In this article, we will discuss what is Shopify, how does Shopify work and pros and cons of this e-commerce platform. You have finally decided to start your own e-commerce website. When you start researching the platforms that can be used to set up an online shop, you must have come across the name Shopify multiple times. There are several other options such as WordPress or various other e-commerce solutions but there are very few solutions that come close to the ease of use Shopify offers. Everything You Want To Know About the online store.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an online platform that allows anyone to start their own e-commerce shop quickly. It is a software as a service solution wherein Shopify takes care of everything technical you need to build your own e-commerce shop. It is so easy to use that you can start selling your products on your own store in just a few hours even when you do not know anything about coding or programming. You just need to click a few buttons to set up your store.
One of the biggest reasons Shopify has become so popular is the ease of use of setting up an online shop. Before Shopify and other similar options, selling products online was not that easy, especially the technical part. Anyone interested in selling products online had to hire the services of an agency to build an online store for them or they had to learn everything from scratch if they wanted to do everything on their own.
Both these options cost a lot of money, not only for the initial setup but also for regular support and security. Shopify takes care of all these things as you don’t need to worry about hosting, dealing with databases, integrating with shipping providers, integrating with payment gateways, security and technical support among other things. Simply put, Shopify has taken the pain out of setting up your own online store.
How does Shopify Work
In this section, we will cover how you can launch your own Shopify store in just a few hours.
Visit the website and sign up for an account. You don’t need to pay for your store initially as they offer a 14 day free trial. You will be asked to choose a unique name for your store. You will also have to provide certain other details including your name, contact number and other such things to complete the signup.
2. Setting up Shop
After signing up, you will be taken straight to the admin screen. Here you can customize your store, set up payment and shipping and also upload products.
At first, you will be asked to choose a theme for the store. All the official themes are supported by the platform which means you will always have the required support from the designers. You have the option of choosing the default theme but it will make your store look like a cookie cutter store. It is recommended to choose a premium theme.
You will have to pay for the theme but it is worth it. Almost all the themes in the store also allow you to make modifications to make your store more unique. You can also play around with HTML and CSS if you have experience with these. In case you do not have any kind of coding experience but still want to make changes to your theme, you can always utilize the services of Shopify Experts for complete customization of your online store.
You should visit the Shopify theme store in order to choose a completely unique looking theme for your store. There is also a good selection of completely free themes. In addition to the Shopify marketplace, several other online marketplaces also sell themes for Shopify stores.
Different types of themes have different functionalities. Make sure your theme is responsive to make it mobile ready. Don’t forget to read the reviews. You can also preview the theme. Once you have chosen the theme, you will need to select it and install it. Do not worry too much about theme at this stage as you can always come back later and change the theme.
3. Editing Your Store
Once you go back to the admin screen, you will have several options to edit the theme in order to make your store look unique. There is a customize theme button in the admin screen. Click on it if you want to play around with the settings and test out various features in order to figure out the capabilities of your online store.
Some of the things you can play around with include font choices, logo, number of items appearing on each line, different types of color schemes and other such things. You can also re-position various elements.
4. Uploading Products
The next step is to add the products you want to sell on your online store. In this section, you need to add all the details of your product. This is your chance to set yourself apart from the competition by providing as much information as possible about the product. In many cases, store owners choose to add the description and features provided by the product manufacturer. It is recommended to create your own unique description and features in order to make it unique as it helps with SEO. You will also need to upload the product pictures. Product pictures can make a lot of difference when it comes to conversion rate.
You also have the option to set up collections wherein you can group certain products together in order to make it easy for your customers to buy everything together. For instance, you might want to make a collection of certain types of towels, lamps or other such things. Similarly, you can club together products in certain colors and sizes. Usually, these collections are displayed in the navigation bar and on the homepage.
You can set up collections manually as well as automatically. For setting up automatic selection, you will need to set up conditions in order to group together products that satisfy certain criteria.
