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Shopify Expert Agency Tips: The Ultimate Shopify Store Setup Checklist

This one goes out to all you people who are setting up your first Shopify store and don't know what to do. Sure, there are a ton of guides online that give you the basics. But if you want to go beyond that and do everything possible to tweak your store to perfection, then you're in the right place. We're going to go into extreme detail about how you can set up your Shopify store for success. Since this is quite an extensive list of things to do, we've broken it up into more manageable steps. Let's dive right into how our Shopify experts set up Shopify stores.

What Is Shopify and Why Should I Use It To Set Up My Store?

Shopify is one of the most widely used eCommerce platforms today. It's easy to use, and you have some great features at your disposal like a built-in blog for your store or a full checkout process that integrates with both Facebook and Google. Shopify is also secure, has good customer service, and it even has an app store where you can download plugins to add extra functionality to your store. Overall, it's a great eCommerce solution that will help you sell online without too much hassle. 

The Benefits of Using Shopify

When you're running a business online, you must use a solid platform that will make sense for your goals. The best part is that Shopify can do more than just sell your products; it can also be used to run a blog, manage social media accounts, and even take care of payments and shipping. It's one of the most complete eCommerce platforms around, so there's no wonder why people use it to create online stores.

Here's a quick list of some of the top reasons why people use Shopify:

Easy to Use

If you're new to online businesses, then Shopify is definitely a good starting point for you. There are tons of tutorials and videos on the Internet that will show you how to use it, and the interface is very intuitive. While building your store, you'll be able to focus on more important things like content creation and increasing traffic.

Shopify Mobile App

Shopify has a mobile app for both Android and iOS devices, so you can always check in with your store even when you're not home. You can keep track of all your orders and their statuses, as well as log in to your store with just a scan of your phone.

Merchants Have More Control

With Shopify, you get access to a dashboard where you can see your stats, interact with customers and vendors, and even check on orders (even if they've shipped). Your customers will have dedicated pages for contacting you, rating you or writing reviews about your products. You can also add a blog or a news section, and you can even sell digital products.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Shopify Platform is very good at collecting analytics. You'll always have access to info like how many people visit your store, which products they buy the most, where they are coming from, and what types of marketing campaigns are working the best. You may also be able to see where customers abandon their shopping carts and where you lose potential customers. With all this information, you'll be able to tweak your site so that you can increase your conversion rate.

Shopify Has Great Customer Support

If anything goes wrong with your store, support is always there to help you fix it. They have an excellent knowledge base filled with articles and tutorials, as well as a support community where users help each other. Shopify also offers phone, email, and chat support where you can contact an expert on hand who will guide you through the process.

Thousands of Plugins and Apps

Shopify makes it very easy for you to customize your store using third-party applications. You can pick from different selections such as sales tracking, shopping carts, and inventory management. With plugins, you can also add extra functionality such as a custom checkout process, funnels to increase engagement, automated email marketing tools and sales pages. One cool feature is that you can use Shopify to build your own apps using their app store.

Customizable Themes

You'll be able to choose from a variety of different themes when you start your store. Shopify also has a marketplace where you can get even more themes if you need more options. There are simple, clean themes for a minimalist look, as well as beautiful themes with full-screen backgrounds and animations. All the templates are fully responsive, so they'll look great on any screen size or device.

Step-by-Step Checklist for Setting up a Shopify Store

Given Shopify's robust feature set, it only makes sense that you'd have to follow a detailed guide on how to set up your store. But that's not the case here. We've compiled some easy-to-follow instructions that will help you get the most out of Shopify without any hassle. Let's go through each step.

#1: Create an Account

To get started, you'll have to create a Shopify account. This is mandatory if you want to use the platform. If you want to get the most out of Shopify's features, then we recommend choosing the Shopify Plus plan. However, if you want to just dip your toes first, then you'd do well with the basic plan.

Keep in mind that Shopify does offer a 14-day free trial so you may want to take advantage of that before making a payment. Creating an account is fairly simple, all you need to do is select your plan, input your information and you're good to go.

When it comes to creating an account, you should keep in mind that most of the information you provide can be changed later on. However, we recommend just using the correct information from the beginning to minimize any mistakes later on.

#2: Connect Your Domain

Next, you'll have to connect your domain to Shopify. This is quick and easy and only requires that you enter the name of your website. Shopify will automatically create the correct CNAME records for you, making it possible for people visiting your site to see it appear properly. This can be done through your domain provider or through Shopify's own dashboard.

To connect your domain, you need to go to the sidebar menu, click on Sales Channels, and then toggle down to Domain. From there, you'll have to choose from one of two options:

  • Connect an existing domain
  • Buy a new domain

Keep in mind that connecting an existing domain may be more complicated than buying one from Shopify's servers. However, it's a good option if you want to host your website on a different platform like GoDaddy.

#3: Set Up Your Shipping Rates

Click on Settings > Shipping > Manage Rates to set up your shipping fees. Shopify makes it very easy to customize your shipping offers. From weight-based rates to revenue-based rates, you can set your prices to fit your needs.

