I’m writing this post because Shopify is offering me, as an Affiliate, the possibility to win a $2,500 prize and any chance I have to place my Shopify link on my website, I have to take, right? Right?
Now, really, I think there is a great new program that Shopify offers, which makes sense if you are an Amazon Affiliate and wanted to also sell your own products.
Easy Do It Yourself e-Commerce
A certain number of large e-Commerce stores have had problems with security issues over the years and, at some point, the payment processing industry decided to add quite stringent rules upon any e-Commerce website owner to ensure better security. This is called PCI DSS Compliance.
Unless you are an expert at security on the Internet, making use of a system like Shopify makes a lot of sense. To be PCI DSS Compliant and be authorized to get credit card numbers on your website you need:
- Safe HTML, CSS
- Safe URL and Query String
- All connections have to be using encryption (SSL)
- Your website must have a signed and verified SSL certificate
- Your Server must have a Firewall (most of your server services must be made inaccessible)
- The Database must be using a strong password
- The user registration (if there is such) must ensure a strong password
If there is anything in that list you don’t very clearly understand about, I strongly suggest against you having your own e-Commerce system until you can afford to hire people like me for thousands of $$$.
But really, many people have e-Commerce stores and are making a really nice yearly income in the 7 digits with just Shopify. They never spent any money creating their own e-Commerce system and they are way more successful than many who do have such an e-Store.
Shopify takes care of three main things for you:
PCI DSS Compliance
I think this is the biggest hurdle for most everyone. This is the difference between:
- doing nearly nothing (register a Shopify account), and
- spending a long time and a lot of money to get your own e-Commerce store going (get your own server, SSL certificate, PCI DSS Compliance certificate, etc.)
Also, Shopify keeps up to date with many payment methods. They accept many Credit Cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover) out of the box and if you have a brick and mortar store as well, you can use their facility in your store through your iPad or the Shopify POS. So you can grow your sales online and combine your sales offline to reduce your payment processing costs.
Ready to Go Website
You don’t have to create your own website with WordPress or another CMS. Shopify comes with a ready-made environment including a website and a blog on top of your e-Commerce Store. You can choose from many different templates and do a few small tweaks to get things going within 1 or 2 hours.
If you’re so inclined, you could do some edits of the HTML and CSS. I have a page about that: HTML and CSS, The Basics so You Become Dangerous, which is not specific to Shopify but will give you pointers on how to change various parameters to better tailor your website to your product.
Shopify Own Domain
Whenever you create your online store with Shopify, you are encouraged to purchase your own Domain Name. There are three good possibilities in that regard:
Purchase Domain Name with Shopify
Shopify is a Domain Name Registrar and as such it allows you to get a domain name through their own services.
If you do not have any other website, this is certainly the easiest as they will automatically setup your Domain Name to work with your e-Commerce website.
Use Existing Domain Name with Shopify
You may use an existing Domain Name with your Shopify account. You skip on the deal they offer, but at the same time, if you manage multiple Domain Names, you may want to have them all in one place making that management easier, in general.
In this case, you are responsible to enter the necessary information so your domain points to your Shopify e-Commerce front page. In most cases, it is going to be a Shopify domain name you redirect to with a CNAME. They may also provide a set of IP addresses to point your domain to. (Third Party Domain Name Setup Shopify Documentation.)
Use a Sub-Domain Name with Shopify
Do you already have a WordPress website with your own Domain Name? In this situation, I suggest that you use a sub-domain instead of purchasing a new domain. Many people will use shop as the sub-domain. For example, if I were to have my own e-Commerce store on Shopify, I could use:
This looks really clean and it is very simple. Setting up a sub-domain is generally very simple. Your Registrar can help you with that if you can’t find your way through it. In general, it is setting up the Domain Name Server to include that sub-domain. Shopify will give you the equivalent name(s) (used with CNAME) or IP addresses you want to use to make it all work. (Third Party Domain Name Setup Shopify Documentation.)
Large Selection of Ready to Go Extensions
The Shopify platform allows for software developers and companies to create Shopify Apps that one can use to enhance their store. Many extensions are free or close to free. Some come with a one time purchase payment (like $5 to $50 for most). A few come with a monthly payment if you want to continue using them.
Those Shopify Apps allow you to do all sorts of things that you see at many other stores. For example, you have a plugin to zoom in the images of the products you have for sale. As a programmer, I know how to build such a feature, but it would still take me several days to make it work smoothly. On the other hand, anyone can click on that Shopify extension, change a parameter or two, and off they go. This would take you 2 minutes to get this feature. If you are selling things like clothing, computer hardware, beautiful candles, having large professional pictures that people can check out with a zooming lens is a big plus for your store.
