So You want to start an ecommerce store, but confused…
where to start,
which platform should you use,
how much does it cost,
what you can sell,
what are the pros and cons.
Hmm, This is the most common question I get the most.
Today I’ll show you step by step guide on how to build your online store with [Shopify].
It was not as hard as you think, ill cover and walk you through the process of setting up an online store. If you get stuck(I may think you will) leave me a comment or get in touch with me.
Before we get started.
Shopify vs WordPress
Should I go with Shopify Why not WordPress? well, it depends.Both the platform has its own pros and cons.
I am a raving fan of WordPress, have built a lot of sites for my clients with WordPress, I would recommend WordPress.
Although WordPress is a great content management system it is super awesome for blogs and website that runs on content. But the ecommerce game is totally different.
Here are some of the pros and cons of using WordPress.
-Need technical knowledge.
-WordPress is a stand-alone software you need an install to access and customize.
-Can be empowered with a handful of plugins.
-You need a reliable hosting to keep your site up and running.
-Need to manage and maintain the site for optimized performance.
-with WordPress, you have to buy a domain, get a web hosting, pick a theme, and install woo-commerce plugin(built for ecommerce) and configure the plugin…
-with WordPress, there is no support.
If you come across any tech issues YouTube and Google are your best friends.
While the process is easy to setup it will be a big hassle if your site crashed and lost on the web.
With Shopify it easy setup in just a few clicks with a great support. Whenever you come across a problem with your store you have a helping hand to support.
What is Shopify and how does it work?
Shopify is a leading cloud-based all in one ecommerce platform for complete beginners while the primary objective for you to focus more on building your business.
Shopify is a Self-hosted SaaS(Software as a Service) platform where you don’t have to install any software and everything is Online-You can manage your store on the go.
If you have little or no coding skills and don’t want to invest your time in development then Shopify is for you.
Shopify makes its simple to setup your online shop up and running in hours with an optimized setup and great User Interface.
How Does Shopify Work?
Shopify made it easy to design all you need to do is upload a great quality product image, write an appealing description, the quantity you want to sell, Shipping and taxes. Once you are done your product is live on the store up and running.
It’s that Simple.
Once you set up your Online store Integrate Shopify with the marketing channels you want to sell and manage the channels having a closer look.
Shopify has a friendly easy to navigate dashboard and reporting tool where you can manage all your activity from who has visited and what you have sold.
Why Shopify and Is Shopify the Best option?
While compared with the cloud hosting designed for ecommerce Shopify is comparatively cheap.
Shopify is Self-hosted which means you don’t have to install any software everything is cloud-based.
Shopify takes care of everything like payment gateway, Shipping, and Taxes all you need is to know how much you need to charge your customer and which payment method and provider you want to work with.
With a wide range of integration, you can seamlessly integrate with almost anything from social media to Email marketing. Marketing tools like abandoned cart, up-selling and cross-selling and a lot more.
Do you have an offline store Shopify can still manage your store with a Point of Sale Solution.
Want to know the Best part
A 24/7 support no matter wherever you are Shopify covers you with their support.If you want to build your business rather than development then Shopify is the best solution to go with.
How much does it cost to sell on Shopify?
Shopify comes with 14 days free trial for you to explore the software and moving forward the Basic plan starts with as low as $29.
Shopify offers you with two more plans apart from the Basic plan
–Basic Plan will cost you $29/month which gives access to unlimited products, free SSL, discounts codes. It is recommended for complete beginners.
– Shopify plan will cost you $79/month with unlimited products, gift cards Abandoned cart recovery along with a free SSL and 5 staff accounts.
–Advance Plan will cost you $299/month unlimited products, gift cards, discount codes, third party shipping rates along with a free SSL and 15 staff accounts. I recommend you to go with the higher when you scale your business.
The basic plan is good to go if you are just starting with Shopify, Once your business starts to grow you can move on to the Shopify plan or an Advance Plan which will give you access to add more staff accounts.
What I would recommend you is to hire a virtual assistant from upwork and give them the access to add products, write a description and do the backend work for you.
