Online Stores Made Easy with Shopify

Long-time readers of this blog will already know that there are many different ways for you to make money online. You can be a freelance writer like me. You can dabble in binary trading or forex. And you can sell both physical and digital products through the Internet too.

It was once true that setting up an e-commerce store was a complex process riddled with confusion and frustration, but that’s not really the case anymore. Just as there is WordPress to make blogging and site management easy, there are great e-commerce tools too. One such example is Shopify. Today’s review will start with an overview of the Shopify product and then we’ll discuss how you can earn great commissions through the Shopify affiliate program too.

What Is Shopify?

The main idea behind Shopify is to make it as easy as possible for you to build and run an online store. They say that the system is “perfect for beginners and experts alike,” because you don’t need any technical experience and it comes with over 100 professional themes.

shopify-sample

There are currently over 50,000 online stores that are powered by Shopify and here are a few of the featured examples. As you can see, the designs are very professional-looking, easily rivaling the online stores that you may see from giant multinational retailers. And just because you are using one of the 100+ templates doesn’t mean you’re stuck with what they give you, because you can customize the look of your website too, changing colors, fonts and so on.

If you want to dig even deeper, you can dive right into the templates and customize them with your own custom HTML or CSS. There’s also the Liquid templating language that’s “both powerful and quick to learn.”

What About Administration?

A great-looking front end for your online store is great, but it doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t have the backend to manage all your transactions and other data. Shopify takes care of that with a user-friendly dashboard reminiscent of what we get with a system like WordPress.

shopify-admin

There is clear navigation along the left sidebar for accessing the different sections, making it easy for you to add your products, complete with name, description, type, vendor, price, compare at price, SKU, fulfillment options and more. It is also through this dashboard that you’ll manage orders, customers and discounts, as well as the website content itself like pages, links, themes and blog posts.

Having a single unified dashboard area where you can not only manage products and customers, but also process payments and set up all your shipping and tax rates makes running your online store a much easier process than it may have been in the past.

How Much Does It Cost?

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial to test drive the system and see if it will fulfill your needs. After that, you have your choice of three main plans. These all come with no setup fee, the ability to use your own domain, and unlimited bandwidth. The real differences are the number of products you can have, the amount of file storage and the transaction fee.

shopify-pricing

The basic plan is $29 a month for 100 products, 1GB of storage and a 2.0% transaction fee. This can get up to $179 per month for unlimited products, unlimited storage and no transaction fee. The $59 professional plan fits in between with 2500 products, 5GB storage and 1.0% transaction fee. You’ll also notice that the discount code engine and real-time carrier shipping are only available on select plans. For people who want to go cheaper, there’s also a $14 starter plan.

Make Money with the Affiliate Program

So, what does this mean for people who aren’t as interested in running their own online stores, but would much rather promote the Shopify product itself to prospective store owners? The Shopify affiliate program appears to be potentially very lucrative.

There are two main payment options:

  1. Bounty: Under this arrangement, you earn 200% per sale as a one-time payment. If someone signs up for the basic plan, for example, you’d earn a one-time commission of $58. If you refer someone who signs up for the unlimited plan, though, that means you get a very juicy commission of $358 for just that one sale.
  2. Lifetime Revenue Share: The alternative is to earn a recurring commission of 20% of the monthly bill from your referrals. This includes not only the regular monthly plan, but also the transaction fees. In the long run, assuming your referral sticks around for at least 9 or 10 months, this arrangement could prove to be the most profitable.

With an increasing number of home-based businesses, as well as traditional brick-and-mortars stores looking to make the jump to the web, Shopify is well positioned to help them set up, open and run their online stores. And as an affiliate, that means you have a great opportunity to earn some referral commissions too.