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A Beginner’s Guide To Opening a Shopify Store

Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, with more than 20% of the market share. As of 2019, more than 820,000 merchants are using the Shopify platform. The number of active stores is currently estimated to be over 500,000 and growing.

Today, hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are making a living selling products on Shopify. You, too, can set up your store and grow your business. Want to know how to open a Shopify store?

We’ve put together this guide to help you set up your Shopify store.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is an eCommerce platform that allows merchants to open an online store and start selling products. Based in Ottawa, Ontario, Shopify started over a decade ago. Tobias Lutke, one of the co-founders, was looking for an easy way to sell a range of elite snowboards online.

Together with Scott, they opened Snowdevil, an online store for selling snowboarding equipment. Since existing online eCommerce platforms were disappointing, they decided to build one.

Tobias is a computer programmer, and he built the platform using Ruby on Rails framework, and that’s how Shopify was born. Today, the eCommerce platform has 1 billion businesses in approximately 175 countries worldwide.

As of January 2021, Shopify is the largest publicly-traded company by market capitalization in Canada.

Why use Shopify?

There are several reasons why you should be using Shopify.

Affordable…

Building your own eCommerce platform is expensive. You have to hire web developers and UX designers. Once they finish building your eCommerce store, you need a data centre to host your platform. Servers are not cheap, and so is hiring engineers who will manage the data centre.

Shopify is affordable because it’s ready to use, and you don’t need to hire coders or UX designers. This results in lower costs to you and quick turnaround times.

24/7 Security…

Shopify has experienced engineers and security specialists who ensure the platform is secure. Security is critical when it comes to eCommerce. For starters, customers make payments using debit cards, credit cards and other payment systems.

If hackers steal this information, Shopify’s reputation will decline. To protect its customers, Shopify uses SSL certificates to protect your online transactions.

Professionally Designed Themes…

As a Shopify store owner, you have access to professionally designed themes. They help to beautify your store. First impressions matter. So, if you’re looking for ways to impress your customers, use Shopify themes. They’re available in the Theme Store with prices ranging from $180.

Great App Integrations…

App integration saves you money, time, reduces errors and offers access to data insights. The average Shopify merchant uses four apps. These apps help you create…

  • Product listings
  • Promote products
  • Edit product images
  • Create marketing campaign

They also help you track your marketing campaigns.

How to Open a Shopify Store?

Here is a step by step guide to open your first Shopify store.

1) Decide on What to Sell

What would you like to sell? Before opening your Shopify store, decide what to sell. You need to come up with a product or service. Products you can sell include scented candles, quilts, jewellery and other crafts. You can also sell digital products such as music, gift cards, eBooks and others. If you’re struggling with product ideas, Shopify has great ideas.

2) Name Your Business

When choosing a business name for your Shopify store, keep it simple. Do not copy your competitors, avoid using your own name, be descriptive and choose a scalable name. Shopify has a business name generator. It can help you come up with a list of potential brand names.

3) Create Your Logo

Now that you’ve a business name, create a logo. You can use free graphic design tools like Canva or use Hatchful by Shopify. Both can help you create a professional logo in minutes. They’ve hundreds of logo template designs and are free to use.

4) Sign up with Shopify

When you use Shopify’s business name generator and click on your chosen business name, Shopify will ask to reserve the name. You need to enter your email address and additional details. Shopify will ask for a few personal details before entering your store to ensure you get paid once you start selling your products.

If you chose a third party business name generator, head to Shopify website. Click ‘Start free trial’ enter your email, password and store name, then click ‘Create your Store’ Shopify offers a 14-day trial which is enough time to build and launch your store.

5) Select a Theme

Immediately you sign up, you’ll land on your store’s admin page. Let’s start by beautifying your store. Shopify offers professionally designed themes. To select a theme, click ‘Customize theme’ then ‘Visit Theme Store’ Browse through the collection of free and paid themes.

It’s important to select a theme that looks professional and suits your brand. Check the theme’s features, demos and reviews. If you find a great theme, click ‘Add Theme’ If you change your mind, you can always switch themes under ‘Theme Manager’.

