What is Shopify?
First let’s dive a bit into Shopifyʼs history.
Shopify is a Canadian company, located in Ottawa.
Shopify was created in 2004 by Tobias Lutke, a Ruby programmer that wanted to set up his own shop.
Tobias and another two founding partners have launched Shopify in 2006, after attempting to open Snowdevil, an online store for snowboarding equipment.
Since then and partially due to the pandemic frenzy, Shopify has left its mark on more than one million merchants around the world, including 65,000 in Canada.
This frenzy has led Shopify in becoming the highest-valued company in the country, whose strength and influence only grew during this pandemic.
I say this because the Ottawa-based software company beside allowing merchants to easily set up online stores with just a few clicks, has also powered the digital transitions of tens of thousands of retailers across Canada, and the world over the last year thus dramatically reshaping the country’s retail landscape.
So it is no wonder that its CEO and co-funder Tobias Lütke is present at No. 2, on a list of the most influential people in Canada. Due to its innovative ways of doing commerce Shopify became a lifeline for businesses big and small, across Canada and around the globe.
Tobias built Shopify to create his own store to sell snowboarding equipment, but as soon as he opened the store people were more interested in the software that ran the store than the products sold on the shop.
Seeing the interest generated by the software Tobias launched Shopify as a platform in 2006.
At last report Shopify had more than 1.700.000+ stores in more than 175 countries all over the world.
The gross merchandise volume stored on Shopify websites today exceeds $41.1 billion.
Shopify received 3 series of foundings:
Series A – December 2010 – $7 million
Series B – October 2011 – $15 million
Series C – December 12, 2013 – $100 million
Hedge funds that invested in Shopify are:
Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital and Felicis Ventures.
Bessemer Venture Partners is a global investment group with offices in Silicon Valley, Boston, New York, Mumbai and Tel Aviv. Bessemer Venture Partners is a hands-on investor in Ciena, LinkedIn, Blue Nile, Postini, Skype, Staples, Quidsi, VeriSign and Yelp.
FirstMark Capital it is based in New York City and has invested in Pinterest, Invision, AirBNB, Discord, Hubble, Riot Games and DraftKings.
Felicis Ventures is a super angel fund backed by institutional as well as high profile individual investors and based in Palo Alto, California and has invested in Rovio, KissMetrics, Fitbit, Twitch, Dropcam, Pluralsight, Ring and many more.
Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, Felicis Ventures, and Georgian Partners.
Georgian Partners is a growth equity firm located in Toronto, Canada and has invested in FreshBooks, Esentire, Fiix, Kony, Scribble and many more.
OMERS Ventures – one of Canada’s largest pension funds with almost $61 billion in net assets.
On April 14, 2015, Shopify filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols “SHOP” and “SH” respectively.
Shopify went public on May 21, 2015, and on its debut on the New York Stock Exchange started trading at $28, more than 60% higher than its $17 offering price, with its IPO raising more than $131 million.
Shopify employs more than 4000 people all over the globe and has a revenue of $673.3 millions/year.
Today the company valuation reaches a market value of $48.8 billion, making it the 12th biggest publicly traded company in Canada.
At this market value Shopify is now more valuable than Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Manulife Financial Corp., two financial institutions that have been around for more than a century.
In September 2015, Amazon.com announced that it would be closing its Amazon Webstore service for merchants, and that it had selected Shopify as the preferred migration provider. When this news was made public, Shopify’s shares jumped more than 20%.
In January 2017, Shopify announced its integration with Amazon. The integration will allow merchants to sell on Amazon from their Shopify stores. Shopify’s stock rose 10% upon this announcement.
On October 11, 2018, Shopify opened the first physical space for providing in-person help and support to merchants and aspiring entrepreneurs where business owners can go to get advice from knowledgeable staff, and also to connect with other members of the entrepreneurial community. Staff members are called Gurus, just like Apple staff are called Geniuses.
Many Shopify Gurus run their own businesses on the Shopify platform and they have first-hand experience helping you to solve Shopify problems. Shopify Gurus are located across the globe and are available 24/7 to offer support and answer all your Shopify questions.
Shopify is always in search for new Gurus so if you want to become one a good place to start learning is on Shopify help page.
Los Angeles has more than 10.000 Shopify merchants and California has 80.000.
In January 2019, Shopify announced the launch of Shopify Studios, a full-service television, film content and production house.
Shopify studios features business owners all over the globe that use the Shopify platform to power their businesses.
In April 2019, Shopify offered integration with Snapchat to allow Shopify merchants to buy and manage Snapchat Story ads directly on the Shopify platform.
On September 9, 2019, Shopify announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire 6 River Systems, Inc. a leading provider of collaborative warehouse fulfillment solutions that will provide timely deliveries and lower shipping costs for all Shopify customers. 6 River Systems worked before on Amazon technology called Kiva Systems (now Amazon Robotics).
On September 17, 2019, Shopify announced new features on its platform to help U.S. merchants sell hemp and hemp-derived Cannabidiol (CBD) products online or in brick-and-mortar retail locations, where permitted by law.
With this acquisition Shopify adds cloud-based software and collaborative mobile robots called “Chuck” to the Shopify Fulfillment Network. This will increase the speed and reliability of warehouse operations, by empowering on-site associates with daily tasks, including inventory replenishment, picking, sorting and packing.
Today Shopify is planning on going after Amazon by creating their own Fulfillment Network in the years to follow.
Chief product officer Craig Miller said during the keynote presentation at Shopify’s annual Unite developer conference:
“We plan on spending over $1 billion to build and operate the Shopify Fulfillment Network over the next few years. Once enabled, a merchant using the Shopify Fulfillment Network doesn’t need to think about picking, packing, shipping, or fulfillment ever again.”Craig Miller – CPO Shopify
If Shopify succeeds in building their own Fulfillment Network in the US, that means 2 days shipping for all merchants selling through the platform similar to Amazon, lower shipping costs and that your logo will be on the box instead of the marketplace one, like in the Amazon and other marketplaces case.
