What Is Shopify Used For & How To Use It As A (Beginner)?

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If you are trying to dip your toe in the eCommerce industry, chances are, you have read or heard the word Shopify at least once. So, what is Shopify used for and how can you make money online on this platform?

Shopify is an eCommerce platform that acts as your cloud-hosted eCommerce solution, which allows you to create a professional storefront, sell products online, and take payments from your customers. On Shopify, you can either sell products, services or start your blog with little to no technical experience!

In this article, we will be talking in-depth about Shopify to help you figure out what is it, how does it work and how can you personally use it as a complete beginner to run your online business.

This article also covers the most frequently asked questions about Shopify to help you make up your mind and see whether Shopify is actually the right platform for your business or not!

If you find this post inspiring and useful, share it with your friends, please! (Virtual high fives and awkward hugs to all my sharers out there✋ )

Is Shopify A Website Builder?

The short answer is yes, but it’s not a standard website builder! It handles all the hassles of eCommerce and allows you to create the eCommerce storefront of your dreams without any coding skills or technical knowledge.

Its innovative drag-and-drop page builder makes the process of starting an online storefront very efficient, easy, and simple!

What Is Shopify And How Does It Work?

Shopify is a subscription-based leader company in the eCommerce industry and it’s a cloud-hosted solution for all people who are looking forward to selling online.

The way that Shopify works is that it allows you to seamlessly create the online store of your dreams with little to no technical skills or coding background, and it will act as a host for your online store for an affordable monthly or yearly subscription.

It also helps you organize the layout of your store’s appearance by offering a variety of themes, (some are free, others are paid) which you are free to adjust and modify to make it align with your brand’s image, and have the design that you want.

After signing up for your free trial at Shopify.com, you will be redirected to the backend office of your store where you’ll be given a panel to control your entire storefront.

You can adjust the style, fonts, colors, change/add a new theme from the Shopify theme store or from an external marketplace.

Some of the most trustworthy and verified theme and digital asset marketplaces are (these are affiliate links):

You can also add your pages or products, edit descriptions, prices, integrate a unique domain name and a payment processor to capture real-time payments from your customers.

And a lot more…

Related: Are you wondering how to install and upload a theme to Shopify? Here’s a quick illustrated guide with screenshots!

Shopify’s free trial is a lucrative opportunity to get familiar with the platform, customize your eCommerce store the way that you like, and get ready to fulfill real orders. You can read more in-depth about Shopify’s free trial in this article!

Although the Shopify 14-day free trial gives you the advantage to create your store, add your products, and do the needed customizations without pulling out your wallet and paying a single dime, in order to be able to receive real orders from humans and capture payments, you would need to pay for a monthly/yearly subscription plan.

If you’re not sure what plan fits your business and needs, you can learn more about Shopify’s different packages and features in this detailed Shopify pricing guide.

Long story short, Shopify is a very simple yet powerful platform for both beginners and experts alike! But the real question is; Is Shopify beginner-friendly?

Can Beginners Use Shopify?

Is Shopify for dummies? The short answer is, hell yeah! In fact, Shopify’s designed for non-tech people who completely don’t have any coding skills or background! It’s one of the easiest to use eCommerce platforms, and it’s innovative drag and drop page builder makes building an online store easy, not only to beginners, but to experts as well!

On top of that, I believe that Shopify’s pricing is totally reasonable for all that it’s offering today for online sellers, and the learning curve is relatively less steep than other eCommerce platforms and softwares.

Shopify

Don’t get me wrong, getting into this industry as a complete beginner would involve some learning to know how things work. Luckily, with sources like the eComDimes (the website that you’re currently on) we help you shorten that learning curve to make your journey more of a success.

If you’re wondering whether Shopify is for dropshipping only or not, I highly recommend you check out my other article which discusses exactly that. And now let’s see how can you use Shopify as a complete beginner.

How To Use Shopify For Beginners?

Below is a quick overview of the various business models that you can leverage Shopify for:

How To Use Shopify For Dropshipping?

