It’s estimated more than 1.75 million businesses worldwide rely on Shopify to sell their products, including over 95,000 Canadian online businesses. And according to Statistica, Shopify is the e-commerce platform leader in Canada, with a 36% market share.

The e-commerce platform provider may be well on its way to fulfilling its goal of becoming the world’s first global retail operating system.

Whether you’re launching a new online retail business or extending your brick-and-mortar operations to the internet, choosing Shopify as your e-commerce platform may be a sound choice.

A woman shopping online with a tablet computer

What Is Shopify?

Shopify is an Ottawa-based all-in-one e-commerce platform provider that hosts online stores for a broad range of businesses and independent sellers.

It is considered the go-to platform for everyone from part-time home-based sellers and startups to large, established organizations. Whether you use the platform to sell goods online through your store’s website or offline using the Shopify POS (point-of-sale) app, the subscription-based platform makes setting up a digital retail store simple. It allows small business owners to sell physical and digital products or both.

A free 14-day trial available when starting out on Shopify allows you to build an online store and start selling. After that, you must choose a pricing plan: Basic ($38 per month; recommended for new e-commerce startups), Shopify ($99 per month), or Advanced ($389 per month). There’s also a Starter plan for $7 a month that allows you to sell goods through social media and messaging apps. The Starter plan is ideal for sellers who don’t have a website or sell goods occasionally as a side hustle.

What Are the Risks of Selling Products on Shopify?

Regardless of which e-commerce platform you use (there are others, such as BigCommerce, Squarespace, and Wix), all retailers and independent sellers face liability risks whenever you distribute or sell a product online or offline.

For instance, if you sell organic hand cream to a customer through your e-commerce store, and the cream causes the customer to suffer a painful, allergic reaction that requires medical attention, you could be named in a third-party bodily injury lawsuit – even if you didn’t manufacture the cream. The cost to defend yourself and reach an out-of-court settlement or be ordered by a court to pay compensation could cost several thousands of dollars.

Or, if you have a warehouse or commercial property where you store merchandise, the property and your inventory could be damaged by fire, a flood, or burglarized.

Why Do I Need Insurance for My Shopify Store?

Although Shopify does not require you to have insurance to use their platform, purchasing a Shopify business insurance policy is wise for many reasons. Given the high volume of sales activity that typically transpires on Shopify, the potential for something to go wrong and shutter your shop is considerable.

Insurance minimizes risks and serves as your financial backup plan when disaster strikes or things go sideways unexpectedly. Here are four reasons why you need a policy:

1. Contractual

As a retailer or seller, your suppliers may require you to carry liability and other insurance, or they won’t partner with you.

2. Taxation

Insurance is tax deductible for small businesses. Therefore, it lowers your federal tax liability.

3. Protection

Safeguarding your assets and finances is essential. The risks are plentiful: third-party bodily injury or property damage claims, damage and loss from fire or extreme weather, cyber-attacks, breach of contract lawsuits, theft, and more.

4. Reputation

Partners, suppliers, and customers trust and respect small businesses and independent sellers who adhere to good business practices, which include carrying adequate insurance coverage.

Do I Need Shipping Insurance for My Shopify Store?

Indeed, adding shipping coverage as a rider or endorsement to your policy is smart.

Also called cargo insurance, transit insurance, or inland marine insurance, protection for the items you ship to customers while in-transit covers you if the item is damaged, lost, or stolen en route to its destination.

Get Shopify Insurance In a Few Clicks

Rolling the dice and selling products online without a Shopify business insurance policy is a precarious way to operate. Don’t take chances with your finances and reputation. Instead, take the opportunity to get a free quote for your insurance needs and give your business the support it needs to thrive and grow.

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About the Author: Liam Lahey

Liam is the Content Marketing Manager at Zensurance. A writer and editor for more than 20 years, he has been published in several newspapers and magazines, including Yahoo! Canada Finance, Metroland Media, IT World Canada and others.