Shopify, a large e-commerce hosting platform headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, has exploded over the past decade. It has become a staple for online retail brands across the globe, being present in India since 2013. According to Cartinsight, there are 243 Shopify websites in India reaping the benefits of gaining a self-hosted, easy-to-navigate platform for their online brands.This number is expected to grow. If you’re interested in using Shopify for your website, there are many things you should know.
We’ve compiled this guide to help you navigate the key steps of working with Shopify in India so you can decide whether this worldwide platform is the right fit for your business.
How to set up a Shopify India Store
Shopify has gained an excellent reputation for its stunningly easy, self-hosted platform. It provides plenty of options, such as templates and themes so you can create an online shop that is unique to your brand. It can seem daunting to have to start from scratch building your online store, however, Shopify provides new users with plenty of resources. In fact, they even provide a blog post on how to start your first online store, using a hot sauce website as a model.
Essentially, the key steps to setting up a Shopify website include creating pages, adding your products, choosing a theme, customising your shipping settings, setting up your payment gateways, and launching your store. All of these steps are simple to follow and are laid out easily within your dashboard – there’s no need to guess what’s next as Shopify is there to guide you.
Shopify Pricing in India
The cost of using Shopify each month varies on how many different products you sell and other features you require to run a successful e-Commerce website. Shopify India pricing start at around Rs. 750 per month, which includes the ability to sell up to 25 products, receive 1GB of storage and have to pay a 2% transaction fee. The largest plan, for Rs. 9,560 per month, includes unlimited product selling, 0% transaction fees, and other features such as the ability to use discount codes.
Using Shopify Themes
Some of the top Shopify stores in India are using themes to build their websites, and you have many to choose from that can be revised to match your brand and the image you want to portray. Using a Shopify theme does not mean your website will look like the rest, it’s just a foundation you can build your brand on without needing to start completely from scratch. It’s part of the reason why Shopify is so easy to use – you don’t need to be a web developer to create an attractive website for your brand. Choose from one of 1200 themes to find the perfect one and get started selling immediately. Here are a couple of examples of some popular Indian Shopify businesses and how they use Shopify themes to create a unique selling environment.
Suta, a popular fashion brand in Mumbai, India, and owned by Sujata and Taniya Biswas, has grown into a successful brand promoting sustainability in fashion across the country. Suta is built using a theme called “Suta IIW Updates” that you can try for free when building your website. Other simple image-based themes can also be used and reworked to reflect a similar theme and outline.
Sugar Cosmetics is another Indian brand that uses Shopify to reach its customers. Sugar Cosmetics uses the theme “BASEL 3.1 V3 NOVEMBER 2020” which can also be searched and found, and modified, on Shopify’s website builder.
Using Shopify Experts in India
Although Shopify’s website building platform is easy to maneuver, like any website, it can take time and effort to really create the best-looking website. There are Shopify experts in India that can provide advice, tips, or even build your Shopify brand for you. Although you may find freelancers on sites such as Fiverr, Shopify has its own experts you can reach out to, such as Bluetech in Indor, India and Thriftizer in Bangalore.
Shopify Dropshipping in India
Shipping with any online business can take some time to perfect. With Dropshipping you accept orders but you don’t actually hold any of your own stock. The manufacturer or wholesaler ships the products to your customers. This is an excellent business idea, especially if you are currently in the start-up phase of your brand and are still in the process of creating your own unique product or service. In India, many dropshipping businesses use Oberlo to manage shipments for the products they sell.
Shopify Sales Channels Supported in India
Another option for some businesses is to use Shopify sales channels instead of necessarily only creating one website or only offering the option to shop via one method. Sales channels allow you to sell your products across multiple websites/platforms and track their sales, inventory, and more through Shopify. You can access this information through the Sales Channels link on your Shopify dashboard.
To use sales channels, you will need to download apps onto your Shopify website. Some popular ones in India include the Google channel and Shop channel. Other sales channels include using Facebook, Messenger, Amazon, and more. Selling in person is also considered a sales channel, which Shopify offers POS abilities and credit card readers to accommodate.
If your Sales Channels options say “unavailable,” there may be specific settings keeping you from using multiple channels. You can click “you can’t add this channel” to find out why. Be sure to read up on the many rules and guidelines associated with each channel you use so you can ensure that you are meeting all requirements.
