1) Introduction

Do you want online buyers to trust your small business among the countless options they have? If yes, then you require an online storefront that looks appealing, premium, and professional. Choosing the best eCommerce platform among the lot allows your sales and business growth to skyrocket within no time. This is a major step toward building a strong market presence online as well as offline. 

But now the question arises, which platform will suit best for your business model? And most importantly, what all factors and features do you need to look for? We understand that this search can be a bit overwhelming for some entrepreneurs out there, therefore to make your selection easier, we recommend that you place your trust in Shopify. 

Shopify is an online selling platform for all business sizes and models. It is the second largest and most popular eCommerce store builder around the globe, all because of its low barrier of entry. 

If you’re looking for an in-depth roundabout of what Shopify is and how to use it in order to grow your eCommerce business, look no further. In this article, we’ll walk you through the entire Shopify functioning, the pros and cons of the online platform, and how to start selling with Shopify. 


2) What is Shopify?

Shopify is an eCommerce store building platform that operates via a subscription-based pricing model. Offered as a SaaS sales platform, Shopify can be used by purchasing one of four standard subscriptions, where the cheapest plan starts at a monthly cost of $29. 

For people who find that a little costly, there’s also a plan called “Lite” which is available at a monthly price of $9, but it also comes with its own setback. The Lite plan doesn't include any online store, but does provide mobile POS and a “Buy” button that you can use to sell your items via other websites, blog posts, and shoppable emails. 

All of Shopify’s subscription plans deliver full-suite business management and growth tools. All of these plans provide payment processing, marketing & reporting, product sourcing, inventory tracking, customer accounts, and sales tracking. Plus, you are welcome to expand your toolkit with Shopify’s easy-to-access applications. 


3) How to set up a Shopify store?

Shopify centralizes all of your data including products, customers, and operations in a single system that can later connect to all the other sales channels without any hindrances. Once the required data is collected, the platform makes sure that it is easy to explore and grow into new product lines and sales channels making the entire procedure seamless. 

Here's a step-by-step procedure of how Shopify works. 

Step 1- Sign up for a free trial (14-days)

You can have a free and risk-free test drive for two weeks. The platform won't need you to provide you credit card details at this point.

Step 2- Connect your sales channels

Once you’ve created your account, your initial sales channel will automatically be set up, but you can easily change or expand it at any time. If you're willing to sell through your social channels, you can connect those in your initial setup wizard as well. 

Step 3- Enter your product data or find products to sell

Enter all the essential details regarding the items you make or source yourself like pricing, description, and images, or tap into Shopify’s Handshake wholesale network and dropship vendors where you'll find items to sell. 

You can also combine items you make or source by yourself with related dropship products as well. This makes sure that you're providing a buyer with a very well-rounded and organized collection. 

Step 4- Set up your payments

You can activate the Shopify payment method with just a single click to start collecting payments within no time or connect your own payment processor to Shopify's dashboard. Shopify supports more than 100 external payment processors for smooth and better payment functioning. 

Step 5- Set up shipping and taxes 

Under the settings tab, add your shipping methods and fees along with the applicable sales tax information. 

By now you'll be ready to sell your products online. With step1 to step5 right in place, you're ready to sell goods on various social media platforms and marketplace channels by using the Buy button tool and in-person with the help of a POS card reader. 


4) What can you sell on Shopify?

Shopify supports virtual sales for all kinds of goods and services, including

  • Digitized products delivered through downloads like music files/albums, digital gift cards, e-books, etc.

  • Products that you ship for yourself.

  • Dropship items or products that are shipped directly to consumers from vendors. 

  • Goods and services sold in-person through mobile locations.

  • Goods and services sold via a retail outlet.

  • Subscriptions and memberships that come with automated recurring payments.

  • Tickets and passes for special concerts, events, tours, and attractions. 

  • Services that are sold and managed via online bookings.

  • Online courses, sessions, tutorials, webinars, and workshops. 

  • Fundraisers and donations.

  • Rental equipment, formal wear, cameras, and shooting equipment. 

Shopify comes with a list of items that are prohibited to be sold on it, such as firecrackers, living organisms, explosives, firearms, medical devices, drugs, and alcohol are some of many items. The platform will remove such items from a subscriber’s product pages and will also terminate their account for not following the correct protocol. 


5) Where can we sell using Shopify?

Shopify’s omnichannel sales chain is very extensive. Some sale channels like top social sites, eCommerce stores, and POS are built into the platform. Whereas other sales channels like seller marketplaces, online sales, and courses connect via Shopify’s application. 

Here is a snippet of the many sales channels you can tap into while using Shopify:

5.1) Online stores

Shopify’s online store is an eCommerce platform, ready for ideal brand integration, customer reach, and growth of your business. 

