eCommerce Shopify

How to Sell on Shopify: Complete Beginner’s Guide

Shopify is a great way to get started in eCommerce and start building an online business - Read on for our complete guide to getting started with the platform.
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The bloom of eCommerce paved the way for the expansion of numerous mega-platforms around the world. Shopify is among the outstanding names that have gained a stable reputation from global sellers and there’s a lot you can expect from this platform.

In this post, we are not going to cover what Shopify is, how it functions, or its key features. The core focus is to give sellers or those who are planning to build your online store various ways of making money on Shopify. Because at the end of the day, revenues are the definition of your success.

A full guide to Shopify would require a book, especially if we dive into all the third-party apps (there are over 1200). Let’s take a look at the basics, and see if Shopify is a good fit for your eCommerce goals.

Shopfy Free TrialVisit Shopify

Step 1: Decide what you’re going to sell on Shopify

What will you sell?

It is a simple question that will guide you through the entire process of getting started on Shopify.

Deciding what you’re going to sell, whether on Shopify or other e-commerce platforms, is the first stepping stone on the path to success.

This part consists of loaded researches to identify the niche, your potential customers. Particularly with hundreds of things listed, picking just one niche may make your life easier.

Shopify
Shopify Homepage

There are many things to consider, and you need to do some planning before you start using Shopify. There is a free trial on the platform, but you will end up paying for whatever you end up doing.

Let’s simplify the process.

Physical items or services?

When it comes to selling on Shopify, many came up with ideas around physical stuff. In fact, the options can also range from services such as workshops, trip experiences, or event organization services.

Digital items like online courses can be sold on the platform, with almost any physical item that can be delivered to clients around the world. Don’t forget to check out Shopify’s terms and policies to make sure you avoid prohibited items.

Pick a potential niche market

A successful online business starts with good research.

You can check “eCommerce by Industry” on Shopify’s map for some of the most popular items and put your first step from there.

Details of trend categories are also available on the Shopify blog. Decide to concentrate on one niche and put your best effort on it is a strategic move to better serve target customers than compete on a broader market.

Remember, you will need to figure out how to drive clients to your store, and this should be a part of the market you decide to enter. Some areas are more expensive for marketing, such as cosmetics or financial services, so know that upfront.

How to Start an Online T-Shirt Business
How to Start an Online T-Shirt Business: Complete Guide

Sell What you Like

It is not bad to follow trends, but if you prefer to stay in the race, follow your heart the greatest degree possible. The key is making an investment in what you already like.

If you’re unsure whether your hobby can be profitable stuff to sell, invest your time in researching, finding unique aspects that set your preferred products apart from others, and most importantly, do it with passion.

For example, if you love to use new kitchen gadgets, that may be a great niche market. You will already know more than a normal person about the niche, and it will be easy to create solid marketing content.

Step 2: Research the cost to sell on Shopify

Now that you have in mind a product idea that fits your target customers, it’s important to know the pricing plan before getting started on Shopify.

You can register for 14 days of trial free of charge, and test what Shopify has to offer, before deciding if Shopify is the right e-commerce platform for your goals. There are three main pricing plans to choose from if you want to continue to use the platform.

With each plan, you get access to an online shop with a website and blog, unrestricted good offerings, selling on social networks and online markets, and 24/7 customer support.

Shopify Pricing Plans
Shopify Pricing Plans

Shopify pricing plans range from the “Basic Shopify” to “Advanced Shopify.”

  • Basic Plan: Basic Shopify program costs $29 USD a month and offers you every standard thing you need to start selling on Shopify. Services include the ability to register, to connect up to two employee accounts as well as to use the delivery feature. Plus, the Shopify POS program is also available for discount codes.
  • Shopify Plan: Bigger businesses will find the Shopify a perfect package. Users only pay $79 USD per month and get all of the benefits of the Basic Shopify Plan plus five employee accounts, gift vouchers, and the ability to receive reports on business performance. POS equipment, along with barcodes scanner, receipt printers, payment terminals and shipment label imprinters, and integration capabilities for third-party POS applications, will also be offered to users.
  • Advanced Plan: Advanced Shopify gives you all the benefits listed in the two plans above. At a budget-friendly $299 USD each month, you can add up to 15 staff accounts, receive an advanced sales report, and the ability to show your customers at the check-out at computed third-party rates. This package works best for businesses with high volume transactions seeking for quick growth.

Shopify has also added other pricing options for niche markets:

  • Shopify Lite: At $9 USD per month, this is the cheapest solution available that helps connect your online store to Messenger on Facebook. You can also add items to your platform and accept purchases via credit card in person via the Shopify point-of-sale app.
  • Shopify Plus: This plan targets companies with a high volume of sales. To get pricing and details about Shopify Plus features, you need to contact Shopify directly.
Shopify Lite Review: from $9 Per Month

Step 3: Set up your Shopify store

Before making a decision about whether Shopify suits your business needs, you can always test the water. There is an investment of both time and money (the trial is free, but work has to be done) so think out your selling plan before you get going.