6) Customize your Store

On the left of the admin page, click ‘Themes’ The page will display your current theme. We recommend that you duplicate your theme. In case you don’t like the changes, you can revert back to the original.

Click ‘Customize’ and edit different sections of the page. You can change the:

  • Colours
  • Typography
  • Main navigation
  • Footer navigation
  • Search function
  • Add social links

After customizing, click ‘Save’ This is also the perfect time to create key pages for your store, such as About Us, Contact Us, FAQ and Policy pages.

7) Build Your Product List

On your store admin page, find ‘Products’ and Shopify will prompt you to ‘Add Product’ Upload clear and professional-looking product images. Visuals are important as they represent the actual products. Enter the product description, including the ‘Search engine listing preview’ section. This section helps customers find your store and products much easier.

You can also add your products to a ‘Collection’ making it easier for your customers to browse your products. Click ‘Save Product’ before adding a new product.

8) Set up Shipping

If selling digital products, you don’t have to set up shipping because customers can download the pdf files and print them. But if selling physical products, set up shipping. You can offer free shipping, an effective incentive for customers to buy from you or apply free shipping to select products or order amounts.

Secondly, charge a flat rate. This works best with products that have similar weights and sizes. It makes shipping expenses affordable. Shopify allows you to offer local delivery or pickup. This option is best given to local customers. They can pick their orders from a selected location. Remember to include pickup instructions and other details.

Lastly, charge real-time carrier rates. Shopify integrates various carriers such as USPS to generate live pricing and shipping options. This option allows your customers to select the best service. To set up shipping, on your store’s admin page, click Setting > Shipping.

9) Set up Payment Gateways

Under Settings, go to Payments to set up your payment provider. Shopify accepts all forms of payments with Shopify Payments. If you operate your business in supported countries, you can activate Shopify Payments in one click and pay 0% in transaction fees. You can select from over 100 third party payment providers such as PayPal and set your pay-out schedule.

To add extra fraud prevention measures, add an extra layer of security. Shopify can handle tax calculations using default rates. To set up taxes, go to Settings > Taxes. You can edit the default rates or apply overrides.

10) Launch your Store

Now you’re ready to launch your store. Remove your password under Settings > Preferences and start selling to the world. After the 14-day trial ends, your journey as a Shopify store owner does not. Select one of Shopify’s pricing plans and continue selling.

Shopify Pricing

Shopify offers three pricing plans:

  • Basic Shopify – $29/month
  • Shopify – $79/month
  • Advanced Shopify – $299/month

The more you pay the monthly fees, the more features you have access to and the less you have to pay for processing.

Ways to promote your Shopify Store

Social Media…

Social media is an excellent marketing tool to promote your Shopify store and products. On your Facebook Page, you can add a Facebook Shop section. This makes it easier for your customers to discover your products on Facebook and buy them. You can also add Facebook as a sales channel.

On Instagram, you can share product images or stop motion videos of one of your products in action. When it comes to TikTok, you can launch fun, hashtag challenges. Remember, keep it fresh, short and vertical.

Personal Blog…

Blogging is another great way to market your Shopify store. With the right approach, you can drive traffic to your store. All you need to do is write high-quality content and publish it on your blog. You can also guest post on influential blogs or ask high profile bloggers to guest post for you.

Influencer Outreach…

Aside from blogging, you can partner with influencers to market your Shopify store. Influencers have thousands of followers on their social media channels. All it takes is a single video, image or post recommending followers to check out your store. You can have discount codes named after influencers promoting your brand.

Sponsor Local Events…

You can sponsor a local event specific to your industry. All you need to do is donate, and the event organizers will feature your brand. That’s instant exposure for your store.

Run Competitions for Free Products…

To promote your products, start a social media contest on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok. It’s that easy. Everyone wants to win a prize after a contest. This will encourage many people to visit your store and shop. Remember, before running a contest, consider the platform, messaging, timing and target audience.

Final Thoughts

Building and launching your Shopify is now easy, thanks to our step by step guide. If you’re looking for a side hustle with the potential of becoming a full-time business, this is the best opportunity for you. Shopify allows merchants to sell products and services. This means you can make money even while you sleep.