So you want to take your first steps towards E-Commerce huh? That’s great! An online business with Shopify can be your solution to your boring 9-5 job, and could even be a ticket to making money from home! Look no further, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to build your own online business with Shopify. In this guide, I will cover all the basics and more! I will make it short and sweet, yet informative. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Sign Up With Shopify
So for starters, you want to sign up for FREE with Shopify to begin your journey. The sign up should be easy and simple! Shopify offers a 14-day free trial to get you going. For 14 days, you get full access to the Shopify admin functions. To start, visit Shopify.com. In the top right corner of the website, click on the “Get started” button. Next, enter your store name. The store name must be unique or Shopify will not allow you to continue. So try to come up with something unique! It can be a placeholder if you are indecisive. Afterward, Shopify will ask you some simple questions regarding your business. These questions would include what kind of business/experience you have, your name, address, country, contact information, etc. Do not worry if you are going into this without a plan in mind; I know I didn’t have one when I first started. You will be asked if you have inventory or stock to sell. Don’t worry if you are new to the Shopify or E-Commerce in general, just fill out the forms and answer honestly. Whatever answer you put does not affect your chances of getting a Shopify free trial. Once complete, click “I’m done” and Shopify will take you to tour admin home screen.
Start Setting Up Your Shopify Store
So after creating your account, you will be directed to your admin screen. Here, this is where the magic takes place that no one else knows about. In the admin screen, you will be able to start customizing your store’s look and theme, uploading products, creating collections, setting shipping rates, and much more. The screen should look like so:
Shopify’s admin home screen already has a list of things for you to do to get yourself started. Take advantage of it!
Choosing a Theme
So let’s jump right into the first thing anyone should do: the theme. Don’t worry, you don’t need any coding knowledge to get started. On the left-hand column, look under the category “Sales Channels”. Click “Online Store”. Next, click on “Themes” to get started. You will see the following:
Shopify right now comes preloaded with the default free theme “Debut”. If you don’t like this one, browse Shopify’s free or paid themes in their theme store. We recommend checking out their theme store for something that fits your needs https://themes.shopify.com/. Another option you will see is the “More themes” section. Here you can upload a theme that someone has already configured for you, so you don’t have to waste the time setting one up! So with that being said, I bet you want to know which theme is the best huh? Well, that answer depends on your needs! I recommend the following ways to find a theme that fits your liking:
Head over to https://themes.shopify.com/themes and sort by whatever you want. For example, if your niche involves clothing, you may want to tick “Clothing & Fashion” found under the “Industry” tab. After looking around and seeing which theme appeals to you, click on it and it will bring you to the theme’s personal page.
Testing a Theme
Here you can view a demo or even preview the desired theme in your own store! Click “View Demo” or “Preview in Store”. If the shop comes with a range of styles, you can click on them to select which style you want. Everything comes down to how functional you feel the theme is. Ask yourself if it will it fit your needs and wants for your online store.
Downloading a Theme
So you finally found the theme you wanted! All you got to do now is click the button that says “Start with this theme” if it is free, or “Buy theme” if it is a paid theme. Themes are not taxed. Once you install the theme, go back to the Shopify theme panel in your admin screen and you will see the theme you just added.
In this example, I added “Simple”. You can see it in the section above “Free themes” and below the current theme which is “Debut”. To apply the new theme, click on “Actions” then “Publish”. Shopify will ask you if you want to do this. Don’t worry, you can always change the theme later.
Editing Your Theme
Now that you’ve published your theme to your site, the next step would be to customize it! If you stay on the same “Themes” tab, you will see your new theme that you published live. In the example above, it says “Debut Added 22 minutes ago”. This indicates that I published the “Debut” theme 22 minutes ago. In that section, you will see two buttons.
One button, which says “Actions”, opens up a drop-down menu. The drop down menu will include the following:
- Preview (This lets you preview your website with the current theme as a visitor).
- Rename (This allows you to rename the theme to your desired name).
- Duplicate (This allows you to duplicate the current theme. This is great for making different types of changes on the same theme and if don’t like the way one turns out, you can just delete it).
- Download theme file (This allows you to download the current theme file and email it to yourself).
- Edit code (This is for more advanced users as they can edit the theme’s html).
- Edit languages (This allows you to change certain things that are said/displayed on the theme. For example, you can remove “powered by Shopify” at the very bottom of your theme). The second button is “Customize.”
Customize allows you to go into the admin editing page of the theme you chose. On the left-hand side of the screen after clicking on “Customize” you will see a wide array of sections that may say things such as Header, Slideshow, Rich text, Newsletter, etc. You will see “Sections” and “General Settings”
Sections are for editing mostly the layout and look of the theme. General settings is a tab that deals with everything else. It deals with the colors, typography, etc. This is where you play with the store’s fonts, color scheme, and more. On the bottom of the left-hand slide out, you will see 5 icons.
The icon that is currently grayed out indicates that the preview for your site is currently in desktop mode. The icon to the right of that will show your site preview on mobile when you select it. Try it out. To the very right, you will see the two arrows and the Save button. The two arrows are what they suggest: Undo and Redo buttons. If you made a change that you didn’t like, you can use the Undo button to undo it. Vice Versa. The “Save” button saves all current changes you made to the theme. Remember to always Save before closing the admin editor. After reaching this screen, feel free to customize to your liking. If you want to include more things that you don’t currently see on your theme, for example including a “Featured Product” section, you can click the “Add section” tab. This will open up even more sections that you can add to your theme. When you are done customizing, make click “Save”.
Great! Now that you have published and configured your theme, let’s get to adding some products. Go back to your admin screen after saving your theme. Like before, you can see the navigation tab on the left-hand side of the admin screen. Finding the words “Products” and click on it.
You will see a screen like so:
After navigating to this screen, click the blue button that says “Add Products”.
Here you can enter a lot of information about your products. The “Title” is where you would enter the product’s name. Make sure you add a nice description for your product which would include: What it is, what does it do, item specs, etc. Remember to include things that the buyer would need to know before purchasing it. If your product is made up of a certain material that could be allergic to some individuals, make sure to include that.
In the “Images” section, throw on some pictures that show your product off. I recommend for the pictures to be HD and have a white background. Do not worry about the order in which images are inputted, you can always rearrange them by dragging them around. The first image will be the one people see when they browse your store, so do a good job in choosing something clear, uniform and appealing. Once everything is carefully filled out and looked at, click the “Save” button in the top right or bottom right corners of the screen.
You can preview your new product on its product page by clicking the “View” button at the top of the page just under the product title.
Setting Up Collections
As you were setting up your product, you may have noticed on the right-hand side it was asking you to put your product in a collection. A collection is basically a group of products that have something in common. The following would be examples of collections:
- Items on sale
- FREE items
- Holiday items
As you can see, collections basically act as a way to group items together. Products can appear in an unlimited amount of collections. For example, product A can appear in the “Sales” collection and also appear in the “T-Shirts” collection. Collections are generally displayed on the front page. Most users would use a “Best Sellers” collection which displays the most popular items in their store. Users would usually display these collections on the navigation bar so users can navigate with ease without browsing your entire catalog.
This is an example of collections appearing in the navigation bar. Overall collections are there to organize products and help the user navigate and reach their desired item easier.
A collection setup behaves close to a product setup. Some things to point out: In the ‘Products” section you see the drop-down menu next to Sort: Click on that to open up a wide array of options on how products will be added to this collection.
Usually, you would want it set on Manual so you can manually add the products. If you set it to Automatic, Shopify will automatically import items into the collection based on certain requirements. For example, you can set a rule where a product will be imported into this collection if the Title of the product contains “T-Shirt”. This saves a lot of time if you are smart with it.
So now that you have your theme set up, your products created and sorted, you are now close to finalizing your site. Payment gateways allow you to receive money from your customers from the checkout.
On the bottom left-hand side of your admin screen, click on “Settings”. Afterward, click on “Payments”.
You will be greeted with a screen like this:
Note that not all payment gateways are equal. Some take a commission and their rates differ.
The most common payment gateway you will be using will be the Shopify Payments. Here are the 3 Shopify plans that are offered to merchants. Each plan has its own benefits when it comes to saving money on fees.
- Basic 2.9% + 30 c
- Shopify 2.6% + 30 c
- Advanced Shopify 2.4% + 30 c
Consider the number of sales you make per month so you can capitalize on the savings from more expensive plans. Once you are finished select, “Complete Shopify Payments account setup”. If you decide to do some 3rd party credit card, select “enable payment gateways” Instead. Note that you can also use PayPal, Amazon pay, etc. to get paid. In recent updates, Shopify also allows for cryptocurrencies to be used in transactions.
Located in Settings > Shipping. Here you will be greeted with a page that includes a variety of ways to set your shipping rates. In the “Shipping rates” section, look to see if you want to set weight-based shipping rate or flat rate. Adjust these to fit your product specifications. For example: If you want free shipping, just set all your items to 0 weight and calculate shipping costs based on weight. Enter 0lb – 0lb and title it free shipping.
Testing the Order System
So after you have everything set up, you will want to test/simulate a transaction using Shopify’s Bogus Gateway. To get here: Admin screen > Settings > Payments >Payment Settings.
- Deactivate your current credit card gateway (Click Edit, then Deactivate.)
- Go to Accept credit cards section and click on Select a Credit Card Gateway. You will be greeted with a drop-down menu.
- Click Activate
- Now, go to your store and order an item. Check out with the following information.
- After you’re done testing, go back to Shopify admin and reset your payment provider. Go to Payments and then select Change provider.
Buying a Domain Name
Next thing on your list would be the domain name. A domain name is imperative to gaining trust and credibility. Think about it: would you buy from a site called “jimmytables.myshopify.com”? Certainly not. Luckily for you, obtaining a good domain name with a .com is very easy today.
You will have two choices: buy one from Shopify or buy one from a 3rd party website (GoDaddy). We recommend GoDaddy since it is much cheaper. If you buy from Shopify, your domain name will be added automatically and you won’t have to deal with DNS redirects. If you decide to buy from GoDaddy or a 3rd party provider, you will have to manually set this up.
- Go to your Shopify admin screen and click on Online Store.
- Go to Domains
- Select Connect existing domain
- Enter the name of the domain you bought from GoDaddy.com, then click Next
- Login to your GoDaddy.com account
- Find the DNS settings panel.
- Edit the A record and type in Shopify’s IP address and save it.
- Find the CNAME record.
- Locate the CNAME www and change it to shops.myshopify.com. Once you are done, save it.
- Go back to Shopify domain tab and click Verify Connection. It could take up to 48 hours to the domain verified.
To Sum Up
In conclusion, you should now have a fully functional Shopify site ready to go! Remember to sign up here and get started today on your new venture! These should be the very basics to setting up a Shopify store for yourself. All in all, creating and setting up a store may take time to learn and process, but it is all worth it in the end. In the end, you will see the effort you put in through your results. With that being said, some of you might not have the time to build or work on a site, but instead, want to just sell products and make money. This goes to my next point in this article.
Having Your Store Built For You
What we offer:
- Building and designing your Shopify store.
- Choosing HD stock photos, creating logos, choosing winning products in your niche, writing product descriptions, etc.
- Providing social media growth tips (I will provide some insight on how to market/promote your brand on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram.)
Feel free to contact us with your inquiries about this service through our email: firstname.lastname@example.org We will be happy to speak to you! Good luck with your new E-Commerce ventures!