The first time you’ll want to set up your Shopify store you’ll feel at least a little bit overwhelmed. You can start selling with Shopify in no time though, and even make your first sale on the first day of setting up your store! I’m here to offer you a comprehensive and in-depth guide on how to build your very first Shopify website and start selling fast. Shopify is the best platform, whether you are an advanced seller and have retail experience, and even more, if you’re a beginner and want to learn everything about ecommerce. Building a Shopify Store is quite an experience and, without any doubt, in the end, you’ll feel proud of your accomplishment. More so, you’ll have gained valuable experience on which you’ll be able to build future Websites.
How can Shopify help you earn money – fast
With Shopify, web-based business entrepreneurs and merchants can create an online store and utilize an in-built shopping cart solution to sell both digital and actual items to clients around the globe. Shopify even offers a framework that permits clients to rapidly and effectively oversee things like transportation prerequisites and inventory tracking. Utilizing Shopify, you can use the best in the class admin board, where you can see the items you have available to be purchased, write descriptions, process orders considerably more.
Shopify gives you access to some of the most stable and performant free and paid themes, tested by experts. You will also have a very vast array of free and paid apps to choose from. With these, you will be able to pump up your store and begin selling quite fast, without too much hassle.
- You don’t have to know a single line of code – Shopify guides you through the whole cycle.
- Shopify lets you add your own domain name (for example www.my-store.com), hosts the store for you, and makes sure you’re up and running at all times.
- Planning your store is simple, you can browse hundreds of existing themes and change them however you would prefer.
- Shopify oversees and tracks every one of your orders and payments, letting you take care of the business side of things.
- Straightforward setup. To set up a Shopify store takes around 30 minutes. You don’t have to create anything from scratch or start a complicated process. This is one of the advantages compared to Woocommerce, for example, which is more difficult for beginners.
- Simple and straightforward designs. Shopify gives you a lot of layouts you can utilize and effectively modify to your necessities. You can change tones, text styles, and all that with just some clicks, which is incredible for individuals with zero coding skills. You can set up a Shopify store in a fraction of the time required with other platforms.
- Reputable Platform. Shopify has been around since 2009 and has grown very fast for the past years – including 2020. Exceptionally great stores are built on Shopify, for example, Minaal, KKW Beauty, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, or Madsen.
- Day in and day out Support. On the off chance that you have any inquiries or are stuck with something, you can contact the company whenever and get proficient and friendly assistance.
So, without further ado, let’s create your very first Shopify store – a step by step guide.
Give your future business a thought without even starting a computer
Before you even open your PC to work, there are a couple of questions you should be able to put straight.
These revolve around:
- Are you going on this journey alone, or with a partner who can complement you?
- In the event that it’s with a colleague, how you split up the work? What about profit and spending?
- In case you’re in a serious relationship, will your better half help and understand you when working for extended periods? (In the event that this is a side-hustle on top of an all-day work, it’s sometimes normal to work even during nights. On the off chance that it’s your primary work, you’ll probably require budgetary help when you start). Check out Shopify costs here.
- Beyond these relationship questions, you’ll additionally need to decide your final objective.
- Do you need this to supplant your work, or is it a side interest, like a hobby?
- How much time are you willing to spend on this venture?
- What about hard-earned cash — do you have a plan to recruit a designer, or will you do everything on your own/with your partner? (In case you’re bootstrapping, it will require much more of your time).
- What tone of voice will your business have? What are several organizations whose tone you respect and love? Consider these for your “about us” page, as many individuals get hung up on that and it will eat into your hour in if you let it!
PLANNING CHECKLIST FOR YOUR FIRST SHOPIFY STORE
Before you set up your store, ensure you:
- Know your income objective(s).
- Talk with your better half or potential colleague to coordinate. Choose if this will be a little endeavor or your main business (either is OK).
- Decide how long and how much cash you need for this undertaking.
- Make your Shopify store mindmap for how things will be arranged.
Last but not least, you’ve got to think about what you’re going to sell. Is it going to be a dropshipping store? Are you going to sell digital goods? Shopify can help you sell digital goods, as well! Are you going to sell handcrafted items by you? You have got to think well about what you sell, study the market(s) you are going to address (this does require you to open a computer), and see the potential. Afterward, you need to…
Choose an awesome store name – it should reflect what you sell
Your store’s name is a serious deal! It’s your image, your business’s spirit. (Or something to that effect).