Using Shopify for dropshipping is fairly easy as it provides everything you may need as an online seller, and the business can be completely automated using supplier marketplaces like Salehoo and Spocket! additionally, Shopify has a lot of integrations that can increase the functionalities and features of your business.

All apps can be found in the Shopify App Store, and almost all of the paid ones have a free trial that allows you to try the app before paying for it.

So, How To Dropship On Shopify?

To start with Shopify dropshipping, you would need to select a niche and decide what products to sell, then find go find suppliers and products and assess the competition. After that, you would need to build your actual online storefront, integrate a unique domain, upload your products and start driving traffic!

  • Decide a niche and find suppliers within it – Companies like Salehoo & Spocket connect you with trustworthy suppliers around the world, and give you access to thousands of quality products to sell!
  • Build your actual Shopify store – This can be simply done by going to Shopify.com and claiming your free 14-day trial. The process of starting your store is seamless. You just need to answer a couple of questions, pick a name for your store and you’re good to go!
  • Populate your store with products – The cool thing about most supplier marketplaces is that they have integrations with Shopify, which means that you can import products to your store with a click, literally! Oberlo, for example, allows you to import products directly from Aliexpress to your Shopify store using their free Chrome extension.
  • Set your terms & policies – You’re building your own empire online that you have the right to set your own rules, terms, and policies, and it’s important to make everything clear for your customers to make them trust you. Some must-have pages contact, about, privacy policy, terms & conditions, shipping policy, and refund policy!
  • Get your store noticed – Traffic is the blood of any business, and unless you have real humans visiting your sales pages, you won’t make a dime, unfortunately! There are various ways that you can leverage to bring quality targeted traffic to your online store, and Facebook is just one channel with over 2.8 billion monthly active users.
facebook ads course

Related: The 7 Step Process For Starting A Dropshipping Business (Easy)

How To Use Shopify For Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a business model whereby you get compensated for driving traffic to other businesses and companies. Nowadays, each company has its own affiliate program that you can register for and get assigned a unique tracking URL that you can promote.

If someone ends up purchasing or registering through your link, you will get paid a fixed commision or a percentage of the sale.

Cost per acquisition or (CPA) is a form of affiliate marketing, an online advertising measurement and pricing model, referring to a specified action, be it a lead, a signup or a purchase! The fact is, there are a lot of affiliate networks that have physical goods that you can promote and get paid per sale, worrying about shipping, customer support or capturing payments.

You will simply refer traffic to a particular product and when customers end up purchasing, you will get your share!

How To Use Shopify For Services?

To start selling services on Shopify, first, you would need to pick a suitable theme that’s designed to professionally showcase your services and let you create a digital portfolio that speaks for yourself!

Whether you’re a professional copywriter, marketer or designer, there’s definitely a theme that fits your business and allows you to look authoritative in what you’re doing.

This is why it’s highly recommended to select a niche first, so you can integrate a relevant domain name and choose a theme accordingly.


How To Use Shopify For eBooks?

This can be achieved by first, finding suppliers that can supply you with books or eBooks. This can be easily done by using companies like Oberlo, Salehoo, & Spocket! Secondly, you would need to find a relevant theme in the Shopify Theme Store or other theme marketplaces such as Theme Monster, Creative Market, Theme Forest, & My Theme Shop!

Shopify’s App Store has over 6,000 custom Shopify apps that can simplify digital downloads and get your store traction with reader reviews. To increase your average order value, you can offer relevant products such as office supplies if you sell agendas, school supplies if you sell notebooks, art supplies if you sell coloring books, or religious accessories if you sell religious books!

Can I make profits from selling ebooks on Shopify? Yes, you can, but you need to be aware that the potential of financial gain from selling eBook is slightly low, compared to selling other mid-high ticket products!

Bottom line: Although eBooks may not be the best thing to sell on Shopify, it’s definitely doable with the right supplier, value proposition, and the right theme!

Shopify Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions from beginners when it comes to using the Shopify platform:

Is Shopify Worth It?

Shopify is definitely worth it for people who are looking forward to starting multi-product eCommerce stores as it gives sellers professional insights about how their businesses are going.

