Ultimate Guide to Selling on Shopify
Are you looking for a great place to sell your products via an online store? Or do you already have an up-and-running online store that is consistently failing to rank high on the sales meter? Selling on Shopify is the perfect option for you! A highly-rated e-commerce platform that is popular for its easy interface, a multitude of features, and affordable pricing, Shopify is where at least 10% of e-commerce businesses host their online stores including the likes of noteworthy brands such as Nestle, Budweiser, and Red Bull.
You’ve probably noted recent trends among budding entrepreneurs who’re setting up online stores with Shopify but have a lot of questions about the platform. How does Shopify work and why is it popular as an e-commerce platform? Is it the right place for you to set up an online store? Do you need to understand the technical nitty-gritty that goes into setting up a functional store online?
Shopify’s easy usability function adds another feather to its already popular cap and is a win-win regardless of whether you are a complete newbie or have limited experience in design. Not only can you build a functional online store but also ensure that it looks appealing and convincing to customers. You can also plug in a varied range of apps that are entirely free of cost, to your online store. This guide is to explain end-to-end selling on Shopify to take your business to the next level.
As a user, it is important for you to understand more about how Shopify works, and how it can prove to be beneficial for your business. The good news is that this complete Shopify tutorial 2020 will tell you everything for you to hit the ground running, right from creating an online store and getting traffic to converting leads and retaining customers.
Let’s jump right into it!
What is Shopify?
What are the benefits of using Shopify?
1. It’s easy to use
Shopify is one of the more user-friendly tools out there. Regardless of whether you’re a design whiz or just starting out, the way Shopify is set up and the features it offers to allow users to seamlessly plug and play without too much time spent on training. Their web design interface is also simplified for first-time users, with handy drag-and-drop features and tools.
2. It’s cloud-based
Cloud-based applications are preferred because they reduce IT costs and don’t need regular upgrades to web servers or chunky databases. In this domain, Shopify doesn’t disappoint either! It’s cloud-hosted as well, which means, by selling on Shopify, you’re easily able to scale your shop and continue your business without the stress of managing, updating and upgrading web servers. Technical maintenance is taken care of and you won’t have to deal with crashing sites during times of increased traffic or product volume.
3. It’s customizable
You don’t need to be a developer or a designer to use Shopify. Even if it’s your first store, Shopify templates and themes allow you to have aesthetically pleasing front-end designs that you can further customize or go straight to using. Further, if you don’t have the time or the wherewithal to personalize the shop on your own, you can reach out to a Shopify expert through the Shopify Expert Marketplace and enlist their help.
4. It’s language-friendly
Shopify is a global platform, being accessible in nearly every country, and has integrated several languages into their themes and interface. This means users can update the customer-facing facets of their store, such as the website content, checkout stages, and automated emails, in the language of their choice. The admin section, which is your playground as a user, can be displayed in languages other than English including Japanese, Norwegian, Thai, Turkish, Swedish and Malay.
5. It’s multi-channel
In terms of integration, Shopify is multi-channel. This means you can connect your store to a variety of social network marketplaces and other shopping platforms if you want to sell those as well as on your online store. For a business of any size, this is a massive boon- it successfully extends the reach of your products beyond the current range.
How is Shopify different from other ecommerce platforms?
If you’ve ever curiously searched for ‘Shopify competitors’ on search engines, chances are you’d have come across some increasingly familiar names including Wix, Bigcommerce, and Etsy. However, each platform differs in terms of what they offer and how they’re used, so here’s a breakdown of Shopify alternatives and how they shape up against Shopify itself:
Shopify vs Woocommerce
Shopify powers over 600,000 businesses while Woocommerce is also one of the more popular platforms out there. Choosing between the two is entirely a personal choice, not least because of the marked differences between what the two offer. In a nutshell, Shopify is perfect for when you need to start from the absolute bottom because it’s an all-in-one platform.
Woocommerce, on the other hand, is more applicable to those who already have a website. This could be a disadvantage if you don’t have a website, or a perk if you just want to integrate a plug-in to speed up traffic and sales.
Woocommerce is also very customizable because it’s an open-source platform with next to no limits on personalization. This is where Shopify takes a back seat because, if you need to customize your store beyond beginner templates and intermediate coding, you will need to know how to use Liquid, Shopify’s coding language.
Shopify’s Help Center is available for those who are stuck, need help or just want to understand the platform further. They also have buzzing community forums for users to find answers, or cut the process short by contacting support directly. Woocommerce, on the other hand, is more hands-off in its approach as it doesn’t have phone support. Users will have to either submit a ticket or look for an answer in one of their forums.
For starters or those wanting a more guided approach to building and managing an ecommerce store, Shopify comes out on top.
