Making money online through Niche Marketing

This is How to Fulfill Orders on Shopify: a Beginner’s Guide

In the era of eCommerce, everyone knows there is money to be made selling online. But, what happens after you invest a ton of energy into building a Shopify store only to find that you don’t know what to do when you get your first order. Sure, you can follow the guides in Shopify’s knowledge-base, but you still don’t know if you’re making the right decision.

Here, you’ll learn how to fulfill orders on Shopify, no matter what type of online retail you offer. Let’s take a look at everything you should know when that first order or wave of orders comes in: online sales fulfillment basics.

What is Order Fulfillment?

Some new online sellers, when learning how Shopify works, ask if “fulfillment” is the same as shipping. While shipping is one aspect of order fulfillment, it’s not the whole picture. Order fulfillment is every step taken to process a sales transaction from order to delivery. Another way to look at the term is to think of it as the footwork necessary to get your product to your customer’s door.  

order fulfillment

[Image source: BestBuy]

In some cases, you will allow pre-orders of select inventory that is not yet in stock. In these cases, more steps over a longer time period will be taken to fulfill the orders than usual (which is part of why you can’t think of fulfillment as just shipping & delivery).

In other cases, online store owners utilize dropshipping and print on demand services for the physical part of their order fulfillment. In these cases, less steps are needed to fulfill and order.

Still, there are a set of best practices that go into fulfilling an order on a Shopify store.

  1. Inventory Receiving
  2. Product Storage (Warehousing)
  3. Order Processing & Handling
  4. Shipping & Delivery (*Logistics)
  5. Returns, Exchanges, & Refunds

Largely, your receiving, warehousing, and returns processes will vary greatly depending on what type of e-tail business you run. So, for this purpose, let’s focus on item numbers three and four from above: Order Processing and Shipping.

Related Reading: Making Money with Shopify: a Blueprint for New Online Sellers

Does Shopify Handle Fulfillment for Sellers?

Because of the external services the platform promotes, many newbies wonder if Shopify handles fulfillment for sellers. The short answer is, “no.” But, automation is easier than you could imagine. And, even manual order fulfillment in the platform is user-friendly.

Your fulfillment operations within the Shopify admin can vary greatly depending on the third-party services and apps you use. I’ll recommend some later. For now, let’s find out how manual fulfillment works in the Shopify admin. 

How to Manually Fulfill Orders in the Shopify Admin

As a standalone product, Shopify has enough power to generate a successful sales operation. Without the use of any external software, you can sell on the platform. And, when it comes time to fulfill an order, manual steps can be taken.

You would want to use this option when you require greater control over your operations. For example, you might sell handmade or custom products. In this case, you may want to maintain full control over the fulfillment process for the sake of customer service.

manual fulfillment

[Image source: Coralie Reiter]

You might also want to implement manual fulfillment when you need to offer partial fulfillment for one reason or another. For complete, partial, and multiple orders, here’s how to manually fulfill with Shopify.

Complete Manual Fulfillment in Shopify

Here are the steps to manually fulfill a complete order from your Shopify Admin.

  1. Log in to your Shopify admin and go to Orders.
  2. Find and click the number of the order you want to fulfill.
  3. If using Shopify Shipping, select Create Shipping Label in the Unfulfilled section and buy a shipping label for your order.


  1. If you’re NOT using Shopify Shipping, select Mark as Fulfilled, and enter the tracking number from your shipping provider.
  1. Select Fulfill Items to mark the order complete.
  2. Click Buy Shipping Label.

The steps are pretty cut-and-dried.

Partial Manual Fulfillment in Shopify

Here are the steps to manually fulfill a partial order from yous Shopify Admin if you’re using Shopify Shipping.

  1. Log in to your Shopify admin and go to Orders.
  2. Find and click the number the order you want to partially fulfill.
  3. Select Create Shipping Label in the Unfulfilled section and buy a shipping label for your order.
  4. Go back to the Fulfillment page.
  5. Change the number of products that you want to fulfill for each line item in the Items section.
  6. Select your shipping method.
  7. Click Buy Shipping Label.

