There are many eCommerce platforms for you to choose from. However, none are as easy to use and powerful as the Shopify eCommerce solution. You can start your shopify store in a matter of minutes.

And once it’s up and running, Shopify handles everything else: payments, shipping rates calculations, allocation of inventory between different online channels like Amazon or eBay (or even brick-and-mortar stores)—you name it.

In this article, we look at Shopify’s rich feature set and how you can use it to design your website, add products and fulfill orders. We also cover the most common factors that may help you decide if Shopify is the right choice for your business.


What Is Shopify & How Does It Work?

SHOPIFY

Shopify is a hosted e-commerce platform that allows you to design a website for your products. You can also integrate an online store with social media, marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, or even use it as the basis of a blog to build an audience.

When someone visits your Shopify eCommerce site, they will see only those products that are available in your shop (rather than every product from all of your suppliers). This makes the shopping experience better—less overwhelming—for customers who want to purchase items online.

You select from different templates that match your branding but remember these can be customized by any designer familiar with HTML and CSS. And perhaps most importantly: if you know web design then you’ll instantly feel at home on the Shopify eCommerce platform.

Once your site goes live, you can easily promote it using social media networks like Facebook or Pinterest—Shopify takes care of that for you.

You can also send newsletters by exporting contacts from Gmail, Outlook, or any other email client. With just a few clicks you’ll be able to add coupon codes (a great way to attract new customers), product reviews, and videos, too.

Shopify eCommerce solution has tons of shopify apps you can install right from the app market. These allow you to integrate other services like MailChimp, Twitter, and Instagram.

Obviously, Shopify has robust payment options as well. You can accept major credit cards such as Visa, American Express, Mastercard, Discover, and JCB via Shopify Payments.

If you already have a lot of products on an external e-commerce platform that cannot be moved to Shopify automatically, don’t worry: they offer an import service that makes it painless to move your inventory over from other carts.


What Sets Shopify eCommerce Platform Apart?

On top of the many features we’ve just mentioned, Shopify stands out in two areas.

First, it has an all-inclusive pricing plan that is very affordable – there is no need to pay extra for physical stores (i.e., local fulfillment) or order management tools.

Of course, you are not locked in: Shopify payments are processed through a secure third party and you can accept payments via credit cards as well as Apple Pay and Android Pay.

The flexibility doesn’t stop here! You can move between shopify plans easily without any service disruption—just keep in mind that your Shopify eCommerce store will remain online until you cancel your plan.

The second reason why so many businesses choose Shopify is because of its extensive support network. Your support team is a real human being who can help you with any issue related to your store and the Shopify eCommerce platform.

You can also access resources like tutorials, a web page for developers (if you are so inclined), and an online marketplace that contains nearly everything you might need for running an online store.

Shopify is priced more affordably than Magento, which is another popular way to build a store—but it comes at the cost of greater technical complexity.

Volusion and BigCommerce have also established players but they are aimed mainly at small businesses selling local products. Etsy lets you sell only handmade or vintage products, not mass-produced ones.


Shopify eCommerce Features You Should Know About:

Here are some of the major features that are included in Shopify plans.


Ease of Use

Setting up an online Shopify eCommerce shop isn’t difficult. You can get your shop up and running in minutes. It is logically structured and easy to navigate.

Orders can be viewed in a table, but they are displayed more attractively using the grid view. It has a clean appearance, with an uncluttered top bar and toolbar.

Designing and managing your eCommerce website shouldn’t be a pain in the neck — especially if you’re selling products online. The key is finding an eCommerce platform that streamlines every step of your workflow so you can focus on building relationships with customers.

Check out this video and learn how you can set up your Shopify store the right way

If you’re new to selling online, this is the ideal platform for you because of its wide variety of tutorials and educational resources available on the website. You can also take advantage of free webinars and e-books to help acquire knowledge about running successful online businesses.


Unlimited Products & Categories

You can add as many products and categories to your shopify store, you can also have an unlimited number of orders, sales, customers, and traffic—no wonder more than 50% of eCommerce businesses on the web host their business on this platform. Your Shopify store is limited only by your imagination.

If you’re selling similar products, there are tools like product bundling to help you get more out of your inventory, increase sales, and reduce overhead costs. Digital products are also supported.

With product variations (i.e., different colors and sizes), you can easily offer customized products that let customers select from a range of options, thereby making their shopping experience more interactive. 

The drag and drop importing tool makes it easy to import items and product variations from external sources, including eBay, Etsy, Google Sheets, Magento, BigCommerce, and CSV files.


Shopify Accounting & Analytics

Shopify’s built-in accounting tools include sales reports that make managing your online store a breeze – you can generate detailed sales reports that show how much you’ve made via your Shopify eCommerce store.

