Shopping behaviour is changing day by day.
People are becoming more familiar with digital solutions like online payments or social media shopping posts, that’s why the global E-commerce sales are expected to be reaching $4.2 trillion by the end of 2021.
Therefore, the trend has required even most traditional physical stores shifting their catalogs to online for better revenue. But, if you’re still wondering which online marketplace with an affordable budget to get started with, consider Shopify.
We know how hard it is to run a business by yourself, especially when you have just little budgets and not much experience with this whole online marketplace thing. Thus, this article will show you how to start on Shopify with no money (or just a very little), but still maximize the ability of Shopify’s multi-features.
Get to know Shopify.
One of the leading E-commerce marketplaces in the world, Shopify is supporting 1,7M merchants from everywhere making money through the platform and its solutions.
The number is still growing fast yearly, which proves how much potential Shopify could perform to help online businesses. Indeed, no matter what you are selling or which business sector you are in, there will still be a chance for you to sell your things on Shopify marketplace.
But why Shopify but not anything else?
1. No technical skills required to get started.
Not everyone is tech-savvy when it comes to online store setting up, especially when you’re new to the internet and haven’t got too much budget for a whole technical team.
Shopify offers you various ready-made templates that could immediately turn into your beautiful shopfront without any coding or designing action. Of course, some have fees, but there are free ones that you could start customizing from there, not from scratch.
And that’s the first and main reason why you can start on Shopify with little to no money.
2. User-friendly interface.
Since everything was designed for even the least technical-minded people to begin with, you can easily take actions, try out all the features, preview before publishing and re-do any settings at any time, no pressure.
Not to mention that the platform is totally lightweight, which helps boost the effectiveness for both editing process and selling process.
3. Wide variety of selling solutions.
Starting business on Shopify with no money is easier since you can get free access to over 3,000 eCommerce apps. This could simplify your selling process to the max.
Quite similar to themes, you can sort out your desired solutions based on product categories or your way to sell, like are you trying to launch, to grow, or to market your store?… There are always suitable services for your needs.
4. It’s famous.
For sure the platform is popular, but how to take advantage of it and start on Shopify with (little) to no money?
Even the biggest companies seek databases everyday, so does Shopify. The more famous Shopify gets, the more data they could provide you to help build your online store better, for example:
- Increase personalization of your store.
- More accurate advertising for an effective marketing campaign.
- With more data, Shopify could improve its features for better business support.
- Having a large size of customers makes selling your products or services easier.
5. Low startup costs.
With multi powerful business solutions and a huge size marketplace in one platform, Shopify allows you to start for free in 14 days, then only charge from $29 to maintain the business.
Shopify has transparently cleared out all the details that you can have in pricing plans. And since nearly 2,500 active websites are currently selling through the platform, you can tell that it’s totally worth it .
How to start on Shopify with no money.
Selling online is surely not as easy as it looks. However there are always tips to have a strong kick-start at a little cost on Shopify, which I will show you how throughout this article.
#1. Prepare yourself a plan.
A business plan is the key to your store success, no matter what you’re selling. It assists you in running your company, and keeps you won’t fall off the track during the process from beginning to running your company.
The benefits of having a business plan
- Organize your business ideas: Whether you’re just testing the water around or already have a retail store, writing down everything in a structure will help you arrange ideas and define what is your final objective to achieve.
- Set up and keep track of your goals: Whenever you feel distracted or overwhelmed, a pre-made plan will let you overview all the targets from the beginning, therefore help you organize the upcoming tasks easier.
- Manage your resources: Know how much you have and where you want to spend it in advance to avoid wasting money. Otherwise, in case you want to find investors, a detailed budget breakdown will help in convincing them to join your business.
- Manage risks to scale up easier: A good business plan will help spot out all the weak points that you might have met while running a business. And when you already prepare for the mistakes, you could reduce the chance of losing too much money.
9 Elements should be included in your business plan
- Description of your business. What is your product/ service and what makes it more special among others?
- Define the goals. Can’t go far if you don’t know where to go. Set your target in advance and later you will find out what to do to reach the goal.
- Know the potential. Why did you come up with this business idea, and will the business help customers to solve their problems?
- Your target market. What type of customers will be interested in your products? Where could you find them?
- Marketing and Sales strategy. Your marketing plan to reach customers. Besides advertising, are there any other methods to promote your business? And how much will you spend on these activities?
- Your expected revenues. If you’re currently running a business somewhere, write down your current sales, then plan ahead your projected financial state.
- Your teammates. How many people will be involved in your business, and what are their roles and responsibilities?
- Additional tools. Will you need any extra services to run your business or handle everything manually on your own?
