Shopify & Ecommerce

In today's world, almost anything can be sold online, from home-baked goods to custom-printed apparel and even digital products such as graphic design services or online courses.

We've done the research for you and want to help you set up a successful online store with this friendly, jargon-free Shopify tutorial.

Why Shopify? Well, it's quick and easy to set up, offers a 14-day free trial, and allows you to edit every aspect of your store; from shipping options to payment gateways, easy to personalise online storefront , and the option to purchase a custom domain so that your online store is always uniquely yours.

Let's dive in!

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  • How Do I Start A Shopify Store?πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ
  • How Much Does It Cost To Start A Shopify Store? πŸ’Έ
  • How To Start A Shopify Store In 6 Simple Steps πŸ›’
  • Utilizing The Shopify App Store πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈ
  • How Do I Attract Customers Online? πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™€οΈ
  • Conclusion πŸ™Œ
  • How Do I Start A Shopify Store?πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

    An online business is not much different from any other business so, you'll need to start with a business plan. This means you'll need to know the ins and outs of what product type you'll be selling who your target customers will be, and what other business owners in your market segment are doing.

    Having your business idea in place will make setting up your Shopify store a whole lot quicker.

    You'll want to start with your product ideas. What are you going to be selling; handmade products, digital products, or will you be diving in with a dropshipping business? Are there any current or future trends you can cash in on?

    If you are creating handmade products, Shopify is a great place to start. It gives you access to a professional-looking platform with options to upgrade as your business grows.

    Keep in mind that you'll need to track your product availability and will have to handle your own shipping strategy including logistics; both are valuable in making sure your online store runs smoothly.

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    On the other hand, dropshipping products is a good place to start if you're interested in getting into eCommerce but don't have a handmade product.

    You don't need to worry about keeping an inventory, most dropshipping suppliers have ready-to-use product descriptions and images, and they handle all the shipping, giving you more time and energy to focus on learning and generating sales.

    Digital products are also a winning option because you won't need to track inventory or worry about shipping. Digital products include courses, services, software, etc.

    Next, you'll want to come up with a business name and logo and take clear product images. Remember that the images need to showcase your product clearly, so make sure they are high quality.

    Now that you have your product range, you'll need to perform a competitive analysis to find out who your target audience is and what your competitors are doing.

    Once you have all this information, you'll have a solid foundation on which to build your eCommerce business.

    How Much Does It Cost To Start A Shopify Store? πŸ’Έ

    The cost of setting up and running your eCommerce business will depend on various factors such as the pricing plan, products sold, shipping and transaction fees, and any apps you utilize from the Shopify app store.

    It's a good idea to look into these costs and choose the best options for your budget. Keep in mind that you can change these as your online business grows.

    There are three basic subscription plans with a variety of features to suit online shops of any size.

    All plans include 24/7 support, shareable product pages, unlimited products, fraud analysis, abandoned cart recovery, manual order creation, gift cards, free SSL certificate, Shopify POS lite, discount codes, and the ability to sell in over 133 countries around the world.

    How To Start A Shopify Store In 6 Simple Steps πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈ

    Right, now that you have your business plan set up, let's start setting up your online store using the following key steps!

    1. Create a Shopify Account 😎
    2. Complete The Administrative Details πŸ“
    3. Add Products To Your Store 🎁
    4. Organize Your Product Collections 🧐
    5. Choose A Shopify Theme And Customize It 🎨
    6. Test Your Online Store πŸ‘©β€πŸ’»

    1. Create A Shopify Account 😎

    Your first step is to sign up on Shopify using your email address, password, and store name. This will sign you up for the 14-day free trial and give you a default URL (storename.myshopify.com). You can purchase a custom domain at any point in the future.

    Once you're signed up it's a good idea to password protect your store until you're ready to go live. This restricts access and your landing page will be a password page until you remove this feature.

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    2. Complete The Administrative Details πŸ“

    The next step is setting up all the administrative bits and pieces; it's the not-so-fun bit but will make sure your online shop runs smoothly.

