What is Shopify and How To Sell on Shopify?

If you want to have your own presentable, unique, and high-quality e-commerce store with all essential features, then you need to set up a Shopify store. Without a doubt, Shopify is one of the most popular online platforms that provide e-commerce solutions for entrepreneurs.

Shopify allows you, at minimal cost, to build a modern, functional, and professional-looking store all by yourself. The stores are very presentable and of great quality. They are very similar to what any professional web designer would build.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a premier eCommerce platform that allows entrepreneurs to create their own retail point-of-sale systems and online stores. It is a comprehensive, complete, all-in-one online trading solution. Shopify allows interested entrepreneurs to open an account and set themselves up. Once you open an account, you can do all the following:

  • Design and create your online store by yourself
  • Identify a variety of amazing designs to choose from
  • Choose a catchy name and domain for your online store
  • Add then display products complete with descriptions and prices
  • Start receiving and processing orders from customers
  • Begin handling payments through various payment solutions
  • Decide if to run any promotions, give discounts, and sell products

In short, Shopify offers you a very cost-effective and affordable opportunity to create your own e-commerce business. The software on Shopify is constantly upgraded to make it more efficient and modern which makes it more reliable in the long term. As an account holder, you get to receive excellent customer support 24-hours a day, every single day.

Key Features of Shopify

Once you open a Shopify account, you will gain access to a wide variety of tools. These tools will enable you to set up and manage your business. There are different pricing plans offered by Shopify. Depending on the plan you choose, you will be able to access a variety of tools ranging from payment processors to themes and so much more. Here are some of the Shopify features that you will gain access to:

  • Paid and free apps from the Shopify app store
  • Paid and free themes that you can access from the Shopify theme store to ensure your website is exceptional and outstanding
  • Shopify’s own payment processor to enable you to receive credit card payments
  • Access to a blog that provides you with articles that guide you on how to successfully operate and manage your own business and connect you with customers
  • Opportunities to grow and expand your business
  • Enterprise plans for high volume entrepreneurs who prefer lower transaction fees
  • Global experts who can advise and help design and market your online retail store

How Much Does Shopify Cost?

  • Shopify Lite: $9/month, includes Shopify buy button, but not an online store builder
  • Basic Shopify: $29/month, includes two staff accounts, in-person, and online selling, and up to four inventory locations (stores, warehouses, etc.)
  • Shopify: $79/month, includes five staff accounts, five inventory locations, discounted credit card rates, and discounted transaction fees
  • Advanced Shopify: $299/month, includes 15 staff accounts, up to eight inventory locations, further discounted credit card and transaction fees, duties and import collections, custom international product pricing/variations
  • Shopify Plus: Ask for pricing

What Can I Sell On Shopify?

Users of Shopify can sell almost any physical or digital product, as well as drop-ship products. Some of the products that Shopify merchants sell include:

  • Handcrafted goods
  • Beauty supplies
  • Home goods
  • Outdoors gear
  • Clothing
  • Digital products
  • Online classes
  • Events
  • Gift Cards
  • eBooks

When it comes to using Shopify, there are only hard and fast rules. There can be no illegal products sold. You also cannot sell anything that is prohibited by the eCommerce platform, which includes: Alcohol, tobacco and e-cigarettes, fireworks, drugs, video game currency or credits, firearms, and weapons.

The list of excluded products is subject to change. Shopify has updated its policy regarding CBD products over the past year, allowing the sale of CBD products legally derived from hemp.

Before you begin building your Shopify store, check for the latest news on restrictions.

How Does Shopify Work To Sell In-Person & Online?

In comparison to most eCommerce platforms, Shopify offers an impressive number of ways to sell.

You can use Shopify to:

Create An eCommerce Website & Sell Online

Shopify is a cloud-based platform. Through Shopify, you can easily set up a website that includes web hosting, a domain name, inventory management, as well as shipping capabilities.

Select a sleek template, customize your store with a visual drag-and-drop editor, add your physical and digital inventory, then launch your website. You don’t have to know a lot of code or make complex decisions.