At this point, you will need to repeat these steps until the order is entirely fulfilled or issue a refund. When the process is complete, don’t forget to mark the order fulfilled in your admin.

Manual Fulfillment for Multiple Orders in Shopify

Here are the steps to manually fulfill multiple orders at one time in Shopify.

  1. Log in to your Shopify admin and go to Orders.
  2. Open the Unfulfilled tab to see only the orders that still need to be fulfilled.
  3. Click the checkboxes next to the orders you want to fulfill.
  4. Select Actions.
  5. Select Fulfill Orders.
  6. Select Fulfill.

Voila! That’s it — you’re done.

(Note: Shopify does allow users to fulfill orders via mobile. When fulfilling an order from an Android or iOS device, these steps may look a little different.)

How to Automate Order Fulfillment for Shopify

While manual fulfillment is great for smaller stores with handmade goods and one-on-one customer relationships, it won’t work for stores with massive product catalogs. And, it will probably not benefit a store whose inventory is stored in multiple warehouses.

So, if you’re an enterprise seller or you’re just interested in automating your workflow for convenience, here’s more on Shopify fulfillment automation.

Can Fulfillment be Fully-Automated with Shopify?

If you create handmade gifts or you run a small boutique out of your home, of course the entire fulfillment process can’t be automated — you need to deal with packaging, shipping, etc. But, if your inventory is stored in a warehouse/ fulfillment center, you are probably wondering how to completely automate the fulfillment process. Can it be done?

While part of your job as an online seller is to monitor your operations, you can mostly automate the fulfillment process in Shopify.

In 2017, an automation platform called DropVessel attempted to fully-automate the drop shipping processes in Shopify.

[Image source: Shopify Community]

Unfortunately, their run didn’t last. Technical issues arose and it turned out there was no one-size-fits-all method for automating fulfillment. Now, there’s no sign of DropVessel online or in the Shopify App Store.

DropVessel not around anymore

[Image source: Shopify App Store]

Today, to automate your processes, you will need to enlist the help of a set of apps, not just a single one. And, you can automate many operations with the right combination of tools.

Does Oberlo Automatically Fulfill Orders?

Oberlo is one of Shopify’s top-promoted partners, connecting sellers directly to dropshippers worldwide.


[Image source: Oberlo]

And while their platform provides users with tons of automation, they themselves don’t claim to deliver a fully-automated system. Instead, Oberlo themselves refer to the process as “semi-automatic.” As a user, you will still need to initiate fulfillment by placing orders in your Oberlo dashboard after they are ordered on Shopify.

Recommended Tools for Shopify Fulfillment Automation

A few apps stand out from the rest when it comes to fulfillment automation. Here are a few favorites along with costs and a brief summary.

1. ShipHawk | Price: unknown

A powerful, all-in-one shipping and transportation automation platform, referred to as TMS 2.0.



2. Upinus | Price: $19.90 per month and up

A global supply chain platform for all internet retailers. Includes product sourcing, fulfillment, and inventory management.



3. Ali Orders | Price: Free plan available

Dropshipping automation with product imports and integrated reviews.

Ali Orders


Final Thoughts

While you can’t completely set your eCommerce operations on auto-pilot, you can come pretty close. Use this guide as a starting point to fulfill orders on the Shopify platform no matter what type of online retail company you run. Reach out if you have questions and stay tuned for more Shopify advice.

Making Money With Shopify: a Blueprint for New Online Sellers

So, you’re wondering if making money with Shopify is a realistic idea. You’ve seen advertising for the platform and it piques your interest. But, are you really going to make a return on your investment with an online store? 

The answer, frankly, is ‘maybe.’ It all depends on how much work you’re willing to put in and how well you research your ideas. 

Enterprise sellers are churning millions of dollars worth of products on the platform. And, there are sellers who are making just enough to break even. So, what can you do to start a business where you sell products that actually generate a substantial profit? Here’s what you need to know. 