The reporting features are excellent and they give you the tools to see in detail how your online store is performing. The reports show everything from a high-level overview of your sales, including tax rates, down to detailed information about individual orders.

Shopify comes with built-in analytics tools for tracking how your store is performing. The reports can be customized to show sales by product, date, and location where the sale was made.

There’s also a built-in tagging system for reporting on other information about what is happening with your products, customers, orders, and inventory. Analytics are an important part of any business that specializes in online selling, and Shopify has a wealth of them.


Expert Advice

Shopify has a dedicated team of experts who can guide you every step of the way when it comes to setting up your shopify store, choosing a design and theme, building your business, marketing your products/services, and leveraging the existing global e-commerce community on Shopify Plus. Shopify support is available 24/7 via phone, email, or live chat.


Easily Sell Cross-Border:

Checkout is simplified, meaning you can sell your products to customers in foreign markets without having to complete additional regulatory compliance checks.

Shopify automatically displays prices in the customer’s local currency and provides a payment solution for their preferred payment options (for example PayPal).

Once the order has been submitted to your Shopify eCommerce store, it will be fulfilled by a third-party shipping company. You don’t have to pay an extra fee either for this service—Shopify covers all fees associated with selling abroad.


Shopify Marketing Features:

Shopify offers an effective marketing suite.

Email Marketing – sends personalized receipts and abandoned cart emails (along with powerful segmentation) to encourage customers to complete their transactions.

You can also add customer data from other sources, like your CRM or mailing list manager. The email marketing feature can help you build a long-term relationship with your customers.

shopify marketing

Social Media – easily integrate your social media accounts to enable selling on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. The Sales channels allow for cross-promotion and track clicks. The sales channels also help you to extend your customer reach, boost sales, and grow your online business, all from one single place.

Advertising – create your Google Shopping ads, or run a Google AdWords campaign to drive customers straight to your website. Now integrated with Product Discounts—a feature that allows you to offer coupons and discounts for specific products, which comes in handy if you’re running a sale.

SHOPIFY ADS

Promotions – create promotions and vouchers for flash sales or site-wide discounts. You can also offer coupons and gift cards.

Affiliate Programs – promote other people’s products as an affiliate from within Shopify. Your customers will thank you because they won’t have to leave the comfort of your store!

Social sharing buttons are displayed prominently across all pages of your shopify store to encourage customers to share content on popular social networks.

You can also place an Instagram widget on your shopify store’s homepage (although you can’t post to Instagram directly from Shopify). Shopify also offers a variety of templates for you to use as inspiration when designing your site.


Mobile-Oriented Design:

Mobile devices and tablets are rapidly overtaking desktops as the preferred medium for accessing content online.

Shopify was among the first e-commerce platforms to offer a mobile app—Shopify POS—which enables you to run your business on Apple or Android smartphones and tablets. You can sell using these devices anywhere at any time (as long as they are connected to the internet).

DESIGN

Shopify’s mobile site is also very user-friendly. Even on a smaller screen, customers can view your product catalogs and add products to their carts.


Shopify store Themes

Shopify store themes are already mobile-optimized and ready to go. You can use the free themes available to get your Shopify store started.

Check out the Shopify Theme Store for inspiration or contact a Shopify eCommerce Expert to build you a custom design suited to your brand.

\THEMES

When you open an online store, customers expect professional branding—a consistent look and feel across all of your platforms that is uniquely yours.

Shopify drag and drop store builder makes it easy for anyone with zero coding experience to build their own unique site, whether they’re selecting from one of our hundreds of professionally designed themes or from scratch. Choose any font and color scheme and express yourself!

No need to upload files separately—select different elements (e.g., sign-up bars, images, and text) and position them seamlessly across all of your pages.


Security:

Shopify prides itself on being one of the more reliable e-commerce platforms out there—it has never had any major security breaches or lapses in service that would endanger customer data.

This can be attributed to its extremely rigorous testing procedures before new features are released to production and multiple layers of defense against DDoS attacks and spam. Shopify boasts high uptime rates (99.98% for paid plans) which means you won’t face downtime when running your shopify store.


Multiple Payment methods:

Shopify accepts debit and credit cards from Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. It also accepts PayPal if you upgrade to a Pro account.

If you want to use Apple Pay or Android Wallet—use Shopify’s mobile app. You can even accept digital currencies like Bitcoin.

These different payment methods ensure that your customers are always able to find a way to pay for your products, whether it’s traditional or through something newer like contactless payments.

PAYEMENT METHODS

To help your customers complete their purchases, Shopify lets you add features such as circle checkouts (to reduce the number of steps), guest checkout (customers only need an email address), support for gift vouchers, reward points, coupon codes, and more. 

To complete a purchase, customers can choose any major credit card or select PayPal if they have already stored their information on the system.


