In a digital age where more businesses are going digital, the smaller or medium enterprises and businesses have fewer resources and funding to stay afloat. Due to this, there have been gaping holes in a competitive market that devours businesses daily. Noticing this, Shopify came into existence, and ever since they’ve paved the way for a digital revolution for the SMEs. They have provided access and instant marketability to businesses at affordable rates to not just keep them afloat but to make them highly profitable. They do this by creating a platform where any business can establish a business and run it with decreased marketing and operations costs online.
First things first – Shopify basics
Before delving into the selling aspects of the platform, it is essential to understand what Shopify is. In order to do so, here is a small introduction to the Shopify basics every entrepreneur should understand.
What is Shopify?
Shopify Inc. is a revolutionary multinational e-commerce company founded in Canada with its headquarters located in the city of Ottawa in Ontario. They specialize in helping SMEs establish and operate in a digital space where entrepreneurs can set up websites, ship products, engage with customers, receive payments online, and market their services and products. They do this in an easy to use platform that needs little to no knowledge of website design or IT knowledge which makes it more approachable to businesses that need to establish an online presence but are not yet profitable to hire a tech team.
While there are other agencies that offer similar services, Shopify has numerous benefits that have helped them become the go-to space for new businesses and older enterprises to get online. Some of these include –
- A secure, built-in payment system that processes transactions instantly
- Apps and tools to help establish, market, and engage with customers on different levels
- Unrivaled hosting performance that provides speedy operations that are secure. This makes it easy for customers to peruse through the contents of your website while also making quick and secure transactions via different payment modes like cards or net banking which in-turn helps customer engagement
Another reason to choose Shopify is their unmatched customer service which is available all day, every day. To top this off, the prices offered by Shopify are extremely competitive.
For entrepreneurs who don’t have a bank stocked with excess cash flow, Shopify is a dream opportunity to go digital. It offers lucrative pricing structures that do not break the model of business that is created while still adding a steady and marketable online presence that will help with customer acquisition and customer retention. The Shopify pricing structure also aids businesses to keep customer engagement at an all-time high while not paying mass marketing and customer service costs. A basic subscription for Shopify can be as low as $29/mo.
Here is a full breakdown of the options available on Shopify:
- Basic Shopify – $29 per month, 2 staff accounts, 24/7 support, unlimited products, and access to sales channels
- Shopify – $79 per month, 5 staff accounts, gift cards, professional reports, unlimited products, and access to sales channels
- Premium Shopify – $299 per month, 15 staff accounts, advanced report builder, third-party calculated shipping rates, gift cards, professional reports, unlimited products, and access to sales channels
To help customers and businesses alike there are several add-ons to push their stores much further; here is a couple:
1. Additional charges
High volume businesses and enterprises can opt to purchase numerous customized and general apps, themes, and tools used within the Shopify portal to personalize and create a much more unique and higher functioning store. Some of these apps have free options like Reconvert, Upsell, & Cross-Sell which have a 30-day trial period in addition to optional purchases and free plans. There are also personalized business themes on offer that range from being free to $180. Some of these apps have unique functions like HoneyComb which helps you enter into product partnerships that are from similarly minded brands.
These apps and themes are at differentiated costs that are subject to change. The apps from Shopify can help with numerous aspects of business like:
- Conversion and Sales
- Online Marketplaces
- Inventory Management
- Store Design
Most costs for new online stores and digitized businesses are at the logistics end. Shopify helps cater to most of your shipping needs be it a D2C (direct to consumer), B2B (business to business), or a B2C (business to consumer) requirement. This is done through their partnerships with numerous carriers and is offered on a highly competitive special pricing model that is designed to save businesses a huge chunk of their logistics expenses. This is at an additional cost that is subject to carrier plans and can change periodically. The Shopify App Store can help include delivery and shipping tools for carriers.
Shopify offers businesses a ton of assistance in managing and maintaining their online stores and websites like stock and inventory alert features. These services are offered from external sources who have charges that are not included in any Shopify package rate. The Shopify App Store has numerous apps to help manage other aspects of your business as well at an extra cost. This includes help for pre-orders and shipping expenses.
4. Initial store setup
The basic three-tier packages mentioned above include assistance for the initial store set-up. This can include finding products to sell, creating and sustaining branding practices, and establishing an initial online presence. Shopify offers clients the opportunity to create a new business in easy to understand, procedural steps that will ensure a smooth transition to the title of business owner.
What Can You Sell on Shopify?
You can sell anything that isn’t illegal on Shopify. This encompasses physical products, services, and digital products. Businesses of every shape and form have found the perfect match with the platform. Some of the verticals sold on Shopify include home and décor, art, crafts and books, food and drinks, fashion, accessories, merchandise, and electronics. If you can dream it, you can sell it on Shopify.
How to Create Your First Shopify Store?