This is How to Make Money on Shopify

You will find a ton of advice online that tells you what products to sell, how to set up your dropshipping accounts and email marketing campaigns. The eCommerce business is flooded with retailers who want to share their stories to let you know how they made it to the top. And, some of this is worthwhile, but it’s not the be-all-end-all of running an online business. 

The secret to success with eCommerce is to do your research and treat your store as a serious business. You need to know how Shopify works. Furthermore, you need a business plan, market research, and a killer marketing strategy. With this, you can find outrageous success. 

1. Choose Your Preferred Retail Type After You’re Fully-Informed

You can’t just read an article, sign up for your Shopify 14-day free trial and start earning revenue instantly. Before you begin, you need to look into your options and make choose the type of business you want to run. 

Here are some of the most popular retail types employed on Shopify:

  • Private Label
  • Custom Manufacturing
  • Dropshipping and Print-on-Demand
  • Service Retail (Business Services or Knowledge Commerce)

If you’re interested in one or more of the above types of sales, Shopify could be the right platform to leverage. Many sellers have been successful with each of them.  

Honestly, Can You Make Money Dropshipping With Shopify?

A dropshipping business is one of the most desired options for online sellers because it seems like it’s going to be less work. There is no inventory required and shipping is out of your hands. But, is it actually lucrative? 

Dropshipping products

[Image source: Oberlo]

The answer is Yes! There are a ton of sellers connected to Oberlo, Printful, and other fully-automated dropshipping systems from the Shopify platform. Dropshipping can potentially earn you copious amounts of money. 

Dropshipping Income Potential Statistics:

  • An estimated 22-33% of all eCommerce sellers use dropshipping as their primary order fulfillment method (source).
  • Manufacturers who offer dropshipping services earn 18.33% more profits than those who don’t (source). 
  • The upfront cost for inventory with dropshipping is $0. 

These numbers look promising. But, despite popular belief, dropshipping is not “easy.” Know that there are no get rich quick secrets. A dropshipping company is not a passive income source

In fact, if this is the structure you choose, be prepared for tons of prep work, product testing, potential shipping delays, and customer returns. 

Common Problems With Dropshipping:

  • Potential shipping delays
  • High shipping costs
  • Poor quality products
  • Lack of customer service
  • High return rates 
  • Difficult to brand 

With all of the facts in mind, carefully consider your options. If you’re still interested in a dropshipping store, go for it! But, make sure you keep a close relationship with your suppliers, test your products before you add them to your Shopify store, and be extremely clear with customers about shipping and delivery expectations. 

(Hey, more dropshipping advice is coming soon!) 

2. Carefully Select Your Product(s)

The next step is to find a product to sell online. And, to obtain the right inventory is no small task. You never want to just walk into a professional venture all willy-nilly. 

selecting products for shopify

Instead, do your research. You need to dig deep into your target buyers and potential suppliers to ensure the high probability of a significant return on investment (ROI). 

How to Research Target Buyers 

Before you start planning your new online store, you need to do some serious consumer research as well. What problem will your products or service solve, and is there a profitable market for this? 

For example, if your target buyers are a group of elitists, how many are there? And, is the market large enough for you to justify investing the time to invest in a new eCommerce website, marketing, and content for your store? Or, is your idea going to be a waste of time? 

If you can identify a target audience that seems profitable and you have an clever scheme to get your products in front of them, you’re ready to move on to the next step. 

How to Research Product Suppliers

When it comes time to select a product supplier, Shopify has a pretty useful guide to help you find the right manufacturer. In a nutshell, they say that you have a choice between domestic and overseas suppliers, both of which have pros and cons. Then, you need to know where to find them (Hint: you start with a Google search). 

Once you have a list of leads, you’re going to want to reach out to each of them and request a quote. At this point, you’ll get an idea of what you can expect from the wholesaler or private labeler in the way of costs and customer service.  

Keep in mind when communicating with a potential supplier that this is the type of service you can expect later — when you or your customers have issues with the products. So, not only do you need to look for high product quality and affordable prices, you need exceptional service. If you don’t find all of the above right away, keep looking. 

