Are you looking for the best eCommerce platform to sell your products online? Shopify is the platform you want. It’s equipped with excellent features and amazing selling interfaces that enable a merchant to build an online store without any stress. Moreover, Shopify has grown to become a multichannel eCommerce platform that enables merchants to sell products on other online marketplaces and social media.
Shopify is a good platform for the use of both beginners and professional online sellers. Anyone with or without computer proficiency can make a beautiful store from its ever-increasing template library. Moreover, you can get anything done with a few clicks of your mouse. The simplicity therein cannot be more emphasized. In addition, it has a large community of customers from every part of the globe that is ready to patronize your business.
Registering on Shopify is as easy as creating a social media profile, and the steps to it are covered in this article. It also contains valuable information about how Shopify works, the advantages of selling on Shopify, and how to make people patronize your business using the tools available on the platform.
This article is lengthy, and therefore there’s a linked table of content below to navigate to any part of it.
- How Does Shopify Work?
- Steps To Opening a Shopify Store:
- How to create an account on Shopify?
- How to set up your store on Shopify?
- How to design your store theme on Shopify?
- How to add more pages to your Shopify website?
- How to set your store navigation menu?
- How to add a domain to your online store?
- How to add a blog post to your website?
- How to make preferences in your store?
- How to add products to your Shopify store?
- How to Subscribe to a Shopify Plan?
- How To Get More Sales on Shopify?
- Pros And Cons of Shopify
Let’s get to it. But if you want to skip all the reading and just get started jump to the Conclusion section.
1. How Does Shopify Work?
Basically, Shopify works like every other eCommerce platform. However, the difference is that it’s easier to set up. Also, you get free website hosting for your store upon subscription, irrespective of the package you choose. The hosting comes with an SSL certificate that secures your store from hacking activities, hence protecting all transactions. You also get to enjoy smooth sales and zero technical issues during high traffic.
1.1 Shopify Subscriptions
Upon registration, Shopify will offer you a free 14-days trial to try the platform out and know if it’s a good fit for your business. After which, you will have to subscribe to any of their three packages. They are:
1.1.1 Basic Shopify
This package costs $29 per month. It offers all the necessary tools required to launch a profitable online store. Some of its features include unlimited product listings, sales channels integration, 24/7 customer support, and manual order creation. Its two limitations are that you can only make two staff accounts, and it allows for just four inventory locations, i.e., you can only add four physical store locations to your products. You can leverage the built in Shopify Payments for online and POS transactions with a 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction fee for online purchases. A common myth on the internet is that Shopify takes a percentage of each sale and that is not true. Online payments have a fee that the payment processor charges; so you don’t need to open a separate Stripe or payment processor account to use Shopify. This is the ideal starting point for anyone to get a store up and running as you can always upgrade.
Up next is the Shopify package that costs $79 per month. It allows for five staff accounts and five different inventory locations. Businesses that subscribe for this will also get all of the Basic Shopify features and in addition: reports, a lower online transaction fee of 2.6% and a higher tier of shipping discounts up to 88%. This is ideal for when you have more than 2 staff or are doing enough sales to take advantage of the reduced transaction fee.
1.1.3 Advanced Shopify
The Advanced Shopify package is for businesses with many physical outlets or certain special integrations. This subscription allows for 15 staff access and eight different inventory locations. The big gain is advanced reporting and a reduced online transaction fee of 2.4%. A special use case would be for those with their own shipping account and would like to show the calculated rates at checkout. This tier also adds international expansion options. It cost $299 per month.
1.1.4 Shopify Lite
Maybe you don’t want a new website; you can still utilize Shopify’s incredible selling features by choosing the Shopify Lite at a price of $9 per month. For example if you have a Weebly, Wix, Squarespace or WordPress website or blog, you can easily add purchase capabilities with the Shopify buy button and take advantage of the Shopify ecommerce platform with out much fuss.
Shopify Lite is a special package that enables businesses to monetize their social media posts. It provides businesses with the tools to create and embed selling buttons into their social media posts and existing blogs. You can also use it to make invoices and accept credit card payments. This package also qualifies you for the Shopify point of sales (POS), which you can use to accept payment in person using apps on your smartphones.
1.1.5 Shopify Plus
Another special plan like Shopify Lite is the Shopify Plus. This one is specially designed for high traffic and high volume businesses that would like to scale and have additional features. It starts at $2,000 per month. Shopify Plus offers amazing features that include unlimited selling capacity and Shopify flow automation. It will help your business attain a global impact within a few months.
The best part about selecting a subscription is that you can start with the lowest plan and scale up or down over time depending on your business needs.
