How does Shopify work?

This page is designed to answer questions about the technology called Shopify. It is an ecommerce platform that makes it easy to launch an online store, so that you can sell products on the web direct to customers. It’s also designed to easily run their credit cards. If you want to understand the technology in depth, then see this page: What is Shopify

Let’s start with the title question on this page:

How does Shopify work?

Shopify is essentially a web hosting company that makes it easy for you to start an online store. It is consider a cloud-based ecommerce solution. You buy access to a tool that let’s you build and run a web site that can sell you products. All the content you create and the programming that runs the store runs on Shopify’s Internet connected servers. The store can be designed using free or premium templates called Shopify themes. You upload product descriptions, price, photos and product descriptions to the Shopify server and it is displayed in your store using the Shopify theme you have selected to use. A monthly fee is paid by the store owner to rent the server space and tools. A fee is also levied by Shopify on each item you sell — up to 2.9% of the sale price (plus a flat $0.30 cents per sale). This percentage drops slightly if you pay for a higher tier on Shopify.

Here are some additional answers to more commonly asked questions about Shopify:

What is Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus is the top-level Shopify service tier design for enterprise-level stores run by large companies. It features the ability to deploy multi-language versions of a store if you want to operate in different countries in different languages.

How to access a Shopify login?

Shopify store owners can access their store by entering their username and password that they set up when they created their store at the web address: http://[mystore] where [mystore] is replaced by the store name that you set up with your Shopify account. If you add a unique domain name to the store – like then you can access the Shopify login in at the store address as follows:

What are Shopify themes?

No answer to the question: “How does Shopify work” would be complete without a quick explanation of what Shopify themes. A Shopify store is template driven. The layout, colors, and fonts are all defined by standard web technologies including HTML, CSS, Javascript, however, these are all configured by a framework called a Shopify theme. It defines the look and feel of a Shopify store. It is written with a blend of the aforementioned web technologies as well as a technology called LIQUID, which is a templating language that provides the framework for how the theme works.

What can you sell on Shopify?

Pretty much anything. Food items like tea? Yes. Sporting gear and even fishing tackle? Definitely. Even items as obscure as cremation urns or warehouse racking systems. There are limitations on some items like health supplements or tobacco or cannabis. In some cases, you can sell this product on your Shopify store, but you won’t be able to use the Shopify Payments system but instead can use a third-party payment gateway that is configurable in your checkout settings to get around the issue. Here is a full list of prohibited products.

What is Shopify pricing?

Shopify offers several pricing tiers that range from around $10/mo through to several thousand dollars per month. Most store owners chose the basic monthly platform fee of $29/month or $79/month

Learn more about Shopify or get a free 14 day trial here.