  • Store Details
  • Payment Methods
  • Shipping Settings
  • Taxes And Duties
  • Checkout
  • Store Details

    First, go to "Settings" at the bottom left of the home screen. This will bring up a page where you can access and set up the backend processes.

    Starting with the store details, fill in your business address and contact details, set the default currency, and choose the timezone and preferred product weight unit.

    Payment Methods

    The next important section is "Payments". Here you'll be setting up your payment gateways so that your customer can easily purchase your products.

    With so many options, it might seem overwhelming, but Shopify Payments is one of the most straightforward and quickest payment processors.

    Shopify Payments is a payment gateway solution that offers consumers and businesses a straightforward method of conducting e-commerce transactions without leaving the Shopify site and allows your store to accept a variety of payments including credit cards, Google Pay, Shopify Pay, and more.

    Another super cool feature is that you can also use this integrated transactional system to process in-person payments as well with the Shopify Point of Sale (POS) system.

    Additional payment options include an extensive list of third-party payment gateways such as PayPal, Amazon Pay, Pay Easy, Sezzle, and Payment Wall, or setting up manual forms of payment.

    You can change, add, and remove payment methods later if necessary.

    πŸ’‘
    Paypal, Stripe, Google Pay, and credit card payment services like American Express and Mastercard are the most popular options for customers transacting online.

    Shipping Settings

    Your shipping settings are important as this will determine how your customers receive their purchased products and how much extra it will cost to get them delivered. It's a little more in-depth but you can always lean on the Shopify setup guide if you get stuck.

    You want this process to be as smooth as your payments to ensure a top-notch customer experience.

    This page allows you to edit everything to do with product delivery. Here you can edit shipping rates, processing time, shipping destinations, packaging, shipping labels, packing slips, carrier accounts, and custom order fulfillment.

    If you click on "Manage" under "Shipping", you'll be able to create different types of shipping rates such as flat shipping rates, calculated shipping rates, or conditional shipping rates.

    Click "create shipping zone", name the zone, choose your location/s, and then click "Done".

    Now add a shipping rate, either manually or by choosing to use a carrier or app to calculate rates for you. Integrating Shopify with carriers, such as UPS or DHL, is quick and easy and generates live pricing so your customers know exactly how much they'll be paying for shipping.

    You can also set up free shipping; a great draw card for potential customers which I highly recommend. To do this, manually set up your shipping rates and simply leave the price block empty.

    However, remember to calculate the shipping into your product price so that you still earn a profit after absorbing the shipping costs.

    If you need to, you can then set up local delivery and pick up as well.

    On a side note, it's worth checking out Shopify Shipping if you're operating within Australia, Canada, or the US as they offer huge discounts on carrier shipping rates.

    Taxes and Duties

    Most of us do not get very excited about taxes or have even had to deal with them in-depth.

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    You’ll need to collect sales tax if you meet certain state requirements. Shopify makes it a painless process by automatically calculating and applying default sales tax rates to orders. However, note that sales tax will differ across regions and products so you are able to edit the default rates or apply overrides should this be necessary.

    It's a good idea to consult with a tax professional to make sure you have all your legal ducks in a row and are confident in either using the default tax settings or knowing that you need to override them due to specific regional requirements, specific types of products, or for shipping.

    That being said, you will need to make sure you are registered with the right authorities for your region.

    You can add new countries/regions under taxes by creating a shipping zone under your shipping settings.

    Checkout

    Here you can adjust your store's checkout settings including checkout style, the information you'd like from your customers, order processing, consent for marketing, abandoned checkout emails, order status page, and even your checkout language.

    Under "Customer Accounts" Β you can choose whether customers can checkout as guests or members. If your store is new, we suggest allowing customers the choice to checkout as either, rather than forcing them to sign up for accounts.

