Shopify: guide to the most famous dropshipping e-commerce

In this comprehensive guide on Shopify, you’ll learn the best strategies for succeeding in any e-commerce sector you decide to start your business. 

You will understand concepts like dropshipping, creating marketplaces, what to sell on this powerful platform, and how to position them thanks to SEO techniques.

So, let’s get started on this ecommerce journey!

What is Shopify?

Shopify is one of the most popular platforms for selling and earning online: whether you’re a beginner or an expert in online sales, or if you simply keep yourself updated on new marketing tools in your online searches, you’ve likely come across this name, and this guide is perfect for you.

Let’s take a step back in the history of this new e-commerce giant to understand its basic idea.

The platform was founded in 2004 by Tobias Lütke, a Canadian guy who needed to sell snowboards online and found the e-commerce landscape at that time very rigid, lacking integrated services, and difficult to use.

He decided to create a platform that was easy to approach and very intuitive to help people sell their products online. So, Shopify is an e-commerce platform where users can open a real online store.

Unlike other e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay, users have the opportunity to operate independently from Shopify, with their own storefront, domain, and identity, and handle services, customer care, sales, advertising, purchasing goods, returns, refunds, and complaints directly.

We can imagine users on Shopify as stores renting space in a large shopping mall.

How much does Shopify cost?

To start your own business, you need to pay the platform a service fee, which varies depending on the chosen subscription.

Shopify offers three different options:

  • Basic Shopify (priced at about $25 per month) is the basic option, perfect for those who have a single product to sell and are new to online sales.
  • Shopify (priced at about $78 per month) offers the ability to add 5 employees to your e-shop, have more advantageous shipping rates, and access professional sales reports compared to the basic option.
  • Advanced Shopify (priced at $257 per month) is the perfect subscription for those with a large business and diversified products to sell, as it allows adding around 15 staff members, enjoying very advantageous shipping prices, and in-depth reporting to improve sales.

The platform also offers a free 14-day trial period for new users to test the service.

In addition to the three different types of subscriptions, it’s worth mentioning that the platform is available in two versions: Shopify and Shopify Plus.

The Plus version clearly offers some advantages over the basic version in terms of pricing (it is calculated based on annual revenue), sales (it provides the user with a second store for B2B sales), and service automation.

In the Plus version, you can also use the same credentials to open more than one shop. But now that we’ve clarified what Shopify is and its prices, let’s find out how to open your own online shop.

How to open a store on Shopify in less than 10 minutes

Opening an e-store with Shopify is a very easy operation. Let’s briefly go through the different steps to follow.

  • First, you need to register by going to the official website of Shopify and clicking on “Get started“. You will need to fill out a form with your personal details, and the platform will then ask what you want to sell online.

shopify tutorial

  • After completing the first step, you will be redirected to your own E-store: it’s time to customize it, upload products, and set up payments and shipping. To immediately address the visual aspect of your e-store, Shopify offers a real store of themes (some of these are available only in the premium feature) to which you can apply filters by popularity, price, or release date. Once you’ve found a theme, you can preview it by clicking “View demo“. If the choice seems good at this point, you can configure the theme by clicking “Publish” (once published, it will still be possible to change the theme if you come across a better version). Most of Shopify’s themes are customizable. To do this, select “Themes” in the menu and then “Customize“. This way, you’ll have access to a dedicated section where you can mainly change colors and fonts and add product slides, your logo, and select how many product pages to show the customer.

theme library

  • Once the design choices are made, it’s time to take action and add your products: you need to select “Products” and “Add products“, and then you can enter descriptions and photos of what you are selling and, most importantly, add the sales category (clothing, cosmetics, accessories, etc.). When adding a new category, you can choose to add products manually (i.e., adding them individually) or automatically (i.e., products are loaded based on certain criteria or tags that the user adds when uploading the product).

how to add products

  • After adding the products, it is necessary to set up payment options through the so-called “payment gateways“. A payment gateway allows you to accept payments from customers directly through the site. But not all gateways are the same: payment fees and types of accepted cards vary depending on the gateway, so it is important to choose the one that is most suitable for your country. Also, the transaction fees of the chosen payment method are added to Shopify’s transaction fees. To save your users money, Shopify has recently launched “Shopify Payments“: once you open your store, you have the option to activate it and be automatically ready to accept all major payment methods. However, this very convenient option is not yet available. Once the payment gateways are set up, from the “Settings” section, you will need to provide some more information about your company and also set the shipping methods and tax payment.