Payment gateways with Shopify
Shopify has its own payment provider Shopify payment partnered with a stripe which integrates with your checkout. However, Shopify payments are currently available with United States, Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.
If you are not from any of these states Shopify allows you to use third-party providers from the list of recommended provider available in your country.
Signing up for a Shopify account is just like creating an email and Shopify does offer you a 14 days trial to get your store up and running.
Why wait, go ahead and try your 14 days free trial with Shopify.
How to Setup a store with Shopify
To start your Shopify store you need to sign up for an account Shopify gives you a 14 days trial, I recommend you to sign up and explore the system completely before going live.
Once you are ready to go for a paid plan.
Setting up your Online store with Shopify is very easy but one thing to keep in mind is to keep the store clean and distraction-free where your customer has the best experience while visiting your store.
Let’s hop in and start with the setting process.
Head over to Shopify(dot)com and signup for 14 days free trial.
Now Choose a password for you to login to the backend and customize your store. Once you are done select a store name. Don’t worry about the store name now you can change it anytime. But choose your domain name as that’s going to be your store Url.
Once you have done that click create a store.
On the next screen, Shopify will be asking you some information about your Business not to worry much as Shopify will send you relevant content to your business and guide you through the process of your ecommerce journey.
P.S – I came across a lot of emails that there are unlimited trials from Shopify, That’s a big misconception Shopify never gives an unlimited trial unless and until you are a Shopify Development Partner- So if someone approached you be aware.
Shopify’s Content Delivery network is super optimized, A Content Delivery Network from a third party will cost you $20/ month plus additional to that you got to pay for hosting and managing cost involved in development. Shopify charges you $29/month on a Basic plan which is a great investment for your business.
Now Moving forward,
You will see the Dashboard like the one below, Good work you are now ready to set up your Online Store and Go live in just a few hours and start getting sales.
There are few more things which you would need to update before you start customizing the look and feel of your store.
For you to better understand let’s split the dashboard into 4 sections. Which will be easy to navigate if a problem occurs.
Home – The Home screen is the Main Dashboard you see as soon as you log in it’s your backend, this is where you add products, fulfill orders, check your Analytics, create Discount coupons, and add any apps to make a great customer experience. In Short its the central hub for your store.
Sales Channel – If you want to add multiple Sales Channels this is where you manage all of them. This section will allow you to spread the word and sell your products through various Channels like facebook, Blog, Amazon, eBay and a lot more you can explore more on the app store.
Online Store – This would be your front end of your store, here you can add pages to your store, navigation, update your domains, remove your store password, Google Analytics, Facebook pixel and a lot more.
Settings – You will control all your Business information and user experience once your customer purchased the product, It includes Your store details, the currency you want to charge, Taxes for the product, Payments, Any notification related to your store, Billing information, Checkout setting and Shipping.
Let understand each section in detail before you start setting up the store,
I would want you to create a GoogleMail account and keep your personal and Business separate. As Google gives you a lot of tools for your business from the webmaster, Analytics, Gsuite and a lot more.
It’s a wise idea to start your Dropshipping business super clean this will give your payment processor a thumb up to approve you if Shopify payments are not available for you.
So keep these four things ready before you start setting your ecommerce store.
-Register your LLC- here’s a link to how to set up an LLC.
-Opened USA bank account ready.
-Find a Profitable Niche- Read more to find one.
-A reliable and legit supplier to work with- hear’s a link to find one fast.
If you have done all the above, Good job you can now move on to the next step and update that information.
On the Dashboard hover over to Settings and click General.
Enter your Store details here it’s your store name, You can always change it before you map it to a domain so don’t stress too much on that Now.
Account Email is your login email to the back-office of Shopify and Customer email is where you send your emails from I recommend you to create a free custom email address with Zoho Mail here’s the link on how to create one.
Next is Your store address and fill in your LLC information, US physical address and US phone number.
If you are in the US then it will pull up the US time if not then change it to any US time zone and change the currency to USD.
Once you are done click Save and move to the next step.
