Starting an online business has become increasingly more accessible over the years. Ecommerce platforms such as Shopify have made it easy for aspiring entrepreneurs to enter the industry. 

But what is it like to start an ecommerce business using Shopify? Here’s an overview of Shopify as an all-in-one ecommerce platform to give you a better idea. Aside from that, we will also provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to build your Shopify business.


What Is Shopify?

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Before we dive into the nitty gritty details of opening a Shopify business, it is essential first to understand what Shopify is and how it works.

Shopify is a popular ecommerce platform that offers subscription-based software services (SaaS). It aims to unify all your online business and ecommerce processes to make it easier to start, run, manage, and organize your digital business. Shopify offers four tiers of subscription plans that come with different ecommerce features and tools. 

But before that, how does Shopify work exactly?

The Shopify platform is completely cloud-based. This means it can centralize your business’s database and processes into one system. Through this, Shopify can seamlessly connect and incorporate all your business needs regardless of the digital channel. 

With Shopify, entrepreneurs can link channels such as social media platforms, online marketplaces, and ecommerce websites into one comprehensive system. This makes running, managing, and operating all business campaigns significantly easier in just one platform.

However, Shopify’s features and services depend on the tier of the user’s subscription. This includes Shopify Lite, Shopify Basic, Shopify Standard, and Shopify Advanced. A special subscription plan, Shopify Plus, is available for clients with specific business needs.

Startups and small businesses can do with the platform’s simplest subscription plan. However, larger enterprises would benefit significantly from Shopify’s more advanced and premium tiers, such as Shopify Advanced and Shopify Plus. 

To give you a better idea, here’s a list of some of Shopify’s most notable features and tools that you can use for your ecommerce business.


  • Order management and fulfillment
  • Unlimited product listings
  • Brand asset management
  • Fraud analysis
  • Finance reports
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Customer support
  • Ecommerce automation


Pros and Cons Of Using Shopify For Ecommerce

While Shopify is highly revered in the industry, there are still factors to consider before starting a business using this ecommerce platform. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using Shopify when starting and running an online business.


PRO: Easy to use

One of the biggest draws of Shopify is that it is extremely easy to use and navigate, even for complete beginners. The platform features a simple and intuitive interface that allows entrepreneurs to create their online stores easily. 

Shopify aims to have online businesses put up as fast as possible. It offers a handful of free website design templates that can be further customized. It also features seamless integration with other digital channels and platforms. 


CON: Subscription pricing

On the flip side, one of the drawbacks of Shopify as an ecommerce platform is that its subscription pricing is not the cheapest.

 According to the platform’s latest listing, its most basic subscription plan (Shopify Lite) is priced at $9 per month. Then, there is a huge jump in pricing as the next tier, Shopify Basic, is set at $39 per month. The next tier, Shopify Standard, is even more expensive at $105 per month, while Shopify Advanced is priced at a whopping $399 per month.

While it’s possible for business owners to start with Shopify’s most basic plan, it is important to know that there are significant differences and limits for each tier. 

For example, Shopify Lite does not even include the ability to build your own ecommerce store. Instead, it only allows online businesses to add a Shopify button to their existing ecommerce website. Considering this, entrepreneurs who want to use Shopify for every aspect of their business would have to avail of Shopify Basic at the very least. 

However, entrepreneurs can also take advantage of Shopify’s annual subscription plan, which offers significant discounts. If paid annually, Shopify Basic drops to $29/month, Shopify Standard drops to $79/month, and Shopify Advanced is only at $299/month. 


PRO: Vast customization options

Another advantage of using Shopify for starting a business is that it offers quite the flexibility to customize your online store as you want. Shopify subscriptions come with a collection of storefront themes. These have varying designs that could fit a wide range of industries or niches.

Shopify has also made it easy to customize these themes and designs with its built-in website builder. This feature is also highly intuitive, which allows users with minimal background or skill in website design to build their websites with ease


CON: Limited customization options

On the contrary, some would say that Shopify has limited customization options. This is because Shopify Basic only comes with ten free theme templates. Aside from that, Shopify’s website builder uses the Liquid setup, which is less familiar to most.

If you want more website themes to be available, you would have to upgrade your subscription plan or purchase your desired theme.


