Table of contents
This review will show you just how easy it is to start your own online store. It will be spilt into different pages so you can navigate more easily to the information you need.
If you’re looking for a way to make extra money online and don’t know were to start the Shopify platform might appeal to you. In this Shopify review I’ll discuss the features of Shopify and discuss the features that they have which makes them one of the leaders in helping people set up their online ecommerce store. I used the Shopify platform while setting up a ecommerce store for a family member and I found it simple to use and the end result always looked quality which is why I thought I’d write this review to help you get your next business up and running.
But why set up an online store?
There’s good reason to consider getting an online store – business is booming.
According to Internet Retailer the online spending in the US is increasing year by year.
What is Shopify?
Our mission is simple: make commerce better.
At Shopify, we help emerging small businesses get off the ground and grow into successful companies. We do this by creating great technology and by making it accessible to people who previously wouldn’t be able to afford it.
We are a team of highly dedicated individuals who share two things: a passion for problem-solving, and a commitment to excellence.
So with that said, let’s get started with this review.
Over 100,000 stores run with Shopify. Here’s why
After some Shopify magic you’ll then be on this page. Here’s the inside of your shop. As you can see you have a lot of options in the left navigation bar. We’ll go into more details about these later on.
Right from the start Shopify gives you a nice clean default theme.
There’s also plenty of options to configure your default theme to your liking. We’ll cover more about Shopify themes later on.
For now, we’ll keep the default Shopify theme and start adding products to our online store.
Adding products to Shopify
Step 2 in getting your online store up and running is adding products. You have two options here, add them one by one or upload them via a csv file. Here’s a look at the sample csv so you can see the format required. If you want to transfer your products over from online platform, Shopify also allows you to do this for Magento, Ebay and WordPress. This is done via a Shopify app. Adding products to Shopify is pretty easy and it has a nice clean layout like the following image
For the purpose of this Shopify review I’ll import products via a csv file. Once you’ve corrected set up the csv file with the required format (see example above). You can just import it into Shopify. If there’s any errors, luckily Shopify will actually tell you where the problem is located so you can easily fix it.
Here you can customize your headings even further and remove any that you don’t want to include. Using the import feature is the best and fastest way to add a lot of products to your website. In a matter of minutes you can have thousands of unique product pages rather than entering them in one by one.
Confirm that you’re ok with this. Boom. Products imported and you’re all set.
So now our products have been uploaded. Let’s check out our store. I had to use the collections section in Shopify to get the images shown on the homepage but that was again, very easy.
This is our new homepage
We can now click on any of the items to be taken to their own individual product page, like the image below. All the information here was in our csv file and Shopify was smart enough to import and using the default themes HTML/CSS it created the layout like it is.
When we click add to cart we are taken to the checkout page like so.
By default the Shopify platform uses a PayPal payment system. This is great for efficiency but can add to another cost since PayPal will also take a cut.
If you don’t want to use PayPal then Shopify also have you covered with over 70 popular local and international payment options. Check to see if yours is there.
Set up your domain
Once all products are installed you’re on to step 3, setting up your domain name. By default, Shopify gives you a subdomain so you’ll likely see http://yourstorename.shopify.com. Of course you won’t want to keep this URL for your business so the next step is to buy a domain or add a domain that you already own to Shopify.
Once you’ve set up your own domain name it’s time to make your website live.
You’ll have to pick a pricing plan based on your requirements. This can be seen on the Shopify pricing page. Shopify have three different packages to pick from to sell online, these are basic vs pro vs unlimited which we have covered in another post.
There’s also a budget option for $14 a month. With this you are allowed the following options:
- 25 Products
- 1 GB File Storage
- 2.0% transaction fee
- No HTML/CSS editor
- No discount code engine
- No phone support
Once you’ve selected the payment option, you’re done. You have a new online store with Paypal payments created in just a few minutes with Shopify.
Considering what a custom build ecommerce store costs in 2014 the Shopify pricing is pretty reasonable. The more products you plan to sell the greater the potential for making extra money online but this also means that the price of Shopify increases. It starts from $29 a month with 100 products and 1GB storage, while this is good for people looking to start out, if you have more products than the $59 a month might be more worthwhile for you needs. With this package you’ll be allowed 2,500 products and a reduction in the transaction fee 1%.