3. Write a Structured Business Plan 

You don’t want to dive into a new online store without an organized strategy. Even if you only plan to sell dropshipped products on the $29 per month Shopify Basic plan, you need a detailed outline of your idea before you begin. The more energy you invest in prep work, the more likely you are to succeed. 

Start With Your Goals

smart business goals - the nicheologist

Start with SMART goals. What do you want to attain, when do you want to attain it, and how do you plan to get there? 

  • S: Specific – Clearly Defined and Identified
  • M: Measurable – With the Ability to be Measured
  • A: Attainable – Realistic and Achievable
  • R: Relevant – Closely Connected to Your Business
  • T: Timely – Achievable Within a Favorable Timeframe

Once your goals are in place, you can move forward with the strategy itself. 

Then, Write Out Your 7-Section Online Sales Plan

You don’t get to skimp here, even if you’re “just working from home.” In fact, there’s no such thing — a gainful business always takes the tedious yet necessary steps than the unsuccessful ones did not. A business plan is one of these necessary evils. 

Structure your business plan with a traditional, seven-step outline, and be as detailed as possible with each section. 

  1. Executive Summary – a summary of the online sales plan makes it easy for someone to understand what your plan includes without the need to read the entire document. 
  2. Company Overview – an outline of your company history, management team, logo, branding, mission statement, slogan, and legal structure. You will use all of this information when creating content and promoting your eCommerce brand. 
  3. Market Analysis – information about the past, current, and projected marketplace conditions. The data in your market analysis will fuel your offering and marketing tactics. 
  4. Products and Services – an overview of the products you will sell on your online store. Include pertinent information about suppliers, costs, pricing, and estimated profits for a 360-degree view of your central offering. 
  5. Marketing Plan – detailed documentation of your forecasted promotional strategy. Use this section as a guideline to make sure your products get in front of your target audience. 
  6. Logistics and Operations Plan – a rundown of the flow of your product or service offering, from the supplier to the customer. Here’s where you’ll put in the majority of your day-to-day work. 
  7. Financial Plan – a comprehensive abstract of your long-term financial goals and a strategy to reach them. Your goals are the heart of your business and should be ever-growing and evolving. As time goes on, continue to aim higher. 

The more aspects of your business you map out ahead of time, the better the chances for you to find success. Once your plan is complete, it’s time to buckle down and get things started. 

5. Implement Your Strategy and Make Adjustments as Needed

Once all of your ducks are in a row, it’s time to put your strategy into action. You’ve got everything mapped out, and you need to start moving forward. So, start at the beginning and put your action plan into play. And, work your way to the end. But, be sure to leave room for changes to your plan along the way. 

A crucial aspect of online sales success you should never ignore is user behavior tracking and reporting. Shopify has built-in analytics capabilities. And, you will use them. But, you should take things a step further.

eCommerce A/B Testing in Shopify 

While collecting and analyzing user-behavior is vital, part of your job as an online seller is to make sure users behave the way you want them to (hint: you want them to buy your products). A/B testing is the act of running experiments to see how two variants on a landing page perform in comparison to one another. 

For example, sometimes changing the color of a button or moving it to a new location can increase conversion rates. And, the calls to action used can have a tremendous impact. You can find out which elements of your pages should be changed and which should stay the same through structured testing. 

a-b split testing with shopify

GrowthGiant released a case study wherein one website with 600 signups saw a 34% conversion increase by changing only the color of a button. Changing the small aspects of your store can have a big impact. But you need to inform yourself about the right alterations to make by running user behavior experiments. 

There are a ton of A/B testing articles online and you should turn to them for ideas

Final Thoughts

Follow this guide and you’ll be well on your way to Shopify success. Do your homework, your prep-work, and your launch work. Then, analyze your shoppers and make adjustments to your store. And, always aim for higher eCommerce conversions this month than you had last month. If you haven’t already, check out Shopify’s 14-day free trial today and get started.