On September 30, 2019, Shopify announced integration with the Microsoft Advertising platform. The app is developed by Microsoft. Ads created inside Shopify will display across the Microsoft Search Network and will provide reports about how your ads perform.
Shopify is offering ecommerce tools that used to be reserved only for the largest companies in the world, and making them accessible and affordable to all merchants, including those that are just starting to take off.
A research published by Deepfield shows that on Cyber Monday, Shopify stores saw more online traffic than Walmart, Best Buy and Target combined.
Shopify has 2500+ apps in the app store and 70 themes. Maybe you are asking why there is such a small number of themes compared to other CMS’s. Well comparing to WordPress or other CMS’s, Shopify themes are well coded and have a high standard of quality, though is very hard to get your theme accepted in their directory.
Today the total merchandise sold by store owners on Shopify exceeds $100 billions.
Things Shopify can do for you
Shopify’s platform is built on the premise of giving merchants the tools to grow and build their businesses, including all the bells and whistles traditionally available only to the industry’s leaders.
Shopify is a cloud-based hosted solution, meaning that you don’t have to worry about upgrading or maintaining software or web servers. Shopify gives you the flexibility to run your business from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.
Shopify will help you sell your products or other people’s products without the need of buying or storing them via a method called dropshipping. The products can be both physical and digital.
Helps you sell on multiple sales channels. With Shopify you can manage all your sales channels from one dashboard, meaning that if you sell on multiple channels like Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Facebook and Instagram you do not need to administer every one in part.
This feature will save you tons and tons of hours of logging in every channel in part, uploading products, tracking inventory, sales, orders and do any other tedious task. With Shopify all this pain is gone and your time is put to better use in growing your business.
Keep your products synchronized between all sales channels. Use just one product inventory that stays synced across all the places you sell in like retail, online store, social media and online marketplaces.
Free technical support is included in your subscription price.
Other CMS platforms like WordPress/WooCommerce are open source and because of that they do not have a dedicated support team to help you with your technical issues. When you do not have support, you have to look for solutions on the internet and that will make you lose huge amounts of your time.
Shopify addressed this problem by offering 24/7 support included in your subscription. That means that whenever you hit a wall you can get support directly from the Shopify team. Support options are: Chat, Email, Phone and Twitter.
Support is offered in the following languages:
- Brazilian Portuguese
- Simplified Chinese
- Traditional Chinese
Content Delivery Network(CDN)
No need to buy CDN separately. Included in your subscription price Shopify offers a world-class CDN. Shopify stores will come up almost instantaneously anywhere in the world. This will help your website load faster and will save you time because you no longer have to deal with third-party CDN providers.
Abandoned checkout recovery
Shopify has an abandoned checkout recovery feature which will help you send emails to the users that abandoned the checkout. This is very useful because not every customer that adds products to their cart will complete the checkout.
Let’s say a potential customer has the intention to buy a product, and he adds the product to cart, all the info like name, email address, billing address but suddenly decides to postpone the checkout process. Some clients forget about the order and it’s possible that they will never come back.
As a reminder Shopify will send to the potential customer an automated email on your behalf as a follow up to see if they’re still interested in buying the abandoned products.
You can send to a customer, either automatically or manually a link to their abandoned cart so that they can complete their checkout if they choose.
The abandoned checkout recovery feature is possible only for the Online Store channel. Potential customers that will abandon checkouts on Shopify POS or third party sales channels will not receive a checkout recovery email.
Accelerated or express checkouts
Another Shopify great feature is “Accelerated or express checkouts” that can save customer payment method and shipping information so that when they return to buy more from your shop, they can complete quickly the payment for their orders.
If you use this method, when a customer returns to a store that offers an accelerated checkout method, their information is automatically filled in at checkout so they do not have to do it. This will delight the customer and will appreciate the time saved making them return to buy even more from you.
You think maybe you need a blog to promote your products, to create consistent interactions with your customers through regular blog posts, infographics and videos. Shopify will help you do that via the blog section located on the Online Store channel.
Shopify provides SSL certificates to your store after your custom domain has been properly added. When you add your own domain name to Shopify a new SSL certificate is automatically created. With this feature you no longer have to worry about buying a separate SSL certificate or renewing it every year.
Shopify will take care of hosting your website for you. Because of that you no longer need to worry about managing servers or paying a dedicated hosting team to manage the server for you.
You do not need to worry about your shop traffic either. Some hosting companies limit how much traffic your website receives and after that limit is reached, you have to pay them more. With Shopify you get unlimited bandwidth so you have no worries about increasing traffic.
An offline website will make you lose customers, sales and money, sometimes a lot of money. Shopify servers are up 99.98% of the time. In this way they make sure that your website is always available to your customers and no sales are lost.
Shopify takes care of your search engine optimization, best practices including H1 tags, title tags and meta tags.
To make sure your products and pages are displayed in the search results, Shopify automatically generates sitemap.xml files for your online store.
Coupons & discount codes
Shopify has a coupon engine that will help you promote your business through coupons and discount codes.
You can offer your customers attractive savings by fixed amount, percentage amount or even through shipping deals.
Start marketing campaigns directly from Shopify. You can engage your target market through email campaigns, Facebook and Google marketing.
Shopify has built-in analytics that will let you easily track your progress over time so you can make better business decisions to improve sales.
Sell digital downloads
To sell digital downloads on Shopify you need an app installed. The app is called Digital Downloads.
With the help of this app you can sell digital products like: videos, songs, software, graphic art, books. When a customer makes a purchase for a digital product from your shop he will receive a link to download the file.
The digital files will be uploaded as attachments and are linked to a variant on a particular product.
If you choose to update the attached file, the app will send automatically a download link to your customers.
You can also set a download limit for each digital product.
Digital Downloads app is free, is developed and supported by Shopify. There are other third-party apps in the Shopify app directory if this one doesn’t meet your requirements.
When creating digital products in Shopify, make sure you uncheck “This is a physical product”.