1.2 What You Can Sell on Shopify
Still, on how It works, Shopify has a list of product categories that can be traded on the platform. And, they have a list of prohibited products. The following are the categories of products you can sell on the Shopify store:
- Handcrafted goods
- Home goods
- Beauty supplies
- Outdoor gears
- Digital products
- Online classes
- And all products that are not illegal and prohibited by Shopify
Shopify prohibited goods include alcohol, fireworks, e-cigarettes, tobacco, drugs, video game currency or credits, firearms, and weapons. However, these lists are prone to changes. Over the past few years, Shopify has made policy changes regarding CBD products. And now they allow merchants to sell CBD products that are lawfully produced from hemp.
So, if your products are prohibited, for now, stay in touch with them; they might change their policies in the nearest future to allow your products.
1.3 Shopify Admin Panel
Just like the backend of a WordPress website, the Shopify admin panel is the powerhouse of your store. Businesses design, control, and manage the activities of their store from their admin panel. Anytime you log into your store, the home page of the admin page is displayed on your computer screen. On the page, you will see information about your daily tasks, recent activities, and the steps to take to grow your business. The sidebar of the admin panel usually has the following:
The order page is where you find the order’s details. On this page, you can see numbers of orders that have been made, track orders and view individual order status.
Clicking products on your Shopify admin menu will take you to a page where you have a list of all your products. In this section, you can edit products info, create product collections, and publish products in your store.
The customer section contains the details of your customers. You can view all customers, see the number of orders each one has made, and send them special emails and offers.
This section contains your store’s metrics and performances. In there, you will find reports showing your store finances, marketing, sales, orders, profits, inventory, and many more.
Shopify marketing is the page where you make your Facebook and Google advertising campaigns. You can also integrate your Shopify store to your business Facebook shop from this section.
The discount section has all the tools needed to create special offers and discount rates for your customers and prospective buyers.
The Apps section contains all the useful applications you can install on your store to improve its functionalities and enhance the smooth running of your eCommerce business.
Clicking this heading will drop down a list containing themes, blog posts, pages, navigation, domains, and preferences. The subsections contain tools that can be used to design your website, make and edit blog posts, and manage the front end of your online store.
This is the page where you make general settings regarding your website, delivery/shipping, payments, checkouts, etc.
Like every website, your Shopify store needs a domain address. For the sake of people who are new to this, a website domain is the address through which internet users can access your website, which in this case, you store. An example of a domain name is facebook.com. And it’s usually bought from a web hosting company.
For your Shopify store, you can either buy a domain name from Shopify or from a domain registrar such as NameSilo. Also, you can connect your existing domain name to your store, provided that you already have one. In this manual, we will teach you how to get one from Shopify. We will get there in a bit.
2. Steps To Opening a Shopify Store
Now that you have a framework of how Shopify works let’s get to the main business.
2.1 Step 1: Creating an account
- Go to www.shopify.com
- On the home page, enter your email address in the box provided and click the button that says “Start free trial.”
- The new page has three boxes for you to enter your email address, password, and store name. Make sure you enter those details correctly and choose a store name that depicts your products. Then click the “create your store” button.
- The last action would prompt you to the next two pages, where you will tell Shopify about yourself and your business. These inquiries include what’s your current business revenue, which industry your business belongs to, physical address, etc. After filling the boxes, hit the “enter my store” button.
2.2 Step 2: Setting up your store
This new page you’re on right now is your store’s admin panel/backend, where you design your website. But before then, you need to set your store currency, payment providers, delivery, and shipping.
- On your Shopify admin home page, hover to Settings on the bottom left corner and click it.
- Prior to the last action taken, you are taken to a page with a list of different settings you can make on your Shopify. Firstly, let’s make some general settings, so click it.
- Here, you can change the name, physical address, and email address. Do not be disturbed that you have the same email as your Shopify contact email and Customer email. The Shopify contact email is that through which Shopify will notify you of new features and general notifications regarding your store. Therefore, it’s good to have your personal email in the box. The customer support email is that email address that will be in the “FROM” when you message your customers or in the “TO” of their email app when they are about to contact your support. So, you could have your personal email in the box, but it’s more formal to use an email that has a [email protected]. If you don’t have one, you can register one in that name.
- The most important setting to make in the general section is the currency of your store. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select your store’s main currency. Don’t forget to click “save” to save all the edits you have made.
- Now, return to the main settings page and click payment, below general.
- In the payment setting section, it’s essential to set up the Shopify payment. It’s listed first on the page with several accepted cards displayed on it. Click “complete account setup” to begin the process and fill in every important detail in the form. Don’t forget to hit the “complete account setup” button to finalize the Shopify payment setup.
