What is Shopify: A Guide to eCommerce

What is Shopify A Guide to eCommerce, June 2021

With the continual innovations that we are making towards online shopping, we are finding more and more businesses switching towards an online model.

Not only does it make it for you as a consumer, but it also allows the business to save money as they don’t need as much physical space.

Switching to an online eCommerce platform however is easier said than done, especially if you don’t know how to go about conducting eCommerce.

If you are a large enough company, you might be able to get away with just using your own website without any outside help, however for most businesses that is an unrealistic expectation.

If you are looking to make a real splash and allow your business to succeed, you are going to want to look into an eCommerce platform that is going to help you out. This brings us to the subject of today’s article, what is Shopify?

What Is Shopify?

In its most basic form, Shopify is a platform that allows anyone to set up their own online store so they can go about selling products.

While we mentioned online shopping above, you’d be surprised to know what Shopify actually does offer POS as well for physical locations along with the hardware to help you set it up.

While that provides you with some information, Shopify does so much more for your business and can really help you get things going right from the start.

In order to fully answer “What is Shopify?” we are going to have to dig deeper, analyze the product as a hole, and help you understand how it can help your business reach new levels.

Where Businesses Are Created

Shopify serves as a great location for the creation of a business or an entrepreneurial venture. Within Shopify, there are several different apps and APIs that you can use to create and manage your business.

You don’t have to worry about having a prior company as well. One of the most amazing things about Shopify is that you can create things on the spot, find a niche, and pursue your goals.

How Does Shopify Operate?

Now that answered “What is Shopify?” In a very basic way, it’s time to dive a little deeper and find out how they operate and how they can achieve everything they promise.

The first thing to note is that Shopify is a cloud-based software. No matter where you are and no matter what device you are using, you will be able to easily access your Shopify information.

While there is a learning curve with any software and API, we have to say that Shopify was fairly easy to grasp.

There will be some hiccups along the way, but in a few weeks, you will soon be the master of your own shop, able to make changes on the fly as needed.

Customize Your Website

When people ask “What is Shopify?” they are often thinking of a website in which they go to to buy all of their products. Shopify isn’t a marketplace in the way Amazon is one, but it will give you access to a ton of different tools for you to choose from.

Once you have subscribed to Shopify’s services, you can integrate them right into your website and take advantage of all of their features.

They have a lot of design templates for you to utilize that will help make your business stand out. From our experience with these templates, we found they were the perfect balance of vibrant and professional.

It’s also worth noting that not only will Shopify help you customize your website, but they will also host it for you also.

If you are a small business and your website blows up overnight and becomes a viral hit, there is a slim chance that you will have the proper measures in place to handle the traffic that you are going to be receiving.

Shopify servers are built to handle intense loads and are also SSL certified to help your customers safe.

The amount of things that you can do with your website is quite impressive and the fact that you can always count on them to keep it up and running is icing on the cake.

What If I Have Problems?

If you ever have problems with your website, whether it be due to technical difficulties or an issue with the design, you will have access to a great customer support team that is always willing to help you out.

One of the things that we personally hate with customer support services is they generally try to force you towards email support. While email support isn’t inherently bad, we generally find it takes much longer to resolve issues.

Shopify offers support via phone, email, and live chat, allowing you to get the help and support that you need.

After speaking with the customer support, we were quite happy with it and they definitely improve the overall experience of the service.

What Can Be Sold?

Now that we have an understanding of what is Shopify, it’s now time to take a look at what you can sell on it. With the service, you can sell physical products, digital goods, or even take on a drop-shipping model (more on that later).

If we were to list all the products that you could sell on Shopify, you would be spending the next few hours reading pages and pages of products. We will give you a brief rundown however just so you can see how expansive their services are.

A few examples include:

  • Digital Software
  • Clothing
  • Beauty Products
  • Handmade Goods
  • Online Classes

Like we said above, this is just scratching the surface when it comes to this platform and as long as what you are selling is legal, Shopify will have no problem helping you get started on working towards your goals.

