I recently began selling products with Shopify and then loved it so much I helped a friend set up their business with a Shopify store too. The ease of creating a store and immediately beginning to sell your products makes Shopify one of the best platforms for selling online today.
In this post I cover everything you’ll want to know about Shopify and how to get started with your own Shopify store. I am a Shopify affiliate so you can use this link to open your store which will help support my work here.
Shopify is an online platform that allows you build your own online store where you can sell physical or digital products.
You might be wondering is Shopify legit? They’ve been in the news and had crazy speculative stock prices lately, but is their product actually good? The answer is yes! Shopify manages to make creating your online store easy but also robust which is why it’s trusted by over 1 million businesses.
In fact, large multi-million dollar businesses like Harry’s Razors and Gymshark use Shopify to power their stores as well as many small businesses and online content creators.
Shopify offers customizable themes to make your storefront look just the way you want it. They also offer apps and tools that put it far above any Shopify competitors. From inventory management to email marketing, Shopify gives you the tools to make your store a success.
How Does Shopify Work?
Shopify works by providing both a front end (what your customer sees) and a back end (what you see and manage behind the scenes).
Your customer will see your beautiful and streamlined storefront when they are shopping and once they’ve made a purchase all interactions will continue on the backend where you control everything.
In the very comprehensive back end of Shopify you have control over your products, inventory, pricing, orders, payments, analytics, finances, and more. They give you every tool you might need and even some that you probably won’t use at first.
In addition to all of this Shopify also has an app store with plugins for every possible thing you could think of to add to your shop.
Who is Shopify for?
Shopify is for aspiring sellers all the way up to large multi-million dollar brands. Shopify’s pricing plans range to suit all sizes of ecommerce companies and their starter plan makes powerful online selling possible for individuals and small shops.
You can also open any number of types of stores with Shopify:
- traditional ecommerce
- digital product sales
If you are eager to grow a large store or create a huge brand then Shopify is definitely the right tool to grow with you.
Shopify costs vary depending on which plan you use.
Here are the three pricing plans currently offered:
- $29/month for Basic Shopify: All the basics for starting a new business
- $79/month for Shopify: Everything you need for a growing business
- $299/month for Advanced Shopify: Advanced features for scaling your business
However, right now, they are offering 14 days for free! In the past, they’ve even offered 90 days for free, but 14 days is their standard offer.
You can sign up, set up your store, and pick a payment plan later once you’ve settled in. This is a fantastic offer and allowing a lot of people to jump into ecommerce without any upfront costs or risk.
If you can’t tell from the basic pricing model with Shopify, it means there are no additional platform fees to pay for selling your products.
This gives Shopify the edge when comparing it to other store building platforms because it caps off the amount of money it takes from creators which allows store owners to keep more of their money.
There are going to be payment processing fees when you sell on Shopify but that is true of even platform you use to sell online. In order to accept any payment online for your products you will have to pay someone to process your payments. That might be from incorporating Paypal or Stripe or another payment processor.
Do I recommend Shopify? If you couldn’t already tell from this review, then yes! It’s truly the top option when you are trying to create a store online.
It’s easy to use and lets beginners start a shop in no time at all. It’s got an amazing support team, room for you to grow, and lots of features with each plan they offer.
Beyond that the sheer amount of flexibility and features Shopify offers blows away every other online store platform. Things like multiple payment options, multi-channel selling across physical stores or social media or marketplaces, abandoned cart recovery, and more make it far and away the top option when you are comparing different platforms for creating an online store.
Shopify Vs Etsy
Shopify and Etsy are entirely different types of platforms you can use to sell digital products or physical products. Because these are the two of the three platforms I’ve used to sell online I feel that I’m able to compare these well.
Shopify vs Etsy Customer Traffic
Etsy has the advantage in being able to bring customers to your shop. Your Etsy shop will automatically be in front of more people just because it is on Etsy and that is because Etsy is a marketplace. There are already buyers on Etsy who are looking for things to buy.
Shopify on the other hand, provides the tools you need to sell online but it does not currently provide the level of marketplace activity that Etsy does. This may change in the future but at the moment creating a Shopify store means you will have to do your own marketing and bring in your own customers.
That trade off is very small if you already have an established following and can drive your own traffic to your shop.
Shopify vs Etsy Fees
Since Shopify does not add on any transaction fees like a site like Etsy does, this means you will only pay for your monthly Shopify bill and payment processing fees. The payment processing fees on Shopify lower with the higher paid plans but for online credit card rates they charge 2.9% + 30¢. Any other payments you decide to use besides Shopify Payments start at 2%.
Etsy on the other-hand, charges a large number of fees. They charge a listing fee of 20¢ any time you list a product and then another 20¢ to renew that listing once an item sells. They also charge a 5% transaction fee for every item you sell. In addition to this they also have started charging you 12-15% for any item that sells due to their offsite advertising. All of these fees are also applied to whatever you charge for shipping. This can lead to 20% or more of your item price being eaten up by fees.
If you sell at a high volume level Shopify ends up being a much cheaper platform than a site like Etsy that charges 5% transaction fees as well as listing fees and offsite advertising fees.
Shopify vs Etsy Pricing
Etsy does not charge anything to open a shop and it does not charge anything ongoing to run one. It provides all of it’s tools “free” in exchange for the higher fees they take from sales you make. This model makes it easy for new sellers to get started with very little risk.
However, that model quickly runs out of positives for anyone selling expensive items or selling massive amounts of volume.
Shopify offers three different plans ranging from a reasonable $29 per month to an advanced price of $299 per month. You are able to start with a $29 plan and scale up as you need to in order to support your growing business. But as you grow you’ll get all the tools you need for $299 per month without worrying about giving over 5% of your overall sales volume.
In the end Etsy pricing is great to get started but if you plan to sell your products seriously then you will end up better off with Shopify.
How To Get Started On Shopify
If you plan to start a store to sell your products online then Shopify is likely where you will want to start. You can have a beautiful shop up and running in minutes.
The tutorial below shows you how to start a Shopify store. This tutorial is specifically designed for people selling digital products since that is my main focus, but it’s a great beginner tutorial for the ins and outs of Shopify!
You can currently get a 14 day free trial of Shopify which is an amazing way to get started selling without any risk. Definitely give it a try and if you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email of dm!
Moving Your Etsy Shop To Shopify
If you are currently selling on Etsy and want to leave due to high fees and lack of control, I highly recommend moving your Etsy shop over to Shopify. It’s incredibly easy and Shopify allows you to import all of your Etsy data so you don’t have to start over.
This video shows you the process of moving over my Etsy shop to Shopify when I decided to start selling on my own website instead of just with Etsy.
While you will have to drive traffic to your Shopify store, you will be also freeing yourself up for more control over your marketing and success.
Moving from Etsy to Shopify is something I think most Etsy sellers should do and many have done so in 2020. There has been a large exodus of Etsy sellers for Shopify stores because of Etsy’s high fees and introduction of mandatory off-site marketing.
Mary is the founder of Pennies Not Perfection where she shares her journey to build wealth through online income. She quit her day job in 2021 after she paid off her debt and doubled her 9-5 salary.
Mary's favorite free financial tool is Personal Capital. She uses their free tools to track net worth and work toward to financial freedom.