Is Shopify a Good Choice for Your Online Store?

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With the number of Shopify retailers surpassing a million in 2020, this online store platform has become increasingly popular with small businesses. Featuring several plan options that provide features such an online store website, payments processing, shipping management and marketing, Shopify is appealing when you want to start selling quickly and maximize your profits. However, you should understand just what you will get, what you'll have to pay and how Shopify integrates with your business when determining if it's the right fit.

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Understanding What Shopify Offers

Shopify is known for being an all-in-one solution for businesses that want to sell their products online, easily conduct secure transactions and benefit from tools for business growth.

For example, you can sign up for a Shopify plan and customize an online store from templates, enter inventory, set up payment methods, handle shipments and market yourself. You can also use analytics tools to track product performance, offer promotions, hire experts from a marketplace and install third-party apps that help with marketing and shipping. In exchange for such features, you pay a monthly plan fee along with various fees for payments, depending on whether they're online, in person or through Shopify Payments.

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Due to the comprehensive packages available, your Shopify store could serve as your main business website and be the main tool you need to operate. However, if you have a standalone business website you'd rather use, you can get embed codes to add Shopify buttons for easy e-commerce integration. Further, the platform offers a point-of-sales solution if you decide to operate a physical store later on.

Exploring Shopify Online Store Plans

Shopify offers three main comprehensive plans that suit a variety of business needs. They all include basics like an online store with staff accounts, 24/7 support, multiple sales channels and inventory locations, and the ability to list unlimited products. They also come with the ability to make shipping labels for a discount, accept payments, sell internationally and integrate with a POS system. There are various packages available.

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  • Basic Shopify ($29 monthly)​: This plan works well for starting out when you only have inventory in a few locations, only need a couple of staff accounts and don't need reporting features. It has fewer global selling features and lower shipping discounts. Fees for online credit transactions are ​2.9 percent plus $0.30​ compared to ​2.7 percent​ for in-person transactions; there's a ​2 percent​ transaction fee when Shopify Payments isn't used.
  • Shopify ($79 monthly)​: This mid-tier plan works well for expanding a small business or if you want reporting capabilities or additional international selling features. You can have ​five​ staff accounts and ​five​ inventory locations. You can also get a higher shipping discount and can use international pricing and domains. Fees are lower at ​2.6 percent plus 30 cents​ for online payments, ​2.5 percent​ for in-person payments and ​1 percent​ when not using Shopify Payments.

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  • Advanced Shopify ($299 monthly)​: This most expensive plan works for large businesses with up to ​15​ staff accounts and ​eight​ inventory locations. It gives you advanced reporting capabilities, third-party shipping rate calculation tools and more options for international pricing. It has the lowest fees of ​2.4 percent plus 30 cents​ for online card payments, ​2.4 percent​ for in-person payments and ​0.5 percent​ transaction fees for non-Shopify Payments transactions.

If you're only interested in integration with a website, you also have the Shopify Lite option to consider for ​$9​ monthly. It comes with most of the basic features of the other plans except that you don't get an actual online store. You can also use this plan for selling at a physical store.

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Consider also​: What You Should Know Before Opening an E-commerce Business

Deciding to Use Shopify

Financially, using Shopify can save you time and money over setting up an online store from scratch, hiring professionals to help and signing up for individual solutions. However, you'll want to consider the features for each plan as well as the fees to decide which fits your business best.

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For example, if you need a complete online store, you might opt for Basic Shopify for the lowest monthly cost and upgrade later on as your online store grows. On the other hand, Shopify Lite might work if you just want to integrate products into your current business website. Also keep in mind that you can deduct your Shopify costs as business expenses come tax time.

To give you a chance to decide whether it's right for you, Shopify gives you a free trial for ​two weeks so you can experiment with the various plans and features.

Consider also​: 6 Surprising Tax Deductions for Freelancers

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