What is Shopify?
Shopify is a complete, fully hosted, eCommerce solution that enables you to set up an online store to sell your products. It assists you to organize your products, customize your storefront, accept credit card payments, track and respond to orders — all with a few clicks of the mouse.
The key being that it is fully hosted! No more stressful hosting management, backups, security risks, cpanel knowledge..., etc. This is built with the business owner in mind; you just do what you do best... Run the business!
How Does Shopify Work?
Basically, Shopify takes the hard work out of setting up an eCommerce store, leaving the vendor free to focus on what they know best: Their business, their products, selling their products and customer service. Not only does Shopify provide eCommerce solutions for online stores, but they also provide POS (point of sale) systems for real world offline stores, as well. It’s a business that is constantly evolving and introducing new thoughts and state-of-the-art solutions to the world of commerce.
Shopify facilitates the vendor to set up a storefront hosted on their servers using any one of many free and premium themes. There are over 100 to choose from, and new designs are added all the time. You can organize your products, customize your shop front and receive credit card and PayPal payments all within the Shopify platform.
It’s kind of like having a store on eBay or Amazon, only better and simpler. The store is custom designed to your specifications and liking. It’s your piece of the eCommerce real estate, without the worry of installing software, maintaining that software or running any web servers. That’s all taken care of by Shopify. You can even make use of your very own domain name.
Depending on the payment gateway you use, Shopify can be utilized in virtually every country, receiving payments in most currencies. Your storefront (and everything associated with it) can be in any language you like. The admin side of things is in English, though.
Why should I use Shopify over other cart options?
Shopify is a fully hosted ECommerce solution
This means that everything is fully hosted for you, all monthly updates, security control, and backups. Everything you would normally have to do when purchasing hosting and managing your store is all taken care of! You just run the business side of things
State of the art security
Nowadays, hacking is progressively more common. Let the professionals handle all of your security concerns for you. Shopify is Level 1 PCI compliant and uses 128-bit SSL encryption to make sure credit card data is secure.
Shopify hosts over 90,000 successful stores and growing! With an enormous library of easy to add custom apps to enhance your store and state of the art design templates. Shopify is continuously improving its features so business owners can worry about their business and not the confusing website technical details.
Shopify has a huge library of applications that can be added to your store's functionality at any time. These apps are built to assist in improving your marketing, sales, social media, shipping, inventory, customer service, accounting, and business reporting.
Built in functionality
Shopify comes with lots of inbuilt functions! From a built-in blog (no more running multiple sites) matched to your store, auto responders for abandoned carts, instant sale notifications that can even text you and your staff, gift card feature, full in depth sales reports, tracking analytics, and an easy to use admin panel for running your store plus much more!
Shopify is proudly Canadian! Which also means you are getting Canadian support when needed! Tired of calling a service provider just to be talking to someone overseas... Shopify support is also proudly Canadian.
Pros of Shopify
- No design skills or real programming are essential to set up a nice looking Shopify storefront. If you would rather someone else set it up for you, then there are people who will do it for a nominal fee.
- Being able to accept most currencies and have a storefront in virtually any language is also a huge plus.
- The ease of use of the platform and its flexibility are what set Shopify apart from other eCommerce platforms. Plus, there’s no headache of running and maintaining your own full-blown website. Shopify handles all the technical stuff for you.
- They provide eCommerce platforms for online selling and POS software for offline sales. The perfect, symphonic partnership; especially if you have an offline store that also sells online.
- Shopify has an active and helpful community that is always there to answer questions and lend support, together with Shopify’s official Support Centre.
- The Shopify Manual comprises everything you need to know to set up your online store and run it successfully. The manual is chock full of guides and tutorials to help you every step of the way.
Reporting and Analytics
In the dashboard for your storefront, you will come across many statistics and charts and graphs reporting sales, orders, traffic, where your visitors come from and much more. Custom reports can be generated and exported for your files. There is also much data to analyze to see what’s working and what needs to be changed. Google Analytics also works in association with your online store.
Shopify App Store
There is an app store as part of the Shopify network of resources. The apps serve as plug-ins for your eCommerce store, additionally simplifying store setup and functionality. Many of the apps are free, and some are sold for prices ranging from just a few dollars up to over $100. Creating apps for the Shopify platform is also another way for those with development skills to earn some extra cash. There are apps for all sorts of things, which includes the following:
- Social media
- Reporting & so much more.
Shopify Partner Network
As a Shopify partner or affiliate, you can earn 20% monthly revenue share for referring new customers to the Shopify platform. Build an eCommerce theme and earn up to 70% for each sale you make in the Shopify Theme Store. Create an app and sell it for up to an 80% commission in the Shopify App Store.
So, not only is Shopify a great place to host an eCommerce store, there are some other ways to earn money with Shopify, whether you host a store with them or not. For most of us, the easiest way to earn that extra cash is to refer new customers to Shopify for that 20% cut.
The support center is open 24/7 and offers email, phone, and live chat support. In my experience – and the know-how of many others – the support service is fast, professional and always very helpful and polite. If you like, you can even search for answers to problems yourself by typing a question into the knowledge base.
How Much Does It Cost?
You can start with a 14-day free trial to test it out and take a look. After that, you will have to sign up for a plan if you wish to continue.
- Starter Plan: $14 per month
- Basic Plan: $29 per month
- Professional Plan: $79 per month
- Unlimited Plan: $179 per month
All plans include Shopify POS, unlimited file storage, unlimited products, low transaction fees, discount code engine, 24/7 support. Billing occurs every 30 days and is charged to the credit card you associate with your account.
Shopify is a great platform that saves time, frustration and money. If you are looking to set up and open an eCommerce store, then I would recommend checking out their FREE 14-day trial. Shopify can also be pretty profitable as an affiliate, as well, with top earners making more than $6000/month in commissions. Sounds like a win-win to me.