5.2) Social media platforms

Applications like Facebook, Instagram, and Tik-Toks all integrate with Shopify and lead to seamless sales support via pins, posts, reels, and videos. 

5.3) In-person mobile selling

Shopify’s POS mobile card readers are a great and ideal selection for mobile services, local markets, pop-up stores, and food trucks/outlets. 

5.4) Retail store sales

Shopify’s POS Pro supports retail checkouts and manages store workflows.

5.5) Seller marketplaces

You can easily list your products on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart, and Lyst to reach huge marketplaces audiences.

5.6) Mobile application

Shopify’s App provides a brilliant in-app shopping experience with special and customized product recommendations and after-purchase offers.

5.7) Non-Shopify websites and blogs

Shopify’s embedded buy button allows you to add shop features to reviews, also you can add the links to these products on third-party blogs, articles, and websites as well. 

5.8) Email and chat

Shopify’s buy button allows you to create and send emails that contain shoppable, while its chat sessions help you turn sales into opportunities. 

5.9) Wholesale buyers

Shopify offers a Handshake marketplace for subscribers who wish to sell their products in bulk quantities. Artisans and small business owners/manufacturers reach retail buyers by making wholesale deals.

5.10) International marketplace

Big international applications including My Deal AU (Australia), JD Marketplace (China), IndiaMart (India), and Rakuten Ichiba (Japan) associated and integrated with Shopify in order to expand their sales in international markets. 


6) Pros & Cons of Shopify eCommerce selling platform

Shopify offers a wide variety of sales and business management features that can surely help in the active growth and functioning of your eCommerce business, but is it the right platform for you? Let's find out.

6.1) Pros

a) Seamless offline and online retail sales

Well-designed and fully integrated online and offline (retail) store POS features allow you to sell anywhere and everywhere in person. 

b) Easy to use

Small business owners and beginners can set up a well-managed beautiful Shopify store along with multiple sales channels, easily order processing workflows in the morning, and be ready to sell by the afternoon. 

c) Competitive plan charges

Provides low monthly fees for entry-level plans and highly competitive rates on longer-time period plans. 

d) Ample growth potential

Shopify provides a roof to some of the biggest brands present online ie, it's ready to support unlimited and sustained growth.

e) Built-in marketing support

Features like abandoned cart notifications and automatic email marketing support helps you boost your sales with just a click.

f) Secured technology

Shopify is a very well-managed and technically equipped platform that handles all your technical details.

g) Inbuilt product sourcing

You can easily populate your eCommerce store with very little or no upfront investment by using Shopify’s inbuilt dropship and wholesale networks. 


6.2) Cons

a) High costing

If you're a beginner and working under an extremely tight budget you can easily find effective and extremely low-cost Shopify alternatives. 

b) Very few SEO options

Shopify’s online stores offer very basic SEO features as compared to various other platforms like WordPress.

c) Theme limitations

Shopify tends to offer very basic themes and if you want to add advanced features that will require more functionality and specialized coding. 

d) Transaction Fees

If you don't use Shopify Payments, you have to bear a transaction fee per sale item through credit or debit card. 


7) Conclusion

Shopify is truly an unmatched virtual platform in the world of eCommerce selling platforms. It provides comfort and ease of seamless transactions to a chain of sellers. 

But just like every coin has two sides, Shopify also comes with its own flaws like limited store customization, basic SEO tools, and simplistic blogging features. That being said, all these cons are overshadowed by its extensive selling opportunities and bang-on core business management tools. 

Small businesses and merchants won't let alone find a platform as great as Shopify to grow their business and achieve the desired sales target. So in our opinion, it is one of the best among the lot, and you can truly give it a go. 


8) FAQs On Shopify

8.1) Is Shopify a good online selling platform for beginners and startups?

Yes, Shopify is an easy-to-use platform that allows you to sell within minutes. The online store builder is extremely user-friendly. In fact, you can find products that can be sold via Shopify dropship vendors and their wholesale marketplace value. 

8.2) What exactly does Shopify do?

With the help of Shopify, merchants or sellers can build and customize an eCommerce store and sell their products in multiple places. Such as pop-up shops, online marketplaces, social media platforms, in-person, and much more. 

8.3) Can you sell your own goods/products on Shopify?

Absolutely yes, you sell your products directly to consumers at retail prices. You can also sell your products in bulk to Shopify’s sellers at a wholesale market price.

8.4) Does Shopify come with good customer support?

For people using the Lite or free plan, they have 24/7 live chat and email customer service support. Clients using the paid plan have access to 24/7 phone, live chat, and email customer support. All in all, Shopify’s customer care support is quite commendable.