Starting an online store is an exciting process, but building an easy-to-use website can be a struggle if you don’t have coding experience or the budget to hire a programming team. That’s why many entrepreneurs and established businesses are turning to Shopify Marketplace and saving thousands of dollars plus many hours building a digital storefront. Here is a closer look at how this platform can help your e-commerce site get off the ground with less turbulence.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that can make it easier to sell on your own customizable storefront to quickly list your inventory, manage payments, and ship the items. You can also integrate into third-party marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Walmart.
This platform offers various selling tools and apps that may not be available if you create a store using WordPress and similar platforms.
You have the ability to sell products that you produce or ship manually. Dropshipping businesses can track inventory and automate shipments at ten locations. Members can also enjoy up to 88% shipping discounts and auto-calculated sales tax calculations.
Here are some ways the Shopify marketplace can make it easier to run an online business.
Online Selling Tools
Customers can enjoy the following standard seller tools:
- Fully customizable online store
- Customized marketing automation
- Unlimited products
- Discount codes
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Collaborator accounts (i.e., designers, developers, marketing experts)
- 24/7 live chat support
- Over 60 analytics tools
Many beginners and small businesses enjoy Shopify’s customizable templates that help you create a layout that rivals the big corporations. You don’t need to hire a professional to set up your store. You can add or drag content blocks and shopping tools effortlessly. Further, no design or technical experience is necessary to build an appealing storefront.
The templates have responsive, mobile-friendly capabilities, and you can browse industry-specific examples to get ideas.
Shopify Marketplace Connect
This core feature lets you sync on supported marketplaces to save time by not having to manage listings on multiple platforms, which can result in inventory discrepancies, canceled orders, and poor seller ratings.
Some of the Marketplace Connect benefits include:
- Unlimited order imports from external marketplaces to Shopify
- List Shopify products on multiple marketplaces
- The first 50 Shopify-synced orders are free each month (then 1% up to $99/month)
Depending on the plan, you can enjoy a maximum shipping discount from 77% to 88%, along with printable shipping labels to save on postage. Mid-tier and premium subscribers can enjoy USPS small-package discounts and up to $200 in shipping insurance.
The built-in payment processor has competitive pricing for domestic and international credit card purchases. All transactions are eligible for Shopify’s fraud analysis, which can provide you with financial protection from bad buyers.
Third-party platforms can also collect payments, but Shopify may charge a premium from 0.5% to 2% in addition to the third-party fees. Your fee amount depends on which plan you pick.
You can outsource sales tax collections through Shopify Tax, which personalizes the liability for each buyer. The service tracks your tax liability by state so you know when you may need to file tax-reporting documents. It’s easy to designate tax-exempt products as well.
This service is free to all users for the first $100,000 in monthly sales and then 0.35% when sales tax is calculated.
All plans let you build an international presence by listing products in up to three markets. The service handles currency conversion, local payments, language translation, and custom web addresses to maintain a professional appearance.
Three different plans are available. You can enjoy a three-day free trial and pay just $1 for your first month before choosing the best tier for your business.
- Basic: $39 monthly or $348 yearly ($29/monthly)
- Shopify: $105 monthly or $948 yearly ($95/monthly)
- Advanced: $399 monthly or $3,588 yearly ($299/monthly)
You will enjoy a 25% discount by choosing an annual plan instead of paying month-to-month. Additional fees can apply for additional apps that you may integrate into your storefront or sell across multiple platforms.
Below is a closer look at the membership perks with each subscription tier.
This entry-level account is ideal for single-user businesses and startups. It doesn’t offer additional staff accounts who have the ability to manage product pages and customer details. However, you can add unlimited collaborators where designers, developers, and marketing experts have limited access to provide insights that you and additional staff can implement.
Other featured benefits include:
- Customizable website, marketing campaigns, and Shopify apps
- Ten inventory locations
- Domestic and international online selling
- Shopify POS in-store selling
- Standard analytics
- Up to 77% shipping discounts
- Fraud analysis
- Free first 50 Shopify-synced orders per month (then 1% up to $99/month)
This plan and all plans let you sell on multiple platforms, including Google, TikTok, Amazon, eBay, and other niche marketplaces or social media channels.
The mid-tier Shopify plan includes the Basic tier perks and the following additions:
- Five additional staff accounts
- Access to customer’s personally identifiable information
- Up to 88% shipping discounts
- USPS small package discounts
- Up to $200 in shipping insurance (requires Shopify Payments and shipping labels)
- Reduced Shopify Payments transaction fees
Consider this plan when you have multiple employees managing the store or to save on shipping expenses.
This plan is ideal when you have a high business volume and want to pay more upfront to get the lowest platform fees. It’s also your best option when you need more than five staff accounts.
- Up to 15 additional staff accounts
- Up to 88% savings on shipping
- Enhanced 24/7 live chat support
- Custom reports and analytics
- Up to 10x checkout capacity (perfect for Black Friday and limited-time sales)
- Third-party calculated shipping rates
- Lowest Shopify Payments transaction fees
- Estimate duties and import taxes for international customers
Is Shopify Marketplace Worth It?
Shopify is a versatile platform that helps many businesses reach more customers and spend less time with website management. Here are a few positive and negative customer reviews to help you decide if Shopify can help your business.
Syume says, “For me, Shopify has turned the process of launching a new e-comm project from a six-month, tens of thousands of dollars spent on programmers, or deal to something I can do on a whim over the weekend myself. That gives you the flexibility to prove a concept before expanding and investing huge amounts into more custom solutions.”
CindyLouWho_2 says, “It’s popular because it is easy for newbies to set up. You can sell without having a coder on board, and there are lots of apps to add functionality.”
CasketBuddy says, “The main negatives I find with Shopify are a reliance on 3rd party apps for a lot of functionality (same is true of WordPress/Woo though) and features such as calculating taxes and customs fees locked behind the highest payment tier.”
Usernames_suck_ok says, “Because Shopify is more well-known, a lot of apps are made for it and work with it first or exclusively. With Shopify, apps are pretty essential, especially if you want to run a store that brings in well over six figures a year, but they will make the cost of your store go up. You do have to be careful about what you sell on Shopify; you can’t sell just anything. I’ve read stories about Shopify taking down stores and then not telling you why or having an issue with the types of products you sell.”
Shopify Pros and Cons
Here are the positives and negatives of using this e-commerce platform to run your online store.
- Easy setup process and customizable templates
- Integrates with third-party marketplaces and social media
- Handles payments, sales tax, and up to 10 inventory locations
- Shipping discounts
- Can sell locally, domestically, and online
- Monthly plans can be expensive, with few sales
- Optional apps increase store costs
- Payment processing fees and sale tax transactions incur extra fees
- It’s a competitive marketplace
- Three-day free trial might be too short for some businesses
Shopify is one of the easiest ways to make an engaging and dynamic storefront that also sells on third-party selling apps with a few button clicks. Its ease of use and an enormous selection of seller tools are why it’s a go-to platform for stores of any size. You can significantly benefit if you don’t have design or coding experience and don’t have a large enough budget to hire a professional right now.