Shopify is an e-commerce platform that’s ever-increasing in popularity, especially as consumers shift to online shopping more and more.
Whether you own an existing small business that you’re looking to bring online, or if you’re looking to make money with Shopify through a new venture, there are a few different ways to do it. We’ll cover how to make money on Shopify using its tools and services as well as tips to help your business find success.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms that enables merchants to sell products online through an intuitive interface that integrates with most existing website hosts, providing a seamless transition from a company’s homepage straight to their digital storefront. For sellers, setting up and operating a Shopify store is typically straightforward and hassle-free. Uploading products only takes a few steps, and monitoring product inventory can be done right from within the platform. Plus, you won’t have to manage any of the technology required to facilitate payments, as that’s all streamlined with the Shopify platform.
Shopify isn’t only designed to make online transactions possible, however. The company also offers a point-of-sale, or POS, system, which means you can manage all of your digital and in-person payments within one unified system. You can also stay on top of inventory management across digital and brick-and-mortar stores with the Shopify system. And, perhaps more important than ever, you can also accept online orders and fulfill them in stores as necessary.
Shopify plans and pricing
Like most e-commerce platforms, Shopify has a tiered pricing structure. Each tier is designed to provide a range of services that match a typical business’s needs, helping its customers pay for the services they need without having to pay for those that it may not use.
If you’re just testing the waters of selling online, Shopify Lite might be the right move for you. This plan only costs $7 per month and lets you add “buy” buttons on WordPress, Squarespace, Tumblr and a host of other web pages. This makes it easier to set up an e-commerce presence with minimal fuss. You’ll also get a card reader for in-person purchases, and all in-person credit card transactions come with a 2.7% fee.
Additionally, Shopify Lite can integrate into your business’s Facebook page to allow customers to buy your products through this platform. Shopify offers support for Facebook Messenger chats through your online store, as well as your Facebook page. Better yet, customers can even buy products directly through chat and access their orders in real-time throughout the fulfillment process.
The next plan is Basic Shopify, which is suitable for many merchants with e-commerce needs that are greater than what Shopify Lite includes. For $30 per month, Basic Shopify enables businesses to create an online store with unlimited products, making it easy to bundle goods and services in different combinations.
As with Shopify Lite, Basic Shopify also includes a card reader and POS solution. Online transaction fees cost 2.9% + $0.30, while in-person purchases have a 2.7% fee. If you use any other payment processor other than Shopify Payments, you’ll incur an additional 2% fee on top of the fees associated with that processor.
The standard Shopify subscription costs $79 per month and builds upon everything included in a Basic Shopify plan by including five staff accounts, gift card support and performance reports to help track sales and transactions. This plan also comes with a POS terminal that throws in barcode scanners, receipt printers, staff PIN logins and integration with other POS systems.
Standard Shopify subscriptions come with credit card transactions of 2.6% + $0.30 for online transactions, 2.5% for in-person transactions and a 1% fee for the use of third-party payment processors.
Advanced Shopify is designed for high-volume businesses that need tons of support and robust features to help keep their customers coming back. This plan comes with all of the features of the previously mentioned subscriptions and includes logins for 15 employees and more detailed sales and performance reports. You can also use Advanced Shopify to calculate third-party shipping rates to display to customers when making their purchase.
The Advanced Shopify plan also comes with lower credit card fees. Online transactions cost 2.4% + $0.30 surcharge, while in-person transactions cost a flat 2.4%. Using another payment provider other than Shopify Payments comes with a smaller 0.5% monthly fee as well.
How to make money with Shopify
There are many ways to make money with Shopify. You can sell all sorts of goods and services — clothing, consulting, art and so much more. But the first thing you should know before you set up your Shopify store is that there are several different ways to monetize the platform. Here are the ins and outs of Shopify.
Start an e-commerce store
One of Shopify’s best features is its ability for users to set up an online store quickly and easily. You can sell nearly anything — whether that’s something you’ve made, something you’re reselling or a service you provide. Shopify has an easy platform for you to add items, curate them and have your customers easily check out.
Shopify Lite makes it a breeze to add purchasing options to a blog or website. Even if online sales are not the core objective of your web presence, it’s still easy enough to set up a modest Shopify store associated with your existing web property. And, if you anticipate using Facebook to make sales, you’ll have all the tools you need to get started.
Set up a dropshipping business
Dropshipping has turned into an online selling phenomenon in recent years. Instead of purchasing and storing inventory yourself, dropshipping allows business owners to outsource the fulfillment and shipping of orders made through their site. This takes out some of the more onerous aspects of selling merchandise, as you don’t have to worry about finding warehouse space or losing money on unsold inventory.
Setting up a dropshipping business through Shopify is easy, too. You can set up your product catalog, add prices and filter orders through your Shopify account to your dropshipping partner, all without having to hold onto a single product in the process. If you want to know how to start a dropshipping business in the first place, Shopify even offers a service in partnership with Oberlo to help you get started.
Become an affiliate
Making money on Shopify doesn’t even require you to sell anything at all, in some cases. The Shopify affiliate marketing program lets you earn money per successful referral made from your account to the Shopify platform. The more sellers you’re able to bring into the fold for Shopify’s platform, the more you’ll earn.
Bear in mind that a robust digital following is likely to be the major factor in your success here. If you or your business have a passionate and large follower base, you’re more likely to make money from conversions than if you’re starting from scratch.
Monetize your social media
Much like the affiliate program, turning a loyal social media following into a revenue stream is another great option to consider when wondering how to make money on Shopify. The intro-level Shopify plan has a special focus on social selling, which empowers you to add “buy now” links to Instagram and Facebook posts.
If you or your business have made the most of your social media marketing and want to turn these social channels into revenue streams, then selling on Instagram with Shopify might be a great way to pick up some extra income.
Best practices to make money with Shopify
It’s important to remember that making money with Shopify requires more than simply publishing an online store. There are lots of best practices for your Shopify store that you’ll want to follow to keep driving leads and converting them into paying customers. Here’s what to take into account.
Display and describe your products clearly
As people shop, they need to know what they’re shopping for — and they need to desire it enough to make the purchase.
One way you can help this along is by making sure your products are displayed clearly. This means using clear, crisp and styled photos, and also describing your products in detail and in a way that resonates with your target customers. Include any measurements, color and size variants, special features and anything else that potential customers would want to know.
If the kind of products or services that you sell need to be explained, consider adding an FAQ section on your product page so you can help customers through the transaction with minimal questions.
Do market research
As an increasing number of people are selling on Shopify, as well as online in general, competition is rising for many store owners. Do your market research to find out who your customers are and how they shop. What are they looking for in stores like yours — and do you offer it?
It’s also crucial that you price your products or services competitively. Research your competitors to find out how they’re pricing certain products or services, then compare yours to get a sense of whether you should charge more or less. It’s important that you strike the right balance between being competitively priced while also still turning a profit.
Offer great customer service
Great customer service can bring buyers back over and over again. Make sure you have an easy way for customers to reach out during the buying process if they have questions, and that they can easily access you after the sale if need be. There are several online tools that can help you interact with customers in real-time, including Facebook Messenger. Otherwise, list your contact information clearly directly on your site and make sure your staff is trained on how to provide excellent customer service.
Be reactive and flexible
Although you might believe your customers want one thing, their behavior might show something else. Be open to and flexible about making changes to your Shopify store — whether that’s in what you sell, how you price it or the people to whom you’re marketing. Dive into the analytics and trends and talk to your customers to get data that’ll help you make meaningful changes.
This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.