setting up payment

  • When it comes to taxes, they should be set directly on the product page in the “Pricing and Inventory” section and then under “Settings -> Taxes“. As for handling shipments, you will need to go back to the main admin page click on “Settings” again, and go to the “Shipping page“. It’s essential to remember that setting too strict or limited options for shipping might lead to losing sales opportunities to the competition.

tax duties

shipping and delivery rates

  • Once the settings for payments, taxes, and shipments are adjusted, Shopify provides an option to test everything using its “Bogus gateway“. It will be possible to place a test order by going through all the steps a buyer would, including cart checkout. The order can then be canceled immediately, and a refund can be requested.
  • The last step involves choosing the domain name. Shopify offers two options to its users in this regard. Less experienced users can directly purchase the domain from Shopify, which will automatically rename it at a cost of about $16 per year. For those with more experience in managing DNS and their redirection, it will be possible to purchase the domain from an external platform, such as GoDaddy, for about $12 per year and choose its name.

online store domain

Once the previous steps are completed, you are ready to launch your shop and start your ecommerce business.

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Managing your Shopify store effectively

After opening your shop, it’s crucial to know some best practices for optimal management. A technically functional store doesn’t guarantee success.

Shopify, however, is user-friendly, allowing you to focus entirely on enhancing your e-store. Let’s explore key aspects of launching your business successfully.

Choosing themes for your store

In every sales field, appearance matters. Creating a visually appealing shop is essential for your Shopify business—it’s the best introduction to your products.

Once you capture the user’s attention, they’re more likely to make a purchase. How do you take care of your shop’s visual aspect? Shopify offers a theme store with free and paid options.

For more choices, sites like Themeforest and TemplateMonster provide customizable, advanced templates. Consider your budget and needs.

Persuasive product photography: a successful strategy

Presenting a product optimally is fundamental. Online sales lack the advantage of showing products in person.

So, how do you attract attention and successfully promote your items? The answer lies in complete, well-crafted, and persuasive photography.

Professional e-commerce photographers specialize in this. Image quality is crucial—it determines the product’s value and your business’s reliability. A good photo doesn’t always require professional equipment.

With determination, a smartphone, a white background, and suitable lighting, you can showcase your product effectively.

Each product category has specific best practices. For clothing, present items neatly ironed and hung, avoiding visible tags. Jewelry should always be well-polished and shiny.

For CDs and vinyl records, consider pairing them with items from the same era for a nostalgic appeal.

Promoting a Shopify store

One step to improve the success of your business is undoubtedly promoting it.

The channels and methods to advertise are countless, some of them free, others paid, some easily usable even with basic skills, and others more complex.

Shopify itself helps us once again by suggesting the three most effective methods for the platform.

  1. Email Marketing: through Shopify’s dashboard, you can directly launch your campaigns. The platform provides pre-set templates that users can choose and customize.
  2. Setting up your Google Shopping: in this case, too, the platform is very intuitive. Simply synchronize your product images on Google, set a daily budget, and let the search engine technology manage the campaigns.
  3. Facebook Ads: you can create them independently from the Shopify control panel. You just need to choose the target audience, and the platform will guide you step by step to create a successful campaign.

Shopify SEO: optimizing your products for better visibility

In addition to the procedures discussed earlier, it’s necessary to focus on content optimization for improved Google rankings: in other words, doing SEO.

A great feature of Shopify is its versatility and the ability to customize many aspects to gain visibility on search engines.

 

By downloading the free guide, you will learn the best SEO strategies to enhance the online visibility of your Shopify store

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Shopify platform already offers some important default features for SEO.

One of these is URL management: the platform helps search engines focus only on the most important and original content, such as the main product showcase, and tries to discourage the algorithm’s ranking of pages containing different variants of the same product.

This feature is very useful for shops that offer multiple models of the same product. 