Set up your first store

When jumping into the trial process, you will need to fill out the email address section as well as password. The next step is naming your Shopify store.

It’s important to keep in mind that your store name is the first thing that customers use to search your business, so try to make it easy to remember yet unique. Your store name is also displayed in your site’s URL under the format: “BUSINESS-NAME.myshopify.com.”

Adding products can be done in a variety of ways. It will matter if you are selling an online service or item, or something that has to be shipped (more on this below).

Shopify comes with a domain name generator if you are stuck for ideas.
Shopify comes with a domain name generator if you are stuck for ideas.

You can use a CSV file to add products automatically or import them from many of the dropshipping sites. If you are already on another eCommerce site, there are bulk uploading options for Shopify.

Adding products manually is also an option, and the Shopify’s platform makes this painless. Once you have the items you want to sell on your new store, there are a few other things to take care of.

Think About Shipping and Payments

For people that are shipping a physical item, shipping and taxes are going to be important factors to address. If you are selling something that weighs more than a few grams or has a value of more than the minimum amount that is covered by shippers, you will need to decide on a few things.

At the bare minimum, you will need to decide which geographic areas can buy from your shop, and how shipping will be paid. Some stores use a flat shipping rate, although this works better if you are selling goods that are all more or less the same size and value.

If you sell a range of products, it will probably be better to use Shopify’s shipping calculator, so that you never have a loss from expense shipping rates. Some third-party platforms that operate with Shopify also offer shipping options, which are good to consider.

Payments and Taxes Matter Too…

Your store will also need to deal with how payments are made. You can use Shopify’s credit card processing service, or use a third-party solution, like Stripe. Your store can also accept other payment methods, like PayPal, cryptos, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and others.

There will be fees attached to any payment system you choose, so you may want to compensate with your pricing, if possible. If you are in the US or Canada, you will also have to figure out your tax liability. Thankfully, Shopify has automated tools for this, which will make your life a lot easier.

Shopify lets you sell everywhere
Shopify lets you sell everywhere

To Sell Your Own Goods or Dropship?

Shopify will let you sell in almost any way you want, whether it be your own goods, or dropshipped items. Dropshipping is a topic with a lot of depth, but this short section will give you some idea of if it is a good fit for your goals.

Basically, as a dropshipping store, you will market items that ship from a warehouse somewhere else in the world.

Shopify bought Oberlo, which is one of the biggest dropshipping companies in the world. If you choose to sell dropshipped items, your costs will be low, but your store’s inventory will be limited to the items in the dropshipper’s catalog.

You can read our full review of Oberlo here.

On the plus side, most of the major dropshippers have extensive catalogs, which will offer your store millions of items to choose from. There is no investment in stocking items, and many of the dropshipping companies will allow you to use their basic services for free.

You can also run a hybrid store that sells both dropshipped items, as well as the goods you produce or buy directly. This will cost a little more, but it gives you the best of both worlds.

Oberlo Homepage
Oberlo Homepage

Step 4: Marketing is Key

We can’t deny the importance of the product’s value. It’s the king. But a king never stands alone, he needs his crowd. A strategic marketing plan will leverage your Shopify store to greater adoption from your relevant customers and potential shoppers. A wide range of methods to get your store to approach your target customers, including:

Facebook

With billions of people using Facebook, this network is a huge community to approach your target clients.

You must draw a large audience to your website through your Facebook ads for your Shopify store to sell successfully. This can be achieved by concentrating on the Facebook pages community.

So you may include their website as interest if you know that a large brand has the exact client you are trying to attract. Another thing to note is that you’d like to make sure your audience is large so that your chances of sales enhance.

Customers can browse your products using the Shop section on your Facebook Page
Customers can browse your products using the Shop section on your Facebook Page

While Facebook ads are ideal for both Instagram and Facebook advertising plans, Facebook groups can help empower your online store on Shopify.

Online retailers are allowed to publish in Facebook groups. You can boost the awareness of the brand in popular niche groups by posting your business page. Obviously, you shouldn’t spam every group on your niche with this opportunity. This is the fastest way to be prohibited.

Instagram

Consider creating an Instagram account is also a big plus for business expansion if you are currently learning how to sell on Shopify.

The hardest part is you need at least 10,000 relevant followers to increase your probability of generating sales with Instagram Stories. Users can scroll through Instagram stories to visit your product page to make a purchase.

To speed up the process, you can also collaborate with a popular Instagram account, such as a fan page.

For example, if you have a sleep product store, you can access a mattress brand fan page and pay to make a supported story post, so that your site will be viewed by a broader audience. Instagram story is an ideal option for smaller businesses that have not yet accumulated major results.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of many of the techniques that increase your chance of attracting new customers.