    You can also allow customers to decide how they want to be contacted after placing their order. Options include text messages or email but it's best to keep this to email if you're going to focus on building your email list.

    Most importantly, you're going to want to set up your order processing, abandoned checkout emails, and marketing consent.

    • Order processing is where you can set up automatic or manual fulfillment for orders and order archiving as well as customer address options.
    • Abandoned checkout emails are reminder emails sent to those who reached checkout but did not complete their purchase. You can choose when these get sent but, research indicates that sending this email 1 hour after has the highest conversion rate.
    • Marketing consent provides customers with the option to subscribe to email or text marketing during the checkout process. This allows you to contact them later with discount deals and new products so that you can drive more sales.

    3. Add Products To Your Store 🎁

    Now that you've got the basic admin out of the way, time to get into the more creative stuff. Let's start with your first product listing!

    You can either upload good quality pictures of your homemade product or

    Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to add your products (link to add products article), organize them into groups, and set the necessary tax and shipping information.

    In the left-hand menu, click on "Products". On the products page, click the "Add product" button on the top right of the screen.

    You'll be taken to a page where you can fill in product details and upload images. Start with the basics such as product title and product description.

    In our example, we are setting up a yoga apparel and accessories eCommerce store so we're going to add printed yoga pants to our inventory. Keep the title simple and descriptive as this will be easier for the customer and will help with your store's search engine optimization.

    Getting the search engine optimization aspect of your website on point is crucial as this will help your search engine ranking and boost sales.

    Your product description should be well written and give enough details to entice your potential customers while including keywords to help search engines rank your page.

    Next, you'll want to add product images. Make sure that these are clear and look professional. It's also best to upload more than one view of each product.

    Remember that people can’t touch or hold your products so the only way to help them get a sense of how amazing they are is to write good content that sparks their interest.

    Continue adding product details as you scroll down. This includes inventory, product cost, shipping rules, and product options such as size and color.

    Don't forget to adjust the "Product Status" and "Product Organization" settings in the top-right panel. Once done, click "Save" and move on to adding your next product.

    4. Organize Your Product Collections 🧐

    It's a good idea to organize your products into collections. This means sorting your items into categories by type of product such as bestsellers, accessories, etc.

    Collections make it easier for your customers to navigate your catalog and make it easier for you to curate products for sales or discounts. Think of it in terms of a brick-and-mortar store where items are displayed in a systematic way.

    For our yoga store, we set up collection types such as Yoga Mats, Active Wear, Leisurewear, etc. You can set up your own by clicking on "Collection" in the left-hand menu.

    Click on "Create collection", fill in the details such as name, description, and collection type, and upload a collection image.

    Once done, click "Save" and you're good to go.

    5. Choose A Shopify Theme And Customize It 🎨

    Now let's pull all the above together by starting with the setup of your online storefront. The first step is to choose the perfect theme for your shop. Start by clicking on "Online Store" in the left-hand menu. The theme settings page will automatically load and you can scroll down to the Shopify Theme library.

    Shopify has a large selection of themes, in both free and premium categories, that allow you to add a wide range of features to your website.

    For this tutorial, we'll be choosing a free theme template. When looking at a theme, consider whether it's suitable for your business by asking yourself the following questions:

    • Does it offer larger product catalogs or is it better suited to a single-product business?
    • What built-in features does it include?
    • Does it fulfill the homepage goals of creating interest and building trust?
    • Is it easy to navigate and optimized for use on various devices?

    Our advice would be to hold off on buying a premium theme until your store is making some profit, and don't spend hours and hours customizing everything. Remember that you want simple and easy, and you want to get your store live sooner rather than later.

    Your most important homepage customization will be the following:

    • Navigation menu and footer menu: potential customers use the navigation menu and footer menu to find information about your store and navigate your product catalog and pages.
    • Main banner: This adds to the visual appeal of your online store. You can use one of many royalty-free image sites or choose from Shopify's free image selection.
    • Featured products: choose which products you want to feature and where. This is where your collections will come in handy as you can either use an existing collection or set up a tag specifically for featured products.

