, sell, and ship your products directly from the Shopify platform.
We have interacted with numerous Shopify users to understand what they like or dislike about the platform, and how it helps them improve their business.
Based on this research, we have prepared this guide that will provide you valuable insights into how to sell on Shopify, the plans to choose, how it works, and the best tools that can help you build your own online store.
Shopify’s developers state that their leadership and expertise in commerce are derived from the millions of merchants using the platform.
In short, the success of various sellers powers the minds behind the platform to forecast and build necessary features.
Table Of Contents
- Which Businesses Can Benefit From Shopify?
- How Does Shopify Work?
- How to Use Shopify
- Why Should You Try Shopify?
- Cost of Selling on Shopify
- How to Sell on Shopify
- Widest Ecommerce App Store and Theme Store
- Limitations of Shopify
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
- Final Thoughts
Which Businesses Can Benefit From Shopify?
Shopify eCommerce allows for the sale of almost all digital products, physical products, and drop-shipped products.
Some of the more popular merchandise that people buy on Shopify include:
- Beauty supplies
- Handcrafted goods
- Online classes
- Digital products
- Gift Cards
The only rule you need to be aware of while selling on Shopify is that the merchandise cannot be illegal or prohibited.
This means you cannot sell tobacco, alcohol, drugs, fireworks, e-cigarettes, firearms, weapons, video game credits, or currency.
The list is subject to change.
For instance, Shopify updated its policy regarding CBD products.
They allow the sale of CBD products if it is derived lawfully from hemp.
Shopify is best suited to businesses that do all or the majority of their businesses online since its unique features are relevant for online sales.
In particular, if your business model involves customers that frequently make repeat purchases, you can use the add-on feature for making the checkouts easier and faster.
This can help reduce the number of overall abandoned carts while boosting customer loyalty.
These are a few types of businesses that cannot sell on Shopify:
- Drug paraphernalia
- Psychic services
- Travel services
- Adult content
- Phone services
- Extended warranties
- Multilevel marketing
- Investment, credit, money, or legal services
- Virtual currency services
- Products that make unverified health claims
- Cannabis, tobacco, e-cigarettes, and online pharmacies
How Does Shopify Work?
Shopify has the major benefit of unifying all commerce on a single platform.
Merchants can easily build and personalize their online store with Shopify.
They can sell through multiple channels, including mobile, web, in-person, pop-up shops, brick-and-mortar locations, social media, and online marketplaces.
Shopify is cloud-based and hosted allowing access from any connected compatible device.
The team takes care of the software, maintenance, and server upgrades.
This gives users the flexibility of accessing and running their business from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection.
The commerce business needs an array of tools for managing products, payments, inventory, and shipping on any given day.
You may be spending a lot of time and money without realizing it just connecting disparate data and systems together.
Shopify offers all the tools and apps necessary to ensure seamless access and integration of data and business systems and helps the users showcase products, accept payments, engage with customers, and more.
Consider Shopify as a facilitator program working to streamline the process of selling products online.
Keep reading if you are still wondering what does Shopify do or how it works.
How to Use Shopify
Shopify has a simple user interface that doesn’t take a lot of getting used to.
You are good to go as long as you choose the right Shopify option (solution/features).
You can think of the various Shopify options as tiers or layers.
You need to make the right choices to build what you want for your business.
Layer 1: Core Product
Everyone gets this layer as soon as they purchase a Shopify plan. You get everything needed for turning your business idea into a reality and get started selling.
You can choose from multiple templates for your online store, get the right tools for selling in multiple online spaces, and integrate payment processing.
The core product is the foundation on which all the other applications and products are built.
You also have access to Shopify APIs and development tools for customizing your online store’s capabilities further.
Layer 2: Additional Products and Services
Every business is unique and has needs that evolve according to its growth. This is why Shopify offers customers powerful upgrades for helping them grow their business.
You get easier access to accelerated payment options, capital, and other products and services. Shopify has curated these to give a leg up to independent business owners.
Layer 3: Trusted Apps
There are thousands of apps on the Shopify App Store that are built by third-party developers for customizing online stores.
You don’t need to touch the code of your store. Additional apps and features will make this a reality.
Whether you want the hottest new social media ad tool or the latest SMS app – the Shopify store has it.
If you want you can dabble in the code yourself or hire a Shopify Expert to build custom solutions for your online store.
Why Should You Try Shopify?
Supports an Entire Ecommerce Community
Shopify is home to the most diverse and largest set of merchants, entrepreneurs, partners, and developers whether it is online or offline.
The platform empowers entrepreneurs all around the world for creating, connecting, and innovating their businesses.
Entrepreneurs are provided the necessary building blocks and tools for being successful in eCommerce.
Shopify believes there should be more unique experiences, stories, and voices. They have designed their platform to provide the greatest flexibility, extensibility, and expression.
Integrated Commerce Platform
Shopify doesn’t just centralize an entire commerce business. It also offers the widest set of integrations built on a shared technical framework.
You get to access a broad depth and breadth of apps, themes, surfaces, channels, experiences, and products.
Absorbs Unnecessary Complexity
Independent businesses, on average, find it difficult to start, scale and succeed in this world. Shopify tries to even the playing field by giving entrepreneurs access to growth tools.
Built to Scale
You will never lack features and technology on Shopify regardless of your technical growth, maturity, size, location, and complexity.
You will never outgrow Shopify as your business needs evolve, change, or scale.
