How does Shopify work in the UK?

Hannah Conway
7 minute read

If you’re thinking of setting up an ecommerce business to sell either physical or digital products, you may choose to use a platform like Shopify to make it easier to create and manage your store.

This Shopify UK guide gives you an overview of how to start selling online, including product ideas, the monthly costs and transaction fees you need to know about. We’ll also introduce the TransferWise for Business account.

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Get started with Shopify

Shopify offers everything you'll need to get started in online retail, including website templates, hosting and payment processing.

Getting set-up with Shopify is simple. In fact, one of the main selling points of ecommerce software like this, is that you don’t necessarily need any technical background to get going. You may even benefit from a free trial period to set up a store and see how it works, before you need to pay any fees.¹

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Create a Shopify account - take advantage of any offers available, such as a 14 day free trial to test the system.
  2. Use the Shopify software to generate a business name and logo if you don’t already have one.
  3. Get your own customer web address, and create an online store using the available templates and stock photos. If you already have a website and hosting, you can skip this step.
  4. Find and upload products into your store, ready to sell.
  5. Promote your store online, using social media, and in person among your network.
  6. Use Shopify Payments, or your chosen third party provider to process sales.
  7. Your income is sent automatically to your linked local bank account a few days after a sale is made.²

There’s plenty of advice and ideas available on the Shopify website, to help you get started - browse the guides online to get some inspiration.³

What to sell on Shopify?

Shopify provides website hosting and a range of store templates which can lend themselves to any sort of physical or digital product or service. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • If you’re an avid reader, why not sell books online?
  • Love movies? Sell dvds online.
  • Got a passion for fashion? Consider selling clothes online.
  • Creative type? Why not sell art online, such as modern calligraphy, greetings cards or prints.

One of the great things about online selling is that you can also sell digital products and services. You might, for example, want to sell your own ebooks, online guides or courses, templates for a great resume or cover letter, or graphic design work customers can print themselves.⁴ By selling digital products you don’t need to worry about shipping costs, making life that little bit easier.

Managing your inventory

Shopify have built in inventory tracking features that make it effortless to manage your online inventory.

From the Inventory area of your Shopify account, you can track and adjust, export or import inventory details with a CSV file, and hide out-of stock products.⁵ Among other features, you can also track incoming orders and inventory from your suppliers, to help you manage your purchase orders.⁶

Shopify dropshipping UK

Although, Shopify help with managing your online inventory, you’ll still need to coordinate the physical order - the storage, packaging and shippiung of the goods. As a new business this may be difficult, due to the potential up-front costs involved.

Dropshipping is one option to consider. This is where you list your items, but do not own, store or ship the inventory. Rather this is managed by a third party, usually a manufacturer or supplier. This means that there is no up-front cost to you for the inventory. Perfect if you’re just starting out and looking for a way to scale your costs.

Shopify partners with Oberlo to offer dropshipping services - check out their packages online.⁷ If you choose this option, you’ll also need a way to pay suppliers without incurring unnecessary fees - especially if they’re based overseas. TransferWise for Business can help with that.


Shopify aren’t your only option when it comes to setting up your ecommerce store. So how do you compare the different platforms available to support your business? Here are a few of the features on offer from Shopify, so you can compare against other available solutions for your store:

  • Custom domain names: When you join Shopify you can either buy a new domain name through the platform, or import your existing one.⁸

  • Hosting: You’ll get all your hosting, including automatic upgrades and unlimited bandwidth. Shopify is Level 1 PCI (Payment Card Industry).

  • SEO & marketing tools: Once your business is up, Shopify can help make your site easily found online using SEO best practices. You can also offer discounts and gift cards, and sell using social media to reach your biggest possible audience.

Follow-up in abandoned carts

One powerful feature for an ecommerce business is abandoned checkout recovery. This means that there’s a way to follow up with customers who have been browsing your site, put items in their basket, and then navigated away without completing the purchase.

In this case, a simple reminder might be all you need to convert a sale - and Shopify offer the option to manually or automatically email customers with abandoned items in their online baskets, to help increase your sales.

SSL Certificates

Customers shopping online need to know that their payment is safe. That’s why Shopify sites all come with a free SSL certificate which means web pages and content, as well as transaction information and credit card details are all secured with the same technology used by banks.⁸

Product Search

With Shopify you can display up to 50 products on each page, and sort, search and filter the list for ease. This makes it easier for customers to find a product - and of course can give your sales a boost.¹⁰

Shopify Payments

Once a payment is processed by the payment provider that you have set-up, the money will be deposited into your merchant account.

