What is Shopify and How Does it Work?

First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to choose and read my guide on making money with Shopify. This is a beginner’s guide and it will walk you through what Shopify is, why you should use it, and how to set up your Shopify account.

We will also be looking at some of the very best Shopify apps that you can use as well as delving into the technical side – adding pages, changing the way your Shopify website looks, and how to take payments, as well as all the Shopify plans on offer. Lastly, we look at how you can maximize your earning potential by using Shopify with Amazon and Facebook.

Shopify offers plenty of technical support and advice to help you along your way so even a true beginner can get started in just a short while. By the end of this guide, you will understand what Shopify is and how it can help you in your quest to earn money online.

Really and truthfully, it doesn’t matter if you want to earn a bit of extra cash on the side or if you want to be the boss of your own empire, Shopify can help you. There is a kind of appealing side to running a business online, but it isn’t without its challenges.

It is going to be hard work to start with so don’t think you can set this up in minutes and then sit back for an easy ride. You can do it though, provided you have the right ideas, you’ve done your homework and you are prepared to be in some blood, sweat, and tears to do it. Shopify is now the online store of choice for many entrepreneurs and has been the one method that has helped people to start the online business they always dreamed of starting. And, for those businesses already established, it is a great platform to help them diversify into e-commerce too.

In simple words, if you want a shop, whether you are selling small or are a huge going concern, you can have one with Shopify. And you can customize your store, upload as many products as you want, and join the many thousands already making money with Shopify.

What is Shopify and How Does it Work?

No doubt you have already heard of Shopify. It is something of a household name now. Unless you have already delved deeply into it then the chances are you won’t know what it can do for you and how it works so that’s what I’m going to start by telling you before we look at the main advantages and disadvantages of using it.

So, what is it?

Shopify is a way of setting up a store online, providing you with an easy platform to sell just about anything that you want. It is incredibly popular with entrepreneurs and businesses who want an easy way to create an e-commerce shop that can operate alone or as part of an existing company. One thing that sets Shopify aside from the competition is the fact that it is incredibly versatile.

You don’t need to have any experience in writing code. If all you want is a simple store to get up and running pretty much straight away, Shopify has a range of templates that you can choose from. These provide the skeleton of the store and can be customized so you can put your own unique stamp on your store.

However, Shopify is not limited to small businesses or internet entrepreneurs; it is scalable, customizable, and even multi-lingual, making it the perfect platform for any business even the biggest of brands like Red Bull, KKW Beauty, WaterAid, and Budweiser – all using Shopify as their online store platform.

How does it Work?

Shopify is dead simple to use, one of the biggest reasons why it is so popular. It is web-based software so there is no need to install it first. The platform is fully hosted by Shopify and this brings several advantages, including full customer support. There isn’t any need to go through complex installations, worry about upgrades that might mess things up and you don’t need to worry about any web servers – it’s all done for you. And Shopify is compatible with all the major operating systems.

Setting up a store is simple, as you will see later. All you need to do is sign up for your free 14-day trial on Shopify and give it a go. Once the free trial period is up you need to decide whether to continue or not and which plan to choose. We’ll be looking at those plans later on, but there are several to choose from, each with its own unique features and price. Then, you just need to decide on what to sell and add your payment details to pay for your subscription.

That’s all there is to it. You can register a domain name so your Shopify store has the name you want it to have and if you already have a website or a domain name, simply integrate it all with Shopify – I’ll show you how later.

How does it Work?

Shopify has several decent advantages and one of the biggest is that it offers more than 100 different themes for you to choose from for your storefront. This allows you to choose a professional look that also looks good on a mobile device.

For those that have used WordPress, the approach to Shopify themes is quite similar – a store holds the themes and you can browse to choose what you want. Some are free, some require payment and you can also choose from themes set up for specific industries. These themes have been professionally designed and Shopify ensures that they are consistent and compatible with their own software before they allow them into the store.

Another great advantage is the flexibility that Shopify offers, allowing to use the Shopify app store to add different functionalities. There are over 12oo apps to choose from and we’ll be looking at some of them in a later chapter. Again, some of them are free while some are paid and you can pick and choose the ones that help make your store easier to use and to automate certain aspects of it.

