It’s been long overdue that we post a Shopify review on A
Better Lemonade Stand. It’s well known information that we
recommend Shopify over every other ecommerce platform, for
reasons we’ll detail in this post, but essentially we just
think it’s the best ecommerce platform out there for
entrepreneurs.

A Brief Introduction

Shopify was founded in 2004, its headquarters are based in
Ottawa, Ontario and they reportedly support over 300,000
merchants with their hosted ecommerce platform software.
Basically, Shopify makes it easy for people who know nothing
about programming, coding and web development to startup and
run their own online store. They do this so entrepreneurs can
focus on the building the aspects of their business they excel
at without having to worry too much about the technical stuff.

For most ecommerce entrepreneurs, Shopify will always be the
best choice. There are so many different ways to make Shopify’s
ecommerce platform work for any business model, no matter what
kind of business model you plan to operate. Since Shopify is
the leading ecommerce platform, additional features such as
apps and themes are made for Shopify first before any other
ecommerce platform and other tools and services that ecommerce
businesses use such as email list services, dropshipping
suppliers and shipping and fulfillment services will always be
easy to integrate with Shopify first if they are able to
integrate with any ecommerce platform at all.
For most ecommerce
entrepreneurs, Shopify will always be the best
choice.Click To
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In this post we’re going to discuss what’s so special about
Shopify and what types of services they offer. If you haven’t
already tried out Shopify for yourself you’ll get an idea of
what to expect from them and if you already use Shopify for
your online store you might learn something new about what they
can offer your business. Let’s jump into it.

Latest Features

May 23, 2017: Shopify Mac App

For a more seamless user experience for your Shopify
store check out the newly launched Shopify App for your Mac
computer. Rather than accessing your Shopify dashboard from
your internet browser, simply launch the app for easy access
every time you need to check in on your store. Find the
Shopify Mac App here.

June, 2017: Wholesale Channel Available for Shopify
Plus Users

For stores selling great products they want to make
available to other retailers, now there’s a wholesale option.
This password-protected, stripped-down and simplified version
of your store enables you to offer a seamless wholesale
experience for the retailers you work with. Click here to
read more about Shopify’s Wholesale
Channel.

June 19, 2017: Shopify Introduces the BuzzFeed Sales
Channel

You now have the opportunity to get your products in
front of the eyes of BuzzFeed’s editors with the new BuzzFeed
sales channel integration on Shopify. Tag your products to be
searched and found by BuzzFeed editors for the chance to get
your products featured in front of their audience of over 200
million users. Read more about Shopify’s BuzzFeed
Channel here.

June, 2017: Shopify Burst

This feature has been available for a while but it’s
flown under the radar so much so that we forgot to mention it
initially. Regardless, it’s a useful resource that provides
free stock photos for either personal or commercial use.
Considering that there are so many stock photo resources
available on the web, some are free and some you need to pay
for, some of the images can be used for personal and
commercial use, some only for personal use, etc. so it can
get a bit confusing. Shopify Burst makes
finding stock images a little less confusing and a little
more accessible for businesses and entrepreneurs to use on
their websites. Check out their various collections of images
ranging from coffee, fitness, men, women, flowers, food,
flatlays and more. Beyond that, Shopify Burst also profiles
trending business ideas and provides case studies on
each idea that include supplier information, marketing
tips, business model insights and free images. It’s
definitely worth checking out.

June 2017: Shopify Exchange

Shopify has now added an ecommerce store marketplace to
their repertoire of services, known as Shopify Exchange. Buy or
sell Shopify stores via Exchange and either skip the store
setup and start selling right away or pass your store on to
another owner who can benefit from the hard work you’ve
already put in. If you’re looking to purchase a store just
browse on the Exchange website, speak directly with sellers
and get access to the revenue and traffic data that’s
available to Shopify. To sell your store on Shopify Exchange
simply download the Exchange app to your store and wait for
buyers to contact you. Even though this marketplace has just
rolled out we already anticipate it being one of the most
trusted ways to buy and sell Shopify stores.

