ABOUT Shopify

What is Shopify?

About Shopify

Shopify is an EC site creation platform from Canada (ASP type shopping cart system). With Shopify, you are NOT required to install any system or set up your own server! All the functions required for online sales can be operated online, and then your online businesses are able to be started immediately right after your EC site creation!

Increasing Number of Companies Adopted Shopify in Japan

Since the service was released in Canada in 2004, it has supported more than 800,000 stores in 175 countries and is the second largest e-commerce CMS after WooCommerce.
Since July 2017, Shopify have made a full-scale entry into Japan,and now the management screen also able to be operated in Japanese. Thus, there are more and more companies adopted Shopify in Japan.

Source:eCommerce Thesis

Shopify's Strength

Since the service was released in Canada in 2004, it has supported more than 800,000 stores in 175 countries and is the second largest e-commerce CMS after WooCommerce.
Since July 2017, Shopify have made a full-scale entry into Japan,and now the management screen also able to be operated in Japanese. Thus, there are more and more companies adopted Shopify in Japan.

  • Easy to Build E-Commerce Site and Able to Start Selling Instantly

    There are no complicated programming or design knowledge required to build your own E-Commerce store with Shopify! If you have EC experience, you can build your own EC site in a relatively short time, but most people are able to open and start selling by asking a Shopify Construction support company. Your products can be sold not only overseas but also in Japan.

  • Use the Free/Paid Themes
    (Over 100 Types)

    Choose your favorite design from over 100 themes. There are 10 types of free design themes, but they are often the same as other businesses, so you can purchase and introduce paid themes with more complete designs and functions. If you have experience and knowledge in designing and programming EC sites, you can also edit the code directly.

  • Shopify Payment
    (Shopify's Unique Payment Method)

    By linking Shopify payments to your bank account, your sales amount will be transferred directly to your bank account. You can check the payment amount in real time and use the fraudulent orders prevention function in Shopify.

    The settlement fees are 3.40% for the Basic plan, 3.30% for the Shopify plan, 3.25% for the Advanced plan, and 3.15% for the Plus plan for online transactions with domestic credit cards. For overseas or American Express credit card payments, the payment fee is 3.90% for the Basic plan, 3.85% for the Shopify plan, 3.80% for the Advanced plan, and 3.75% for the Plus plan.

  • Shopify POS(Physical Store Sales Integration)

    If you are selling your products at a physical store or pop-up store, you are able to link product prices, inventory information, sales information, and etc. with Shopify. This feature is also available from iPhone and Android smartphone apps.

  • Facebook Linked Sales

    You can also sell your products sold on Shopify on Facebook. You can create a shop or brand page on Facebook to show your catalog and list your Shopify products. In Shopify management screen, it has a function attached to advertise your site and products to Facebook users.

  • Integration with Instagram

    By tagging the product image posted on Instagram with the product URL, your potential customers able to click the tag and get redirected to your Shopify product page. They can just purchase your products with fewer clicks.

  • Simple SEO measures

    Shopify set H1 tag, title tag, description tag, product image alt, and meta tag for each product page. Even if you are not a professional in the field of SEO or marketing, you can take some SEO measures with the help of Shopify. You can also add paid SEO apps if you wish to.

The Merits and Demerits of Shopify

The Merits

  • Low Startup Cost
  • Possible to launch an EC site relatively quickly
  • Able to set the theme from the design template
  • No Server Contract Required
  • Sell your products in multiple languages
  • Links to SNS(Pinterest、Instagram、Facebook(It is possible to create Campaign))
  • Comes with Cart Abandonment Emails function
  • Enables you to check the sales and inventory information from the smartphone's dedicated app

The Demerits

  • Since the free trial plan is short, it is difficult to decide whether to adopt Shopify (it is free for the first 14 days).
  • There is no Point Reward Program or system can be integrated with your own or other companies.
  • Since it is not an open source, the source code is private and cannot be modified or changed at all.
    It cannot be customized or adjusted. It is also hard to link with the core system.
  • The plug-in apps are subscription-type rather than one-time license fee, and the monthly costs are forever.
  • There is a Shopify support window (by email), but the response is slow.
    (As of 2020, it will take about 3 business days)
  • There is no Phone Support available to contact Shopify.
  • Most of the plugin apps are available in English language only, it might be difficult for Japanese to install (some are also available in Japanese language)
  • Shopify is 6% on the top EC site with strong sales (Magento is 15%)
  • There are still few successful companies. (Limited to a few companies such as NBA's LA Lakers and Tesla Motors)
  • Shopify is using Liquid template language, so it's difficult for engineers to deal with it.
  • If you use PayPal to collect international payment, a commission of 2% or more will be collected for your sales as it is considered as a payment function from other company.
  • Since it is not an in-house site, the EC site information and customer information will be deleted when the operation is stopped.

The Features of Shopify

Shopify has the following functions (the typical functions) necessary for operating an EC site. Some of them are set by default in advance, but you can further adding the information and services of the site by installing apps. Since everything can be set up online, you don't have to download the system. Also, it allows multiple staffs to operate and manage the store regardless the time or location.

Own Domain SNS Linkage Enables sale in multiple languages ​​and currencies
Cart Abandonment Emails & SEO Measures Smartphone compatible Free SSL Certificate issuance
Download Sale(such as photos and illustrations) Blog function Marketing Analytic function
E-mail newsletter function Support for overseas shipping and etc.

