How to Start a Successful & Profitable Shopify Business
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How to Start a Successful Shopify Business

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Shopify is an innovative e-commerce platform that allows you to quickly and easily set up an online store. It has achieved phenomenal success over the past view years and can streamline every aspect of your store, from the domain and site templates, through to handling fulfillment and payments.

It is an excellent solution for those who are technically challenged and can get you online and selling in just a few hours.

Because of the scalability of the platform and the large number of backend integrations the platform is used by everyone from small startups to large corporations. 

But a powerful e-commerce platform is only one part of building a successful online business.

We're going to take a look at what it takes to be SUCCESSFUL on Shopify.

Can You Make Money on Shopify?

making money online

The world of e-commerce is VAST, and there are literally millions of ways to make money.  Shopify gives you the tools to leverage products from just about any market.

How much money can you make with Shopify?  Technically speaking the sky is the limit.  But from a practical perspective this depends heavily upon your product selection, marketing, and a host of other variables.

One of the most popular types of business models for which Shopify is used is drop-shipping.  But this is only one of dozens.

Still trying to find the perfect e-commerce platform?  Check out this comparison of the top solutions for small to medium sized businesses.

You could choose to use it to market and sell products that you create yourself. You could choose it as a platform for digital products, or you could focus on drop shipping another company’s products. There are a lot of options for the entrepreneur who is willing to put in the time.

Choosing Your Niche & Finding Products

Carefully selecting your market is one of the most important steps starting any business and it's no different online.  You need to find a product that either meets an existing need that is not currently being fulfilled, or that does better than its competition.

What this DOES NOT mean is competing by reducing price.  Rather, come up with a unique selling proposition that sets your product apart from your competitors.  Of course, you will need to ensure that your product is competitively priced, but that is something that more research will help you with.

Succeeding on Shopify is about more than just uploading great product photos and waiting for the sales to roll in. Great photos are a part of it, but if you truly want to be successful, it is only a very small part of it.

If you don't yet have a product, check out our article on the best ways to find products to sell on Shopify.

Marketing Your Brand and Products

This is where most e-commerce brands fail.  They think they can simply create their product listings, upload some nice photos, and the traffic will come flooding in.

The reality is quite different.  

You need to have a cohesive strategy that involves testing different platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Google Adwords, and SEO.  You'll also need a way to stay in touch with existing clients.  The most cost effective method to do this is through email marketing. 

What Costs Are Involved?

current pricing plans

So how much does it cost to sell on Shopify?

Let's take a look at the three pricing plans.  Keep in mind that you can start with a free two week trial to test out the platform.

All membership levels include support for unlimited products, a free SSL site certificate and abandoned cart recovery (though the automated cart recovery requires the "Advanced"package).

  • Basic Shopify: $29 per month is the entry-level pricing. You also pay 2% of the transaction amount as a transaction fee. This level allows you to create two staff accounts.
  • Shopify: At $79 per month, this is probably a bit better for a more established business. The transaction fees on this option are only 1%, so if you are running a high-volume business, this should be considered. You also have access to pro reports, gift cards, and fraud analysis.
  • Advanced Shopify: This is $299 per month, but you have access to all of the company’s software. Your transaction fee is lowered to 0.5%, and you have access to the report builder and the third-party rates calculator.

There is also a Lite version that allows you to sell on Facebook or your blog/ website for $9 a month. But this option is not quite as cost-effective as you might think because it does not include hosting or an SSL certificate. (Something that is now essential if you want to rank on Gooogle.)

If you do have a brick and mortar store or need an interface that allows you to sell goods in person, the Retail Package can be added to any of the three main packages for $49 per month.

Getting Started

One of the more common questions I get asked is "do I need a business license for Shopify?” The answer will usually depend on the nature of the product and where you are. Technically in the US, you should apply for a business license in your city.  It's a bit of a grey area if you are selling only digital products, but it's better err on the side of caution.  

We have spoken a little about how to be successful with this platform. Success means getting the right mix of product, promotion and customer service.

  • Product: You love your product idea. Your friends all say it is great and they may even support you by buying some items. So, you make a whole bunch of stock and then cannot even give it away. You need to research your product thoroughly before deciding what to sell. Is there a good demand for it? What competition is there? Is it competitively priced?
  • Promotion: If a website launches and no one visits it, is there any point for the site to be there? People have a tendency to think that visitors are going to miraculously appear out of nowhere and start buying. The truth is that it will take time and effort to get the site popular. You need to research SEO, ensure that you are promoting the site properly and actively build a client base.
  • Customer Service: You have to ensure that your clients have the best possible buying experience when they deal with your company. You want to ensure the very best customer service experience at every contact point the client has with you.

Your Next Steps

Shopify is a great platform for launching your online presence.  It offers both basic and advanced tools for getting your products online, managing inventory, getting customer reviews, and even integrates with your bookkeeping.  

If you're looking to launch a store but haven't yet found a product, check out our guide on finding products to sell on Shopify.

If you already have a product or if you already have an online store and are just looking for a better e-commerce solution, be sure to check out their free trial.  It's a great way to test the platform to see if it offers what you need.

The trial also allows you to see all of the integrations available.  This is where the platform truly shines.

About the Author Jason

Jason is a work from home dad who has a passion for DIY projects, yard work, and SEC Football. His background is IT, but he's always fancied himself as a part-time ship welder, landscaper, and short order cook. During the week he can be found on his laptop 10 hours-a-day, but on the weekends he escapes to the local DIY Cave to play with REAL toys.