The step-by-step guide for beginners: How to set up a Shopify store

The step-by-step guide for beginners:
How to set up a Shopify store

If you want to start selling your products online then there are few better places to start than Shopify. Business-owners and potential sellers can sign up for a free 14-day trial at Shopify but will need to choose a monthly plan before they can go ahead and get started. At the end of the free trial, the store that you’ve created will be paused and you’ll need to proceed with a paid plan.

Table of Contents

Why Pick Shopify?

Shopify is one of the largest ecommerce websites with over 20% market share. It’s the second biggest ecommerce platform in the world and has an extremely low bar of entry for people who are just starting out. The ease of use combined with the ability to add apps and have everything in one neat little bundle is an incredibly attractive offer for many people looking to start out.
Why Pick Shopify?
As recently as 2019, Shopify announced that it had a million merchants worldwide on its platform with over 5,300 businesses on its newer service, Shopify Plus. That’s nothing to be ashamed of though since Shopify Plus is the large enterprise service for businesses but can handle much more than a regular Shopify plan, at over 10,000 transactions per minute!
That’s a problem for the future you thought. When your business started getting to that size, then you can make the quick switch from Shopify to Shopify Plus. With over $135 billion on sales and 218 million buyers on the platform last year alone, Shopify is a giant, and if you’re in the ecommerce business, it should be an easy option for you to choose.
One cannot really overstate the value of how important the apps are when using Shopify because the site itself has an abundance of apps that owners can use on a daily basis. Sure, some of these apps might cost you money monthly, but if you’re just starting out your business, many of the best apps have got trials in place where people can give them a go for a month to see if they work. In doing so, you’ll be able to give yourself and your business a boost in the ecommerce world by understanding a little more about marketing, SEO, and experiencing more advanced tactics like cross-channel selling.

The Shopify Plans

As we’ve already mentioned, there’s Shopify, Shopify Lite, and Shopify Plus. If you’re just starting out, you’ll likely need a standard Shopify plan, one that you can get and pay for after your free trial has ended. The plans start at as little as $29 a month for all the basics of starting a new business. If you already have a site and would like to add products to any website or blog that you already own, you can use Shopify Lite that starts at just $9 per month.
The Shopify Plans
Shopify offers three distinct plans, there’s Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. All three of these allow you to have an online store, let you have social selling across different social media platforms and Amazon, and have fast and reliable checkout. What’s even more generous is that no matter what plan you’re on, you can have unlimited products on each of the services, offer coupons and discounts with all of them, and still use integrated marketing platforms like Google and Facebook.
Where you start seeing the differences in price is down to the reporting, the staff accounts, and the payment rates. Here’s a short table to show some of the more interesting features.
The Shopify Plans

A Step by Step Guide – How to Set Up Shopify

Setting up a store is one of the fundamental building blocks that you’ll need to do when starting your Shopify store. It’s by far the most important part, but the beauty of it is that it’s an ever-evolving part of building your business on Shopify.
Here’s our complete step-by-step guide for beginners on how to set up your own Shopify store. Let’s get started!

Starting the Trial

Start the process by signing up. Create an account and claim your free trial of Shopify. You’ll have a 14-day free trial which should give you plenty of time to set up your own store and launch it. One thing to remember while you’re building your store is that you can add so much more information at a later date, you don’t need to have everything in mind or on paper right now. It’s an evolving process.
Starting the Trial
One of the first things you’ll need is a store name which will then become the default URL that you will use to access it. While you won’t be able to change the initial store name, you will be able to customize the domain name at a later date. So, if you decide to use X-Store, your URL might be something like xstore.myshopify.com
Starting the Trial
Ensure that you have your business name, your business idea, preferably a logo, and then the products that you want to sell, along with photos of them. Make sure that you put some thought into the business name because you’ll likely want to claim some of the social media names along with it. The logo itself can be created by you, or you could find a third-party person to provide that for you. Check out something like Fiverr!
Whatever goods you’re selling, whether they are physical or digital, ensure that you have information about them, as well as photos of them to show people that you mean business!