How Does Shopify Work? Your Top Questions Answered

If you’re one of the millions of entrepreneurs trying to make a living online, you’ve taken a stab at the idea of an online store. And, today, you have questions about the leading eCommerce platform. Shopify offers an easy-to-use website builder for etailers. But, how does Shopify work? 

This guide offers updated answers to some of the most common hurdles to overcome by beginners on the platform. 

In a Nutshell, Here’s How Shopify Works: 

First of all, Shopify is an eCommerce platform or software as a service (SaaS) shopping cart solution. Individual entrepreneurs, authors, artists, existing small business retailers, and enterprise sellers leverage the platform to offer their products and services online. 

  • As of June 2019, there are an estimated 820,000 sellers on Shopify (source). 
  • In the past year, Shopify stores have served 218 million buyers from 175 different countries (source). 

It is one of the most popular platforms for online retail today. From within the Shopify dashboard, you can build an online store, add products or services, process orders. And, with the help of apps, online retailers can run an entire business. 

Can You Make Money on Shopify? 

Of course, the platform wouldn’t have so many users if it wasn’t a lucrative option. But, just how much revenue is generated by Shopify?

  • Many stores hosted on the platform are earning millions of dollars (source). 
  • On Black Friday alone last year, $1.5 billion in sales were powered by Shopify (source). 

Online retailers can leverage this eCommerce solution to generate substantial revenue. (Learn more about making money with Shopify here.) 

Does Shopify Provide Products to Sell? 

Shopify itself does not offer retail products on the platform. However, they do offer a ton of helpful advice for selecting products. Furthermore, there are an array of integrated merchandising options for drop shippers and print-on-demand sellers. 

Not sure what these terms mean? Dropshipping is a retail system that moves goods directly from the manufacturer to the customer. With this type of sales, there is no need for the retailer to keep merchandise on-hand. Warehousing is eliminated and stock processes are simplified. Print-on-demand (POD) is a branch of dropshipping wherein products are printed one at a time or in small quantities as they are ordered.  

Two of the most popular options for integrating these business structures into your online store are Oberlo and Printful. Here’s a quick summary of each. 

Oberlo for Dropshippers

Oberlo for dropshippers

[Image source: Oberlo]

Oberlo is a dropshipping suite that connects suppliers to retailers. The app gives users the ability to discover trending products to sell in their stores. With the combination of Oberlo and Shopify, most of the sales process becomes automated. Online sellers don’t have to worry about shipping products to their customers. 

Printful for POD Sellers

Printful for POD Sellers

[Image source: Printful]

POD sellers would want to check out an option like Printful, a top-rated printing, warehousing, and shipping option. Use the platform’s built-in design templates or create your art. Then, have it printed or embroidered onto clothing, accessories, and home decor products. With Printful and Shopify together, there’s no worry about inventory, shipping, or handling  

How Can You Start Selling on Shopify?  

You can try Shopify for free for 14 days before you pay for your monthly use of the software, so there’s no risk for new sellers. 

How Much Does Shopify Cost? 

Shopify plans have three basic pricing tiers: Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. Each option comes with a 14-day free trial, and you don’t need to enter your credit card information to sign up. Here’s a bit more information about what you can expect to pay with each monthly plan

Note: There is also a Shopify Lite plannot listed on the pricing page — which costs only $9 per month. The Lite option is designed for absolute beginners getting to know the platform.

1. Basic Shopify: $29 per Month + Fees

With this plan, you can create up to two staff accounts. Shipping discounts are up to 64%. You will not be able to create digital gift cards, generate professional reports, or use unique Shopify POS staff pins for offline sales, which you can do with the other two plans. If you don’t use the Shopify payments gateway, you will pay an additional 2% transaction fee. 

2. Shopify: $79 per Month + Fees

If you have a team working with you, this plan allows up to five staff accounts. Shipping discounts are up to 72%. You will be able to generate professional reports, create gift cards, use unique staff pins for offline sales, but you won’t have access to advanced reports. And, Your additional transaction fees for third-party payment processors will be 1%.