Shopify Pricing

Shopify offers three plans. There is no initial cost for either plan. Depending on the plan, the fee at the time of payment and the number of staff accounts that can be used will differ. (As of March 22, 2020)

Basic Standard Premium
USD $29 USD $79 USD $299

About Shopify Plus

There is a service called "Shopify Plus" for companies that sell in large quantities. Shopify Plus starts at USD $ 2,000 a month, it is required to contact Shopify for discussion and to proceed further.

  • Staff account

    The regular plans have a limit on staff accounts that can access the site, while Shopify Plus allows you to add an unlimited number of staff accounts.

  • Wholesale site function for BtoB
    (Wholesale Channel)

    You can build a wholesale-only store for BtoB. You are able to set the discount code, login limit, minimum order quantity, volume discount, minimum order amount, and etc. for each business partner.

  • Checkout page customization

    You can customize the checkout page screen and set not to display specific products based on the delivery destination.

  • 10 stores can be opened with 1 account

    With Shopify, you are able to open up to 10 stores at no additional charge. (Usually, a fee will be charged for each site created.)
    It can be used properly for domestic, overseas, BtoB sites and etc..

  • Shopify Scripts

    You can make detailed settings such as discount settings and promotions. You can set promotions such as Buy One Get One Free or 10% OFF for purchases over a certain amount.

Shopify App (Additional features)

By default, Shopify has some minimum required features, but that alone often lack of functionalities, so you may need to add the features you need from the Shopify paid and free apps. By adding apps, it will be possible to make additional settings such as product reviews, SEO measures, invoice issuance, various SNS linked sales, inventory management, and multilingual/multicurrency.

When you want to attract more customers to your company's site, you can use the app to distribute e-mail newsletters, place advertisements on Facebook and Instagram, and collect reviews from customers.

Most of the apps are available in English version only, but recently there are more and more Japanese apps available in the market. The point is to add only the apps those you really need for your site. However, if you blindly adding too many apps into your site, the site might become slow and malfunctions will occur, so please be careful!

The following apps are typical Shopify apps.

  • Facebook Shop Channel(Free)

    You can also sell Shopify products on your Facebook page. You can set up a product catalog on your Facebook page and link your Shopify products to it. Facebook has 2.3 billion monthly active users worldwide and is an effective tool to attract customers.

  • Instagram Channel(Free)

    When the user views the post on Instagram, they are able to click the tag on the image and then they will be redirected to the Shopify’s product page. This will shorten the steps for the customers to purchase your products! There is a charge for placing an ads, but this feature itself is free to use.

  • Ship & Co(Free to Install)
    ※Charges will be incurred according to the amount usage.

    The order information from Shopify will be imported automatically into Ship & Co, allowing you to issue shipping labels and invoices. It is compatible with domestic and overseas shipping companies, the shipping service like Fedex, UPS, DHL, and Japan Post also can be used. Upon issuing the shipping labels, the tracking number will be automatically synced to Shopify, and the order status will be automatically updated and a shipping completion email will be sent to your customers.

  • Kit(Free to Install)
    ※Charges will be incurred when placing an ads.

    Kit is a tool that provides marketing support using AI. When a message is sent to kit via SMS or Facebook messenger, AI will create and promote discount codes, launch retargeting campaigns, and provide suggests to create ads on Facebook and Instagram. With just a few messages, you can win a lot of customers and increase your sales. This app is recommended for those who do not have time to study marketing or who do not have much time to implement marketing measures.

  • Langshop(USD $ 17.99 per month)

    It is used when creating a multilingual store. It is relatively easy to use because it has an automatic translation function. It is possible to link domains for each language and take SEO measures.

Steps to Construct Shopify

With Shopify, you are not required to download any system or program to build your EC site. Actually, J-Grab also build a Shopify EC site in one day, there will be a manual prepared for you, so you can understand through the manual and set the functions required for sales.

  • Management Screen

    After registering your account, you will be able to operate Shopify functions from the management screen. All pages are localized in Japanese, but there are some Japanese translations that are difficult to understand.

  • Various Setting

    Various settings required for online sales can be configured from the setting screen. Settings such as payment method, shipping fee, shipping, domain, policy, tax, etc. are available on this screen.

  • Store Analysis

    Shopify allows you to check visitor information and sales in real time. Since you are able to check the number of sessions, the medium of the inflow source, etc. in detail, this information can be used for marketing.

You are able to set paid and free themes for your Shopify site. If you have knowledge of site creation, you can edit the code and customize it to your favorite design.

What can j-Grab Do?

Shopify is a platform that can be used not only for EC but also for building cross-border EC sites. Although it can be launched quickly at low cost, but it is not always possible to realise everything you want to do. Shopify is service that is easy for everyone to use, but it is also true that there are functional restrictions.

At J-Grab, our technical staffs who are the experts in building cross-border EC stores will build Shopify as a Cross-border EC, to deal with the technical part of the development on behalf of customers, in order to coordinate the requirements the customers want to achieve and providing support for smooth shop opening.

In addition, after the start of operation of your cross-border EC site (Shopify), we also provide accompaniment service and a one-stop service by our experienced cross-border EC consultants who are able to provide strong marketing support such as sales and attracting customers.

For those who are considering to adopt cross-border EC, or those who already have cross-border EC sites but are not performing well, J-Grab's cross-border EC consultants are here to provide support for you from your site construction to sales expansion. Please feel free to contact us!

For the Success in Cross Border EC, please make use of these free materials: Download Materials(Free)


Edit: J-Grab Cross-border EC Lab

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