How to sell on Shopify

Details about pricing, shipping, marketing and more.

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Shopify is a cloud-based e-commerce platform where you can create your own online store, sell across social media sites and attract customers from around the world.

If you’d like to start selling on Shopify, find out how to price products, how to ship to buyers and how much it costs to sell through the platform.

How do I start selling on Shopify?

Open an account and start selling on Shopify by completing the following steps.

  1. Visit the Shopify website. Head to the Shopify homepage and click Start free trial. Enter your email address and create a password and store name.
  2. Provide basic store information. Specify if you’re selling online and provide details of your current store revenue.
  3. Add your address details. Provide your name, address and phone number, then click Enter my store.
  4. Set up your store. Start adding products to your Shopify store, choose a Shopify theme and enter a domain address. You can also select a Shopify plan you want for when your 14-day free trial ends.

How to price your items

There are two factors to consider when pricing items for your Shopify store:

  • What you pay. Consider the various manufacturing, storage and shipping costs that factor into your business. You don’t want to gouge customers with high prices, but at the end of the day, you’re trying to turn a profit.
  • What customers pay. Research what successful sellers in your industry charge. This tells you what customers are willing to pay for a product.

Strike a balance between profitability and fairness. Finding the right price for your product may require some trial and error, so be flexible as you hone in on your ideal price.

What types of payment does Shopify accept?

Shopify allows you to process the following payment methods:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Google Pay
  • Apple Pay
  • PayPal
  • Shopify Pay

Do I need a payment processor?

Yes — you’ll need a payment processor before you can begin accepting customer payments. You can use Shopify Payments — its in-house processor — or use a third-party processor.

Shopify Payments allows you to process payments directly through your Shopify store. While you’ll still need to cover processing fees, it doesn’t charge additional transaction fees.

Shopify integrates with over 100 different third-party processors. If you’re interested in using a different processor, check Shopify‘s site to find out which processors it integrates with.

How to ship with Shopify

Shopify does not have its own fulfillment center, so you have four options when shipping items to customers:

Ship it yourself

Be prepared to set your own shipping rates, package products, print shipping labels, drop shipments to your carrier of choice and cover all associated shipping costs.

Dropshipping service

Third-party dropshipping services can store your inventory and ship products on your behalf. You’re still responsible for shipping costs, but you’ll pay the service, not the carrier.

Fulfillment by Amazon

If you hold an Amazon Seller Central Account, you can set up Amazon Fulfillment from your Shopify account. Amazon stores your inventory at an Amazon fulfillment center and ships on your behalf, but you must agree to exclusively stock your product with Amazon — you won’t be permitted to stock the product in your storefront or with a secondary fulfillment service.

Shopify Shipping

Shopify Shipping is available in the US and Canada and provides Shopify merchants with pre-negotiated carrier shipping rates based on your Shopify service plan. You select your preferred carriers and customers select their preferred shipping speed at checkout. After you receive an order, purchase and print shipping labels directly from your Shopify account. Then, drop the package to the appropriate carrier or schedule a package pickup.

How to set shipping rates

How you determine shipping rates hinges on how much of the shipping cost you’d like to absorb:

  • Free shipping. Free shipping is an appealing perk for customers but you’re required to cover the entire cost of shipping out of pocket.
  • Flat rate. You can set a flat rate for products based on weight, shipping zone, total order value or shipping speed.
  • Exact rate. Also called a calculated rate, this shipping rate passes the entire cost of shipping onto the customer with rates based on carrier and shipping speed at checkout.

How do I market my Shopify products?

Some marketing tools on Shopify is included in the cost of your Shopify plan, while some cost extra. Some ways you can market your products include:

  • The Kit app. This Shopify app is included in your plan and is designed to help you market your online store. Create social media ad campaigns, automate your email marketing and integrate with other marketing apps. Some extra features come at a cost.
  • Advertising campaigns. For a fee, you can create marketing campaigns through Google Ads and Facebook Ads from your Shopify account.
  • Sales and discounts. Create discount codes for free shipping, dollar-value discounts or percentage discounts.
  • Add a blog. It’s free to add a blog to your Shopify online store to post about your business and the products you sell, helping you build a community, generate traffic and increase sales.

