Even though it’s supposed to be one of the most straightforward eCommerce platforms globally, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to get started on Shopify as a beginner.
After all, there’s a lot that goes into setting up and running any online store.
That said, don’t stress — we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to start selling on Shopify so you can successfully grow your business.
1. Create an Account and Set Up Your Shopify Business
Firstly, if you’re not sure how to create a Shopify account, the good news is that you just need an email address to sign up for a free 14-day trial of Shopify. Once these 14 days have passed, you can proceed with a plan based on which one is best for your business and budget.
You can choose between the following:
- Basic Shopify, which features all the basics for setting up a Shopify website for $29 per month
- The Shopify Plan, which is the most popular plan for a growing store at $79 per month
- Advanced Shopify, which has advanced features for scaling a high-revenue business at $299 per month
But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves!
Customize Your Settings
First things first, you need to set up your basic store settings.
- Choose your payment gateways, from PayPal to Stripe, Worldpay to Klarna, Amazon Pay to Shopify Payments via a debit or credit card.
- Add the dimensions and weights of your preferred package type(s) in the Shipping and Delivery settings.
- Assign your shipping locations if you plan to fulfill orders from various places, such as warehouses, retail stores, or dropshipping suppliers.
- Set up your shipping rates based on the costs to deliver your products.
- Even though Shopify uses several default sales tax rates, you can assign your own taxes if you need to charge a specific tax on your sales for government reporting purposes.
- Add your store’s policies to your checkout page, including essential information for customers relating to refunds, privacy, delivery, terms and conditions.
2. Add Products and Brand Information
How to set up Shopify step two: add your product and brand information.
Shopify: Getting Started with Products
When it comes to inserting your products, you need to include names, descriptions, images, and prices to improve your chances of making a sale. Sure, this can be the most time-consuming part of starting a Shopify store, but it’s important not to rush it. After all, without your products, you don’t have a business. You might also want to organize your store based on collections, which will make it easier for your customers to find the product(s) they’re looking for.
Some examples of collections include:
- Category (tops, jumpers, trousers, etc.)
- Seasonal (gifts, holiday-themed, decorations, etc.)
To do this, simply click “Create collection” from the “Collections” page and follow the instructions.
Shopify: Create Website Pages
In addition to your product pages, you should set up necessary brand information for your website.
Most Shopify stores have the following pages to help them sell their products:
- “About Us” or “Our Story’, where you can showcase your brand values, mission, and history and create customer trust
- “Contact Us”, where customers can reach out if they have any questions about your brand or products
To create these pages, go to “Online Store” then “Pages” from your Shopify Admin. Click “Add Page” to set up each one individually. This is one of the benefits of using Shopify – it’s like a website builder where you create your online shop, products, collections, and content from one place.
3. Customize Your Store
The next step in terms of how to start a Shopify business is to customize your store design.
Pick a Shopify Store Theme
Start by browsing for the right theme in the Shopify Theme Store. This includes both free themes that have been developed by Shopify and paid themes that have been produced by third parties.
Whichever direction you decide to go in, make sure your theme is beautiful and aligns with your visual brand identity.
What is a visual brand identity, you ask? This consists of the colors, imagery, and fonts that represent your business — and they need to be eye-catching!
At this stage, you should also upload your logo to your store’s header, pick a color scheme, and assign fonts based on your visual brand identity.
Choose a Relevant Domain Name
Your domain name is the URL, or website address, which customers will type into their internet browser to visit your store. By default, Shopify will provide you with a “myshopify” domain (store-name.myshopify.com). However, this doesn’t exactly scream “successful and professional store owner.” Right?
Instead, consider buying or using your custom domain, which is either “.com,” “.co.uk,” or “.com.au” depending on where you’re based. The domain should also match your store name to avoid any confusion from potential customers.
Add a Navigational Menu
Getting around your store should be super straightforward to create a positive customer experience. Therefore, be sure to set up a navigational menu at the top of your store that’s a breeze for any website beginner to use. Most Shopify stores follow this format chronologically (or similar) for their main navigational menu:
- “About Us”
- Collection 1, collection 2, collection 3, etc.
To set this up, all you have to do is go to “Online Store” then “Navigation” from your Shopify admin. Simple.
4. Install Important Apps
Another significant section of any “how to get started on Shopify” guide is app integration. Alongside free Shopify apps that you can download for your store, you also have access to paid apps by third-party developers. There are currently over 2,000 customization apps available with price points ranging from $9.99 to $60+. You might find that you’re happy to stick to the free Shopify apps.
Having said that, certain paid third-party apps can be extremely handy when it comes to growing an online store. Apps like Out-of-Stock Police could help you to hide out of stock items on Shopify and sort products if your inventory is quite large.
Example of apps include:
- Drop-shipping apps, such as Sprocket and Oberlo, which make drop-shipping from your Shopify admin easy
- Retargeting campaign apps, such as abandoned cart recovery, which uses email marketing to drive sales from customers who have clicked off the checkout page
- Marketing campaign apps that offer discounts and coupons, in addition to loyalty scheme apps like Swell, Smile.oi and Loyalty Lion
- Multi-channel selling apps with major companies such as Facebook, eBay, and Amazon
Not sure how to build a Shopify store with suitable apps? Don’t sweat it — start with the basics, and then you can always add others as you go.
5. Figure Out How to Make a Shopify Store a Success
Lastly, are you wondering how to open a Shopify store? Once you’re all set up with your website and hit the “Publish” store button, you’re officially ready to sell on Shopify. However, the fun part is figuring out what will make your eCommerce business a success. The result is usually all down to trial and error. That said, we’ve done all the hard work so that you don’t have to!
Here’s how to start a successful Shopify store 101:
- Have an engaging blog — your blog posts should feature keywords for Search Engine Optimisation purposes to drive traffic to your website and build a loyal readership
- Be active on social media — work out which platforms your customers are on and set up profiles on these, regular post content and grow your following to encourage click-throughs to your store
- Feature customer testimonials on your product pages — Word of Mouth (WoM) is an essential tool in the digital marketing world, and positive online reviews can significantly increase sales
- Deliver excellent customer service — reply to all customer queries, be polite and solve problems quickly, which can build loyalty and encourage repeat purchases
- Utilize social media ads — use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and/or Pinterest ads to get your brand in front of your target audience
- Add exciting new products and collections — Any online business has to keep finding new ways to entice customers, which stores can do by expanding their product range and collections regularly
And always remember that your products won’t just sell themselves. When it comes to selling online, you have to have a marketing strategy in place if you want to elevate yourself from your competition and keep the number of page-views, clicks, and conversions rising.
As a beginner, starting a business and learning how to launch a Shopify store is challenging. But figuring out how to create a Shopify store that’s not only surviving but thriving is even harder!
Keep an eye on your analytics and critical financial reports (accessible via the “Overview” dashboard). This will help you determine which products are selling well (and which aren’t) so you can amend your marketing strategy accordingly.