Looking to launch an eCommerce store? Shopify is a great choice for a many reasons. It is an award-winning, cloud-based platform, accessible to entrepreneurs around the globe.
Pretty much everything you need to start hosting, Shopify comes with, right out of the box:
✅ Attractive website templates
✅ Simple setup
If you don’t have a ton of experience, Shopify can be a great way to create an aesthetically pleasing online presence with minimal effort. You can make it work whether you’re starting from scratch or transferring an existing store. If you have trouble, you can contact their support any time of day and receive help.
Is it perfect in every situation? No.
But it’s a great fit in a lot of them. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at why, when, and how to use Shopify for your eCommerce store.
We’ll cover the pros and cons of using Shopify, when it’s a good fit for your business, and how to get started with setting up your store.
Once we do that, we’ll then delve into how to use your Shopify store, which includes everything from finding the right apps to optimizing for SEO and much more.
Whether you’re new to eCommerce or looking to switch platforms, this post will provide you with everything you need to know about using Shopify for your online store.
Why Choose Shopify?
Shopify has a user-friendly interface that streamlines the process of creating an online store and provides all the necessary features for a visually appealing online presence. Put another way, it’s pretty close to being a “plug and play” solution. Setup time is minimal and support is robust. There’s a reason why Shopify has a reputation for helping newcomers to eCommerce succeed.
You can’t discuss the pros of Shopify without talking about ease of use. While simpler options such as Squarespace and Wix exist, the ratio of features to complexity on Shopify is unparalleled.
When you sign up with Shopify, you don’t have to worry about finding a web host or designing a website. You simply pick a theme you like, and start tweaking it. Shopify will even help you get your own domain name.
Shopify stores, by default, are fast. You have to start installing a lot of apps and adding custom code to slow them down. Additionally, because Shopify carefully curates its available themes and limits store owner’s customization options, it’s hard to mess up the user experience.
For the features that Shopify doesn’t have by default, the robust app library can probably add them to your store. If you are working with an accounting, inventory, or fulfillment system you like, Shopify probably integrates with it.
Shopify’s themes, which control the look and feel of your store, have a lot of customization options, but not the point of being confusing. In terms of security, Shopify is considered more secure than most other platforms, ensuring that your customers’ information is protected.
- Easy to get started and to use
- Very fast performance
- Great user experience
- Robust app library
- Loads of integrations
- Customizable without being confusing
- More secure than most platforms
While Shopify offers many benefits as an eCommerce platform, it also has some drawbacks to consider. The biggest issue with Shopify is the cost, as it is one of the most expensive platforms both in terms of hosting costs and transaction fees.
Additionally, customization options are more limited compared to other platforms, which may not be ideal for those who want a highly personalized online store. If you want to rank really well in search engines, you should know that optimizing for SEO can be a challenge on Shopify, as it requires a bit more effort compared to other platforms.
- One of the most expensive platforms, both in hosting costs and transaction fees
- Customization options are more limited than other platforms
- Optimizing for SEO can be a pain
When is Shopify a good fit?
Shopify is a suitable option for small to medium-sized businesses who desire a stress-free eCommerce platform. It is an excellent choice for those seeking a straightforward system with good – but not overwhelming – customization options. It’s also great for those who want a comprehensive website, hosting, and eCommerce solution all in one place.
With its user-friendly interface, extensive app library, and numerous integrations, businesses can easily create an online store tailored to their specific requirements. Whether starting a new venture or transferring an existing one, Shopify offers a complete solution for a smooth and seamless setup process.
Shopify is ideal for:
- Small to mid-size businesses
- People with minimal technical experience
- Those who value simplicity over customization
- Companies that prefer an all-in-one solution that covers the hosting, web design costs, and transaction fees
Getting started with Shopify
First things first, if you would like a comprehensive checklist of everything you know to get started with Shopify, we have that here. It’s free to download!
Regardless of whether you download that checklist or not, you’re going to need to choose a web hosting plan. Here are your three options.
Basic Plan ($39/mo): This plan provides everything needed to create an online store, including the ability to ship products and process payments. It includes basic reports, up to 1,000 inventory locations, up to 77% shipping discount, and 2 staff accounts. It also offers 24/7 email and English live chat support.
Shopify Plan ($105/mo): This plan is designed for businesses looking to level up with professional reporting and additional staff accounts. It includes professional reports, up to 1,000 inventory locations, up to 88% shipping discount, and 5 staff accounts. It also offers 24/7 email and English live chat support.
Advanced Plan ($399/mo): This plan is the best of Shopify, offering custom reporting and the lowest transaction fees. It includes a custom report builder, up to 1,000 inventory locations, up to 88% shipping discount, and 15 staff accounts. It also offers 24/7 email and English live chat support.