With Shopify Payments, your money is deposited directly into your linked bank account after it clears. In the UK this will take 3 business days. If you prefer, you can schedule your payments to come at different intervals, from within your account settings.¹¹

With Shopify UK you can only receive payouts in British pounds.¹² That means that if you accept payments online in a different currency, they will be converted back to pounds sterling under Shopify’s terms and conditions.

You can also choose to accept manual payments such as bank transfers, or other providers such as PayPal. If you choose to use a payment provider other than Shopify Payments, you’ll be charged a transaction fee for all orders.¹³

TransferWise - 19x cheaper than PayPal

Shopify UK can only pay-out your earnings in British pounds - but receive them to your UK local account details with TransferWise, and use them for future payments to suppliers or manufacturers.

Receive money with zero fees with your own UK, Eurozone, Australian and New Zealand account details. Pay suppliers and buy inventory overseas with the real exchange rate in over 70 countries - for 19x cheaper than PayPal.

See if you can get a better deal - and grow your Shopify UK ecommerce store - with the TransferWise.

Create your free account & start saving!

Shopify UK Pricing

Shopify UK offers a few different payment options, including different packages based on the volumes you expect to sell. You can change the payment level you choose as your business grows.

Here are some of the fees you need to know about, and included features for each plan, to help with your research.

  • Payment Fee for Shopify Payments: There is a different charge for processing credit cards depending on whether the card is registered in the same country as your store (domestic) or a different country (cross-border).

  • Conversion Rate and Fee: Shopify say that they use the market rate to convert your payments, if you accept a payment in a currency other than your payout currency. There is also a conversion fee that they charge for converting your money.

  • Transaction Fee: None - unless you use an external payment provider, other than Shopify Payments. This is a percentage charge, determined on your account plan.¹⁴

Payment processing rates for each plan are outlined below, along with features that are included with each plan:

Basic Shopify: USD 29 /mo - best if you’re starting a new business

  • All essential features.
  • Staff Accounts: 2
  • Online credit card rates: 2.2% + £0.20
  • In-person credit card rates: 1.7% +£0.00
  • Additional fees non-Shopify Payments: 2.0%*

Shopify: USD 79 /mo - best if you want to grow your business

  • All essential features.
  • Staff Accounts: 5
  • Gift Cards Available.
  • Professional Reports.
  • Point of Sale Register shifts.
  • Unlimited Shopify POS staff PINs.
  • Online credit card rates: 1.9% + £0.20
  • In-person credit card rates: 1.6% +£0.00
  • Additional fees non-Shopify Payments: 1.0%*

Advanced Shopify: USD 299 /mo - best if you want to scale your business

  • All essential features.
  • Staff Accounts: 15
  • Gift Cards Available.
  • Professional Reports.
  • Advanced report builder.
  • Third-party calculated shipping rates.
  • Point of Sale Register shifts.
  • Unlimited Shopify POS staff PINs.
  • Online credit card rates: 1.6% + £0.20
  • In-person credit card rates: 1.5% +£0.00
  • Additional fees non-Shopify Payments: 0.5%*

The essential features that are available across all plans are:

  • Online store: includes ecommerce website and blog.
  • Unlimited product listings.
  • Sell on online marketplaces and social media.
  • Manual order creation.
  • Discount codes: Creation and management.
  • Free SSL Certificate.
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery.
  • Payments: Fraud Analysis.
  • Shopify POS app for transactions in a physical store or pop-up setting.
  • Hardware peripheral support.
  • Third-party POS apps.¹⁵

*Additional fees using all payment providers, other than Shopify Payments

Shopify Alternatives

When you’re deciding on which ecommerce platform to use for your online store, you’ll want to compare a few options. What is right for you depends on the type of store you want to build and the sales volume you project.

  • EKM: UK ecommerce website platform.
  • Etsy: Independents selling what they love.
  • Sell online with an eBay seller account.
  • Amazon: Seller Central

You’ll need to take a little time to weigh up the costs of each option for your specific business idea - but you may find one offers you a better deal for your specific needs.

Whichever ecommerce software or platform you choose for your online business, make sure you have the right partners to grow. Getting the right account to manage your money both now and as your business develops is essential - see how the TransferWise for Business account can help, today.

Sources used:

  1. Shopify UK
  2. Shopify: Get Started
  3. Help Center: Shopify
  4. Shopify: Services and Digital Products
  5. Inventory Management with Shopify
  6. Shopify Inventory Transfers
  7. Oberlo for Shopify
  8. Shopify Ecommerce Solutions
  9. Hosting with Shopify
  10. Shopify Product Searches
  11. Getting paid with Shopify Payments .
  12. Selling and getting paid in different currencies
  13. Getting Paid with Shopify
  14. Shopify Conversion Fees
  15. Pricing with Shopify

Sources checked: 18-October 2019.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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