Note: Your store name shouldn’t be the same as your business name, however on the off chance that it’s unique, you need to record a “Doing Business As” or DBA in the US.
While we’re on this matter, the vast majority keep thinking about whether they have to register a business prior to opening their store. The short answer is no — you don’t need to stress over your business being a “business” until you’re making your first money.
My recommendation is to not let registering your business prevent you from going on with your plans. You can generally enroll after you begin bringing in some cash.
Here are a few hints on how to name your store:
- Keep it short and straightforward (less than 12 characters if possible).
- Make it something simple to recall (and spell/type).
- Be unique (don’t duplicate or imitate another brand name).
- Very important! Keep your product offerings (current AND future ones) as a primary concern. Try not to let your name restrict your possibilities.
- Let’s assume you’re selling comic books. “Simply Comics” seems like an extraordinary name, isn’t that so? It’s short, simple to spell and recall, and unique.
- What happens when you branch out into selling different sorts of geek stuff? Your image name is abruptly restricting you to only comics.
I’m not saying you can’t have a name similar to this one. Simply ensure on the off chance that you DO go with a name like this you’ll actually sell “simply comics” in five or even 10 years. You can generally rebrand, however that is not such an easy process. It’s better you avoid it.
Of course, these are just some advices. You can opt for a longer name if it suits you, or one that doesn’t describe what you are selling. “Apple” doesn’t sell apples, after all, and “Google” became synonymous with a search engine in time. After you pick up a name for your super Shopify Store, it’s time to (really) open up your laptop and start setting up your very first Shopify Store.
3. Create a free Shopify Account
You can start your Shopify journey on their homepage, where you need to click on the big green button – “Start Free Trial”.
For this example, I’m going to start a store named “ComicsJourney”, as I’m passionate about the comic book’s niche and I have an impressive collection already.
Afterward, you need to create an account on the Shopify platform. Make sure you’re choosing a strong password.
After you click on “Create your store”, you’ll see a “Tell us a little about yourself” page. Your answers here just influence the messages Shopify sends you in their newsletters.
On the flowing page, enter your name and address. If you started an organization, use your place of work. If not, utilize your personal residence.
When you click “Enter my store”, you’re good to go! I just got myself a brand new store named “ComicsJourney.Shopify.com”. Of course, if you’re serious about your business, you should definitely take into consideration going for a custom domain like ComicsJourney.com. You can do this from the Online Store > Domains Section.
The first thing you’ll have to do though is to select a Shopify Theme. Choosing the best Shopify Theme for your store
There are loads of alternatives and things to click on now. Try not to stress yourself up — I’ll touch the majority of them in this article. The main thing you should consider right now is your store’s theme.
A theme is a pre-made web architecture you can add to your store to make it look lovely without writing any line of code. There are hundreds of themes to browse; some are superior to others. You have to keep in mind that you are not limited to the themes already present in the Shopify theme store. There are plenty of third party designers who sell their themes online.
To modify your store’s theme, click Online Store > Themes, and then click the Free Themes button. By default, the free Debut theme is selected.
For this particular demo store I’m building for you I’m going to go with the FASTEST free theme on the market. It is paramount that your store is VERY fast, as each millisecond of extra loading time can deter your clients. After a little research, I’ve found this article on ecomPedia.com which compares all free themes’ speeds. So, as per ecomPedia’s article, Venture is the fastest theme out of the free ones. The second one, by only 6 milliseconds, is Boundless, which better suits my store’s purpose.
Here’s a list of several Shopify Themes you might take into account when building up your Shopify store.
How to customize your Shopify Theme
So you’ve chosen your theme – congratulations! Now it’s time to customize it to your liking. To customize your new Shopify Theme, you need to go to Online Store > Themes and then click the Customize Theme button. Make sure the theme you are going to customize is the theme you chose for your store. Make sure you publish it – this makes it the theme that your visitors will see when they enter your store.
Now, each theme has its own settings and each setting is more or less complex. What you need to do is take all menus in order and get familiar with the features they provide. I’ll go through each one of the menus real quick:
From the Shopify Boundless SIDEBAR MENU, you can edit, add and erase menus – be it the main menu, or an additional one. I’ve just changed a category name into “All Comics Catalog” and kept the “Home” button. The Announcement Bar is useful as you can let your customers know of any promotions you’re having or COVID-19 special announcements. I’m just going to change it to “Welcome to your Comic Store! Enjoy!” You can also link it to a page of your liking.
