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How Shopify Works (2021): Everything You Need To Know About This Website Builder

If you’re interested at all in e-commerce, then you’ve probably heard of Shopify. The name gets thrown around a lot because it’s one of the best e-commerce platforms out there and there are over 640,000 Shopify store owners to date. If you’re not entirely sure what it does and why it’s so popular, however, then it’s about time you got familiar with it. After all, you should definitely be considering it as one of your prospects if you’re planning on starting your own online business.

So what exactly is Shopify? In a nutshell, it’s a website builder that lets you easily create your very own online store. Not only that but it also gives you access to many beautiful templates, powerful e-commerce tools, and useful apps that will help you grow your business. To help you further understand how Shopify works, here’s everything you need to know about it, including how to add products, customize your theme, add a domain, and enable payments.

Creating Your Store

To create your store, you need to provide your email address, password, and store name.

You’ll find two “start free trial” buttons on the homepage.

To get started, all you have to do is head over to Shopify’s homepage and there you’ll be greeted by two “start free trial” buttons. Click on either of them and you’ll then be asked to provide your email address, a password, and your store’s name. Take note that you’re required to have a unique store name so allow your creative juices to flow. These details will be enough for you to create your own store and start your 14-day trial period. What’s convenient is that you don’t need to put in any payment details.

Adding Products

Adding products involves providing a name, description, and image. 

Shopify lets you sell a wide range of products.

One of the first things you have to do after signing up for a Shopify account is adding in your products. After all, it’s not a proper store if you don’t have anything to sell. Fortunately, Shopify makes it an easy process. In the Shopify admin page, you’ll see an “add product” tab with an “add product” button. All you have to do is click on the button and you can start selling anything from jewelry, to shirts, to make-up. After that, all you have to do is add in the details like the name of the product, a description, and an image. Once you scroll down, you’ll also be asked to fill in fields such as weight, size variations, and barcode. You don’t have to worry about this step because you’re going to be guided by simple instructions and clear visual cues.

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Choosing A Theme

Shopify has 10 free themes as well as over 50 paid themes. 

Each theme has its own look and set of features. 

Once you’ve learned how to add a product, you will then be taken to the “customize theme” tab. This is the fun part because you get to choose exactly how you want your online store to look, from the theme, to the colors, to the logo. When you’re choosing a theme, you have three options. You can either stick to the default theme called ‘Debut’, pick from Shopfiy’s selection of 10 free themes, or choose one from the 50+ paid themes which range from $140 to $180. Each theme has its own look and features and so it’s up to you to choose which one fits your branding the best. The Debut theme, for example, has a slideshow on its homepage, allowing you to showcase your products or brand images. It also has a customer testimonials section so that you can feature comments and reviews.

Choosing A Domain

You can purchase a new domain or transfer an existing one.

Shopify has a search bar that can help you pick out a new domain.

Picking out a domain for your website is a crucial step because it’s the very first thing your customers will notice about your brand. Not only that but a relevant domain name will allow your customers to remember you as well as help you rank higher in searches. Shopify actually provides you with a subdomain (.myshopify.com) but it doesn’t look too professional and so it would be best to change it altogether. To purchase a domain (prices start at $14 per year), you can use Shopify’s search bar to check for ideas and confirm their availability. You’ll even be given extension suggestions. If you already have an existing domain, you can use that one as well simply by transferring it.

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Enabling Payments

Shopify has its own payment gateway as well as over a hundred other payment methods to choose from.

Shopify Payments doesn’t charge for transaction fees. 

Once you’ve added your products, chosen a theme, and picked out a domain, the next thing you have to do is enable payments. This is an important step because after all, the whole point of having a store is for you to earn and make a profit. The great thing about Shopify is that it has its own payment gateway called Shopify Payments and you won’t get charged with transaction fees whenever you make a sale. You have a bunch of other payment methods to choose from such as PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize as well but take note that they charge per transaction. To go to your payment page, click on “settings” which you can find at the bottom of the navigation menu. From there, click on the “payment providers” icon.

Setting Up Shipping

Shopify allows you to customize your shipping details for a smoother shipping process.

You can use Shopify’s default shipping rates so that you’re confident about how much you’re charging.

In order to make your customers happy, you need to make sure that the shipping process is a seamless one. You don’t have to worry though because Shopify makes it easy for you to set up your shipping details. Again, go to “settings” and there you’ll find the shipping icon. Once you’ve clicked on it, you can then start to customize your shipping information. Putting in your shipping origin, for example, will allow Shopify to calculate shipping rates upon checkout. As for shipping rates, Shopify has default rates that you can use so that you can be confident about how much you’re charging. Shopify also has apps that you can integrate into your website such as ShipStation and AfterShip to make things even smoother.

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Integrating Apps

You get to choose from over 2,400 apps on the Shopify App Store. 

You’re sure to find a relevant app for every aspect of e-commerce. 

Not only does Shopify come with a bunch of powerful tools you can use to grow your online business, but it also has an app store with over 2,400 apps for you to choose from. Integrating relevant apps into your website can help it run smoother, let your customers have a more pleasant experience, and allow you to manage things more efficiently. In short, the apps are there to make everyone’s lives easier. To see what apps are available, click on “apps” on the navigation menu and you’ll then be presented with a search bar. You’ll realize that there’s an app for practically everything, including shipping, social media, accounting, and analytics. Search for it and you’ll probably find it.

Selecting a Price Plan

You get to choose from 3 pricing plans, namely Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify.

You can upgrade to any of the plans at any point during your free trial.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that after your 14-day free trial, you need to start paying to continue using Shopify. There are 3 pricing plans to choose from, the most affordable one being Basic Shopify which will cost you $29/month. It’s ideal for you if you’re just starting out and only want the basics. Next up is the Shopify plan which comes in at $79/month. This one’s perfect for you if you’re starting to grow your business. Then there’s Advanced Shopify with a price tag of $299/month, an ideal choice if you want advanced features to help you scale your business. You can choose to upgrade to any of the plans at any point during your free trial simply by clicking on the unmissable “select a plan” button that’s found on every page.


Shopify is a powerful website builder that gives you everything you could possibly need to grow your business. 

Being the powerful, all-around e-commerce platform that it is, there’s the misconception that Shopify is a complicated thing to use. But as we’ve just learned, Shopify has really thought about its users and has made the entire setting-up process a streamlined one that’s very easy to follow. Aside from its simplicity of use, Shopify gives you access to tools and apps that are perfect for growing your business. It’s easy to understand why it’s such a popular website builder, given that it has everything you could possibly need to run a successful business.

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Denise Jose