What is Shopify and Why You Should Use It

Shopify is an advanced e-commerce platform that empowers businesses large and small to create and manage ecommerce stores. Established in 2006, Shopify has grown to support over a million businesses worldwide. It provides a comprehensive solution for selling products online, offering tools and features that simplify the process of building, operating, and scaling an e-commerce business.

Shopify’s primary appeal lies in its user-friendly interface and extensive functionality, making it accessible even for those without a technical background. This platform enables businesses to manage their online presence, inventory, payments, and shipping all in one place. In addition to online sales, Shopify supports in-person transactions through its point-of-sale (POS) system, making it versatile for various business models.

Advantages of Using Shopify

Shopify is a fantastic eCommerce platform and, in our opinion, much easier to use than other platforms such as WooCommerce or Magento. Shopify has all the features you expect from an online store and can be used to manage your whole business. We moved over and have never looked back. So, why should you use Shopify?

User-Friendly Interface

Shopify’s has an intuitive, easy-to-navigate interface where you can manage orders, returns and refunds and customers. Even those new to e-commerce or lacking technical skills can quickly learn to use Shopify. The platform’s dashboard is designed to be straightforward, providing clear guidance on how to add products, set up payment gateways, customise store design, and more. This ease of use reduces the time and effort required to launch and maintain an online store, allowing business owners to focus more on their products and customers.

Quick and Easy to Setup and Cost Effective

Setting up a Shopify store is fast and low-cost. Depending on the complexity of their products and customisation needs, businesses can get their store up and running within a few weeks. Shopify offers a lots of templates and themes that can be quickly tailored to fit a brand’s aesthetic, further speeding up the process.

The cost-effectiveness of Shopify is another significant advantage. With various pricing plans, businesses can choose the best fit their budget and requirements. The initial setup cost is relatively low, especially compared to developing a custom e-commerce website from scratch. This financial accessibility allows even small startups to enter the e-commerce market.

Speed and Security

Performance and security are critical for any online store. Shopify takes these concerns seriously by hosting all stores on its secure servers, ensuring high-speed performance and robust security measures. This means businesses do not need to worry about issues like site downtime, slow loading times, or security breaches, which can negatively impact customer experience and trust.

Shopify’s infrastructure is built to handle significant traffic spikes, such as those during sales events and peak shopping times to ensure a seamless shopping experience for customers. Additionally, all Shopify stores include SSL certificates, which provide secure, encrypted transactions and protect customer data.

Marketing and SEO Tools

Shopify is designed with marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) in mind. It includes a range of native tools, including Shop Mail and Shop Inbox, and features to enable businesses to attract and retain customers. These include email marketing integration, abandoned cart recovery, and analytics to track sales and customer behaviour. Using these Shopify marketing apps has the potential to make a real difference to your sales

SEO is important for driving organic traffic to an online store. Shopify’s platform is optimised for SEO, allowing businesses to easily edit meta tags, product descriptions, and URLs to improve search engine rankings. Additionally, Shopify supports blogging, enabling businesses to create content that attracts visitors and boosts their SEO efforts.

Flexible Payment Options and Multi-Currency Support

Shopify provides flexibility in payment processing, supporting various payment methods without requiring third-party integrations. Businesses can accept credit and debit cards, PayPal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay and Google Pay. This flexibility makes it easier for customers to complete their purchases, reducing cart abandonment rates.

For businesses targeting international markets, Shopify’s multi-currency support is invaluable. Customers can view prices and pay in their local currency, providing a seamless shopping experience and potentially increasing global sales.

Extensive App Ecosystem

Shopify’s App Store contains thousands of applications for extending online store functionality. With thousands of apps available, businesses can identify tools to help with everything from marketing and sales to inventory management and customer service. These apps are easy to integrate and often come with free trials, allowing businesses to test their effectiveness before committing to a purchase.

Some popular categories of apps include social media integrations, email marketing tools, customer review systems, and apps for running promotions and discounts. This extensive ecosystem enables businesses to customise their Shopify store to meet their specific needs and enhance the customer experience.