Connect your current client list first and suggest them to be affiliate contributors. They would be more willing to promote your products to their friends and followers since they’ve already purchased from you.

Second, it’s possible to do some backlinking. This allows you to access keywords such as “best mattress for back pain” articles and offer brands that have a link to your article an affiliate commission.

You may also meet those who are willing to write a sponsored review by being paid by an affiliate.

Content Marketing

“Content is king,” though content marketing is not for impatient sellers. If you seek for a long-term strategy and valuable investment, content marketing is the brightest choice. Many Shopify stores are doing it and it does nothing but great achievements.

Get used to smaller, long-tail keywords in your niche is the first thing you should do to generate this part properly at the beginning.

The niche issues your customers will be interested in are posted on the site. You may write a blog post on how to make a firm mattress softer, for example, if you are in bedding niche.

Usually, the posts on the blog are approximately 2,000 words and you can produce once to two posts a week without being stressed by the workload every day.

Traffic from those blog posts can be generated within a couple of months depending on your niche’s competitiveness and how well you manage. You can pay a better price for your blog traffic than a traditional Facebook.

This method likely attracts more clients because you have the right niche traffic from your site. The number of sales you earn increases as your blog expands. However, a lot of work does not take place at the start and it’s easy to feel discouraged. Sellers need to remain enough consistency to do it.

Referral traffic

While many consider referral traffic is not a transparent way to drive traffic, it’s still among the best methods to raise support from other websites for newbie sellers on Shopify.

There are several SEO tools to help track your rivals’ backlinks. You can then contact those sites and ask for a connection in exchange if you know which sites are linked to your competitors.

Another way is to track broken links from those sites and reach brands that connect to it to tell them that the link is broken. It will help you to keep traffic on your website for the first few days and can be free of charge for this technique.

Product Reviews

Nothing tells your products like a review and selling on Shopify is no exception, especially when your online shop is born just a few days.

Without any social proof, the number of sales is of course a little bit of validation. In the early days, one way to get social evidence is through importing AliExpress reviews on your website.

Aliexpress Homepage
Aliexpress Homepage

Though customers haven’t purchased your items yet, customers have purchased from the same manufacturer and the product reviews are always highly valued. Photos might be available to aid your potentials in their decision to browse your website in an informed way.

By checking your product reviews, customers can view pictures and check further information about the product. From that point, the opportunity of ads convert to those pages will also be higher.

Pros and Cons of Using Shopify

Overall, Shopify is hard to beat. While it isn’t a perfect platform for every web seller, it will give almost any eCommerce business the tools it needs to create a great online store and grow with your successful development plan.

Shopify Pros

Very Easy to Use

Shopify was built to be used by just about anyone, and no coding knowledge is required. You can use tools that all fall under the Shopify umbrella (like Oberlo for dropshipping), and build up a great eCommerce operation.

There are over 1200 apps that operate with Shopify, and it is likely to be one of the most successful platforms over the coming decades. As Shopify has created a major presence for itself in the eCommerce market, there will probably be updates and more apps coming all the time.

Loads of Custom Options

It is hard to talk about Shopify without discussing the level of customization the platform offers. If you want to change it, you probably can with Shopify. In addition to all the third-party options, the platform also allows you to import data from just about any other eCommerce platform, or CRM system.

Great Support

You have to pay for Shopify, and they will be there to help you out if you need some assistance. The platform can be reached by phone, chat or email on a 24/7 basis. Clients also have the ability to contact Shopify Experts, who can help with just about any question or problem out there. Service is a strong point for Shopify, and it offers some of the best options for its clients in eCommerce.

Shopify Cons

No Free Option – Cost Creep

Shopify is an amazing eCommerce platform, no one would debate that.

However, Shopify does have costs associated with just about every feature on the platform, and you will have to pay every month to sustain your online operation. It is a very good idea to make up a detailed cost analysis of the platform before you get started, so there aren’t any negative surprises down the line.

Shopify – The Takeaway

Anyone who is researching the best way to start or grow an eCommerce platform should consider Shopify. It offers its clients rock-solid functionality, as well as loads of customization and amazing service.

The only major thing to consider is how its monthly costs will impact your business, and if it is the right eCommerce builder for your needs. Just be sure to know how the platform works going in, and you should be able to gauge if it is going to be a good fit for your goals.

There aren’t many companies that offer the kind of integrated tools (like Oberlo) that Shopify has, but this doesn’t mean that it is the only platform to consider. Be sure to have a detailed eCommerce plan, and make your choices based on your needs!

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Nicholas is an experienced technology Journalist who has written for a number of prominent online publications. He was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has traveled extensively, lived in Uruguay for many years, and currently resides in the Far East. His writing can be found all over the web, with special emphasis placed on realistic development, and the next generation of human technology. Contact Nick@circlo.io

1 Comment

  1. I picked shopify as my best platform for eCommerce. Thanks for sharing this great idea with us.

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