With Shopify, you’re able to track your inventory, your customers’ behavior and records, have the proper marketing tools, and have the storefront of your dreams with a lift of a finger, filled with unlimited products and variants.

However, if you’re planning to sell a digital product, a service or a single product with one sales page, leveraging sales funnels softwares like Clickfunnels would be more handy!

Related: How to create a service-based business using Clickfunnels; the world’s best landing page builder?

On the other hand, Shopify is a leader in the eCommerce space, the thing that makes it a great opportunity for investors…

When Shopify started to trade on its IPO date of May 21, 2015, its market price had already soared to $28 per share.

So if you had invested $10,000 in Shopify stock after it started trading, you would have bought 357 shares of the e-commerce company, which would now be worth about $519,609.93

  • To better understand how Shopify works and whether it can help you with your business, I highly recommend you grab your free trial (by clicking here) and familiarize yourself with the platform. Remember there’s nothing to lose and you get 14 days to test its water before pulling out your wallet and paying a dime.
  • For getting the most out of your free trial, I highly recommend grabbing your seat in the FREE Shopify dropshipping course that I’ve created for you, which is an 8-video series that goes through the basics of Shopify.
  • Then finally read this other blog post to learn more about what happens after the Shopify 14-day free trial and what subscription plan to pick for your business.

Is Shopify Easy To Use?

Yes, Shopify has an easy-to-use interface that’s perfect for beginners and experts alike! It allows you to create a digital storefront without hassle, create your own design and add unlimited products. No matter what your technical experience or coding knowledge is, Shopify has something to serve your business with a short learning curve.

shopify

So, How Easy Is It To Set Up A Shopify Store?

Below are the exact basic steps for starting an online store on Shopify:

  • First, you go to Shopify.com, claim your free trial and secure your domain name.
  • Install a relevant theme to your Shopify store. (Here’s a quick tutorial)
  • Add pages, products, adjust descriptions and prices.
  • Set up your payment gateways to capture payments from customers.
  • Be ready to receive real orders.

If you still want an in-depth article that goes above and beyond the whole process of starting a Shopify online store, this guide could be of great help!

Is Shopify Fully Customizable?

So, how customizable is Shopify? With Shopify, you can customize the theme, pages, products, checkouts, discounts, and even payment gateways. In other words, Shopify is a fully customizable platform, and you literally have control over everything within your storefront!

Here are the aspects that you generally can customize on Shopify:

  • The visible elements of a brand – Such as color, design, and logo, that identify and distinguish the brand in consumers’ minds. Customizing those areas and aspects is fairly easy on Shopify, and everything is straightforward and super beginner-friendly!
  • The domain name – When you first start your Shopify store, it will be hosted on Shopify itself in it this form “YourStoreName.myshopify.com“. You’re allowed to integrate your own domain name, and with Shopify, it’s a very seamless process, and you can check the availability of your desired domain within Shopify itself when you register!
  • The theme – Shopify has a theme store that contains free & paid templates. Although you can use a free theme for your store, a premium paid theme has better customizations, functionalities, features & speed! In case you don’t like any of Shopify’s themes, you can purchase one externally and install it manually to Shopify. Here are some of the most well-known theme marketplaces:
  • Pages & policies – You’re building your very own empire, it’s totally up to you to set your own unique pages and policies, taking into consideration the terms & policies of your supplier. Here are some of the must-have pages that you should have on your store:
    • About us
    • Contact us
    • FAQ (frequently asked questions)
    • Terms & conditions
    • Privacy policy
    • Refund policy
    • Delivery policy
    • Shipping policy
  • Products, descriptions & prices – There’s no limitation on the number of products that you can import to your store. You can literally add unlimited products to your Shopify store, edit all of its descriptions and set your own profit margins and markups.
  • Payment gateway – This phase determines how you’re going to get paid and accept payments from your customers. Here are the avaialble payment gateway options for you:
    • Shopify Payments (Available for Europe and US stores)
    • Stripe and PayPal
    • 3rd party payment providers such as 2Checkout
    • Manual payment methods such as bank deposit or cash on delivery (Fits businesses that locally sell and deliver physical products)
    • Coinbase and crypto payments
  • Functionalities & features – Shopify app store has a variety of apps that you can install to increase the functionalities and features of your Shopify store. While there are completely free apps to use, there are paid ones too, and most of them come with a free trial that allows you to test it before pulling out your wallet & paying a dime.