My example was about a front end extension, which I think is the most important part of your store at first. Shopify Apps are not limited to the front end, though. They have extensions to help you with your Accounting, Shipping & Fulfillment, Email Marketing. This is just like with WordPress. The number of options you have from day one is staggering.
Actually, the Amazon feature I mentioned earlier is a Shopify App.
Not convinced yet? Shopify also has a recurring payment feature. Say you have many educational materials that you want to offer on your website to people who register with you. This is doable with Shopify.
This is probably one of the best ways of making a lot of money on the Internet. A Recurring Fee means that each month you know you are to get an income. For example, Frank Kern, a famous Internet Marketer, offers you access to his knowledge, research, testing, etc. for a misleading $397/mo. Now, say he was able to get about 1,000 people to register for this privileged access. This would represent a gross income of $397,000/mo. Doesn’t that sound good to you?
In your case, the recurring fee could also be an auto-refill. Say you’re selling incenses and you want to offer an automatic resupplied each month to your customers. That way they always have proper stock and keep the nice Lavender or Jasmine scent at their place.
In the 1900’s, some people would produce a monthly or even quarterly newsletter and you could get your own copy for a small fee. In those days, these would be paper-based letters sent to a bunch of people. The author would advertise in various ways like in newspaper and on television. One good marketing trick here, they would also ask their existing registered readers to share their newsletter with friends and colleges in order for those people to get enticed and register to receive their own copy!
Reduced Shipping Costs
I think this is another one of those things that I think is important. Shopify is big and as a result, it can ensure proper security for your Online Store.
The price of shipping can also be reduced when your company ships a lot because it makes it profitable to pick up from that company. As a result, shipping companies drop their price for you as a big thank you. This is one of those things that would not be possible for you if you had your own e-Commerce Store.
About The Amazon Extension
As I mentioned earlier in this post, Shopify offers an Amazon Extension now.
Amazon is the biggest platform in the World selling goods over the Internet. I’m pretty sure many others are trying to compete but people just go to Amazon. So when you have a store of your own, it is actually difficult to get people to come to your little store and purchase from you because customers like the convenience Amazon.com brings to them.
Don’t get me wrong, there are reasons why you would want your own store. The stock management when working with Amazon.com (FBA) can be complicated. Having your own Shopify store can simply that dramatically. One potential drawback with Amazon is that one last item. They won’t push it out for you. That means you are likely to have to sell it really cheap or you’ll have to keep it for yourself.
However, many people have liked to have both: their own store, which can be great to make higher margins and have specials for your followers and discard end of stock (as mentioned in my previous paragraph.) However, that increases the management nightmare because now you have to manage two stocks: Shopify’s and Amazon’s.
The Amazon Made Easy from Shopify simplifies all of that:
Shopify manages your own and Amazon’s inventory on one single website.
This allows for purchases from either your Shopify store or Amazon on your entire stock.
This is called multiple sales channel managed from one place. Shopify also supports Pinterest, Facebook Messenger, eBay… At the time of writing, they have a total of 21 Apps. to help you gain traffic from all those sources.
Update Products in a Single Location
When attempting to sell a product on multiple websites, you have to go on each one of them to update their pricing, quantity, descriptions, photos, and other details.
With this new feature from Shopify, you do all of these modifications at Shopify and the Amazon version of those products gets updated automatically saving you a lot of time.
Reach Amazon’s Customers
In other words, you can reach a large number of potential Amazon’s customers directly from your Shopify store without having to go to Amazon.com all the time.
As a side note, Shopify collects data from your customers. You can generate reports about those customers and see how things are evolving. Whether you get more from your blog or from Amazon.com and then decide which one to post the most.
Okay, I got a Shopify Store, Now What?
Marketing! Marketing! Marketing!
You need to send people to your store so they purchase your products.
Note that Shopify has amazing resources in that regard. I suggest you read them, watch their video, apply what you learn to your own store. You’ll do good. You will receive emails and see links as you register and work your way through your Shopify store so I don’t put a link here (because also such links tend to die after a while.)
With Your Niche Website
Assuming you already have a Niche Website we decent traffic (a.k.a. 80,000 or more per month) then having a store is an excellent way of increasing your income. Instead of sending people through affiliate links, you can now direct them to your e-Store and sell them your products directly.
With your own e-Store, you get a larger percent of the total pie. Some people make over 60% of the sale price in return. Assuming you sell goods of $300 to $10,000 a piece, that’s commissions of $180 to $6,000 per sale. Of course, with $10,000 products, you won’t get hundreds of sales on a daily basis. Yet, even just one per week would most certainly make your bank account look pretty good, wouldn’t it?
