Shopify Tips


Requesting a Shopify Store

The OCSB SEP is fortunate to be part of the Shopify Open Learning Program. Store must be created properly - or they will not be enrolled in this program.

Contact Richard White, Volunteer Business Mentor Champion at: or 613-858-9568 cell.

Shopify is a leading global commerce company, providing trusted tools to start, grow, market, and manage a retail business of any size.  Shopify have agreed to provide enrolled OCSB Social Entrepreneur Program schools with free webstores. 

Note that while Shopify do not make any money from on-line sales, the banking/credit card fees are unavoidable. This is no different from SchoolCashOnLine. These fees vary depending on the credit card used. Basic domestic credit card payments are typically 2.9% + CA$0.30 per transaction while International + AMEX is 3.5% + CA$0.30 per transaction.

Please bear this fee in mind when considering pricing of your products. 

For example:

Selling Price     Credit Card/Banking Fee    % of Selling Price Card Type

$5.00 $0.445 8.9% VISA Domestic

$20.00 $0.88 4.4% VISA Domestic

Individual School Webstores:

Schools are strongly encouraged to plan to have their own websites using Shopify for their social enterprise.  Having your own website lets you tell the story of your social enterprise.

You can now get your Shopify store BEFORE you've decided on your name! When you request a store from Rick White, it will initially be assigned a randomized url (eg. At a later date you are allowed to create a one-time new url (eg. that redirects to the store.

Once you have received your individual Shopify webstore we will link the store url to the Participating Schools page.

See this document for the details on Shopify Administration - Store Setup and Roles for the OCSB SEP and the process of setting up banking details if you wish to enable e-commerce.

Banking Details & On-Line Payments:

For 2021-22 year, we will manage the on-line payments as was done in 2020-21.   We will use one bank account managed by OCSB Finance Team. OCSB finance must become the  Store Owner before they can add any banking information required for credit card payments and activation of other payment methods.  (Note: For 2021-22 we will NOT be including PayPal as a payment option. It is too cumbersome for reconciliation.)  

SEP schools will only be able to access profits from on-line sales once a regular reconciliation has been performed and money has been transferred to the local school bank accounts. The first reconciliation will probably be done in the first week of Jan 2022 when on-line sales will be calculated by school and money will be transferred from the OCSB Finance bank account into the local school bank account.

Please contact to:

Store owners can add up to 15 students as members of staff to any store. The students can have specific roles that are easily set by the owner. With Full permissions, the students will be able to do many administrative duties with several exceptions including banking information. The help doc for adding staff accounts is here:

S9.2: Going On-Line with Shopify

Adding Products, Analytics, Custom Reports & Sales

When products are created with cost per item, then the financial reports will calculate various reports using this information. Please note that these reports DO NOT include the banking fees.

Shopify has a wide array of methods to see orders, sales and financial information. It is of course only as good as the data provided so when setting up products ensure that you include selling price, cost of item, taxes (for OCSB SEP - no taxes are required) as shown. 

Adding Digital Products

When adding digital products like e-books or digital files, you should consider adding the Shopify free app called Digital Downloads... see this link and/or this video.

Configure Products Including Cost per item

Every order can be viewed in detail and easily exported to excel spreadsheet for analysis. The analytics views provide easy visibility of orders, sales, profits and endless detail with date ranges that you can change before viewing. Standard and custom reports can also be made.

Analytics Views

Example Financial Report


Local pickup setup & Enabling cart note box: 

Local pickup at your school has been the overwhelming preferred method of delivery of products. 

It is strongly advised that you enable the Note box field within the shopping cart (Themes> Customize> Theme settings> Cart> tick box for the "Enable cart note") to allow the buyer to enter the name of a student at the school who can bring the purchased products home. 

You also have the option of adding instructions by editing the Note Label as shown.

Customer instructions or custom text:

The Notes box can also be added if you want the customer to add any specific information to their order - for example any custom text to be printed on a laser etched ornament.

To create your own message modify the Note Label as follows. Go to Themes> click the "..." beside the Customize> Edit Languages> type "Note" in Filter items section Cart> type your custom message in Note box

Add Custom Message to Order Status Page

Go to Settings>Checkout>scroll to end and enter text or hypertext into Order status page text box.

NOTE: To simplify HTML coding, simply create a new page, create custom message with inserted images using the page tools, then click “convert to HTML” button, copy the contents and paste into Order status text box.

