Starting your ecommerce journey
Often when people are brand new to ecommerce they worry about asking "stupid" questions, however when you're first starting their are no stupid questions. You don't know what you don't know. This article will aim to answer some of those questions you have and get you up and running with your ecommerce store in record time. Just follow to below steps to get your Shopify store setup.
1.) Why Shopify?
Shopify is market leading ecommerce platform that enables merchants to got from first sale to full scale. The platform has everything you need to set up your online store, start online and with POS (Point of Sale), help market your products, blog about your brand and can all bbe managed from Shopifys admin.
I've worked in ecommerce for over 5 years and I can confidently say that Shopify is a brilliant platform for all levels of mecharts. If you're just starting out or looking to scale up, Shopify can help you, so know that you'll be in safe hands when you start your ecommerce journey and that you won't need to start looking for a new platform when you scale up. It doesn't matter if you're making £100 a day or £100,000, Shopify can handle it.
Beautiful themes that are responsive and customizable
No design skills needed. You have complete control over the look and feel of your website, from its layout, to content and colors. If you're looking for some guidence on some of the best Shopify themes to get your online store started you can always check out this article.
Pricing as low as $29/month
Whether you sell online, on social media, in store, or out of the boot of your car, Shopify has you covered. Start selling anywhere for just $29/month.
Trusted by over 800,000 businesses worldwide
Shopify handles everything from marketing and payments, to secure checkout and shipping.
2.) Sign up to Shopify
Let's get started and sign up to Shopify by clicking here for your 14 day free Trial. The page should look something like the below image, however Shopify is always making updates and things may change.
You'll be asked to give you store a name, this needs to be unique or Shopify will ask you to choose something different.
Shopify will now ask you for some more details to get you completely set up. You'll need to including your name, address, country and a contact number.
Shopify will now ask you what products you want to sell. If you're not sure yet don't worry, you can select ‘I’m just playing around’ in the ‘Do you have products?’ dropdown, and you'll also need to select ‘I’m not sure’ in the ‘What will you sell?’ section.
Once you've complete the process, click ‘I’m done’. Now you're ready to start choose a theme.
3.) Start Setting Up Your Online Shop
Once you've completed the sign up process you'll be directed to your Shopify store admin screen. Now you are ready to start customising your store, choosing a theme, uploading products and setting up taxes, payments and shipping.
Find a theme
Finiding the perfect theme can be a daunting task or an excited one, depends how you look at it – I'd suggest enjoying this process. Shopify help to make this process clear and simple and they have more than 100 design templates, or ‘themes’ to customise. These are just a starting point though, almost all Shopify approved themes will let you tweak or amend the layouts, colours and images as you go through. With themes that support Shopify sections you'll be able to configure the homepage to the layout you want. You be able to drag and drop sections and add/remove sections to create the layout works for you.
You can view all the Shopify theme at this link. You can filter your selection by paid or free, industry or by features. You can also sort themes by popularity, price, and most recent.
Preview the theme
Once you've found a theme that you like click on the theme's thumbnail sample image and you be taken to the more info page about that theme. All the theme's normally have different preset styles that you can preview - to check these out click options under '3 STYLES INCLUDED' and it will update the mini theme preview.
To preview the whole theme, simply click the 'View Demo' button and this will allow you to see how the whole shop will function. In the main navigation, you also have the option to change the preview from 'Desktop' to 'Mobile' and change the theme style by selecting the 'Theme Style' dropdown. Also, there is no shame in installing a free theme they are all a great starting point. I'm going to be using Boundless for this example.
Check the functionality, reviews and styles
Before purchasing or installing a theme, please make sure that you check the reviews and functionality. All of the theme's are Shopify approved and therefore you should run into any issues but better safe than sorry. So be sure to scroll down to read some reviews about what other e-tailers using the theme think of it and be sure to check the theme has all the functionality you require. However, if you really like the look of a theme but it's missing some functionality that you store needs you can always reach out to a Shopify developer (like myself) to make some updates as and when required.
Install a theme
After you had a little search and found the theme you like, it's time to add it to your store. On the theme overview page click that blue button 'Add theme'. Don’t worry if you’re not 100% sure it’s the right theme for you. You can always change your mind later.
