Shopify is the one for all business solution for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) who need to create an online presence for their store. It is one of the most popular tools if you want to create an online store for yourself and a leader in E-commerce space. Not only it has a great social media integration with Amazon, but it also allows merchants to accept credit cards from Shopify. Since they synch payment details with orders, it makes it very easy to see how much you have been paid.
Their popularity is justified by their user-friendly nature, the availability of choices when it comes to templates and their total flexibility in any matter. It is so simple, that you do not need any kind of previous technical knowledge to use it.
Shopify is used in over 175 countries and used by over a million merchants who use this platform to sell, ship and manage their business.
If you are a merchant who wants to start with Shopify or if you are just a newcomer in the business segment, here, our review will tell you all you need to know about it. From the beginnings of Shopify to its usage. Read on to find out what this app is all about.
The company was founded by three people – Tobias Lutke, Daniel Weinland and Scott Lake in 2006 but it all started in 2004. These three people were unable to find an E-commerce platform, so they decided to make one by themselves. However, it was not the Shopify that people recognize today. It went by the name of SnowDevil and was focused on selling snowboards.
Despite their humble start, they had explosive growth. During their way to being the globally recognized platform that it is today, they hit a couple of milestones in their journey. It debuted on mobile in 2010 and since then had got recognition from a lot of reputed sources.
What you need to know about Shopify?
Shopify provides users with a ready-made online shop that you can customise to your tastes. It organizes products, tracks orders, and even accept payments from customers. It is feature-rich but safe from bloatware. To use their services, you need to give them payment on a monthly bases, which vary depending on the plan you have chosen. These costs are almost negligible if you are running a healthy business and will not prove to be a drag.
What is it best suited for?
- It is very easy to set up, so even a beginner can easily use and configure it.
- They provide their services for a relatively low cost. You do not have to shell out big bucks and it is perfect if you want to minimize costs.
- They offer over 100 designs from which you can choose. All you have to do is click on your preferred template. This saves you from hiring a designer which can add additional burden on your balance sheets.
- You can integrate the operations of your brick and mortar store with those of Shopify.
- It helps you grow. Both in terms of sales and your customer base.
What are its costs?
For new customers, Shopify offers a 14-day free trial which comes with all the features unlocked. This lets you get a real full-scale experience of the app and you can decide if you want to continue with it later on.
In the matter of cost, they have 3 types of offers separated in various categories. These plans are – Shopify Basic, Shopify and Shopify Advanced. You can go on a monthly bases or for yearly plans (1 and 2 years). The monthly price for Basic is $29, for Shopify, it is $79 and for advanced it is $299.
You can decide to go with these if you want to pay on a month on month basis. The one-year plan gives a 10 % additional discount while thee 2-year plan gives a 20 % discount.
What do you need?
If you are a newcomer, then the basic plan makes the most sense. It lets you get most of the features that you need to run your store. The basic plan also lets you handle all back-end technicals and handle payments of your store.
The basic plan includes:
- Online store module which is the most important thing.
- A Point of Sale system. You can collect payments through an offline medium.
- Integration with Facebook and Pinterest.
- Letting you add a buy button on other websites.
How does it work?
After you deal with the sign-up, you will be directed to Shopify wizard. This is the thing that will guide you through the process of building your E-commerce store. On a step by step basis, here is how you proceed.
- The first thing you are asked is what are you going to sell. Give an appropriate answer and move on.
- Next, you will be shown a couple of options, regarding what you are there for. Select “Create an online store.”
- Next, you will select a template design for your store and decide how will it look. With that done, you will be able to launch your store all by yourself.
Designing your Online Shopify Store
Shopify offers a lot of different types of themes and designs ranging from minimalist designs to sophisticated ones. All of these templates are optimized so that they can be viewed easily on a desktop, mobile or tablet. If you want to be done with this quickly, we suggest you choose a minimalist theme as they are often the best ones.
Some things which are worth changing include applying your company colours instead of the default ones, adding your logo and selecting what is shown on the homepage.