July 14, 2017: Checkout On Your Own Domain

Shopify has now made the checkout process more seamless
for customers by enabling it to occur on your own domain as
opposed to directing customers to the “checkout.shopify.com”
domain, as it previously had been. This is a huge advancement
for the overall customer experience, as customers can now
confidently shop on your store’s branded domain without
switching over to the Shopify one. This new feature is free
for all merchants and will automatically be applied to all
Shopify stores. Learn more about checking out on your own
Shopify domain here.

Shopify is for Small Businesses & Large Companies

Shopify has the unique capability to support both small
businesses run by sole-proprietors just starting out and large
corporations that achieve high traffic and revenues. No matter
the specific needs of the business, the fundamental ability of
Shopify to just work translates itself effectively to any
business, large or small.

Small Businesses

Back in the day, you had one chance to operate a successful
business. Things were different: businesses only existed as
brick-and-mortar shops and entrepreneurs had to shell out huge
amounts of money to pay for their business venture which, if
they financed through a bank, they were taking a huge personal
risk. Not only would they have to provide personal assets as
collateral but if their business venture failed they would
essentially become radioactive to every bank within their reach
and be unable to take out a loan ever again.

Luckily for us, starting a business isn’t that difficult
anymore. Through Shopify’s platform you can start your own
small business right here, right now, for monthly payments that
are probably lower than your cellphone bill. If your store
doesn’t work out, you can pause or completely cancel your
payments without any repercussions. It’s easy.
With Shopify, start
your own business for monthly payments that are lower than your
cellphone bill.Click To
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Besides the monetary aspect of operating a small business,
Shopify as an ecommerce platform supports small business
operations because it takes so much of the work and
technological expertise off the shoulders of business owners.
Most people who are or want to become entrepreneurs don’t have
a vast understanding of the web development and coding that’s
necessary to run a successfully self-hosted website that’s
secure to use, beautiful to look at and entirely functional. Of
course, it’s possible to learn how to set up a secure,
beautiful and functional self-hosted website without needing
any official education, however each of these things will need
to be maintained over time for optimal performance, and if
performing this maintenance doesn’t come easy to you, then it
can be a very time consuming and frustrating experience.

Shopify does all the maintenence for you so you can operate a
secure, beautiful and functional website for your online
business without worrying. What you pay Shopify each month to
use their service is like paying an employee to fix all your
tech issues so you can manage the product development, customer
service and strategic planning; except, you don’t actually have
to have an employee. Shopify just handles their end, so you can
handle yours.

Large Companies

Since Shopify is so efficient at handling things from their
end, corporations have migrated their businesses over to
Shopify so they can handle the technical stuff and the
corporations can focus their attention elsewhere. It’s the same
as it is for small businesses, just on a larger scale.
Companies like Red Bull, Kylie Cosmetics and MVMT Watches operate via Shopify Plus,
which is subset of Shopify’s ecommerce platform made for
high-volume and fast-growing merchants. If it works for them,
it can work for you too.

Easy to Use Interface

Since there’s no coding experience needed to develop your own
unique ecommerce store on Shopify, they’ve made it super easy
for you to make the adjustments you need to every part of your
store. They give you options, you pick what you want, fill in
the blanks and you get your own customized store. Of course, if
you’re completely new to using Shopify there will be a bit of a
learning curve figuring out exactly where everything is located
on the backend, but everything is laid out in a completely
accessible way so you can just move step by step making
adjustments as you go.

Here’s how the Shopify administration side is set up:

Home

Get an overview of what’s going on with your business. See
today’s sales and visitors, view recent activity, and get an
overview of Shopify announcements.

Orders

Manage, track and view orders that have been made and draft up
orders for customers who place them over the phone.

Products

Add your products into this section, import your existing
product inventory, manage inventory transfers, enable inventory
tracking, organize products through collections and sell gift
cards.

Customers

Whenever a customer places an order this section will show
their details and their purchase history.

