E-commerce is huge. The potential to make money with online shops is nearly endless. One of the biggest advantages is that you don’t even need to invest a lot of money to be successful with it. Plus, it is a great way to make money online either from home or literally from anywhere in the world. Perfect for everyone who likes to stay location-independent. That’s why so many people are interested in this business. After I published one of my most popular articles “5 Steps to Start a Successful Dropshipping Business – From Zero to $95,000” I received quite a few messages asking all sorts of questions about Shopify and how to set up a Shopify store. Since the demand is so big, I thought I put together an easy step-by-step guide, how you can set up a Shopify store in no time.
Note: For simplicity reasons, this guide assumes that you already have a product (or a range of products) to sell in mind. If not, check out this article on how to find profitable dropshipping products.
What is Shopify?
Well, I couldn’t say it better than Shopify itself. So let’s see how they are describing their service:
“Shopify is a complete ecommerce solution that allows you to set up an online store to sell your goods. It lets you organize your products, customize your storefront, accept credit card payments, track and respond to orders — all with a few clicks of the mouse.” – Shopify
There are a few other options out there to set up an e-commerce website. Why should you pick Shopify?
There are a couple of reasons which make it such a perfect platform for e-commerce and dropshipping. Especially beginners will appreciate them:
- All-in-One-Solution. You get all you need in one package – design, product management, payment management, support etc. No need to buy any additional services or integrations.
- Simple Setup. To set up a Shopify store takes no more than 30 minutes. You don’t need to develop anything or start a complicated customizing process.
- Easy Designs. Shopify gives you plenty of templates you can use and easily customize to your needs. You can change colors, fonts and all that with a simple click, which is great for people with zero design or coding knowledge. You can set up Shopify store in a fraction of time.
- Reputable Platform. Shopify has been around since 2009 and is now one of the biggest players in the ecommerce space. Highly successful stores are based on Shopify, for example, Minaal, KKW Beauty, Jeffreee Star Cosmetics, or Madsen.
- 24/7 Support. In case you have any questions or are stuck somewhere, you can contact the team at any time and get professional and friendly help.
Are there any Downsides?
To be fair, Shopify is not exactly the cheapest platform on the market. You might find other solutions, such as plugins, to build an e-commerce website. However, you won’t get such an extensive package. To me personally, it is definitely worth spending a few dollars more on a great platform instead of investing the time and nerves to develop anything myself.
Steps of How to Set up a Shopify Store
If you are at the very beginning you are probably overwhelmed, thinking that this is a huuuge thing and it’s going to be super complicated to set up Shopify store.
Let me tell you: It is not! Creating a Shopify store is not complicated at all. Yes, there are a few steps involved but luckily, it is all pretty much self-explanatory and very intuitive.
Make sure to follow these steps and you will have your very first online store in less than one hour.
Step 1: Create Your Shopify Store
First, you have to go to the Shopify website and register. Best thing is to start with a 14-day trial which you can get when you click here: Shopify trial.
To get started you obviously need your email address and your store name. That could be anything you like, either your brand name or the products you want to sell. It only needs to be unique. Shopify won’t allow you to create a store with a name that already exists.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy name yet, you can always change it later.
Next, you fill in a few general questions and give your address.
The next steps are pretty much flexible in terms of what order you do them. I suggest to get the “boring” stuff out of the way first, so you can fully concentrate on your shop afterwards.
To do so, navigate to the “Settings” button at the bottom of your screen.
Go into the single tabs and fill in the information if required.
For example, under “General” you need to fill in your business information.
Under “Payment providers” you will find the default setting PayPal. I advise you to select a few more, just in case some of your customers don’t have PayPal or don’t want to use it. In my opinion you should add at least Credit Card. Amazon pay is really nice and getting more and more popular, too.
Also make sure you update your shipping information. Set a weight-based shipping rate and adjust it according to your products. If you can, make Standard Shipping free of charge. Customers love that and it gives you an advantage over your competitors.
Step 2: Add Important Content
Apart from your products, there are also a few more things you need to add to your Shopify store. These are:
- About us
- Contact us
- Shipping information
Add a new page for each of these sections by clicking on “Pages” in your left menu.
Your potential customers most likely want to know more about you or your brand or the products you are selling. So make sure you add one page to your store with “About Us”. You can describe your history, the idea behind the brand, the vision or whatever is interesting to know.
Also don’t talk exclusively about you but also what your brand or your products can do to help your customers or how they can profit from your store.
In case you need some inspiration, check out these 9 ecommerce websites with great About pages.
If you have more important things to add, you can, of course, create more pages and add that, too.
Customers have questions. They always do. So make sure you add a page with your contact details. Add phone number, email address etc. and what times you can be contacted.
Luckily, you don’t have to come up with that yourself. Shopify offers a handy tool to create a template for it. You may have seen it while working on Step 1.
Head back to “Settings” and “Checkout”.
Scroll all the way down to “Refund, privacy, and TOS statements”. Click on “Generate sample” in each section and save.
Also copy and paste them to an extra page in your store. This guarantees that your customers don’t only see them when they buy something and check out, but can access them anytime.
Here you can list how much you charge for shipping and to which countries you ship your products to. Also state how many days you usually need to deliver your products.
Step 3: Get a Domain Name
Your default domain name includes “.myshopify”. Technically, you can leave it like that. But for a more professional look, I recommend you to get your own domain.