3. Advanced Shopify: $299 per Month +Fees

For larger teams, the advanced Shopify plan enables you to add up to 15 staff accounts to your dashboard. Shipping discounts are up to 74%. This plan gives you access to all of the features available with the other plans, plus advanced reporting. Furthermore, your fee for payment processing outside the Shopify platform is only going to be 0.5%. 

And, if you’re interested in enterprise options, you may want to check out Shopify Plus

How to Change Your Shopify Store Name

When you first sign up with Shopify, you are asked to choose a name for your store. And, you see a note that says, “Don’t worry, you can change this later.” So, you choose a potentially temporary name to start with. 

That’s when you realize you don’t like the name at all, and you come up with something more catchy. Now, you’re trying to figure out how to change it. Here’s what you do (it’s super simple).

  1. Log in to your Shopify dashboard. 
  2. Navigate to the “Settings” gear icon at the bottom of the left sidebar. 
  3. Select “General” to take you to the page where you can update your information. 
  4. Locate the “Store Name” box.  
Change Shopify Store Name
  1. Update by typing your new store name into the box. 
  2.  Click “Save.”

And that’s it! Now you’re in control. 

How to Remove “Powered by Shopify” From Your Webstore’s Footer

By default, Shopify leaves its branding at the bottom of your new store’s pages. And, the “Powered by Shopify” text links to their landing page to generate more signups. You’re paying for a subscription, so there’s no need to advertise for them. You want to remove the link so that you can keep shoppers on your site. 

Here are the steps to get the branding off your site’s footer: 

  1. Log in to your Shopify dashboard. 
  2. Navigate to “Online Store” in the left sidebar. 
  3. Click “Themes” from the dropdown menu.
  4. Select the theme you want to edit. 
  5. Near the top right of the page, click “Actions.”
  6. From the dropdown, select “Edit Languages.” 
  7. When the page loads, find the “Search Translations” in the Filter. 
  8. Type the word, “powered,” in the box. 
  9. As the page filters the information, look for the “Powered by Shopify” box. 
Remove powered by Shopify
  1. Click inside the box and type a single space. 
  2. Click “Save” 

Removing the branding from your Shopify theme is easy, but you have to know how to get to the right point in your dashboard. 

How to Install Hotjar on Your Shopify Store

Hotjar is a powerful analytics tool that helps you understand the voice and behaviors of your shoppers. Integrated with Shopify, the tool helps online sellers with a combination of data and feedback to create successful business campaigns and increase eCommerce conversions. 

So, how do you add hotjar to Shopify? Here’s what you need to do! 

  1. Log in to your Shopify dashboard. 
  2. Click “Online Store” from the bottom of the left sidebar. 
  3. Select “Themes” from the dropdown menu. 
  4. Select the theme you want to install Hotjar on. 
  5. Click “Actions” near the top right of the page.  
  6. Choose “Edit Code” from the dropdown menu.
  7. Under the “Layout” subheading, select “theme.liquid.”
  8. Scroll down the page to find the following code: </head>
Install Hotjar on Shopify
  1. Paste your Hotjar tracking code just before the closing tag </head>.
  2. Click “Save.” 
  3. Select the “Settings” gear icon at the bottom left of the page. 
  4. Choose “Checkout.”
  5. Scroll down the page to locate the “Additional Scripts” box. 
hotjar tracking code
  1. Inside the box, paste your Hotjar tracking code again. 
  2. Click “Save.” 
  3. Check your Hotjar dashboard to verify the code has been installed on your site. 

Hotjar installation takes a bit more effort than changing your store’s name or removing branding. But, it’s not super difficult. 

Final Thoughts

When you’re new to Shopify, you’ll have a lot of questions. And, I’m here to help you answer some of them. Use this guide to help you get started on the right path to success in your new online sales venture. And, make sure to have fun with it! 

And, if you haven’t tried Shopify yet, try a two-week free trial now to learn, hands-on, how it works.