What is Shopify?



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Taking the plunge to open your own eCommerce store is an exciting thing.  Knowing which platform to use for it, however, can be daunting.

No doubt in your research you have come across Shopify as one of the leading contenders. It’s a great choice and is the platform that over one million business owners use to run their online stores.

There is a lot to go through and understand about Shopify, how it works, and how to get the most out of it, so we have put together this short guide on what Shopify is and how it works.

Let’s dive in…

What is Shopify?

Simply put, Shopify is an online platform that you can use to build your online eCommerce store.  They are the go-to platform of choice for most businesses.

They offer a wide range of features and a huge number of themes and designs. And that’s before you even get to the third-party content and plugins that are available.

Shopify basically gives you the ability to set up your online store in any way you like, with any look you like, and pretty much any functionality you can think of.

Shopify also offers in-person solutions too with their Shopify POS, which is great if your business runs online and in-store.

There are various monthly subscription plans that we will go into in more detail below, but they are able to facilitate anyone from new small businesses to large-scale eCommerce giants.

What does Shopify Do?

Shopify is basically the foundation platform for you to build and run your online business.  You can create a storefront, showcase products, interact with your customers, make sales, and much more.

They also have back-end support too for your company like analytics and fulfillment, either directly or through one of the infinite number of plugins.

What can you sell on Shopify?

The reality is you can sell just about anything through a Shopify store, and you can run any sort of eCommerce business, from dropshipping to major store fulfillment.

Shopify actually has trending analytics too so you can see what is currently popular so you can stock in your store.

They do have some strict rules on what you can’t sell, which as you can imagine is anything that would be considered illegal or carefully regulated.  For example:

  • Firearms and parts
  • Counterfeit goods
  • Any gambling products
  • Drug products
  • Adult products
  • Regulated services
  • Event Tickets

For more details on this visit here.

Key Features

Shopify has some great features that are designed to get you selling as fast as possible.  Let’s dive into them…

Free and paid themes – Shopify have over 60 free themes that are prebuilt stores ready for you to populate with your products.  If that isn’t enough then there are over 10,000 paid themes that you can also use from either Shopify or third-party developers. 

Free and paid Apps – Shopify’s app store is full of fantastic plugins that will extend the functionality of your site to no end.  From social media integration and shop extension to live chatbots, from shipping fulfillment to more detailed reporting, there really is an app for almost any functionality.

Taking Payments – While you can use third-party payment solutions like PayPal or Stripe, Shopify also offers their own payment solutions so you can accept credit cards, Apple pay, google pay, and much more.

Detailed admin – Shopify has great back-end functionality to their sites, and you’ll find a wide range of reporting capabilities to help you understand and analyze how your company is operating.

You can understand your best-performing products, see site traffic and what’s driving it, everything you would need to be able to strategize and focus your attention on what works for your store.

Cloud network – Shopify is a cloud-based platform rather than a server-based platform.  This is great as server-based platforms have a reputation for instability and crashing, particularly on busy shopping days like Black Friday. 

Shopify boasts a 99.99% uptime so far, so you can be assured your store will stay up and functioning regardless of the amount of traffic.

Pricing Plans

Shopify has a free 14-day trial which gives you plenty of time to set up a store and get to grips with its functionality (you could even make your first sale!)

After that, there are three primary plans to choose from: Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify.

Basic Shopify

This is ideal for new businesses wanting to focus online but also may do some in-person sales.

You get all the basic requirements like your online store, sales channels, inventory, and shipping labels.  You also get a free Shopify POS Lite for taking in-person payments.

Cost – $29 per month


This is their most popular plan for growing businesses.  You get additional analytic and reporting features as well as better credit card transaction rates.  You also get more staff accounts and more inventory solutions/locations.

You also get international pricing, so you can localize your pricing if you sell internationally.

Cost – $79 per month

Advanced Shopify

If your business is scaling quickly and you’re looking for more advanced reporting then this is the plan for you.

Transaction fees are greatly reduced, and you can work with a much bigger team too, with up to 15 additional staff accounts.

You can also get up to 88% off your shipping with some of the largest suppliers like DHL Express.

Cost – $299 per month

Shopify POS

If you also have a brick-and-mortar store and are looking for your full POS solution, then Shopify also has you covered there.

Their POS system costs $89 per month, and you can get a lot more information about it here.

Shopify Canada Customer Service

There are an awful lot of resources Shopify offer to make sure you can get set up quickly and easily, and if you have any issues then they are on hand to help.

They have a blog that has guides and articles about running your online store and connecting with customers, as well as a dedicated support team that is on hand 24/7, regardless of what plan you are on.

Overall thoughts

Shopify is a great solution for your eCommerce needs.  They are reliable, trusted by millions of companies, are easy and quick to set up, and have an incredible amount of flexibility through their app store.

It is not the cheapest solution by any means, but it is certainly the most comprehensive.

Whether you are a beginner starting out, or an expert, Shopify is more than likely a good fit.

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Avid researcher, freelance writer, and personal finance enthusiast passionate about financial education and literacy.

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Kareena Maya

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Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.

Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.