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What is Shopify and How Does Shopify Work? (2023)

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You might have heard about Shopify while browsing the web but are unsure about exactly how it works or why you should take note. Well, we’re here to offer some insight.

Below, we’re going to share what Shopify is, the pros and cons of using Shopify, what Shopify offers, and so much more.

Let’s dive in.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an ecommerce platform you can use to build an online store. It allows you to sell both online with your own website and/or in person using a point of sale app. Shopify is easy to use for everyone, from beginner dropshippers to high-growth D2C brands. 

You can sign up for a free trial of Shopify to test it out for yourself. During your trial, you can build your own store, test out free Shopify apps, and, if you promote hard enough, make online sales.

Shopify costs $5 a month if you use the Starter plan. However, most first-time store owners start on the basic Shopify plan, at $29 per month. If you’ve been running an ecommerce business for some time, you may prefer an advanced Shopify plan. The Shopify pricing page has more information on the different plans and features available.

What does Shopify offer?

Shopify provides you with the foundation to run an ecommerce business. It lets you open a storefront, showcase products, engage with customers, accept payments, and more. Shopify offers all the tools you need to manage each of those activities.

Think of Shopify as a facilitator working to ease the process of selling products over the web and offline. With proper usage of this platform, you can build a successful business at a low cost.

What is Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus is Shopify’s enterprise ecommerce platform for larger businesses or businesses looking to scale. It offers advanced reporting features, higher-priority customer support, the capacity to handle higher order volumes, and more.

What is Shopify Starter?

Shopify Starter (formerly Shopify Lite) is an affordable plan that allows you to sell products across social media platforms. All you need is an image and a slick description of your product. For just $5 a month, Shopify Starter lets you share products on WhatsApp, Instagram, and other platforms. 

What is Shopify POS?

Shopify POS (Point of Sale) is an application that allows you to sell products offline. You can sell products at a physical store, trade shows, pop-up shops, or other events in person using Shopify POS.

Why Shopify? Pros and cons of Shopify ecommerce

Why use Shopify for your ecommerce business? Well, Shopify offers several advantages over other ecommerce platforms. Here are a few:

Shopify pros

1. Detailed Shopify admin

In the back end of your Shopify store, you’ll find a whole range of reports and features that help you understand how your online store is performing.

You can find your best-performing product pages. You can view the number of orders at a glance. And you can even watch a real-time view of your website visitors to see what stage of the sales funnel they’re in.

Shopify is a comprehensive tool for an online retailer, allowing you to understand your store’s setup in-depth.

what is shopify

2. Free features

If you’re building a new website, you probably need to pay for a theme (the design/look of your website). But on Shopify, a free theme you can start customizing any way you want is loaded onto your store automatically.

You can modify your Shopify theme to suit your branding style. You can change the font, modify the color scheme, add photos, and more. This is why Shopify is ideal for beginners wanting to dive in or play around to see the possibilities.

3. Shopify is on the cloud

When I switched from WooCommerce to Shopify, my favorite pro was that my website would be on a cloud network instead of a server. Anyone who has ever paid for a server knows they crash at the wrong times, making you lose a lot of money due to downtime.

For example, servers often go down on Black Friday or during big events. If you share a server (which is what most new entrepreneurs can afford), you have to hope that the other websites aren’t as popular.

But cloud hosting reduces the odds of your website being down, allowing you to run your business easily. And the hosting cost is bundled into your subscription, making it one less thing to worry about. 

4. There’s a plan for everyone

Let’s be honest: it costs money to launch an ecommerce store. You’ll need to pay for products, marketing costs, a new domain, and ecommerce software.

But Shopify has a pricing plan for everyone. If you’re on a really tight budget, you can pay for Shopify Starter for only $5 a month. If you’re looking for a white-glove service, you can use Shopify Plus. You can move through the plans as your business grows, too. 

5. Tons of apps

There’s literally an app in the Shopify App Store for almost everything. You’ll find countdown timers, image background removers, product sourcing apps, and more. While you need to pay for some apps, many are free to access.

Adding an app to your website isn’t necessary. But if you’re looking to add products to your store, consider checking out the DSers app (the Basic plan is free and includes up to 3,000 products on your store). 


6. Low barrier to entry

Starting an online business isn’t easy. But it’s a lot easier than it was 20 years ago.

Did you know people had to mail checks to Amazon when it first launched? Yeah, those days are over. And the truth is, it’ll get even easier to build an online business as time passes.

Shopify is leading the initiative of lowering the barrier for entrepreneurs to create online stores. Compare Shopify with other solutions and you’ll know why thousands of people sign up for the platform yearly.

Shopify cons

1. It takes time to see the results 

When building a Shopify store, what you’re really building is a business, not a passive income stream.

And starting a business isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do. Figuring out how to use Shopify and build a profitable store takes months of experimentation. It can take a while to know where every section of your store is located in the Shopify dashboard.

But for the most part, Shopify is intuitive. It just takes some practice.