Building Your Shopify Store

Choosing a Domain

Selecting a domain name is an important step in establishing your online brand. A domain name should be short, memorable, and reflective of your brand identity. It must be easy to spell and pronounce, avoiding hyphens and numbers that can lead to confusion. While .com domains are the most popular, alternatives like .co, .net, and industry-specific extensions can also be effective. Here are some tips for choosing a domain name:

  • Keep It Simple. A simple, easy-to-remember name will make it simpler for customers to find your store.
  • Reflect Your Brand. The domain name should convey your brand’s essence or the products you offer.
  • Avoid Trademark Issues. Ensure your chosen name doesn’t infringe on existing trademarks to avoid legal complications.
  • Choose a .com domain name. The .com extension is the most established and credible, with over 78% of businesses using it.
  • Avoid hyphens and numbers. By avoiding hyphens and numbers, you can reduce the chances of mistyping your domain name.
  • Include SEO keywords in your domain name. Using the main keywords in your domain may help Google’s natural search performance. Use keywords in your domain name search, but only if it makes sense.

Shopify Plans Overview

Shopify pricing plans to accommodate different business needs and budgets. Understanding the features of each plan will help you choose the Shopify plan that best suits your requirements.

  • Shopify Starter. Priced at £5 per month, this plan is ideal for businesses just starting, focusing on selling through social media and in-person channels. It includes basic features for managing products and processing payments.
  • Shopify Basic. At £19 per month, this plan suits businesses ready to establish a full online store. It includes features for omnichannel selling, such as online and in-person sales, along with a customisable online store.
  • Shopify Standard. For £49 per month, this plan offers advanced features like professional reports and international selling capabilities. It’s designed for growing businesses to expand their reach and optimise their operations.
  • Shopify Advanced. At £259 per month, this plan is tailored for high-volume businesses requiring extensive features, such as better report building and third-party calculated shipping rates. It also provides the highest level of support and customisation options.

Each plan includes a free trial period, allowing companies to test the platform and its features before paying.

Enhancing Your Store with Apps

The Shopify App Store offers a large number of apps intended to enhance various aspects of your online store. These apps are categorised based on their functionality, making finding tools that suit your specific needs easy. App categories include:

  • Marketing. Apps like Klaviyo and Mailchimp help automate email marketing campaigns, manage customer relationships, and track marketing performance.
  • Sales. Tools for upselling, cross-selling, and creating discount codes can help increase average order value and sales.
  • Inventory Management. Apps like Stocky and TradeGecko assist in managing inventory, tracking stock levels, and automating reorders.
  • Customer Service. Tools for live chat, customer feedback, and FAQ management improve customer support and satisfaction.

Many apps offer free versions or trials, allowing businesses to experiment with different tools and determine which ones provide the most value.

Customising Your Store with Themes

Shopify offers a huge range of themes to customise the look and feel of your online store. Themes can be free or paid, with paid themes generally offering more advanced features and customisation options.

Free Themes

Choosing a Shopify theme can be difficult as there are so many options! Many free themes are available on the Shopify theme store, including themes created by Shopify. Whilst free themes have the advantage of being, well, free, paid themes have the following advantages:

  • Advanced Features. Paid themes often include advanced design elements, multiple layout options, and enhanced customisation capabilities.
  • Unique Designs. These themes provide a more unique and polished appearance, helping businesses stand out from competitors.

Editing a Shopify theme is easy, as Shopify includes a WYSIWYG theme editor for moving elements around the page. Editing theme settings enables global editing of settings such as typography, background colours and buttons.

If you want something different, Shopify experts can develop custom themes for businesses seeking a unique look. Custom themes offer the highest level of personalisation, allowing companies to create a store that perfectly matches their brand identity and functionality needs.

Shopify Checkout

Shopify Checkout is a secure and efficient payment gateway that supports various payment methods. It is designed to handle a high volume of transactions smoothly, providing a seamless checkout experience for customers. There are limited options for editing the Shopify checkout. However, this is actually a benefit as Shopify has optimised the experience.

Features of Shopify Checkout.