Adding Products

What you’re going to need to do next is to add your products to your store. The Shopify back-end is pretty simple and straight forward, and you’ll see there’s a Title and a Description. Try to make sure that every detail you’re putting in for your products is as accurate as possible. If you’re selling a hat, make sure people know it’s a hat. Don’t put any fancy names to it, don’t allude to it being some kind of “head covering”, call a hat a hat! The description is where you can add value to your product by describing it. After you add your products, start talking about them, what your customers will feel or experience, and add in a few details about how the product is made, where it’s from, what benefits it has, and more. Try to be direct and straight forward, giving actual information to your customers. There’s no need to blow smoke here.
Adding Products
Using the same hat analogy, what would you want to read about a hat? Does it have multiple types, brands, or colors? Does a single size fit all? Is there a return policy? Make sure that the information is easy to read, and easy to scan, but most of all, answers as many questions as you can think of that are pertinent to the product.
After you’ve mastered this, you can then upload a picture of the item. Feel free to add as many photos as you want to showcase the item from different angles. You can also add a GIF or a video if you are so inclined. After that information is said and done, set the price of the item that customers will pay. You can also put in the cost per item which will help you with reports at a later stage, but this is not a mandatory field. You’ll also need to put in some inventory information such as SKU codes, bar codes, quantities, shipping weights, and variants.
The next important thing is the search engine information where you’ll need to put a title and description. This will be the information that a search engine will display at a glance when someone searches directly for your product. Once you’ve done all of this, then your product is ready to go!

Creating Pages

The most important pages that any shop owner will need for their stores are pages that give information about you or your store, and contact information for it. Make sure you have a Contact page, with a way to contact you as well as an FAQ for some questions that you know people are going to ask. Have an About Us page where you can talk about your products and your company. It’s a nice, personal way to connect with your customers and tell them what you’re all about.
Policy pages are also recommended but are pretty difficult to do, but Shopify will allow you to generate templates that you can then customize based on your business. These types of policies pages should cover things like Returns, Privacy, Terms of Service, and Shipping.

Picking the Shopify Theme and Customising the Store

You’ve got your store name, your products, and a few pages, now you need to start to spice things up with a Shopify theme. In Shopify, you’ll find free and paid themes that have different styles, colors, and features. Some of them work for large stores, some for smaller stores, but make sure you select one that you personally enjoy and you think will give your store a little bit of an edge over the competition. If you have a large catalog of products, make sure that the theme you choose can reflect that. It’s important to get the features and basics correct because colors and fonts can be changed at a later time, so you’re just shopping for a theme that can be customized to give you the exact shop you want.
Picking the Shopify Theme and Customising the Store
Picking the Shopify Theme and Customising the Store
Picking the Shopify Theme and Customising the Store
Picking the Shopify Theme and Customising the Store

From the back-end, you’ll then be able to design your homepage, whether you want big images across the front of it, more text, less text, place for discussion boards, whatever you feel like adding. We always suggest that those starting out a new shop point directly to what your business is, how it works, and how they can buy from you. You only have 8 seconds to convince someone to make an action on your site before they start looking elsewhere, so make use of it!

There’s no need to make it perfect because it can be chopped and changed at a later date. You’ll soon pick up other ideas from other shops too, and that’s fine. You can incorporate them whenever you like. Menus are another important aspect because you want to make it easy for new users to come to your site and be able to navigate around the website without any problems. Answer the questions that you would ask if you were visiting the site yourself, then add those menu options into the navigation field.
Here you can also set up the different kinds of colors that you want to use, along with other theme settings and fonts. Use something that appeals to you (don’t use Comic Sans) and try to work on the kinds of typography that will cater to your brand. Work on the right colors that you want people to associate with your brand, and try to keep it simple, yet elegant.
Make sure that you customize your checkout after this. You’ll need to do things like add in your logo to give it your own feel, and then customize how you want your checkout to work. Again, try to pretend you’re the customer and find the right balance between the information you need to see and not having to go through too many processes. You can ask customers to make an account at the checkout screen which can be really useful but doing something like this might make a customer stop and abandon the cart, and that’s not what you want!
customize your checkout
Try to make it easy for your customers to buy your products and you’ll likely see more sales.