You can sell subscriptions on Shopify. In order to do that you need to add a third-party app. Some of them have a free plan or a free trial period so you can test the app, but for the most part you need to pay a monthly subscription for any one of them.
Unfortunately for subscriptions Shopify doesn’t have an app developed that you can install for free.
Still there are a couple of good apps in the Shopify app directory.
Shopify offers a built-in shopping cart for mobile commerce meaning that your customers can browse and make purchases from their mobile phones, no matter where they are located.
How Shopify works?
The Shopify concept is different than any other well known CMS out there. Shopify is not actually a CMS at its core but rather an ecommerce hub in which you can add multiple sales channels. A list of sales channels are enumerated below in the next chapter.
One of the sales channels is the online store.
The online store channel works like any other CMS out there. It has a back-end and front-end. The back-end is where you add your data to the Shopify database and the front-end is were customers see and interact with your store and buy products.
In comparison with other CMS’s Shopify is a delight to use. It’s simple and effective.
For front-end the Shopify shop uses themes. Shopify themes are listed in a theme directory. In the Shopify directory you can find listed 72 themes. All the themes are high quality and if a theme doesn’t make any sells in the last 3 months is removed from the directory. Is very hard to list themes in the directory, this is why the number is so small.
Though the number of choices is small, I say they should be even less. Thus it is much easier to choose when shopping for a theme.
From the 72 themes, 8 themes are free and 64 are premium.
Please note that only the free themes are supported by Shopify. In case you buy a premium theme and have trouble with it you need to get in touch with the third-party developer to help you out.
The cheapest theme I could find in the directory is $140. The majority of themes sell for $180. I would say for what Shopify can do for your business, the themes should be more expensive.
A store front-end in my opinion is the most important part of a shop. I say this because this is where your customers will interact with your business and buy your products. If the theme is slow and has a poor quality code you’ll be losing a lot of money.
I would say that a Shopify theme with high quality code should have a starting price of $250. I’ve seen some third-party theme providers who sell themes at $450. I would like to congratulate them, because I’ve developed themes for my entire career for a lot of platforms out there including Shopify and the amount of time, resources and money involved to develop a theme these days is huge.
If you think that the $250 is costly than you should not do business at all. A theme is the face of your store. Think if you had to redecorate your physical store, paint it, buy new furniture and hire an interior designer to make it look good before opening. How much will that cost? $250? $500, maybe? I don’t think so. In fact, I bet it will cost you thousands of dollars.
As an ecommerce expert with 15 years experience in this field, my advice for you is this: “Do not try to save money when you buy a theme! If a high quality theme costs $500, pay the money!”
If you can afford to build a custom one, tailored to your needs even better!
If you need more functionality to your Shopify shop you can use apps to add more. Apps are listed in a directory called the Shopify App Directory. In the Shopify directory you can find listed 3000+ apps.
If you have a background in other CMS’s you are familiar with WordPress plugins or Joomla extensions, in Shopify apps are the same thing as plugins are in WordPress or extensions in Joomla.
The Shopify checkout page is offered in 50 languages. You can set your preferences to offer the checkout in any language that you want.
Shopify doesn’t allow you to make code changes to the checkout page if you are not on a Shopify Plus plan.
Depending on what theme you use, Shopify allows you to make some changes to the checkout page from the theme options.
Every time your receive an order, depending on your preferences Shopify can send you notifications via email, mobile app or RSS.
You can add your custom domain name to your Shopify shop.
When you create a new Shopify shop your domain name will be a subdomain like: your-shop-name.myshopify.com. To this subdomain name you can redirect your domain name which can be reserved via Shopify or via a third-party service provider.
Where can I sell with Shopify?
Shopify will help you sale on multiple channels like the following:
You can sell on a physical store with the Shopify Point of Sale(POS). The POS is a physical device that can be attached to any tablet to charge your clients money from their credit cards.
The POS will help you sale from any physical location you choose and it will synchronize your stock with your Shopify online store, if you have one setup.
You can also put the POS in your pocket and make a sale as you go.
Shopify has 100,000 merchants in bricks-and-mortar retail outlets that uses the POS system, out of a total 800,000+ merchants using their e-commerce platform.
With Shopify POS you can accept payments from Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover credit cards in your retail store or when you make a sale on the road, fairs, pop-ups, markets or expositions.
Using the Shopify card reader, you’ll get rates as low as 2.4% + 0¢ on all credit card transactions. There are no hidden fees or complicated costs.
You can install Shopify POS on multiple devices. Store activity on all devices is synchronized with your Shopify admin.
You can sell online by setting up an online store. Shopify will let you create on their platform an online store without the need to know anything about hosting or coding.
Price: Free, included in the Shopify subscription plan.
Sell on Facebook from the Shop section of your Facebook Page. With the Facebook integration you can share your collections directly to Facebook and post shoppable Facebook photos.
Add your products to Facebook with just one click. Product details, images and inventory automatically sync as soon as you make an update in Shopify.
See the Facebook app.
Price: App is free, included in the Shopify subscription plan.
Apple Business Chat
Connect with your customers on Apple Business Chat through Shopify Ping.
With just a few clicks the Messages button will be featured on every page of your online store and any visitor can quickly ask for product information.
Customers can easily and securely pay for products with Apple Pay right within the conversation.
See the Apple Business Chat app.
Price: App is free, included in the Shopify subscription plan.
With the Instagram sales channel you can transform any post or Instagram story in a shopping experience by adding product tagging to your Instagram business profile. Customers who find your tagged products on Instagram can tap a link to view and buy a product in your online store.
With this channel you can connect your store’s Facebook product catalog to your Instagram business profile, add shopping tags to your posts & stories and let customers purchase from your online store without leaving Instagram.
See the Instagram app.
Price: App is free, included in the Shopify subscription plan.
This channel will let you create a “Buy Button” for any product or collection and add it to a website, blog, landing page or anywhere you can think of.
This channel has an editor in your Shopify admin section that will let you edit the “Buy Button” to match the style and colors of your brand. Once you have everything in place you may copy and paste the HTML code to where you need it.