You can also find third-party programs in the Shopify app store to help with a wide range of marketing strategies and options, including:

  • Email marketing
  • Referral programs
  • Making product image and video galleries
  • Running contests and giveaways
  • Marketing analytics
  • Social media marketing
  • Search engine optimization

Some apps are free and others offer a free trial for a limited time. However, you’ll need to pay for many apps — whether it be a one-time charge or an ongoing monthly fee.

What to watch out for with Shopify

Keep an eye out for these key problems when setting up your Shopify store.

  • Service pricing. To access some of Shopify‘s best features, you’ll need to sign up for an Advanced Shopify account. This plan is significantly more expensive than the other service tiers.
  • App fees. While there are plenty of useful apps in the Shopify app store, many of these apps come with ongoing fees. Make sure you calculate the impact of purchasing these tools to your bottom line.
  • Transaction fees. If you choose to forego Shopify’s in-house processing service, you’ll pay an additional transaction fee each time you process a payment.

How much does it cost to sell on Shopify?

How much you’ll pay to use Shopify depends on which plan you choose. Each plan entitles you to:

  • An online store with a blog
  • Unlimited products
  • Social media selling integration
  • 24/7 support
  • Fraud analysis

However, some account features vary depending on the pricing plan you select.

Basic ShopifyShopifyAdvanced Shopify
Price$29 monthly$79 monthly$299 monthly
Staff accounts2515
Gift cards
Professional reports
Advanced report builder
Third-party calculated shipping rates

For more information on processing fees what features are included with each plan, read our complete review of Shopify.

Is selling on Shopify worth it?

Shopify is good for serious online merchants, and those who are looking for a side-hustle. Shopify is a globally recognized e-commerce platform that offers useful tools to help you grow your business. And with over one million onboarded businesses that processed $183 billion in sales between 2016 and 2018, it certainly has the potential to help you make money.

But nothing is guaranteed. As like any other business venture, selling on Shopify comes with its own set of risks and there’s no guarantee you’ll actually make a profit.

That said, there are a few things you can do to maximize your profitability:

  • Do your research. Shopify offers a large database of guides to help online sellers learn more about sales, product photography, marketing, advertising and more.
  • Create beautiful listings. A well-designed product listing can increase sales, so make sure your listings are clear, concise and contain high-quality photos.
  • Use Shopify apps. The Shopify app store contains over 3,200 apps and plugins to help you customize your store, market your product and manage your inventory. Some apps are free but many come at a cost.
  • Market your products. A carefully crafted marketing plan can help you attract new clientele, whether it’s through a social media campaign or a collection of print ads.

Compare e-commerce providers

Updated April 8th, 2020
Name Product Products Prices start at Hosting
BigCommerce
Payment processing
Website builder
Inventory tracking
Shopping cart software
Shipping software
$29.95/mo
Hosted
BigCommerce is an all-in-one e-commerce platform created to help you sell more.
Square E-commerce
Payment processing
Website builder
Inventory tracking
Shopping cart software
Shipping software
$0/mo + processing fees of 2.9% + 30¢
Hosted
Easy-to-use online store builder lets you create beautiful layouts to help drive business
Helcim
Payment processing
POS software
POS hardware
Website builder
Inventory tracking
0.10% + $0.10 per transaction
Hosted
Conveniently packaged into three service tiers for in-person and online sales.
Shopify
Payment processing
Website builder
Inventory tracking
Shopping cart software
Shipping software
$29/mo
Hosted
Shopify offers both e-commerce and in-person POS systems designed to help you build a new online store from the ground up.
3dcart
Website builder
Inventory tracking
Shopping cart software
Shipping software
$19/mo
Hosted
Helps businesses build online storefronts while offering a variety of service tiers bundled for businesses large or small
Shopify Plus
Payment processing
Website builder
Inventory tracking
Shopping cart software
Shipping software
Varies
Hosted
A customizable solution for enterprise-level e-commerce stores.
X-cart
Website builder
Shopping cart software
Shipping software
$0
Self-hosted
X-Cart is an e-commerce platform that can handle your store as it grows to an enterprise-level business.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Shopify offers the tools you need to set up an online store, including payment processing, social media integration and a comprehensive library of apps. But keep an eye on your bottom line, as many of Shopify’s extra services come at a cost.

Check out your e-commerce options with other providers to find the ideal service for your business.

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