Their E-commerce builder is very easy to use and all you have to do is to adjust the elements which are already there.
How to add and manage products?
So you have got your site set up. Now its time to add products and manage your inventory. Better yet, the first thing you should do is configure your general setting for the store which include standard information about it. Just click on the left sidebar and go to settings. From here set information like store name, address, products you deal in and so on.
After you are done, select products from the module to add your first product. Shopify makes it simple for you and conveniently shows the add product option in the centre of the screen.
Next, you are shown a window, where you add your product title and description. You can also add the image of the products in a drag and drop format.
Then comes the pricing. Set the price of your product along with other additional charges and details that need to be filled out.
Finally, you decide if you want this product to be visible right away or not. You can also categorize it for better user experience. After you are done with all that, just select the Save button and you are done.
Listing your Products on the Homepage
You can choose what products you want to show on your homepage by using the theme customization. Select customize the theme from the left panel and click on the Homepage. Here you can decide what exactly is going to be shown on your homepage.
This is a simple way to accept online payments on Shopify online. It comes fully integrated with your store, which eliminates the need for third parties. This also saves the customer from tedious redirects and always having to input credentials. With this, you get to manage your business and financials in one single place. Some of its features are:
- Lets you accept all major cards as soon as you get your store up and running.
- Lets you track your pending payout and payout schedule.
- Since payments are synced to your orders, you can view how much you will receive for any order
- Makes you exempt from transaction fees.
Other Shopify Store Settings
- Checkout: You can select if you want your customers to open accounts with your store or not and choose the information they need to give when making a purchase
- Checkout: You can set your refund policy, checkout language and stuff regarding your order processing.
- Shipping: Set your shipping costs and everything related to them, both domestic and international.
- Taxes: This is where you deal with the numbers related to your business. It’s only boring stuff here.
- Notifications: You can select what sort of communication you will be making with your customer once they make a purchase.
Managing your store
You have set up a nice store for yourself, but now you have to make sure you know where your business stand. To review your store, Shopify gives you the Reports section.
Here you will find all the information you will need as a store owner to increase your sale and decide which products to cull. It gives you reports regarding how well your product is selling as well as the gross overall sales and their info. You can browse your way by-product sales, payments, traffic and so on.
A good store needs to reach more and more people. Shopify comes with a ton of SEO features that helps your online store increase its traffic flow and ultimately increase business. Shopify is very SEO friendly and even if you are not a professional in SEO, you can easily optimize your store for greater reach.
Shopify gives you to option to have a blog where you can post articles related to your business. To make it better, you might need to take into account URL and Keywords, which might need a bit of research on your end. Another useful feature is that you can name the images on your blog. Make sure that it is SEO optimized as well and work on your link building skills.
You can use the inbuilt SEO tools that come with your plan or you can go for other SEO integration tools that Shopify provides for an extra cost. Their apps are some of the best and most widely used so checking them out won’t hurt your chances.
Other Elements and Integrations
Selling your products is the main work in your store, but it will probably be better if you do a little something extra to make it look more complete. You will find the options for that under the Online Store option.
For starters, as already mentioned above, you can create your store blog and add posts related to your products. This can be found in the Blog post options and will increase the reach of your products.
Add new pages and edit existing ones to make sure your store always stay updated and your customers are not let down for want of information. You can choose to do so from the Pages option.
And in the navigation option, you will find the tool that lets you select what should appear in the top and bottom menu of your store.
Make your store available to the World
You have done everything. Added the products, optimized your site, set up a blog and now it is finally all set to launch and increase your reach to the world. To launch your E-commerce site and start selling to actual customers, go to the Online Store section of the module.
Here is the place where you select the plan you want (Although you can do it beforehand). As mentioned already, if you are new to this the most sensible one would the basic plan which comes for the meagre cost of $29 a month. If you ever feel like you have scaled a lot in terms of business, you can always upgrade it later on.
And that is it. Once you select your plan, your store is launched online and you are all set to take orders from your new customers.