But with using Shopify you can actually save yourself money in some areas. Shopify offer unlimited hosting, which means that they will take care of your hosting so you can save extra money each month. How much money you’ll save depends on the host you would have gone with. I use Bluehost which means that I would save just under $7 a month by using Shopify. This doesn’t sound like much but the basic package has just dropped to $22 a month now. I’m not too sure if they will allow you to pick your own hosting company. Some users might be interested in WordPress hosting if they are using WordPress with Shopify or if you care about site speed, WP Engine might be a good option.
But most of us wouldn’t want the default Shopify theme and would want to tune it to our own business and features using their apps. Luckily, Shopify comes with a range of free and paid themes and apps to further add to your online shop. See our top 7 Shopify themes.
How to install a Shopify theme
It’s pretty simple to install a Shopify theme, here’s now.
Go to the themes section of Shopify.
I like the look of the Kickstand theme since it’s in my niche of electronics.
When you click download you’ll be shown this pop up.
Enter your shop URL and you’ll see a publish theme button.
Once you’ve clicked that it will start to install.
Theme installed with just a couple of clicks.
Here’s what our new ecommerce store looks like:
Although there’s still work to do, it’s pretty easy to make big changes with Shopify themes with their settings page.
From here you can customize your theme even more to get it to how you want. Each theme will have different option which you can pick from so be sure to research that the theme you selected can accommodate the features you need.
That’s how easy it is to get started with Shopify. If you have your products on csv then you will have you online store up and running within a few hours – no coding, no outside help, it’s so intuitive that anyone can do it.
If you’re still struggling to set up your online store, don’t worry. Shopify offers plenty of webinars to help you guide you through the software.
You’ll get this email a few days after signing up:
Join us for a free interactive webinar that will walk you through setting up your store, step by step.
Sign up to attend a free one-hour store-building session here: http://docs.shopify.com/webinars
During the live webinar, a Shopify guru will show you how to add products to your store, process payments, set up your domain, and more!
We host a webinar every weekday, so you can choose a time that’s convenient for you.
This webinar includes the following information:
Join us for a walkthrough of Shopify!
We’ll show you how to:
- Add products to your shop and sort them into collections
- Create and display your content and choose your design
- Set up taxes, take payments, and use your domain from any provider
- Build your business using apps and self-help documentation
Pros and cons of Shopify
As discussed above with Shopify you have a complete ecommerce system at your fingertips. With hundreds of themes and apps to choose from at a reasonable price. Because of this, it is a more cost effective way to create an online store then starting from the start and hiring developers to create one for you.
It used to be that you had to pay transaction fees like the image show shows.
However, with Shopify payments you can wave these transaction fees.
One of the things we’re most excited to bring to our merchants is the end of Shopify Plan transaction fees for anyone using Shopify Payments. That means more money in your pocket.
Customers from around the world can check out with digital currency.
- The currency works just like cash.
- Transactions cannot be reversed by the buyer (unlike credit cards or PayPal).
- You can choose to receive your payments in Bitcoins (paid into your Bitcoin wallet) or paid in your local currency directly into your bank account every business day.
- Transactions are secure and meet the highest standards for ecommerce security.
If you’re unaware of Bitcoin – This is what it is
Excellent support – Not only will you have 24/7 support from Shopify if you need it but there’s a lively forum to discuss your problems/tips and also excellent detailed documentation and guides to provide you with support when setting up your own online store.
Cons of Shopify
For the starting price of $29 Shopify gives a complete ecommerce solution. However, as with everything there are cons to this service which we will discuss here.
While they have a large collection of apps, themes and other features most of these are not free and may get pricey depending on what the goals are for your website. However the good news is there’s normally a free trail of an app before you have to pay so you can determine if it’s right for you.
This also applies to Shopify themes, you can pick some themes both paid and free. While a Shopify theme is still much cheaper than a custom website there’s another problem that may arise down the road. You may wish to change certain aspects of your theme, normally you could hire someone with HTM/CSS knowledge, but with Shopify’s themes, they use a custom programming language called Liquid.
Note: Bigcommerce and Volusion are competitors of Shopify, expect their ecommerce reviews soon.
- Easy to use and create a e-commerce store
- Huge selection of themes, apps and more
- Excellent support and documentation
- Easy to create a mobile store
- While they have a huge collection of apps, themes most are not free
- You will have to pay transaction fees
- Shopify use their own language called Liquid - no HTML/CSS
Shopify can help you get your business off the ground in no time. If you're interested in making extra cash online then Shopify may help you. Shopify is a one stop shop to get your own ecommerce store up and running. With hundreds of themes, SEO benefits you can get started in no time with your very own ecommerce store.