Reports

Get an overview of your store’s sales, refunds, taxes, payments
and view your dashboard that details your visitors over time,
your conversions and other specific information.

Online Store

Make adjustments to the look and feel of your store by editing
pages, navigation and customizing your theme.

Apps

Access Shopify’s app store for tools that will help you manage
aspects of your online business such as marketing, sales,
social media, shipping, inventory, accounting, customer service
and more.

Settings

View your store details, payment gateways, checkout settings,
shipping preferences, tax settings and more.

Shopify is a Hosted Ecommerce Platform

When setting up a website for your ecommerce business there are
essentially two choices: Set up a self-hosted website, or set
up a hosted website. What does this mean?

Self-Hosted websites are entirely managed and maintained by
the creator of the website. All upkeep, troubleshooting and
security systems are implemented by the creator of the site and
it’s their responsibility to keep them up to date, secure and
working properly.

Hosted websites have all the maintenance managed by an
experienced and expert third party that handle the upkeep,
troubleshooting and security for the people who create websites
via their service.

For people who aren’t super savvy with technical computer and
programming skills, it’s highly recommended that you build your
website on a hosted platform. Starting a business is a learning
curve in itself without having to spend time fixing
technological issues when you could be working on other aspects
of your businesses instead. Even people who are experienced
with technical computer operations use hosted platforms because
of their level of security and ease of use, so they really are
relevant to everyone.

These are the advantages of using Shopify’s platform to build
your ecommerce business:

You have nothing to set up

You don’t have to worry about your customers’ or your own
security

You don’t have to monitor your website’s up and down time

You can host a new or existing domain through them

Your customers can load your website quickly no matter
where they are in the world

You have unlimited bandwidth on all of Shopify’s plans

Your store’s data is automatically backed up

You don’t need to know how to code

You don’t have to worry so much about the technical side of
running a website

It really just saves you stress and frustration from dealing
with complex technological issues that are better left to an
expert team so the security and reliability of your ecommerce
website will never be compromised. Shopify’s hosted ecommerce
service gives that peace of mind.

The Shopify App Store

Since Shopify is one of the best, if not the best, ecommerce
platform, when apps are made to support ecommerce stores,
they’re almost always made to be compatible with Shopify first.
This means that Shopify’s App Store has
the most up-to-date and innovative tools available to help you
run your ecommerce business more efficiently.

Shopify’s app store offers all types of different services you
can use to amplify your Shopify store’s abilities. Ranging from
marketing, sales, social media, shipping, inventory, customer
service, accounting, reporting and more, there’s an app to help
make your business better at anything.

Besides Shopify having their own app store, there are other
businesses that specialize in creating apps exclusively for
Shopify, so if you’re looking for an app to help you operate
your business that doesn’t already exist on Shopify’s app
store, you can check out other app creators. BOLD Apps and Out of the Sandbox both create apps
exclusively for Shopify stores and they’re renowned for their
quality, so they’re worth checking out.

App integration capability may not sound like a
make-it-or-break-it reason to choose an ecommerce platform to
build a business on, however, it means you’ll always have
access to the most up-to-date tools you can use to operate your
business in the best way possible. If you’re just starting out
this may not seem like a big deal, but further down the line
you might find you need a tool to help you run your business
better and if you have easy access to it, like you will through
Shopify’s app store, then your problem can easily be solved.
Not all ecommerce platforms have app stores and not all of them
have the same apps that Shopify’s does, so if you’re interested
in having access to the most relevant and innovative app
integrations, Shopify is the easy choice to make.

Shopify is an Inexpensive Platform to Use

Compared to the fact that years ago most people had to take out
a loan from a bank to create a physical brick-and-mortar
business, and many people to this day still do the very same
thing, being able to create a store online for monthly payments
that cost you less than it probably does to go out for coffee
every day of the week, is pretty remarkable.

Pricing

Shopify’s Basic
Plan gives you access to all of their security and updates
plus most of their features for $29 (USD) per month. For better
credit card rates and access to more features, their Shopify Plan is
priced at $79 (USD) per month. Finally, they also have an
Advanced Shopify
Plan aimed towards providing advanced features for scaling
businesses which is priced at $299 (USD) per month.