Is Shopify Free To Use?

Unlike WordPress, Shopify is not a free and open-source content management system, it’s a paid yet affordable platform that has everything you need to start selling online. However, Shopify does offer a 14-day free trial where you get the chance to test out the platform without paying a single dime yet.

Shopify’s free trial is more than enough to set up your store, add your products and policies, and get familiar with the platform!

So, can I set up a Shopify store for free? Technically yes, you can… But in order to receive actual orders and capture real payments, you would need to pay for a paid subscription plan. Learn more about the ultimate Shopify pricing guide here.

Related: What Happens After Shopify Free Trial? (Quick Guide)

Is Shopify Better Than Amazon?

Comparing Shopify to Amazon is like comparing an orange to an apple, but a Shopify store will come in handy if you’re looking forward to having more control over your entire business (store, products, marketing and customers!)

Amazon is a platform that’s full of sellers, which makes it hard for you as a seller to have a unique value proposition on the platform because of the competition.

With Shopify, you can create your own brand-centered business, set your own unique selling point, and have full control over your customers!

In my other article about how much do Amazon dropshippers make, I’ve compared both Amazon and Shopify in terms of costs, features, and potential financial gain.

Is Shopify Better Than Etsy?

Etsy is an eCommerce search engine and a global online marketplace that allows sellers, crafters & dropshippers to create a unique space on the platform to sell their handmade crafts and products. Shopify is an eCommerce platform that acts as your cloud-hosted solution and allows you to create your very own and unique digital storefront.

Driving external traffic to your Etsy shop is optional and you can definitely make money if you get noticed and Etsy decided to rank your products. With Shopify, you are responsible for your own store, customers, and traffic. So, paying for promotions and advertisements should be part of your plan.

Traffic is the blood of any business, so if you can’t get a consistent stream of traffic or new people coming into your business, do you even have a real business? Hell NO!

Fact is, the Traffic Secrets Book by Russell Brunson of Clickfunnels is a secret weapon that can help you learn a lot about your dream customers and find out where do they aggregate online. I highly recommend you grab your FREE copy of the book while the offer’s still available!

A couple of weeks ago, I’ve decided to create an Etsy store as a case study for my readers, and I’ve named it “Mugastore.” Mugastore is a gift shop that sells motivational quote mugs, and if it goes as planned, we will be adding a variety of other products and variants.

>>> Click here to shop from Mugastore and supprt us 🙂

Long story short, Etsy is a hub for people who want to make, sell, buy, and collect unique items online. Shopify is an eCommerce platform that allows you to create your very own online store and set your own unique selling point!

Is Shopify Better Than WooCommerce?

Shopify tends to work better for non-techie people as it has an easy-to-use interface and a drag-and-drop front-end panel. WooCommerce requires some technical background and the learning curve is a bit steeper. In terms of costs, starting a basic WooCommerce store is significantly lower than Shopify, and it doesn’t charge you a percentage fee for your transactions.

To start a Shopify store, you would need to select a monthly subscription plan, starting with the basic package of $29/month, which is more than enough if you’re just starting out. In addition to that, you’re responsible for purchasing your own domain name, which can be done through the Shopify platform itself or an external domain registrar like Namecheap. That’s an additional $15 a year!

The other costs that are involved with starting a super functional Shopify store are apps. Shopify has an app store where you can find apps that are related to shipping, inventory, design, upselling, marketing, and more, and each app has its own pricing. Using apps is optional, based on what you’re looking forward to achieving and spending.

