A Detailed Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

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Looking to launch an online store? In this Shopify tutorial, we’ll guide you step-by-step through the process of launching a working eCommerce store powered by Shopify.

Shopify offers one of the simplest, most comprehensive ways to start selling online. Whether you’re a tech pro or a casual user, you’ll be able to use Shopify to get online and start selling.

What’s more, Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, so you’ll be able to follow this Shopify tutorial without spending a penny! Read on for your detailed step-by-step guide…

Shopify tutorial: Step-by-step to create an online store

Shopify Tutorial: Free trial

In this Shopify tutorial, we’ll guide you through the steps to becoming the proud owner of an online store.

1. Create an account with Shopify 

To get started, head to Shopify to sign up for the 14-day free trial.

Once you start your free trial, you’ll be required to fill in some details about yourself:

Filling in details

…and more details:

More details

Like me, if you’re just trying things out, you can choose the option that you’re just playing around.

You’ll need to furnish the name of your store as well as your address, complete with zip code.

2. Explore the Shopify admin screen

Once you’ve filled in the details, hit Enter my store and you’ll land on the Admin Screen of your store. Much of the action in this Shopify tutorial takes place on this screen and here’s what that looks like.

Admin Screen

As you can see, on this page you’ll be able to add products, set up payments, shipping and analytics, choose your theme, and customize your store. That’s a lot of filling and choosing, but once you get it right, it can work smoothly in the long term.

3. Choose and customize your theme

Not all Shopify stores look alike, and Shopify themes are what help you achieve a distinctive look for your store and add a wow factor. You’ll find that the Themes page of your admin has a default theme in place, but you can change it by selecting a free or paid theme.

Before you zero in on your theme, do take a few moments to check out demos, previews and what other users have to say about the theme. Then, go to Online Store → Free Theme.

Once you click the Add button in the theme, it’ll be added to your store.

You can test and preview changes and keep seasonal versions of your published theme. Depending on which Shopify plan you choose, it’s possible to add many themes to your account. However, you can publish only one theme at a time. I’m  going with Minimal, but you can pick anything you like.

Minimal theme

These themes have everything you need to make an impact. All themes have full Shopify support, so you can be sure they’ll work just fine. Just in case you don’t know, you can also find Shopify themes designed by third parties on different market places and theme houses.

It’s likely that you may be happy with how the theme displays your store, but you may also want to personalize your store in keeping with your brand. In that case, you have many options to customize the theme. You can access these options by clicking the Customize button under Themes.

Shopify tutorial: Customize theme

You’ll be able to view your theme’s documentation, edit the code, change text, add free stock photos, upload images, and more. If you want to make major changes that need HTML or CSS, and coding isn’t your thing, you may want to get help from ‘Shopify Experts’.

4. Add your products

The next step in this Shopify tutorial is to add the products that you intend to sell on your online store. To do this, go to Products → All Products → Add Products.

Shopify add product interface

All information relating to any product that you want to share with your customers goes in here. You can upload images of the product and fill in many details to describe it.

Add information that’ll help your viewers find the products easily, keeping SEO in mind. Under the Search Engine listing preview section, click Edit website SEO and enter a descriptive title that will display as a link in the search engine results. You’ll be able to add a description using keywords, modify the URL, and set up URL redirects.

That’s not all you can do when it comes to Products – you can duplicate the product pages, add options to create variants, and edit them further to change product details. You can also edit products in bulk via the bulk editor.

In the Product availability section, you can choose the channels to sell the products. To help your customers find products easily, you can add tags to them under the Organization section. It’s possible to add up to 250 tags to each product, all separated by commas.

5. Configure nitty-gritty settings (shipping, payments, etc.)

Before you can go live with your store. there’s more to select and enable. Stay with this Shopify tutorial to get you through. You can access all these options from your store’s Settings area.

Shopify Tutorial: Settings

a) General – here, you’ll need to fill in some general information about your business.

b) Locations – Locations help you manage the inventory, fulfill orders and sell products. Locations for your store can be retail outlets, warehouses, dropshippers, or any other place that has anything to do with inventory, including apps that manage inventory. The number of locations you can set up is linked to the plan you choose.

c) Shipping –  Before you make a sale, you’ve got to decide which delivery methods are best suited for your business. Thereafter, you can allow your customers to choose any one of these methods at checkout. The shipping zone and rates relevant to the regions and the countries you ship to will display on the Shipping page of your Shopify Admin.