For most sole-proprietors, and for new businesses just starting
out, the Shopify basic plan is usually the best option. It
gives you access to all of the most important features at a
very manageable monthly price.

Shopify Supports Many Types of Business Models

No matter what kind of store you’re running, or want to run,
Shopify can handle it. Whether your business model is based on
dropshipping, subscriptions, affiliates, occasional in-person
sales, “Buy Buttons” embedded into blog posts, selling on
Facebook, or any combination of these options, Shopify supports
it all.

Dropshipping

If you’re unfamiliar with what dropshipping actually is you can
check out our post
about it here, but if you’re interested in starting a
business with very little time and money to invest,
dropshipping is one of your best options.

Creating an ecommerce store with Shopify and pairing it with a
dropshipping service is easy to do and you’ll have the ability
to run it completely autonomously. Many dropshipping providers
have apps in the Shopify App Store that integrate with Shopify
stores making it a smooth process every time a customer places
an order. This way you won’t have to forward orders to your
dropshipper every time you receive one, it just happens
automatically.

Learn More: Read more about how Shopify
supports dropshipping business models here.

Subscription Service Models

With one simple app integration you can turn your regular
Shopify store into a subscription service so your customers can
have recurring orders placed automatically with no fuss. While
Shopify doesn’t inherently offer subscription model pricing
capabilities, the ReCharge App is
your best option if you’re looking to operate a subscription
service.

Shopify POS System

Suppose you want to hold a pop up shop, or maybe your store has
a booth at an event or festival where you want to sell your
products in person. Shopify’s POS System makes it possible to
integrate your ecommerce sales with your in-person sales easily
and efficiently with their special POS software.

With this system you can accept credit card payments anywhere,
on any device, your inventory is updated in real time and your
data is stored online just as it normally would be. This way
your business can move with you wherever you go and support you
and your customers wherever it’s most convenient.

For a seamless on-the-go payment experience, use Shopify’s
wireless Chip & Swipe Card Reader to sync effortlessly with
your Shopify store when you’re selling in person. It has
certified EVM chip technology, industry-leading encryption,
accepts all major credit cards, oh and it’s free for businesses
that are new to Shopify POS. Can it get any better than that?

Learn More: For more information regarding
Shopify’s POS System, check out this
page and for more information about the Chip & Swipe
Card Reader, check out this
page.

Blog Post Buy Buttons

Monetize your blog without having to create an entirely
separate platform just by adding Shopify Buy Buttons to your
blog posts. You’ll be able to access all the usual Shopify
features such as your order history, customer contact
information, tracking information, sales analytics and Shopify
Apps, but the entire shopping experience can take place on your
blog so your customers don’t have to be re-directed anywhere
else.

Learn More: For more information regarding
blog or website buy buttons, check out this
page.

Selling on Facebook

Similar to how you can monetize your blog with Shopify Buy
Buttons, you can sell just as easily on Facebook so your
customers don’t even have to switch platforms. You have access
to all the Shopify features that you normally would but you
don’t have to re-direct your customers to another website, let
them shop right on Facebook. By selling on Facebook you’re also
exposing your business to an online area with lots of organic
foot-traffic that you can take advantage of to grow your reach.

Learn More: For more information regarding
selling on Facebook with Shopify, check out this
page.

Affiliates

Similar to dropshipping, if you’re interested in selling online
without investing a lot of time and money into it, running an
ecommerce store selling products via affiliate links can be an
attractive option.

If you’re new to selling via affiliates and want to know more
about how it works, we wrote a blog post all about how to set up an affiliate store
for beginners that discusses how to set one up on
Shopify, so we recommend checking that out. Shopify
supports affiliate stores through simple app integrations which
allow you to promote a product from another store, like Amazon,
and link to it via your affiliate link.