Now that we have an answer to the “What is Shopify?” question, how it works, and what you can sell on it, it’s time to give a brief overview of the pros and cons of the service itself.

The Pros To Using Shopify

  • Affordable Pricing - At its cheapest, Shopify costs about $29 a month and while that might seem like a lot at first, remember that they are opening you up to a whole new world and selling experience. You can get plans priced at $79/month and you can find even more premium plans depending on what you want out of them. Just think, instead of spending money on a physical space, you are instead spending it on a service to help your website grow.
  • Ease Of Use - We mentioned this above, and while we have to say that there is a learning curve, it’s nothing like any of the other services out there. They make it so you are not held back from what you want to do.
  • Fast and Accessible Support - When there were any issues, we were able to get in touch with Shopify through our preferred means of communication to fix the issue. Any business owner would be happy to know they could have a problem fixed quickly.

As we mentioned above, it can’t all be sunshine and roses for Shopify and while we were overall quite happy with the experience, there were a few things that we thought they could improve on.

The Cons To Using Shopify

  • Add-ons Are Expensive - Shopify does come with a variety of different features that you can use to help improve your business, however most of them are stuck behind higher paywalls. The basic software does have some great tools, but if you are looking for some of the more specialized tools, you are going to have to pay for these add-ons.

  • Transaction Fees - If you are not using Shopify Payments to charge your customers, you are going to be hit with a 0.5% - 2% transaction fee on every sale. Considering you are already paying for a monthly subscription this isn’t ideal.


In recent years, dropshipping has become quite a popular method for sales and Shopify is known as one of the go to platforms for this method.

There are plenty of apps that you can integrate into your website in order to make dropshipping that much easier for you.

What is dropshipping? Dropshipping is a sales method in which the retailer does not carry the stock for the products that it sells.

When a person goes to their website and orders a product, then they order it from the wholesaler and have it shipped directly to the customer.

Why is dropshipping so popular? The fact that you don’t have to own or control any stock means you aren’t losing too much money if you aren’t getting sales. It’s not like your money is sitting there on shelves rotting away waiting for someone to make a purchase.

It’s also incredibly easy to get started as you don’t have to keep reordering products or worrying about inventory levels.

Shopify makes all of this easy through Ordoro and Sprocket and we highly recommend that you check them out if you are planning on looking into dropshipping.

We felt we couldn't answer the “What is Shopify?” question without mentioning dropshipping in some shape or form.

How To Get The Most Out Of Shopify

If you are paying for a service, it is up to you to take advantage of everything that it has to offer. We’ve spent a great deal of this review talking about all the functionality it has and the add-ons they offer.

From there, you now need to make a decision about what apps you want and what add-ons you are willing to pay for.

Using their themes and templates on your website is a great start as it will help create the professional look that you are aiming for as a retailer.

They have plenty of shipping options available as well, allowing you to choose how exactly you are going to be getting the product over to your customers. 

Mobile management along with integration with Amazon and eBay are a few other things that have to be mentioned when it comes to Shopify.

Overall, there are plenty of different ways to integrate your website with Shopify to really help it excel in eCommerce.

You might have to upgrade your Shopify account or pay extra for some add-ons, but if you are going to be using those services on a regular basis, it is most definitely worth it to spend a little extra money. 

Closing Thoughts

If you are looking for a way to make your business function and run smoother through online sales, it would definitely benefit you to give Shopify a try.

At the end of the day, they do offer a 14-day free trial and if it is something you absolutely hate, it can be cancelled at any moment.

With so many extensions and apps on the platform, we feel confident saying that you will find what you are looking for to help your eCommerce business.

We think we have now answered your “What is Shopify?” question and now hope you are instead looking into how much you can benefit from it.

Don’t just take our word for it either. There are plenty of user reviews posted online raving about the support and functionality of the platform and how it has helped their business grow to a far greater level.

If you want to start an online business or look towards a dropshipping model, you should consider looking into Shopify.

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