If you’ve just begun looking into shopping cart software, chances are you’ve run into Shopify.

Shopify is an all-inclusive online selling platform with a monthly subscription, but how does Shopify work? Once you choose your pricing plan, you can create and develop an online store to promote, sell, and ship your products to customers.

Shopify is popular due to its low startup cost and easy-to-use interface. Shopify is an excellent solution for many merchants, although it’s not perfect. Keep reading for more information about what comes included in a Shopify subscription, what products you can sell with Shopify, and the merits and disadvantages of the software.

What Is Shopify?

Shopify is a cloud-based SaaS (software as a service) shopping cart solution that allows businesses to set up an online store and sell their products online with ease. Shopify has multiple pricing plans and its feature set fits businesses of any size. Startups all the way to enterprise-sized businesses can benefit from using Shopify as their eCommerce platform, and there are plenty of integrations to help this software scale alongside your business’s growth.

How Does Shopify Work?

Shopify is a cloud-based software with a monthly subscription that gives businesses access to an admin panel where you can enter store data, add products, and process orders. The software is easy to use and comes with little learning curve, so you can get your online store up and running quickly. You’ll be able to choose from a rich selection of free and for-purchase design templates. These themes are clean and modern, and Shopify provides a variety of editing tools that you can use to make your chosen theme fit your brand.

What’s more, a subscription with Shopify includes secure, reliable web hosting for your website. You don’t have to worry about your site crashing during peak traffic or hackers hijacking your transactions. With 99.98% uptime and a free SSL certificate, Shopify has you covered.

Finally, your monthly payment entitles you to comprehensive 24/7 customer support. You’ll be able to contact support via phone, email, and live chat. And you can also use Shopify’sknowledgebase to solve smaller problems on your own. Shopify boasts that it’s an all-in-one solution. With a Shopify subscription, you should have everything you need to quickly begin selling on your very own site.

What Can I Sell On Shopify?

Shopify supports many different types of eCommerce businesses. Shopify users can sell physical products, digital products, or drop-ship products on Shopify (so long as none of the products are illegal). Shopify sellers use the software to market a wide variety of products like:

According to a recent study, the highest trending Shopify items for 2020 are peel-off-face masks, nail polish, exercise bands, water bottles, blankets, and yoga mats — so if you’re in the personal care or wellness field, Shopify is an especially good choice.

When it comes to selling goods on Shopify, almost anything goes. The only hard and fast rule is that you can’t sell anything illegal and the following products are prohibited: alcohol, tobacco and e-cigarettes, CBD, fireworks, drugs, video game currency or credits, firearms, and weapons.

Still unsure if you can sell your products on Shopify? Contact Shopify for the latest rules and regulations.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Shopify?

As you may expect, while Shopify is an excellent option for many merchants, it isn’t for everyone. Here’s a brief list of the reasons merchants choose Shopify, followed by a list of common customer complaints:

Shopify Pros

Shopify Cons

How To Use Shopify

Are you wondering how to sell on Shopify? The way to get the most out of your Shopify subscription is to play to the software’s strengths. Shopify offers a few feature modules that you can use to boost your administrative power and expedite daily processes.

Look Into Shopify Payments

If you’ve read our review of Shopify, you know that one of Shopify’s biggest downfalls is its transaction fees. Shopify charges between 0.5% and 2.0% on every transaction you make using its platform (depending on your plan). However, if you choose to use Shopify’s in-house payment processor, Shopify Payments, you can have those transaction fees waived. Another benefit is that Shopify Payments offers reduced processing fees to clients on higher-level Shopify plans.

A word of warning: Many Shopify customers complain that they aren’t permitted to use Shopify Payments. Make sure you read through the Terms of Service before you count on enabling Shopify Payments.