The Header and the Logo are very important aspects of your store. They will stand out first when clients arrive. It’s time to build a great Header and a great Logo for my Shopify Store! Canva is a very easy to use and cheap way to create both Headers and Logos.
I’m going to create a logo with Superhero themes and a header with books, for now. Make sure prior to uploading them into your store to minimize their size. I always use TinyJPG.com to do it. This way, the response of the Store will be faster, and your chances of having better sales increase. In the Boundless theme, there is also a slideshow on the homepage. For this demo, I just uploaded the image I’ve created with Canva. On the Rich Text tab, you can write a short presentation of your store.
Upload your first products to your Shopify Store & start your collections
Next, you should start uploading your first products! You can do this in the “Products” > “All Products” menu. You can upload several photos, describe the product, put the price, and all things related to selling an item online. The description of the product should be original, for good SEO, and take extra care of your spelling! In the description of the items I recommend you to talk about the BENEFITS of the products, not the characteristics. When it comes to comic books, for example, you can briefly describe the action that takes place in the comic, but also write about the nice moments you’ll have when you display it as a work of art in your home, for example.
Images & photos are the heart and the soul of a product. Whenever possible, take your own photographs of the products you’re selling and avoid using stock photos. If you’re using stock photos people will notice and you’ll be losing credibility and sales. Check this photography guide for the best (and cheapest) results. You can also create Collections of products for your store, based on tags and/or other conditions you can freely set up. You can do that under “Products” > “Collections” menu.
Like product pages, your collection pages also have a title and a description. However, you don’t need a description — it’s just a paragraph that shows up above your products. It can help with SEO, but can also be a distraction. It’s best to do this once you have at least two products in a collection.
Organizing your products
The Organization section can be found on the right-hand side of the screen, on the product page.
There are several fields you need to complete: Product Type is the type of product you’re selling. In this case, comics, but you can also sell statuettes, figurines, gadgets, kitchen peripheral, etc. Product types are one way to create product collections. Vendor is used for inventory and shipping purposes. Unless you’re integrating a vendor API, you don’t need to worry about this one.
The Collections settings allow you to add the respective product to a collection of products, manually. This helps your clients more easily browse your inventory.
Tags are also a way of organizing your products into collections, in order to improve your site’s search function. For example, if I tag a comic as Batman and someone searches “Batman” in the search field on the store, everything “Batman” will show up. Long live the Night Crusader!
This is as straightforward as it gets. The price you ask is the price the customers must pay in order to receive the item. The “Compare at price” section will be shown crossed out next to your actual price – this is a discount, used as a very popular conversion optimization strategy. Check ten out of the box strategies for pricing your products. Same with Shipping – these settings need to be adjusted only if you’re shipping with USPS Discounted Rates for Shopify.
The “Inventory” section lets you keep track of how many products do you have – surprised? You can create a custom SKU for products if you want. If not, leave these settings alone.
Add Discounts to your Store
Beneath the Marketing Menu, there is “Discounts”.
To add discount codes to your store, a well known and proven technique to improve sales, go to Discounts > Codes and then name or generate your code. Afterward, set the parameters (like $5 off or 5% off, only on orders that exceed $50).
Familiarize yourself with your Orders Page
To manage and fulfill your orders, you need to go to the Orders page.
You can’t see this page until you select a plan for your Shopify store. You still get the 14 days of trial, but once you select the plan, it expands what you can do. After 14 days, your card will be charged.
On this page you’re going to see all the orders that come in, the customer’s details, and the status of the order. After it has shipped, you’ll have to update it as “shipped”.
Note – if you are dropshipping, the Oberlo app will automatically place the orders with the vendors you’ve chosen. Afterward, Oberlo will change the order status for you.
Optimize the Store’s Settings
While Shopify’s default settings are good, there are a few things to add and change to benefit as much as possible from your gleaming new store!
How about we stroll through it bit by bit. Start by tapping the Settings button at the base left of your dashboard.
With Variants, you can add variations of your products. For example, if you’re selling t-shirts, you can choose different colors or sizes, like S, M, or L.
Meta Title and Description
These can be found under the Search Engine Listing Preview. The title and description show up in search results pages.
Shopify General Settings
Here you can change your store name, email, store address, and then some more. On the off chance that you change your store name after joining, update it now.
The account email is the email Shopify will reach you through (clients won’t see this email). The Customer email is the email clients will reach you through.
