Online business remains a feasible venture even as we enter 2022 and it will remain that way from this year onwards. But even with Shopify’s success, there still are a lot of merchants that end up in failure and that happens due to several reasons. Every complex creation has its own set of basic components. An internal combustion engine for instance would appear as a complex machine on the outside but taking it down piece by piece will reveal its basic components.
That’s precisely the same with Shopify being an e-commerce platform. It looks intimidating and some would even say it’s a complicated thing but taking some time to see its components and understand its basics would make the task of building an online business a lot like a breeze. So what are the things that you need to know about Shopify? What are the common misconceptions about this e-commerce platform that currently exists all over the Internet? We’re going to get these and other questions answered here but before that, let’s first learn about Shopify’s origins and how it came into existence.
Where it All Started for Shopify
Shopify started back in 2006 but its creators first had the idea about building their very own e-commerce platform 2 years earlier in 2004. Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake had a meeting of the minds one fateful day in 2004 and decided to sell skiing equipment online. But there were issues with existing e-commerce platforms back then that prevented them from maximizing their shop’s profitability and ensuring its success.
That’s when the trio thought of creating a platform of their own. Everything actually started very simple but in the years that followed, Shopify started transforming to what it already is today. From selling ski equipment came one of the best e-commerce platform the world has ever had! This is a testimony at how simple ideas can turn into complex ventures bur even until now, Shopify still holds to their core value which is “Make Commerce Better for Everyone”!
Shopify Basics: What You Need To Know
Before starting with your Shopify business, you need to make sure that some things are already in place and that your mind is already made up on certain matters. You can’t go to a war without the proper preparation. As the world goes through a case of a never-ending pandemic and trade wars here and there, it pays if you have a means of still being able to do business globally without much hassle.
Online shops will thrive even through these conditions as long as Internet exists and suppliers as well as their partner couriers are available but before getting into this venture with Shopify, here are the things that you need to know.
Shopify Isn’t Cheap
Shopify, being the effective e-commerce platform that it is and having much evidence of online shops that succeeded under its belt costs money. You can’t simple just build a business under such platform without sharing the reward. After all, that is one of Shopify’s sources of income – subscriptions. You need to make sure that you have the budget to run a store for at least a few months and make some marketing and advertising efforts to ensure that after those few months of paying for the subscription from your own pocket, you’ll start to have a steady stream of income coming in from the sales of your product/s.
Shopify plans start at $29 and with it, you can already enjoy some of the basic features that you would need for building an online store and taking it to the next level. As your online business grows, you would of course need to improve certain stuff like adding more staff to manage the shop and accepting payments from credit card etc. This is where you can upgrade to the Shopify Standard subscription that costs $79 a month.
For bigger businesses (like yours in the future – claim it!), you would need much more space and more advanced features to help ease up certain tasks and processes related to store management, stocks redistribution, order processing etc. This is the time you would need the Shopify Advanced plan which costs $299 a month. As you can see, Shopify isn’t cheap at all; this goes to show how effective they can be as an e-commerce platform. You simply can’t put such prices for a meager platform. If you want to get it tested for the business that you’re planning to create then you can take advantage of their 14-day free trial period.
Shopify Prohibits Selling Certain Stuff on Their Platform
The range of products that you can sell on Shopify encompasses most industries, hobbies, and interests but just like any other e-commerce platform, Shopify also has a list of prohibited products. This includes alcohol, solvent, firearms, and several other items which either violates international restrictions, border rules, existing laws, etc. That is why it’s important that you know what these prohibited products are and avoid choosing any product that are on the borderline of these products.
One very important step that you need to take as you build your very own online business is deciding on the product that you would sell. That means finding one that appeals to your passion and interest and making sure it is marketable with enough suppliers to continuously feed the demand. Make this step as your foundation and find products that will not only satisfy your dreams but also the needs of your prospective customers.
Shopify Marketing is Expensive
We can agree on this at certain points especially when it comes to the marketing strategies on social media. It is true that running ads in different social media platforms have worked really well over the past few years but the cost of running such campaigns also increased making it one of the most expensive marketing efforts that a Shopify store owner could choose to run. Thankfully, there are other options that even work more effectively especially if you’re still on the first stages of running your shop.
For customer acquisition, you can do content marketing for instance which would have very minimal cost but would entail more work of course. Creating videos for your product and having them published takes time but it has proven to work for several successful brands out there! Another option which can help in customer retention is by using Ambassador Affiliate Marketing that you can integrate with Shopify for seamless extension of your promotion efforts. It is possible to even automate such effort so you can monitor sales and reward commissions all in a few clicks. Social Media marketing through ads really is expensive but there are other options and if you’re lacking on budget, you definitely should explore some alternatives and be creative!
Shopify SEO Is Not That Effective
Again, there can be truth to this especially if you consider the ever-changing algorithm of Google and other search engines but no matter how many evolutions search algorithms go through, they still work the same way in the aspect of search terms and search queries so basically, Shopify’s SEO would still work in one way or another.
If you are out of budget for other marketing strategies but you want to bring growth to your shop by making it rank in major search engines then consider using other tools while taking advantage of Shopify’s SEO feature as a backup or a tool for confirmation. You will need any tool at your disposal especially when it comes to marketing so if it’s SEO that you’re trying to focus on then don’t disregard that built-in SEO tool in Shopify. It still works as long as you know how to use it and how you can employ SEO in your website’s pages.
Shopify Is Losing
This is the last misconception that we’re going to treat but before we explain things, here are some statistics. Back in 2020, Shopify’s merchant almost grew double and by 2021, they’ve got close to 2,000,000 merchants running their online businesses using Shopify. That is a testament at how this e-commerce giant has grown so much especially during the time of the pandemic.
But with every success comes stories of failure here and there and one of the things that the make the skeptics say that Shopify is on the losing side is because of the large percentage of stores that ended up in failure. Statistics in the previous years placed the failed Shopify business at 90% and only 10 percent actually made it to success. Little do these people know that it’s not Shopify’s fault why these several shops fail.
These several stores fall into oblivion because they didn’t have a plan, they didn’t employ the right marketing strategies, or their product just wasn’t marketable. There are several factors that contribute to a shop’s failure and blaming the platform just isn’t right.
Shopify has been making it as one of the top e-commerce platform of choice for several years now and that is just one proof of its being an effective tool for businesses to jump to the online market and start expanding and aiming for global domination. It has survived for almost 16 years and it’s going to exist for even more to come.
Starting your business with Shopify requires plenty of time and some calculated steps if you really want to achieve success. It isn’t just about choosing a plan and getting products uploaded. It is about choosing the right product, using the right marketing strategies for it, and ensuring that there is a customer retention program in place. If you do all these things, surely, your shop will make its way to the 10% of successful ones indicated in the statistics.
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