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Shopify: What is it and what is it used for?

Shopify What is it and what is it used for

A few years ago when I first started my journey in web design and creating online businesses, a name that I heard most often was Shopify. Back then, I couldn’t find any useful resource explaining comprehensively what Shopify was and its uses. So I am writing this helpful article to enable beginners to get an idea about this wonderful tool.

Shopify is a SaaS platform that is used by business owners to set up their online stores. It can be used to sell online, in person, on social media, or on any other third-party platform. Businesses often sell physical products, digital products, services, and subscriptions using Shopify.

When I started working with and learning Shopify, I was truly amazed by the ease of use and variety that it offers. Read on to understand the various nuances in detail.

What is Shopify and what are its uses?

Shopify offers a powerful, user-friendly platform where anyone can build their online store without much tech savviness. It is a cloud-based service and can be easily customized to make it suitable for your business and branding.

It offers an end-to-end solution, and you do not need to build your own website separately, nor buy hosting or a domain. You can use Shopify to sell your own products, dropshipped products, or even affiliate products.

Shopify offers you a variety of themes that you can choose from and customize further to suit your business needs and your taste. Most basic features offered by Shopify are inbuilt, however, you can choose to add any additional functionality by using Shopify apps.

One of the reasons Shopify is such a widely used platform is the ecosystem that it provides through over 6000 apps in its app library. You can use these to add some really cool features to your Shopify store and to enhance your chances of success by adding marketing, analytics, and integration capabilities to your online store.

You can use Shopify apps like Product Reviews, Stamped.io, or Yepto Reviews to show reviews of your products to your customers, which will build your social proof. You can use page layout apps to make the design of your website more appealing and suitable for your branding needs. You can try the PageFly Landing Page Builder or the EComposer to create attractive designs for your pages.

As mentioned earlier in this article, you can use Shopify to sell anything from your own products, dropshipped products, or affiliate products. If you are interested in dropshipping, you can use this amazing Shopify app called Spocket. This allows you to source a wide variety of products mostly from the US or the EU.

You can also use Shopify to sell digital downloadable products, be it eBooks, Audiobooks, courses or podcasts. The Shopify app library offers you a number of apps that enables you to do this. Check out apps like DrDownload or Big Digital in the library. These apps get integrated to the checkout page of your store, where, once the payment is processed, they send the downloadable product to the buyer through an email.

What are the main activities of Shopify?

Shopify allows you to use its features as per the size of your business. That means it is suitable for individual sellers to enterprise-size businesses. It offers different plans that you can choose from depending on the size of your business.

Shopify offers a basic plan that starts at $29 a month. This is best suited for small businesses and offers up to 2 staff accounts. The next level is simply called Shopify which charges you $79 a month and is most suitable for businesses with multiple locations. This allows up to 5 staff accounts. The next one is Shopify Advanced which costs $299 and is ideal for larger businesses and allows up to 15 accounts.

Once you get started with Shopify, it offers you an admin panel from where you can manage your online store. Basically, you customize all your store settings, add products and update payment options within the admin panel.  

Shopify also offers it in-house payment integrations system called Shopify Payments. Using Shopify payments can waive some of the transaction fees that Shopify normally charges you on transactions. As per Shopify’s official website, they have created this platform to eliminate the hassle of setting up third-party payment providers. With Shopify payments, your Shopify store is connected to a payment gateway by default and you can start getting payments as soon as you set up your store.

Using Shopify to sell offline

You can use Shopify to sell anything offline, be it a retail store, a food truck, or even door-to-door housekeeping service, by using the Shopify Point of Sale (POS). Shopify offers some powerful hardware and software components that can be extremely helpful in running your offline business.

One of the coolest pieces of hardware that Shopify POS offers is the card reader that you can install as an extension to your smartphone and can receive credit card or debit card payments. Another interesting hardware component is the integrated cash drawer, which opens and closes only during transactions.

Then there are barcode scanners and receipt printers, the kind of equipment that we have all seen at retail stores being used by cashiers or store managers. You can also go for the integrated POS hardware system that offers you all of the above gear combined and helps you with the comprehensive point-of-sale solution.

Then there are POS software components that make your operations seamless, like the connection between the point of sale and the inventory management system, and the link between the point of sale and your bank where you receive payments.

Using Shopify to sell on social media

With Shopify, it is now extremely convenient to sell on social media, be it Facebook or Instagram. You can connect your Shopify store to your Instagram or Facebook shop. This will allow you to automatically sync the products on Facebook or Insta with the products on your store.

This also helps you find the right marketplaces for your products where your potential buyers might actually be looking for you. Its really cool how well this integrates with Facebook or Insta and your customers can buy from you and complete the transaction on the social media platform itself without having to leave it.

Which famous brands use Shopify?

Although Shopify is often seen as a beginners’ eCommerce platform and once a business establishes itself, it often switches to building its own full-fledged website, however, there are a lot of big brands that decided to continue with Shopify. This is an indicator of the utility and growth capabilities that Shopify provides.

Fitbit, the fitness wearable company runs its eCommerce platform on Shopify. Established in 2007, Fitbit had revenue of $105 million in 2022 and sells a variety of products including smartwatches, trackers, scales, and other accessories.

Hyatt Hotels, the US-based multinational hospitality company also has its website built on Shopify. Redbull the well know energy drinks brand having a revenue of over $1.6 billion is another giant brand using Shopify.


Shopify is a beginner-friendly e-Commerce platform that can be used by any business owner to start building an online presence. It can help you sell online or offline and offers great customizability. It can fulfil the needs of all sizes of businesses. Many big brands started building themselves on Shopify, and some even continue to use it after establishing themselves, which proves how seamless this platform is for all kinds of businesses.


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