Retailers heading into the digital space often opt for Shopify because it’s affordable and user-friendly. Not only that, but the eCommerce platform has multiple templates that present visual appeal and is kitted out with a full complement of essential online marketing tools.

One of the successes behind Shopify is users do not need much technical knowledge or any design skills to create an online store. You can therefore build a website relatively easily without having to pay for the services of a web development team.

Whether you already have an eCommerce platform with Shopify and want to take your online store to the next level, or are merely contemplating moving your business online and looking for the right eCommerce platform for your needs, this guide tells you everything you need to know about Shopify – including what to avoid.

 

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a computer software platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. As you can imagine, taking payment for goods and services online is very different to accepting cash over the counter. Online shopping sites – or eCommerce sites as they are often referred to – need to offer secure, safe and speedy payment options in order to be successful. Shopify is world-leading in terms of the array of service it offers online vendors. It can help store owners to organise their online inventory, customise the way their storefront looks, accept credit card payments and track and respond to orders, all with just a few clicks of a button.

Shopify with Amazon FBA (fulfilment by Amazon)

Because Amazon has such a huge reach, it makes sense for Shopify owners to install the Amazon fba plugin (Shopify only has a built-in Amazon fba in the US.) This feature means customers can purchase Amazon products from your website, but retailers advertising on Amazon are responsible shipping the order.

However, whilst Amazon fba gives you access to more products, the fulfilment process is not automated. Business owners still have to manually confirm orders to inform merchants of the order and select the shipping method. You may make more sales, but you also create more work than using your own fulfilment system.

Shopify with Adobe Muse

The Adobe Muse website builder tool enables you to create custom designs rather than use a ready-made template with limited customization options. If you want a unique Shopify store, this is the way to go.

The only drawback with Adobe Muse is, the software is aimed at graphic designers that already have experience with Adobe Photoshop. It’s therefore not as easy to use like most Shopify applications. However, there is a solid customer support team to provide help and assistance.

Muse also comes with third party widgets which makes it easy to add an online store to your existing website. However, a responsive version that is suitable for mobile users is not built-in so you have to create a design for desktop and mobile separately.

Shopify with MailChimp

MailChimp is one of the most successful email marketing apps to avoid spam filters. Providing you follow the company’s advice, more of your emails will reach your target.

It’s also free and easy to install into the Shopify dashboard. You can integrate the ‘Chimpified App’ into your Shopify platform by yourself without have to pay a web developer.

Shopify with Authorize.net

For eCommerce owners, it is vitally important you choose the right payment gateway. Authorize.net is one of the market leaders and has a good share of the market so is a trusted partner.

Established in 1996, the company has a longstanding history to prove they deliver the service they advertise; namely, a solid fraud protection service, simple checkout options and subscription capabilities.

The only downside with Authorize.net is you can’t transfer payment data. Therefore, if you wanted to switch to another payment gateway, you would have to request payment details from repeat customers again the next time they buy something online.

Shopify for Facebook ads

Paid advertising on Facebook has come a long way in a short time. It is also very simple to use directly from your Shopify dashboard. Because Facebook use audience attributions it can match customers that are most likely to be interested in the particular products you are advertising.

Another crux which makes Facebook ads appealing to end-users is the interface is very easy to use so you can upload images or videos and make edits without being a technical whizz kid.

Compared with Google ads, Facebook is inexpensive. However, they do have advertising rules. Text should not cover more than 20% of the area in an image, so your sales ad has to be succinct.

Shopify with etsy

Forget the Shopify v Etsy dilemma. Now you can integrate Etsy with Shopify, you get the best of both worlds. Etsy is an eCommerce platform that is best suited to niche markets. It’s primarily used for craftwork, artisanal and vintage products. If this is not you, Etsy has no benefit.

If you do have cause to install the Etsy app, it’s a wise move. You can alter the design and add a logo so the look and feel is in keeping with your brand but without losing the customer’s shopping experience on Etsy. They will still know they are on Etsy.

The biggest advantage is Etsy gives customers a backdoor to your online store. Whilst this builds Etsy’s brand rather than your own, you still increase your chance of earning more revenue from your online store even though you will have to pay a small commission fee to Etsy.

Instagram with Shopify

Instagram can be an effective sales platform for some eCommerce websites, but is best suited to industries that can post appealing images; fashion, fitness, automobiles, beauty products etc work best.

All you need to do is install the Shoppable Instagram app and Instagram users have direct access to your online store. It essentially enables them to buy products from Instagram, but the app directs them to the payment gateway you have installed on your Shopify store so that you can track order and payments in the usual way.