- You can also set up PayPal or Amazon pay. The on-screen instructions will guide you through the processes.
- When you’re done setting up your Payment providers, the next thing is to make some checkout settings. Navigate back to the setting menu and click checkout. In this section, let there be a balance between what you want and your buyer’s comfort. It’s essential to get your customer details but do it in a way that won’t annoy them.
- The last thing to do in this section is to set up your store delivery/shipping process. The most important thing you want to do here is to manage your shipping rate. Right at the top of the page, you will see “manage rates” under the shipping heading. Click on it.
- The previous action will prompt you to a page where you can set shipping rates for your customers. You can arrange free shipping for buyers that purchase a product that is beyond a certain price. Also, follow the on-screen instructions to make the right decisions.
For now, you are good to proceed to the designing of your store. All other settings can be done later as you run the online business.
2.3 Step 3: Designing and editing your Shopify website theme
With the procedures you underwent in the previous phase, your website is up and ready. However, a good marketing strategy demands that you add some colors, logos, arrangements, and designs to your eCommerce website. This phase is a bit technical; you may want to hire an expert to do it for you. But it’s something you can do for yourself if you would just take the following steps.
- Return to the Admin home page
- Click online store. This will cause a list to drop. The list contains themes, blog posts, pages, navigation, domains, and preferences tabs.
- Clicking “themes” will take you to a page where you can select the most suitable theme for your store. You can also edit themes, add your business logo, set your favicons, and even use a background color that best suits your niche/industry. Be free to play around with all the tools in here. And one rule of thumb to keep in mind is to use text colors that match your background image and logo.
- You could also tweak the sections in your theme. It’s possible to add and delete these sections. In that case, it means you are free to make your website long and flashy or simple and elegant. The most important thing is to add quality images to every section you make. Images improve engagement!
- Once the theme is done, the next thing is to add more pages, which can’t be done from the theme section. But before you return to the admin homepage, make sure you save all the changes you have made. In fact, ensure you save regularly as you make edits so that you won’t have to restart in case your computer experiences a technical fault during the process. Meanwhile, you can return to the home page by clicking the Shopify logo in the top left corner of your screen.
2.4 Step 4: Adding a new page to your Shopify store
- On the home page, click the page in the online store drop-list.
Note: Shopify has another tool for creating blog post pages. So don’t use the add page tool to do that.
2.5 Step 5: Adding navigation menu to your Shopify store
- Once you are done with the new pages, return to your home page and click Navigation.
- In the navigation, there are two menu options which are Footer menu and main. The main menu navigations are positioned on top of web pages and usually contain the navigations of the most visited pages, such as the FAQs, Contact Us, and About us. Meanwhile, the footer navigations are usually linked to pages that are not always visited, such as the policy pages and the terms and conditions.
- Having known the meaning of the main menu and footer menu, click on the footer menu because (there’s no special sequence to go about it, we are only doing the footer menu first because it is listed first).
- Click Add menu item
- You can add a page by either typing the page name or selecting the link of the page. Select one and Click add. Repeat this same action to add all the footer pages.
- Return to the navigation page, click the main menu and add the pages the same way you did for the footer menu.
- Don’t forget to click the save menu
2.6 Step 6: Adding a domain to your Shopify store
- Click on the Shopify Icon to return to the admin home page
- Navigate your arrow to the domain in the Online store drop-list and click on it. Don’t be surprised that you already have a domain name. Shopify always assigns a storename.myshopify.com address to all stores upon creation. However, store owners are expected to change the domain name to a simpler and more branded domain name with no myshopify domain name.
- Now that you’re now on the domain page, click buy a new domain to purchase a domain name from Shopify. And if you already have one from a different web hosting company such as GoDaddy or Namecheap, Click Change primary domain and follow the on-screen instructions on the next page to complete the process.
- If you click to buy a new domain, choose a domain name. You would want to use your store name and a .com extension, that is, mystorename.com. The dotcom extension is the most expensive and costs about $15 per annum. You can also settle for countries’ web extensions if you only deliver to people in a specific country. Select one out of the various options presented to you and click Buy to proceed.
- Click on add payment method on the new page.
- Type in your payment details, and proceed to the summary page
- On the summary page, review your personal information, and you can also edit your email address
- Only check the Auto-renew box if you want Shopify to automatically renew your annual payment.
- If you have WHOIS policy information on your summary page, it means that the domain name you choose comes with the package. The WHOIS policy keeps your personal contact details from the public domain name registration records. But if you don’t want it, click cancel and get a new domain name.
- Read the ICAN policy and agree to the Domain Registration Agreement.
- Click the Buy Domain button.
