Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows you easily create an online business and sell stuff online. It’s mere existence is the essence of getting your Side Hustle on! Shopify charges a membership fee to use their platform’s $30 per month for the site’s most basic package.
What Can You Sell?
The easy answer is: just about anything. You can use Shopify sell your own products, of course, but you can also use Shopify for drop shipping, to sell subscriptions/memberships, tickets, digital downloads, and more.
How Does It Work?
After you sign up with Shopify, you will be directed to your new store’s admin screen. From there, you can customize your shop, add products, and edit store settings like return policies, shipping details, and more.
After you’ve set up shop, the process is pretty simple. Visitors can navigate through your site, add products to their virtual cart, and make purchases using Paypal, credit card, or whatever other payment option you choose to enable (Bonus: using Shopify Payments means no transaction fees!). The type of item you are selling often determines how that item is delivered. Sellers using dropshipping, for example, won’t need to do much more after the item sells. In contrast, sellers with handmade goods or who store their own inventory will need to handle the packaging and shipping of products once they sell.
Shopify Pros and Cons
As with any platform, Shopify does come with its own fair share of pros and cons. Here are a few that stick out:
- No coding is required to set up a Shopify store, and you won’t need to deal with the hassle of using a hosting service
- Sites run on Shopify have fast load times and tight security. Two must-haves for any eCommerce store
- Shopify is very user-friendly and extremely easy to set up
- Shopify offers great, 24/7 User Support
- Shopify stores are highly customizable
- There’s no way around this one. Shopify is pricey. The platform charges a monthly membership fee (starting at $30 and going up from there), as well as transaction fees and credit card fees. Shopify also charges for add-ons (little extras) that make your site better.
- Shopify’s blogging function isn’t particularly straightforward to use, and doesn’t offer as many features as other platforms such as WordPress. This is important if you are planning on using blogging to drive traffic to your site.
What Businesses Work Best With Shopify?
Shopify is a great tool if you think you will be selling enough to justify the membership and transaction fees. If you are only planning on selling a few items per month, or want to add an awesome, highly customized blog to your store, you are better off looking elsewhere for an ecommerce solution. However, if you will be making a significant number of sales, and prioritize ease of use and 24/7 User Support, Shopify is your answer.
So you’ve weighed the pros and cons and you’ve decided to go with Shopify to build your online store. Now what?
As with many things in life, just because you build it does not mean they will come. You have to market your store and your products to make any significant amount of income. With new technology (like Shopify), the process of creating a store and stocking it with inventory is the easy part. The harder part is bringing enough people to your website to convert on sales.
The good news? Selling successfully on Shopify may take a lot of work, but it is very possible. Here are 3 simple tips you can employ to become a master at Shopify.
1) Deciding What to Sell
The first and arguably most important step to creating a successful Shopify store is, of course, deciding what you are going to sell.
When it comes to picking a niche for your store, narrower is often better. Stores that have a more specific focus are easier to market and tend to stick out more in the minds of customers. Specializing in men’s grooming, for example, and selling beard oils is a narrow niche.
At the same time, expanding your product offerings can also boost sales significantly if done strategically. The trick is to offer products that supplement the niche you’ve already chosen. Using the example above, you could also sell beard combs, razors, and men’s cologne to expand your product range and stay within your niche. Creative combinations also work well. Beard oil and cigars, for example, might not fall under the same product category, but could appeal to a specific subset of customers and selling them together could help define your brand.
2) Create a Great Customer Experience
In most cases, repeat customers will be your biggest revenue generators, so it makes sense to pay attention to them. When you are setting up your shop, think outside the box and try to find ways to improve the experience your customers are having when they step through your virtual doors. Things like personalized emails, birthday discounts, a clear brand, and beautiful website design will keep your customers coming back for more. Above all, don’t be afraid to be creative. The more unique your idea is, the more you will stand out from the competition.
3) Nix Abandoned Carts
According to Shopify, as many as 77.3% of all online shopping carts are abandoned. That’s a lot of lost revenue! Fortunately, Shopify has a few features that can help you retrieve abandoned carts and they are really easy to set up.
Method One (Using Shopify’s Abandoned Checkout Recovery feature):
Shopify’s native abandoned cart feature is only available to Professional and Unlimited Plan subscribers. If you have chosen one of those memberships, however, the feature is easy to use.
All you need to do is go to Settings, and then to “Notification Section” and then click “Customize the Abandoned Checkout Notification Email Template.” Once you are there, you can go ahead and customize an email that will be sent to customers who have abandoned their carts. After you have customized the email, you will go to “Orders” and then “Abandoned Checkouts.” This will show you a list of abandoned carts. From there, you can click on each abandoned cart, and then select the “Send Cart Recovery Email” button. You will be given an option to further customize your email, or you can just send it as is.
Method Two (Using a Third Party Shopify App):
Third Party apps can be purchased through Shopify’s App Store, and often have extra, more powerful features than Shopify’s native app. Many of these apps allow you to offer incentives and/or discounts to entice customers back to their abandoned carts. One app, called “Exit App” even uses a pop-up window to offer customers a discount when they try to navigate away from your page.
Shopify might not be the perfect solution for every online business, but it is certainly a powerful tool in the right circumstances. By carefully designing your store and selecting products, paying close attention to customer experience, and using Shopify’s App Marketplace to add extra features to your store (like abandoned cart recovery options), you will be well on your way to becoming the next Shopify success story.