How Does Shopify Work? Get Started Here!

how does shopify work

Is Shopify The Right Place To Launch Your Online Store?

A number of reviews I came by for Shopify all mentioned how great and flawless of a system it was, so I decided to give it a try myself.

Here’s What I Found…

Although it is a wonderful platform in many ways, it is not perfect. So how does Shopify work? (learn how to Get Started using Shopify below.)

What Is Shopify


Shopify is an ecommerce (online) store builder that allows you to sell your products on a website of your own.

There are many advantages to ‘setting up shop’ online such as the number of people who can reach your product, affordable start up costs, and you can even begin running a website almost on autopilot after the initial work is put in.

I created my own account with Shopify to see what all the hype was about. The website’s back office (where you access, organize, and essentially build your whole website) were efficient and the support was awesome.

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Shopify is ideal for those wanting to launch an online shop, or if you already have a physical store, but want to continue to grow your business by selling your products online.

It caters to a wide range of industries such as art and photography, ebooks, electronics, food and beverage, jewelry, home and garden, furniture, toys and games, sports and recreation, etc.how does shopify work

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Basically any sort of gadgets or widgets or physical products that you can sell, Shopify can help make this an easier process for you.

IF you know what you are doing and are familiar with website creation, you won’t run into many obstacles. Newcomers to website creation however may have a different experience using Shopify.

How Does Shopify Work


The whole idea behind shopify is for YOU to be able to build a user-friendly, profitable online store.

Building a website can be done with ease regardless if you know anything about coding or lack any programming skills. This is true today for any website builder.

I created my own account with Shopify and it was as simple as giving my email, choosing a password, and naming my store. Followed by a few other details such as name and address.

Next you are presented with a short series of questions where you can tell them a little more about yourself – if you’re new to online business, do you have an existing business anywhere, how much revenue does your business currently make, etc.

Insert those and Shopify goes to work and begins setting up your store…You can also see the pricing plan once inside (see below)

Then you’re in….

how does shopify work

This is you’re back office, where you have access to tools and to set everything up, you can:

  • Insert content (webpages & blogs), products images and details
  • Organize your products into categories (makes it easy for prospective customers to find what they need)
  • Manage your inventory
  • Discount code engine (Compare similar items and insert discounts)
  • Track customer and order details
  • Install secure shopping cart (with over 50 different payment processors in different currencies)
  • Set up customer accounts (so your customers can log in into their private accounts to manage their personal information such as address, credit card information, so it’s easier for them to buy next time)
  • Sort your customers by location, money spent, etc, so you can better understand where your customers are from and their spending behaviors, so you can market better to them
  • Manage multiple staff login – so if you have staff helping you, you can grant them different permission levels to help you manage your online shop

These are all necessary tools integrated into your online shop and back office. This is however where I encountered my first problem with the platform.

They don’t do a good job of explaining what to do next. There was not a system tour or any helpful tips on exactly what I should do to get the ball rolling with my new store.

With the Home tab selected they give only the slightest hints on what you “should” do, but I don’t feel it as being an accurate starting point. Especially for a newcomer to building a website.

how does shopify work

Above is your “to-do-list” given by Shopify and as mentioned, I don’t feel it’s a good starting point at all for a beginner.

Adding a product is of course important if you’re going to be running an online store, but why is this first on the list?

I am still unsure.

Important things like where and how to title your page or even how to create a page are left out. How do you set up your own website, what type of content should you be adding, how to attract customers!! These major aspects were missing.

Don’t Fret – Start Here With Shopify!


For those actively using Shopify or considering opening up your own online store, I did a lot of digging in order to provide you with the best starting point to begin your own online store with Shopify! (feel free to bookmark and come back later)

The only useful Getting Started video:

Some more helpful items compiled – all accessible with a free trial:

  • Tutorial Videos – Free videos and tutorials on how to set up certain features within your store, ex. setting up your theme.
  • Design Videos – If theme and visual work is more what you’re after, give these videos a try.
  • Free Tools – Free tools to run your business, logo maker, business card maker, image resizer and many more.
  • Shopify Manual – A series of guides and documents, and a great resource. Chances are some sought answers are here somewhere.

So I didn’t agree with the lack of direction when first starting, but if you know where to look you can begin to structure your own website and storefront online. (don’t forget to bookmark and use these to get started)

Other Key Features


Point Of Sale (POS) System. If you have an offline retail store, you can integrate your entire sales system with a Shopify online store.

You can effectively turn an iPad or iPhone into a sales terminal, using it to help your customers browse through your product catalog, handle credit card transactions, and even hook it up to your cash register.

Apps. I mentioned a lot of the basic functions and tools are included when you first start with Shopify, but if you need more, there’s an App for that.how does shopify work

To list a few, you can add live chat features for better customer service and pre-sale questions, add rating and review widgets so visitors can see what people are saying about your products, or an app for receipts, allowing customers to acquire a receipt via email.