The Shopify checkout supports multiple payment methods, including credit and debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. We recommend using ShopPay, Shopify’s native payment gateway, as we have found it significantly improves conversion rate. ShopPay is fully integrated with Shopify, enabling customers to use saved payment details from other purchases.

  • Security. Includes SSL encryption and compliance with PCI DSS standards, ensuring secure transactions.
  • Customisation. Allows businesses to customise the checkout page to match their brand, including adding logos and adjusting colours.
  • Integrations. Shopify Checkout also integrates with various third-party apps to enhance the checkout process, such as tools for managing taxes, shipping options, and customer information.

Blogging on Shopify

Blogging is a great tool for driving organic traffic to an online store and engaging with customers. Creating a blog on Shopify is easy, allowing companies to create and publish content that attracts visitors and improves SEO. Benefits of blogging include:

  • SEO. Regularly publishing high-quality blog posts helps improve search engine rankings by providing fresh, relevant content and increasing the number of indexed pages on the website.
  • Engagement. Blog posts can educate, entertain, and inform customers, building a stronger connection with the audience.
  • Authority. Sharing industry knowledge and expertise positions the company as an authority.

Essential Pages for Your Shopify Store

Certain pages are essential for any e-commerce store, providing important information to customers and enhancing their shopping experience. Adding a page to Shopify is easy. Here are the pages every eCommerce site should feature

  • About Us. Builds trust and connects customers with the brand’s story and values.
  • Contact Us. Provides a way for customers to contact the business for support or inquiries.
  • Content. Includes contact information, a contact form, and links to social media channels.
  • FAQs. Addresses common customer questions, improving their shopping experience and reducing support inquiries.
  • Content. Covers topics like shipping policies, return procedures, and product information.

Setting up your Shipping

To define your Shopify shipping charges, first set up your Shipping Zones. These are the geographic areas you wish to ship and the rates you charge for shipping to those areas.

Once you set up your Shipping Zones, you can create shipping profiles. These are the shipping options you offer customers. You can set up standard options such as local collection, flat rate, or free shipping or add options for specific countries or regions.

Shopify Site Navigation

Your store includes two default menus on every page: the main menu and the footer menu. You can customize these menus by adding, removing, or editing items.

The main menu appears on every page, usually across the header or as a sidebar list. Customers use it to find products and business information, like the “About Us” page. It includes two default items:

  • Home: The main page of your store
  • Catalogue: A page displaying all products

You can add drop-down menus to organize related items, such as product collections, helping customers find specific products.

The footer menu spans the width of the footer and is typically where customers look for store policies and contact information.

Creating inventory

You can create products in Shopify by entering product details and adding images. You can add a variant for each combination if your product is available in different sizes or colours. Products can be added one at a time or imported in bulk.

Optimising Your Shopify Store

Improving Page Load Speed

Page load speed is important for both user experience and SEO. Slow-loading pages can frustrate customers and lead to higher bounce rates. Shopify provides tools and tips to optimise page load times, such as compressing images, using a content delivery network (CDN), and minimising heavy scripts.

Enhancing Mobile Responsiveness

Ensuring your Shopify store is mobile-friendly is essential; most purchases now happen on mobiles. Shopify’s themes are designed to be responsive, but further testing and optimising the mobile experience is crucial. This includes checking navigation, readability, and the checkout process on various devices.

Utilising Customer Reviews and Social Proof

Customer reviews are a powerful tool for building trust and credibility. Shopify supports various apps that make collecting and displaying reviews on product pages easy. Getting customers to leave reviews and showcasing positive feedback can significantly impact purchasing decisions.

Implementing Abandoned Cart Recovery

Abandoned cart emails allow businesses to automatically send messages to customers who have left items in their shopping cart without completing the purchase. Shopify’s built-in tools and third-party apps can help recover lost sales by reminding customers to complete their transactions, often with incentives like discounts or free shipping.

Leveraging Analytics and Reporting

Understanding customer behaviour and sales trends is important for making better business decisions. Shopify analytics and reporting tools that offer insights into sales performance, customer demographics, and website traffic. These tools help identify successful strategies and areas for improvement.



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