What is Shopify and What Does Shopify Do | Easy Guide of 2024

June 28, 2024
13 Minutes
Modified on:
June 28, 2024
Written by:
Swati Bucha
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Shopify is a user-friendly eCommerce platform that helps you build your online store and sell products through a streamlined dashboard. As a Shopify merchant, you can build a modern online store and sell your products and services on various social media sites, seller marketplaces, and other websites via text, email, and chat. 

In-person selling is also supported through Shopify’s built-in point-of-sale (POS) for pop-up shops, retail stores, market sales, and more. However, what is Shopify exactly? Is it merely an eCommerce platform for buying and selling, or is it something more? Let us take you through all the details in this guide, explaining to you what does Shopify do, its benefits, and more!

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) sales platform that offers numerous subscription plans. It offers 3 core plans, which start at $29 and go to $299. Shopify's standard plans support a branded online store and other relevant in-person and online selling tools.

All Shopify plans to provide a full suite of business management tools to manage your sales. These include essentials such as product sourcing, payment processing, sales and inventory tracking, shipping, customer accounts, marketing, and reporting. You can also easily expand your Shopify toolkit with hundreds of other apps.

What Does Shopify Do?

Shopify centralizes your product or service data, customers, and other operational tasks in a single system that efficiently connects to all your sales channels. Once the essentials are in place, the platform makes it easier for you to explore and expand into new product lines and sales channels.

Here is a step-by-step look at what Shopify does from the moment you join the platform.

1. Sign Up for a Free 14-day Trial

You can use and analyze whether Shopify is a good choice for you within two weeks. The platform offers a 14-day free trial and does not require your credit card upfront. All you need to do is sign in and start venturing into online sales right away. 

2. Connect Your Sales Channels

The Shopify account setup wizard connects your initial sales channels. You can change and expand these channels at any time. 

You can also connect your social media accounts in the setup wizard if you want to sell through those platforms.

3. Find Items to Sell or Enter Your Product Data

Enter the relevant item details, pricing, and images of the products you make. You may also visit Shopify's Handshake wholesale network and dropship vendors to find various other products to sell.

Many sellers source products themselves or combine items they make with related dropship products to offer an efficient and reliable collection. You can also try your hand at such dropshipping businesses with Shopify.

4. Set Up Your Payments

You can activate Shopify Payments with a single click to start accepting payments immediately. You can also connect your own payment processor to your dashboard. Shopify supports more than 100 external payment processors. Check out the best credit card processing companies to help you choose the right one.

5. Set Up Shipping and Taxes

Set up your shipping methods and fees under the Settings tab. Don't forget to enter your applicable sales tax information. You can start selling your products and services now while building your Shopify online store. You can also sell on various social media and marketplace channels, depending on your requirements. All you need to do is use the Buy Button tool with the POS card reader.

6. Set Up Your Online Store

If you want to sell through your own branded website, your final step is setting up your Shopify online store. The platform simplifies the process with an assortment of plug-and-play themes. Most of these themes require a bit of setup and added content to align with your online business.

7. Process, Ship and Track Your Shopify Orders

You can manage everything within your Shopify dashboard once customers start placing orders. Shopify has several built-in tools that simplify setting up efficient workflows. These tools enable you to manage orders, drop ship products, and other virtual items like e-books and music downloads. Shopify automatically emails you and the customer with the order status and shipment tracking information.

You are ready to explore Shopify’s sales-driving features once your setup and workflow essentials are complete. These include email marketing, abandoned cart remarketing, and blogging.

Who Uses Shopify?

Most of Shopify’s features are designed for online sales, making the platform best suited for businesses that:

  • Sell Products and Services: Shopify offers several inventory management tools to help you run a high-volume eCommerce business with ease. However, appointment booking is not one of its strengths, so you may need other platforms to schedule and manage appointments effectively.
  • Ship Various Products to Customers: Shopify Shipping offers several features that are well-suited to online sellers. The platform also allows for in-store pickup. However, if you have a brick-and-mortar shop, you might consider another platform that better integrates with physical store operations.
  • Use Shopify’s Built-in Payment Processor: Shopify charges a transaction fee for users who choose a different payment processor, meaning you pay both Shopify and your payment provider. However, if you want to choose your own payment processor, you may consider building your website on another platform instead.

Prohibited Businesses on Shopify

Shopify is a legally recognized platform that prohibits a few types of businesses, such as: 

  • Investment, credit, money, or legal services
  • Virtual currency services
  • Adult content
  • Gambling
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Telemedicine or telehealth
  • Telemarketing
  • Extended warranties
  • Multi-marketing companies
  • Products that make unverified health claims
  • Cannabis, tobacco, e-cigarettes, and online pharmacies
  • Firework
  • Firearms or firearm parts

What is Included in Shopify?