Pro Shopify Tip: I suggest making a [email protected] email address for the client email. You need a domain name to make one, which I’ve already covered briefly. For your own email address rather than just email forwarding (highly recommended, a [email protected] email is best so you can have multiple people on your team use the same account if/when you start hiring), I suggest getting a Google Suite account.
Next up is the Standards and arrangements segment, where you set your timezone and standard data like weight units. In the Prefix box, I like to add something in the event that I open numerous stores. I typically make this the truncation of my store’s name (i.e., SHS for “Super Heroes Shop”).
Remember to click Save!
Payments in Shopify
In the Shopify Payments settings, click the Complete account setup button to configure your payment gateways so that your clients are able to pay via credit cards. You have a wide range of possibilities – PayPal, Stripe (under third party providers), or other payment methods.
Remember that the gateway that’s right for you will depend on a lot of different things, including:
- The transaction fees: Most payment gateways will charge you a small fee every time someone purchases something on your Shopify Store. Make sure that you go for the gateway that gives you the lowest possible price.
- Card types: It’s important to select a payment gateway that accepts a wide variety of card types and other payment options, including things like PayPal and Stripe.
- Offsite checkout: Some payment gateways will take the payment process away from your website and into their own server using a form. This payment gateway strategy can be slightly more secure, but it’s also a bit of a pain for customers.
Checkout Settings of Your Store
Under the Checkout settings of your Shopify Store, switch Customer accounts to “optional,” and customers can create an account but aren’t required to. This will definitely increase your number of orders. Your clients won’t waste time during checkout and they won’t change their minds so often.
On the “Form Options”, check “Require first and last name”. On the bottom, “eMail Marketing”, recommend checking “Preselect the sign-up option”. Look at the rest of the settings on this page and ensure they’re as you would prefer. If you’ve set up Google Analytics or your Facebook pixel, add your custom change code in the Additional scripts box. If you haven’t done this, I strongly suggest you do it in the first days after you launch your store.
When you’re set, don’t forget to click Save.
Shipping and Delivery Settings
Your delivery settings rely upon how you transport.
In case you’re dropshipping: Use “Price based rates”. Someone with a $15 request can pay one rate, and somebody with a $40 order can pay a different delivery rate.
In case you’re delivering things yourself: Use USPS’s Discounted rates for Shopify stores; it ascertains transporting for you so your client pays what it costs you to send. (For this to work appropriately, have the right size and weight entered on your products pages).
You can also customize the packing slips you can print when you’re fulfilling orders on this page – a nice touch if you want to personalize your deliveries and increase the loyalty of your clients. Check out this article on how to increase the retention rates on different industries. Our suggestion is to offer free shipping – either by default, for all orders, either after a certain threshold has been reached. For example, offer free shipping for all orders over $60. This can really increase your conversion rate and your average order value.
Plans and Permisions
If you chose to launch your Shopify business with a partner, you can give her/him access to the backend from here. Just click “This staff account will have full permissions” if you wish to edit what you want them to have access to.
These are extremely important, as without them your store would operate outside the law.
Shopify can and will generate these for you, based on your settings. We recommend having an attorney or a specialist to review these for you, just to make sure everything is in order. You should do this after you start selling. You just need to simply click on the “Create from Template” buttons under each of the three sections. Make sure to read them afterward. Next, you’ll want to create separate pages for each of the three legal documents. Open the Online Store channel (in a new tab, so it’s easy to copy and paste the contents of the three pages).
Under Online Store, click Pages, and then Add page.
This is the one and only setting that is not found under the “Settings” page. Instead, you can find it by going to Online Store > Preferences. To begin with, edit your store’s meta title and meta description. These are the texts that appear in the search engines when you search for your store.
Add the Social Sharing image as well. This is the image that appears when you share the homepage of your Shopify Store on Social Media. Make it catchy. Next, if you’ve set it up, add your Google Analytics tracking code. If you haven’t set it up yet, here’s a quick and handy video to learn how to do it. You’ll need a registered domain though – I’ve already touched on this briefly.
Next below there is the Facebook Pixel ID setting. The video below explains how to set this up, as well. As with Google Analytics, you’ll also need a registered domain for this.
Let’s talk about how to…
Register your domain with Shopify
To register your domain with Shopify instead of a third party you need to:
- Go to Online Store > Domains;
- Click “Buy New Domain”
- Enter the domain name you want to buy
- Available extensions plus the prices will be listed below. There are common ones, like .co.uk, .com or .biz, but also more “exotic”/particular ones.
- Click “Buy” next to the domain you want.