The Shopify app store has over 4,200 apps that do not require coding if you want to add more specific features to your store like email marketing tools or buy-now-pay-later apps. As little as 30 minutes are needed to build a live online store, depending on the level of complexity and styling you want for your site.

Sell In Person In Your Store

With Shopify POS (point of sale), you can use dedicated hardware, an iPad or tablet, or even your mobile phone to sell in person.

Selling in person doesn’t even require an online store. Shopify Lite includes Shopify POS Lite for free!

Sell Both Online & In-Person

Store owners and nonprofits who want to accept donations at events and online, as well as sell online and in-person, can use Shopify. Set up your own website, then sync your POS app and store. Revenues and stock levels (if applicable) can be monitored in real-time.

Sell On Social Media

Shopify’s buy button and social media integrations allow you to sell on numerous platforms. You can sell on the following social media platforms with Shopify:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook Messenger

By allowing customers to shop on social media platforms without leaving them, you can boost sales conversions.

You can learn how to use Shopify to sell on social media through this guide on making Instagram posts shoppable and on selling on TikTok with Shopify.

Use Shopify For Omnichannel Selling

As part of an omnichannel strategy, Shopify can also be connected to sales channels such as Amazon Marketplace, Etsy, Walmart Marketplace, eBay, and Google Shopping.

It’s easy to sell from multiple places online by connecting your Shopify store with your seller accounts on multiple shopping platforms.

Pros & Cons Of Shopify

Shopify isn’t a good option for everyone, as you might expect. Here’s a list of why merchants choose Shopify, followed by a list of common customer complaints:

Shopify Pros

  • Easy To Use: Merchants love Shopify, for this reason, more than anything else. Users don’t have to be highly skilled developers to use Shopify. Adding products, creating discounts, and processing orders are all simple. With Shopify’s drag-and-drop editor, web design is simple and intuitive.
  • Low Startup Cost: With Shopify’s low monthly fees, setup is affordable. Basic plans cost $29/month, and mid-level plans cost $79/month. For only $9/month you can use a buy button anywhere on the Internet if you do not need an entire online store.
  • Good For Dropshipping: Many dropshippers use Shopify as their platform of choice. It’s much easier to dropship from your Shopify admin thanks to Shopify’s integrations with Spocket and Oberlo.
  • Beautiful Themes: A variety of free, mobile-friendly themes are available to subscribers. For merchants who want more options, premium themes are also available.
  • Lots Of Support Options: The technical support team is available via phone, live chat, and email every hour of the day. There is also self-help available. Support is available outside of regular business hours, which is something Shopify customers appreciate.

Shopify Cons

  • Costly Add-Ons: There are almost no advanced features in Shopify, despite its many basic features. Add-ons, or apps, are not free, but you can find these features through add-ons. If you add three apps alone, your monthly fee will double.
  • Transaction Fees: Shopify has retained its 0.5% to 2.0% transaction fees (based on your pricing plan), while most other shopping carts have been able to eliminate them altogether. When you accept payments through Shopify Payments, Shopify will waive these fees for you. There have been a few complaints about Shopify Payments, so it might not be the best payment processor for everyone.

How To Open an Account with Shopify

The first step you need to do is open an account. Visit Shopify’s website at www.shopify.com and find the Sign-up page. Open this page and follow the stipulated procedure to set up your account. There are a couple of details required and once provided, simply click on the link that says “Create your Store Now.”

You need to come up with a unique name for your store. The Shopify system checks all names you provide and only approves a unique store name. Other details that you will have to provide include your name, country of residence, address, and contact number. 

Shopify also wants to know if you have products you wish to sell and, if so, which products these are. Once you provide all the necessary information needed for setting up your account, simply click on the tab “I’m Done.”

If you are keen enough, you will notice that Shopify offers you a free 14-day trial once you open your account. This allows you to set up your store and test different things to see if and how they work without spending any money. 

At this stage, Shopify will require some details from you due to legal requirements. For instance, if you will be operating as a real store, then you will need to provide tax information and other relevant information.

