Welcome to Smart Start Affiliate! Welcome to my Shopify for Ecommerce Review!
People who want to start an online shop to make money online would choose from setting up a store at Amazon or Shopify. But there’s a big difference with these two. Amazon gives you a chance to create a store within it marketplace, giving you limited control over your business. But with Shopify, you create a store using your own website which you can fully customize and set your own rules on checkout, payment, warranties, returns, and shipping. You set your own price too but of course, it should be reasonable and competitive.
So which is the right place to set up your first online store?
Amazon? With WooCommerce? With Shopify? Elsewhere?
Let’s find out all in this Shopify Review!
Like I mentioned in my Etsy Affiliate Program Review, among the make money online methods, newbies are so easy to jump in the ecommerce world because it’s easy to do and it doesn’t require much technical skills. But selling online and selling in the physical realm are also different in different aspects.
While you can easily convince people with your sweet talk when you sell in a physical store, when you go online, you have to convince search engines so you’d be visible in the eyes of shoppers. The advantage of selling online, though, is you get access to a huge market that you can never get through physical stores.
Now, if you decide to sell online, the big question is, where do you sell? Should you start in a marketplace or invest a bit more so you can launch your individual ecommerce?
In this review, we’re going to talk about one of the biggest ecommerce platforms that you can use to setup your website so it becomes a dedicated online store. Let’s talk about Shopify for ecommerce.
SHOPIFY FOR ECOMMERCE OVERVIEW
Summary: Shopify is an ecommerce platform you can integrate with your existing website like WordPress, so you can turn it into a dedicated online store. It offers all the features you need to run an online store like product listing, checkout, and payment channels.
Product Name: Shopify
Founder: Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, Scott Lake
Product Type: Ecommerce platform
Recommendation: Like WooCommerce, Shopify is also a great ecommerce site you can use to build an online store. But what does it have to offer to offer that WooCommerce doesn’t have? Well apart from free hosting, there’s something more. And you’ll find out about it here in this Shopify for Ecommerce Review!
WHAT IS SHOPIFY?
Shopify is a Canadian ecommerce platform that you can use the same way as Woocommerce. It is a subscription service that gives you all the tools you need to run an online shop. It is quite easy to use and building a website using it won’t require special web design skills as themes and templates are already provided; all you have to do now is to choose from the selection, click on your choice, and implement it. It’s definitely a hassle-free platform for setting up your online business.
Whether you are just starting to enter the online selling competition or adding new business or taking your existing shop to the next level, Shopify has plans and features that will suit your needs.
So is Shopify the right ecommerce for you? Let’s look into how it works and find out the answer.
SHOPIFY ECOMMERCE PLATFORM - HOW IT WORKS?
Shopify is is fairly easy to use. The process is very straightforward which is why tons of celebrity entrepreneurs and businesses use it. Currently, Shopify powers 500,000 ecommerce sites. It may seem a lot but WooCommerce has over 77 million downloads, making Shopify waaaay behind the competition.
Getting started with Shopify only requires 5 basic steps. The seemingly tumultuous process can be compressed to:
- Picking a plan and registering to Shopify.
- Register you existing domain which you bought from independent providers like GoDaddy. You can also buy your domain from Shopify as well as hosting which costs $29/month.
- After successfully creating an account, choose a design and template for your online store. Like WooCommerce, designing your site only takes a drag drop process.
- After setting up your store, you are now ready to add products, product description, checkout/shipping information, payment options, and other important contents you think shoppers need to make a decision.
- Publish your product and promote them online organically or through PPC. Don’t forget to leverage social media marketing techniques to boost your visibility online and sales.
DESIGNING ECOMMERCE SITE WITH SHOPIFY THEMES
Shopify, unlike WooCommerce, only has a a few free themes you can use for your store. Others are already paid and may cost over $150. The disadvantage of this is very obvious. Your site will look like other sites, giving you no edge over your competitors. To stand out, be differentiated from other sites, and to establish your branding, I recommend for you to get their paid themes so you will look somehow different from others. If you want to really look unique, you can also opt to hire a professional web designer to dress up your ecommerce site.
There are 8 categories of free templates on Shopify. Each has 2-3 free designs with several variations each. Overall, you get around 100 templates for free.
The edge of Shopify’s templates over the others comes from the fact that the templates were done by outsourced pros in web design.That said, all the designs you’ll see on Shopify theme store will exceed your expectations, it’s just sad that there aren’t enough to provide one-of-a-kind look to all its 500,000 users.
