It’s no secret that in just a few months, consumers across the world have shifted drastically to online solutions for shopping, food and entertainment. Even as states around the United States and countries around the world slowly reopen and relax restrictions, consumers are still maintaining their drive to shop and work online.
If your brick and mortar business turned quickly to ecommerce overnight, there’s still time to expand your online presence. In this post, we’ll go over everything it takes to set up your online store on Shopify. Let’s begin.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is a Canadian-based ecommerce company and ecommerce platform that allows users to build their own websites and online stores. It’s similar to many other platforms like WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, Wix and Squarespace. Several websites have put Shopify to the test and gathered reviews on what users think.
We use Shopify ourselves for Brandable Box, and we’ve learned a lot in setting up our online store.
Here’s what we’ve learned. Shopify is easy and fast to set up for web beginners. Your priority right now is to get your online store up and running as quickly as possible so you can keep selling. You don’t need coding experience to make your website work. You’re ready to sell and you can do so within a day on Shopify. When you’re ready to customize your store a little more, you can do so easily through apps from the Shopify App Store.
There are a few disclaimers we should list before diving into how to set up your online store with Shopify.
Shopify apps don’t necessarily guarantee success for your online store. You’ll still need to use a little ecommerce knowledge and put in a bit of work to use the apps well. Website themes do cost money, but the price can be worth it for a professional-looking and user-friendly online store. But if you’re looking to set up your online presence fast, opt for a free theme or a low-priced theme. You can bring in recognizable elements of your physical storefront like your logo and brand colors so your customers have a seamless transition from your brick and mortar to your online storefront.
How Much Does Shopify Cost?
Shopify offers a free 14-day trial where you won’t be billed. You also won’t have to choose a plan until your 14 days are up. You can take this time to set up your online store and make it as close to your storefront as possible.
Pricing starts at $29 per month and includes all the basic features you’ll need to start your Shopify store, like your online storefront, the ability to create shipping labels, add as many products as you have, create discount codes and more.
The next pricing level goes up to $79 per month and comes with the ability to create more staff accounts and access more detailed reporting.
And if you’re ready, here’s a quick overview of how to set up your online store on Shopify. We won’t dive too deep into detail. This is just to help you get your online store up and running. You can always make changes and edits to your store once it’s off the ground.
Step 1: Sign Up
The first and simplest step is to sign up for a Shopify store. You won’t have to enter in your payment information yet during the first 14 days.
Go to shopify.com and enter your email address, password and store name.
If you have your products ready, you most likely have your store name in mind as well. Ours is the name you see on our website: Brandable Box.
If you don’t have a store name yet, Shopify has a business name generator you can use. Just enter in a word you’d like your store to be associated with and the generator will spit out 100 suggested business names.
Step 2: Add a Business Address
After you sign up, you’ll be taken to a screen that asks for a little more information. You’ll need to enter in an address so you can get paid. This address should be the same as your business address.
Once you’ve added your business address, you can finally enter your online Shopify store!
Your new Shopify store home page should look something like this:
Step 3: Add a Product
On your Shopify home page, you’ll be prompted to add your first product. Start with the basics like the name of your product and its description. Here’s an example:
Enter the name of your product under “Title.” Then, enter in a short description so people know what your product does.
You can then add images, set how much your product costs, how many of your products you have available and other details.
Your product pages will be the place customers go to find information about what you offer. You don’t have to be an expert to build an effective product page, complete with professional photos and compelling information. We’ve put together a separate guide here.
If you have multiple kinds of products, you can organize them on this page by type and collection. A collection will be what Shopify pulls into your online store and is searchable for customers. On your website, customers will be able to see your organized products by collection.
Step 4: Customize How Your Site Looks
This step is exactly what it sounds like. Once you’ve added your products, you can edit how your online store will appear to users. Do this by clicking the “Customize” button next to “Current theme.”
You can add an image and some text to let users know what your store is about. You can also change your colors to match your brand. Then, you’ll pull in the products you just added.
On this step, you’ll be setting up how your website will look when people land on your online store page, so make sure you’re happy with what you want to show off. While you don’t have to be a web design professional, keep in mind that your website should clearly show what you sell.
There are a few pockets of information you’ll want to include on your new online store. These details will be especially helpful to your customers if you’ve just transitioned your brick and mortar to an online store.
Create a short FAQ section on your site to communicate your shipping details to your customers. You’ll want to let them know if you’re taking any extra precautions when shipping out your products, if you offer pickup, or if your shipping carrier is experiencing any delays. You can also use this space to communicate your delivery areas of service.
If you already have a physical store and you’re transitioning to online, you’ll most likely already have a returns and refunds process in place. Make sure you create a new policy or adapt your existing one so your customers are clear on what they can return, if at all.
Let your customer know how they can get in touch with you. Online stores will be selling and working 24/7, even when you’re asleep. You can also communicate your office hours so your customers know when you’ll be available if they have questions.
Once you’re happy with how your online store looks, you’ll be ready to set up your domain.
Step 5: Set Up Your Domain
With Shopify, your domain name defaults to the store name you chose when you signed up, but with some additions.
For example, when we first launched Brandable Box, our domain name looked something like this: brandable-boxes.myshopify.com.
It’s not very catchy, is it?
Shopify makes it easy to purchase your domain name. Just click “Buy new domain” and enter your desired domain name. Shopify will list out available domains, domain extensions and their costs. Here’s an example:
You’ll notice that the test domain we entered costs $14 a year for a .com extension.
Domain extensions are the last part of your website URL that comes after the period. The most commonly used domain extensions are .com and .net. Choose the domain extension that feels right for you and your products, but you might want to keep it simple for users and search engines to find your website.
And if you already bought a domain before setting up your Shopify store, you can easily connect it to Shopify.
Step 6: Set Up Your Payment Processor
You’re almost done! You’re so close to making your first sale on your brand new online store!
But don’t rush through this step because this is how you’ll get paid for your products. As usual, Shopify makes it easy to set up payment options.
Go to Settings at the bottom left of your Shopify window. Then, click Payment Processors to get started. You’ll see several options. You can choose between Shopify’s payment processor, PayPal, Amazon Pay, or pull in your own preferred third-party provider. There’s no right or wrong processor, but for the purpose of this demonstration, we’re choosing Shopify’s payment processor.
In the blue window, click “Complete Shopify Payments setup.” You’ll be taken to a new page and prompted to enter your details like your address, a little more about your business and the bank account you want the payments to go into. After you enter all your details, select “Complete account setup.”
Step 7: Launch Your Online Store
Once you’ve double-checked your details, products and website, you’re ready to launch! Just click “Publish” and your online store now officially exists on the internet.
As we mentioned at the beginning, this is just a basic introduction to setting up your online store on Shopify. What comes next is slightly more complicated: getting your website seen by the world.
We’ll jump into a couple of next steps and things you can do for your online store to get noticed, but for now, enjoy your shiny, new online store!
Step 8: Match Your Shipping Boxes to Your Online Store
This isn’t a must, but if you have a little more time to plan, the results will be worth it. You can match your shipping boxes to your new online store with Brandable Box. Upload your logo, choose your customization options and get custom shipping boxes that match your store. You’ll be creating a streamlined brand recognition pipeline from when customers checkout to the moment they receive your product on their doorstep. Our custom boxes can cost the same as plain shipping boxes.