Once you select a store, you will also need to start building your site and creating products. Here is a detailed guide on how exactly you can do that. It covers subjects such as:
- Adding basic store information
- Creating products
- Customizing your theme
- Setting up your domain
- Configuring payment and shipping information
- Installing apps
Once you’ve gotten to this point, you will have “set up” your Shopify store. But you will naturally have a lot of questions of what exactly to do from here. We talk about that in the next section.
Resources to help you set up your Shopify store
In order to help you on your Shopify journey, we’ve put together articles to guide you beyond basic Shopify setup, covering product descriptions, app selection, Google optimization, social media marketing, demand planning, finding manufacturers, handling freight & customs, and outsourcing fulfillment.
Marketing your Shopify store
One of the most important parts of eCommerce is writing good product descriptions. This helps reduce the anxiety that customers have about purchasing something online without being able to touch or see the product.
Write good product descriptions, and your conversion rates will improve, your return rate will fall, and your Google rank will rise. Here’s how you do it.
Once you get product descriptions squared away, you can focus on other forms of marketing, which are detailed in this post. It covers SEO, content marketing, social media, advertising, influencer marketing, contests, mobile-friendly web design, and best practices for customer service.
Selecting the right apps for your Shopify store
As wonderful as Shopify is, it doesn’t always have all the features you want right out of the box. In this post, we talk about some of our favorite Shopify apps, which include:
- Smile: a loyalty platform to create a loyalty points program and referral program
- Kit: an app that helps with marketing by recommending strategies using data about your store
- Oberlo: a popular app for dropshippers to find good products and arrange shipping
- Printful: an online store for custom products, connects directly to Shopify to manufacture and ship products
- Referral Candy: an app to create emails and pop-ups to ask customers to refer friends and reward them
- Plug in SEO: an app to help with common SEO tasks and improve store ranking
- Yotpo: an app to help with acquiring product reviews
- Growave: an “all-in-one” app with features such as loyalty & rewards, referral program, reviews, wishlist, social sharing, automated emails
Optimizing your Shopify store for Google
Learning about how to optimize your search engine traffic is complicated enough to warrant its own post, which you can find here.
This article explains how to identify keywords, improve the quality of content on your store, and avoid technical issues. It also covers user experience, including mobile-friendliness, reducing loading time, and avoiding intrusive ads.
How to market your Shopify store on social media
Social media is an excellent way for some brands to promote their products. However, if you want to succeed on social media, you need a clear understanding of what you’re doing. This guide can help.
In it, you’ll read about the basics of social media strategy and how social media can be used. Then multiple different networks will be covered so that you can make an informed choice on how you’d like to spend your time.
How to plan for demand
Once sales start to come in, you’ll want to standardize your processes some. In eCommerce, everything will more or less depend on product demand. That means you need to be very good at estimating it!
In this demand planning article, you will learn about data sources you can use to estimate demand, which include:
- Past sales
- Advertising performance
- Market data and expert opinions
- Surveys, focus groups, and market studies
How to find manufacturers
If you’re going to be selling products, you have two options – buy them readymade from somewhere else, make them yourself, or have them made for you. For that third option, you’ll need to find a manufacturer. This article can help.
If you’re not quite ready to commit to a full manufacturing run, you might need a sample or a prototype first. If that’s the case, here’s another article which might be more helpful right now.
No matter what, you need to be mindful in your manufacturing about one key factor: shipping! If you’re running an eCommerce store, shipping may very well end up being your biggest expense. Here’s how you manufacture with shipping in mind.
How to handle freight and customs
In the process of ordering goods to sell on Shopify, you may need to coordinate large bulk shipments of inventory to go from one place to another. Oftentimes, you’ll find yourself manufacturing items overseas, needing to import them into your own country before you can sell them.
If that’s the case, you’ll need to book freight. Here is a quick guide on how freight works. If you decide you want to book freight on your own, check out Freightos.
No matter what, if you’re importing goods from another country, you’ll need to run them through customs. Here’s what you need to know before you do that.
When to hire help with order fulfillment
Lastly, there will come a time when your Shopify store is doing well that you can’t ship your own orders efficiently. It will become too time-consuming, exhausting, or frustrating. When that day comes, here is how you know it’s time to hire a fulfillment company.
This is something we can help you with at Fulfillrite, so if you need help shipping your Shopify orders, request a quote here.
With its user-friendly interface, robust app library, and numerous integrations, Shopify makes it easy for business owners to create a visually appealing online presence. It is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses and those who value simplicity over customization. The platform offers 24/7 support, fast performance, and a high level of security.
In short, there’s a lot to like.
But setting up a Shopify store is a lot of work, so we hope that all the resources we’ve provided you with in this article take away some of the guessing and stress.
Good luck building your Shopify store – we’re rooting for you!
You’ve done everything by the book. Your Kickstarter campaign is almost ready to launch.
You made a great product. Built an audience. Set up a campaign page.
But how do you ship it?
We put this checklist together to help you get started. It's free.