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What Is Shopify?

If you frequently peruse the business realm of the internet, you’re likely familiar with the name “Shopify.” Making headlines since 2006, this eCommerce builder has forged its way to fame by setting sales records, powering some of the world’s most elite brand names, and, most recently, skyrocketing past new highs on Wall Street. Today, we’ll discuss what Shopify actually is, and find out how it is helping millions of entrepreneurs’ dreams come true — each and every day.

What Is Shopify?

Simply put, Shopify is a subscription-based software, enabling users to create and manage an online store. The eCommerce giant has coined itself an out-of-the-box eCommerce builder. In other words, even users with the most limited technical experience are able to create a fully functioning online store in a matter of minutes.

The creators of Shopify are well acquainted with all that is involved in entrepreneurship. For that reason, they created the software as an all-in-one eCommerce builder — with major scalability. From hobbyists to full-fledged business legacies (recognize the name Staples? Heinz? Or, Rebecca Minkoff?) anyone with a goal to sell online now has the ability to do so.

However, admittedly, “all-in-one” is quite a broad term. So, let’s examine Shopify’s main features in a bit more detail to better understand the platform revolutionizing the eCommerce world.

Understanding Shopify

To fully comprehend what Shopify is, it’s important to know what Shopify does. Essentially, the discussion breaks down into four main areas:

  1. Out-of-the-Box eCommerce Functionality
  2. “Shopify Merchant” Additional Features
  3. Shopify App Store and Integrations
  4. Custom Code and More

1. Out-of-the-Box eCommerce Functionality

As mentioned above, Shopify provides everything you need to start selling online in one, simple program. It’s just like buying a new cell phone, where everything you need comes right out of the box: cords, chargers, a SIM card, and, of course, the phone itself. With Shopify, the features look like this:

  • Easy to install templates and themes for an attractive, responsive, and personalized brand appearance.
  • A storefront complete with the ability to add products, pages, and blog posts.
  • Free web hosting on Shopify’s powerful server, with all of the technical internet requirements handled automatically.
  • Optional included POS Lite to facilitate an in-person point-of-sale system.
  • Access to over 100 payment processors, including Shopify Payments which is optimized for conversions, UX, and handles all of the most popular payment methods.
  • Easy shipping with USPS, UPS, and DHL with live tracking, quick shipping, and discounted, pre-negotiated carrier rates.
  • A comprehensive mobile app to manage all business operations on the go.
  • Powerful, real-time analytics and insightful reporting tools.
  • A marketing platform with built-in SEO, Google/Facebook shopping campaigns, and, of course, detailed analytics on these endeavors as well.

2. “Shopify Merchant” Additional Features

As a part of Shopify’s merchant program, users can avail themselves of some valuable, additional features. This program was designed to help small business owners compete with big brands, so these powerful upgrades are not to be taken lightly.

For instance, Shopify’s Shop Pay feature allows store owners to set up an accelerated checkout. This enables customers to save their information for a speedier checkout next time. Additionally, the Social Media and Marketplace feature helps store owners sell their Shopify products where their target customers shop and browse the internet — places like TikTok or eBay (find out why this is so valuable in this article.)

Other features available in the Shopify Merchant program include access to the Shopify Fulfillment Network (for faster shipping times), Shopify Capital (loans and cash advance to scale your business), and email marketing (with campaigns, professional analytics, and even automatic abandoned cart recovery emails.) Business owners can also take advantage of Shopify’s POS Pro for advanced, multi-store point-of-sale systems including comprehensive inventory management, unlimited store staff accounts, and full reporting, too.

3. Shopify App Store and Integrations

In line with our earlier illustration, every major phone system allows for customizations via apps. Similarly, Shopify boasts an app store so full of extra features and integrations that it would take multiple blog posts just to name them all. However, here are just a few of our favorites:

… and over 6,000 more well-designed, carefully vetted apps. Users can display customer reviews, entice shoppers with tempting discount pop-ups, and even make use of virtual try-ons. These functions may seem integral to business, so, some wonder why Shopify didn't include them in the basic store set-up.

The answer is simple: too many extra applications can slow a site down, so, instead of adding every app to Shopify stores right off the bat, users can choose only what they want or need. This ensures that the backend of each site stays organized, and the customer-facing side runs optimally. After all, ultra-responsive loading times make for happy shoppers — and, happy shoppers turn into loyal customers.

4. Custom Code and More

Just because Shopify was built for users with little-to-no coding experience, doesn’t mean the option isn’t available. Rather, Shopify allows developers to utilize custom code in every area of a Shopify store. This means that users can develop everything from custom themes and templates to powerful, integrated APIs.

And, for already-established businesses earning over $1M per year, Shopify offers even more services via their legacy plan: Shopify Plus. You can learn more about the features of this enterprise-level plan here.

Shopify — The All-in-One eCommerce Builder Made Just for You

Yes, whether your goal is to create a simple store in minutes, or craft a meticulously coded, customized shopping experience, Shopify makes it possible. The all-in-one eCommerce platform makes entrepreneurship possible for anyone seeking commercial independence. Shopify isn’t just a tool — it’s a means to fuel your legacy.

If you are ready to begin your Shopify journey or have more questions about eCommerce in general, feel free to chat with one of our Shopify experts today!