How To Set Up Your First Shopify Store

To set up your first store, you need to visit Shopify’s homepage and look at the main dashboard. You will see plenty of buttons on the left-hand side. These include the following:

  • Homepage button
  • Orders
  • Products
  • Reports
  • Discounts

One of the things that Shopify does is present you with an entire list of actions to take to fully set up, customize, and personalize your store before eventually launching it.

Shopify will then ask you what you want to sell. Simply choose one of the options available from the drop-down menu. These include electronics, computers, fashion, apparel, and so on. Let us choose “Women’s Accessories” like earrings, wristbands, and necklaces then proceed with this as our preferred niche.

At this point, you can start adding products to your store. The process is extremely simple. All you need to do is to click on an image then “drag and drop” it to the appropriate place on the dashboard. There is a button labelled “Add Product” button that you click on to add products.

You should label your products in a manner that clients can identify with. This also makes things easier for you when uploading or referring to a particular product. However, many dropshipping entrepreneurs do not have their own products and rely on a dropshipping supplier. We will look at importing goods from suppliers later. 

However, if the product images are readily available, then you can upload using this simple method.

Once you are done, just click the “Save Product” button then go to the homepage to view the products. These products are now ready to be viewed and even purchased.

If you visit the dashboard of your homepage, you will be offered a couple of options. Shopify wants to know where you want to sell the products. You can choose to create an online store, sell on Facebook, sell in person with a Point of Sale system, or even add products to an existing website. 

From these options, we note that the most viable in our case is to create an online store. Find a Suitable Layout or Theme for Your Store One of the most important steps when setting up your store is choosing an appropriate theme. Shopify has its own themes, and you can browse through them and choose one. There are plenty of colorful, great-looking, and presentable free and premium themes that you can use.

Now, all the themes at Shopify come with a guarantee that they have full support from designers. This is reassuring for users, knowing they can fully trust the themes. All the themes have a comprehensive array of modifications that you can apply without the need to do any programming. 

Premium themes have more functionality, but you can still do a lot with the free ones. If you choose a theme but wish to make substantial changes to it, then you need not worry if you cannot program. 

Apparently, Shopify has an excellent team of design experts from all over the world. These Shopify experts are available to members and can help you customize and make any necessary changes to your store. There are some pretty simple steps to follow if you are to find the best theme.

1. Browse the Shopify Theme Store

First, go to your homepage and then click on the “Themes” button. This button will take you to Shopify’s theme store at www.themes.shopify.com [URL inactive]. There are over 180 different themes to choose from. 

These include both free and premium themes. When browsing through the themes, you can choose to browse through the free or the paid themes.

You can also filter the themes by features and by industry. The themes can then be sorted by popularity, most recent, and price. Spend your time browsing through the themes until you find a couple that really impresses you. Do not rush this process because your interaction with your customers will depend on your store’s outlook and presentation.

2. Look at the reviews and functionality of themes

Once you identify one or two themes, check out a sample image. When you do, you will also receive more information about the theme including its flexibility, adaptability, and responsiveness. 

Additional information lets you know whether the theme is mobile ready and how adaptable it is to modification. There are always reviews if you scroll down, so go and check out the reviews. These will let you know about the experience of other users and what their thoughts are on a particular theme.

Shopify has a cool feature that allows you to view any theme you choose in action. When you choose a theme, you will notice a “View Demo” button.

Simply click on this button and preview the theme. This will give you a good feel of how your online store will look like. You can also view demos on the different styles if your chosen theme comes in a variety of styles.

3. Get your chosen theme

As soon as you decide which theme you like, you simply click on it to get it. You will notice a green button which you need to press. 

Shopify will want you to confirm that this particular theme is the one you really want. If you agree, then the theme will be installed. One advantage you have is that this theme does not have to be perfect. If you feel, later, that you do not like it, then you can always change it and choose another one. 

To install your chosen theme, simply click “Publish as My Store’s Theme.” Once it is published, Shopify will let you know and will offer you a chance to change it any time should you change your mind.