There are social media apps, customer service, inventory management, accounting, even shipping apps, all available to add to your store to help run your new business. All of this makes Shopify more than a simple store; it is a complete business solution, providing assistance for the backend as well as the frontend. And if you worried about installing the apps, don’t be because Shopify will do the work for you. If there is one thing designed to send people into a panic, it’s a glitch that causes their website to go down with no warning and leaving them with no idea how to get it all back again.

Shopify is robust but, to deal with any issues that arise and any problems you may have their next advantage is that they operate a 24/7 customer support service. They offer several different phone numbers for different areas, they have email support and online chat so your problems can be solved straight away. Time is money as any business owner knows and the minimum amount of fuss and maximum speed to get an issue resolved is crucial.

The Shopify software is in the cloud so you have a great deal more flexibility because any web browser can be used to run it. You can work wherever you want, whenever you want, as long as you have a connection to the internet. Security is not an issue either; Shopify does it all for you, ensuring all transactions are completely secure so you can concentrate on selling your goods. Lastly, there is a Shopify POS (point of sale) app for both Android and iOS that helps take care of in-person transactions. Using it means you can sell anywhere – at a market, a fair, in a popup window, anywhere you want. Plus it offers the versatility of accepting multiple methods of payment. The best of it is, the app fully syncs with your account so your orders can be monitored as can stock levels in real-time, across all your points of sale – online, physical store, and so on.

Shopify Disadvantages

While Shopify has plenty of advantages, it also has a few disadvantages. Don’t be too surprised; nothing is perfect and nothing can possibly suit everyone so make sure you are aware of the downsides before you start.

Unless you make use of the Shopify payments system, you will need to pay a fee on each sale and that can be anywhere from 0.5% to 2%, depending on which plan you are signed up to. If you opt for the basic plan, the transaction fee is 2% of each sale; the Shopify Plan is 1% and the Advanced Plan is 0.5%. How much of a disadvantage this proves to be is down to your perspective. In terms of money, it is equal to between $0.50 and $2 for every $100 sale – that isn’t too bad and that money is used to pay for the payment management technology that Shopify uses. In simple terms, all you are doing is paying them to handle your transactions. Plus, Shopify doesn’t hide their fees; they are completely upfront and you will always know what the charges are going to be.

Not all the apps are free to use. While they can offer huge amounts of functionality, some of them do have a monthly cost attached to them and this can soon bump up your monthly expenditure. Take MailChimp, for example, a popular mail app that helps you to run a mail campaign. If you have less than 2000 email subscribers then Mailchimp is free, but any more and the costs are anywhere between $10 and $200 per month. Another one, FreshBooks, is a great accounting app but it will set you back almost $32 a month. As far as apps go, if you have a small business most of them are free. But, grow your business larger and you may have to start paying out for those apps.

For someone like you who is going to be starting a brand-new business, for now, you won’t need to worry about that. And, if your business does grow, your revenue should grow with it and those all-important apps won’t seem quite so expensive. You could try doing the accounting and marketing yourself to start with, but you will find that your attention will be on that and not on selling. You could also hire an external person to do for you, but that will definitely cost you more than the app would.

Perhaps, in the long run, the best option is to bit the bullet and buy the app, saving yourself the time that you could be using to focus on selling. Many platforms make use of CSS or HTML coding, but Shopify doesn’t. Instead, it uses something called Liquid so store customization means you need to know the language or you need to know someone who does. That can prove expensive so, to begin with, stick with the themes on offer and leave the customization for later down the line.

While Shopify is incredibly flexible, and it can be highly customized, some parts of it can’t unless you opt for the very expensive Shopify Plus plan so be aware of that from the start. So, as you can see, most of the disadvantages revolve around costs and expenses but, if you want a successful business, those are inevitable – you can’t have it all for anything. If you had a physical store, for example, you would have overheads in rent and utilities, not to mention taxes, staff, inventory, and so on.

With Shopify, the monthly subscription you choose is akin to these costs but much cheaper. Let’s move on and look at the different plans Shopify offers.