Start your Online Shop Today No Skills Needed

 

E-commerce is the hot subject of the moment. A unique skill that anyone can learn about and create their own online store. What you sell is up to you, can you really afford not to take the time to learn more? With massive job losses in the formal sector, due to the ongoing pandemic. Many people are looking for ways to garner an income, support their families, and maintain their current status quo.

 

There are various platforms for starting a drop shipment or e-commerce business. They range from easy to set up (CommentsSold and Etsy). Or offering a full website package, with lots of little extras to make your business life easier (Shopify or WooCommerce).

 

Today we walk you through the basics of setting up your Shopify Online Store. The Shopify website is full of wonderful resources that help you create your own unique brand. From choosing your business name to designing your logo. They cover all the steps, plus their support team offers great help and advice.

 

Starting Out

Let’s dive right in. Choose a name. Not always the easiest of tasks. But Shopify has a great little tool called the Business Name. Now you can create your Shopify Account. Next up are your logo and colour palettes. Here, you have the choice of outsourcing or creating your own. Want to give creating your own a try – you can use Shopify Logo Maker. 

 

Now you have your business name, you need to register a domain. There are plenty to choose from and the How to of domain registration is an article on its own. Shopify has simplified this step for you and offers help registering your domains.

 

Shopify Ultimate Tutorial

Build your Store

Now the fun starts. From your Store Admin Screen, you can customise your store. If you already have an idea of what you want to sell and have sourced your wholesalers. Then it’s really just a matter of uploading or importing the stock to your store. Write product titles and descriptions and then add your pricing.

 

However, if you haven’t chosen your products, then Shopify has an app called Oberlo. This helps you create what E-commerce terms a Drop shipment Store. You yourself don’t carry stock, or need to create stunning photos for your website. No shipping or packaging the wholesaler does it for you on your behalf.

And don’t forget to create your own product titles and descriptions to help you stand out. PS it will help with your SEO. (Search Engine Optimisation – Also a blog of its own.)

 

You have either signed up for Oberlo or uploaded or imported your stock to your store. The best way to manage your stock is to use tag-based products, this helps with cross-posting when you create your collections and your menu.

 

Once your stock is loaded and you have chosen your tags, create your collections. These are based on the main tags you have chosen.These can include, tops; bottoms; shoes and accessories. But the list is endless.

 

Now before you can create your menu you need to choose your store’s theme. Shopify has themes that offer very basic features that you can’t customise much. And themes that cost you plenty, but then offer amazing features for you to customise. The good news is that all themes are mobile-friendly.

 

Once you have decided on your theme. Now you drag and drop your elements, insert your social media links. Upload your graphics and follow the prompts from the theme you have chosen. It will prompt you to choose fonts, insert your logo, choose where to put it on the page. Then choose your colours for your announcement bar and buttons and footer. Shopify consistently offers plenty of help and guidance.

 

Next up set up your standard pages: About Us, Contact Us, Returns Policy and a sizing chart. A sizing chart is important because clients won’t be able to try on the clothes beforehand. It will help minimise returns, as clients can see a size Medium equals so many inches or centimetres around the chest and the length is so many inches or centimetres.

 

From here, you can customise your menu via the navigation bar in the backend of Shopify. Then pop back into your store and decide on the look of your menu bar. 

 

A word of caution it is very important to remember that SAVE button. Shopify doesn’t autosave, your changes or updates. SAVE every time you change something on your theme. You will note, in the step by step, that I remind you often.

 

Let’s head back to your dashboard and you want to click on Settings. Here you update your returns policy and your legal pages. Shopify offers standard text, which you can change to meet your needs.

Under the settings Icon, you should also set up your payment and shipping options. 

Shopify offers a variety of payment choices. Choose the one that works in your country and then click the “Complete Shopify Payments account setup”.

For your shipping set your local country and you can customise or use what options are available in your country.

 

Other places in the settings tab you need to double-check are your check out options, taxes and that your general account information is captured correctly.

 

Finally, we are on to notifications. These come standard with your store, under Settings, choose Notifications and customise according to your brand. Craft what you want each client or order notification to say. These notifications range from client communication to wholesale communication. It reminds clients to complete orders or add money for purchases. 

