With the software subscription service known as Shopify, you can design and run an e-commerce store. Their platform allows you to manage, sell, and ship your products. Their user-friendly administration panel allows you to update your inventory and process orders.
Your subscription allows you to create a completely functional store online for $29 a month. You’ll be able to sell physical and digital items on your own e-commerce store.
Before committing to the platform, Shopify allows you to test it out with a 14-day trial.
Keep reading to learn how you can build a store online with Shopify.
This guide will go over how the platform can be used. You’ll be ready to launch your e-commerce store once you get a grasp of what this process entails.
So without further ado, let’s begin!
Shopify Tutorial – How to Get a Digital Store Set Up Online Using Shopify
It’s very simple to sign up for a subscription on Shopify. You can try the platform out for free with a 14-day trial.
First things first, you need to register with Shopify.
Shopify Sign Up
Go to www.shopify.com. Fill out the form you’re presented with to get the account creation process started.
Type in what you’re asked for, then click the link that reads “Start Free Trial.”
Your store will need a name. Shopify won’t let you choose one that somebody else has.
Once you get past this step, you will need to enter some more details, such as your name, email address, contact number, address, and country.
You’ll need to tell Shopify what kind of products you endeavor to sell on their platform. If you’re not ready to be too specific, Shopify gives you the option to experiment with a generic store. Go through the following navigation for this option: “Do You Have Products?” > “What Will You Sell” > “I’m Not Sure” > “I’m Just Playing around.”
When you’re done, click the link that reads, “I’m Done.”
Online Store Set-Up
After signing up, the admin screen of your store is what you’ll see next. From here, your store is ready to be customized. You can begin uploading your products, get payment systems set up, and establish shipping options.
Selecting a Layout or Theme
You can pick a theme for your store based on one of Shopify’s selections. All themes offered in the Shopify theme store come with designer support, giving you some peace of mind about the theme’s dependability.
A thorough modification list accompanies each theme, nullifying the need for any coding. Even more changes can be made with premium themes, but you don’t have to pay for one to have an e-commerce store that looks great. The next portion of this article will discuss these changes further.
If you wish to make theme changes on a wholesale scale, the sky’s the limit with what you can accomplish by way of CSS and HTML access. You don’t need any coding knowledge, either. “Shopify Experts” (design agencies from all over the world) can be hired to restructure the site as per your specifications.
Here’s what to do to single out suitable themes that accommodate your needs:
Browse Through Shopify’s Theme store
Go to themes.shopify.com. You can pick from 70 or so choices, a number of which are free to use.
Templatemonster.com sells Shopify themes, too. Themes can be sorted by feature, industry, age, popularity, and cost.
Read Reviews and Assess Functionality
After picking a theme, the sample image of it can be clicked. You’ll be shown more details, including the theme’s responsiveness, among other important aspects.
To see what other users think of a particular theme, read the reviews about it.
See What Your Store Will Look Like with the Preview Option
Click the link that says “View Demo” to see how the theme will accommodate your store. This link is shown under the green button marked “Preview Theme.”
If there is more than one theme style to choose from, go through each demo to see how your store will look per variation.
Download the Theme
After choosing a theme, the button in green can be clicked.
Confirm the installation of the theme you’ve selected.
Click the link that reads “Publish as my Shop’s Theme.”
Fortunately, if you have a change of heart about the theme that you’ve chosen, you can change it whenever you want (and how often you want).
After the installation of your theme has completed, Shopify will allow you to visit the Theme Manager. Click the link that reads, “Go to Your Theme Manager.”
All of the themes that you have ever installed for your store – including themes you have replaced or haven’t been published yet – are shown here.
Edit Your Settings
Most Shopify themes give you the ability to make basic modifications that alter the look of your online store. You can breathe easy knowing that your website will be distinct from other stores using the same theme.
On the menu’s left navigation, click “Themes” on the admin screen. At the top, you’ll see a box displaying your theme in real-time. A couple of buttons will be inside the corner box on the top right. The dots in the initial one let you make fundamental changes. Another button lets you duplicate your theme. You are highly encouraged to do so often so that you can revert back to a prior version if you’re unhappy with any changes.