Shopify offers you several tools and techniques to enhance your online business. These include:

  • Customizable Themes: Shopify offers free online store themes with built-in support for animations, which often include dynamic scrolling and hover effects.
  • AI Features: Shopify Magic includes AI tools that help generate on-brand content, set up auto-reply, and write product descriptions.
  • Access to Mobile Shoppers: The Shopify app allows you to reach mobile shoppers, personalize your mobile store, and extend your online brand with customizable collections, categories, and navigation features.
  • Checkout Options: Shopify aims to be the world’s highest-converting one-click checkout platform, trusted by the biggest brands globally.
  • A Custom Domain: You can access and host your custom domain on Shopify per your choice or business requirements. Select and host your respective domain with Shopify. You will have the full control and configuration to customize your products, services, and the website easily.

Shopify Email Hosting 

Shopify also offers services associated with email hosting. While the eCommerce platform excels at providing tools for building and managing online stores, it does not directly offer email hosting services

This means that store owners who want a custom email address (like info@yourstore.com) must depend on third-party email hosting services. These services enhance the professional appearance of business communications and provide additional functionalities for efficient business operations.

While the domain for all online stores can be managed through Shopify, the email services linked to those domains are handled externally. This setup allows you to run your online store efficiently, but you need to rely on other providers for specialized email services.

Neo vs. Shopify Email Hosting

Integrating third-party email hosting services like Zoho Mail, Google Workspace, or Microsoft 365 with Shopify can be complex. You may face challenges such as domain verification issues, email service interruptions, and integration complexities. Neo is an excellent alternative to Shopify email hosting. It offers all services under a single platform, which simplifies the process of setting up a domain name for email hosting.

The process involves:

  1. Visiting Neo's official website: Access Neo's website to start the process.
  2. Sign Up: Click on the 'Sign up' option.
  3. Selecting 'Need a New Domain Option': Select this option if you do not already have a domain.
  1. Choosing a Domain Name: Select the desired domain name for your official email.
  1. Creating a Customer Account: Register your customer account with Neo.
  2. Creating Your First Mailbox: Set up your initial business email address.
  3. Receiving a Free One-Page Website: Leverage the benefits of a complimentary one-page site alongside your business email domain.
  4. Making Payment and Starting Use: Complete the entire payment process and use your domain-based email.


Shopify is an excellent, trusted, and reliable eCommerce platform that boasts ease of use and efficient connections across different sales channels. While it has some drawbacks, such as simple blogging features, limited store customization, and basic SEO tools, these are overshadowed by the platform’s extensive selling opportunities and relevant business management tools. 

Startups and small businesses may never find a platform that beats Shopify in terms of sales reach, simplicity, growth potential, and price. If you are an entrepreneur looking to start selling your products and services, Shopify is the platform for you. Make sure you understand what is Shopify and what it does before venturing into your online business. This enables you to boost more revenue with increased sales every day. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Shopify good for all beginners?

Yes, Shopify is an excellent platform for beginners. It has a user-friendly interface and offers extensive support to its customers. This makes it easy for you to set up and manage an online store without having technical expertise. You can sell products quickly and efficiently after you know what is Shopify capable of doing through its respective tools and techniques.

2. What does Shopify do?

Shopify is a renowned eCommerce platform that allows you to create, customize, and manage your online store. Shopify provides tools for various product listings, inventory management, and payment processing, making it an all-in-one solution for running your online business.

3. Can I sell my products and services on Shopify?

Absolutely! Shopify supports selling all kinds of products and services, including physical goods, digital downloads, subscriptions, and services. It is a versatile platform suitable for various types of online businesses.

4. How much does Shopify usually cost?

Shopify offers different pricing plans to fit your business needs. The basic plan starts at $29 per month, offering essential features for small businesses. Higher-tier plans provide more advanced features, such as reporting tools and lower transaction fees. A 14-day free trial is available to explore its features.

5. Where can I sell my products with Shopify?

You can sell your products on Shopify through various channels, including your online store, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, eCommerce marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, and in-person with Shopify POS. The platform allows you to reach customers wherever they are, online or offline.

6. How good is Shopify’s customer support?

Shopify receives positive reviews for its extensive customer support, which is available 24/7 via live chat and email for Shopify Lite users and 24/7 phone support for users on paid plans.

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