Do you know there are 600,000 Shopify merchants? Being one of the fastest e-commerce solutions and a software subscription service, it can do wonders for all those struggling to trade online. Helping you develop a thriving business website directly connecting you with the customers, Shopify can help you search for convenient shopping cart solutions.
As a business owner, the admin panel can help you add products, manage orders and update your store data with ease. What’s great about Shopify is that it caters to businesses of all sizes and a variety of industries. No wonder more than $870,000 peak sales from 175 countries is being done through Shopify. All pros are taking advantage of user-friendly interface and low startup costs for promotion and selling of their wares.
Building an online shop can only cost you about $29/month, but to setup a fully functional online store, you will have to go through the overwhelming process of setting up and making decisions that can impact your business in the long run. This comprehensive guide is a learning tutorial for all those who wish to launch and run their online store without any hitches.
Let’s get started, shall we?
What Is Shopify Good For?
Anything that is not illegal to sell and lies in the category of digital or physical product or drop ship product can be sold here. An interactive Sitemap contains a complete listing of products that are currently on sale on Shopify. If you need further confirmation, consult the “E-commerce By Industry” listing, and if you have a physical retail store, it will be helpful to you to merge your inventory and sales system with Shopify’s POS system and manage them cohesively.
How Much It Can Cost?
You don’t have to pay an exorbitant amount of money to avail the services of Shopify. If you are satisfied with the 14-Day Free Trial, the other payment plans are quite affordable and their worth in gold honestly. The pricing plans are shockingly quite simple and flexible, customized for businesses of all sizes.
The four main pricing tiers are following:
- Lite ($9/month)
- Basic Shopify ($29/month)
- Shopify ($79/Month)
- Advanced Shopify ($299/month)
An Enterprise-Grade Shopify Plus option is also available for large businesses and those with high volume sales. These plans have unlimited uploads, no setup fees, unlimited file storage, 24/7 online phone support and no transaction or bandwidth fee with an addition to use free and paid apps that are available for all.
Shopify payment plans are monthly and can be upgraded if you want to. The only thing which is not free is email hosting and domain name, which you will have to buy from a third-party or from Shopify itself.
Setting Up A Shopify Store
1. Sign Up For A Shopify Account
This step is quite straight forward. Just head over to Shopify.com, enter the details on the given form and start your free trial immediately. All the required details must be filled such as a unique store name, first and last name, address, contact number and country of origin. Click the button “I’m done”, when you are ready to move on to the next screen.
2. Set Up Your Online Store
After the sign up process, you will be directed to store admin screen. This step is crucial for customizing your Shopify store, uploading your products and establish payment and shipping process.
3. Choose A Suitable Design
Your store design will be intrinsic to your product and brand personality. Choose from many of the given themes available in Shopify theme store. Although premium themes do have much more room for customizations, free ones also have a range of modifications options. If you are having trouble customizing, hire is one of the available Shopify Experts, with international design agencies, who will help you tailor your shop according to your preferences. Marketplaces like TempleMonster also have a range of Shopify themes. Here is how you should choose a theme that will fit your brand.
- Browse themes extensively.
- Check its functionality and if the theme is mobile friendly and responsive. Reviews can help a great deal.
- Preview the theme once you have selected it. You can do that by clicking on View Demo.
- Get the theme by choosing Publish as my Shop’s Theme.
- To manage it further, go to the Theme Manager.
4. Customize With Shopify Setting
Extensive customizations will ensure that your Shopify store will look nothing like any other. On the Admin screen, choose Themes visible on the left navigation menu. This has the option for basic setting changes. The second button Customize Theme controls all functionality features. Play with them a bit and choose options that will work best or you and your target customer base.
5. Add Products
The left navigation bar will also contain Products menu. Click on it and you will see an Add a Product option on the right corner. Fill up all the details about the specific product with special care to include name, description and URL which is SEO friendly. Upload pictures with the same dimensions for a cohesive look. Lastly, click Save Product to save the changes. Moreover, you can use the following tricks to maximize productivity and sales:
- Set up similar products in a singular group of products, divided by color, season, gender or items on sale, so that it will be easier for customers to browse through.