5. Setting up Payment Gateway
As the name suggests, a payment gateway is what allows your customers to pay you through your website. There are a number of payment gateways you can use. It is recommended to check the features, rates and other things that are important for you before choosing a payment gateway. Keep in mind that there is a lot of difference in the quality of service offered by different payment gateways.
Some of the important parameters you need to look at are the transaction fees, reputation, security, type of cards you can accept along with off-site checkout. Offsite check out simply means that the payment is be made on the gateway website through their own form instead of your own store. An important thing you should keep in mind is that the transaction fees charged by the payment gateway are in addition to the transaction fees charged by Shopify.
6. Business Information and Taxes
You also need to provide business information in the settings area for information and taxation purposes. In the settings area, you also have the option of updating your Google Analytics code in order to track everything on your website. In case you are required to charge taxes, you will find this option in the settings area.
You will find the shipping option in the settings area. Just fill in the required details as it has everything you need to setup your shipping process. You have the option of deciding the amount you want to charge for shipping. Shopify also makes it easy to integrate certain well-known apps in order to make your delivery process smoother.
8. Test Your Store
Once you have completed the setup, it is time to test your store by making a transaction. There is a bogus gateway that allows you to simulate a transaction. Make use of it and check the process whether everything has been set up correctly.
If everything has been set up correctly, you should now test your store using a real payment gateway. Place an order like a real customer and complete the checkout process. It is recommended to cancel that order in order to avoid the transaction fees. You should also check your payment gateway to ensure that the sale went through.
9. Publish Your Website
If you are happy with your store, you now need to publish it in order to allow real sales to happen. When you’re using the free trial, people can’t view your store as it is password protected. You will have to upgrade to one of the paid plans in order to make your site live.
You have the option of starting a 14 days free trial wherein you can customize your Shopify store and check out various processes to make sure that is what you want. Once you have tested everything and are ready to publish your website, you will need to choose a paid plan.
Currently Shopify offers three plans. The cheapest plan cost $ 29 per month which is a basic store and Shopify recommends it for a completely new business. Another option is a $ 79 per month store wherein you have a few extra features and this is the option you should upgrade to once you have a growing business. There is also the option of an advanced store that costs $ 299 per month with a few extra features. It is recommended to start your store with the cheapest plan and then move to the costlier tiers if your business continues to grow.
Shopify is a powerful platform to start your own e-commerce store but what makes it truly unique is the App Store. Currently, you have the option of choosing from more than 2500 premium and free apps available in the marketplace. These apps are used by almost every Shopify store owner.
Many of these apps allow you to make your store look better but there are also other apps that provide additional functionality to help you manage and scale your business better. You can choose among apps for accounting, social media, shipping and other such things.
Pros and Cons
One of the biggest advantages of using Shopify is that it is extremely easy to use. It has an intuitive interface that allows anyone to create their own online store in just a few clicks.
The platform offers complete customization through different themes and apps. You can also hire Shopify Experts to further customize your store.
The company offers complete support 24 x 7 which means you do not need to worry about the technical aspects of running an online store.
It is a completely secure platform.
It keeps your running costs as low as you can choose the cheapest plan that currently costs $ 29 per month to create an online store.
As far as cons are concerned, there are a few. In order to make your store unique and to add some functionality, you will need to buy a professional team and you will also have to invest in some premium apps. However, the cost of premium themes and apps is worth it.
Shopify also charges transaction fees in addition to the transaction fees charged by your chosen payment gateway.
Overall, Shopify offers an excellent solution for creating your own e-commerce store. It offers fair and completely transparent pricing. You are also free to customize your store with the help of free as well as paid themes. You can also add different kinds of functionality to your store with the help of free and premium apps. Currently, the platform powers over 800,000 stores which makes it one of the most popular e-commerce solution providers in business today.
If you are looking to create your own online store, you should give it a try using the free trial option and if you are satisfied with the platform, upgrade to a paid plan and start selling online.