 

For a full review of the features you can get with Shopify we found this great review from the Tooltester.

 

Time to Test

Your products are loaded and your pricing is set. 

You have customised your page’s and are almost ready to “Go Live”. But first, make sure you can actually make a payment for products, by doing a test purchase. Go through all the steps and see how your order pulls through to your dashboard.

 

Then go through this checklist with Shopify to make sure you are ready.

 

Next step, send a preview of your site to a trusted friend and have them give you “a-user-experience” feedback. Ask them to look through the site and give you feedback on navigation and ease of purchasing.

Tighten up any areas that need adjustment. Depending on your chosen theme, you might need some coding done to get a seamless feel on your site. 

Nuances

Easy so far, right? 

Shopify has all these amazing apps that you can integrate into your shop. Some are free, others free up to a certain amount of traffic and others you pay for. 

Connecting sales funnels via Social Media is the quickest and easiest way to drive awareness of your site, Shopify can integrate with Facebook, Email and Instagram. Again some integrations are free and others come with a small fee.

 

Want to have a T-shirt Printing business, well there’s an app for that. There is an app that integrates Shopify with every platform you can think of. 

 

But as many of the apps cost money, only add as you need and as you grow. For instance, there is an amazing App called Privy, which is a Pop-Up on your site. This pop-up entices visitors to join your newsletter, but on most Theme’s this can be set up for free. Sure it’s way more basic than Privy, but do you need the fancy when you are starting out?

Actual Steps

I loved this video by Santrel Media. They walk you through the basic steps. 

 

Now let us take a look at the steps you need to launch a Shopify Store:

  • Decide on your products
  • Define who are the clients who will buy from you
  • Design a business plan
  • Workout your marketing plan
  • Create your Shopify store, using your email address 
  • Use Shopify name generator to help you choose your Store name
  • Answer the onboarding questions
  • Fill in your information
  • Welcome to your dashboard
  • Select the Shopify Plan that meets your needs
    • Choose your payment option
  • Let Shopify help you set your Domain, or if you have one insert the details
    • PS it looks more professional if you have your own Domain
    • PPS and you will rank better on SEO
  • Start creating your products
    • Click on Products
      • If you are importing products from a wholesaler or creating a Drop shipment Store, this step will be different. Watch this Oberly tutorial for the additional step. (Remember this is an app you add.)
    • Click on Add Product
    • Create the title of your product
    • Create the description for your product
    • Add the products image 
      • You can add up to 3 variants per product
    • Add your pricing
      • Add your cost price
      • If you need to charge tax, ensure you tick the block
    • Add your stock total
    • Choose your shipping settings 
    • Edit Website SEO for product
    • From the right side menu
      • Add to collections
      • Add tags
    • Save
  • Repeat the above until all your products are loaded
  • Create your Collections
    • These are linked to your tags
    • Generally
      • Tops
      • Bottoms
      • Shoes
    • Automated Collections are best for when you use tag-based products
  • If your plan allows you can set up Gift Cards, that you can send or sell to clients
  • SetUp Discount Codes
    • Click create
      • Choose a name
      • Decide on percentage; select a monetary value; Free Shipping or 2 for 1
      • Make 1 per customer
    • Save
      • Choose a name
      • Decide on percentage, select a monetary value, Free Shipping or 2 for 1
      • Choose the total amount of uses
      • Set active Date 
    • Save
  • Choose your Theme
    • Decide on the Theme variant
  • Publish your chosen Theme
    • As long as your password is still enabled your site won’t be live
  • Click customise
    • On the left menu, you have various options for customisation
    • These may include:
      • Header section
      • Banner / SlideShow section
      • Text Section
      • Collections Section
      • Featured Collection
      • Newsletter
    • Decide on which features you want on your “HomePage”
      • You can add or remove sections, either by clicking on them and then remove or using the add + button for additional
      • You can move sections around by clicking and holding the dots and dragging them into place on the side menu
    • Customise your page by uploading pictures
      • Click on the feature to open and then upload your picture
      • Click select image
      • Customise the feature, scroll down the side menu
        • Add text
        • Add buttons
      • Remember to SAVE
    • Customise the colours of your buttons and Announcement Bar and Footer Menu
      • Theme Settings
        • Choose your font
        • Choose your colours
      • Remember to SAVE
    • Insert your Social Media links
      • Theme Settings
        • Social Links
          • Insert https: links under Social Media section
      • Remember to SAVE
    • Insert your Favicon (or mini logo)
    • CheckOut page
      • Ensure it is accessible and easy to navigate
      • Use the sidebar to update or insert any additional information
    • Save
  • Return to your dashboard by clicking on the Shopify Logo
  • Set up Pages
    • About Us
    • Contact Us
    • Shipping and Returns
    • Sizing Chart
    • Blog or News page
  • Access Settings (little wheel at the bottom of your page, in the left side menu)
    • Open Legal
    • Read through and change or type up your policies.
      • Refund policy
      • Privacy policy
      • Terms of Service
      • Shipping
        • Shopify has basic templates, you can use or customise
          • Click on create a template
          • Read and update to your own preferences
  • Create Menu
    • Click on Navigation (on left under online store)
    • Click on Menu want to update
      • Add a new item
        • Type in page name on the top bar
        • Link to the actual page on the bottom bar
    • Do the same for the Footer Menu
      • Maybe think of a better name as this menu title appears on your site
  • Under preferences, we want to set SEO
    • Type in Title and Meta Description, along with Business Intro
    • If you have Google Analytics add this here
    • If you have Facebook Group or business page, follow the instructions to retrieve your pixel from Facebook and insert this here
  • Settings are the final piece before you go live!
    • General
      • Contains Store details and contact information
    • Payment providers
      • These are the various options you can use through Shopify
    • CheckOut
      • Allow account setups
      • Email Marketing
      • Abandoned cart reminders
    • Shipping
      • Choose your country
      • Use Shopify’s options
      • Or create your own
    • Taxes
      • Depending on what you are selling and your countries legislation, these need to be completed here
    • Locations
      • If you have more than one store, include the additional addresses here
    • Gift Cards
      • Not all plans support Gift Cards
      • You can customise them here as well as in the previous step above
    • Notifications
      • Here you customise what your emails appearance will like
      • Logo, buttons and words
    • Sales Channels
      • These are various apps you can load to integrate Facebook or Instagram
    • Store Languages
      • Insert app that can change languages based on the region of the person browsing your store
  • Time to test
    • Go through the entire process of buying from yourself
      • Make detailed notes on ease of use
      • Button placement
    • If there were any problems, fix them and do it again
    • Ask a trusted friend to do a user experience for you
      • Send them your link and your password
      • Have them navigate your entire site
      • Ask them to make notes on
        • Ease of use
        • Navigation quirks
        • Ease of checkout
        • Button visibility
    • Implement any changes they noticed and then ask another friend to do the same
  • Finally, no more feedback other than, when do you open comes back
  • You are ready to go live, disable the password
    • From Dashboard
      • Click disable password
        • Takes you to preferences
        • Click Disable Password
  • Your Site is now “live”
  • Start marketing your site
  • Use your discount codes to entice people to buy
  • Make a sale, receive money, package and ship

 

As your business grows, you can start experimenting with apps, here’s a list of the top free apps available from the Shopify Store.

 

DIY or Outsource

Of course, having walked you through the steps, if you are serious about making a success of your E-commerce business. Then as any good business consultant will tell you OUTSOURCE. 

 

There are plenty of knowledgeable consulting businesses who can help you design your own Shopify Store. They know which apps work and which don’t based on your business type and style. 

 

They help you sculpt everything from your branding to your final check out page and the little bits that happen in between. You provide as much information as you have on hand, answer several additional questions provided to you from knowledgeable marketing and design experts. Review their progress and watch your store take shape.

 

After viewing hundreds of how to do it yourself to create this article, I know which option I choose. There are many steps to creating an interactive store using different types of apps. Your options are endless, Shopify has an amazing help section. Many of the links in this article come from them and their onsite technicians are quick to respond and help troubleshoot.

 

But honestly, if your game is selling and not web design. Get the help you need to get it right.

 

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Article by:

Cobus

Experimental Googler fascinated with investments and business. I enjoy golf, travel and random experiments.

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