Enable cart note tick box

Enable Cart Note

Order Confirmation Page - Custom messages

Image uploads from Google Chromebooks

Shopify allows you to upload media files based on their URL so the method to use is to find the image on the internet you want to use then copy& paste the image address from the paste buffer:

Copy image address (copy to paste buffer)>>Add media from URL (on Shopify)>>Add image>>Paste image URL (copies image address from paste buffer) 

Sold Out Settings:

Once you have sold out - or want to shut down sales on Shopify, you have several options.  I find that the cleanest method is to continue to show your products - but show them as “Sold Out”.  This can be easily accomplished by leaving the product in “active” state, setting the available inventory to 0 and making sure the “Continue selling when out of stock” is not active for the specific product you want to stop selling.

Local pickup to a school of the buyer’s choice: 

You might also want to consider adding multiple locations around the city for local pickup the customer can select from.  The OCSB does have regular courier between schools and we can arrange to use this courier to have a local pickup to any of up to 20 other OCSB schools.  You can enable this by adding the other school locations (up to 20) and enabling local pickup. Configure this via the Settings>Locations.

You of course can enable shipping to the purchaser’s home address, but this is expensive and involves your students in the packaging and delivery to Canada Post, Fed Ex or other. If you do not wish to use shipping (because you are instead using local pickup), then please make sure to turn off shipping via Settings>Shipping and delivery.

You might also consider using Trexity (it is an app within Shopify) for home delivery.

Opening & Closing your Shopify Store to the Public

Your store is initially setup with a password so that the general public cannot enter the store. (You can change this password under Online Store>Preferences>Password Protection Section.) Anyone - including the public - can enter your store using this password.

When you are ready to open your store to the public, you'll need to remove the password. This will open your store to the public. This is found under Online Store>Preferences>Remove password - see image below:

SchoolCashOnline Payments:

I don't advise using SchoolCashOnline, however, if you want to enable SchoolCashOnline payment types (or other manual payment methods like e-transfer or COD) then here is how I'd suggest they be configured.  

1) create a new manual payment method called SchoolCashOnline with information as shown (student's name associated with the SchoolCashOnline will need to be manually debited with the amount of the purchase - who does this??)

2) Enable Note field to Shopping Cart with instructions to add the student's name if selecting SchoolCashOnline

3) SEP Shopify administrator will need to inform whoever adds the debit to the SchoolCashOnline to make an entry into the students account.

This method has the burden that someone will need to enter the purchases into the SchoolCashOnline student account - and the school selling then needs to figure out how to transfer that money to the charity...and track down any unpaid purchases - so it’s pretty messy. There are also still e-commerce fees for any credit card or PayPal type payments - these are unavoidable with SchoolCashOnline and Shopify.

Cash On Delivery (COD) or Bank Deposit (ie Interac e-transfer) are probably better solutions to avoid the banking fees and both or either can also be setup as manual payment options, however, once again these payments will need some kind of manual tracking for purchases since they occur outside of Shopify.

Website Translation:

If you want your Shopify store to be available in another language then I recommended that you install the app “Translation Labs”.  It provides 10,000 free word credits and allows translation of everything in your store into many languages with complete control.

The theme (Debut) I used to initially create the stores already comes with several languages translated - so you won’t consume any of the word credits when translating the content within the theme... but any new content you create will dip into your word credits. You will still need to go thru each part of your store and force the translation for every section (links, navigation, error messages, page content, etc). 

Translating your store into another language is really pretty simple with the app and it provides you with the ability to change any of the translations if you don’t like them.

When customers enter the store - they can select the language you have enabled... you can also have it automatically detect the customer browser language and have the user see the language by default if you have translated it into theIt browser language.

Point of Sale Terminals:

If you are interested in using a POS mobile terminal for your sales, the WisePad 3 Card Reader my be just the thing! 

WisePad 3 Card Reader                      CA$69.00

The WisePad 3 card reader is a PCI-compliant device that wirelessly connects to your point of sale system. With the Shopify POS app, you can utilize the WisePad 3 card reader to process both contactless and chip card transactions.

Consolidated Webstore:

The OCSB SEP team has setup a single OCSB SEP webstore. Visit this website at: .  

This webstore is intended to consolidate all schools into one site and link to their own individual Shopify websites as they are developed.

Getting Started with Shopify - Resources.pdf

Additional Resources:

Shopify Youtube Tutorials

Shopify's Growth Lab Youtube learning channel

Shopify Help Center

Administrator (Store Owner, Staff ) Permissions & Roles

Terms of Service

Terms of Service for Shopify Payments

Getting paid with Shopify Payments

All the Legals

Shopify deduct transaction and credit card fees, and pay the balance into the store's bank account. Although Shopify can pay fast by default, you can set up a preferred payment schedule, e.g. monthly.

The deductions vary depending on the payment processor, and are shown in the store admin. If you use Shopify Payments, transaction charges are waived, but you can expect deductions of around 2.4% + $0.30 per credit card transaction, to cover credit card fees. That figure varies slightly, depending on the card the customer uses.