Shopify vs Magento
Magento is an Adobe company offering Magento Commerce and Open Source, ecommerce platforms driven towards ‘fast-growing small businesses’. As the name suggests, one of them is an open-source platform, so users can use it for free and have unlimited opportunities to customize their online storefront. On the price front, Magento Open Source one-ups Shopify. However, quite like Shopify, Magento Commerce hosts stores on the Cloud and is a paid premium service.
In Magento vs Shopify, the latter gains ground in being user-friendly and easier to use. Using Magento to its fullest will need a decent level of understanding in writing in code. Their drag-and-drop features make it that much easier for rookie shop-owners to use. Magento Open Source, on the other hand, is very code-heavy and has a steep learning curve even if businesses are willing to try.
Making a choice in this scenario boils down to your budget, need for flexibility and technical expertise. For stress-free hosting and easy scaling without technical hassles, Shopify is your best bet.
Shopify Vs Amazon
Amazon is a behemoth when it comes to ecommerce marketplaces. However, there is a not-so-subtle difference between the two players that many seem to miss. For starters, Shopify is a specially designed ecommerce platform geared at building stand-alone online stores with unique brand identities.
Amazon is a marketplace to sell your products alongside other sellers. You don’t get a site of your own but your products are cataloged with thousand other ones in pre-designed categories. In terms of standing out from the crowd, then, Shopify scores more points than Amazon.
Since Amazon has been around for years, promoting your products and actually selling them is much more of a breeze, especially given the site’s record footfall per day. That said, on Amazon, you’re a drop in the ocean so creating a unique brand identity or staying ahead of the competition is a ruthless task, one that could potentially hurt business.
For businesses looking to get selling stat, Amazon is the place to be. But for those looking to create a niche and an identity for themselves through a unique store, Shopify is a winner.
Shopify vs Etsy
Etsy is an ecommerce system all set up and ready to go, which means users only have to upload photos, create listings and get selling. Shopify, in contrast, is a tool that allows users to build their own ecommerce system and sell physical or digital products. It also allows them to connect their new store to an offline one, to make sure product catalogs and repositories are in sync.
Etsy is already popular enough to drive traffic to your page, making it ideal for really small sellers who are just starting out. However, one can only sell vintage, handmade, or custom-made goods as well as craft supplies on Etsy. This makes Shopify a winner because there are next to no restrictions on what you can sell and you can even use the extensive app store and identify how best to sell your product.
Shopify vs Volusion
In the Volusion vs Shopify battle, the winner is determined by what you need more, a functional online store that’s fully customizable, or tools and insights. If it’s the former, then Shopify wins because it’s packed with tools that any ecommerce store-owner will need to expand, grow and scale their business.
It’s also much easier to use than Volusion and does better on the pricing and customer support fronts as well. If analytics and analytics alone is what you’re after, then Volusion will make the cut. However, if you want all that and the ease of having your own site, then Shopify is your best bet.
Shopify vs Wix
Wix vs Shopify doesn’t seem like a likely face-off, but it is. Wix has long been touted as beginner-friendly and being targeted towards those online stores that are small or have less than 100 products.
Shopify, on the other hand, is more angled towards businesses that may start off small but are looking to quickly pick up speed in terms of customer base and product numbers. Considering setting up Shopify stores is such a high-stakes process, the platform has tried to make every step easier, by linking to tutorials and making the user interface as simple and intuitive as possible.
Wix definitely scores points in product presentation and it has features to extend your brand beyond your actual store, in the form of a website, a blog or email marketing campaigns.
Shopify vs Prestashop
The primary draw of Prestashop is that it’s an Open Source, completely free software, which means there are no costs or commissions to creating your online store and selling your products. Shopify does offer a 14-day trial, after which there’s a monthly fee that varies depending on the plan you choose.
Since Prestashop is Open Source, the process of setting up a store is largely manual. Shopify’s drag-and-drop features allow you to quickly move tools around; if you just want to get started, the themes and default sites will do the trick until you’re ready to customize.
Since Shopify is hosted, buying a subscription will ensure top speeds and reduced technical issues. Using Prestashop will mean you also have to find your own server, making speeds and load times a lot riskier.
Shopify vs Squarespace
When it comes to clean design, Squarespace is often the first platform to come to mind. It also has some surprisingly good ecommerce tools to aid in setting up your online store. However, when it comes to really flesh out your store with additional features, Shopify’s app store comes to the rescue.
Shopify was tailor-made for setting up ecommerce stores, but Squarespace, while usable for the same purpose, is also more widespread. It covers personal websites, blogs, portfolios, CVs and the like– naturally, this makes their tools and UI that much more diverse. This may be ideal for those starting off with a small catalog, but can be restrictive for businesses looking to expand their catalogs and payment options. In this Squarespace vs Shopify battle, Shopify emerges victorious for its ecommerce-centric experience.