The platform also has integrated a Sitemap function, which is a site map that ensures no new content, such as a new collection, gets lost in search engine crawling, and a function for robots.txt, which hides unnecessary pages from search engine indexing that could potentially penalize your shop’s ranking.

In addition to these integrated SEO solutions, it’s also beneficial to adopt advanced techniques that can make a difference in your search engine rankings.

seo course link

Shopify SEO is very similar to that of any other website. To improve your ranking, it’s essential to identify all the keywords your target audience uses to reach your product or brand and then incorporate them into the titles and descriptions.

It’s important to start by inserting a “tag title” and a “meta description” that represent your business effectively. These two fundamental elements for ranking can be modified by going to the “Options” screen and then selecting “Online Store” and “Customize”.

Another crucial step is to optimize the title and description of your products: not only does it make it easier for customers to understand what you’re selling, encouraging them to make a purchase, but it’s also a fundamental practice for better search engine ranking.

Images are another element that strongly influences Shopify SEO. It’s important to enter a descriptive Alt tag for the image that accurately represents what you’re selling, appropriately name the image file you upload for each product, and create detailed descriptions.

Search engines cannot judge image quality, but they do evaluate the quality of accompanying content. Also, don’t forget that an SEO-optimized image ensures a prominent position on Google Images search, which is often used by potential buyers for a preliminary product preview.

Another essential practice, often overlooked by users, is building your own blog. This unique feature of Shopify, which users often consider unnecessary while focusing only on images, titles, and descriptions, is an excellent option to improve your positioning.

A blog, besides being a major source of incoming traffic to your e-shop, allows you to create high-quality content, and gain authority, and backlinks — all essential aspects for good SEO.

The blog can also be a space to describe your products, announce updates, post tutorials, include guides on how to use your products, and even allow users to write reviews, creating a real community around your e-store.

 

Check out the free guide to create a successful business, promote your products, and drive traffic to your Shopify store

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Another often underestimated practice is not taking care of the mobile side of your Shopify e-store. Most users use their smartphones for online shopping, so it’s essential to implement Amp pages.

For example, you can compress images before uploading them to the product gallery, limit the use of external scripts, and avoid using too many fonts to prevent page loading from being too heavy.

Learn how to create Amp pages. Furthermore, to improve your e-store’s activity on Shopify, it’s a good idea to create an account on major monitoring and analytics tools.

This way, you can analyze user behaviors in your shop, gather important data, and develop successful positioning and sales strategies.

web analytics information

Regarding SEO, Shopify also offers a variety of applications on its App Store that help assess the health of your shop and provide support to improve your approach to positioning.

The benefits of Shopify

Shopify is a valuable resource for those who want to start their own e-commerce business. Many people choose it despite the competition from other platforms like “PrestaShop,” “Magento,” or “OpenCart.”

The advantages of this e-commerce platform are countless:

  1. The platform is very intuitive and easy to set up online, even for those with no programming experience.
  2. The costs are very low and the option to upgrade to a “premium” version with rich features makes it appealing for large companies as well.
  3. Shopify can be used without external consulting: in fact, the platform offers a blog with lots of usage tips, 24-hour support in case the user has doubts about certain procedures, and also the option to consult Shopify’s web designers to improve the design of their shop and therefore the related user experience.
  4. The platform provides an online store and soon we will explore the essential apps to download for your business.
  5. Shopify has also natively integrated “Hubspot” and thus the marketing automation function. This option of the platform allows you to easily track user behavior in your e-shop, keeping track of the pages they have visited, those they return to most often, those they buy from, how much, and when they return to the site. With this data in hand and thorough analysis, a user has great opportunities to improve their sales strategy and manage each user’s experience in a personalized manner through an email marketing operation.
  6. Shopify frees you from any other thoughts except dedicating yourself entirely to your online shop. The sales, payment, and product shipping procedures as well as adding new products and changing their quantities are so easy to manage on the platform that the user can spend all their available time simply improving their shop.
  7. Unlike other e-commerce platforms, in Shopify, the competition is less fierce due to the variety of products offered, translating into greater sales opportunities and more control over your work.
  8. The platform offers two selling modes compared to traditional e-commerce, namely the direct sale of your product or service and the option of Dropshipping. For this second option, Shopify also notifies you of a series of controlled and reliable manufacturers for choosing the most suitable product for your sale.
  9. Lastly, one cannot forget Shopify’s flagship, its App, available for both Android and iPhone. Once opened on a desktop basis, management can be easily done from mobile. The purchase of a product is notified with the sound of a bell, and managing the sale and shipping can be done with just a few touches.