Once clicked the “Buy Button” will take your customer to the Shopify checkout page.
You can also create quick checkout links that will send shoppers directly to your checkout page. Choose a single product and variant then copy your link to any email, direct message or social media post.
With the “Buy Button” you can also create an entire page with a collection(category of products).
See the Buy Button app.
Price: App is free, included in the Shopify subscription plan.
With this sale channel you can sell products from Facebook Messenger and customers can check out without leaving the app. Once a purchase takes place you can automatically send customers detailed order status updates in Messenger.
While your customers browse the website for products they can use Messenger to ask questions about your products before and after purchase. Once on the checkout page the customers can choose if they want to get updates about the order they’ve placed on the Messenger channel.
See the Messenger app.
Price: App is free, included in the Shopify subscription plan.
This channel will help your customers chat with you as they shop on your website.
With this channel you can setup a chat button on your website. The button can be customized from Shopify.
You can manage your messages received via the Shopify chat with the Shopify ping iOS app which is a free app developed by Shopify.
The chat is available on all browsers and operating systems and customers can ask product questions, request order updates, and receive discount codes.
See the Shopify Chat app.
Price: App is free, included in the Shopify subscription plan.
The Houzz app will enable you to sell your products on the Houzz Marketplace to build your business and gain more sales. Everything can be done directly from Shopify.
Orders from Houzz marketplace customers will automatically display on Shopify in your Orders dashboard so you can easily process them like any other order done in Shopify. You can monitor all your Houzz sales directly in your Shopify Analytics dashboard.
For the moment, product information will not sync between Shopify and Houzz, only product price and product availability.
This channel can be used only if you sell in USD.
See the Houzz app.
Price: App is free, Houzz will charge a per sale commission.
With the Amazon channel you can manage your Amazon inventory and fulfill Amazon orders directly from Shopify. You can create listings for your products or link your existing listings to Shopify.
You can track your orders in the Analytics dashboard and on the Home overview of Shopify.
This channel can be used only if you sell in USD or CAD and you need to have an Amazon Professional Seller Account.
See the Amazon app.
Price: App is free. The Amazon Professional Seller Account costs USD $39/month, or CAD $29/month.
With the eBay channel you can track your inventory and orders between eBay and Shopify. You can also communicate with customers using built-in eBay messaging and manage your eBay business policies from inside Shopify.
Unfortunately the eBay sales channel is currently available only for eBay.com (US), eBay.ca (Canada) and eBay.com.au (Australia).
See the eBay app.
Price: App is free, eBay will charge a per sale commission.
The Walmart integration will help you win time by allowing you to list and sell products from Shopify directly on Walmart.
You can compare the price of your products with products that are similar listed by other merchants and change the product price accordingly with Walmart Marketplace Repricer.
You can delist and relist products. If you have lower sales you can delist products and relist them when there is more demand.
See the Walmart app.
Price: App has a 7 days free trial, after that you have to pay a premium subscription starting at $40/month.
The wholesale channel lets you extend your online store by creating a separate, password-protected shop that’s an extension of your online store. All your wholesale customers and orders are trackable under your current store’s Shopify admin.
You can offer to your customers the same products that you offer in your online store but at different prices. You can also add products that are wholesale-only and are available only in your wholesale store.
In this way customers that want to order products in bulk can get a discount.
You can create specific products lists with special prices and assign customers to them.
This channel is available only to Shopify Plus plan.
There are other third-party apps available for Wholesale like this one for which you have to pay a monthly subscription.
The BuzzFeed channel will make it easy for BuzzFeed’s writers to discover and promote your products to its highly engaged audience.
This channel will manage inventory, synchronize your product details, variants and images to BuzzFeed’s Market Tool in real time.
See the BuzzFeed app.
Price: App is free, BuzzFeed will charge a per sale commission.
This channel will help you synchronize and automate inventory, price and orders between Etsy and your Shopify store.
If you already have products listed on Etsy, you can easily synchronize them with your Shopify store.
See the Etsy app.
Price: App has a free trial for 7 days, after that you have to pay a premium subscription starting at $60/month.
A free version of this app was available, developed by Etsy, but for some reason it is no longer available.
This channel will help you process Lyst orders within the Shopify dashboard.
From what I’ve read about Lyst, if you are not already listed on their Shop and if you are a small brand, chances are slim to none to be accepted. If you are already a Lyst partner this channel will certainly help.
See the Lyst app.
Price: App is free, Lyst will charge a per sale commission.
This channel will help you scan for influencers on social media that are engaging with your brand. As soon as an influencer is found you’ll be notified.
This channel will save you time because you no longer have to look, DMing and emailing influencers and you’ll work only with the ones that genuinely care about your brand.
This app is venture-backed, which probably means that in the future they will introduce a premium tier.
See the Carro app.
This channel will let you display products to customers across Google’s Network.
Shopify’s Google Shopping channel automatically syncs your products and relevant information about your Shopify store with Google Merchant Center.
You can update your product details, run marketing campaigns for your products on Google Shopping and track the results directly from your Shopify admin.
See the Google Shopping app.
Price: Free and 0% commission.
This channel will let you automate your drop shipping operations and connect to other Shopify merchants and sell your inventory through their stores.
In one word this app lets Shopify stores connect together to form private drop shipping networks.
If you are a supplier you can sell your inventory anywhere in your private drop shipping network.
If you are a retailer you can choose which products to add to your store from suppliers.
See the Mothership app.
Price: 10 days free trial, $129/month after trial expires.
This channel will help you connect with influencers that will help you grow your social channels and sales.
Linkr states on their website that they have more than 5000 influencers in their network.
See the Linkr app.
Price: 14-day free trial. From $150/month after trial expires.
SiBi ‑ See It Buy It
This channel is an AI driven marketplace.
Your products will get listed on the SiBi marketplace and shoppers can search for your products by uploading an image with the product that they like and the marketplace, AI will match it with your products.