Shopify with Blog

In order to rank in search results, you should be adding regular content to a blog. Shopify has a built-in blog platform and dashboard manager which performs the basic requirements, although does not have the SEO tools and best practice functionality you get with WordPress. If you want to make an impression through a blog, the best option is to build a website with a WordPress template that has been specifically designed for WordPress (see below for more details).

Shopify with Quickbooks Online

Combining Quickbooks and Shopify gives you the most powerful eCommerce platform with the best online accounting software. Deciding whether to install Quickbooks or not is a no-brainer. The developers at Shopify and Quickbooks even worked together to produce a purpose-built app – which is free to download but registration is $15-$40 a month.

Quickbooks is the easiest way to keep track of your accounting on Shopify. It includes calculating your line items, added tax and shipping costs. It also provides information of profits made per product by giving you an overview of sales and expenses for each item.

The only drawback is that Quickbook does not convert tax calculations for international currencies. Therefore, tax information on international sales is inaccurate and will need calculating separately.

Shopify with Aliexpress

Aliexpress is arguably the best platform for dropshipping within the Asian-Pacific region. If you are just starting out with a Shopify eCommece store, this is the best way to go. All you have to do is list an item on your Shopify store and send an email to suppliers with the shipping details whenever you get an order.

The pros of using Aliexpress is they cater for international sales and translate websites into English. They also have an extensive range of cheap items you can buy from Asian retailers and sell through your own website for a profit. Finding suitable products in easy and you can transfer product images to your own website.

Furthermore, there are no upfront costs. You just pay a commission on each sale. Aliexpress makes it easier to source products. All you have to do is concentrate on the marketing side of things to make sure you reach your customers ahead of your competitors.

Shopify with Wix

If you’ve already built an online store with the Wix web builder, you can still integrate Shopify to boost functionality and make your eCommerce store more robust.

When comparing the two as individual eCommerce platforms, Shopify has the edge because it organizes everything in one area so is easier to use. Shopify also offers more choices of themes, templates and payment gateways.

Wix’s strength is international sales as it has an app that enables users to translate content into their native language. However, language apps and other automated translation tools do not give precise translations so may not necessarily provide a solution.

Shopify with eBay

Integrating your Shopify eCommerce store with eBay is a sensible solution to increase traffic and sales. Shopify has an eBay to Store importer which makes it super easy for merchants to showcase products from eBay on your online store.

Using the eBay eCommerce software enables you to manage product variations, upload images, organize categories and track active, schedules and unsold products.

Integrating eBay offers a solution for eCommerce owners to supercharge sales without any financial commitment upfront. However, you are charged up to 10% commission on sales which ultimately cuts into your profit margin.

The only real downside to using eBay integration is monitoring and managing. Because eBay is an auction site and products are typically only on sale for a limited time period, you have to constantly re-list products.

You can download automation tools to help monitor products that have run out of time, but using eBay is not as straightforward as other dropshipping platforms that promote static products.

Shopify with Oberlo

Oberlo is another successful dropshipping company that is worth piggybacking and is only available on Shopify so integration is seamless. In most cases, dropshipping is a better option than affiliate marketing as it is a low-risk business model and enables you to build your own brand.

Because dropshipping doesn’t require you to stock an inventory or organize shipping, there is no upfront costs and running your online store is far less time-consuming to manage, meaning you can invest more of your time in marketing.

Furthermore, you can set your own costs. Therefore, look for inexpensive sale items on Oberlo and uplift the price to increase your profit margins.

Shopify with Stripe

Stripe is Shopify’s custom-built payment gateway and provides eCommerce owners with the simple solution of setting up a payment system without the hassle of configuration. If you’re not technically minded, this is by far the best option.

However, you will probably pay a slightly higher credit card rate than you would if you use a third party payment gateway. Stripe’s rates are between 1.6% and 2.7%. A third-party solution usually charges between 0.5% and 2% depending on the Shopify plan. The lower the cost of the payment plan, the higher the credit card percentage rate is. However, in tests Stripe is usually the less expensive option, but there is very little difference.

Shopify with Paypal

Because Paypal has a solid global reputation, it is a trusted payment gateway that can positively influence purchasing decisions. The credit rate charges are also very similar to Shopify payments. However, because Paypal charge for converting overseas currencies, you earn slightly less than using Stripe. Paypal’s advantage is it has a superior customer support service which helps combat fraudulent transactions.

