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How To Start An Online Shopify Store In 8 Easy Steps

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-woman-using-her-laptop-935756/

Shopify is essentially an e-commerce platform – one where you can sell anything from your own custom products to other people's wares. That's why many consider it the best eCommerce platform there is. 

It can be hard for a new eCommerce store owner to find useful Shopify resources that are informative and easy to understand. Shopify has a lot of features, but it can be hard to figure out where to get started.

We've found the best way to get started with your Shopify store is by breaking the process down into 8 easy steps which we’ll expound on later.

Shopify Basics: What you need to know

Shopify is a cloud-based eCommerce platform that allows you to create, manage and grow your online store. It offers a wide range of features and support, including a built-in payments solution, fraud protection, marketing tools, a mobile-responsive theme store, and more.

What Shopify does:

Shopify provides you with a simple way to build a fully-functional online store, without having to worry about complicated coding. You can start with their free trial to see if it's right for you, or pay only when you're ready to launch your store. Shopify is easy to use and set up, but it does have its limitations. The software can be difficult to customize, so if you want to make significant changes to it, you may need to hire someone else to do the work for you.

Why Shopify?

Shopify offers everything you need to create and run an e-commerce website on one platform, including your own domain name, secure payment processing, and easy shipping tools. The biggest benefit of using Shopify is that it takes care of everything for you when it comes to selling online — all you need to do is supply the products or services!

How much does it cost to have a Shopify account?

Shopify is quite an economical eCommerce platform. Its customizable pricing plans allow every business to optimize its single interface, apps, and features. Each of Shopify's pricing plans is based on functionality, e-commerce capabilities, and tools used to establish an online business.

Shopify Lite: For $9 per month. This plan is suitable for those who want to test the waters of e-commerce by selling a few items before investing in a more robust platform. It comes with basic payment processing and shipping management capabilities as well as other essential tools like analytics and inventory management.

Basic Shopify: For $29 per month. The Basic Shopify plan offers more advanced shipping options including customer tracking and order management tools such as email notifications. It also comes with a free domain name and SSL certificate so your customers can be assured that their information is secure when they visit your store.

Shopify: For $79 per month. The Shopify plan includes everything in the Basic Shopify plan, as well as advanced shipping options, inventory management, and more. It also includes advanced marketing tools like Google Ads and Facebook Pixel. It also adds additional storage space for product photos and videos.

Advanced Shopify: For $299 per month.  This package includes all the features of the Basic Shopify plan plus more advanced marketing tools such as ad campaigns, Facebook store widgets, and Instagram ads integration with Google Analytics data to drive traffic to your website.

Shopify also offers Shopify Plus, an enterprise-grade service, in addition to the four pricing plans.

All the plans come with the essential features, including:

  • 24/7 support
  • Unlimited products
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Access to Shopify apps
  • A shipping label creator
  • Multiple sales channels
  • Free SSL certificate (for security)
  • A checkout with 100 currencies
  • Discount codes and gift cards
  • Shopify POS Lite for selling in person

The four Shopify plans listed above include no setup fees and 24/7 online customer support. These plans include limitless file storage that enables shop owners to upload an endless number of products, and no bandwidth or transaction fees when you use Shopify Payments. All these features combined show you how powerful yet economical Shopify really is.

You also have the option of changing your Shopify plan at any time, whether it's monthly or whenever you feel like it.

Step 1: How to Create a Shopify Store

If you aren’t sure what plan to get yet, you can always try it out first for free. 

Shopify provides a free 14-day trial that you can use to get started and get a feel for the platform before you commit to a plan.


Simply go to shopify.com/signup and provide your email address, a strong password, and your store's name.

Shopify will then ask you a few questions to improve your experience. Answer honestly, but remember that you can always change your answers afterward. After you click "Next," Shopify will ask you to provide your details so you can get paid.

Congratulations! You now have a brand new online store and command center for your business! To ensure the safety of your Shopify account, be sure to validate your email address before you begin using the service.

Step 2: Choose a theme

When you first sign in, you'll see a four-point checklist that will help you get started. Browse the left sidebar for everything you need to run your business. Clicking on one of these options opens a drop-down menu with more options.

To get started, click "Online Store" in the sidebar and then click "Themes."

You can start customizing the pre-installed "Debut" theme or scroll down the page to choose a new theme. There are 3 options:

Explore free themes. Shopify has a large library of free themes that you can browse and download. These themes have been contributed by users and developers. They come with no support or updates, but they're an excellent way to get started with your store's design.

Go for paid themes. The Shopify Theme Store is a collection of paid themes developed by third-party developers. You can filter these themes by category, color, style, and more to find exactly what you're looking for!

Upload themes. If you've purchased a theme from Theme Forest or another marketplace, you'll be able to upload it here and use it in your store!

Remember that you can change your theme at any time. Plus, if you want something specific, you can hire a Shopify Expert to help you customize your website.

After installing your theme, click "Customize," and Shopify will take you to the page editor.

From the menu on the left, you can drag and drop modules to change the layout. And at the top of the page is a drop-down menu that lets you change how different website pages look.

