What is Shopify …Part 1
You’ve seen, you’ve heard, you know.
But for those that haven’t.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an ecommerce store builder that allows you to sell any kind of item from your website, whether it’s a physical product, a digital product or a subscription.
Shopify is also what’s known as a ‘hosted’ solution. This means that you don’t need your own domain and you don’t need to install it yourself. Rather, you just create a profile and set up your store that way and link to it from your website.
This is one of the first advantages of Shopify – it’s incredibly quick, easy and reliable. You can create your store in a few clicks which takes just a few minutes. At the same time, you don’t need to worry about your hosting provider going down or your site getting bogged down with traffic.
Features and Benefits
On the face of it, you would think that Shopify would be less flexible owing to its hosted nature. Actually though, Shopify gets around this by letting you install a large number of paid and free themes as well as countless apps that extend the power of your store.
This means for instance that you can create a members only store, you can create a membership website, you can charge recurring payments, you can sell digital products and you can even integrate your site easily with your shop by using widgets.
Then there’s the option to add your products to your Facebook page or to create an app!
Best of all, it’s actually very affordable to begin with – so this really is the easiest way to start selling products from your site!
In the post we will take a broad look into the shopify platform. Its beginnings, competitors, picking a product and more.
Shopify began way back in 2004.Based in Ontario, Canada, and founded by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake. They currently have well over 200,000 merchants that have online stores with their platform and the amount of merchandise volume that goes through Shopify stores is far greater than $10 billion. This is impressive when you think about the fact that three guys created the store just because they couldn’t find an e-commerce platform that they liked, or one that suited their needs.
Most of the work on coding was done in house by Tobias Lütke (the bloody genius that he is). The guys were inspired because they wanted to make a sporting goods store called Snowdevil. The framework Ruby on Rails was used to create Shopify and the platform was launched in June 2006. Three years later Shopify released the App Store and API allowing people to create apps for the App Store.
The platform joined the mobile revolution in April 2010. Their first mobile app was for the Apple. This allowed Shopify storeowners to manage their store directly from their mobile devices for the first time. They also began a contest that brought in several well-known entrepreneurs to mentor people who were building their businesses. The Shopify payments platform, which is one of the reasons that so many people go with Shopify, was released in August 2013. In 2014, the platform had 120,000 merchants and in 2015, the company released their initial public offering and began trading at $28 a share.
Many people are hesitant to start their own e-commerce store. One of the reasons that they never follow through with it is that they are concerned that it will cost them more than they will make in sales. Obviously, this is to be avoided, and many people that are considering starting an e-commerce store are already having trouble with their bills and don’t have the budget to pay for a store until it makes a profit. So you have to do some calculations to decide whether or not the cost of doing business in the Shopify is going to be worth whatever price that you’ll be paying.
Your Shopify Plan,Should You Start Out with a “Lite” Shopify Membership?
Many people that are starting to work with Shopify for the first time wonder about the very first membership level that Shopify offers. This is the “Lite” membership level, which is offered for just nine dollars a month. But what is this actually give you? Is this membership enough for you to actually make money with e-commerce? We’ll explore what you get with the Lite membership and who it is appropriate for to decide if you can stick with the nine dollar a month level or if you need to upgrade.
The first thing that you need to know about this membership level is that it doesn’t actually include Shopify store. This is difficult to understand until you realize that it does allow you to use the integrated social media by buttons that are included with Shopify. However, you’re not able to create a store with your products in it. We’ll get to which other features are missing from this membership plan in a moment.
The next thing that we will want to discuss is the fees and costs that you’ll pay when you have this membership level. Obviously, there is the membership fee, or the cost of your monthly Shopify plan, which is nine dollars a month. The credit card transaction rates are exactly the same for the lowest membership level as they are for the next level up which is $29 a month. As you move up the scale those fees go down. The transaction fees that come with the membership levels are also the same for both this membership and for the $29 a month “Basic” level. So, when it comes to fees, there is no reason to move up to the next membership level but if you find you’re doing a huge amount of volume you’ll lose a lot of money on processing fees and transaction fees if you don’t upgrade.
Some of the other features that you don’t get access to by using the lowest level might be a good reason to upgrade at least to the $29 a month level. For example, you don’t get access to Twitter or Pinterest integration but you do get Facebook. Since Pinterest is a very good marketing tool for real world products, and you can incorporate a buy button with the next level it might be advisable to upgrade.