Customise Shipping and Taxes

Onto the more difficult sections of your shop, shipping and taxes are two complex issues that need to be dealt with properly. With shipping, you’ll need to ensure that your products are weighted and packed correctly, there are costs involved that are covered, and the destinations that the products ship to are measured up and accounted for. Choosing what shipping rates to offer your customers is an important part of setting up your business.
Customise Shipping and Taxes
Free shipping as a shop can be a really useful tool to make life easier for you. Of course, if this is something you’re choosing to do, make sure the shipping cost is then added to the price of your goods. Domestic shipping is obviously always going to be cheaper, and while international shipping is possible, it’s going to get pricey if you’re shipping something relatively small.
You can also offer shipping rates that are calculated directly by various shipping carriers. But if you add calculated rates to your checkout, then you should make sure the rates that the shipping carrier provides back to your store are accurate.
If you’re using Shopify Payments, you aren’t charged transaction fees on orders for stores located in most countries. Also, transaction fees don’t apply for manual payment methods.
Taxes are another difficult thing to master when running your own shop and while Shopify does do its best to help you handle the tax calculations automatically, getting a professional involved can never hurt you. Set up your tax region in your Taxes section and you’ll likely be able to get by without any problems. If your business does take off and start doing really well, there’s a lot of incentive to have someone hired to do your taxes just to make sure that everything is appropriately covered.

Using Shopify Payments

Through the payments section, owners will be able to show customers that they support all types of payment options. Most options are supported in many different countries, but some payment methods will require a little extra for transactional fees. There are over 100 different payment providers that store owners can choose from to add to their store. The more you have, the better for your customers, but there’s no need to get carried away by adding all of them.
Perhaps one of the easiest is to just use PayPal as a payment option and once that has been done, anyone who wants to head over to your store and make a purchase can do so in whatever currency they’d like to.

Preparing for Launch

With all of the basics covered, it’s almost time to get things moving and start selling your products. In Shopify, there’s password protection that the owner will use to edit things on the back-end, but once this is removed, then the store is marked as open. Now, from this point in time, you probably could open your store and start selling, but there are a few more things that you could do to make incremental improvements.
You can still add a custom domain for your store. You can actually do this through Shopify or go for one from a domain seller, either is fine, but going through Shopify is far easier. You can then also move onto the marketing side of things by adding social network channels and other sales avenues such as a Facebook Shop, Amazon, or eBay. You can also add a buy button using one of the many apps through Shopify.
Shopify comes built-in with automated emails that get sent out to customers when they place orders. Owners can move in there and start changing them around, customizing them, and giving them a bit more personality. We’d also advise owners to set up analytics so that they can see where people are clicking, how they are reacting, and monitoring the sales and traffic. Your SEO can then be done too, something that’s pretty straight forward, but can be made far easier with apps. Make sure that you’re covering search terminology for your products.

Launching the Store

Boom! We did it! Remove the password page and open your business. That’s everything that you needed to do to get your store up and running. It will take time to be in a state where you’re completely happy with it and it’ll be a constant process to work on it, change things, and adapt depending on how your sales are going and how your customers are reacting.
Remember, getting customer feedback is really important, so if you can, try to take note of what people say and if you get enough buzz on a particular issue, then make some changes for customers in order to make their lives easier.

Using Apps on Shopify

All of the information that we’ve mentioned above will give you a basic Shopify store that you can use and run as a business. It’s extremely basic and doesn’t use a lot of the true power that unlocks Shopify.
Integrating a few of the 1,000s of free third-party tools across the Shopify store will do wonders for your business because as we’ve covered in other articles before, having the right kinds of apps on your store can make huge increases in sales and traffic.
Using Apps on Shopify
What you’ll want to do is imagine what else your store could benefit from when browsing through some of the best Shopify apps. Increase your search engine optimization by having an on-board app that can tell you what people are searching for in your business is extremely helpful and will allow you to cater to the different kinds of searches people are doing. In the same way, those that are browsing around and looking at your site spot some kind of trust authentication, it’ll give them far more confidence in your business, pushing them to buy a product rather than moving on to the nearest competitor.
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