So you have products and you’re ready to start a business. Either you have your own products to sell or you see potential in something that you see marketable. Selling online has a lot of advantages and the best advantage is the range of clientele. Shopify is an end to end website solution that will help you build your online store.
Several years ago, I started selling apparel on eBay, and for a couple of years, the business was good. The rules and guidelines, however, became more and more rigid. Along with conformity came the loss of identity. My store eventually looked just like those of my competitors. Even feedback rating no longer became a point of disambiguation with the number of online sellers in the same niche. This is why I decided to call it quits and start something I could call my own.
There are 3 elements needed in starting an online shop – a storefront, shopping cart solution, and a payment solution. Products are made available in the storefront just like aisles in a grocery store. Buyers put the stuff they want in the shopping cart which functions much like carts in a grocery store. Finally, buyers and sellers exchange products and payments through the payment gateway, much like a cash register
All of this seemed like a lot of work, let alone complicated. There are solution providers online that cater to these elements and if you are a professional website developer, building an e-commerce website is a doable task. Not all online sellers are website developers though. I have the slightest idea in computer programming as well as putting all these solutions together to build an online store. Good thing there are turnkey providers like Shopify. Without programming skills, I was able to open my very own online shop.
WHAT IS SHOPIFY
Shopify is a turnkey e-commerce solution that provides end to end support from setting up your storefront to managing your merchant account and payment gateways, to fulfilling orders. Think of it as a one-stop solution that will help you build your shop from the ground up.
With a user-friendly interface, you will find it easy to signup for an account, setup payment processes, and tax settings, configure shipping options, customize notification settings, add products and contents. Also, you can customize how your shop and products look like to your customers. The user dashboard gives you total control of these features.
All you need to think of are your products, content, and progress. All other items such as server management, plugins, programming, bandwidth and other technical elements are taken care of by Shopify.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM SHOPIFY
Online businesses are viable sources of extra income. There are even those who rely on them as means to make ends meet. As an end to end e-commerce solution, Shopify allows even those who have the least knowledge in website development to open an online shop. Online businesses are beneficial to
Even experienced web developers can benefit from Shopify as it supplements their skills and knowledge on website development.
Let's delve a bit deeper into the features that Shopify offers. As I have mentioned, it is easy to use from building your shop to adding products, fulfilling orders and getting paid.
Storefronts – You want to convert as much visitors as you can into buyers. As cliche as it sound, first impressions last and nothing makes a better impression than an attractive looking store. With Shopify, you can choose from over 100 premium and free professional themes. Clearleft, Happy Cog, and the Pixel Union are just among the names of popular designers who have contributed to the themes available in the theme store. I find the Theme Settings handy as it lets me customize my website's design while letting me preview whatever changes I am doing.
Shopping Cart – What I like the most about the shopping cart feature is that there are over 70 external payment gateways that Shopify integrates with. Mode of payment is not a problem for your buyers which equates to a wider range of clientele for your business. You no longer have to think about shipping rates for major carriers as well as the taxes that will apply for each order as they are all automated. Another feature that expands your network of customers is the checkout page that comes in over 50 languages.
Store Management – Without thinking of the technical nitty-gritty you can focus your attention on store management. With a customer membership feature, I was able to boost my sales with repeat customers. Another good thing about this is that most repeat customers leave positive reviews. Additionally, you can dive deep into your customers' shopping habits by monitoring their order history and coming up with customer groups. Email management is a blast with templates that you can customize.
Search Engine Optimization and Marketing – To earn revenue, your goal is to convert visitors into buyers. How do you get visitors in the first place? The answer is traffic generation. The best way to generate traffic is to make sure your site is search engine optimized or in simple terms get your website to top the search results in Google and other search engines. Shopify includes effective SEO features such as editable title tags, meta descriptions, and editable ALT tags for all images. What I like aside from the search engine optimization feature is that I can sell on Facebook and my buyers can purchase without even leaving the Facebook page. Not just Facebook, but other social media platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Tumbler are integrated as well.
Product Management – With hundreds of items on my store, my initial challenge was organizing the whole inventory to ensure all of my products get exposure. What I appreciate in Shopify is that you can organize your products based on variations in size, color, weight, price, weight, etc. Furthermore, products can be arranged in categories making navigation on your storefront a smooth experience. On your end, managing the inventory is made efficient. You can monitor your inventory and items, and those that are out of stock will automatically be pulled out from the available products on the storefront preventing bad customer experience.
Reports and Analytics – for you to monitor the growth and progress of your store, you need access to reliable analytics and reports. You can rely on Google Analytics as it works with your stores and allows you to track your visits, sales and even net promotion or referrals. With product reports, you can see which products are selling and which are not. During my first month, my sales were slow. Thanks to updated reports and analytics I made the necessary tweaks in my store to maximize sales.
Help and Support – I find the dedicated support team from Shopify and community support from discussion forums both to be invaluable assets. Whenever I have a question, the support team is there 24/7 through all modes of communication – email, chat and phone. On the other hand, I get to learn best practices from other online shop owners through community discussion forums.
Shopify Mobile – Shopify Mobile really adds icing to the cake. It feels like my shop is right in the palm of my hands. With this app, you can manage your business while on the go. You can fulfill orders, capture payments, manage your inventory, communicate with your customers and monitor your dashboard with all your Shopify data synced to the mobile app.
PRICING AND PACKAGES
The available plans start of at $13 per month up to $107 for Advanced Shopify. If you aren't sure about what you want yet, you can try their plan for free for 30 days. You don't even have to enter your credit card details.
You can jump start your store, add items to your storefront and start earning within minutes of signing up. Shopify has different plans depending on the features that you think you need for your shop.
To start your online shop, CLICK HERE.
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