Before you dig into this, you should know that, even if I’m not a beginner when it comes to online business, my expertise is still limited and I still panic when I encounter errors or words and commands I don’t know. I’m the kind of person who calls a friend way too often to fix technical problems. Now you know me, let’s see how my encounter with Shopify unfolded.

First impression

I like that it is quite straightforward. As I access the website I’m promptly informed what it does and what’s the purpose: ‘to create your own online store’. I’m in luck, because that’s what I want to do. I also want to do it myself, but I told you already about my IT skills that go as far as updating my Twitter and Face book accounts.

So, will I manage to set up my own online store? Without calling a friend. Let’s see. Fasten your seatbelts.

First open http://www.shopify.com/. There is a 14 day trial. I like the idea of a trial and a step-by-step guide because it will give me time to also find my way around it before committing to a paid plan. Big plus. No worry, you can change your store name afterwards. Now I’m already 6 steps away from launching my online store. Exciting times. Let’s proceed.

I choose a name and seconds later, I receive a confirmation mail with my account information. I can pick a free theme and muse about whether I fancy it or not without making it public. Of course, I can also buy one on the spot, but I do like to how it looks and works before I make up my mind.

Other big pluses

I can always completely change the look of my theme by selecting a different style. All stores come with a free *.myshopify.com domain, but I believe it’s wiser to register a new domain or set up an existing one on your domain settings screen.

When it comes to setting up shipping and tax rates, I can add additional tax and shipping rates at my convenience. Step 5 means it’s time to set up payments. My store accepts payments through PayPal Express Checkout, but I can configure these settings too to control how your store accepts payments.

So far so good. The samples scattered around help me figure where I need to change, while the templates are not the cheap-looking kind even if they are free. And I don’t have to hunt around for domains. Nothing new, I’ve seen it before, but it is a tiny bit annoying to pay for apps that could improve my store and its smooth operation.

Overall, you can use Shopify to set up and run a fully-functional online store pretty quickly and cheaply. If you know how to control the more complex technical features, you can even go the extra mile and customize your website in the smallest detail.

Major plus

I don’t have to install any software and the like. To build a store with no technical stuff to worry about? That’s gold for any beginner.  The pricing seems quite reasonable too, starting from under $15/month. However, I’m quite new to commerce, not just ecommerce, so it wouldn’t hurt to have a place where some of the more technical commerce -related terms are explained. Other than that, Shopify can do the trick and turn pretty much anybody into an online store owner.