Shopify app store

As mentioned, the platform has an online store where you can download many applications and new features to improve the effectiveness of sales and product management for your users.

It is a true “Shopify store” where you can also download apps for managing affiliations, systems to create advertising pop-ups and software for creating gift cards or discount coupons.

Let’s see in detail which are the best apps to download immediately to improve the success of your store.

The top 10 Shopify apps for your store

  • Oberlo: it’s the perfect solution for those who want to do Dropshipping. It allows you to find, add, and ship products to your customers. The choice is very vast, and the app is full of user guides on what the best products to sell are.
  • Receiptful: allows you to give personality to your Brand by customizing its image, but not only that. By configuring it properly, you can also create discount codes and coupons.
  • Hubspot CRM: is a completely free app for your marketing campaigns. It allows you to organize your contacts and keep track of all the steps users take in our shop (from products opened most frequently to the last time they opened our shop).
  • Exit Offers: as the name suggests, it’s an app that allows you to offer discounts to visitors leaving the shop in exchange for their email. It’s the ideal app for your lead generation and lead nurturing.
  • Gabinetto: behind an unsettling name, there’s actually a great tool to enable and manage email pop-ups and exit-intent pop-ups.
  • McAfee SECURITY: the app created by the famous antivirus company scans your shop for viruses and displays the scan result in a small widget that appears on your shop, providing security assurance for users who are hesitant to make credit card payments.
  • Tidio Live Chat: is an app that allows you to chat live with visitors to your shop, offering them immediate and detailed assistance.
  • Yotpo: is the perfect solution to boost your product’s conversion rate. It encourages users to leave reviews on our products, generating trust in future customers.
  • Affiliate marketing Goaffpro: as the name suggests, it’s the perfect tool for affiliate marketing but also for influencer marketing, as it essentially allows your customers to become sales partners.
  • Sendcloud: this tool is useful for users to organize shipments, connecting them with major companies in the industry (from Bartolini to Ups), and also allows efficient management of returns.

Management tools for Shopify

Once you’ve launched your own business and achieved significant sales volumes, in addition to apps for managing marketing or customer care, management tools might also become necessary.

In addition to the platform’s reporting capabilities, there are also some software options to integrate with the platform that allows you to effectively manage customer information, monitor product stock levels, keep track of relationships with couriers, and manage unfulfilled orders.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many valid tools to consider at the moment, but among them, it’s worth mentioning “Target cross,” a low-cost management tool that is easily customizable, and “Gest.online,” a lightweight and user-friendly tool with a simplified approach to electronic invoicing.

management tools

How to do dropshipping on Shopify?

It’s important to emphasize Shopify’s role in dropshipping. To start a business on this platform, you don’t need to have a product to sell, nor do you need a physical inventory or an initial quantity of products.

What you do need is knowledge of the right strategies and how dropshipping works. Shopify is the perfect ally for its low costs and the dropshipping tools you can download from its app store.

Shopify seamlessly integrates apps/websites like Oberlo, Spocket, and Dropified, helping users find the right product and easily connect with external suppliers who can fulfill orders.

The user, therefore, can focus on other important aspects, such as building customer loyalty, finding new viable products to sell, and optimizing marketing strategies, without having to worry about fulfilling products and orders.

As mentioned earlier, Shopify is also one of the few e-commerce platforms that offer a free trial period to test the chosen dropshipping product.

It’s no wonder that in the e-commerce landscape, Shopify is considered the best companion for a dropshipping business.

How to create a marketplace on Shopify?

As we’ve mentioned several times, Shopify is generally used by users to create a store to sell their own products. However, on the platform, through the use of certain apps, you can also create Marketplaces.

The most comprehensive of these apps is “Multivendor Marketplace”: this tool allows you to transform your single-seller shop into a flexible marketplace.

