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Are you thinking about starting your own eCommerce store? Great! Whether you’re selling your own products, or selling someone else’s as an affiliate, selling items online can be everything from a fun way to make some extra money to a full-fledged business.
That said, you may not know how to get started. This guide will help. It walks you through the process of creating a Shopify eCommerce store step by step, so you can start making sales.
Starting an eCommerce Store with Shopify
This guide will focus on how to start your eCommerce store with Shopify. Although there are other platforms to choose from, Shopify is one of the strongest, particularly for beginners. The following are key reasons why we recommend Shopify:
How to Create Your Shopify eCommerce Store
Take Basic First Steps
Before setting up your Shopify account, it helps to plan your basic strategy. Don’t get ahead of yourself by starting the shop creation process without taking certain essential steps first.
Decide what you’re going to sell. Choose a brand name that reflects your shop’s products and identity (and conduct research to make sure the name hasn’t already been claimed). Additionally, at this stage, it’s smart to begin clearly defining who your customers will be, as this helps you develop a marketing plan. Once you’ve taken these steps, you’re ready to get started with Shopify.
Create Your Account
Start by signing up for a Shopify account. As you can see, you’ll start with a 14-day free trial, although this guide assumes you will sign up for the full service once the trial period is complete:
You’ll also choose your store name at this stage. Again, this is why it helps to decide on a brand name before you start creating your Shopify account. The process will run much more smoothly if you prepare ahead of time.
Once you enter the requested information in the field above, it should only take a few seconds for Shopify to prep your store. When it’s ready, you’ll be prompted to provide additional information:
You can skip this step if you like. Before entering your store, you’ll also be asked to provide an address. You can’t skip this step, as your address is where payments are sent. This also serves as your official Shopify business address.
Getting Started with Your Shopify Store
Once you’ve provided your business address, click “Enter my store,” and you can begin working on your eCommerce shop:
This brings you to your main Shopify dashboard:
You can see there are several features to consider using first. You can add your first product, customize your theme, add a domain for your shop, browse plans (if you know you’ll continue using Shopify after your trial expires), and more.
For this guide, we’ll begin by exploring themes.
Customize Your Theme
From the main dashboard, select “Customize theme,” then click on the “Customize theme” button:
You can also click on “Learn more about themes” if you’re a beginner who’d like some more information on this topic. Shopify in general offers new store owners many helpful resources, including the Shopify Help Center, that serve to clarify its processes and features. Take advantage of them as you get acquainted with this platform.
Your shop will already have a basic generic theme. Click on “Customize,” and you can edit it:
This image illustrates one of the ways you can customize your Shopify theme:
The “Image with text overlay” section should feature a header image that reflects your brand. You can also add text. This can be a slogan, a brief description of your shop, or a basic introduction. For example, pact’s work it out is the perfect visual and introduction to their line of leggings.
What’s most important is that it be brand-appropriate. For example, if you were selling yoga lifestyle products, you wouldn’t choose an aggressive image with equally aggressive text, such as “Buy our yoga and spirituality products now!” Because your brand is more likely to be associated with feelings of calm and peace, if you didn’t showcase your own products with the header image, you might choose a beautiful picture of a serene beach, or something similarly peaceful. Your text would be far more warm and inviting as well. Something like “Welcome to [your shop name], where we celebrate peace, enlightenment, and love.”
That’s simply a basic idea. The main point to remember is that you should take your time with the process of customizing your theme. While creating an eCommerce store with Shopify is convenient and beneficial in many ways, with the default theme, you do need to take steps to ensure your shop stands out among other Shopify stores. Taking your time to customize the theme so that it matches your brand is key to your success.
Choosing a Theme
It’s worth noting that you don’t need to work with the default theme your Shopify store starts out with. You can also choose from other options:
Some are free, some are premium. This is what you’d see if you clicked on “Explore free themes”:
Browse these options. You may find one that’s right for your shop. However, you have more freedom to search for particular types of themes if you click on “Visit Theme Store”:
Now you can search for themes based on the type of shop you run. For instance, if you’re selling apparel, you might search for fashion themes:
Doing so brings up results such as these:
You may also filter your results based on a number of factors, such as Price and Layout Style.
It’s worth noting you can customize any theme you choose. Additionally, you can change your theme later if you select one you don’t like, although that may be cumbersome once you have many products for sale. It’s often best for beginners to experiment with either the default theme or a free one, until you feel more comfortable using Shopify in general.
