Have you discovered the simplest method to sell items online yet? If not, then welcome to Shopify!
If you already have a brand name and some products you want to sell via the internet, then you’re just a few easy steps away from having your online store up and running with Shopify!
Shopify has an already-established e-commerce platform that gives you complete access to the firm’s backend tools, web design, and in-built optimization mechanisms to enable you to set up your own online store for an affordable one-time charge.
The Shopify platform is designed to accommodate both digital novices and gurus alike. You won’t have to spend any much time or effort on web development because everything is already built for you. What’s more, you get a chance to sell any item you want to a global marketplace via the web!
By now, you must be aware of the increasing intensity of the fall of brick-and-concrete retail stores out of favor with the masses. Physical stores are experiencing a kind of apocalypse as millions across the globe adopt e-commerce. Hundreds of new digital entrepreneurs are establishing new online storefronts almost every single day.
Despite there being numerous e-commerce platforms available, thousands of new online business owners are choosing Shopify because it’s among the very best and one of the easiest ways to launch a digital storefront.
You’ve come this far because you’re interested in starting your own online store in simple steps, right? This blog post will handle exactly that. The entire process shouldn’t take you more than 12 minutes. We’ll go through all the steps one by one, sharing some helpful bonus tips as well.
By the time you’re done reading this post, your own e-commerce store will be up and running, ready to sell merchandise to a worldwide audience. Shopify is DIY and seamless. You won’t need to hire any developer because all the steps are easy and you can complete each one of them on your own.
So, What are the Benefits of Using Shopify anyway?
- Shopify allows you to create a custom domain like www.martinebongue.com.
- They also provide hosting services for your new website.
- All the complicated backend matters are dealt with by them for you.
- They allow you valuable time and space to focus on building your brand since they’ll also track, process, and manage all your orders and payments for you.
- Shopify offers you access to a large selection of apps to help you integrate customer reviews, build loyalty programs, etc.
Any Downsides to the Shopify Platform that You Need to Know of?
To be honest, Shopify is a bit restrictive when it comes to letting you take control of the backend, i.e. web code, hosting and the likes. While this may not be a bother to novices, if you’ve been designing and building sites from scratch, you may find it a bit unwelcome.
An alternative to this restriction is setting up a WordPress website and then add the WooCommerce plugin. However, for those of us looking for a simple and hassle-free way to create an online store, Shopify is king!
Personally, I’d definitely recommend that you allow Shopify to take control of backend issues for your website. They’re well established and, compared to WordPress, their likelihood of being hacked is evidently low.
Now, let’s get right into the deep end of it… Shall we?
Steps to Setting Up a Shopify Store
Step #1 – Signing Up
Visit the Shopify website and on their homepage, click on “Start Free Trial” to create your user account.
Since they have a 14-day free trial for new users, at this point no credit card details are required. All the company needs from you here are an email ID, a unique password, and a chosen name for your online store.
Shopify will then process the information you’ve entered before moving you to the next phase of the 1st step for personal details (see graphic below).
You will be asked if you are designing the store for a client or not at this stage. It doesn’t really change anything for you to be honest. It is just used by shopify for their stats.
Basically, if you’re looking to operate your online store like you would any real business out there, then you need to share with Shopify your address and contact information so that they can configure for you sales tax and payment currency.
Once this information is received and processed, the platform will then automatically redirect you to the admin panel of your online store website’s Shopify dashboard.
Step #2 – Going through the Admin Panel
The graphic below shows what the core area of your Shopify dashboard will look like:
Let’s break down the functions of each of the clickable tabs on the left side:
Home: Gives a general overview of all the happenings with your Shopify store.
Order: Your first order will appear here. Upcoming orders will also be tracked and managed here.
Products: This is where you’ll be adding and managing your products. You can also create collections of items, gift cards, etc.
Customers: Allows you to control and manage customer details; personal information, sales volumes, past orders, etc.
Analytics: Generates for you regular reports about your sales performance.
Apps: Allows you to expand the functionality of your Shopify store by installing extra apps.
Online Store: Here, you’ll find checkout, personal info, taxes, shipping, and any other settings you need in the daily running of your store.
Additionally, the “Settings” tab located at the bottom left-side corner of the page can take you to more tabs, options, and settings (see details below).
At the entry labeled “General” above, you can edit your store’s name, personal details, time zone info, currency, etc.
The “Shipping” option allows you to adjust both shipping zones and rates. And if you’re on a paid plan, the company also lets you compute your shipping charges using accounts from FedEx, UPS, etc.
At this juncture, don’t worry about the other options shown above. Once your website is live, we’ll come back to them
Step #3 – Adding a Product to Your Online Store
To add an item to your Shopify store, go to the Admin section and either click on “Add product” or “Products” (below).
And since adding products manually can be quite cumbersome, a .csv file can help you upload your product catalog seamlessly. Remember to adhere to the structure and instructions recommended by Shopify to avoid encountering errors often associated with importing data this way.
But in our lesson here, we’ll proceed by manually adding items. Just click on “Add product” and then move on to the description part below.
Enter your product’s name in the field indicated “Title” and its details in the “Description” field below it (above). Give your best here since this information will also be used by Google.