WooCommerce on the other hand, is an eCommerce plugin for WordPress; the world’s largest, free and open-source content management system. To get started with WooCommerce, you would need to setup your very own self-hosted website on WordPress, and that would require the following:

  • Domain Name
  • Web Hosting
  • SSL Certificate

Typically, a domain name costs $14.99, SSL Certificate costs $69.99, and web hosting around $7.99 / month. This is not cheap, particularly when you are just starting out.

Thankfully, there are several hosting companies that allow you to create your very unique self-hosted website without breaking the bank, and Bluehost is just an example!

Bluehost is the only hosting service officially recommended by WordPress and has been the number-one recommended hosting service for its platform for almost 10 years.

Luckily, Bluehost has agreed to offer our users a free domain name, free SSL certificate, and a discount on web hosting, which means that you can start your online store for as low as $3.95/month!

For the appearance of your store, both Shopify and WordPress have free and premium themes and it all depends on how you want your store to look.

Is Shopify Good For Restaurants?

Of course, it is! Shopify has everything you may need to start selling anything online, anywhere, and it can help you get your restaurant online fast, so you can keep cooking without sacrificing what matters. With a suitable theme from the Shopify theme store or other external marketplaces, you can create a menu that looks & feels the way your customers expect!

With Shopify, the sky is the limit and here’s some of what you can do for your restaurant business:

  • Curbside pickup – Offer buy online for curbside pickup from your retail location so payment is handled in advance.
  • Local delivery – Simply and safely deliver products to local customers without having to rely on logistics companies.
  • Tipping – Your customers can show their appreciation by adding a tip to their order in checkout.

Additionally, the Shopify App store has a variety of apps that can increase the functionality, speed, and features of your online store. With the Shopify App Store, you always have freedom and flexibility—fast.

Some of the apps that you can use when running a Shopify store for your restaurant are:

  • Restaurant Table Management app – It will help you manage the occupancy of tables, orders, assigning the tables in a much-sorted way in coordination with Shopify POS.
  • Instafeed – You can add your gorgeous Instagram posts directly in your online store with a few clicks, with zero coding required.
  • Shopify Email – It allows you to send beautiful custom-branded emails to your valued customers, and track your results, without ever leaving Shopify.
  • Google Shopping – You can find brand new local customers with free product listings on the world’s largest search engine.

Click here to visit the Shopify App Store and learn more in-depth about the above apps!

If you’re interested in establishing a food business or a website for your restaurant without a hassle, we can certainly help with that! My team and I are definite that we can come up with a unique design that suits your brand and your requirements.

Feel free to reach out to me at odeh [@] ecomdimes.com and we’re more than happy to handle this for you for a certain affordable fee 🙂

Is Shopify Good For Selling Art?

If you’re looking forward to creating an online storefront that showcases your handmade artworks and taking responsibility for your own customers and marketing, then yes, Shopify could work great for you and be of great help! You just need to choose a theme that lets your art breathe, large images, and lots of white/negative space.

Is Shopify Good For Photographers?

Indeed! There is a common misconception that Shopify is only used for selling physical goods! The fact of the matter, Shopify can be used for selling digital products and non-tangible goods as well, and it can provide outstanding data measuring and analytics of how your business is performing.

There are a bunch of artists that are taking advantage of all that Shopify is offering today to sell their artworks nationally and internationally, and below are just some examples.

Click here to claim your Shopify 14-day free trial (no credit card required!)

Is Shopify For Dropshipping Only?

Shopify is an eCommerce platform that allows you to create a digital storefront, sell anything online, track your inventory, have professional insights into how your business is going, and a lot more! Although Shopify is supportive of dropshipping, it’s not limited to that business model only, as you can sell digital services or start your blog on the platform!

The dropshipping term has become popular in 2006 when Aliexpress became popular in the United States with the launch of Chinese e-commerce stores.

Later that year, Shopify was founded by Tobias Lutke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake, and has gained a lot of popularity since then!

Dropshipping’s and Shopify’s popularity have risen dramatically since 2015, the thing that made the word ‘Shopify’ pop up every time dropshipping model is mentioned, especially for complete beginners!

