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The ins and outs of Shopify can be daunting to a first-timer. From choosing the right theme to the SKUs and everything in between, it’s helpful to have a starting point. So–take a deep breath, and we’ll dive into the basics of setting up your Shopify store.
Whether you’re selling pet toys or candles, it’s important to figure out where you fit into the wide world of Shopify. If you’re passionate about creating a successful store but not quite sure where to start or what to sell, Shopify offers a free ebook packed with business ideas spanning across industries.
Regardless of the plan you choose, Shopify starts you off with a 14-day free trial, which is plenty of time to get your store set up so you can start selling. There are four tiers of plans to choose from that satisfy everyone from beginner to seasoned veteran. A quick breakdown:
At $29/month, this is the perfect starter plan if you’re a new business. Everything you need to list, sell, and ship products is included. It includes basic reporting, two account logins, and four inventory locations. You might consider starting here as you get a feel for the platform and gather data on how shoppers interact with your store.
Shopify includes all of the Basic Shopify features along with more account logins (five), inventory locations (five), professional reporting, and lower transaction fees. It remains pretty affordable at $79/month. If you have a larger staff or aren’t totally new to Shopify, this could be the perfect launchpad.
Advanced Shopify boasts the lowest transaction fees, 15 staff accounts, eight inventory locations, and customized report building. This plan will far and away give you the most insights and autonomy, but comes in a bit pricier at $299/month.
The primo of the options, Shopify Plus starts at $2000/month and requires a minimum of a year commitment. We wouldn’t recommend this plan if you’re just getting started.
Something to keep in mind–Shopify offers a hefty yearly discount of 50% off, which is absolutely worth it if you plan to stick with the platform. You can check out more information on pricing and comparisons here.
You’ve found your niche and picked your plan, now the only thing left to do is create your account!
Once you are on the Shopify site, click “Start Free Trial”
You’ll be taken through a series of questions to best understand your selling goals and needs. This is where you can clarify if you're a beginner, where you aim to sell, and if you want to dropship, which means utilizing a third party supplier to ship to customers so you don’t have to store inventory.
Next, you’ll name your store. This will show up as your “.myshopify.com” URL. You can decide to change your customer-facing domain later, so don’t sweat it if you don’t love this name at the moment. If you aren’t quite ready to decide on a name, you can skip this step for now.
Lastly, you’ll select the country in which your business is located, then create your login. You can choose from a variety of login options.
Congratulations! You’ve officially created your store.
Your theme is essentially the template for your store. It will determine the look, feel, and layout of the site. There are tons of themes, both free and paid, that you can choose from.
Certain themes may work better for what you’re specifically selling. You can search by industry to get a feel for layouts to best suit your needs.
Additionally, you can browse features available with the theme to ensure they match your goals.
You can also see live examples of stores that are currently using themes to help make a decision.
Whether themes are free or paid, Shopify offers free trials of themes so you can see what works best for you.
Once you’ve decided on your theme, you can spend time further customizing the look of the site to meet your preferences.
To establish legitimacy and credibility with shoppers, you can create a custom domain. There are several ways to do this:
You can purchase a domain directly from Shopify by going to Settings > Domains > Buy New Domain. Enter your store name to see what’s available. If you enter a name that’s already taken, variations of what you input will be suggested. Prices will vary based on the extension at the end of the URL.
A third party provider such as GoDaddy is another way to purchase a domain. If you’re planning to stay on Shopify, it’s easiest to purchase directly through your account.
If you already have a domain you’d like to transfer to your new Shopify store, you’ll choose “Connect Existing Domain” to get the process started.
It’s time to fill your store with products! There are a couple of ways to go about adding these to your store.
Click “Add your products” to start filling out the details of an item. You can set the title, description, image, price, SKU and shipping details from here. Once you’ve finished filling out the product details, you can list the product as “Active” and click “Save.”
To save time, you can download a sample CSV file from Shopify and input all product information. This will bulk import all of your products so you don’t have to enter them individually.
Next, you can set up how you’ll accept payments. There are several payment options you can offer shoppers who patron your store:
Shopify Payments is the simplest way to accept payments for your Shopify store because it eliminates the need for a third party provider and sets you up with all major payment providers upon enrolling. You’ll need to enter personal business and account information to complete the payment set up.
Outside of Shopify Payments, you have the ability to add PayPal or Amazon Pay as an accepted form of payment. Additionally, there is an option to add alternative payment methods that integrate with Shopify as well as manual payment methods (payments that are made outside of your Shopify store such as Cash on Delivery).
We covered a lot of ground, and in some ways, we just scratched the surface. It’s important to remember the process of setting up and running a Shopify store is a marathon, not a sprint. When you launch, your store might not be picture perfect, and that’s okay. Build a solid foundation, and your Shopify store will flourish from there.