How to sell online with Shopify Aug 5, 2019 · by Domains Direct · 9 min read
Ever thought of setting up an online store? Well, the internet is your oyster, and options abound. But there's a reason any e-commerce expert worth their salt would advise you to look no further than Shopify.
No need to over-complicate the obvious – Shopify stands tall as your ultimate e-commerce solution. It's the best of what the internet has to offer if all you're looking for is a platform to start selling your products or services online.
The platform is flexible and can accommodate businesses of all sizes; catering to a broad range of industries. It's also the easiest e-commerce builder – one that even non-developers can use to create their own online stores.
In brief, the platform tries to make the whole process of setting up your e-commerce store both straightforward and painless.
That answers it – if you've been wondering about the buzz surrounding Shopify. It's simply a dream-come-true for online vendors that have been looking to set up their own online store or venture into drop-shipping.
What is Shopify?
Before we take the plunge into the technical side of Shopify, like how to set up and run a Shopify store, let's take a breather and focus on what Shopify really is. You must develop a realistic expectation of the platform. Understand that it's not magic; and as with any other platform out there, understand that it also has its own share of strengths and weaknesses.
Shopify is a cloud-based or cloud-hosted e-commerce store platform that small business owners and some of the giant brands you know use to create their online storefronts. The platform is incredibly adaptable, and that's what sets it miles apart from the rest of the e-commerce platforms you can think of.
With Shopify, it's possible to whip up an online store within minutes or use it to create a multifaceted, highly-customised, multinational enterprise e-commerce platform.
As far as e-commerce goes, there's no limit as to what you can do with this platform, and that's what makes it worth a try.
Why choose Shopify?
Shopify is an excellent e-commerce platform for any aspiring online retailer, wholesaler, or vendor looking to set up their own online shop front. It's an all-inclusive, e-commerce platform that stacks pretty much everything you'll need to create a fully functional online store.
So why choose this platform?
Ease of use
Shopify is pretty simple and straightforward to use – thanks to its clean, ultra-modern interface which is designed to make it easy for you to both set up and manage a broad range of Shopify labels or "sales channels." Some of these labels include:
An online store: this is your main site or the site you'll be creating using Shopify.
Facebook: This feature allows you to add a tab on Facebook where your user can browse and shop for your products and services.
Messenger: This feature allows you to sell directly to your Facebook users via messenger.
Buy Button: With this feature, you can embed the buy button on your website or blog.
You don't need any coding experience
Shopify allows you to set up a fully functional e-commerce website without laying down a single line of code.
First, Shopify has hundreds of professionally-designed themes – both free and paid – that you can easily use to set up a professionally designed storefront. You don't have to be a professional developer with years of experience to pull this off.
If anything, Shopify operates a whole lot like WordPress – in terms of flexibility and the ease of use. It's an intuitive platform that you can easily figure out by just looking at some of the labeled features on the dashboard.
It's flexible and scalable
With Shopify, you don't have to worry about adjusting to a different platform once your business grows. Neither do you have to shy away from using the platform because your business is small.
Whether you're planning to sell a single product or have hundreds of products to sell through the platform, Shopify will accommodate you to the best standards possible.
They also happen to have varied payment plans – five to be specific – to accommodate any budget or size of business.
Tons of apps to customise your storefront
Whether it's including a product review section to your storefront or creating a customer loyalty program as a strategy for attracting returning clients, Shopify has it all figured out, and they have a ready app that you can easily download and use to add the functionality.
Shipping is a cinch
Shopify has a wide range of shipping options that you can easily browse through and choose one for your products.
You even have the option of setting up a flat rate for shipping, or coming up with base shipping costs based on the individual weight of the products you're selling.
What does Shopify cost?
The easy-to-use interface aside, Shopify is popular because of its low startup cost. But how much will you be forking out to sell on the platform?
For starters, Shopify has a tiered pricing plan, ranging from US$9 per month to US$299 per month. It's even better when you consider the fact that this comes with no additional transaction fees, save for the amount charged to use an outside payment gateway.
Better yet, you're entitled to a 10 percent discount and 20 percent discount every time you pay upfront for one year or two years, respectively.
The platform offers four pricing plans to choose from – Shopify Lite, Shopify, Basic Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. Choosing between these price plans is a tough task on its own, considering the last thing you want is to spend money on features that you won't be using.
The different pricing plans
The Lite Plan – US$9 per month
The Lite plan isn't an online store, but a set of tools that Shopify provides to you. These tools are meant to help you start selling online. With this plan, Shopify gives you the tools you need to accept credit card payments and use the "Buy Now" button without necessarily setting up an online store.
This option works for smaller companies that wish to start selling on Facebook, or if you have an existing website or blog that you want to add a basic "Buy Now" button to.
The Basic Plan – US$29 per month
This plan takes things a notch higher by giving you more options, such as: fraud analysis tools, discount code engine, and the option to upload an unlimited number of products to your site.