Shopify tutorial: Shipping

Shopify also offers a Shipping service from locations based in the USA and Canada. This allows you to purchase shipping labels that display rates to your customers and speeds up delivery. You can simply drop off the packages at any post office.

Your decision on shipping rates should take into consideration actual shipping costs, product weight, and packaging. If you purchase shipping labels of popular carriers in the USA and Canada through Shopify, you can cut down shipping costs by nearly half as compared to retail rates.

Often, many customers abandon their cart at checkout on account of shipping rates that come as a surprise. To tackle this, you have the option to offer free shipping based on price, weight, or discount codes. The higher plans allow you to display calculated rates from the carriers at checkout.

d) Checkout –  The checkout page is where you accept orders via the secure Shopify checkout. The appearance and layout of the checkout page can be modified in theme settings.

Shopify checkout settings

Here, you’ll be able to allow customers to create customer accounts so that password-protected information such as address, email and order history are stored and pre-filled at checkout.

e) Receiving Payments – With Shopify, you can enable a number of payment options for your customers’ convenience.

While choosing payment gateways, you should keep both your location and that of your customers in mind. Not only that, you should consider transaction fees, types of cards accepted, and offsite/onsite checkout before selecting your payment provider.

Shopify payment information

As for credit card payments, you can go with Shopify Payments or choose from a list of 100+ third-party providers.

For non-credit card transactions, there are options like PayPal, Amazon Pay or Apple Pay, with PayPal as the default payment provider. To help returning shoppers check out faster, accelerated checkout buttons are also available from some payment providers.

To choose the currency for your store, visit Settings → General → Standards and formats → Change formatting.

f) Taxes – laws of most countries require you to collect tax on sales of products and remit them to the government. Shopify makes this easy for you by handling most common tax calculations in many tax jurisdictions. Shopify uses default rates that you need to confirm or modify. Several reports are available that help you compile information submission to your accountant or to file returns with the government.

6. Test your store

At this point in this Shopify tutorial, it’s a good idea to test your store before you start to take orders. That’s why you have the Bogus gateway – you can make sure that your checkout process and settings for order processing, inventory, shipping, notifications, and taxes are all working as you intended.

Go to Settings → Payment providers, and deactivate any payment provider that you have enabled. Then click through Accept credit cards → Add a provider → Third party credit card provider → Provider → Other → Bogus Gateway → Continue → and Activate the gateway.

Thereafter, visit your store just like any ordinary customer and place an order, and you’ll know if you’ve done all the right things.

You can also test the system with a genuine transaction by using actual credit card numbers and then checking if the funds transfer is complete. Make sure to cancel the order immediately to avoid transaction fees and get a refund, though.

7. Add a custom domain name

Now, you’re one step away from going live with your store – adding your domain to Shopify. Just as with any website, you’ll need a domain name (your website address) by which you can be found by visitors and search engines. Here too, you’ll find a ready solution from Shopify.

To help you set up a store, Shopify assigns a default domain – www.your-store-name.myshopify.com. But you may want a more customized URL such as www.your-store-name.com for better brand recall in your customers’ minds or to rank better in a search. In that case, you can choose between buying a domain from Shopify or using a custom domain that you purchase elsewhere or already own.

Shopify tutorial: Domains

Custom domains from Shopify start at $11 per year, and Shopify automatically configures it for you. What’s more, you get to keep the domain name, even if you quit the Shopify platform. And though there are no email accounts in the domains package, Shopify will forward unlimited mails to your email address.

If you already own a custom domain, you can choose to either transfer it to Shopify or connect it to Shopify by following these instructions.

Shopify tutorial: Recap

At this stage in the Shopify tutorial, you should officially have a working store.

To recap, here are the basic steps to creating an online store with Shopify:

  1. Create a Shopify account.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the Shopify admin dashboard.
  3. Choose a Shopify theme.
  4. Add your products.
  5. Configure nitty-gritty details.
  6. Test your store.
  7. Add a custom domain name and go live.

And once you’re live, you can check out the best Shopify apps to take things even further.

Do you have any questions about how to get started with Shopify? Ask away in the comments and we’ll try to help!

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