See the SiBi app.
Price: App is free. 15% commission per sale.
By listing your products on this channel millions of shoppers will discover your products.
Wanelo states that their channel helped thousands of Shopify merchants to increase their sales up to 6 times.
Your Shopify products will be synchronized with Wanelo and orders will be fulfilled directly from your Shopify dashboard.
For the moment this channel is available only to US.
See the Wanelo app.
Price: App is free. 17.1% commission per sale.
This sales channel will let you incentivize shoppers to tag and @mention you on Instagram by setting a rebate.
Guru is targeting nano influencers with a small following. Because the influencers have a small following the price per product advertising is cheaper.
See the Guru.club app.
Price: App is free. 5% commission per sale.
How easy it is to open a Shopify store?
The best benefits of using Shopify are in its simplicity. When you open a store using Shopify you do not have to worry about your website hosting, domain name management, analytics, payment processing and to synchronize all your sales channels.
Shopify does all of this for you so you do not have to do it yourself.
Shopify is very easy to use. If you have worked in the past with WordPress and WooCommerce, let me tell you that Shopify is much easier to use and setup than WooCommerce for instance.
If you’ve worked with Magento and you host right now your website on Magento, than you should move your store to Shopify. If you have a huge Magento shop, enterprise level, Shopify offers an enterprise solution called Shopify Plus. About Shopify Plus I’ll talk in another tutorial, because it needs a thorough and detailed description.
The only thing you need to start setting up a Shopify store is just an email address and a credit card to pay your monthly subscription for the software.
What languages Shopify supports?
The front-end part (the one that the customers sees) of your Shopify store, including ecommerce website, blog, checkout, and emails can be in any language if the theme supports that.
The back-end part or administration area (from where you manage the store) of your Shopify store is currently available in:
- Simplified Chinese
- Traditional Chinese
Shopify subscription pricing
Shopify is not a free solution. You have to pay a monthly fee to use Shopify. You have a period of 14 days to test the platform and see if it suits your business or not.
If you are just starting out, you can use any of the 3 basic plans of Shopify: Basic Shopify, Shopify or Advanced Shopify.
All plans can be paid monthly but if you choose to pay upfront an annual or a biennial plan, you get a discount. For the annual plan you get a 10% discount and for the biennial plan a 20% discount.
If it does suit your business and you want to continue using Shopify these are the pricing plans:
|Basic ShopifyEverything you need for a small startup||ShopifyEverything you need for a growing business||Advanced ShopifyAdvanced features for scaling your business|
|Online StoreIncludes ecommerce website and blog.||✓||✓||✓|
|Sales channelsSell on online marketplaces and social media. Channel availability varies by country.||✓||✓||✓|
|Manual order creation||✓||✓||✓|
|Free SSL certificate||✓||✓||✓|
|Abandoned cart recovery||✓||✓||✓|
|Advanced report builder||–||–||✓|
|Third-party calculated shipping ratesShow calculated rates with your own account or third-party apps at checkout.||–||–||✓|
|Shipping discountCompetitive shipping rates from USPS, UPS, or DHL Express.||up to 64%||up to 72%||up to 74%|
|Print shipping labels||✓||✓||✓|
|USPS Priority Mail Cubic® pricing||–||✓||✓|
|Online credit card rates||2.9% + 30¢||2.6% + 30¢||2.4% + 30¢|
|In-person credit card rates||2.7% + 0¢||2.5% + 0¢||2.4% + 0¢|
|Additional fees using all payment providers other than Shopify Payments||2.0%||1.0%||0.5%|
|POINT OF SALE|
|Shopify POS app||✓||✓||✓|
|Hardware peripheral support||✓||✓||✓|
|Unlimited Shopify POS staff PINs||–||✓||✓|
|Third-party POS apps||✓||✓||✓|
Another plan is the Shopify Lite which costs $9/month.
This plan will not let you create a Shopify online store but you can use it to sell your products.
If you already have a blog or a website built on another platform like: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace or any other platform you can integrate a Shopify Buy Button via the Shopify Lite plan.
If you want to try Shopify or you just want to test the waters by selling a couple of products you can use this plan.
This plan is available starting with $2000/month but can go in the range of tens of thousands of dollars. This is an enterprise plan and is available for huge shops that sell merchandise that is worth millions.
With this plan you get tools that will make running a multi-million dollar business a lot easier and a dedicated support partner to help you 24/7.
Other benefits are:
- Unlimited staff accounts
- Can handle over 10,000 transactions per minute
- Shopify Flow
- Script Editor
- More detailed analytics like: Glew and Looker
Shopify offers a 14 days free trial.
If you pick a plan during the trial period your first bill will be issued on the day that your trial expires.
If your trial already expired and you didn’t pick a payment plan your first bill will be issued as soon as you pick a payment plan.
Once you choose a payment plan and add your payment method to Shopify, from now on, everything happens automatically and you no longer need to worry about making manual payments for the service.
On the credit card statement charges will look like this: Shopify * <bill number>.
If you somehow want to close or cancel your account you have options like pause or close your store.
How can you pay the Shopify subscription fee?
You can pay for your Shopify bills one-time or recurring by using a credit card or PayPal.
At this time you can’t use debit cards to pay for Shopify subscription fees.
You can use a credit card from Mastercard, Visa or American Express. Your credit card needs to allow recurring payments in order for Shopify to charge you on a month by month basis.
When paying using PayPal, you can use PayPal balance, bank account, debit card or credit cards associated with your PayPal account.
If you’re located in the United States you can’t use PayPal to pay your Shopify bills at this time.
All charges will be charged by Shopify in US dollars even if you are located outside the US.
Drop-shipping is the process that lets you sell products that you do not own. You sell other people’s products without owning them or having them on stock.
Once you make a sale you retain the difference between the actual product price that you have to give to the supplier and your set price.
Let’s say that a product will cost $80 and you sell it on your drop-shipping store with $100. The $20 difference is the profit you’ll keep.
