If you're selling a product or service, and you don't have an online store, you're turning away thousands of potential customers - or more. With nearly 70% of Americans shopping online regularly, that's a gigantic potential customer base.
And if you aren't grabbing them, one of your competitors is.
The good news is that e-commerce is no longer difficult or expensive to enter into All-in-one turnkey solutions are now available that take nearly all the technical and legal burdens off you with secure shopping cart and payment services.
These services make it possible for even the smallest startups in any corner of the globe to set up an online storefront... or allow medium-sized businesses to finally make that jump, without the need for extensive technical hiring. Even larger organizations can turn to Shopify when they want a storefront with minimum hassle and expense.
Among the best of these is Shopify, which simplifies every aspect of e-commerce with a robust and affordable set of tools.
Shopify: E-Commerce Made Easy
Getting started with a basic Shopify storefront is simple. There's a short signup process and you choose a payment plan which best matches your needs. As of now, it's only $29/mo for a basic online store, and that's an investment that's bound to pay for itself, with more features -and lower transaction costs- as the monthly fees go up.
One important thing to note here: When you select a store name, that name will go into your Shopify website address, as in My-New-Business.Shopify.com. It's possible to "hide" this address via website redirects, so that most customers won't see it, but try to pick something short and catchy.
Then it's time to import products and start selling.
Setting Up Your Shopify E-Commerce Storefront
Shopify offers plenty of options for getting your catalog into its system. You can manually enter them one-by-one, of course, and upload graphics directly from your local drive.
Alternatively, you can utilize standard CVS files to bulk-upload the product listings. Shopify can also connect with other online sales platforms, such as Magento or eBay, to pull your listings off of them. Non-physical services, as well as digital items, are also an option, but you'll need apps to effectively make use of those. (More on that below.)
They also streamline the process of setting up taxes, fees, and sales methods. If you're in a state which requires sales tax for online transactions, Shopify automatically adds those in. You set your own shipping fees, and can select from a list of potential payment partners. These include Shopify's internal system, which is free to use, as well as external systems such as PayPal, Amazon Payments, and Google Wallet. These external payment processors will add additional fees, usually 1%-2% of the sale price.
The Wonderful World Of Shopify Apps
Where Shopify stands out is its selection of apps, which allow you a wide range of options in customizing your store. These can be both free or paid, but they're simple to browse and usually integrate seamlessly into your storefront.
With hundreds available, there's far too many to list. However, some of the highlights include:
- Product Options: Allows extensive product customization and also makes it easier to offer pure services.
- Digital Product Delivery: This is required if you plan on selling digital goods, such as movie or music downloads.
- Inventory: Links Shopify to your existing inventory management system.
- Accounting: Link Shopify to your accounting software.
- Social Media: Add a variety of links or even buy-it-now buttons to your social feeds.
- Reporting: Robust analytics and customer behavior analysis, greatly enhancing your online marketing and SEO.
- Shipping: Simplifies the process for selecting and linking with your preferred shipment carriers.
Finally, it's worth noting that Shopify is known for its excellent customer service. All pricing tiers receive unlimited 24/7 customer service and tech support, which is invaluable for newcomers to the system.
If you are looking to grow your Shopify store through strategic digital marketing consulting, check out Josh's packages starting at just 30 minutes.