This plan allows you to create a fully functional website on Shopify. In other words, all your products and orders will be managed on Shopify. You'll therefore need no separate site to manage your orders.
Other offerings include: a free SSL certificate, shipping labels, manual order creation, and unlimited file storage.
The Shopify Plan - US$79 per month +2.6% + 30 cents per transaction
This is the most popular of all the plans. The plan allows you to enjoy every feature that Shopify has to offer.
For starters, you can upload an unlimited number of products to your Shopify store, while enjoying all the features of the Basic plan.
In addition to all that, you'll be granted access to Shopify's professional reports, gift cards, and the "abandoned cart recovery" feature which allows you to get the contact details of the users who fail to complete a purchase. It's a simple follow-up plan.
Advanced Shopify Plan – US$299 per month + 2.4 + 30 cents per transactions
This is the most advanced of all Shopify's plans. With the plan, you get to enjoy all the features associated with all the previous plans, but with the option to include third-party shipping. This plan also grants you access to Shopify's advanced report builder.
Everything in this plan is unlimited. Your storage capabilities are unlimited. You're also allowed to upload an unlimited number of products and images.
What Plan should you choose?
These plans are designed to accommodate businesses of all sizes. If you're just starting and looking to sell your products on Facebook, then the Lite plan might be your ideal choice.
However, as your business grows to a point where you'd rather have your shipping handled by a third party, then you might want to consider subscribing for the advanced Shopify plan, which allows you to enjoy all the features Shopify has to offer with no restriction.
How do you start using Shopify?
This section of the post guides you through the entire process of setting up your online store with Shopify.
Ready? Let's dive right into it...
Step 1: Signing up
The first step to launching a Shopify store is signing up with them. You can do this by first visiting shopify.com and entering your email address to start their free trial.
Next, enter all the details requested to create a free account – your name, email address, country, etc..
You'll also be prompted to specify if you have any products to sell or if you're just trialling the platform.
Step 2: Start creating your online store
Next, you'll be directed to the admin section where you can proceed to set up your online store. At this point, you can go ahead and customse the store. You're also free to start uploading your products, as well as setting up shipping and payments.
Step 3: Choose your theme
Shopify has an official theme store. Every single one of the themes listed in the theme store enjoys full support from its designers. So you can be sure there'll be someone to help you out should you encounter any trouble using the themes.
Better yet, each theme comes with a broad range of modifications that you can initiate without laying down a single line of code. The number of modifications you can make become even greater with premium themes.
However, that's not to say that it's impossible to achieve a great-looking site with a free theme.
Can I customise my Shopify theme?
Yes, you can customise your Shopify theme and give it an entirely new look with just a few tweaks that, again, do not require you to lay down a single line of code.
After you log into your Shopify account, visit the Shopify Theme Store and choose a theme that best strikes a chord with you. You'll be presented with more than 70 themes to choose from; so you can decide what works best for you.
Besides the Shopify theme store, you have other marketplaces such as CodeCanyon and Temple Monster that you can visit for a Shopify theme.
And while at it, it's also crucial that you preview the theme you choose and read its reviews to learn something about it before you should proceed with the installation.
Shopify themes allow you to play around with different settings for a unique look. So one thing you can be sure of is that your site won't look like it's a clone of hundreds of other sites on the internet.
Some of the themes even allow you to reposition some of the elements on your site. For instance, you can decide if you want your product images to appear at the right, left, or center of the product page. You also have the option to decide if you want to display your social buttons.
Can I use my Domain with Shopify?
Sure, Shopify allows you to use your own domain name for the site you create. They have two ways with which you can do this:
The first option is where you buy the name directly from Shopify at a cost that runs from $9 to $14 per year. This option is recommended, as the domain name will be automatically added to the site you create.
The second option is to purchase the domain name from a third party, such as Domains Direct. The only downside with this option is that it requires you to manually redirect your DNS records, which can be daunting to a non-developer experimenting with this for the first time.
Can I upload a spreadsheet of products to Shopify?
Yes, Shopify has a simple CSV template that you can use to make the spreadsheet entries of your products. This template will guide you on how to enter your product data into a spreadsheet. Once you've followed the template and filled your CSV, you can head back to your Shopify dashboard and upload all your products.
What payment system does Shopify support?
Shopify has its own payment system called Shopify Payments. This payment system is powered by Stripe and can be tracked in real-time.
But if you have to, Shopify allows you to integrate your site with more than 70 of other payment gateways options including PayPal, 2checkOut, Authorise-Net, and Amazon Payments, to name a few.
Is Shopify secure?
Yes, the platform is Certified Level-1 PCI-DSS compliant, which extends to every single one of the stores it powers.
Also, every single one of their plans comes with an SSL certificate, which saves you the trouble of having to buy it from a third party and configuring it yourself.
Time to get started
That concludes our review of Shopify. If you haven't already, head now to shopify.com and get started building your very own store.