What is Shopify? What is it used for?

What is Shopify?

You might have heard about it from a friend or a colleague, or it keeps coming up in e-commerce conversations, but you have no idea what it is, and you’re probably a little embarrassed to ask. Let’s change that.

Shopify is a web application that allows its users to create and manage their stores online. It has all the features you need to run an online store; a catalog manager, a collection manager, an email manager, a payment manager, and many other features. For a basic online store, you’re only required to decide what you want your store to look like and then select and apply a theme that resonates with your store’s brand identity.

Shopify has a strong community of users and developers. Developers design and develop varying themes that you can purchase and use in your store. Additionally, Shopify allows developers to alter the look and feel of the theme to meet the customer’s requirements.

Who uses Shopify?

In January 2022, it was estimated that there were approximately 3.74 million Shopify stores. That number has since grown and is expected to grow further as more online stores are created every single day.

Anyone interested in selling goods or services online may need to use Shopify. Below is a list of popular businesses that use Shopify to sell their products or services. I have verified that all the businesses in this list use Shopify.

  1. Kraft Heinz — In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kraft Heinz adapted to survive by selling its products online. Their go-to platform for e-commerce was Shopify.
  2. GymShark — One of the biggest sellers of activewear primarily. They use Shopify to sell their products to customers around the world.
  3. Holland Cooper — A well-known UK brand for women’s accessories.
  4. Rocket Dog — A UK brand that sells happy, stylish footwear

When do you need to use Shopify?

There are several scenarios where Shopify will help you run your business better and more professionally.

  1. You might need to use Shopify if you run a traditional brick-and-mortar business. A Shopify store might help you increase your sales by reaching a far wider and much superior audience. However, keep in mind that not all products can be sold online. Shopify provides a list of restricted items it doesn’t let you trade on its platform.
  2. A Shopify store might be just what you need to go international. You can reach customers in other countries and sell directly to them. Shopify has several payment processing options that let you accept payments in different currencies.
  3. Shopify Plus offers scaling businesses superior reporting features and allows users to handle large order volumes. To scale your business rapidly, you might need to consider one of Shopify’s premium plans.

Is Shopify beginner friendly?

The short answer is yes.

However, it depends on your prior knowledge of other e-commerce systems. If you understand how other platforms like Magento or WooCommerce operate or have a background in content management systems like WordPress, your sail on Shopify will be smooth.

If you are completely green, there will be a learning curve. Depending on your level of commitment, it will take you a while to figure out how the system works. It takes a few days for some people (those dedicating a lot of time to learning), while it takes a few weeks to a month for others (those doing it part-time).

If you do not have the time to learn how to build your store, you can always hire a developer to do it for you. It can take a day or two, is affordable, and saves you time to build the actual business. Go to Fiverr, Upwork, or any other Freelancing site to find a Shopify developer, or Hire Me.

What are the benefits of using Shopify?

Why use Shopify, you ask?

Let’s begin with reliability. Shopify is hosted on a cloud network. This means that it doesn’t rely on one physical server to run. In the event of a flash sale or black Friday, a cloud network has internal systems that scale the resources available to your store to prevent downtimes. Your customers will always be happy.

Advanced admin. The Shopify admin offers detailed reports on the activities of your customers. At a glance, you can tell the number of customers logged on the website, new orders, average order value, total sales, and so much more. These metrics are good for measuring the performance of your business and identifying areas for improvement.

Fraud protection. Shopify’s advanced security features protect your online business from payment fraud. It detects and prevents fraudsters from hijacking your payments or your store. When you receive orders from people with a history of defrauding sellers through chargebacks, Shopify will inform you that the buyer is high-risk.

Shopify allows one to install apps that help drive up conversions. These apps are developed by independent developers and are available on the Shopify app store. Some are free, while you have to pay to use others. Whichever the case, apps are a crucial part of a store’s success. You simply need to figure out which ones work for your business.

What are the downsides of using Shopify?

The biggest disadvantage of using Shopify is that it doesn’t let you own the data in your store. It will show you reports but will not let you export all the data. If you migrate to a proprietary system or other e-commerce platforms like Magento, you will have to start all over again.

There is a learning curve that can deter your growth as a newbie on the platform. It can affect your launch date if you are on a budget. To counter this, start preparing for the launch at least a month in advance to allow yourself sufficient time to learn the ropes of building your store.

It is a subscription service, meaning you have to pay a certain amount of money monthly. Failing to pay results in the closure of your store. This can be a problem if you are not financially stable.

Should I sell on Shopify?

Short answer: Absolutely!

Running a successful business is an uphill task. It requires grit, patience, and resilience. You have to be willing to put a lot on the line. The pros of running your business on Shopify far outweigh the cons. The subscription fees should be a small price compared to the success you might achieve through the store.


Selling on Shopify does not guarantee business success. Immeasurable work and time must go into building a successful business. With the right attitude and mindset, you can achieve incredible success.

Do you have what it takes?

All the best!

Duncan Kishira

Software engineer cum eCommerce entrepreneur and writer. Professional Shopify dropshipping store developer (5 years of experience). I share the knowledge I've acquired through years of practice and also offer professional services on this website.

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