Updated Aug 23rd, 2021

Most ecommerce solutions seem to fall in the category of Shopify or WooCommerce, or alternatives like Big Commerce.


Just looking at the stock chart and all I can say is… wow.



WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It is designed for small to large-sized online merchants using WordPress.


ecommerce platform that provides software as a service services to retailers. The company’s platform includes online store creation, search engine optimization, hosting, and marketing and security for small and medium-sized businesses.

Entire Site or Store

Can build a front-end in whatever your framework stack of choice and then build a shopify store for e-commerce. By why bother with a separate front-end at all.

Case Study: I took a look at some of the websites in the “inflatable paddle board” space and realized many are just shopify stores. And they look good. So why would they bother with a separate non-shopify front-end? The sites visited included: and Even the heavy hitter in the space, uses shopify.

Monetizing an Idea with a Product vs Traffic

There a few ways to monetize a website including ads, affiliate links, sell a digital product (including membership) or a physical product.

You need a lot of monthly traffic to make money with ads. Affiliate links can’t be much better. Selling a digital product can be easier than a physical product, but what is your value offering? Simply being a curious novice, may or may not cut it. You may need to be an expert in some field with a compelling value proposition. It is important to note that Shopify can sell digital goods as well.

A physical product brings it’s own set of challenges, managing inventory, shipping, handling returns, etc. But if you have a compelling product that sells can mean real money quickly.

What Does it Cost to Build and Host a Shopify Store?

Watched an excellent video from Shopify titled “The Official Shopify Tutorial for 2021” published on 5/13/2021. The notes are below.

Monthly plan ranges from $29, $79, and $299 a month. So with the advanced plan you are looking at $3588 a year.

The advanced plan gets you better per-transaction rates, better reports for analytics, more staff accounts, etc.

Custom Domain: three ways include: shopify domain, 3rd-party like Go Daddy, or transfer existing. $16.00 a year.

Choosing a theme: Online store to see free and premium themes. Different themes have different features, (quick buy feature is crucial, custom testimonials can be a plus).

Designing: Can spend hours and hours but don’t fall into the design rabbithole, you’re store doesn’t need to be perfect.

WYSIWYG Drag and Drop Editor for things like Slideshows, Colors, Typography. Upload logo.

Adding products and price: Can track inventory with SKU (stock keeping unit) and quantity values. You also can configure shipping for a physical product. Can set product variant values. SEO listing preview. People can buy gift cards.

Create collections to let your shoppers find your products easier and offer sales.

Can add pages and blog posts. You can schedule these in advance, stories, ethos, etc. Add photos videos and text. By default the author is the editorial team. Can tweak comment settings in the dashboard.

Can easily manage navigation links.

Shopify makes it easy to set up legal pages, refund policy, cookie notices, and privacy policy, terms of service, etc. Use business email not your personal email. Customer has to pay duties and taxes.

Update Metadata.

Check your store speed with speed score and how it is trending over time.

Built in email hosting with email notifications. Emails automatically sent for things orders that were place, edited, order invoices, order-edited invoice, order cancelled, order refund, etc. This is a big one. Also includes shipping updates.

Payment Gateways: shopify payments, paypal, third party provider, etc. Accelerated checkouts seems like a must.

Chargebacks inquiries and prevention

Enabling multiple currencies

How does Sales Taxes Work: It is the site owner’s responsibility.

Choosing the right shipping carriers. Create shipping labels from inside the admin panel. A service like “eshipper” may be helpful.

Shipping model: Free shipping, flat shipping rates (general rate), price-based rate, weight based rates. Buy and print shipping labels from admin. Custom forms. Can ship a box under 24 inches, a soft pack, or an envelope (within 3/4 of an inch) and flat rate. Be sure to set appropriate processing time.

Managing orders: Get order confirmation.

Shopify has a mobile app which may be the nail in the coffin for competitors. I have mentioned before how convenient the WP app is for content creation and can only imagine how helpful it is to manage orders on your phone.

Order Fulfillment. Fulfill your own or use 3rd party or use some combo of both. Examples of third party includes amazon fulfillment or drop shipper like Oberlo.

Adding customers: Can manually add customer into the dashboard or import from spreadsheet. Can send targeted discounts to your best customers. Customer area allows you to see who has spent the most money, total orders, order dates, data they became customer.


Set up a FAQ, Contact form, and Chat or Messaging.

Product Reviews: Allow customers to review your product using a free/paid app like

Digital Marketing Tool Kit powered by AI that can be helpful to run targeted facebook/instagram ads.

Benchmark Hero app to see how your site is doing on SEO.

Digital Downloads is one of the best free Shopify apps.

Google has a free tool called keyword planner to help you choose the right keywords. Type in some keywords and you google tells you metrics like “Avg. monthly searches” and “competition.” Put low competition, high value keywords all over your site where it makes sense.

Launching your store. Start a marketing campaign. Examples include: Facebook ads, influencer partnerships, brand partnerships, Lead Magnets, Social Media Content, Google Ads and SEO strategy.

Optimizing processes and marketing your brand is a forever thing.

Low Code No Code Optimized Solution

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Leverage a proven solution to focus less on the technology and more on your business, (marketing, customer service, order fulfillment, etc.). There are a lot of successful shopify stores that did not hire a developer or learn to code themselves. Work smarter not harder.

Shopify Experts

Hire qualified professionals to get the job done.

Installing on Subdomain or Site Directory

I imagine this is pretty easy or just use a slightly different domain name like “” if it is a pain to configure “” or “”

When Shopify May Not Be the Best Solution

It is pretty badass and can be used for pretty much anything. Very good for physical and certain digital goods.

Offerings Behind a Paywall. Users need to log in and now they have premium access to “something” and user-specific data.

Think of a “Daily Fantasy Football Lineup Generator” where premium users get access to the full-featured lineup generator behind a paywall. They are buying access. You could sell the membership details through shopify but this is likely not the best solution.

Scheduling a Paid Call

Again, this is probably possible but not the best solution that comes to mind.

Building Someone a Website

I have seen some agencies sell a-la-carte-like solutions but generally there is a proposal, an agreement and an invoice.

Lead Generation

If you are selling leads so the customer just needs to fill out a contact form, Shopify probably isn’t needed

So How Bout It

Ready to sell Cheese My Noodle Gift Baskets on Shopify. Anything on Oberlo that looks compelling, (paddleboarding, plants, kitchen tools). Below are some product ideas for a few sites: