Online shops have endless potential for sales. If you decide on dropshipping, you don’t even need much money to start your store. It’s no surprise that many people have become interested in this type of business. After publishing my article on starting a dropshipping business, I got many messages asking all about Shopify. That’s why I thought I publish a detailed article that explains how you can set up a Shopify store if you want to start a location-independent online business, too.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a website that helps you set up an e-commerce store to sell anything you want. By using it, you can upload products, customize the design of your site, accept different kinds of payments, track orders, and much more. It is very easy and therefore perfectly suitable for beginners.
Why should you choose Shopify?
If you are looking to start an e-commerce website, there are many options in the market. But here are some reasons why Shopify is the best platform:
- All-in-One-Package: There’s no need to pay for any additional services, Shopify gives you everything. Design, product, management, payment, support, etc. all in one package.
- Easy to set up: It will take you less than 30 minutes to set up the whole thing. There’s no need for you to develop anything or go through a complicated process.
- Easy Design: There are plenty of templates for you to choose from and customize. You can also change colors, fonts, and anything you want with just a click. This makes Shopify ideal for those who don’t have design or coding knowledge.
- Reputation: Shopify has existed since 2009 and is now one of the most popular sites for e-commerce. Many successful stores, such as Jeffree Star Cosmetics or Madsen, are using Shopify for their business.
- Customer Service available 24/7: If you need help or have questions, you can contact the Shopify team and get professional help.
The Only Downside
If we compare Shopify with other e-commerce platforms, we’ll see it is not the cheapest option. There are cheaper solutions, like plug-ins for WordPress. However, you won’t get a package as complete as the one Shopify offers. Personally, I’m happy to spend more on the best platform instead of investing time in developing something myself.
Steps You Should Follow to Set up your Shopify Store
Don’t worry, creating your first Shopify store is very easy. The steps are pretty much self-explanatory and easy to follow. If you follow them, it will take you less than 30 minutes to have your shop ready.
Step 1: Register with Shopify
First, enter Shopify’s website and register as a user. You can start by getting a 14-day trial which you can access here: Shopify trial.
You’ll need an email address and a name for your store. That can be anything you want, your brand name for example. Shopify will tell you if the name you chose is unique as it won’t let you use somebody else’s name.
Don’t worry if you are not completely sure about the name. You can change it later. Next, you will have to answer a few general pieces of information and state your full address.
You can follow the next steps in any order you want. I recommend getting rid of the boring parts first so that you can focus on your shop.
To do so, you have to find the Settings button at the bottom of the screen. Then, fill in the tabs with the information they require.
For instance, under the tab General, you have to complete it with your business information.
Then, under Payment, you can change the default setting, which is Paypal. There’s the option of selecting others, as some customers may not have Paypal. I think you should also add the credit card option. Amazon Pay is another good option, too. Before doing this, consider the fees you’ll be charged for these ways of payment and decide accordingly.
Remember to update your shipping information. You can set the shipping rate based on weight and adjust it to your products. You can make Standard Shipping free so that customers will love your store and you’ll have an advantage over your competitors.
Step 2: Add Important Content
Apart from the product section, you should also include the following pages since this is what (potential) customers are usually looking for:
- About us
- Shipping information
In order to create these pages, you have to click on Pages on the left menu and create a new page for each of these sections.
The About Us Page
In this part, you need to add information about yourself, your brand, and the products you are selling. You can tell your history, the idea behind the creation of your brand, your vision, etc. Include whatever you think your customers may find interesting. Also, tell your customers how they can profit from your store.
If you need some inspiration, you should also read the article 9 e-commerce websites with great About pages.
The Contact Us Page
Make sure there is a section of your store through which your customers can contact you and ask questions. You should add a contact form and email address.
If you want to, you could also provide a phone number for phone support. Only beware that customers from all over the world might call you at any time. So if you add your number, be prepared!
This section is very important. Don’t start running your online store if you still haven’t set up the Refunds, Privacy, and Terms of Service Page because people will look for it and you are also legally obliged to have it on your website.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to create this from scratch. Luckily, Shopify has a tool that creates a template for you. Make sure to read through it and make adjustments according to your individual shop.
Make sure your customers don’t only see this section when they buy something. It should be available all the time in the footer.
On this page, you can list the prices of shipping and the countries you will ship your products to. You should also state the number of days it takes to deliver your products.
Step 3: Get Your Own Domain Name
Once you choose your website’s name, you will get “.myshopify” as a default domain. If you want, you can just leave it that way. However, if you want it to sound more professional, you should get your own personal domain. To change the domain, you have to go to the home page and click Add Domain.
You have two options here:
- You can add an existing domain that you’ve bought before. Some websites like GoDaddy and NameCheap charge you less than 10 USD a year. The only downside is that you will have to redirect the DNS records by yourself. On the other hand, customer support will be happy to assist you with that.
- You can buy a new domain on Shopify. This will be added to your store automatically. They cost between 9 to 14 USD per year.
It may take you some time to get a domain name that goes well with the name of your shop. When the domain you have chosen already exists, you can try to add the words “shop” or “store” and see if that is available.
Step 4: Add the Products
You’ve reached the fun part! Now it’s time for you to add the products you want to sell in your online Shopify store. In the menu on the left, there should be a tab called Products.
Add Products Manually
When you click Add Products, you add them manually and include the title, description, images, price, etc. The more details you add, the better. Make sure you present them in a way that is easy to see and understand. For example, you can use bulleted lists.
When you buy your products from common sites like Alibaba, make sure you alter the description of the product. Otherwise, you will end up with the same description many stores have.
You should check this article out if you want to learn more about writing product descriptions that sell.
Note: make sure when you include pictures that you have the license to do so and that they are high quality.
Add Products Automatically
Another way of adding your products is to click on Find Products. This will redirect you to the Oberlo interface, which sources products from pages like AliExpress. You can find and add products directly to your store. Of course, this option is much easier, but it means more competition, as many people would do the same.
The order in which you upload the products is not important, you can change it later.
Step 5: Choose your Store’s Design
To customize the design of your Shopify store, go back to your homepage and click on the option Customize Theme. The website will give a default theme but you can choose another one for free. Just go through the free templates or buy one from the Theme Store.
The free themes are amazing. Plus, you can add other modifications to differentiate your store from others. For example, a cool theme is “Venture”:
Shopify shows you the key features of each theme so that you can decide if that would work for your products. Again, you can make changes any time you want, nothing’s permanent.
After choosing your theme, you can customize it.
There’s the option of uploading your own photos or choosing from the free images. You can also choose the fonts and colors. Just use your creativity and choose the things you like for your shop. Shopify has a team of support designers that are available if you need any help.
Once you finish, just press Publish.
Tip: Before you make changes, always duplicate your previous customized theme. If you don’t like your new customization anymore, you can simply delete it and use your original template again.
Step 6: Launch Your Shop
Now that you have created your store, you are ready to launch it! Don’t worry if you are not 100% convinced of every detail. You’ll spend the next months making some small changes anyway. That’s normal.
To publish your store, go to Settings, and in your menu select Account, then Compare Plans. You need to pick a plan.
Note: Don’t worry, you will be charged only at the end of your trial period, so if your store is online within the trial period and you change your mind, you still won’t have to pay for it. Just bear in mind that any business takes some time to pick up. Don’t be discouraged if you feel you haven’t sold much in the first weeks.
Next, you need to fill in your credit card details and select a billing cycle.
Great! Now remove the password by navigating to Online Store and clicking on Remove Password.
Congratulations! Your Shopify store is officially up and running!
You Need Marketing
If you want people to find your store, you have to market it properly. Here are some ideas to advertise your shop:
- Write good descriptions for your products that are easily found in search engines. You can read this guide to learn everything there’s to know about SEO for online stores.
- Use social media. Networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or YouTube are great for advertising your store. Check this article by Sproutsocial for more information.
- You can also add a blog to your shop to get additional readers. You can learn how to profit from this here.
- Compile emails and keep your readers updated about news on your products. You can read more about it here.
Start Your First Online Store Today
As you can see, it is very easy to start your own Shopify store. First, you need to create an account and make all the adjustments you want. Then, you may upload your products and decide on the appearance of your new store. The 14-day trial is great as you can give it a try and decide for yourself if you want to pay for this service or not. Once you have your shop up and running, work on your marketing strategy to get people to visit our shop and, eventually, buy your products.
Click here and get started today!