- Partnerships. In order to expand your store, partners are necessary. What are qualities to look for in a partnership?
Those are essential factors that every business plan should have. But keep in mind that later your plan will change according to your business size expansion.
#2. Choose your thing to sell.
If you want to start on Shopify with no money, then picking the right item to sell is important. By choosing your niche carefully from the beginning, you can avoid lots of unwanted issues happening to other aspects of your business, for example logos, website layouts, branded guidelines, advertising, etc.
So first, you could start by analyzing your target market. What kind of item is trendy at the moment? Is it suitable for your budget? Will it solve your customers’ problems?
Remember that, Shopify has millions of merchants and you might not be the first and only one to sell any type of item, so don’t be afraid of competitors. Try focusing on your quality and service to win customers instead.
Also, here are some advises:
1. Market research.
In order to cut down your options, choose an industry to get started with. Then ask yourself:
- Do you like art, clothing, accessories, tech gadgets, health, beauty or food & beverages…?
- What kind of goods in the industry is your favorite? Would you like to sell them?
Be creative as much as you can, because any industry will have products that can be sold. Just whenever you don’t know where to start, beginning market research on Google, Quora, social media, E-commerce blogs,… is never a bad idea.
2. Take a look at competitors.
As I said, it’s totally fine if you have competitors, because sometimes they could be your source of inspiration and marketing content.
Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing correctly as well as what they are doing incorrectly. Make sure to check through their social media pages, websites and buyer reviews to discover customers’ insights and see what you can do to improve the product/ service, perhaps:
- Provide better shipping services or prices.
- Find out if there are any markets that your competitors haven’t reached yet.
- Optimizing SEO for your products for better discoverability (Highly recommend Socialshop when it comes to this).
- Enhance the product quality or extend it into multiple lines with better price ranges,…
3. A product that solves people’s pain points.
This is actually a pretty good strategy to build a long-term business. When some current product lines on the market couldn’t show their effectiveness, it’s worth making improvements for them.
Indeed, customers crave convenience, so if you can provide a higher-quality solution that makes their life way easier compared to the old ones, they will be willing to pay you.
You could start by thinking about the problems that you could face on a daily basis, it could be a bottle of water, a mouse pad, a vacuum cleaner, just anything.
4. Find your perfect niche market.
Consumers in a niche market could be a little picky and have specific requirements for the products they want. However, if you could offer them a tailored high-quality service, no doubt that will be willing to pay a premium for the product.
So the tip is to go with your passion. Basically, when you’re working on something that you enjoy most, it would be easier for you to dive into the niche and figure out what to do for improvements.
Otherwise, since starting a business is quite difficult, if you could go with things you love from the beginning, you could avoid losing motivation in the middle of the road.
5. Take advantage of what you have.
So one more clever way to start on Shopify with no money is to turn your current knowledge/ experiences into digital business.
No matter what skills you have, there are always chances for you to apply it to your shop. Have you learned the ins and outs of a certain business through working in it? It could be designing, managing, or just simply knowing additional languages,… anything could also make you better than the average.
#3. How to start on Shopify with no money.
In 2021, dropshipping appears to be an eCommerce tool for those who are short on cash, especially when you start on a top E-commerce platform like Shopify.
The main benefit is that you won’t have to bother about many difficult digital things, such as:
- Server hosting.
- Websites/ landing pages designing.
- No inventory, storage fees.
- Sell as many products as possible.
- No need to purchase lots of inventory upfront.
- Easier to deal with worldwide shipping problems.
Just like that, you could totally get started on Shopify with just a little, or even no money. Why? Lots of essential features are also pre-made and simple to use for even non-tech people. So you won’t need to spend a dime for a whole Dev or Design team at the beginning.
However, don’t forget to take a look at these probs:
- Competitive market. Since it requires little to no money to get started, lots of people will do dropshipping as well. But as long as you still focus on your quality and service, you’ll be able to find and convert loyal customers.
- Pay attention to the available stocks. Because you’re dependent on someone else’s inventory, there’s a time when you can’t catch up with the availability from the wholesalers’ storage. So make sure to always check low-stock items upfront to avoid delivering poor customer service.
- Low profit margins in the first place. This makes competing in the paid advertising area incredibly challenging, and you’ll have to rely more on content, service, and other factors.
Many dropshippers gain billions already, so you can do it too. And if you don’t know how to set up a Shopify store, check out this step-by-step guide for beginners.
In a nutshell
Is dropshipping worth trying? Can you start on Shopify with no money? Definitely. Especially if you’re looking for an extra income even in pandemic situations, Shopify will always have a place for your store.
With all the tips and tricks from this article, I hope you’ll be able to shape a business plan that could lead to a successful business in the future.