PRO: 24/7 Customer support

Another factor that makes Shopify a great ecommerce platform, especially for beginners, is that it has a dedicated support team ready to provide its services 24/7. Users can reach Shopify’s customer support through an array of channels, whether it’s via email, live chat, or voice call.


CON: Accumulating costs

Aside from availing of Shopify’s subscription plans, starting an e-commerce business using this platform includes additional costs. 

For one, users who would want to use a different theme would have to purchase one of its premium options, which are priced somewhere between $75 and $300. In addition to this, entrepreneurs would also have to purchase a domain name that is around $15 to $20 per year. 

To get the most out of Shopify, some users also use other apps and plugins. These help expand Shopify’s functionality as well as boost efficiency. Depending on the plugin, users can spend anywhere from $5 up to a couple hundred per month.


Step-by-Step Guide On Starting A Shopify Online Business

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Starting an online business through Shopify is easy. This guide will help you breeze through the whole process.


Step #1: Creating a Shopify account

Creating a Shopify account is extremely easy. All you have to do is to head over to the Shopify website and create an account. All you need to provide is your business email address and a secure password. After that, Shopify will ask you to verify your email address.

Once verified, you can start setting up your online store. To do this, you would have to provide your business’s name. You would also have to fill out a form and give more details about the nature of your online business. 

Step #2: List your products

Once you’ve set up your Shopify store, the next step is to add products to it. In your account, head over to the Products page and select the option to Add Products

List all the products that you are planning to sell for online retail and provide the necessary details and information. You would need to include product images, titles, descriptions, and prices for each product you add to the list. 

You can further organize your products by creating different categories and labels. You can categorize items based on their type, availability, tags, vendor, and so on. 


Step #3: Add pages to your online store

To continue, the next step after adding products to your store is to create the pages necessary for your ecommerce website. Some of the most basic site pages include the Home page, About Us page, Contact page, Terms of Service page, and FAQ page. 


Step #4: Design and customize your ecommerce store

Now, let’s head over to the fun part. So far, you’ve created your Shopify account, listed the products of your online store, and added all the important website pages. 

The next thing you need to do is build your website. With Shopify, you can simply select a theme or template. To do this, head over to the Online Store tab and select Themes. Here, you have the option to use one of Shopify’s free templates or purchase a premium design.

Then, you can create all the design adjustments as you see fit. You can add elements, change fonts, and even rearrange some of the website’s structure.


Step #5: Set up your checkout and shipping procedures

The last few steps are needed to create a fully functional Shopify store. To do this, you would need to set up your checkout page and finalize your shipping procedures. You can customize your checkout page to ensure that the format works well and is easy to understand by heading over to the Theme Settings tab and selecting the Checkout option. 

However, the more important element is the Shipping process, which plays a huge role in customers’ buying experience and your business operations. To do this, go to Settings and select the Shipping tab. Then, you can configure the shipping options as needed.


Step #6: Finalize tax payments

Online businesses are not exempted from taxes. Before launching your Shopify store, you would need to configure and finalize your taxes and the terms of your payments. Luckily, Shopify has made it extremely easy for business owners to do this. The platform can automatically calculate your taxes based on the worldwide sales tax. 


Step #7: Establish your payment terms and structure

The second to the last step ensures that your Shopify store can run and complete transactions. For customers to be able to buy from your shop, you would have to establish your payment terms, structures, and gateways.To do this, simply head over to Settings and select Payments. Then, input the necessary and important details about your business, such as your Social Security Number, bank account information, and the like. 

Businesses have the option to use Shopify’s payment gateways at no extra cost. But they can also use third-party payment gateways such as PayPal to accommodate other customers. 


Step #8: Launch your Shopify store

The final step is to launch your online business successfully and make it available to the public. You would need to remove the password that makes your shop private and invisible before launch.  

To effectively launch your Shopify store, go to the Settings tab and select Preferences. Head over to the bottom of the page and select the option to remove the password page. Once done, save the settings, and your Shopify store is now visible to the general public. 


Want to know more about starting an ecommerce business? Sidekicks is an on-demand virtual company, and we’re eager to help visionaries and entrepreneurs like you. Get a free ebook and learn more about how we can help you by signing up for our newsletter. We also offer a free 30-minute consultation if you prefer something more personal.