    You can then customize key pages such as the contact page, about, FAQ, policy pages, checkout, etc. Shopify also has a built-in blogging feature so, if you'll be writing blog posts to assist in search engine optimization, then you can go ahead and set this up too.

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    6. Test Your Online Store πŸ‘©β€πŸ’»

    Once you're sure you've completed all the groundwork for your eCommerce business, it's time to test your website out!

    Testing is important as glitchy stores will deter potential customers. The best way to test your store is to pretend you're a customer and complete the following:

    • Browse through your pages, testing that your menus work and that your featured product sections link to the correct collections.
    • Set up a test order to make sure your checkout process runs smoothly. This is one of the most important steps as hiccups such as incorrect product cost, faulty shipping options, failed payment gateways, and tedious contact forms will ruin the eCommerce journey and end up in a ton of lost revenue. We recommend testing a successful order as well as a failed/abandoned order.
    • Test out your order fulfillment processes including partially fulfilling orders and archiving successful orders.
    • Test your website on mobile devices to make sure it is fully optimized.
    • Take a peek at your search engine listing preview to make sure that your website appears correctly in the search engine results.

    As a business owner, it is always a good idea to step into your customers' shoes to make sure their experience is a great one and that there are no snags in the sales process.

    If you are happy with the way your store looks and that everything is running smoothly, then go ahead and remove your online password to allow customers access to your store.

    Utilize The Shopify App Store πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈ

    The Shopify App Store is like a candy store full of delicious treats! If there is anything you want to streamline in your online shop, then you will probably find an app for that here.

    Each online shop will have similar needs when it comes to tapping into social networks, streamlining checkout processes, sending abandoned cart emails, and other necessities. However, as a business owner, you will need to choose which specific apps will work best together for your needs.

    And we're not joking when we say it's like a candy store - imagine Willy Wonka's Factory of eCommerce Apps!

    Some apps that are popular include dropshipping apps, social media sales channels, chat apps, and social proof apps.

    How Do I Attract Customers Online? πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™€οΈ

    It's one thing to have your online store up and running but it's quite another to have a steady stream of new and returning customers. To get customers to your store, you'll need to have an eCommerce marketing strategy in place based on the research you did earlier.

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    Here are a few ways to get (and keep) customers interested and buying from your store:

    • Social Media Marketing: connecting to social sales channels and setting up regular social media posts that promote your brand, make customers aware of special offers, and/or contain relevant and interesting content.
    • Email marketing: Build your mailing list and send out regular, relevant emails that get people excited to buy from your brand.
    • Blog posts: Running a blog in conjunction with your online store where you post related and relevant content that boosts your search engine ranking.
    • Shipping costs: Offering free or reduced shipping costs and posting about them on social networks, in your blog, or via banners on your online storefront.
    • Product specials: Offering a reduced price or shipping option when customers buy specific items together or having a big end-of-season sale that puts you ahead of your competitors.
    • Google Analytics: Setting up Google Analytics to gain insight into store conversion rate, traffic, and sales over time via more granular analytics and reporting. Having this knowledge at your fingertips means you can adjust your strategies according to what's bringing in those sales and what isn't.
    • PPC services: You might want to invest in paid advertising once your store is bringing in some sales. Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or similar, can help you boost your promotional content or specific trending products.

    Conclusion πŸ™Œ

    What we've outlined here are the foundations of how to start a Shopify store. The consensus seems to be that it's best to first focus on the business plan and basic setup so that you can launch your store and start bringing in sales.

    Once your store is live, you can dive deeper and work on taking your brand to the next level. Being an eCommerce business owner means growing your business over time by finding new ways to improve sales, customer experience, and services.

    Remember to always keep your niche audience in mind, keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, and stay relevant with fantastic content marketing campaigns.

    For additional resources on setting up a successful Shopify store, feel free to check out our other how-to posts.

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