Another way Shopify is making up for this deficit is through its Theme editor. You can hide sections, change colors, design buttons using this feature. This will somehow help shoppers distinguish you from others.
ease of use
Shopify is a simple yet very powerful tool. You can set up a whole online store in just one day but it can also take you an entire week to build custom solutions for your target customers’ shopping needs. Listing products is quick via your CMS (content management system). There, you can add descriptions, prices, and product variants too like color and sizes. There’s no need for coding. All you need to do is to input the content and let Shopify lay it out on your ecommerce website.
Shopify ecommerce features
Now, let’s look into the the ecommerce features that Shopify has to offer. Its tools and features include:
1. Add and manage products
Like I said, adding products is easy. You simply have to go to the Products menu in your CMS and add products from there. You can even import a CSV file if you have a large listing. Product reviews and customer list can also be added conveniently using CSV files.
Filling in the product information is intuitive. Be sure to apply some SEO on your title and description to boost your store visibility organically. Adding images, videos, price and variants is just one click away too. Be aware, though, that Shopify only lets you add 3 variants in each listing like size, material, and color.
Finally, place categories or collections to keep your online store organized. Google don’t like cluttered websites so be sure to please it and be referred to millions of shoppers online.
Other important details to add in each of your product listing are the SKU (stock-keeping unit) and the inventory tracking features. These elements let you manage your stock more efficiently and can be your quick way to determine items that are already out-of-stock. Shopify will also generate an individual inventory tracking to make sure that you don’t sell what you don’t have.
Selling digital products like software, images, ebooks, or videos require a special app developed by Shopify. This is free. What’s not and could be expensive is when you create a subscription store. You will also need a developer to create this kind of store for you.
A subscription store is when you allow users to create an account in your ecommerce website where they have their own dashboard where a record of their transactions with you is kept. It can get complicated with Shopify but with WooCommerce, this feature comes for free and can be easily set up.
One more thing that will require you to hire a coder is when you add a CUSTOM-FIELD on your listings. For example, you are selling a watch and you want to give your customers the option to engrave their signatures, names or anything else on it. In BigCommerce (which I will discuss this week too), this is simple to do.
Adding categories is a must if you sell different items through your store. For instance, you want to sell accessories but you have several variants for each type. Let’s take women’s shoes as an example. Women’s shoes can be categorized into Sneakers, Flats, Wedges, Heels.
Setting categories or Collections in Shopify can be assigned manually. If you add a product in your CMS, you will notice at the right side of the page that there’s a Categories section there. You can set the product categories there and Shopify will automatically generate the page for each collection.
Now, another downside of using Shopify for ecommerce is that you can’t add sub-categories. Taking women’s shoes as an example again, you can categorize each sneakers or wedge shoes into kids and adults sub-categories. If you want to add them, you’ll need to buy an app for adding sub categories.
3. Payment processING
The Checkout and Payment sections of your online store is very important. They need to be accurate and working so you won’t have any problem receiving the payment and collecting info for the shipping of items.
Fortunately, Shopify has over 100 providers for this. You can connect your online store with payment channels like PayPal or 2Checkout and a lot more. Shopify also has its own checkout system (called Payments) that’s powered by Stripe, which you will be forced to use if you don’t want to pay extra transaction chargers per customer checkout. The rates may be from 0.5– 2% depending on your plan.
Note that Payments is also not available in every country. If you are from the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong, then you can use it but if not, then be prepared for the extra charges.
But here’s cheat! There’s also an option to use manual payment methods like bank deposits, cash on delivery, or money order. This way, you can cut the extra charge on checkouts or paying the commission to Shopify.
4. fulfilling orders
Having the items shipped is always the trickiest part in every ecommerce, most especially when you cater to international shoppers too. Shipping rates will vary and there are times when tax should be included.
Setting the logistics options and shipping fees on Shopify is a bit easier than others. You can set the rules like flat rate, free shipping, shipping rates based on country or region, etc. These things are set for individual products as they can weigh differently. Shopify lets you connect your store to several couriers so they can provide the accurate shipping fee upon your customer’s checkout.
But again, this feature is not available in all countries. If you are outside their serviced country, you’ll have to find other apps to have your store connected to your local couriers.
Also, if you want to avoid any hassles on shipping items, you can just choose to shift to dropshipping business where Shopify is deemed the best dropshipping platform. Read my Dropshipping with Shopify via Oberlo Review for more details on this.