- Use automatic or manual collection or product addition option to make your life easier.
- Choose suitable payment gateways that allow you to accept payments from customers. However, look closely at the commission rates they require.
Other things that you will need to keep an eye on is transaction fee, card types that they accept and offsite checkout which redirects customers to their server for completion of payment. If located in UK or US, your account can automatically use Shopify payments which can be completed by clicking on Complete Shopify Payment Account Setup. For third party gateways, click Enable Payment Gateways.
6. Store Launch
The next step is to make your store go Live. Ensure to employ Google Analytics feature to fill out all the business information and test out your tax and shipping processes as well as order system to ensure that you have everything under control.
7. Addition Of A Domain Name
For a Live Site, you will require a domain name which can be bought from Shopify that costs $9-$14/year and will be added to your account automatically. You can also purchase from a third-party website such as GoDaddy, which may require you to redirect your DNS records and may seem daunting.
Shopify and Other Online Platforms
Instead of offering stellar reviews and comparison charts, Shopify decided to get creative with comparing its features with other platforms by offering reviews of ex-customers of other platforms on the main Sitemap page under “Comparisons”. These tell-all testimonials range from customers who have transitioned from Magneto, 3D Cart, BigCommerce and Amazon Webstore. The POS system of combining a physical retail store with your Shopify store is a big decider for most of these customers but other features has also helped swayed them on the Shopify bandwagon.
Shopify – Feasibility and Features
Shopify offers a world of free apps that can enhance the functionality and outlook of your Shopify store. Some of the notable categories are:
- Inventory – Take advantage of the Inventory Management System to manage and streamline your sale process.
- Accounting – Accounting apps such as FreshBooks, Xero and Quickbooks will be a great addition to your store.
- Customer Service – Connect your Shopify account to popular CS solutions such as feedback, live chat and other miscellaneous customer support solutions.
- Reporting – Additional analytics apps can assist you with sales data, conversion rates and consumer behavioral data.
- Sales - Everything you need to boost sales for upsells, recommendations, product reviews and customer loyalty programs is in this category.
- Marketing – Social media marketing, email incorporation and search apps can help you immensely setup your online store.
- Shipping – Manage orders and connect with your desired shipping service with these apps.
- Social Media – Boost engagement and connection with customers with apps in this category.
- Tools – Setting up RSS feeds for blogs, safeguarding against fraud, managing bulk redirects and setting up language translators will be quite easy with tool apps.
Please note that each category contains hundreds of premium apps within that can be explored and chosen according to your feasibility and store requirements. If you are unsure about choosing the right one, start with GetResponse, Aweber and MailChimp, as email marketing can be a great help for e-commerce businesses.
Social Sales and Affiliates
Shopify allows its customers to sync their e-commerce store to their blog with handy widgets and plug-ins such as Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. Products can be added to your page, sidebar and posts, which can fill the bill if you want to target customers and maximize the monetization of site traffic by redirecting blog readers to specific products. Another great way for integrating sales into social media is the creation of your store on Facebook, which can act as an extension to your Shopify store. Moreover, if you are not on the fence about sharing profit with others, it is a great idea to enlist assistance from affiliates or use affiliate apps to track referrals and spread word about your product and services.
Now that we have covered a lot of bases in this blog, it will be easier to make your Shopify store a success. E-commerce University also has a lot of informational material on the subject and several tutorial, guides and videos can help take your store to a whole new level. Another great source of information regarding design and development is Shopify Wiki and any trouble shooting issues can be addressed with the help of Help/Support section and Shopify Forum which can solve all your problems concerning Shopify.
Need expert help? Head over to Shopify Experts arena where business owners are running thriving businesses and are willing to share their expert advices with you. With this treasure of information, you can easily turn your e-commerce store into a profit-bearing thriving business, with the potential to grow and expand over the years.