You can also easily change your order total, delivery information, and the number of items in your order. We've broken down some of the more important settings below:

  • Box weight/dimensions - Depending on the kind of shipping offer you have in-store, you'll want to specify how big or heavy your packing material is. This is added to your customer's final order weight calculation to make the rate more accurate.
  • Shipping Zones - Shipping zones are an easy way to define different shipping rates for different regions. For example, if you're a UK-based seller, you could create a shipping zone for the UK and another one for Europe. You could then use those zones to set appropriate rates for your customers depending on where they are located.
  • Free Shipping - For each shipping category you create, you can also add an automatic free shipping rate. For example, you could specify that your customers get free shipping once they reach a specific order value.
  • Carrier App - Shopify also has a handy integration where you can set shipping rates based on your courier's app. For example, if you're using Shipstation to send packages, you could use this feature to automatically calculate rates based on the weight of your package.

Setting up shipping rates is one of the most important things that you'll want to do before you sell any items. It will take a while to figure out how high or low your necessary charge is, but it's well worth it if you want customers to buy from you.

#4: Choose a Theme

Your Shopify store theme is what gives the whole site a unique look and feel. Shopify has thousands of different themes for you to choose from. You can find one that matches the type of brand you want to build, or you can play around with different thematic styles until you find one that fits what you need.

Initially, Shopify suggests some pre-made themes for your store, but they have plenty of other options if these don't fit your needs. So don't be afraid to choose a creative theme or one that's not quite so basic.

You'll have a bunch of different options when it comes to choosing your theme. You can choose from shopping themes, personalization themes, and several different business-oriented themes. These are all variations on the same theme, but they all have a different look with more features.

Each theme has its own set of features, but they're similar to other themes. As a general rule, the more features your theme offers, the better it is. Some of the main features you should take into consideration include:

  • Customizable design - The most important thing to consider when choosing a theme is how much customization it offers. This way you can change the colors, fonts and layout without having to spend any extra money on new templates.
  • Homepage layout - Your homepage is the most important part of your site, so it's important to choose a theme that looks good there. The layout determines how many products and categories you can have on the page as well as how much information you can fit into it.
  • Page styles - Another useful feature when choosing a theme is the page styles. You can choose from different page templates, each with its own color palette, which can help you create unique layouts for your different pages.

If you're having trouble finding a theme that fits your needs, it may be worth looking into a Shopify expert agency to lend you a helping hand. The experts at Webinopoly have years of experience dealing with industry-topping clients to help bring your vision to life. One of the best things about working with us is that we're committed to making sure you're happy about the final product.

As such, we offer unlimited revisions and changes. We literally don't stop until you're 100% satisfied with the final outcome.

#5: Create Your Standard Pages

There are several pages that every website and online store needs. Now that you've picked a theme, it's time to work on creating these pages to maximize your Shopify store's full potential. Here are the pages you need to prioritize:

  • Privacy Policy and Terms of Service - You should always have a privacy policy document that explains how you use your website and how your customers can contact you. You can also create a terms of service document to explain exactly what you're willing to do.
  • Return and Shipping Policy - You should set up a return and shipping policy document to explain what your terms are for using the site. You can also make it clear that if a customer receives an item that's not in perfect condition, they can get a full refund within 30 days of purchase.
  • About Page - The About page is an important way to tell visitors about the company behind your website. This is something that visitors are likely to read more often than any other page on your site, so it's important to get it right from the start.
  • Contact Page - The contact page is another important part of your website. It's here where you can tell people how they can get in touch with you, whether it be through phone or email. Customers are unlikely to use the contact page often, but it's still a good idea to make it easy for them to do so.
  • FAQs - Your FAQs are designed to help people with any issues about your products and services. You should start your questions with "How," like "How do I change my password?" so that when people search for it online, they'll find your website the quickest.
  • Collections - Collections are pages dedicated to a specific product group. This makes your site much easier to navigate. For example, if you have a bunch of T-shirts, you can create a link to this collection at the top of your homepage so that people can see all the products in one place.
  • Store Policies - Last but not least, it's important to let visitors know what you stand for as a business by creating your store policies. As long as you stick to these principles and don't violate them too often, it will improve customer trust in your brand.
  • Reviews Page - Reviews are one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. You can show off your products, invite customers to post feedback, and showcase testimonials from previous customers. This is a great way to convince people to buy from you.
  • Order Tracking Page - You should create a page to keep track of orders that could be late on delivery. Even if you're doing everything you can to get them out right away, there's always the chance that the postal service might delay an order. This is where having a tracking number can prove helpful.
  • Checkout Page - The checkout page is often one of the most complex parts of your store. You have to consider the type and number of products, shipping methods and taxes you cover. You must design a very good checkout page so that customers will have no problem checking out.