Now your store has a domain of its own! Congratulations! Make sure you go to your Domain settings and choose the domain you purchased to be the default URL.
Create Your Shopify Store Essential Pages
Since your settings are configured, there are four additional pages each web-based business store ought to have:
- A Contact Us page
- An About Us page
- A Shipping Policy page
- Get in touch with us page
The best thing is to add some explaining text to the Contact section of your store. For example, I usually write something that goes like this: “Hey there! The superhero team at ComicsJourney loves hearing from our clients! If you have any questions about the comics in-store, the buying process, the order, or anything else, just drop a line and we’ll be glad to assist you! We’ll make sure to get back to you as soon as possible, in a maximum of 24 hours. You can also use the in-store chat!”. As usual, don’t forget to click the Save button when you’re happy with your Contact Us Page.
The About Us Page
Having a great and honest About Us page is very important, as it is one of the best ways to inspire trust with your future customers. You can talk about the why’s and how’s of your store, and share who you are, what you are passionate about and why should people buy from you, in general. It is also a great way to stand out from the crowd, be different than most of the rest. Don’t go for stereotypes even if they’re true. Avoid emphasizing things like “To us, the Client is #1!”, as clients have heard this one countless times before.
Shipping Policy Page
This one is another very important page you need to create immediately. Help your clients understand, as clear as possible, how long will the delivery of the items take, if you sell internationally, how will the packages be delivered and who will do it. If you are very clear about everything shipping related to this special page, you’ll get much fewer customer service questions. This page is extra useful if you’re dropshipping to different countries worldwide and, as such, especially during the COVID-19 breakout, the clients may experience delays.
Adding the pages to the Menu Navigation
Now that you’ve created all the very important pages, you need to show them in your store’s navigation. To do this, go to Online Store > Navigation. Click Main Menu to edit the main navigation menu – this one goes on the top of your site. To add a page, click “Add Menu Item” and then Pages > Contact Us (or whichever page you want to add). Now repeat if you want your “About” page and your “Shipping Policy” page in the main navigation. It should look like this after you’re done:
Add these Best Recommended Apps to your Shopify Store
Even if you can sometimes run your store without any extra apps installed, you more often than not need extra functionalities in order to sell. Some of the apps are free(mium), some are paid. There are literally thousands of apps to choose from, but you’ll only need four-five to be able to do a great job. These are:
VITALS is THE best multipurpose app in the entire Shopify App Store. Ranked in the top 10 apps, VITALS offers you access to over 40 features. These tools include pop-ups, wheel of fortune, volume discounts, pre-orders, trust badges, payment logos, social media buttons, all-in-one chat, or visitor replays. Basically, ALL you need in order to run your store and then some more. The price is also great, at $29.99. The best thing about VITALS is that it will not slow down your store as it would happen if you install different apps from different providers. Read more on this here.
2. Oberlo for Dropshipping
If you plan on dropshipping from AliExpress, the Oberlo app will automatically add products to your store right from your chosen merchant.
It will also automatically place your orders with the chosen vendors whenever a customer orders from your store, saving you a TON of time and effort.
Klaviyo is the best-known tool for eMailing your clients. After you build up your clients list, using pop-ups from VITALS, for example, use Klaviyo to send them newsletters, segment them, and further increase sales.
Check out all the best apps out there on this handy list.
Final Step – Choose your Paid Plan with Shopify
You’re almost done! All that is left is choosing one of the three plans Shopify is offering and removing the password protection. This way, your site will become visible to your future clients. Click “Select a plan” on the bottom of your dashboard and you’ll see the three options available:
- Basic Shopify
- Advanced Shopify
We strongly recommend starting with the Basic Shopify account, unless you’re very sure you’re going to have a huge turnover from the start. The main difference in the plans, besides the monthly costs, is the transaction fee.
Congrats, you’ve just launched your first Shopify store!
Although it didn’t require much time or investment on your part, it’s still a great accomplishment. You’re currently running your own personal online store and can consider yourself an entrepreneur. A beginner entrepreneur, at least! Now it’s up to you to figure out how to take your store to the next level. Just owning an ecommerce business isn’t going to make you rich. You need to market it in order to improve sales and attract clients, you need to tweak and experiment with the VITALS app, and you need to think about a long term strategy.
Most of all, you need to work – sometimes hard. Start building an audience on social media, market your store through ads or influencers, create great content. Combined, these things can have a powerful impact on your brand in the long-term. Learning by doing is the best teacher, and any mistakes you will make will be a great lesson for the future.