The admin, the main manager of the marketplace, can add more than one seller to the “market” (the number of sellers that can be added depends on the type of subscription chosen in the app).

The administrator can add sellers manually one by one or in bulk, or allow sellers who meet the right requirements to add themselves. Each of these sellers will have their own storefront within the marketplace to sell their products.

Product inventory management is handled directly by the sellers but is constantly monitored by the admin, who is also responsible for ensuring the quality of the product in question.

When a product is purchased, the direct seller handles the shipping; however, the admin monitors the process and its success. In case of delays or issues, the admin prompts the seller. Payments are received by the admin, who then pays their sellers.

This Marketplace feature requires a good understanding of online sales and excellent communication skills since admins are fully responsible for their relationships with sellers and customers who purchase the products.

Shopify: a business in continuous motion

In addition to the advantages listed, it’s also worth remembering that Shopify is a business in continuous growth. The platform has plans to expand services related to some important partnerships.

Recently, Shopify has entered into an agreement to launch an expansion of Pinterest on its App Store, allowing users to upload catalogs directly to the social channel.

The Pins, which are the fundamental characteristic of this network, will be purchasable products in a few clicks: this means giving users a powerful and easy-to-use marketing tool.

Shopify also plans to integrate new payment methods. In this case, too, the project stems from the renewal of an important partnership, with CoinPayments, a cryptocurrency giant.

The platform’s goal is to speed up payment methods and further reduce transaction fees for its users.

In the realm of payments, Shopify seems ready to launch a new app called Shop Pay: following in the footsteps of what PayPal and Amazon have already done.

In this app, users can save all their data for quick checkouts (email, shipping address, payment method) and also have a tracking service for their orders.

Additionally, users can access return and refund policies as well as their receipts if needed. Another important service that the platform is preparing to launch is an app to offer local deliveries for small businesses.

With foresight, the platform recognizes the need for customers and sellers to buy/sell locally, thus minimizing delivery times, which are currently heavily influenced by COVID-19 restrictions.

The last but crucial mention is certainly Shopify’s agreement with Facebook: the platform will play a significant role in the launch of Facebook Shops.

Shopify users will have the ability to customize their stores within Facebook and Instagram, organizing product management, inventory, orders, and fulfillment directly from Shopify.

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What to sell on Shopify?

After understanding how to create your own e-shop and examining its advantages, let’s now explore what we can sell on Shopify.

Apart from purely physical products, our e-commerce allows us to sell a variety of other services.

  • Experiences: Shopify allows selling anything from wine-tasting sessions and local tours to cycling adventures and full-fledged travel experiences.
  • Fitness courses: the platform offers everything from traditional pilates classes to unique surfing experiences.
  • Rentals: in this case, the platform provides not only the service but also the physical goods for rent.
  • Installations: Shopify is renowned for services like selling and assembling solar panels.
  • Donations: this option is widely used by non-profit organizations with dedicated shops for their merchandise.
  • Event tickets: Shopify differentiates itself by venturing into the world of events, offering downloadable PDF tickets.
  • Gift cards: in a platform like Shopify, the option to offer generic or store-specific gift vouchers is available.
  • Event support: if an event organizer needs locker services for participants to store personal items, Shopify offers this service.
  • Digital downloads: selling online courses and digital ebooks is possible on Shopify.
  • Consultations: the platform provides a space where users can connect with life coaches, industry experts, and trainers for both in-person and online sessions.
  • Subscriptions: in this case, the process usually involves signing up for the desired service via an app.
  • Appointment services: on Shopify, in addition to buying an electric scale, customers can request a nutritional consultation.

In conclusion, Shopify is an exceptional tool for launching your own e-commerce, whether it’s your first experience or an alternative to an already established business. Do you want to delve deeper into the dynamics of e-commerce? Discover how to become an e-commerce specialist with Digital Coach.

You can start your business with a low-cost investment, without the need for an initial idea that characterizes other ventures. With continuous and effective support, you can expand your sales network in no time.

So, all that’s left is for you to register and start your business. If you also want to learn from experts how to create excellent strategies and enhance your knowledge of the online marketing world, don’t miss out on our Digital Marketing Programs and E-commerce Course.

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