I highly recommend to consult with your Tax consultant from where you setup your LLC to what type of taxes you need to charge. Every state in the US has different state tax. If you are not sure click those checkboxes and shopify will have an algorithm to calculate taxes.
However, It might not be accurate as you scale up the business hire a tax consultant who can do the bookkeeping for you.
European Union have a separate taxes if your selling Digital products if not then you don’t have to worry about that.
This is where you can find your Account information like the date you signed up Staff accounts and additional help from Shopify.
When I first started with Shopify on the Basic Plan I can’t have any staff accounts but Shopify now offers you to add another staff to work in your store on the Basic plan.
Hire a virtual assistant to do all your backend work like uploading your products, Fulfilling your order and working on sales Channels.
As an admin, you have complete control over what access you need to provide to your VA.
Shopify has its own payment service called Shopify Payments if you are in US, Canada and few other countries which Shopify provides this payment you can enjoy Shopify payments.
If you are not from the US and if you have a US Business bank account you can still use Shopify payments. If you don’t have an LLC and US bank account you can explore other recommended payment provider. Give your customers the ability to easy checkout with PayPal if your country supports PayPal.
This is when Shopify notifies you when there is any customer activity happens in your store. I recommend you not to customize any information here at the moment when you are starting as a beginner.
To keep things clear and not to confuse this is your personal billing information for the service you are billed with Shopify, not your customers.
This section will give you a credit card used and a detailed account summary of your latest invoices of your Shopify account.
You might want to add images, videos or any educational information related to your product. You can do that here, upload your files grab the link and paste it into the text to enable the customer to download or view the information.
You can do a lot more with files. this is extremely useful when you are adding a blog post to your store.
When I first started I am flushed out of ideas for blog post What I did was wrote a clear how to use instruction step by step. Why don’t you give it a try.
I would say this is the most important setting in the menu as this is where you create a great user experience for your customer. I would highly recommend you to read through and understand what you want from your customer or follow the below settings.
–Customer accounts– Accounts are optional (if you don’t want your customers to create an account before checkout)
–Customer Contact– primary contact method(default)
–Form options– You need your customer’s name, address and phone number to ship the product select required on name and Address.
–Order processing– keep both checked for now and Select by default customer agrees to receive promotional emails. This enables you to send order recovery if the customer for some reason didn’t check out the order.
-After an order has been paid- keep it default and don’t fulfill automatically.
–Checkout language-If you want to sell internationally and want to enable Multi-language do that here by default Shopify display your language in English.
This needs a clear understanding and depends on how much you need to charge for the product. if you are not sure of shipping charges you end up paying more for the goods.
It’s unfortunate live shipping rates are available only on higher plans.
Here is a good news,
If you are shipping to the United States from the United States your supplier will provide you how much you need to charge for Shipping.
So working with a supplier within the United States is the good option here’s a link on how to find a legit dropship supplier in United Stated or
If you want to save time you can Get Salehoo and browse through the supplier directory.
You need to consider your shipping zones and rates where you are shipping,
-Free+Shipping while the product is free and the customer will pay for shipping or
-Free Shipping(Charge completely on the product with a free shipping). Do your math and figure out which one works best for you.
You have almost completed your store settings the rest of the setup is the look and feel of your store.
Step 1- Selecting Theme
Do you know a theme with unwanted functionality can slow down your site. which is a part of your SEO.
First thing when you Set Up a Shopify Store is Selecting a Theme for your Store. I will show you why selecting the right theme is very important for your store and where to get one.
A theme is the template or design of your website and how it looks on the front end. You store’s loading speed will be optimized if you choose the right theme.
You want to start an ecommerce store a client you have worked with is no way relevant but if you buy a theme that this function is inbuilt, the site loads even this unwanted files that will slow down your site which is a mere waste of bandwidth.
There are few things which you need to consider while selecting a theme.
–Mobile Responsive – Mobile users have increased over the years, so your theme should be mobile responsive.
–Product page – Most of the site visitors don’t pay much attention to the homepage rather they would look into the product page. Your product page should be super clean with a clear call to action.