After clicking the “Custom Theme” button, you’ll be brought to a section that allows you to regulate your store’s functionality. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the settings. Evaluate the features to determine what your website has the potential of doing.
You’ll be able to do the following with just about any Shopify theme you choose:
- select a font
- change color schemes
- decide the amount of items to be displayed per collection page
- upload slides to your home page’s carousel
- pair relevant items to product pages
- update your logo
You can repurpose elements on pages with a number of themes. For instance, some themes let you display your product pictures on the center, right, or left of a page. Feature social buttons (+1/PIN/TWEET/LIKE) can also be added, if you like.
Fill Your Store Up with Products
Select “Products” on the navigation bar’s left side. From there, click the blue button that says “Add a Product” in the center of the page. List information about each product here. Be sure to fill in fields that help you optimize your site for search engines (for instance, name, URL, and description). Add as much info as you can so that customers browsing your products get the information they’re looking for.
You can upload product images here, too. Pictures can be rearranged in the order of your choosing. A bad picture can cost you a sale – ensure the pictures you upload are of high quality. They should highlight any unique or special aspects. Your store should be as clutter-free as possible, so try to have consistent dimensions for the layout of your pictures. If you don’t, your collections will resemble one of the boards on Pinterest.com.
Once you fill in the essential fields, the “Save Product” link can be clicked. You’ll find it in the right corners on both the bottom and top.
Set Up Product Groups (a.k.a. “Collections”)
Products that are grouped based on common features are known as a collection. Customers like to browse them to see their options when looking for a specific product. Here are some examples of collection pages:
- seasonal products (holiday decorations and cards)
- products that are a certain color or size
- sale items
- variations of popular items (lampshades, shack rugs, sofa cushions)
- clothes based on gender or age (children, women, men)
Products can be displayed in all types of collection categories. For the most part, collections are displayed within the navigation bar and on the homepage. This makes it easy for customers to find what they are searching for without excessively clicking from one catalog page to another.
Automatic and Manual Collections
Once a collection has been added, you can choose the way products are added to them. You’ll have a couple of choices:
- automatically – establish specific conditions for products based on selected criteria (products will automatically be categorized in a certain collection based on the criteria chosen)
- manually – you can remove and add products as you see fit, one item at a time
You can accept payments from customers when they buy something from your online store using payment gateways. Take the commission and price rate into consideration when choosing a payment gateway. It is just as crucial to evaluate the features of each one – not every payment gateway operates the same way.
Keep the following in mind when browsing for potential payment gateways for your Shopify store:
After a payment is made, a number of gateways will hold back a flat fee or percentage (or in some situations, both) in exchange for your use of their service. Contrast transaction fees against each other (in relation to what you expect your sales numbers to be).
What credit cards does the payment gateway you’re interested in accept? Just about every one of them accepts MasterCard and Visa, and many of them take American Express, too. PayPal has seen a surge in popularity with regards to payments made online.
Check Out Off-Site
Several gateways will accept payment from pages on their servers. As such, a customer pays for an item on a form offered by the payment gateway – as opposed to directly on your checkout page. Once payment has been made, the customer is brought to a confirmation page on your website. This gives you slightly more regulation with the process of customer checkouts.
Shopify’s limitations can be circumvented – the only way a checkout page can be customized is with CSS.
You’ll be charged transaction fees charged by payment gateways – in addition to the transaction fees charged by Shopify. Shopify payments are available for customers in the USA and UK. Based on which plan you go with, these costs can be scaled back. You can expect to pay the following rates based on the plan choose:
- Unlimited 20p + 1.8%
- Professional 20p + 2.1%
- Basic 20p + 2.4%
Based on the amount of transactions made per month, these savings might be worth capitalizing on.
Preparations Before Your Online Store Goes “Live”
Some key information about your business will be asked of you before your e-commerce store is published. Shopify wants to know how you intend to pay tax and ship goods to customers.
All information about your business should be entered in the “Settings” section (bottom left area). You are encouraged to integrate Shopify with Google Analytics. Doing so will provide you with priceless data that you can use to build a following and grow your traffic.
- In the admin panel, navigate to the page titled “Products.”
- Click any product name.
- Scroll until you see “Variants.”