Once Shopify has added this to you store you'll be directed to you Shopify admin > Themes page. Your theme manager shows published themes (the one you installed or activated most recently) and more themes below (previously installed themes). To get the theme you just added live, you'll want to got to the 'More themes' section > Find the theme you just installed > Click 'Actions' > Then click 'Publish' from the dropdown. A popup should appear and request confirmation that you want to publish this them.
Updating your theme
After the theme has been installed and set live, you can now start tweaking and tailoring the theme to your shops requirements. To start editing, go to the live theme and click 'Customize'.
🎉 Congratulations 🎉 You're theme is set and looking good and matching your brand! Time to start adding products.
4.) Add products
In your Shopify admin go to product and then click on “Add products”. From here you can to add all your stores products. You can setup everything from here Title, description, images, pricing – everything can be added here. Add as as many details as possible and present them in a way that is easy and quick to understand. Check everything in the theme preview to make sure everything looks good. Also, make sure to only use high quality images that you have the license for to use commercially.
5.) Updating store preferences
Within your store admin, go to the Settings > Shipping page. In the “Shipping rates” section, see if you have set a weight-based shipping rate and adjust it according to your product’s specifications. 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.
Real Artists Ship
Also, make sure to enter the product’s weight in the appropriate field. This can be found when settings up a product in the admin
Taxes are an important part of any business and if you don't know what the tax rules are in you country, I'd advise you seek an accountant advice in setting this up. Don't mess with the tax man – he will catch you and you'll get less for murder.
To edit the tax rules Settings in your Shopify admin and then to Taxes from here you'll be able to set up all you tax rules for different territories. Some stores won’t need to charge taxes on products like digital goods. On the other hand, a T-shirt store will likely need to.
This is a stress free process, and you don’t have to come up with that yourself. Shopify offers a handy tool to create a template for it. Head back to “Settings” and “Checkout”. Then, scroll all the way down to “Refund, privacy, and TOS statements”. Click on “Generate sample” in each section and save.
Also, copy and paste this infomation and then create new pages in your store with all these details. This guarantees that your customers don’t only see them when they buy something and check out, but can access them anytime.
Now that you've got everything set up and configured! You are now ready to launch your Shopify store 🚀🚀🚀
If you're not 100% sure about how you configured the shop, that's noraml. Over the next couple of you I expect you'll contiune to customise everything. 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.
6.) Add a domain
The final step to getting your site live is adding your domain name. You have two choices.
Firstly, the easiest way is to buy a domain from Shopify and it will be added to your store automatically. Keeping everything with Shopify is the easist way especially if you're not used to editing DNS settings. Click here for your Shopify domain name. These domains typically cost $9-$14 USD per year.
Your second option is to purchase a domain from a third party such as 123-Reg. Be aware that you'll need to redirect the DNS records yourself which can seem daunting at first but it's quite simple.
Below is a quick guide to updating your DNS settings to so you can put your new Shopify store live on a third party domain name.
Add the new domain in Shopify
In the Shopify admin, on the left navigation go to Settings and then Domains and add your domain name using the ‘Add an existing domain’ button.
Update DNS records
Login to your domain registrar and make the following changes to the DNS records:
- Replace the @ or main A record with the following IP address: 18.104.22.168
- Add or replace the www CNAME with storename.myshopify.com (i.e. your store Shopify link without the HTTP, which you can see on the domains settings page)
Remove any storefront passwords
Don't let all that hard work go to waste. If you don't remove the storefront password, no one will be able to access your site even when it’s live.
Set as primary if relevant
Whilst in Settings > Domains, you can choose your main domain by using the drop-down at the top of the screen. Don't forget to also check the ‘Redirect all traffic to this domain’. This means that traffic to all other domains will be directed to your primary domain. This is a crucial step for good SEO.
For more details on using a third-party domain Shopify have an in-depth manual that you can read here.
And it's as simple as that. All you need to do is sign up for your 14 day free Trial and run through some modifications to the theme settings and general settings and then everything is live and launched 🎉🚀However, if you still have some hesitations about getting this set up, contact me and I'd be happy to discuss starting a project with you.