Shopify app store:

Just like you can add apps to Facebook, Shopify lets you extend its functionality with a selection of third-party apps. Shopify app store has more than 3,200 apps to choose from—from coupons and promotions to abandoned cart recovery.

You will also find an app store for each of Shopify’s official mobile apps. The store contains hundreds of shopify apps that are all designed to work seamlessly with your online store and will help improve your business. Some notable examples include a barcode scanner, spreadsheet integrator, and social media marketing app.

Here are the different app categories available:

  • Sourcing and selling products
  • Store design
  • Merchandising
  • Marketing
  • Conversion
  • Fulfillment
  • Shipping and delivery
  • Customer service
  • Store management


Branding & customization:

A key part of your store’s appeal to customers is its branding, so you’ll want the liberty to make it exactly how you envision. Shopify lets you upload custom images on products as well as build a unique checkout experience for shoppers. You can also work with a designer if you need something even more customized.

In our research, we found that most stores using Shopify offer at least one customizable feature or add-on in their stores like product reviews, wish lists, user reviews, or live chat options.


Extensive Customer support:

As an eCommerce business owner, you will no doubt need assistance from time to time and Shopify’s support network is second-to-none. On their support page, you can learn about the knowledge base and other resources that are available in case something goes wrong.

In addition to this, you can contact their support staff through phone or email; both of which provide fast and effective service.

Shopify also offers a Facebook Messenger bot that allows customers to reach out for support while chatting with an actual human being! They even offer 24/7 live chat from within your store (another reason why online retailers love Shopify).


Inventory Management:

One of the primary concerns for an eCommerce business is inventory management since there’s no point in having a store unless you have products to sell. Shopify makes it easy to manage all your products, including digital downloads.

In addition, you can add product variations with different sizes, colors, and prices (great for customizing bulk orders). You can also create smart collections that automatically generate lists of related items.

This inventory management software lets you quickly check the quantity on hand by simply clicking on stock status and then track monthly sales figures (you’ll never miss out on seasonal promotions!). It also integrates well with most major shipping carriers like Canada Post or USPS.  

SHOPIFY APPS

Shipping:

Shopify eCommerce Platform offers a variety of shipping plugins that integrate with major carriers like UPS, FedEx, and DHL. The plugin also lets you print postage labels right from your store and deliver packages quickly (you can get competitive rates too!).

Shopify provides shipping rates to more than 120 countries. Shipping labels are automatically generated and can be printed from your mobile device. Plus, you don’t need to download anything or install any software because the plugin is supported by most major browsers.


SEO:

Search Engine Optimization is an important part of any eCommerce business and Shopify helps you do this by providing tools to create a well-structured, SEO-friendly site.

The platform has a built-in Google Analytics, which not only allows you to view key metrics on your store’s performance but also compare data across multiple stores—helping you understand what works best for you.

You can even sync your Google Analytics account with Adwords Express, allowing you to track ad results through the software (great for adjusting bids directly)!

When it comes time to publish content, Shopify has you covered. You can create blog posts directly through their interface and then publish them with one click. This platform also allows you to connect your store with popular marketing apps like Mailchimp, Salesforce, and Slack.

Once everything is set up, you don’t have to do a thing – Shopify handles all the SEO updates automatically. The best part? All this happens behind the scenes, so it won’t increase your workload at all.


Affordable pricing plans:

We live in a world of increasing competition and lower margins. One way to compete is by offering the same product but at a lower price.

To do that, you need an eCommerce platform that lets you enter one set of prices for all your products (even if they’re different colors or sizes). Shopify plans help make this possible.

  • The Starter Plan:

is free meaning there are no setup fees or hidden charges! It also offers unlimited bandwidth so you can open as many stores as you like without worrying about extra costs. The main disadvantage with this plan is that it doesn’t include any additional support from Shopify or access to their app store; both of which are included with higher pricing plans.

  • The Basic Shopify Plan:

comes at $29/month (plus transaction fees) and includes support from their team, as well as access to all of their shopify apps. The Starter Plan is best for first-time eCommerce sellers since it doesn’t have any monthly fees and offers a generous amount of online storage.

  • The Advanced Shopify Plan :

is perfect for high-volume retailers with complex needs or large teams. It’s priced at $79/month, but that also covers up to 200 orders per month (with lower transaction costs).

And if you’re really looking to grow your business, then the Unlimited Shopify plan might work best. This professional-grade software lets you increase your inventory with no limits and adds in unlimited bandwidth—a must-have for eCommerce retailers who have outgrown the Starter plan.

When it comes to pricing, Shopify is one of the most affordable options on the market today.