Finally for step #3, enter the vendor’s information, item type, as well as the product collection the item belongs to.
Step #4 – Setting Pricing & Inventory
As far as your store’s pricing goes, you have the three fields below to play around with:
- Compare at price
- Cost per item
The 2nd field is essential if you want your site’s visitors to know that a certain item is currently on sale. The price displayed to them is the original one prior to any discounts while the price the item is going for appears in the “Price” field.
If you choose not to associate your item with sales of other items, then leave the field labeled “Compare at Price” blank.
Inventory tracking is another important functionality you can take advantage of. It instructs Shopify to track your inventory for you. You can activate it by selecting “Shopify tracks this product’s inventory” (graphic below) then defining the total number of items you have for your customers to buy.
What this means is that if you sell 500 foam planes, for instance, Shopify will display this particular item as “out of stock”, preventing any more orders till this quantity has been updated.
Do you have the SKU for this product? If available, enter it in the field labeled “SKU (stock keeping unit)”.
BONUS TIP: SKUs refer to those internal identifiers that help you locate your products quicker and much more easily. It’s advisable that you always insert a standardized SKU for each item right from the start.
At the bottom right side of the screen, click on the “Save product” button. The product will appear in the product overview section.
Next, let’s check that everything is okay by ensuring your website’s overall design, appearance, and theme look inviting to visitors as much as they are to you
Step #5 – Customizing Your Shopify Theme
Like other websites, your Shopify store also comes with a default theme. The company calls it the “Debut” theme and it can be customized by either:
- Getting a new theme to replace it or
- Customizing the “Debut” theme to reflect your brand and business goals better.
To begin tailoring and adapting the theme to your liking and preferences, on your homepage click on “Customize Theme” (indicated below).
Normally, customizing the current theme will also involve a lot of tinkering with the existing website layout. That means refining the current layouts.
Shopify has a simple drag-and-drop theme editor to ease this adjustment process for you (see graphic below).
If you aren’t a coding expert, it’s better to keep things just to that. Don’t go for major design modifications that you can’t comfortably. It’s advisable that you select a different theme to replace the one that you don’t like rather than customizing the whole thing.
To have a look at some of the great themes Shopify has to offer, visit the homepage again and click on “Customize Theme”, then “Explore free themes” (below) in the Themes section of the dashboard. Browse through them and pick your preferred one. Here, you also have access to many layouts that you can pick from for each of the available themes.
The new theme you just added appears in the Themes section, just below the default “Debut” theme. You can activate it by clicking on “Actions” just below the new layout and then on “Publish” to successfully give your Shopify store a brand new look.
In the next step, we’re going to learn how to add a Shopify domain to our new website.
Step #6 – Setting up Your Shopify Store’s Domain
A domain will make your online store official. To set it up, go back to the main dashboard once more and click on “Add domain” to open the Domain area for modifying and display the three options below:
- Connect existing domain;
- Transfer domain;
- Buy new domain;
By default, a custom Shopify domain name bears the URL “yourstore.myshopify.com” that you can change into your own proper www.yourstore.com domain by purchasing a new domain of your choice from Shopify at a cost of $14 per year (You can get domain names from namecheap for only $0.98/yr)
Still, Shopify allows you to connect a domain bought from a 3rd party web-hosting firm like Bluehost. You’ll use this as your Shopify store’s internet address once connected.
The other option involves transferring a domain from an external domain vendor to Shopify. Go for this if you prefer paying a single domain provider at the end of each month.
Now that we already have a domain customized to our liking, let’s move to the last step that involves setting up payments and we can then GO LIVE!
Step #7 – Setting Up Shopify Payments
Your Shopify online store’s “Settings” allow you to either add a corporate bank account and receive money through it, or activate a different payment option like PayPal Express. Choose “Payment providers” and configure these details.
Shopify can connect to a number of alternative payment processors, with both Shopify Payments and PayPal Express having been configured by default. Both levy their standard charges on sales.
To use PayPal as a payment method, create a merchant account on www.PayPal.com. If you already have an existing personal account with PayPal, you can easily upgrade it to a merchant account.
Once you have your payment method configured, Shopify then syncs your buyers’ payments with their respective orders. This enables you to track your sales using customer details, what they bought, how, and when.
If you chose Shopify’s native payment configuration, you can do the tracking above without having to leave the Shopify platform. Also, you have access to faster checkouts with Apple Pay, etc. This allows your potential customers to have a seamless checkout process that, in turn, helps enhance their experience shopping with you thus giving you a better chance at higher sales.
Wrapping Things Up with Launching a Shopify Store
Basically, we’re done
You can now launch your newly-built Shopify store to the world. But before we do that, let’s do one very last bit: choosing a paid Shopify plan.
Although the 14-day free trial we’ve been using to test things allows you access most of the Shopify platform’s features and functionalities, you won’t be able to sell your products if you don’t become a paid Shopify subscriber.
Check out the available packages below:
Which Shopify subscription plan fits your current budget above? You can always upgrade any time to get even better features and functionalities.
Did that take you more than 12 minutes?
Now, the ball is in your court… Start making money by creating a custom Shopify store and selling products online today!!!