You should also look into your other options for payment processing before you commit to Shopify Payments. Sure, it would be great to get your transaction fees waived, but you may find that another payment processor can offer you a better deal. It’s best to do your research and crunch the numbers before you commit to any processor. For more information, view our full article on the pros and cons of Shopify Payments. And to learn how to select a payment processor, take a look at our Beginner’s Guide to Payment Processing. It explains everything from understanding rates and fees to negotiating for the best deal.

Utilize Shopify Themes & Templates

Shopify is best known for its ease of use and modern web design. Here’s a sample of Shopify’s themes:

In particular, I’m a fan of Shopify’s drag-and-drop editor, Sections. The Sections editor lets you edit the look of your homepage using simple drag-and-drop design tools. I love how easily you can rearrange pieces of your web pages. If you want more control, Shopify also lets you change the look of your site through editing your site code.

Become Multichannel With Shopify POS

If you’re a multichannel merchant who sells in-person as well as online, Shopify is an excellent choice.

Shopify makes it easy to sell in brick-and-mortar and pop-up shops with its in-house POS system. When you sign up for Shopify’s eCommerce store, you’ll also automatically gain access to Shopify POS. Shopify POS lets you easily complete in-person retail transactions and process credit card payments. Your online store and POS system are synced so that every inventory change you make on one platform appears on the other.

If you’d like more specific information on credit card processing and ease of use, we’ve written a full review of Shopify POS.

Try Selling Digital

Shipping is one of the biggest hassles involved with online selling, and it can really cut into your profits. Selling digital products allows you to benefit from all the perks of selling online while eliminating one of the major downsides.

Using Shopify’s native digital product features, you can sell downloadable merchandise. Market your MP3 files, printables, videos, and ebooks. Disable shipping on those products and let customers download digital products right from your site. Load up a few downloadable products and start fulfilling customers’ orders faster, without spending a penny on shipping.

Start A Blog

Maintaining a blog can work wonders for your online store. Not only do regular blog posts boost your SEO rankings, but they also help to build your brand’s identity. Fortunately, Shopify is one of a handful of shopping carts that comes with built-in blog features. You can write, edit, and publish blog posts right in your admin panel.

For most merchants, Shopify’s blog functionality will work perfectly fine, but I should warn you: As with many of Shopify’s features, Shopify’s blogging is pretty basic.

If you want your blog to be the main focus of your online store, Shopify may not be the right choice. You might instead look into the Shopify alternative, WooCommerce, which lets you add a shopping cart into a pre-existing blog instead of the other way around. Alternatively, you could use the BlogFeeder app to link your WordPress account with your Shopify store. This app lets you manage your blog on WordPress and then import it to Shopify, which may give you access to more robust blogging features.

However you do it, you should start a blog on your store. It’ll do you good.

Tap Into Shopify Customer Service

We love SaaS solutions such as Shopify for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is customers’ ready access to free technical support. Shopify is one of the eCommerce industry’s leaders when it comes to customer support; the company offers support options in every avenue, including phone support, email support, live chat, written documentation, video tutorials, webinars, and a community forum.

With so many support options available to you, you’ll never have to go it on your own. When you run into a problem, contact support. If it isn’t a dramatic fix, it won’t cost you anything at all.

Take Advantage Of Shopify Add-Ons

Shopify’s Marketplace is packed with a whopping 3,500+ add-ons. Because Shopify comes relatively light out-of-the-box, you’ll likely need to add a few integrations like shipping software, payment gateways, or email marketing software. But with so many add-ons to choose from, you’re sure to find the extensions you need.

In particular, you should look into incorporating shipping software to beef up your order processing. Take a look at our top recommendations for shipping software, or look at the abbreviated version below:

Other Ways To Make The Most Of Shopify

Here are a few final tips on how to get the most out of your Shopify account and boost your eCommerce business:

How Do You Start With Shopify?

If you’re considering Shopify, take the first step to get started and sign up for the 14-day free trial. You won’t have to enter any credit card information to access the trial; you will just need to submit contact information and answer a few questions about your business.

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