The theme that worked best for me in Brooklyn. It is among the most popular free Shopify themes available and comes in two different styles. These styles are Classic and Playful. The Playful style is more niche-oriented and features brilliant colours, making it suitable for kids’ toy stores, ladies fashion boutiques, or even a chocolate store. 

The Classic theme is great for apparel stores and clothes retailers. It has excellent features, is user-friendly, and is very easy to use.

Brooklyn Shopify theme is well-suited for our modern apparel store. Some of its features include unique typography, a product grid, a homepage slideshow, and a mobile responsive design. It is not all themes that are designed to be viewed across platforms such as desktop PC, mobile, and tablet devices. 

You should not worry at all about products displayed on the theme as these are just for display purposes. You will get a chance to upload your own products at the appropriate time.

4. Edit Store Settings

You probably do not want your store to look like any other online store. This is why Shopify themes allow users to make simple yet effective changes that can completely alter your store’s appearance.

Consequently, you can rest assured that your store will be unique and stand out, depending on the settings that you choose.

First, visit your homepage and check out the admin screen. From here, click on “Themes” and you will see your live theme at the top. There are two dots next to the “Theme,” both of which are settings that you can use. 

The first one allows you to create a duplicate of the current theme which is a great idea, so that is what we do. The other button is for customization. Use this button to customize the theme according to your preferences.

Simply click on the “Customize Theme” button, and you will be redirected to a page that allows you to manage all the basic functions of your Shopify store.

These controls give you an amazing opportunity to adjust the settings and take a look at the features, enabling you to learn in greater detail what your store is capable of. Customization allows you to change or do the following:

  • Change font
  • Determine the number of items to appear on each line on the collection page
  • Upload logos to the store
  • Determine your preferred color schemes
  • Add slides to the homepage carousel
  • Edit functionality on the product pages

With all these features and functions, you can easily make changes and adjustments to your store. This will make it unique, appealing, and user-friendly.

Learn more about how to create a Shopify store.

Must-Have Apps for Shopify

1. Free Shipping Bar by Hextom

Free Shipping Bar is an app that provides a fully customizable bar. It enables you to offer free shipping to your customers to increase your sales. This app is easy to set up. It is not branded making your site look organized professionally. It is an app that you definitely need for your store.

2. salespeople

SalesPop is a powerful tool that helps you boost your sales. It is estimated that over 85% of store visitors never buy anything. Reasons for this include store authenticity, trust issues, engagement and so on. SalesPop helps create an aura of a busy store that will entice customers to actually buy products at your store.

3. MailChimp

MailChimp is a useful marketing app with multiple applications. This app helps you capture emails from visitors and then create a marketing list. You can then use the list created to send marketing messages, newsletters, and so much more.

4. Personalized Recommendations App

This is an e-commerce app for Shopify that promotes sales at your store. It suggests the right products to customers based on purchase history and behaviour. The app can tailor recommendations to every unique customer of your store.

5. Countdown Cart

This app helps create urgency in customers. A lot of customers tend to delay buying. However, Countdown Cart helps convince buyers to go ahead and purchase products at your store.

6. Trust Hero

Trust Hero boosts the level of trust that customers have in your store. When you have this app activated, it will display trust icons at your store and reduce incidences of cart abandonment. Customers will gain trust in your store and will be happy to buy your products.

There are websites like hotjar.com where you can create heatmaps and see how visitors are using your site. You can collect useful feedback which you can use to turn visitors into customers. It also enables you to know if your site has errors.

7. ClickFunnels

Shopify offers a fully automated buying experience for your customers. However, you still need to attract customers to your store. To do so, you need to build a series of marketing channels that lead to a funnel that identifies potential customers. 

By automating every part of your funnel, including the marketing channels you set up, ClickFunnels can assist with this part. Furthermore, it will pick up the slack where Shopify might not do as well, at the very least for how you want customers to remember their experience.

You can connect Shopify products with ClickFunnels products. You will be able to send order information from ClickFunnels to Shopify for shipping, but payments will not be accepted.

For more information on ClickFunnels, you might check out this ClickFunnels review.

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