What Shopify Can do for Your Food Business


So you have a storefront, a food-truck, a stall, and a series of outlets. Congratulations! But aren’t you leaving money on the table? What about selling to your biggest fan who now lives in Tokyo? Hey! Someone’s just placed an order from Atlanta and money’s on the way to your account! Welcome to your new business online!

In today’s article, we’re going to look at Shopify, an e-commerce platform (a.k.a. your online shop) which runs 1000’s of businesses online. In future episodes of the makemoneywithfood.com podcast, we’ll be talking to some of those who use it to sell their teas, fruit products and even fish!

World Wide What?

It was not so long ago that something called the internet came into being. It all began in the 1950’s with a super-secure US military network called ARPANET. Now picture this… years later in 1990 a gentleman called Tim Berners Lee is mulling over his morning coffee in Switzerland, slightly miffed that the process of sharing information with his fellow boffins is so difficult.

ARPANET by this point has a version called NSF NET, where scientists such as Tim can communicate with people they cannot see. By the way, you and I don’t have mobile phones yet, and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook is seven years of age and still in First Grade.

Where’s the ‘click’?

Meanwhile, Tim’s thinking ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be nice if people could find files without having to know which computer they were located on?” Why not ‘click’ on something, which can simply cause the file to appear?  In August 1991, Tim gives his solution to the world for free.

It’s called the ‘world wide web’. It’s that ‘www’ on your business card. Best of all, it’s something that enables so many businesses – mine and yours – and any other company on earth to set out their stall of products and services to people whom we never even see. They buy over an invisible network! Hot Diggity Dang! Try explaining that to Grandpa!

A whole new way of doing business

Heck, with this new thing called ‘the web’, you can create an online business which doesn’t actually exist. It doesn’t take up any room. No one has to staff it, no one has to lock up at night. No one has to put things on shelves. When you’re tucked up in bed, your store is still chugging away, taking in money from people 24/7.

But don’t forget, at this stage, we’re still discussing the 1990’s! The world wide web is still in its infancy and it’s a pain to actually build an commerce site. You have to hire a programmer, find a designer. then pay for hosting then build a shopping cart then set up a payment gateway…. Sheesh! I just wanna sell pancakes.

Hello eCommerce!

Fast forward to 2006 and Shopify is born. Want to sell your craft beer and ship it to Oregon? No problem. What about your olive oil or gourmet coffee? It’s 1am and someone in Buenos Aires wants to place an order. Can do that too! No programming experience? No worries.

No time to program? Neither have we!

Of all the eCommerce solutions we have observed or tried (several, but we’re not experts), we think that Shopify is the one which we feel most comfortable with recommending.  It has great templates, is easy to use and has great customer support behind it. That’s so, so important. Give me great customer service over buttons and whistles, every time! Shopify runs over 120K businesses around the world according to the statistics on its website.

So who’s using it?

We want to get to know some of these users and get the ‘skinny’ on their experience with Shopify to date. Focused as we are on food businesses, we want to find out what your peers think of the platform. How does it work for them? Is it easy to use? What success have they had with it? Would they advise you to use it? Good question!

Over the next few episodes of the makemoneywithfood.com podcast, we’ll be talking to Island Creek Oysters, Blue Chair Fruit and SanctuaryT (among others) to get the facts. Best of all, we’ll share the recordings and show notes with you, so you can make up your own mind.

We’re looking forward to this. Stay tuned!




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About Author

Mark Hayes - Editor

Graduating after 4 years at Shannon College of Hotel Management in Ireland, Mark worked in hospitality and restaurant management roles for ClubMed, Disney (in both Florida and Paris, France), Sheraton Hotels (Frankfurt, Germany) as well as management positions in restaurant chains in the UK. Mark completed an MBA in 2010 with a master's thesis focused on food franchise operations. Through interviewing food business owners, franchise-holders and food-vendors, Mark found that he really enjoyed finding out exactly what compels people to start food businesses and what it is they do to make them profitable and rewarding. In recent years, Mark has also run a successful farmer's market business with his parents, both of whom are passionate 'foodies'. From sourcing ingredients to making food by hand, packaging it, pricing it and selling it in a competitive marketplace, Mark wants to help you to make your food startup a success.