- If you are charging taxes and shipping fees, check off the boxes that indicate as such.
- Not everything warrants shipping fees or taxes (digital goods, for example). Alternatively, an online store selling T-shirts will probably charge both.
- If you intend to deliver products to customers, be sure to type in the weight of the product in the relevant field.
Sales could slip right through your fingers if you don’t provide your customers with shipping options, or if your rates are expensive. Customers can calculate shipping rates based on defined rules you establish in the admin panel’s shipping area.
To ensure that no sales are lost:
- On the “Settings” section of your store’s admin panel, select “Shipping Page.”
- Check to see if shipping is charged based on weight in the section labeled “Shipping Rates.” This can be adjusted based on the specifications of your products.
Order System Testing
To test the system out, a transaction can be simulated using the bogus gateway provided by Shopify.
How the bogus gateways used:
- Click “Settings” from the admin panel, then “Payment Settings” from the “Payments” section.
- If a gateway has a ready been enabled, it should be deactivated before you go any further. (Edit > Deactivate > Confirm Deactivation.)
- The drop-down menu should be opened by going to “Accept Credit Cards” > “Select a Credit Card Gateway.”
- Click “Bogus Gateway” after scrolling down to “Other” (for testing purposes).
- Click “Activate.” (If this isn’t the first time you use the bogus gateway, click “Reactivate.”)
- Act like a customer and order a product from your store. When you get to the checkout page, type in the following instead of using actual credit card info:
Trying out a real transaction with a legitimate payment gateway:
- The gateway you intend to test should be set up first.
- Buy something from your online store as if you are a customer. Go to the checkout process by using real credit card info.
- The order can be canceled right away so that your money is refunded and no transaction fees will be paid.
- Ensure the funds were processed via the payment gateway you chose.
Does This Testing Approach Cost Anything?
As long as the order is canceled and the payment is refunded right after the order is placed, this testing approach won’t cost you a penny.
If the billing cycle begins after a test order has been placed, but prior to the cancellation, your Shopify invoice will display transaction fees. You can proceed with cancellation once your bill is paid, but a refund will be issued to your account by way of a transaction credit. Transaction fees can be paid with such credits.
Connecting Your Domain Name to the Store
You have a couple of options to get a domain name for your Shopify store.
To begin with, you can purchase a domain directly from Shopify, which will automatically be connected to your online store. This is quite a timesaver, particularly if you are inexperienced about web hosting. You can expect to pay between $9 and $14 USD annually. Alternatively, a domain can be purchased from Go Daddy or similar domain sellers. They charge about $10 USD annually. The only negative aspect of buying a domain from a third-party is that the domain name’s DNS records will warrant manual re-direction (this sounds complicated, but it really isn’t).
If you’re having trouble thinking of a decent domain name for your Shopify store, have a look at our article entitled “Suggestions for Choosing a Quality Domain Name.”
Here’s what you need to do to connect a domain name purchased from a third party to your live Shopify store:
The domain should be added to your admin panel
Go to the “Settings” section of the admin panel on the navigation’s left side. After selecting “Domains,” click the link that reads “Add an Existing Domain,” then type in the name of your domain.
DNS record update
After logging into your domain registrar’s DNS panel, these changes should be made to your DNS records:
- the main “A” record or “@” should be replaced with this IP address – 188.8.131.52
- type in yourstorename.myshopify.com (your store’s Shopify link minus the HTTP, which can be seen in the domain settings area), or replace the “www CNAME” with it.
Disable storefront passwords
If you don’t, your site won’t be accessible to the public even after its published.
Set primary domain
After navigating to “Online Store” > “Domains,” select your primary domain via the drop-down menu (from the top):
Make sure that “Redirect All Traffic to This Domain” is checked. Traffic from those domains will now redirect to your main one. This is essential for SEO purposes.
Adding more domains
The first 2 steps can be repeated if you’d like to add more domain names. Each domain name will be redirected to the primary one. This can be changed at your discretion by modifying the “Set As Primary” option beside every domain name.
You can add as many domain names as you like, your SEO won’t be influenced by it, though.
Way to Go – You’ve completed the Shopify Tutorial! It’s Time to Make Your Shopify Store Go Live!