How to Sell on Shopify India
Building your website and picking a theme is only the start of the process of utilizing Shopify effectively. Now you have to actually sell your product and service. Selling includes everything from marketing, advertising, order management, shipping, and more. It’s important to use social media and search engine optimization to your advantage as these are both top methods for attracting customers to your Shopify website. You can maximize your SEO potential by including accurate descriptions of your products and other content that has relevant keywords. It takes a bit of time, but you’ll start seeing traffic on your site soon enough.
Marketing through Shopify is similar to doing any online advertising, however, you get a few more tools to help you through the process.
Shopify offers multiple features to help you get the word out there about your online store. You can use different Shopify marketing apps such as Facebook channel and SEO Suite to post on social media and track your analytics and SEO. Many apps are actually free and can be used effectively to create great marketing and advertising campaigns.
Order Management with Shopify
You can manage your orders efficiently online through the many resources available to Shopify users. Your business no longer requires offline order processing and inventory tracker because Shopify can do all of this for you. There are useful apps for all necessary and optional business needs, such as inventory and order management. You can also create a mobile app for customers to use, develop a POS system and more. We must not forget those apps for Shopify shipping automation either. It’s important to research and read up on all the apps available on Shopify India so you know you’re getting the best ones.
GST Invoicing and other India-based compliances
Since 2017, India has passed a Goods and Services Tax (GST) that replaces all other state and central taxes levied by Indian businesses, etc. It’s important that your business be compliant with these new laws. Although it is recommended to speak with a tax expert to find out exactly how your specific business needs to comply, most businesses require registration for GST if their profit exceeds Rs 20 lakhs, you supply goods between states, and you sell on online marketplaces (that’s you!). You can look into the GST in Shopify India guide to get a better understanding.
Shopify does not automatically apply GST to transactions in India, therefore, you must use a third-party app. Shopify India stores have their own featured apps specific to Indian business, such as COD (cash on delivery) verification and creating GST invoices in India.
Shopify Shipping in India
Shopify Shipping in India is relatively easy. You can find apps that integrate GST calculations (as mentioned above) and use other apps based on your carrier options. In India, most parcels are shipped using global or India-based shipping companies. FedEx, UPS, DHL Express, Aramex, Delhivery, and BlueDart, are popular options. Using a Multi-Carrier app to print shipping labels and generate data can save your business hours of time each day. PluginHive’s Shopify Multi Carrier Shipping Label app supports all these carriers and more.
Shopify India Payment Gateway
You will need to decide and integrate payment gateways into your Shopify store. Most options such as Mastercard, debit, e-wallets and PayPal are widely used and supported as payment options in India, however, if you’re planning on having customers shop using multiple currencies, things can get a little more difficult. There are 15+ external Indian payment gateways that can be downloaded into your Shopify website. These include popular apps such as Cashfree and Razorpay.
Shopify Customer Care in India
Providing efficient and effective customer care is important for your eCommerce business. Apple and tools can be downloaded that provide chat and support options to your customers as well as proper return options. You can also reach out to Shopify support directly (they provide a great customer support team) to find out the best choices for your brand.
Shopify Alternatives for India
If you come to the educated conclusion that Shopify is not right for your online business, there are other options in India for building your online store.
Shopnix is an excellent alternative to Shopify for some businesses in India. It integrates with multiple devices as well as comes with a 2 week free trial period. You can build your store design, create apps, build SEO, and manage everything from an easy-to-use dashboard. Most of what Shopnix offers is also provided on Shopify with more choices and modifications available.
Another option is using Wix, a website builder, to create your store. Wix is used by many eCommerce brands across the globe and provides an easy way to build an eCommerce website. It may also be cheaper, especially, if you are not focusing your entire website on shopping alone. If you do require more features that are store-specific, Shopify would probably be a better choice.
Shopify has grown so successful in recent years because of its amazing ability to provide an easy-to-navigate, easy to build, website platform that offers everything you need to grow a successful business – no matter what you’re selling. Its ability to integrate with hundreds of apps, including third-party ones specific to Indian businesses, taxes, and other regulations, makes it an even better choice for businesses of all sizes in India.