E-commerce has never been more popular than it is now. It’s not an easy undertaking; however, there are ways to make a shop without having to go through all the hoops of becoming a web developer.
There are many e-commerce platforms available online; however, one stands above all the rest and that’s Shopify.
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that promises to make the entire process of creating and opening an online store easy for almost anyone.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows you to build, host, and manage an online store from one place. This is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms around, with over 6% of the market share, according to W3Techs. In addition, the platform has generated over $200 billion in sales from over 1.7 million online shops.
The platform is also dedicated to sustainability and supports a “Sustainability Fund and Social Impact initiatives such as renewable energy, reducing & offsetting the company’s carbon emissions, enabling an equitable and sustainable future by building products and programs to support” their team and merchants.
What’s more, Shopify makes the entire process of opening an online shop easy. The site is user-friendly and makes it easy for almost anyone to build an online store and sell their products online. Shopify merchants can build an online store and also sell through social media platforms, seller marketplaces, blogs & websites, via email, and much more.
Shopify uses a subscription-based software-as-a-Service, with merchants having four different subscriptions to choose from. Standard plans allow merchants to brand their online stores and offer in-person and online selling tools.
How Does Shopify Work?
Shopify is a SaaS service; however, you might think of it as being similar to WordPress. WordPress is a CMS (content management system); Shopify works in a similar way.
Shopify makes it easy to add and manage products, create web pages, and customise a shop’s appearance using a drag-and-drop, point-and-click, user-friendly interface. There’s no need to know how to code, unless you want to make customisations not found in the default shop.
Your shop is then hosted on Google’s Cloud Platform, a hosting infrastructure. The platform offers some of the fastest servers available for e-commerce. They have the ability to handle large amounts of traffic and heavy traffic surges.
Before building your store, it’s important to understand Shopify themes. You need to choose a theme for your online shop, and this is essential. The theme determines the look and layout of your online store.
Shopify has a marketplace that’s filled with themes to purchase and install right away. The site also offers about 10 high-quality themes that are free too. The themes are made by third parties and are easy to install once you’ve chosen the theme you prefer.
Searching for the right theme is easy by using the filters provided by Shopify. These include: “Industry, Layout, and Design.”
Themes allow you to customise some of the design elements of the store. These include colours, content, and typography. However, it’s not possible to customise the theme’s default layout unless you create your own template (in other words, you need to know how to code to do this).
The e-commerce platform also offers apps that can increase or add certain functionalities to your online shop. Some of the apps are free, while others have set prices or subscription fees. These apps are usually developed by third parties, so they set the prices for these apps instead of Shopify.
How to Make a Shopify Store
Here are the steps needed to create an online store on Shopify:
- Sign Up for an Account
Shopify offers a free account that allows you to test the site for two weeks risk-free. You don’t have to sign up with a credit card.
- Connect Sales Channels
Next, you’ll go through the account setup wizard that helps you connect your sales channels. These can be changed and expanded at any time. You can also set up selling through your social media channels at this time.
- Enter Product Data
Now you’re ready to enter the details for your products, including pricing and images. You can make your own products to sell or find products through Shopify’s Handshake network. Here, you can find vendors that have items you can sell in your store.
- Set Up Payments
Next, you can activate Shopify Payments. It takes one click to start accepting payments right away. You can also choose to connect your own payment processor through the dashboard. Shopify supports more than 100 external payment processors.
One note—using Shopify’s payments means you’ll avoid transaction0
- Shipping & Taxes
You’re now ready to set up shipping and taxes for your online store. You can find these under the “Settings Tab.” Choose your shipping methods and fees, and input your sales tax information.
Note: After completing steps 1-5, you can start selling through your Shopify store and/or through your social media platforms and other marketplace channels.
Pros & Cons of Using Shopify
There’s no question that Shopify is a user-friendly e-commerce platform; however, there are some pros and cons to consider before using the platform.
- Easy to use
- Affordable, secure hosting
- Built-in SEO
- Sell across multiple platforms
- Great designs
- Over 6,000 apps are available in the App Store
- Some security features are not built-in
- Fees can add up
- Themes are challenging to customise (unless you have coding skills)
- Limited blogging capability
- Hard to move away from the platform once you’re established
Summing It Up
Shopify is one of the largest e-commerce platforms available. It’s user-friendly and is one of the best ways to start an online shop. The platform is also affordable when it comes to hosting.
However, it’s necessary to take on some technical challenges when using the platform. Even so, it’s still pretty intuitive to use. Most people can quickly and easily set up and manage an online store.
What’s more, you can test-drive Shopify with a 14-day free trial, and no credit card is needed to sign up and start a store. So, what’s stopping you from starting your own Shopify online store?