Bottom line: Although Shopify is supportive of dropshippers, it can be used for selling anything online, from physical goods to digital products or services and everything in between. It gives valuable information and measuring of how your business is going and allows you to track your inventory effectively if you sell tangible goods.

Related: What Is Better Than Dropshipping? 5 Best Alternative Models

Can I Use Shopify Without Dropshipping?

Yes, you can! Although dropshipping is a lucrative business model, people are taking advantage of a new business model nowadays, called drop servicing, which is similar to dropshipping, but instead of selling physical goods, you would be selling other people’s services online, without the need to provide them by yourself.

The eServices industry is booming, especially with the rise of the demand for digital services during the pandemic. According to Statista, the global eServices sales are projected to hit US$238,736m in 2021, and revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2021-2024) of 7.61%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$297,484m by 2024!

Here’s an article that discusses exactly why drop servicing is way better and profitable than dropshipping in case you’re considering starting an online business but a bit intimidated about what business should you be going with!

How To Start An eCommerce Store That Does Not Dropship?

With the hidden power of a drag and drop website builder like Shopify, starting an eCommerce is fairly easy and it’s a process that takes approximately a couple of minutes. Selling services could be a great option if you’re looking for a dropshipping alternative, and it has a huge potential financial gain.

Here’s a tutorial that goes through the exact process of starting a drop servicing business on Shopify. In general, to start a Shopify drop servicing store, below are the simple steps that you’d need to go through:

  • Select a niche – Your niche market will actually determine what you’re going to sell and what you’ll name your store. When picking a drop servicing niche, there are several things that you need to take into consideration. Some are, profitability, your knowledge about the service, and the potential of monthly recurring revenue (MRR!)
  • Go to Shopify.com and claim your 14-day free trial – Shopify allows you to test the platform and get familiar with all that it’s offering, completely for free, no credit card required! This means that if you know what you’re doing, you can set up your store, start pushing traffic and get orders before even paying for the monthly subscription of Shopify!
  • Find trustworthy freelancers to resell their services – The drop servicing business model is really centered around being the middleman between the service buyers and the actual service providers. Freelance marketplaces like Fiverr are the hub of quality freelancers and professionals.
  • Start driving targeted traffic and generating leads – If you can’t get a consistent stream of traffic or new people coming into your business, do you even have a real business? In this phase, you should be figuring out where are your potential buyers are aggregating online, and the Traffic Secrets book, but Russell Brunson, can you help figure out exactly that!

I’m Sold, Odeh! Is There A Free Drop Servicing Training?

Is drop servicing a business model that you’re convinced in but not sure what to start with? I understand how intimidating things can get when considering starting a new whole business, especially that this one is a relatively brand new business model..

To better help you focus on what matters only, I’ve created a FREE drop servicing 10-checklist mini PDF that discusses the 10 most important things you need to consider and focus on when starting a new drop servicing venture!

Fill your info in the form below and I will shoot it to you via email, for FREE 🙂

Conclusion

Leveraging an eCommerce solution like Shopify is an excellent option as it allows you to create the store of your dreams with no technical skills or any coding background!

Thanks for all that Shopify is offering today, from tools, themes, and affordable plans, it makes our lives easier as humans, and our business more efficient and effective as online sellers.

By the time you finish reading this article, the question of what is Shopify used for and how to use it as a beginner should be fully answered, you’ll also learn the various business models that you can use Shopify for!

Don’t you think that Shopify is the best eCommerce solution for your business? Why don’t you give it a try for free and figure this out by yourself?

Claim your free trial, test its water, mess with the backend panel and see whether it fits your needs or not. Without testing you won’t be able to decide.

If you find this post inspiring and useful, share it with your friends, please! (Virtual high fives and awkward hugs to all my sharers out there✋ )

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Cheers,
Odeh Ahwal

Odeh Ahwal

So behind every great blog is usually someone who runs it all. That would be me, Odeh Ahwal. I've created the eComDimes blog with a mission to help people provide well for their families by starting online businesses, share my experience, and just introduce you to different ways of making money online! eComDimes we help you turn your dimes into dollars!

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