When a customer places an order in your store you purchase the product from the supplier and select how to ship it directly to your customer.
Suppliers can be any company that has a product for sale like manufacturers, warehouses, or family members who make products from their home.
In the drop-shipping process there are 3 parties involved: the customer, your store and the supplier.
The customer will visit your store and will place an order and you’ll receive the payment.
Once you receive the payment you need to purchase the product from the supplier.
After you’ve made the purchase the supplier ships the product to your customer address.
Why Drop-shipping is a good business?
Drop-shipping can be done by anyone with an internet connection. With this type of business you can sell from simple products to running a multi-million dollar enterprise.
- Easy to start
- Has low costs
- A lot of products to choose from
- There is no need to keep an inventory
- There is no need to ship the products yourself.
Shopify drop-shipping app
Shopify has an app specially created for drop-shipping. That app is called Oberlo and is developed by the Shopify team.
Oberlo is a marketplace that helps you find products to sell online. With Oberlo you can access a variety of different products such as electronics, toys and cosmetics. Oberlo connects you with suppliers all over the world from which you can sell products directly in your store.
With Oberlo you can import products directly in your Shopify store to display them to your customers so they can purchase them from you, directly, at your own price. You can also set Oberlo to auto-update all products details once a supplier will make changes to his products.
Oberlo is priced separately from Shopify. You can use Oberlo for free but it has a limit of 500 products and other limitations.
To use Oberlo professionally you need to pay for one of the 2 plans: Basic or Pro. The Basic plan costs $29.90/month and the Pro plan costs $79.90/month.
Please note that Oberlo can’t be used without Shopify. If you want to build a drop-shipping store with Oberlo you need to purchase first a Shopify subscription plan.
See the Oberlo app.
Who can use Shopify?
Shopify is used by all types of people, from solo entrepreneurs to multi-million dollar businesses.
If you are just starting or you have a small or medium business you can use any of the 3 basic plans of Shopify: Basic Shopify, Shopify or Advanced Shopify.
If you are a multi-million dollar business you must use Shopify Plus which is specially tailored for big ecommerce stores and has premium tools to sustain high volume sales.
Payments on Shopify
With Shopify you do not have to worry about taxes or currencies because they are all handled by the platform.
Shopify shopping cart has its own 128-bit SSL certificate that is free of charge included in your subscription. This certificate has the same level of encryption that large banks use.
Shopify is PCI compliant meaning that you can accept all major credit cards with complete security thanks to Shopify’s certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliance.
Shopify also offers payments via 3D Secure. This protects your shop from fraud when processing credit card transactions. That means that if you process a shady payment, the bank is the one that’s liable and not you.
Shopify lets you sell in Local Payments Methods. When you have Local Payment Methods enabled, buyers will see the payment options they know and trust based on their currency and regional popularity. This will help boost trust and sales.
For example you have a payment method that is very popular in your country or region and your customers recognize it and thus feel safe to give you their credit card details. On the other side of the world the same payment method, even if it is supported in that region could not be as popular and trusted, and because of that customers will be sceptical and avoid the purchase.
Since the commerce is going more global day by day, offering familiar payment methods improves the customer shopping experience and creates new opportunities to increase your market reach and drive more sales in foreign countries.
Shopify has its own payment gateway called Shopify Payments. Shopify payments supports the following currencies:
- Australian dollar (AUD)
- Canadian dollar (CAD)
- Denmark Krone (DKK)
- Euro (EUR)
- Hong Kong dollar (HKD)
- Japanese yen (JPY)
- New Zealand dollar (NZD)
- Pound sterling (British pound) (GBP)
- Singapore dollar (SGD)
- United States dollar (USD)
Shopify Payments is available in the following countries:
- Hong Kong SAR China
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
Shopify Payments is not available to US territories except Puerto Rico.
With Shopify payments the offers are: quick payout periods, competitive credit card fees and zero transaction fees. You can also see all your payments transactions and track them in real time inside your Shopify admin.
As you can see it is a no brainer to choose Shopify payments as your default payment method.
If Shopify Payments isn’t yet available in your country or region you can still support your customers by offering secure checkouts through payment providers like PayPal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, Stripe, and more.
You can also accept cryptocurrency payments. After you enable a payment method that supports cryptocurrencies you can accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and other 300+ digital currencies.
Shopify support over 100 third-party payment gateways.
Shopify supports 2 types of credit card payment providers:
- Direct Provider – your customers remain on your store for the entire purchase and checkout process
- External Provider – your customers are redirected temporarily to a checkout outside your online store
Shopify also supports manual payments.
These days there are still people who prefer to pay on delivery and not pay upfront with their credit card or people that do not trust you enough to hand over their credit card details over the internet.
In cases like this it is better to use manual payments. When you use a manual payment method for checkout you can arrange to receive customers payment outside your online checkout. After you receive the payment you can then manually approve the order.
Popular and common payments methods are: cash on delivery (COD), money orders and bank transfers. For Canada only, Shopify lets you use email money transfer by using services like Interac.
For manual payments Shopify doesn’t charge you any transaction fees.
Shipping on Shopify
For shipping you do not have to ship the products yourself. You can use a third-party fulfilment service to prepare and ship your orders for you.
Shopify has their own shipping service called Shopify shipping.
Shopify shipping service allows you to build a better relationship with your customers by ensuring a great experience with real-time updates and tracking no matter where they are in the world.
Using Shopify shipping service your customers gets the best shipping rates, USPS Priority Mail Cubic® pricing and best rates for First-Class Package International Service®.
Normally when you setup your store you need to get your own account with each of the carriers and negotiate your own discounts usually based on your previous shipping volume. If you use Shopify shipping you do not have to do that if you are located in North America because you’ll get access to pre-negotiated shipping rates with all of the top shipping carriers like: UPS, USPS, DHL Express and Canada Post. This new negotiated rates will save you and your customers money.
You also get to save time, money, a trip to the post office, a visit to another website, or paying a third party to print labels by printing shipping labels yourself. To print labels from your phone or computer you can use a thermal label or desktop printer.