Making Shipping Decisions
Before adding a product, it’s important to make certain decisions regarding shipping. This can be a complicated subject, with many factors you must take into account when making key decisions, so it’s best to review Shopify’s guide on the subject. While this guide primarily focuses on the basics of setting up your eCommerce store, Shopify’s resources dive into this topic in greater detail.
For example, when using Shopify, you need to decide whether you’re going to ship items yourself, or whether you’re going to use a fulfillment warehouse. With a fulfillment warehouse, a third party will store your items, receive alerts when customers place orders, and ship the items accordingly. This may be the best option if you have a large inventory.
You also need to make decisions about shipping fees. Will you offer free shipping? A flat fee? Real-time carrier rates (Shopify can integrate with popular carriers such as USPS, updating shipping rates in real-time)?
You can also add a shipping policy to your store by clicking on the relevant button on the main dashboard. By transparently telling customers what shipping costs will be, you may be more likely to make sales:
On top of that, you might want to make certain key decisions about your packaging. Packaging doesn’t just impact the weight and safety of your shipments; it can also reflect your brand, as evidenced by examples such as Trunk Club:
The careful arrangement of the items in the box makes even the experience of opening a package more exciting and pleasant. You might want your packaging to serve a similar purpose.
These are all points worth considering before you add an item to your shop. You want to be ready to ship properly when customers place orders.
Adding a Domain
Before adding products, you may want to customize your domain. If you don’t, it will be formatted as “[your shop name].shopify.com”, which isn’t ideal for branding purposes. If you want to add a custom domain, click the relevant button on the main dashboard:
Now you can buy a new domain for your store:
(Tip: If you know you’re going to want a custom domain for your shop, and you know you’re going to want it to be the same as your shop’s name, search to make sure that domain is available before deciding on a shop name.)
When you’re ready to add your first item to your Shopify, return to the main dashboard by clicking on the home icon in the left navigation bar, and select “Add Product”:
As you can see, products don’t need to be physical items. Services and digital downloads can also be offered through Shopify.
After clicking on “Add Product,” you’ll be prompted to add the following information/content:
● Product Name & Description: Make sure the product name clearly describes what the item is. The description should elaborate on why a person would want to buy it. What value does it offer? To optimize your descriptions, you may also want to perform thorough keyword research. Including the right keywords can boost the odds your product will show up in relevant searches.
● Images: Images should be dynamic and professional. If you’re not a skilled photographer, consider hiring someone to take pictures of your items. Although this is an investment, it’s worth the cost. Products should stand out and attract shoppers. On top of that, if a product needs to be demonstrated in order for customers to truly understand how it works, you may want to include pictures of it in use. Consider adding text explanations of how the product is being used to such images if you think they will help a customer understand what the product in question does.
● Pricing: Self-explanatory. Research the prices of similar items if you’re struggling to determine how to price yours.
● Inventory: You may include inventory information to prevent customers from ordering items that are out of stock.
● Shipping: This is where you state the item’s weight, whether it’s a physical product, what fulfillment service you’ll be using, and the product’s country of origin (for customs).
● Variants: You may add variants if an item is available in multiple versions, such as a shirt that comes in several colors.
● Organization: In this section, you clarify what type of product you’re selling, who the vendor is, and whether it belongs to a collection.
You can also determine how the item will look in a search engine results page by clicking “Edit website SEO” in the “Search engine listing preview” section at the bottom of the Add Product page:
With this feature, you can change the page title and meta description, improving your shop’s SEO.
Once you’ve finished adding all the necessary information, click on “Save Product” at the bottom of the Add Product page. As long as Shopify approves it, you’re ready to start selling!
Important Points to Consider
Again, this guide should serve as a basic overview, outlining the process of creating an eCommerce shop with Spotify. However, these steps will simply help you get started. It’s also important to experiment with the various tools and features Shopify provides store owners with. For example, you can track analytics to determine how certain items are performing, or use marketing tools to create ads.
You should also choose a business structure for your eCommerce shop. This is essential for tax purposes. The Small Business Administration provides a lot of useful information about your options
Most importantly, keep experimenting. Conduct more keyword research to determine what kinds of descriptions yield sales. Try new themes if your current one isn’t delivering results. Add new pictures if the ones you’re using don’t bring in as many sales as you’d like. If you’re willing to continue learning, you can eventually achieve major success as a Shopify merchant.