The good news is that setting up your Shopify store is as easy as pie. The bad news? There is no bad news! The website is pretty self-explanatory and you should be able to follow the steps easily. To know all the processes and steps in advance you will find this detailed guide to refer to when creating your first Shopify store.
Step by Step Process
Setting up your account on Shopify is a simple process.
- First, you have to register your account which is free for the first 14 days. Your account is automatically suspended at the end of that time period. You will need a Shopify plan in order to reactivate it.
- Next, input your store name. If the name already exists, you will have to try a new option.
- You will then be redirected to a page that asks you if you are already selling or not. Put in the information accurately since this will get Shopify’s AI to recommend the best course of action for you.
- You will have to then put in your business address.
- Your store is now ready. You will land on the admin panel. From here, you can either add a product, customize your store’s theme, or add domain.
The domain, or URL, links to your website, or in this case, online store. Your customer will type in this address in order to access the store. With Shopify, you are given a primary domain. The default setting is written as example.myshopify.com. However, you have the option of purchasing a custom domain. You can also connect a domain that you already own. Either your root domain or a subdomain will act as your Shopify store’s primary domain. You can have only one primary domain.
Fulfilling the Orders
Shopify has an easy to access and operate the system for order fulfilments that are great for any business be it in their nascency or an established high-volume enterprise. This can be done by selecting one of a number of fulfillment services on offer or through drop-shipping apps like Oberlo. Additionally, Shopify offers a fulfillment by Amazon service as well. The great part about the fulfillment of orders in Shopify is they also give an automatic and a manual option. This can help personalize the orders if they’re small or ship automatically from end to end if it is bulk.
Top 10 Themes for your Shopify Store
In order to help navigate a well-constructed site, it is essential to pick the right Shopify theme for personalization and customization.
Here are the top 10 themes on offer on the Shopify store.
- Wokiee – An easy to use the multipurpose theme on Shopify that is great for a range of businesses.
- Gecko – This is a responsive theme that is known for engaging customers regularly and easily. It has over 3000 customers and an average of 4.96/5.0 rating on the store.
- Basel – One of the best themes for fashion-related stores in the entire Shopify marketplace.
- Porto – This theme on the Shopify store is a responsive theme with a specialized UI/UX that has over 20 demos for niche marketplaces and more for general stores.
- Kala – A theme with over 30 homepage layouts and one that needs virtually no coding to implement, Kala is known for its 1-click installation of homepage templates.
- Color – This is a great theme for those who have a large product line, it specializes in image storage and has a full-scale Instagram feed. The grid-like design also makes it easy to navigate.
- Kodo – A great theme designed with pre-set designs and a tool to build a layout, Kodo is perfect for a small-scale enterprise or proprietorship. It also is great for businesses just getting off the nascent stage and has small operational requirements.
- Foodly – This wonderfully designed theme is perfect for all of your food and grocery store related theme requirements. It is easy to use and has a basic set of images and illustrations related to food to get your store looking fabulous.
- Pipeline – This theme is meant for those who require a parallax scrolling system which creates purpose-driven sections to your store if it has medium to large product lines.
- Ella – A magnificent theme for the fashion-based market, Ella is a responsive theme that has great color schemes, blocks, and banners to create a showcase that highlights products the seller specifies.
Top 10 Apps for your Shopify Store
Navigating and managing a Shopify store can be hard but using apps can help not just make the process easier but also more efficient.
Here are the top 10 apps to help improve a store’s performance.
- Honeycomb – This app is perfect for any business that wants brand partnerships with related products.
- Oberlo – One of the best dropshipping apps in the marketplace, Oberlo can help a store manually or automatically fulfill orders with ease.
- Printful – This app is a one-stop-shop for all your print-on-demand needs.
- SmartSeo – Marketing with smart SEO can help implement SEO practices to your Shopify store.
- Invoice Falcon – Every Shopify store needs an app that can help keep the business accounts intact and Invoice Falcon is the best of them.
- Shopify Flow – This app is the best workflow manager app in the marketplace.
- Retail Barcode Labels – Every Shopify store selling products needs a workflow inventory management system, this app provides accurate barcode-based inventory management.
- Conversific – An app that helps you use analytics on Shopify to monitor and adjust your store performance.
- Cozy Antitheft – A security app for your Shopify app is crucial, it ensures customer protection and helps secure the business and Cozy Anti Theft is one of the best security apps available.
- Acobot – Acobot, which is new but powerful for its fully automated conversion optimization, sales lead capturing and email marketing, would make your life easier as a Shopify store owner.
Shopify has created a platform for SMEs that is seamless, efficient, and competitively priced to ensure that any business has a digital online presence while being extremely lucrative. The platform needs no coding nor does it require enhanced technical knowledge, thus evening out the playing field for those businesses that are not completely tech-savvy or do not have the financial capability to hire a technical team to manage sales. Shopify is a comprehensive one-stop-shop for setting up an online store from end to end.
Additional resources on Shopify Success
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