Shopify Ecommerce Store Solution

Shopify has become the definitive answer to the question: How do I start an online store? The old answer was; well, there never really was one. You would hire a development and design team, purchase or rent web servers, spend months and all of your money, and eventually get online hopefully in time to make some money.

Now, there are a handful of really impressive, powerful web applications and services out there that aim to be a complete solution for the aspiring entrepreneur, technical or not, looking to open a store online. These applications let any one construct, design, and launch a fully-operational online store in no time.

In this new market, there has to be a leader; and that leader is Shopify. Let’s start with a high-level overview of some of the most important features available:

  • A premium and free theme marketplace.
  • Product and inventory management.
  • Sales and analytical reports.
  • Easy-to-use administration dashboard.
  • Create and distribute discounts and promotional codes.
  • Create and sell gift cards.
  • Accept payments easily (over 70 payment gateways).
  • Customer management and categorization.
  • Customer accounts.
  • Ability to add blog or page content.
  • Social integration.
  • Integration with tons of add-on services (email marketing, search engine optimization, etc).
  • Automatically handle taxes, shipping costs, etc.
  • 14-day free trial (no credit-card required).

Now, we can take a quick walk through the application and setup. For the sake of this review, we went from no account to a very basic, functioning, live online store in 8 minutes (minus payment handling). Getting started is very easy; just enter your email address, a password, your home or business address, and your ready to go. You’ll be brought to your store management panel which contains everything you need. To make things easier, Shopify provides you with a list of 6 tasks you need to complete in order to be ready to launch.

Get started with Shopify

Starting at the top of the list, we began to customize our theme. You can start with a free theme, and configure various details, such as colours, typography and branding.

Edit your Shopify theme

Be sure to check out their theme market. They have a relatively small list of free themes, but the premium section is loaded with some really beautiful designs.

Shopify theme store

The next step is arguably the most important: adding products (can’t have a store without these!). You can create a title and write copy for your product, along with uploading images. You can also enter a category for the product and a vendor name if you don’t manufacture it.

Add products to Shopify

If you want, you can easily add and manage all of your active promotions and discounts. You can offer a fixed amount off orders, a percentage, free shipping, etc.

Add a discount in Shopify

Covering the rest of the features offered by Shopify would take a long time. If you’re new to e-commerce, this is a good option to start with. As with all applications like this, we encourage you to take 30-60 minutes (minimum) and really get a feel for what is offered here. Remember, there is a 14-day free trial available.

However, if you have an established online store, or aim to have one, you should have a look at some of the other options out there. You might want something more powerful and flexible to handle your unique needs, such as LemonStand.

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