Go to your home page and click “Add domain”.
Now you have two options:
One: You can link an existing domain if you have one already. You can buy a domain at e.g. GoDaddy or NameCheap starting from 1.99 USD a year. The downside: You have to redirect the DNS records yourself.
Two: You can buy a new one from Shopify, which will be added to your store automatically. They are usually around 9-14 USD per year.
Sometimes you have to try a few variations to get a domain name that works with your shop name. In case your shop name is not available as domain name, you could add, for example, “shop” or “store” to the name and see if that version is available.
Step 4: Add Products to your Shopify Store
Ok, now to the fun part. It’s time to add your products to your online store.
In your menu on the left side select “Products”.
Your first option
When you click on “Add products” you can to add your products manually. Title, description, images, pricing – everything can be added here.
Add as many details as possible and present them in a way that is easy and quick to understand, e.g. bulleted lists.
When you source your products from common dropshipping places, like Alibaba, make sure to alter the product description you get. Otherwise you will end up with the exact same descriptions many other stores have.
If you want to learn more about how to write product descriptions that sell, check out this great post by Neil Patel.
Extra Tip: Make sure to only use high quality images that you have the license for to use commercially.
Your second option
Instead of “Add product” you could also pick “Find products” and get redirected to the Oberlo interface, which sources products from AliExpress. This is particularly great if you want to start a dropshipping business. Here you can find and add products directly to your store.
While this comes super handy, please also bear in mind that these are the products everyone is trying to sell. That means competition is much harder.
If you have your own products or want to sell something that is truly unique, simply stick to the manual adding of products.
And don’t worry about the order in which you upload and add your products. You can always change it later.
Step 5: Create Your Shopify Store Design
The best part: Customize the design of your shop.
Go back to your homepage and click “Customize theme”. Shopify will give you a default theme but you can easily change that by either browsing through the Free themes or, if you want to be able to make more modifications, buy one in the Shopify Theme Store.
I personally think the free themes are absolutely fine. Plus, you can modify them a lot so your store won’t look like thousands of others out there.
For this example, I select “Venture”. It is a great theme for displaying many products and already comes with a cool look that I want for my shop.
As you can see, Shopify tells you a few key features of this theme that help you to decide if this would work for your products.
Again, you don’t need to stress out about deciding. You can still change your theme later on.
Once you have added your theme, you can go ahead and customize it.
You can, for example, upload your own header or chose any of the free images available.
You can also change fonts and colors.
Simply play around with the design a little bit and see what you like best for your Shopify store.
In case you are stuck, don’t worry. Shopify has a great team of support designers who are happy to help you out with any questions you have.
Once you are done, don’t forget to “Publish” your theme.
Extra Tip: Make a duplicate of your customized theme. So when you make changes later and don’t like them, you can simply delete the entire template and still have your old version ready.
Step 6: Launch Your Shopify Store
Yes, you’ve made it! You are now ready to launch your Shopify store.
Don’t be hesitant if it is not 100% perfect. From my experience you will spend the next couple of months tweaking here and there every once in a while. Another font, another color, add products, improve descriptions etc. – that’s absolutely normal.
To publish your Shopify store, click on “Settings” in your menu and select “Account”, then “Compare plans”. You can only go live with your store, if you have picked a plan.
But don’t worry, you won’t be charged until the end of your trial period. So If your shop is online for 10 days and you realize you don’t want to continue, you can still cancel the plan and won’t have to pay for it.
Just please bear in mind that you won’t become rich in 14 days. It usually takes a while until you know how to handle the store. Don’t be discouraged if you haven’t sold too many products in the first 2 weeks.
Next you have to give your credit card details and choose your billing cycle. Again, no worries, you are still on your trial and won’t be charged before the end of the 14 days.
Perfect! Now all you need to do is to remove the password that prevents the public from viewing your store. Navigate to “Online Store” in the menu and click “Remove password”. Disable the password page and that’s it.
Congratulations! Your Shopify store is now officially online!
No Sales Without Marketing
As with everything, if you don’t market your e-commerce store properly, people won’t find it. Here are some ideas how you can make sure people check out your shop:
- Make sure you have optimized your product descriptions for search engines. Check out this awesome guide by Chris on Kissmetrics to learn all you need to know about SEO for online stores.
- Also promote your online shop on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest etc. can do wonders to your traffic. Learn more about social media e-commerce with this great blog post by Sproutsocial.
- Consider integrating a blog in your shop, which is a great way to get additional readers to your store. Read how exactly your shop can profit from this and how you can get started in this Shopify article.
- Start an email list and keep your readers updated about general industry news and your products. Have a look at this ecommerce email marketing guide on Digital Marketer.
Extra Tip: Check out this article with the best tips for creating a successful online store.
Ready for your First Shopify Store?
As you can see, it is not complicated to set up a Shopify store at all. Once you have created an account and made the general adjustments, you can upload your products and design the appearance of your shop.
If you are still unsure if an e-commerce store is the right thing for you, give it a try. The 14-day Shopify trial doesn’t cost you anything. But it will help you to get started and get a feeling for the whole online shop world. Who knows, maybe you will even make a nice income in those first 2 weeks and decide to stick with it?
As long as you have the right products and a good strategy to promote your shop, your chances are pretty good to turn this into a successful online business.
Don’t waste more time! Simply click here and start your free 14-day Shopify trial today!
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