You can also change your store's colors, fonts, and more by heading to the bottom of the left sidebar and clicking on "Theme Settings."

Click "Theme actions" at the bottom of the sidebar to get help or make more advanced changes like editing your site's code or languages.

Step 3: Set Up Sales Channels and Add products

Shopify lets you sell through your website, social media platforms, eCommerce marketplaces, and in person. As such, it's advisable to set up your preferred sales channels before you start adding products.

To do this, click the "+" sign next to "Sales channels" in the sidebar and choose the sales channel you want to add.

Each sales channel has a different way to set it up, but Shopify will guide you through the process of setting up each one.

To start adding products, click "Products" on the sidebar, then "Add product." If you don't currently have any products to offer, a Shopify dropshipping integration will help you discover some. Look for apps that can achieve this in the Shopify store.

Don't forget to include all of the relevant information and photos when adding a new product.

In the right sidebar, you can choose sales channels, set prices, and change the settings for inventory and shipping.

If you're selling digital items, uncheck "This is a physical product" to remove shipping options.

You can also create collections to categorize products, such as men's apparel and women's clothing.

When you're finished, remember to click "Save product."

Step 4: Set up payments

Now, let's go through your methods of payment. Go to the bottom of the left sidebar and select "Settings."

You have two main choices when it comes to accepting payments:

  • Shopify Payments
  • A third-party payment system such as Google Pay, PayPal, or Bitcoin.

Take note that Shopify will charge you an extra 2% on the Basic Shopify plan and 1% on the main plan if you use a third-party payment gateway. As a result, it's best to use Shopify payments - especially because it allows customers to pay with practically any credit or debit card, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Click "Complete account setup" and then follow Shopify's instructions to get set up.

Step 5: Get ready to go live

When you have finished configuring your account with a point of sale, payment methods, and products, it is time to launch your Shopify store. But, before you go live, there are a few things that business owners like you should be aware of.

Taxes

Head over to the Settings menu, click "Shipping," and set your shipping rates. Don’t forget to set up taxes! Click on "Taxes" in the settings menu and configure your tax settings.

Shipping

These should fulfill the needs of your customers since if you do not offer them convenient in-demand shipping options, you could lose sales. Shopify and other eCommerce systems only charge consumers based on the shipping parameters you set up on your admin page. Head back to the Settings menu, click "Shipping," and set your shipping rates.

Ready to commit to Shopify?

If you do not choose a paid subscription plan by the end of your trial, your account will be paused and you will be unable to work on it until you do.

As a result, only you may decide whether or not to continue using the platform beyond the trial period.

Choose a plan

Those who wish to continue using Shopify must select a price plan and will have full access to the features associated with that plan. Those who do not intend to continue must deactivate or just let their site expire.

If you continue to use Shopify after the trial time has expired, you must select a price plan. There are three main choices: Basic, Standard, and Advanced.

You can find more information about the different Shopify plans on their website. What kind of plan you select should be based on the size and scope of your company and your long-term objectives If you're just getting started, it's best to stick to the basics and scale up as you go. Plans may be changed at any moment, so there's no need to overcommit if you're not sure where you want to take your company.

Add a domain

After you choose a plan, make sure to add a domain. When you first create your Shopify store, you will get a Shopify anchored domain. This is something like www.brandname.myshopify.com. 

You are welcome to keep using this domain if you want to. If you're serious about beginning an e-commerce business, though, you should pick a domain that's easy for customers to remember and associate with your company.

Click "Online Store" on the sidebar and then click "Domains." At the top of this page, you'll see three options:

Connect an existing domain: Choose this if you already have a domain with a site like GoDaddy or NameCheap, you can use this option to link it to your Shopify account.

Transfer domain: If you'd rather have everything in one place, you can use this option to move your existing domain to Shopify.

Buy a new domain: If you don't have a domain yet, this is the way to get one.

Next steps

After selecting your pricing plan and paying for your store, you can officially launch your store. You may only see the store and make changes during the free trial period, but once you have purchased a plan is when you can make sales.

Shopify apps can also be used to add more features to your site. The Shopify App Store has more than 6,000 apps that can help you make more sales, keep customers, gather social proof, and do a lot more.

When you click "Apps" in the sidebar, Shopify will suggest a few apps for you to use based on what you need.

Recap

Now that we’re at the conclusion of this guide, here’s a quick recap of the steps you’ll be undertaking:

  • Create an account/start your free 14-day trial
  • Choose a Shopify theme
  • Set up sales channels and add products
  • Configure payment and shipping options
  • Review if Shopify is the platform for your business
  • Decide on a paid plan
  • Add apps and features
  • Add a domain

Don't be intimidated by the process you're about to embark on. Shopify is extremely user-friendly, and after taking the time to go through our detailed Shopify tutorial, you'll have a better understanding of how to use Shopify and customize it so that it fits your needs perfectly.

You can always reach out to your Webinopoly Shopify Experts if you have any questions about getting started, selling your products, or customizing your store's look and feel.

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