Shopify shipping tracks every part of your order so you don’t have to copy and paste another address again and lets you prepare multiple orders at once with bulk order fulfillment.
Shopify shipping service is directly integrated in your Shopify admin.
For this service Shopify offers a shipping cost calculator so you can calculate your shipping costs.
Depending on your Shopify plan, you will save up to 60% on shipping as compared to retail rates.
Shopify has a hardware store from where you can buy peripherals for your ecommerce business.
Hardware that you can purchase from the store is:
- Card readers
- iPad stands
- Barcode scanners, printers and labels
- Receipt printers and paper
- Cash drawers
- Physical gift cards
The Physical Gift Cards can be customized by you before purchase.
To use the Physical Gift Cards you need a valid subscription for the Shopify Plan or Advanced Plan.
All hardware devices integrate flawlessly with Shopify.
These apps are built by Shopify and will help you manage better and much easier your Shopify store.
Shopify – Ecommerce Business
This app will let you manage on your mobile, tablet or watch, one or multiple Shopify stores and all your sales channels.
Tasks you can do with this app are:
- Process orders
- Manage products and collections
- Run marketing campaigns
- Create discounts
- Review store performance
- Sell on more sales channels
- Extend your store’s features with apps and themes
This app is free and is available for IOS and Android. To use it you need an active Shopify subscription plan.
See the Shopify app.
This mobile app helps you manage all your customer relationships in one place. Because time is a scarce asset when you run a business you must be careful how you use it.
Many ecommerce experiments concluded that customers who chat with a brand are nearly three times more likely to complete a purchase and half as likely to return their order. This is an important reason to use a chat feature on your ecommerce website.
Shopify Ping brings in one place all your chat sales channels like: Shopify Chat, Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger and Kit.
Kit is Shopifyʼs virtual assistant. Kit can help you with: social media posts, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, retargeting campaigns, email marketing, inventory sourcing, editing product photos, search engine optimization and with many other tasks.
Shopify Ping is free but to use it you need an active Shopify subscription plan.
This app is available only for IOS for the moment.
See the Shopify Ping app.
Shopify POS: Point of Sale
This app integrates with the card reader hardware to let you sell your products and accept payments at markets, pop-up shops, physical stores, and anywhere else right from your iPhone or iPad.
This app is free and is available for IOS and Android. To use it you need an active Shopify subscription plan.
See the Shopify POS app.
Oberlo helps you find products to sell in your online store via the drop-shipping method.
Oberlo features are:
- Find products to sell
- Create your import list
- Learn from experts
- Sell without inventory
Oberlo mobile app is free but to use it you need an active Shopify and Oberlo subscription plan.
This app is available only for IOS for the moment.
See the Oberlo app.
Due to the global situation Shopify decided to launch a new app called Shop that makes shopping at Shopify-powered stores more cohesive.
The thing that sets it apart is that every order that’s made from a merchant on Shopify can be viewed and tracked in the app.
The Shop app also allows users to follow stores and buy products directly from the app which takes the app in the social media space.
Moreover when someone follows a store, the app aggregates and displays some of the products from each store that you follow on a single page.
When you tap on a product or store the app opens the store in a browser view.
Even though the app is actually an update and rebrand of Arrive, it is also an app for tracking packages from Shopify merchants and other retailers, which the company says has been used by more than 16 million consumers already.
Shop also allows consumers to browse a feed of recommended products, learn more about each brand and make purchases using the one-click Shop Pay checkout process.
It can also locate nearby merchants to support local businesses because the app identifies businesses currently offering shipping, pick-up, and highlights return policies.
Another perk of Shop app is that according to Riviera, it will not include any ads, and it will be available for free to both shoppers and brands.
You can download the app from shop.app.
Shopify organizes two global events.
This event takes place every year.
At Shopify Unite developers and partners come together to forge new connections and ignite the future of commerce technology.
This event is for you if you are a Shopify Partner, a Shopify developer or you build stores on Shopify for merchants.
Check Shopify Unite website.
This is an event that takes place in different cities and countries all over the world. Every meetup treats a different subject.
Check Shopify Meetups website.
To help address the environmental costs associated with this economic activity, in 2019, Shopify became carbon-neutral by offsetting their own CO2 emissions generated since they started operations.
Also starting from 2020, Shopify also began mitigating emissions from ecommerce shipments through Shop Pay and their Offset app.
Another way that they try to help make a difference is through Shopify’s Sustainability Fund.
The fund includes two portfolios:
Frontier portfolio: sustains groundbreaking technologies that will try to permanently remove carbon from the atmosphere.
This portofolio directs its funds towards:
- direct air capture (DAC) which involves pulling CO₂ directly out of the air, then storing it safely and permanently.
- product: permanent carbon removal involves injecting and storing carbon directly into usable products, like concrete.
- ocean: maximizing the world’s largest carbon sink and reducing ocean acidification.
- biomass involves using organic material to create renewable energy and store carbon in creative ways.
- mineralization involves turning carbon into a mineral that can be permanently stored away.
- collaboration means partnering with like-minded organizations looking to reverse climate change.
Evergreen portfolio: offers key solutions that will help temporarily remove carbon or reduce carbon emissions.
This portofolio directs its funds towards:
- forest: which means planting, restoring, and protecting forests to allow trees to store more carbon
- soil: which involves using specific farming techniques that increase soil health and its ability to store carbon
- renewable energy means creating fossil fuel alternatives that cause less pollution and that we can create more of
- transportation involves reducing and offsetting emissions caused by transport vehicles
This fund intentionally overpays for carbon removal, funding pilot projects that will generate demand thus kick starting the market and driving down future prices.
The idea of the fund is to invest in existing solutions that can make a difference now, and give a chance to emerging technologies that could have a huge impact in the future.
Shopify is the fifth public program, out of 176, to reach the $1M USD milestone on HackerOne, their bug bounty platform.
This platform used by Shopify is the industry’s standard for hacker-powered security.