2. Shopify alone won’t guarantee your success

Shopify has many great features and apps that make running an online store easier than building something custom from scratch.

The catch is that it’s up to you to make your store successful. You need to have the right mindset pushing you to learn. You need the marketing chops to promote your business better than the competition.

Overall, your success is in your hands, not Shopify’s.

How does Shopify work?

First, you need to design or modify your Shopify store, add products to it, and test your website to ensure that both desktop and mobile are ready for public view.

Then, you promote the heck out of your products. Shopify offers a range of marketing and sales tools to help with this, including SEO, email marketing, and blogging tools.

When a customer buys from your store, Shopify will process the payment for you, and you’ll get paid. You can avoid extra transaction fees by using Shopify’s own payment gateway (called Shopify Payments).

Shopify payments

What can you sell on Shopify?

On Shopify, there are always new trending products you can sell on the platform. You can sell anything—including fashion, beauty, and home and garden. Here are a few popular products you can consider selling:

  • Clothing
  • Jewelry
  • Home accessories
  • Travel products
  • Baby or maternity products
  • Bags and luggage
  • Fitness accessories
  • Beauty products
  • Kitchenware
  • Pet products
  • Automotive accessories
  • And much more!

However, Shopify also has some strict guidelines on what you can’t sell. If you sell restricted products like the ones on this list, you risk getting suspended from the platform. This list includes:

  • Certain firearms and their parts
  • Counterfeit or unauthorized goods
  • Gambling products
  • Regulated products or services
  • Adult products
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Event tickets

High-risk businesses such as bankruptcy lawyers, computer technical support, telecommunications equipment, etc.Basically, if it’s illegal or regulated, it’s likely not permitted to be sold on Shopify. For those new to online selling, it helps to know how to avoid counterfeit goods when sourcing products for their store’s inventory.

How to grow your Shopify store

You can grow your Shopify store in a number of ways. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Create ads

You can run ads on various platforms such as Facebook, Google, and almost any other social network. Ideally, you want to pick the platform where your audience spends the most time.

It’s also important to choose a platform where the targeting options are expansive, allowing you to pinpoint your ideal customer exactly. To date, Facebook and Google are the most popular ad platforms. But ultimately, you want to pick the one that’s best for your niche.

Leverage SEO

SEO is a powerhouse at bringing relevant traffic to your website. Almost all new store owners neglect ecommerce SEO as a growth tactic. 

Often, new entrepreneurs want to make a quick buck, so they focus on ads. However, after months of investing in ads, they realize their acquisition costs are too high.

With SEO and content marketing, you can drive organic traffic to your ecommerce website. The right strategy can also lower your acquisition costs and improve the conversion rate.

Promote on social media

Before making your store public, you should already build an audience. For example, starting an Instagram account a few weeks before launching your store allows you to promote to an audience at launch.

With an audience in place, you’ll potentially be able to generate some sales with the link in your bio or ads.

link in bio

Shopify customer reviews

There are plenty of Shopify customer reviews on the web, so you can seek third-party validation about its credibility at any point. You’ll find people sharing their experiences with Shopify on G2, Merchant Maverick, and many other websites. 

What is Shopify FAQ

Is Shopify legitimate?

Yes, Shopify is 100% safe and legit. Since its humble beginnings in 2006, Shopify has released many features to help common people create their own online stores. You can use the platform to set up, design, and manage your ecommerce store across multiple sales channels, including mobile, web, social media, and marketplaces.

Shopify ratings indicate that people are incredibly satisfied with Shopify’s technology and ecosystem. So you can be sure that you’re investing in a legitimate solution when you subscribe to Shopify. 

Is Shopify good for beginners?

Absolutely! Shopify is a great choice for beginners to start selling. The platform has an already-built store structure, so you just need to put the remaining objects (theme, products, etc.) on top to get your shop going. Everyone from college students to retirees can use Shopify to start an ecommerce business.

Is Shopify good for small businesses?

In a word: yes. Shopify’s pricing and user-friendliness make it one of the best options for small businesses. Signing up for Shopify gives you access to a store builder, free themes, payment gateways, unlimited products, and more.

For just $29 per month, you get all that plus tons of learning resources to help you launch successfully. Shopify is also easy to use—you don’t need any tech or coding skills to get the most out of its features. If you’re looking to sell online, Shopify is the best platform to get started.

Final verdict

Shopify is an all-in-one commerce solution built to empower entrepreneurs worldwide. With this platform, you can build your own online store and start selling in no time. Whether you want to start a new business or take your brick-and-mortar store online, Shopify has the features to support your launch/transition.

Plus, Shopify lets you access discounted carrier rates via Shopify Shipping. This is an integrated tool that lets you buy and print shipping labels for your orders. You just need a Shopify account to access the feature.

To learn more about Shopify, it’s best to create your own online store using this ecommerce platform and see for yourself. Take advantage of the free trial to test it out for yourself to see what all the hype is about. Shopify makes commerce better for everyone, so it might just be the perfect platform for you.




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