Shopify Channel Integrations

If you’re selling your products across multiple channels such
as your online store, POS system, buy button, Facebook, and
more, Shopify makes it easy to house all your information and
data on one unified platform. You’re able to keep track of
sales and inventory easily so you don’t make mistakes, and when
it comes time to measure analytics and accounts, all the
necessary info is in one spot. Shopify currently integrates
with popular channels such as Amazon, Pinterest, Facebook,
Wanelo, Houzz, Wish, Kik, Buzzfeed, and many more.

Learn More: For more information regarding
Shopify’s Sales Channel Integrations, check out this
page.

Shopify Plus

For businesses that operate at a high volume of sales, Shopify
Plus offers a scalable ecommerce platform that can fit your
individual business’ needs. Shopify supports high volume
businesses by providing the same hosted service they do for
every other business, just on a much larger scale, making it a
much simpler process to manage. Shopify also places an emphasis
on partnering with Shopify Plus merchants to help them better
strategize their growth and maintain their competitive edge.

Learn More: For more information regarding
Shopify Plus, check out this
page.

Shopify Pay

Use Shopify’s convenient payment processing system to help your
customers check out faster. Using this secure system all
shoppers will have to do is enter their email and an expirable
6-digit verification code to make a purchase, which shortens
the checkout process from several fields down to two. No longer
will your customers have to fill out repetitive information
like their shipping and billing information, Shopify Pay will
have the necessary information pre-filled so all it’ll take is
a couple of clicks or taps to completion.

As a merchant, this will make your checkout completion time
lower which will help to increase your conversion rates as
customers have a limited amount of time to exit out of the
shopping cart. It also gives your customers a better experience
as they can use Shopify Pay across all Shopify stores, so
checking out will be a lot less hassle for them, too, and it
works on any device or browser.

Learn More: For more information regarding
Shopify Pay, check out this blog
post.

Shopify Blog, Support & Experts

With great service comes great responsibility. Shopify
recognizes how powerful their ecommerce software can be when
their customers know how to properly use it, so they focus on
educating Shopify users through their blog and
support pages and
offer additional assistance through their experts
directory.

For any and every ecommerce related topic or question, Shopify
has most likely covered it on their blog. With everything from
knowledge, inspiration, announcements and updates to case
studies, analytics, experiments and how-to’s, there’s something
on their blog to pique everyone’s interests.

Their support pages give detailed instructions to help any
Shopify user with even the smallest amount of computer know-how
create their own store on Shopify. This is the best place to
get answers to any technical questions that occur when setting
up a store and it’s a great place to browse around as you’ll
likely to find tips, tricks and solutions for design and
development preferences you hadn’t yet considered. You really
can take your store to the next level with the Shopify support
pages and Shopify provides instructions so you can do it all
yourself.

To make changes to your store that are more complex and you
either can’t find your questions answered on the Shopify
support pages or it has been listed as an advanced procedure,
you can make use of the Shopify Experts team. These experts
are, well, experts in their field, and for a fair price they
can help you solve any technical issues to turn your store into
what you want it to be, or to fix any issues you might be
having. These experts are super handy to have around as they
make the experience with Shopify an even higher caliber.

Learn More: To solve any setup, design,
development, marketing and photography problems you may have,
check out the Shopify
Experts Directory. For even more Shopify specific help,
check out HeyCarson.

Conclusion

There you have it, our comprehensive review detailing the
reasons why we think Shopify is the best ecommerce platform for
any entrepreneur to use, no matter the business model, size or
experience level. It’s inexpensive, easy to manage, hosted, and
supports startups, large companies and every kind of business
in between.

Their blog provides thorough support for users, plus they have
a dedicated team of Shopify Experts available for hire to help
you with various tasks related to your business. Their app
store boasts the most innovative, relevant and up to date apps
available for ecommerce stores, and they’re easy to integrate
into all Shopify stores, making them operate more efficiently
and effortlessly. Shopify is our preferred ecommerce platform,
but don’t just take our word for it, try it out for yourself.
Shopify is our
preferred ecommerce platform, but don’t just take our word for
it, try it out yourself!Click To
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