These Apps are to help you run a more efficient business and many can be of good use.

Some Apps are free, some have monthly fees. You are in complete control of which Apps you would like to use for your online store.

Support. Even as a free trial member, I was impressed with the support!

  1. Live Chat – You can communicate and get immediate assistance from one of Shopify’s chat “guru’s”
  2. Shopify Help Center – Ask a question or enter a problem into a search bar
  3. Community Forum – You can access other members here and get feedback on your store, learn about payment methods, or just join the general discussion.
  4. Hire An Expert – Depending on what you are looking for, this can cost between $300-$5,000 (more or less). Services include design work, photography, marketing, and developers.

Having such support is key in growing any business online. The support was one of the more impressive key features if you ask me.

Pros And Cons Of Shopify


PROS:

  1. Shopify offers you over 100 beautiful and professional themes (templates), so your online store can look professional and appealing to visitors. This helps and builds credibility and trust right away. First impressions are meaningful online, believe me. There are both free and paid themes to choose from, I recommend to start with a free one!
  2. Shopify is very flexible with all of it’s tools and Apps to meet the needs of your customers and yours to create a great overall (and profitable) experience with your online store. While it will take some initial work and setup on your end, these tools and Apps help you in the long haul with running your online store on autopilot.
  3. True 24/7 support. This is a major bonus to anyone. There are going to be times you may need to reach out and ask for help, Shopify does a good job providing you that help. Yes, even at 2 in the morning. Contact them through live chat, and they even list 4 international phone numbers to call so you can choose the number fitting your region. Very resourceful to anyone building or running a business, you may need help most when ‘normal’ office hours aren’t running, Shopify is there.

CONS:

  1. No Website Hosting, has to be done externally. Though Shopify provides you with just about everything you need, even choosing a domain name (website url), they do not host any websites. You will have to go through another source like HostGator for website hosting and monitoring.
  2. In addition to the monthly service fee, Shopify charges it’s customers a 1 – 2% transaction fee for their lower pricing plans, “Unlimited” plan is excluded. With the Basic or Professional plan you can expect to receive this charge. (Update: If you are using Shopify Payments, it will waive all transaction fees)
  3. Monthly fee for some Apps. As mentioned above, Apps are a key feature and provide additional functionality to your online shop. Many of which are not free.

Shopify FAQ


Q: What is the Shopify website builder

A: It’s a platform allowing you to create an online storefront from scratch using a computer. Selling any products or good of your choosing.

Q: What is a shopify store

A: With over 200,000 businesses powered by Shopify, chances are you have purchased from a store built using Shopify, or browsed goods from one at least.

Q: What does Shopify do

A: It allows you to set up an online store to sell your goods. It lets you organize your products, customize your storefront, accept credit card payments, track and respond to orders, all from a CPU.

Q: What is better than Shopify

A: Though Shopify is great, I know of some better options.

Q: Is Shopify worth it

A: After taking in all the info provided here and any other research you may have done, only you can make that decision.

Q: Is Shopify safe

A: Shopify is indeed safe. Just expect to put in some time and effort into your online store before expecting results.

Final Opinion


I feel Shopify is an excellent source for those familiar with website creation and are looking to bring and existing business to the online world.

It has all the tools and functions one would need to succeed at building a profitable website and business.

Below are examples of beautiful, active stores that were created using Shopify:

how does shopify work

For newcomers to working online that are interested in ways to earn money from a computer, give WA a visit. It is hands down my top recommendation for building a profitable business online for any level of expertise (complete noob to advanced).

It offers the websites, support, hosting, training and tools you need and I can ensure anyone will learn and earn here. See my WA review, it is FREE to get started.

I’ll lay out some of the similarities and differences between the two below!

Try Shopify or Wealthy Affiliates out for yourself and share your experiences below!

Did I leave anything out? Wanting to learn more? Leave a question below and I will be sure to respond.

About the author

    Jason

    My goal for this website is to help those who are looking to make money online from the comfort of their home and to offer people an alternative to the FIXED 9-to-5 life. Whether you are looking to make full time income online or just looking to make some extra cash. I've got you covered.

  • JasonRobert Basaker says:

    Jason, I have been with Wealthy Affiliate for 3 months. I stopped by your website to see how your site has developed and I am very impressed.
    I am very interested in Shopify, I have never heard of the company and at this point, I am looking for ways to generate additional income on my websites.
    My question is, would you recommend Shopify as an addition to my website for additional revenue? I am going to take your advice and look further into their program. I will be back to update my results.
    Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
    Bob

    • JasonJason says:

      Yes I would!

      Shopify has an affiliate program in which you can apply to join. I would consider looking into this for starters and it could be an additional source of income for your website.