Even if customers do not have an existing Paypal account, they have the option to set one up when they make their first purchase from your online store.

Shopify with Facebook

With 1.94 billion active users a month (Q.1 2017), Facebook offers huge potential for eCommerce owners. There is even a purpose-built app called ‘Kit’ which makes managing Shopify-Facebook advertising easier for an extremely low budget.

But whilst Kit may work for Shopify owners that already have hundreds of followers and a budget to take advantage of Facebook ads, there are more limitations for small businesses than there are benefits.

The pros of Facebook Kit are the marketing tools and advice on how to best structure your ads and find the right audience. Beyond that however, there is little gain. Kit does not offer any functionality to grow your business so Shopify with Facebook is a non-starter for new starters.

Furthermore, there is insufficient space for product descriptions and you don’t have any control over ad content. It is therefore only useful for brands on Shopify that are selling recognized products.

Shopify with Square POS

Because the Square POS (point-of-sales) is free to download and does not carry a monthly fee, it provides an ideal solution for Shopify owners to expand your online reach. The only negative with Square is they are slow at releasing payments so if you rely on your POS system to live or invest in other areas of your business could face cash flow problems.

Shopify with Amazon

Amazon is the largest online marketplace and gives you the opportunity to expand your reach and get second-hand brand recognition. There are plenty of benefits for Shopify owners and because you can sync product details to your central Amazon Seller account, creating listings can be posted from your Shopify dashboard.

Not only is it easy to use, but you can customize price and reserve inventory specifically for Amazon sales. You are therefore able to calculate profit margins and determine whether Amazon is providing you with a profitable sales platform. An Amazon Professional Seller account costs $39.99 a month or a $0.99 commission fee on each item.

There are a few requirements to sync Amazon with your Shopify account. The service is only open to retailers selling Clothing and Accessories and you must not be using Amazon fba to ship products. You also have to display store prices in US dollars.

Shopify with WordPress

Now Shopify has teamed up with WordPress, eCommerce owners can have the best of both worlds – the most powerful blogging platform combined with the most powerful eCommerce platform. There are three Shopify-powered themes to choose from; Themezilla, Themify and Ultralinx.

The themes from Themify and Ultralinx are free to download for a limited time, and are built for websites using WordPress.org, the self-hosted version of WordPress. The Themezilla theme – Zillacommerce Hype – is a premium WordPress theme and can be downloaded for $59. WordPress owners have to register with Shopify on a basic package of $9 a month.

The Shopify plugin for WordPress enables you to place products in the sidebar of a blog post or page. You also get a shopping cart so customers don’t leave your website whilst browsing your online store and can purchase items using the one-click buy buttons powered by the Shopify checkout system.

Shopify without Credit Card

Not everybody owns a credit card, but Shopify has several solutions that make it easy for you to register for a Shopify account without a credit and for your customers to purchase products without a credit card.

If you are thinking of registering for a Shopify account, you can sign up for a free 14-day Point-of-Sales trial without leaving credit card details. Shopify accept Paypal and debit card payments should you wish to continue with your account.

Online shoppers in the UK that don’t have a credit card can either pay using the Shopify Payment gateway you have installed or with a Shopify wireless credit card reader that can be synced with a smartphone or tablet. The other option is to allow your customers to select the cash on delivery option.

Shopify without Paypal

Your customers do not need a Paypal account even if you opt to use that particular payment gateway. If they don’t already have an existing Paypal account, customers can either set one up through Shopify or purchase merchandise using a credit or debit card.

Shopify add product without price

There are occasions when you may not want to show a price on your Shopify account. Although you can set up a product template that does not reveal the price for individual items on a product page, the price will still appear in search by collections. To get around this problem, type the following code in the price field in the template of your product page.

{% if product.vendor != ‘SuperSecretVendor’ %}

{{ product.price | money }}

{% else %}

Add to cart to see price!

{% endif %}

Shopify website without www.

If you want to set up a shopify url without www. you need to go into your Shopify DNS settings and type your domain name in the preferences using the domain myshopify.com (enter your actual domain here) and www.myshopify.com. Then all you have to do is select myshopify.com as your primary domain name and tick the box that says “Redirect all traffic to this domain”.

In most cases, this should work. However, the process is not the same for every web hosting service so if the option above doesn’t work, content your web host support team for assistance.

Because Shopify delivers complete eCommerce solutions it provides online businesses with more options to earn more revenue. The capacity to build your own website and expand into other online marketplaces without any technical knowledge gives you more advantages than you will find elsewhere.

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