#6: Design Your Shopify Store

Now it's time to get to work on designing your store. The best way to jumpstart this process is by creating an attractive, professional-looking landing page. There are lots of different ways you can go about doing this and with over 150 themes on Shopify, there is certainly an option for everyone.

If you've already picked out a theme, we recommend using the demo feature that comes with it so that you can see how the end result will look in real-time. Other great options include using one of the thousand templates that come with a theme or hiring a designer with Shopify expertise to create your website. Most designers can do this within two weeks, so you're not likely to wait long for it.

Just keep in mind that you don't want to go overboard. The goal is to make your customers feel comfortable and not overwhelm them with too much information about your brand. This typically means having around five products on your homepage, one main call-to-action, and a short bio.

You also want to make sure your call-to-action stands out by being more than just a button with a word on it. Use a button that pops and stands out so that people won't ignore it.

Once you have your homepage created, you'll want to start working on the rest of the pages for your store. This includes making sure each has a distinct style and focus. For example, you can have one page dedicated to company information, another that focuses on products, and one for customer feedback.

Another important thing to remember is that you want to give people all the information they need to get started with building an order. If customers have questions, you'll want to address them at this time. Add FAQs, a video explainer, and even a FAQ page if necessary.

This portion of the process can likely take a while depending on how your website is designed.

#7: Add a Favicon

You should start thinking about how your customers will find you. You want to make sure you have a good URL. Although you can use your domains for both the Shopify and Shopify Direct parts of your store, it's good practice to keep them separate.

This is where creating a favicon can be very useful. A favicon is an image that shows up in the browser when someone goes to your website. In fact, it's what tells users that this is a website rather than something else like an app or email link.

You must get the right visual branding. That's why it's good to work with a designer who will be able to create your favicon for you.

#8: Integrate Your Analytics Tool

Your analytics tool is going to be one of the first things people will use to find your store and get better insight into its performance. There are a lot of options for this, but we recommend using Google Analytics because it's free.

Once you have an account with Google Analytics, you can connect Shopify to it. This will give you access to your analytics data as well as the ability to use Google's Tag Manager plugin, which will allow you to share your affiliate links with your customers using a single URL.

Another important thing is that this integration is going to help integrate your website and store into the key marketing channels that let you grow your business. You must plan this out in advance so that there aren't any surprises down the road.

#9: Set Up Your Taxes

So you've finally created your store, put up the product pages and done all the other things on this list. But you haven't gotten your products listed yet, which means there's still one important step—registering with Shopify and setting up your taxes.

This is a critical thing to do because not only will it make it easier for customers to order from you, but it will also help you get your product data listed on International Advisory. You don't want to go through the effort of setting up your Shopify store only to find out that you can't get your products listed on International Advisory.

One of the best ways to do this is by creating a Shopify order page that lets customers fill out the tax information for their country. On International Advisory several services will handle this for you once you comply with their tax regulations.

#10: Add a Payment Provider

You're not going to be able to sell your product on International Advisory until you have a payment provider and merchant account. The vast majority of people use PayPal, but there are others out there that use Stripe and Braintree, which allows you to charge credit cards directly on your website and doesn't cost a penny.

You won't be able to register with PayPal until after you finish adding all the other digital products in your store and your Backerkit page is complete. If you want to use PayPal, the process to set up your shop is straightforward. You don't need to enter any of your personal information and can use an email address from a different country from where you are selling.

#11: Place a Test Order

You've set up your store and added all the products you need for it, now is the time to try out your store and make sure everything is working. This will help you catch any mistakes or problems before adding your products for sale.

Once you have a test order, be sure to test out International Advisory as well. This will make sure that the shipping prices are correct and that you have the right product categories in place.

This is also a great time to set up the add-ons that you want to offer. You can easily do this through Backerkit because all of your information is from your shop's dashboard, so you won't need to enter it all again.

#12: Remove the "Powered by Shopify" Wording

Last but not the least, you should remove the "Powered by Shopify" wording from your site. This step is optional. However, it can be an eyesore if you're picky about your web design. Keep in mind that this option is only available if you're using the Shopify theme to help you create your website.

You don't need to be a design expert to do this. In fact, all you need to do is head to Online Store -> Themes -> Current Theme -> Customize -> Edit Language

Once there, type "powered" into the search bar to make it easier to find. Remove the text underneath Powered by Shopify and Powered by Shopify HTML. Click Save, and you're all done!

The Takeaway

Setting up your Shopify store is a lengthy process that requires a lot of time and effort. However, once you get it set up, your shop will be ready to go live and make money.

Some of you may see this process as too much work, which is understandable in a way because a lot of it can seem very confusing at first. The good news is that there are countless resources out there to help you do all of the steps above. But if you want to make the process much easier and faster, then you should consider hiring someone to do it for you!

Our experts at Webinopoly are trained to make the process easy for you. We use a repeatable, streamlined process that involves taking care of all your technical needs so you can focus on what you do best – creating products and building your business. If you want to learn more about how we can help you with your Shopify store, check out our Shopify Consulting service here!

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