–Easy to Navigate – The site should be easy for your users to navigate and find the product what they are looking for.
–Customer support– A great customer support when you ran into an issue.
Shopify does give you free themes for you and their premium theme seems to be a bit pricey but it is worth choosing a premium theme as Shopify premium theme is tested by Shopify and designed for ecommerce.
But if you don’t want to pay for a premium theme you can go for a free theme for now. But If you are looking for the alternate option of getting a clean and nice theme for your store you can get it one from ThemeForest.
I’ll show you how to get a theme if you are planning to get one for your Shopify store.
Head over to ThemeForest and search for Shopify.
Next Select Best Seller and click on the theme to preview. Select the one you like keeping in mind the above points and buy the theme.
P.S-Do check the live preview and contact support before buying any theme.
Once you purchased the theme. upload the theme to Shopify and your new theme will be up and running in no time.
Step 2 – Adding the Required pages
When you have a visitor on your Online store you need to inform them clearly
-What they are buying and how to use the product(FAQ Page)
-Shipping and Delivery.
-Refund and Return policy.
-Privacy of their information.
-How to contact you.
Head over to Online store section and click on pages and click add page and create the required pages.
Once you have done that click on Navigation and add that to your footer menu like the one below. Do that for the rest of the pages.
It’s Super Simple. now do that for other pages.
Now create the About page and add it to the footer or header menu. It depends on where you want to display the menu.
Step 3- Create an About page
This is the most visited page on your site so take some time to write an about page this is the place you explain
-who you are
-why are you selling this product and
-how are you different.
Once you created all the pages add them to your footer or Main menu.
Step 4- Adding Domains
Yourstorename.myshopify.com is URL url which your customer has to remember to visit your store which is not good and doesn’t look professional to keep a clean and easy to remember url choose a domain name from godaddy or namecheap which I recommend and Map that with your shopify store.
Mapping a Domain is far the simplest, All you need to do is to update the A Record and CNAME which Shopify provides you. If you don’t know what an A Record here’s the link to a resource explains how to update your A Record.
A Record is your IP. head over to your domain registrar and Click on DNS record if you scroll down you in most case you will find a section to update records go ahead and update the A Record and CNAME which Shopify provided you there.
There are two ways you can Buy a Domain
-You can buy one from Shopify where they will do the setup for you. I don’t recommend If you decide to move to another plan platform you might have some technical issues if you don’t understand how domain works.
-Another way is to get it from another domain provider and update the A Record and CNAME which is pretty easy.
Once you have done that head over to Shopify dashboard click on domains and click verify connection if your A Record and CNAME are updated correctly your store is empowered with a New Domain.
P.S-To unlock domains you need a paid plan Explore Shopify for 14 days once you’re ready to start head over and unlock the store with a paid subscription.
Step 5- Adding products
Before adding products create a collection and select manually add products to the collection so when someone clicks on the collection it will show up the products in that collection.
In this way, you can organize your products to display.
Now you have come to the final setup, Head over to the Home section click on products and add your first products to your store and start selling.
When uploading product images keep your images to 20 megapixel and less than 20MB in size. Here’s a link to image guidelines from Shopify.
If you are Dropshipping from AliExpress you can use Oberlo to import directly into your store. While SKU, GTIN, and weight might not be available. But, if you are drop shipping from a local Dropshipping supplier you have access to all the information which you can update on the product page.
This would come in handy when creating ads in Merchant Account.
Completing the Setup process
If you have read so far,
You have done a great job setting up an Online store yourself with Shopify.
Building an Online Store was not as hard as you think with a clear understanding and dedication you can master.
I doubt you might come up with questions but don’t worry you have got 14 days for you to explore the system, Get your Shopify trial and if come across any questions or stuck somewhere you are more than welcome to contact me and send me an email.
“Will you implement the steps on building an Online Store with Shopify, If yes then where do you think you are stuck in the process?”
If you like this post Do share and spread the word to your friends and leave your comments.
I would love to hear from you.