Cost of Selling on Shopify
These are the various available plans:
- Shopify Lite: You do not get an online store builder but a Shopify “buy button” for $9/month
- Basic Shopify: You can get a buy button, an online store with 2 staff accounts, in-person selling, and up to 4 inventory locations (warehouses and in-person stores among others) for $29/month
- Shopify: This plan includes 5 staff accounts, all selling channels, 5 inventory locations, discounted transaction fees, and discounted credit card rates for $79/month
- Advanced Shopify: This plan includes 15 staff accounts, all selling channels, 8 inventory locations, further discounted transaction fees and credit card rates, custom international product pricing/variants, and duties and import collections for $299/month
- Shopify Plus: You would need to request for price
How to Sell on Shopify
Shopify can be used for selling both online and offline. The platform offers several impressive ways to sell merchandise that is unmatched by most eCommerce platforms.
You can use Shopify to create an eCommerce website and sell online.
This is a cloud-based software, which means you can set up a website with your own domain name, web hosting, inventory management, and shipping functionalities.
You can customize your store with a sleek template and use a drag-and-drop editor.
You can launch your website after adding digital and physical inventory.
There are over 4,200 available apps on the Shopify store platform for adding specific features, such as a buy-now-pay-later option or email marketing.
You can create a live online store in just 30 minutes depending on the level of stylizing and complexity.
You can sell in person using the Shopify POS (point of sale) app.
This can be done using an iPad, tablet, mobile device, or dedicated POS hardware from Shopify.
You don’t need an online store for selling in person. The Shopify POS lite is free with the Shopify Lite plan.
Sell In-Person and Online
Shopify allows nonprofits and retail store owners among others to accept donations or sell in person as well as online.
You need to create a website and sync the POS app and store together to do this. The platform allows for real-time monitoring of stock levels and revenue.
Sell on Social Media
There are several platforms you can sell on using the Shopify social media integrations or the Shopify buy button.
You can use:
- Facebook Messenger
Sales conversions get a boost when the customers don’t need to leave the social media platform for making a sale.
Shopify can be connected with sales channels, such as Walmart Marketplace, Etsy, Amazon Marketplace, Google Shopping, and eBay to create a strategy for omnichannel selling.
You need to connect the Shopify store with seller accounts on different platforms to do this. After that, you are able to sell from different places online.
Widest Ecommerce App Store and Theme Store
You can use the available templates for building your online shop.
However, for a more profitable online presence and selling strategy, you may want to consider the following factors:
- Customer service
The Shopify app and theme store is one of the widest in the online space.
You can find all the tools necessary for creating the perfect store management and sales strategy.
Shopify doesn’t add features on its platform to solve all business problems.
Instead, they prioritize making it flexible with the ability to address evolving complexities.
You can be sure to find every solution you need to tailor your business needs.
There’s an app for every need – adding customer reviews, adding visual try-ons, or managing accounting among others.
The best part is you are not limited to the Shopify App Store.
You can hire someone to dabble with the code or do it on your own.
You can customize every single aspect of your customer’s shopping experience. For instance,
- Build a theme from scratch or customize an existing theme
- Build custom apps using Shopify’s API and developer tools
- Power custom experiences by using APIs, like selling products in an online game
Shopify doesn’t ask its customers to trade easy accessibility and use for control and customization.
You get to create rich and unique experiences through up-and-running campaigns.
Limitations of Shopify
Now you have the answer to what Shopify is and how it works.
These are a few disadvantages to using Shopify:
Add-Ons Are Expensive
Shopify offers only the most basic features.
The software doesn’t provide many advanced features.
This means you would need to find the features as add-on options.
This is also known as apps.
These are not free.
In fact, you may double the monthly fees by adding just three apps to your account.
Most popular shopping carts have dropped transaction fees entirely.
However, Shopify has still retained a 0.5% to 2.0% transaction fee as per the pricing plan.
When accepting payments through Shopify Payments, you may waive these transaction fees.
Shopify Payments is not the best payment processor in the world.
It has received its fair share of complaints.
Poor Customer Support
Shopify was widely regarded for its customer support in the past.
Moreover, there have been mixed reports where recent customer reviews are concerned.
There have been users that were not entirely impressed by the support received.
Others complained that the support representatives were unable to help them resolve their concerns and issues.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is basically a cloud-based selling platform that provides all-inclusive tools, services, and features for a monthly subscription.
It comes without an extensive learning curve and is easy to use.
The platform is an excellent solution for majority of small businesses and independent merchants looking to grow or start online sales.
Does Shopify Offer Better Results Than Amazon?
Amazon has carved a niche for itself.
This is a huge marketplace that can bring a lot of exposure to your brand.
With that said, intense seller competition and high Amazon seller fees has pushed businesses to create their own online store on Shopify.
But, it doesn’t have to be one or the other.
You can link your Amazon seller account and Shopify store to sell from both platforms.
How Much Does Shopify Cost?
The three most popular plans on Shopify are Advanced Shopify for $299/month, Shopify for $79/month, and Basic Shopify for $29/month.
If you don’t want an online store, you can choose Shopify Lite which costs $9/month.
Huge eCommerce operations prefer Shopify Plus, which is price on request, but generally starts at $2,000/month.
How Do I Start Selling on Shopify?
There is not much you need to do to start selling on Shopify. You need a credit card to purchase your store and an item to sell. Shopify makes things that easy.
Can I Use My Domain Name?
It’s easy to use your domain name with Shopify.
You would need to ask your domain registrar to point the domain to Shopify servers or register your domain with Shopify by logging in as store admin.
Shopify has proved itself as an excellent shopping cart for small businesses and online sellers.
It has a reasonable pricing model, easy to use interface, and the widest range of customizable themes.
The platform is frequently recommended by experts.
Based on this, you should consider signing up for a free trial before you commit yourself to the software.
There is a 14-day free trial which can give you a feel of the store.