- Finalize the process by opening your email app and taking all actions required from you, which includes email verification and payment confirmation.
2.7 Step 7: Adding a blog post to your Shopify store
- Go to the online store> blog posts
- Enter the title of your blog post in the title field
- Type or copy and paste your content in the content box. You can also use the content tools to add tables, videos, and hyperlinks. There is an upload image button on the right side of the page to add images.
- You can improve your blog SEO by adding excerpts, page titles, and meta-description.
- Tap save
- Now that you have a blog, you can now add the blog to the main navigation menu.
2.8 Step 8: Making preferences on your Shopify store
- Go to online store>preferences
- Enter your home page title in the provided field. You will want to use a title that says all about what you do.
- Enter your home page meta-description
- Add your social sharing image. I recommend using your logo.
- Copy and paste your Google analytics code (that’s if you have it). You can proceed for now without adding it.
- Add your Facebook pixel code. Setting this up will help you to monitor the performance of your Facebook advertisement campaign.
- Then set a protection password.
- Tap Save
2.9 Step 9: Adding products to your Shopify store
- Return to your Shopify admin page
- Click products in the menu
- Go to All product>Add products
- Go ahead and add all the product details, which include the title, description, and media. You could also organize it by specifying its catalog, vendor, and type.
- Proceed by adding the price and the compare price. Compare pricing is a marketing strategy that helps to generate sales. To see how it works, save your inputs and preview the product page. The preview button is positioned up on the page.
- Scroll down and add other details. Feel free to play around with the different fields on this page and view the difference they make by previewing the page.
- Hit the save button to complete the process.
2.10 Step 10: Subscribing to a Shopify plan
- Scroll down to the bottom of your Shopify home page
- Besides a text that tells you the time left on your free trial, there is a select a plan button; click on it.
- Choose a plan
- Enter your bank details
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.
Note: The billing won’t be made until you have used up your free trial period.
3. How To Get More Sales on Shopify?
Now that you have your store up and running, you’ll probably want to learn how to get sales and direct prospective buyers to your store. There’s no need to stress over this; Shopify has already put in place many methods that can be implemented by store owners to get more sales. The various marketing strategies are discussed below.
By creating optimized content, meta-description, page titles, and URLs, you could compete for higher positions on Google SERPs. Also, there are third-party applications for you to enhance your website performance, improve its loading speed, and optimize your product’s images.
As mentioned above, you can set up your store to collect customers’ details from which you can create email lists. With the aid of various email marketing applications available on the eCommerce platform, you can inform your customers of new products, amazing offers, and promotions. Doing this will create a sense of belonging in them, and they won’t forget your store when they need products that belong to your industry.
Integrating with other marketplaces and social media
Do you know that you can become a multichannel eCommerce merchant using Shopify? The eCommerce platform has collaborated with several online marketplaces, including Amazon and Walmart. Therefore, you can link your stores together, expand your product catalog, and leverage the traffic on other online marketplaces to boost sales. Check out our blog on how to connect your store to Amazon and Walmart.
Also, you could also link your store to Instagram and Facebook shops. Doing this will enable your business to attract prospective buyers from social networks. Click here for a guide on how to integrate your Facebook and Instagram.
With the Shopify point of sale (POS) app, you could sell your online store products to people in person. Your buyers don’t have to visit your website to make a purchase if you’re with them. The app enables store owners to receive payment using the buyer’s credit card, arrange delivery, and issue a receipt to the buyer right on the spot.
So, you don’t have to tell people to visit your site to buy from you. You can sell anywhere, just with your mobile device and the Shopify POS app.
Running an Ads campaign cannot be easier. Shopify has put in place all the tools required to launch a successful ads campaign both on Google and Social platforms. Moreover, there are tools for you to measure your campaign performances and recommendations to improve your marketing strategy. What else can a merchant ask for?
4. Pros And Cons of Shopify
Advantages of using Shopify
- Shopify is a multichannel eCommerce solution
- Availability of varieties of amazing third-party apps
- The platform supports a high converting marketing strategy
- Shopify is simple and easy to understand
- A single eCommerce solution for selling both digital and physical products
- It enables merchants to sell in person using their POS app
Disadvantages of using Shopify
- Advanced features attract a higher price
- Integrating some apps comes at a price
- Their backend is coded in a special PHP language called Liquid, and therefore, it’s difficult to customize Shopify themes without a developer.
It’s no doubt that Shopify is the best eCommerce platform on the internet. If you want to try things out, register for an account today and enjoy their 14 days of free trials.
Now if you still have questions or just skipped to the end because it is too much to read and would like to get started, contact us and we will get you up and running with professional guidance along your entire journey.
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