Your Shopify plan is the first thing that is going to determine whether your sales are going outweigh your cost or whether it’s going to be the other way around. There are four Shopify plans to choose from. The first of the plans is only nine dollars a month. From there it goes to $29 a month, $79 a month and $179 a month. With each of these plans, you get various benefits and features for your Shopify store. You also get discounts on things like Shopify shipping and on credit card processing fees so factor this in as well.
Your Product Choice
The next thing that is going to influence whether or not you’ll be above or below water with your Shopify site is what products you have chosen and whether or not you have chosen to fulfil orders yourself or you’re using a third-party like a drop shipper. On the product side, your profit will depend on how much you can save by buying the products wholesale and how much you can mark them up before selling them to the customer. However, if you are selling the items yourself and keeping them warehoused, you are going to have overhead and cash flow issues that may affect your profit.
The other thing that will determine how much you’re spending versus how much are making is what sort of add-ons you have and how much you’re spending on them. Some people have third-party applications that they use to manage their social media, other people have Shopify apps that they are paying a monthly subscription for and there may be other fees or costs covered under this miscellaneous umbrella. How much you can keep these costs down correlates to whether you can afford your payment or not. It can get pretty expensive with Shopify. I think people tend to try and cover all bases as soon as they start. you need to concentrate on setting up your shop and getting traffic before you start adding extra expenses to your store.
Top Apps to Help You Sell Even More From Your Shopify Store
One of the very best things about Shopify is that it lets you install additional apps to enhance the features. This works just the same as the plugins available on WordPress and lets you greatly expand the capabilities of your store. When you use these right, they can create almost limitless new opportunities and help you sell your products in a myriad of new ways.
Here are just a few…
Chimpified – If you use MailChimp as your autoresponder, then this is a fantastic plugin that will help you make more sales. You’ll now be able to track your potential customers and subscribers and thereby use techniques like ‘remarketing’. This means that you offered tailored promotions to customers who have shown an interest in your products before!
LeadDyno – LeadDyno is a tool for adding affiliate programs to your products. Now you can offer commission on your sales, thereby motivating countless more marketers to help you make more sales.
Mobile App for Your Shop – This lets you turn your store into a mobile app! Now your users can easily click to buy more products!
Shopify Widgets – Shopify Widgets lets you add a widget to any website showing off your products. This way you can gain sales directly from your website and have them constantly in view while visitor enjoy your content.
Facebook Store – This is a simple app that has a very powerful use. This lets your Facebook page act as a storefront so that now anyone who visits your page on Facebook can buy directly from there. This can help you to massively monetize those social media efforts!
Plugin SEO – SEO is a very important tool for getting people to actually find your site. Using Plugin SEO you can automate a lot of this process so that you don’t have to do it all manually.
Does it have competitors
If you’re thinking about going with Shopify as your e-commerce platform you might be wondering about the competition and whether or not you’re choosing the right company.
Let’s take a look at some of the other E-commerce names.
Bigcommerce is one of the major competitors for Shopify if you’re talking about platforms that do the same thing as Shopify. The truth is, Shopify has many more internet searches than Bigcommerce. However, the site isn’t doing too badly either. While Shopify can boast almost a quarter-of-a-million merchants, BigCommerce has 100,000 or so. They are fairly easy to use and have a lot of the same features as Shopify has, plus they have about the same pricing as Shopify does. However, Shopify simply does it better things to the App Store, the terrific interface, customer service and more.
If there was ever a platform that can compete with Shopify for the features that are available, it is Magento. That’s because this platform is open source and anyone can build features to work with this program. However, Magento is not a full service e-commerce platform. It does not offer the support, the security for the company standing behind it. The people designing Magento are independent programmers working together to create a great e-commerce platform but for most people, Shopify works much better.
If you are familiar with WordPress, you might’ve heard of WooCommerce. This premium WordPress addition is a solid program with a great team behind it. What WooCommerce has going for it is that it works with WordPress which is one of the leading content management systems in the world. I actually use woocommerce on a t-shirt store that I have. it works very well and I like the fact I can choose and set my own preferences on shipping payments etc.so if you are looking for a good free alternative (although there is a paid option) then look no further.