      If you are currently with WA, I do not see a need to create an account and build a website with Shopify.

      Congrats on 3 months by the way! Do keep me updated and let me know if there is anything I can help with.

  • Jasonbioelectrobot says:

    I’ve heard a lot about shopify. I’m glad to finally read a review about it. Live chat is a very attractive feature. Online live customer service has become an absolute must have for most online businesses. This is even important for offline businesses because at some point even a so called brick and mortar store will need to leverage the Internet if they want to remain a viable entity in the twenty first century. If shopify has a fully functional live chat feature that I can configure in a few minutes, that alone will be a huge attraction to potential customers. Nice question and answer section in this article.
    How does shopify compare to a standard WordPress configuration with PayPal as the payment processor?

    • JasonJason says:

      Hello, to answer your first question I am guessing you would have to apply a certain App with Shopify allowing you to use the PayPal service as a form of payment.

      Similar to Wordpress which I know has plugins specifically for PayPal, instead with Shopify it’s an App.

      These Apps are very simple to access and add to your Shopify website, and there are plenty (over 1,100 currently).

      A lot of brick and mortar stores are finding there way online which is an awesome thing!

      Thanks for coming by

  • JasonRobert Basaker says:

    Jason, thanks for getting back with me and you suggestions. I will definitely look into the affiliate program to compliment my website and create another source of income.
    All the best to you in 2016, Let me know if I can help you in any way. See you on the inside.

  • JasonAlex says:

    Thanks for writing the review.

    I tried Shopify before and I previously contacted Shopify regarding the customization of the design as I would like the Layout to include my personalized handwriting in the tabs. Unfortunately, they do not offer this possibility without the aid of an expert which would cost substantially as I do not know any code to do it myself. I think this is a drawback.

    I am currently trying to choose between Etsy and Shopify myself. Can you make a quick comparison between Etsy and Shopify?

    • JasonJason says:

      Yes, getting involved with the professionals to customize certain aspects of your site could be costly. But also a huge convenience to some who would like to have their site built for them, or for additional professional help.

      I do not use my code myself, never had the need for it.

      As far as Etsy goes, it is a great source for those interested in selling handmade or homemade products online. You don’t necessarily gain your own website with Etsy but instead your own personal profile. Still money to be made if you are interested in selling homemade soaps, candles, art, or other neat little projects.

      You can find my full Shopify review above 🙂

      Let me know if you need further help, Alex. Thanks for visiting

  • JasonDerek Marshall says:

    Hi Jason,

    That was an awesome review of what shopify is.I was looking exactly for something like that, tell me exactly what it is and an honest review.

    Now what about the alternatives as I am interested in adding a store to my site but shopify is not available in my country so I can’t use it! alternatives you mentioned what are they and how do you rate them?

    • JasonJason says:

      Hey Derek if you notice towards the end of the article you can see a comparison chart for Wealthy Affiliate, it is a great alternative. It offers hosting, websites, training, technical support, help and much more. You can find a full review on this by visiting my approved sites above.

      If you a turning attempting to turn your current website site into an ecommerce store, you could do this simply by adding an ecommerce plugin that you see fit and reliable, since Shopify isn’t available in your part of the world.

      Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

  • JasonMA says:

    Thanks for the great review!

    I’ve been looking for an alternative to woocommerce and I think I’m starting to consider Shopify. would you say shopify is better?

    I’m also looking for a good way to bulk import Amazon products. Any idea if Sopify has a good plugin to do it?

    Cheers!

    • JasonJason says:

      Hi MA,

      That’s a very good question and there are a few things to consider.

      Woocommerce is free and when it comes to overall customization of your ecommerce site (theme design, plugins, etc.), Woocommerce is a great option.

      And though Shopify comes at a (monthly) price, it’s excellent at what it does. You can expect security, maintenance, online support, etc. to come with the package as well. Not to mention website development within Shopify is a breeze compared to putting together a site using Woocommerce via Wordpress.

      Which one is better? I’ve used both in the past and what it really boils down to is personal preference.

      They both work well, Woocommerce is a little more hands on but again that allows for more customization along with thousands of plugins (30,000) compared to Shopify’s 500 apps (plugins).

      To bulk import Amazon products onto your Shopify site I would look into this service: Byestand. If not, you can always visit Shopify’s app store (ahead of time) to see if they have anything.

      Hope this helps,
      Jason

  • JasonJason says:

    I don’t follow, could you make your message clear.

    Thanks.

  • JasonChris says:

    It’s nice to know that the ecommerce corner of the earn online world has a sort of beginners area for newbies like me to dive into!
    I have heard good things about shopify due to the support on hand there and the simple layout. Your article has certainly highlighted a few other facts I didn’t know about – thanks for sharing

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