Shopify vs Bigcommerce
Between Shopify and Bigcommerce, the former is often lauded for its easy onboarding process. Users have had only to supply the platform with information about its products, following which a website– a customizable one at that– was created. Bigcommerce is a little heavy on the technical jargon, making it less than ideal for beginners.
Bigcommerce also has several editing arenas, which can be challenging to navigate for first-time users or business owners without much experience in technical creation. However, it makes up for that with a powerful repository of built-in features. Between Bigcommerce vs Shopify, the winner for ease of use is Shopify and, for advanced features, Bigcommerce.
How much does opening a Shopify store cost?
Now that you have decided to make your foray into the e-commerce business, you must be aware of the fact that it’s a burgeoning, quick-growing industry, and one of the biggest worldwide today. E-commerce brings together shoppers of various domains together in one easily-accessible, very competitively priced place where items may be ordered at one-click; as a seller, it’s convenient for you too!
Using an existing eCommerce platform such as Shopify gives you, the seller, the added benefit of leveraging the existing market and platform. Additionally, you also save on the cost of developing your own standalone app and website.
What is the cost of opening a Shopify store?
As a B2C business, your budget may vary depending on your size, scale, and the stage at which your business is. To help you combat, you are also offered the best Shopify price along with very reasonable rates for all businesses and sellers. You can choose from a range of Shopify plans- basic, regular or advanced. Here’s an overview of the inclusions under each plan and how much does Shopify cost, and what is the amount you can be expected to shell out.
Under the Shopify Basic plan, priced at US$29 per month, your business is given a fully-equipped online store, accompanied by a blog and an ecommerce website. You can list an unlimited number of products directly via social media and e-commerce marketplaces under this plan. You are also offered round-the-clock, 24X7 customer support under the Shopify Basic plan, along with attractive discounts on shipping solutions.
Each credit card transaction on the basic plan will cost you 2.90% of the value plus 30c, with in-person rates chargeable at 2.70%.
The Shopify Regular plan provides you, the seller, attractive percentages, extensive support, and more, thus also saving several incidental costs that may have otherwise occurred. Shopify fees for the regular plan costs $79 per month and encompasses every feature available on the basic plan while also letting your customers purchase Shopify gift cards, thereby extending your business.
As a seller, you want to know how your business is performing- and under this plan, Shopify sends you monthly professionally constructed reports, outlining in detail your performance, finances and more. Under the $79/month plan, you will also receive up to 72% discounts on shipping, and you will also have discounts on USPS Priority Mail; the labeling part is handled by Shopify.
In terms of POS support, the Shopify Regular plan not only offers extensive support on devices but registers shift tracking as well, meaning in-store transactions are recorded and balanced on each specific device.
Shopify support will also be on-hand for you, the seller, for anywhere between 1-5 store locations, with support provided via the internal team, point-of-sale apps, and the ability to track your sales via the Shopify interface. You can opt for attractively-priced payment plans to not go overboard with your Shopify costs while setting up your online store; a 2.5% in-person credit-card rate is applicable, and a 1% fee if you choose a third-party payment solution that is outside Shopify.
Go for the Shopify Advanced plan if you find that your retail business has been expanding, and you want solutions to accommodate that growth. Charged at $299 per month, this is the most comprehensive, appropriate solution for those who are looking to upscale their online retail business. Offering you every feature that the other Shopify plans provide, Shopify Advanced also gives you 10 additional staff accounts, thereby increasing your administrative bandwidth at no extra cost. Shopify Advanced also gives you the ability to build advanced reports using different variables and metrics of your sales, giving you insight into your sales, performances, accounts, trends and more from within your account and our app. If you are a business looking to scale up, the Shopify Advanced plan constructs reports for you.
Shipping rates for sellers, too, are attractively priced, at up to 74% discount on all major delivery solutions providers. If you choose to use a third-party payment solution, your charge as a seller is also minimal, at 0.5%. Also, if you’re a regular seller on Shopify, you get an additional ‘point of sale’ support.
Although the Shopify Advanced plan might appear the most expensive at $299 per month, it saves you the most extensive ancillary costs, with all-inclusive, thorough end-to-end solutions and support in terms of an online registry, inventory, payment solutions, delivery and more.
In addition to these plans, as a seller, you can also opt for Shopify Lite, a $9 per month program that allows you to list on Facebook and complete sales through that platform; you can sell, create invoices, and customize any order. For companies or retailers with larger-scale operations, Shopify Plus helps you connect deeper with your customer base and understand your own business more comprehensively.
In this article, we discussed what is Shopify and some benefits of using shopify. also, we compared shopify with its competitors and how much does it cost to start your shopify store. To help you with your shopify success we listed some additional resources below to check out.
Additional resources for Selling on Shopify