Moreover they partner with the global hacker community to surface the most relevant security issues of their customers before they can be exploited by criminals.
With hackers hailing from Egypt, Canada, Germany, the United States, Greece, India and the United Kingdom Shopify resolved more than 950 vulnerabilities and tanked to over 400 hackers for their contributions.
Along the way they paid 1 million dollars in rewards thus being one step ahead of those that are trying to exploit vulnerabilities.
Due to the speed and efficiency that this bounty program has many companies have a tool that can help with the security issue that they are confronted with.
Because at Shopify, bounty programs complement the security strategy and allow them to leverage a community of researchers that can help secure the platform.
Each and everyone of them bring their perspective and specialties and can evaluate the Shopify platform from thousands of different viewpoints to create a better Shopify product and a better user experience for the 1.000.000+ businesses that Shopify safeguards.
Shopify’s ongoing investment is a clear indication that they are committed to security and making sure commerce is secure for everyone.
Big brands that use Shopify
Adele – https://shop.adele.com/
Beyonce – https://shop.beyonce.com/
Cristiano Ronaldo – https://cr7.com
Dan Bilzerian – https://ignitecbd.co/
Diddy – https://diddy.com/
Drake – https://us.octobersveryown.com/
Dr. Axe – https://store.draxe.com/
Ellen Degeneres – https://www.ellenshop.com/
G-Unit – https://www.gunitbrands.com/
Jeffree Star – https://jeffreestarcosmetics.com/
Justin Bieber – https://purposetourmerch.com/
Justin Timberlake – https://justintimberlake.com/
Kanye West – https://yeezysupply.com/
Kendall & Kylie Jenner – https://kendall-kylie.com/
Kim Kardashian – https://kkwbeauty.com/
Kylie Jenner – https://www.kyliecosmetics.com/
Lady Gaga – https://shop.ladygaga.com/
Lil Yachty – https://lilyachtyshop.com/
Logan Paul – https://maverickbyloganpaul.com/
Nicole Richie – https://houseofharlow1960.com/
PewDiePie – https://shoppewdiepie.com/
Post Malone – https://postmaloneshop.com
Third Eye Blind – https://store.3eb.com/
Victoria Beckham – https://www.victoriabeckham.com/
Million Dollar Companies
100% Pure – https://www.100percentpure.com/
All Birds – https://www.allbirds.com/
Candy Crush – https://shop.candycrushsaga.com/
Chubbies Shorts – https://www.chubbiesshorts.com/
ColourPop – https://colourpop.com/
Death Wish Coffee Co. – https://www.deathwishcoffee.com/
Fashion Nova – https://www.fashionnova.com/
Frank Body – https://www.frankbody.com/
Gymshark – https://www.gymshark.com/
Herschel Supply Co. – https://herschel.com/
Jones Soda – https://www.jonessoda.com/
LA Lakers – https://lakersstore.com/
Lollapalooza – https://store.lollapalooza.com/
Manitobah Mukluks – https://www.manitobah.com/
Morphe – https://www.morphe.com/
MVMT Watches – https://www.mvmtwatches.com/
NesCafe – https://shop.nescafe.ca/
Newbury Comics – https://www.newburycomics.com/
Pavers – https://www.pavers.co.uk/
Pixi Beauty – https://pixibeauty.co.uk/
Rebecca Minkoff – https://www.rebeccaminkoff.com/
RedBull – https://www.redbullshopus.com/
Ring™ Video Doorbell – https://shop.ring.com/
Sephora – https://www.sephora.com/
Tattly – https://tattly.com/
Taylor Stitch – https://www.taylorstitch.com/
The Economist – https://shop.economist.com/
The Hundreds – https://thehundreds.com/
The New York Times – https://store.nytimes.com/
Thinx – https://www.shethinx.com/
Topo Designs – https://topodesigns.com/
Triangl – https://triangl.com/
Vanity Planet – https://www.vanityplanet.com/
Water Aid – https://shop.wateraid.org/
Oreo – https://shop.oreo.com/
PuraVida – https://www.puravidabracelets.com/
LeSportsac – https://www.lesportsac.com
Penguin Books – https://shop.penguin.co.uk/
The 5 Minute Journal – https://www.intelligentchange.com
Bombas – https://bombas.com/
Frankies Bikinis – https://frankiesbikinis.com/
John’s Crazy Socks – https://johnscrazysocks.com/
Rhone – https://www.rhone.com/
Young & Reckless – https://www.youngandreckless.com/
BeardBrand – https://www.beardbrand.com/
L’Occitane – https://www.loccitane.com/
Velour Lashes – https://www.velourbeauty.com/
Leesa Mattresses – https://www.leesa.com/
World Wildlife Fund Canada – https://shop.wwf.ca/
The National Portrait Gallery – https://npgshop.org.uk/
Hummingbird Bakery – https://hummingbirdbakery.com/
SkinnyMe Tea – https://www.skinnymetea.com.au/
The 5th – https://www.the5th.co/
Tula – https://www.tula.com/
Memobottle – https://www.memobottle.eu.com – I love this idea and as I like to help and sustain the environment, this is why I urge you to please check this website and buy a bottle for yourself. Love what these guys are doing.
Shopify has a page where you can find status about their system as well as present or past incidents.
On this page Shopify also offers notifications regarding fixing incidents like: investigations, monitoring, updates and resolved issues.
This is the page that you should check if you have problems with one of Shopify systems like:
- Reports and Dashboards
- API & Mobile
- Third party services
- Point of Sale devices and software
You can subscribe to updates from Shopify Status via phone, webhooks or RSS.
Check Shopify status page.
In October 2019, Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke donated $US1,000,001 to teamtrees.org, an organization which plants 1 tree for every dollar donated, making him the highest donor on the website.
Shopify CTO Jean-Michel Lemieux donated 100,100 trees to the same organization.
As an ecommerce expert for more than one decade and a half I’m 100% sure that Shopify will change the ecommerce game forever and that it will empower people to sell online by democratizing commerce.
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