5. other sales channels
The good news is, you don’t have to be limited to selling only on your website. You can sell on other platforms too like social media to expand your reach. You probably know by now how powerful social media is when it comes to influencing the decision of shoppers. Also, over 3 billion people are on social media every single day so you need to dive into the competition and fish at least a million of this population for your loyal customers.
Shopify lets you create a section of your store on Facebook. On Instagram, Shopify lets you tag your products on your account so it will show prices and place a “shop here” option on your promotions. It goes the same with your Pinterest business account.
Now, Shopify also lets you connect your online store with Amazon and eBay. These marketplaces are also a great way to extend your reach.
Shopify Online Marketing features
Shopify is popular for its tools that help you increase your sales. These tools and features include:
1. Discount codes
We all love discounts! Between full priced products and sle items, we’d mostly go with the sale. Shopify lets you add discount codes easily on your website to attract more shoppers. You can set several promos like codes for fixed amounts, discount percentages, free shipping or buy 1 take 1.
Gift cards are also available but this feature isn’t available when you take the Basic Shopify plan only. Another downside is not being able to set loyalty program which many are obsessed with. Some people love to shop so they can earn points they can later exchange for goods. If you’d like to implement this in your store, you’ll have to find an app for adding loyalty programs that will work on Shopify.
2. Abandoned Cart Recovery
A lot of people tend to abandon their carts after finding their budget isn’t enough, they found another shop with better offer, or they had other activities that interrupted their shopping. As a seller, this can be very frustrating.
An abandoned cart recovery feature will, however, give you the chance to connect with these shoppers and convince them to finish their checkout. This feature of Shopify lets you send automated emails to shoppers, offering them discount codes so they’ll be moved to go back to your shop and place an order or finish the transaction they left behind.
face-to-face Selling with Shopify
Who told you that you can only use Shopify to sell online?
This might be surprising to some but for those who don’t know yet, Shopify also supports those who sell only through their physical store. Shopify’s PoS (point of sale) can be connected with your physical sales channel so you can manage your inventory and prices, or generate reports through Shopify.
SHOPIFY FOR ECOMMERCE - PROS AND CONS
- Shopify lets you connect your social media business pages to Shopify. Social media marketing is a highly effective way to promote your business and engage with probable customers.
- Shopify has wide range of apps you can utilize to make sure your website becomes profitable.
- The themes look very professional.
- Shopify offers hosting unlike WooCommerce where you have to buy from third party provider.
- It is easy to build an ecommerce site using Shopify.
- Shopify also has a dropshipping function if you don’t like to manage an inventory or handle the shipping of the items you sell.
- You don’t have full control over your site unlike WooCommerce which give you full power in customizing your site.
- Monthly payment can be too much if you are just starting. when its competitors offer their basic plan for free.
- Free themes are very limited.
SHOPIFY PLATFORM VS WOOCOMMERCE PLUGIN
Shopify and WooCommerce have their own set of strengths and weaknesses.
WooCommerce is great for novices as it makes customization super easy, it’s free, themes are almost limitless, and all the useful tools from adding products, buttons, checkout to shipping are already included in the basic plan.
Shopify, on the other hand, is a strong competitor of WooCommerce, most especially that it allows you to connect with your social media account making your chance of converting to sales much higher.
But overall, I like WooCommerce better for its almost complete offerings.
IS SHOPIFY FOR ECOMMERCE BETTER THAN ITS COMPETITORS?
Shopify is one of the most competitive platforms for ecommerce out there. It may not be as big as other platforms but it is very popular among newbies and celebrity entrepreneurs.
Shopify offers solutions for online selling to help make your task easier so all you have to do is to count your sales and enjoy your success.
However, Shopify doesn’t have much opportunities for growing your visibility online. Affiliate marketing is supposedly a great way to boost your ranking and convert into sales. Sadly, Shopify doesn’t have the free tool for this so if you want to leverage the technique. You can however by the apps you need for starting an affiliate program at the Shopify App Store.
Affiliate marketing is a way for you to ensure targeted traffic and higher sales conversion. If you want to learn more about this, you can learn about it on my #1 recommended program called Wealthy Affiliate. Read more about it on my Wealthy Affiliate Review so you can make an informed decision. Ready to earn more by being an affiliate marketer? Join me at Wealthy Affiliate by clicking on the link below!
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