Things to keep in mind before going for Shopify:


Cons of Shopify eCommerce Platform:

Like every software, Shopify has some cons too. They are as follows:

  1. Learning curve is steep: Shopify has a very steep learning curve. It takes time to learn the interface and app store.
  2. Not much control over hosting: You host all your data on their servers, so basically Shopify has complete control over everything.
  3. Limited customization options: Most of the templates are not customizable. You can add some CSS or HTML code but it is very limited and available at an extra cost.
  4. No support for complex eCommerce projects: If you are planning a huge project with lots of complicated features, then you should not go for Shopify as they won’t be able to help you in this part. They only offer basic eCommerce features like catalogs and shopping carts.

5.: It can take days or weeks to get up and running depending on your experience with web development.

  1. Currently there are very few options available when it comes to shipping and tax rates for your shopify store. So feel free to add custom fields which may increase the number of errors in setting up things, or make you wait longer for the site to load because Custom Fields take a long time to display.
  2. Not a content management system: Shopify is not a content management system, meaning it doesn’t let you add and edit custom HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

So if you want to use Shopify eCommerce for content management, then this platform isn’t right for your eCommerce needs. WordPress and other CMS platforms allow you to control your site from a backend dashboard. Shopify provides only basic functionality in this area.


How Shopify eCommerce solution is the best choice for your online store


Why Shopify?

Shopify eCommerce Platform is aimed at entrepreneurs who want to build their stores from scratch without the hassle of writing code. They should be professionals who understand how e-commerce works and just want a platform that makes it possible for them to create an awesome website. Moreover, this eCommerce platform is trusted by more than 1,700,000 online businesses all around the world.

Shopify is also a good option if you want to offer your products internationally, are looking for an affiliate program, or require multi-channel functionality.


How to Grow and Scale Your Shopify Store?

If your Shopify eCommerce store is not growing the way you want it to, then it might be time for a revamp.

Here are some tips on how you can make your eCommerce business reach its full potential.

1.: You will only get what you put in, so start by making an attractive website that people will want to click on, and also have some really amazing products.

2.: If you are selling a product that has similar versions from different manufacturers, then it is best to create a unique identity for your store rather than offering the same thing as other stores.

3.: You should always try to be one step ahead of your customers. So make sure you are offering them something new every day.

4.: Don’t wait for customers to come to you, start by reaching out to potential buyers. Get your website on as many platforms as possible and share it with your friends on all social media sites. You should also try using a marketing automation tool like HubSpot or Marketo if you want to automate


Frequently Asked Questions About Shopify eCommerce


What Can I Sell on Shopify?

Shopify is a platform for selling anything, from t-shirts to coffee mugs. You can sell physical items or even digital products like eBooks and online courses.

What’s more, Shopify offers services that allow you to create and customize your own themes to fit your unique branding requirements.

According to Shopify Official Blog, here are the 12 things you can sell other than products:

  • Services (appointments)
  • Memberships
  • Consultations
  • Digital products
  • Event support
  • Experiences
  • Classes, lessons, and workshops
  • Rentals
  • Installations (and quotes)
  • Donations
  • Event tickets
  • Digital gift cards


How Long Does it Take On Average to Build an Online Store?

This depends on the amount of customization work required. If you’re looking for something simple and ready-made, then Shopify will only take you about half an hour! However, if you want something tailored for your specific needs, then this process could be significantly longer. 


How Much Inventory Should You Stock?

This all depends on how well your business is doing. For example, if you have a popular clothing store and can sell multiple items per day, then you should probably increase your inventory. But if the majority of your sales are coming from one-off purchases on a regular basis, then it’s OK to reduce stock levels.


What is Shopify Lite?

Shopify Lite is a simplified version of the platform that requires no coding skills. It allows users to customize their website and manage multiple stores from one dashboard without having to worry about backups or security concerns. You can sell your products in over 100 countries and have access to a wide range of themes.

Shopify Lite is a plan for businesses looking to sell in-person (via POS lite- store point of sale o) or add a buy button to their existing website. Shopify Lite gives you the ability to generate reports, issue gift cards, and split bills, among other things. You can’t construct an online store with Shopify Lite.


What is Shopify Plus?

SHOPIFY PLUS

Shopify Plus is a more advanced version of the Shopify software. It’s built for big brands and retailers that require granular control over their sites and need access to dedicated support. Shopify Plus helps online business owners with their digital products’ online selling and crowdfunding goals.

The Shopify Plus plan offers a wide range of features, including the ability to sell on Instagram via Shoppable AR Content and a dedicated account manager. It also lets you create a custom checkout experience, provide customer service, and generate reports and analytics.


What is Shopify POS?

SHOPIFY POS

Shopify POS is Point of Sale software designed for larger businesses. It’s perfect for physical stores or companies that sell in-person and need point-of-sale integration, inventory management, employee permissions, and more.


How does Shopify eCommerce Platform work with taxes?

Shopify has partnered with Avalara to ensure the platform automatically calculates tax rates based on your business location.

Furthermore, they have integrated this functionality into their POS solution for brick-and-mortar stores to simplify the process of recording cash payments.

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