For example, your Niche Website could be about outdoors and one of your pages has great success. On that page, you talk about Kayaking on various rapids in Canada and the US. Did you know that could be drop shipping Kayak boats? High-quality Kayak boats are several thousands of dollars apiece. Do the math. You just need to sell one or two a week. It will be so much easier to reach your numbers than having to sell 1,000 towels. Believe me, I know!
With Paid Advertising
If you’d like to have fast results and you don’t already have a Niche Website with a lot of traffic, the next best thing is to use advertising.
I’ve heard of many examples in that realm but never experienced a fabulous return myself, so I’m certainly not the best at it. The concept is simple, though. Something that sales well should sell to between 1% and 3% of the people that you send to your website. However, with stealth targeting, which Facebook offers since they have so many options you can choose from to generate leads, the return on investment can increase dramatically.
The first example I heard of is about a watch. Imagine selling watches with a theme such as a watch with butterflies in the background. Such an item is likely for women and specifically those who like butterflies. Send these women to your page using Facebook ads and you will start seeing sales coming through quickly. The Facebook filters will be set to Women and various groups in link with butterflies because a woman who is part of such a group is more likely to purchase your item.
Another example I heard of is about items in trend. This can be more complicated strategically because you end up having to follow trends and source new products all the time. However, you can easily end up selling hundreds if not thousands of items very quickly. Personally, I have a hard time with the concept of a trend because I’m not myself a big spender. Therefore I don’t have that ability to detect what will be in trend. Note that this strategy I heard of a while back. Stores often do that with such items that then place near the cashiers. When you are about to walk about you see that object in trend so you are much more likely to get a sample.
With Other Methods of Marketing
I wrote another page about 12 ways of promoting you Niche Website. This includes Niche Websites (i.e. a website with content like this page) and advertising as I just talked about.
You will also find Social Media, Email Marketing and Signature, Forums, and Link Building. All are viable, although really the two that are the most reliable are: Niche Website Traffic and Paid Advertising as mentioned above.
I never Heard of Shopify Before, Is It Really Safe and Reliable?
Yes and Yes.
Shopify, like many modern Internet companies, uses a cloud to support their customers. In that regard, you really have nothing to do on your end. Whether you get one customer a month or one million in just one hour, Shopify will automatically scale your store accordingly, at no extra charge (Well… They get a % on all your sales! so the costs for scaling to your traffic like this is covered just fine.)
If you’re new to the world of Internet Affiliate and Internet Marketing, it can be understood that you never heard of Shopify before. They market their services to people who are likely to use it, not just everyone. Generally, the store owners do not mention that they are using Shopify, although some do because the brand is also quite big already and it can boost confidence since Shopify has security features that an Acme company is less likely to offer. Especially, they have ways to prevent various scams.
To give you a better idea, the store system has been available since 2006. The company was formed in 2004. The owners took a little time before releasing a version third parties could use for their own stores as they first wanted to test with their own idea, which was a store selling snowboarding equipment. The reason for having created an e-Commerce system was because any existing system at the time was not really satisfactory to the owners.
Three years later, in June 2009, they released the Shopify App Store so other programmers and Software Companies could add extensions to Shopify.
In 2010, Shopify started working on Mobile Apps. In 2013 they purchase a company in order to extend their mobile reach.
All of these things allowed Shopify a really fast growth and they received an award for that. Finally, in 2015 they went public with a successful IPO raising over $131 million. Around that time Amazon closed their Amazon Webstore feature offering their users to switch to Shopify. This offered another quick growth to Shopify.
Now the company enjoys powering over 600,000 online stores with more than one million people working on these website stores and some USD $55 billion in sold goods.
Believe me. Nothing is 100% perfect, but if you wanted to have an e-Commerce store ready in just 1 or 2 hours, this is the platform you need. Just go to Shopify and create your store right now. You won’t regret it. The scary part is you are actually more likely to have fun creating your store with Shopify. The other e-Commerce platforms I tested: Drupal and WordPress, are a real pain in comparison. If you just have one e-Book or a software for download, you’re probably just fine. Otherwise, you’ll run into so many problems in comparison. Also, Shopify has friendly support staff which will make sure that your store is good to go at all time. I can’t stress out how much difference that makes: 100% on your own with your WordPress website or support all the way to sales with Shopify. Which would do you really think you should choose?!
Can I Hire You to Help with Technical Stuff?
Although I’m always pretty busy, I like to help people get things done the way they like it be. Shopify is already loaded with incredible features, yet once in a while, you’d like some specialization that is not offered out of the box. Feel free to contact me and we can discuss what you’d like to do and I’ll get a quote for the work. I’m a full stack developer, among other things, so it’s easy for me to get such things done quickly.
Please also check out my Disclaimer. There is also a link to the right of the post.