How to Start a Shopify Store for Your eCommerce Business

how to start a shopify store for your ecommerce business

Have you ever thought of starting your own online store? This guide will show you how to start a Shopify store from scratch. We’ll break down the process into simple and easy step-by-step instructions to help you get your Shopify store live and running quickly.

Follow our easy step-by-step instructions to start your Shopify store as quickly as possible.

And that’s not all! After you launch your new Shopify store, we’ll provide bonus tips for your eCommerce business to succeed. These valuable insights will help you take your online store to the next level.

Let’s get started with how to create a Shopify store from scratch:

1. Get Everything You Need for Your Shopify Store Ready:

Before you start building your Shopify store, make sure you have everything you need. This will speed up the process and make the store look better.

The key things you’ll usually need are:

  • Captivating Business Idea: Find a product that addresses a need in the market and connects with your target audience.
  • Memorable Business Name: Create a unique and memorable name that reflects your brand’s identity and is simple for customers to remember.
  • Eye-catching Logo Design: Create a logo that visually represents your brand and leaves an impression that will stay with your customers.
  • Compelling Products: Find high-quality products that match your brand and address the needs of your target customers and market.
  • Professional Product Photos: Showcase your products with captivating, high-resolution photos that highlight their features and benefits.
  • Engaging Website Content: Craft informative and engaging content for key pages like “About Us”, “Contact Us”, “Blogs”, and “FAQs” to establish trust and transparency with your customers.

2. Start a Free Trial:

Next, start your free trial of Shopify. This trial allows you to test the product for three days. After that, you’ll only pay $1 for the first month of your Shopify subscription.

shopify's free trial signup page for starting your store

It’s important to note that there are two types of Shopify trials to consider: a regular trial and a dropshipping trial. The dropshipping trial provides access to various dropshipping resources tailored to help you start a dropshipping business more seamlessly.

You can access both of these trials using the links below:

You don’t have to provide any credit card information to set up your Shopify account and begin your trial. However, you will be prompted to answer a few onboarding questions about the type of business you’re creating on Shopify.

shopify store onboarding questions to start a shopify store

Although you can skip these questions, providing as much information as possible to Shopify is beneficial. The platform customizes your store’s setup guide based on the answers you provide.

shopify store setup guide

Once you answer Shopify’s questions, you’ll get access to your brand-new Shopify account!

Now, you can start adding products, choose a theme for your store, and configure your payment and shipping options.

dashboard of your new shopify account

3. Add Products to Your Shopify Store:

After signing up for your free Shopify trial, you might find yourself eager to explore the best Shopify themes and customize the look and feel of your Shopify store.

(Let’s be honest, designing your store can be the most enjoyable part of starting a Shopify store!)

However, it’s better to add your products first.

Your product selection has a significant impact on how your Shopify store looks and feels your customers.

Avoid spending a long time choosing and customizing a theme only to discover that your product images do not fit your requirements.

To add your first product, simply go to Products > Add your products in your Shopify dashboard.

adding products to your shopify store

Once you have your products lined up, it’s time to fill in the essential details that will make them shine online.

This includes:

  • Product Titles: Titles should be clear, concise, and include relevant keywords to help customers find your products in search.
  • Descriptions: Craft detailed descriptions that highlight product features and benefits, captivating potential buyers.
  • High-Quality Images: Include professional-looking photos and videos that showcase your products from all angles.
  • Competitive Pricing: Set prices that are attractive to your target audience while ensuring profitability.
  • Inventory Management: Maintain accurate stock levels to avoid disappointing customers with out-of-stock products.
  • Transparent Shipping Information: Clearly outline your shipping options, costs, and estimated delivery times.
  • Variant Options: If your products have variations (size, color, etc.), provide clear descriptions for each.

You can use helpful apps such as Dropshipman to simplify your sourcing, product adding and even automated fulfillment when you get your orders. You can also directly import all the above information of products from AliExpress, Temu so it saves a lot of time

4. Create Product Collections for Your Store:

After adding some products to your Shopify store, leverage collections to organize them for easy browsing. Collections group similar products, enhancing customer navigation.

For example, a fragrance store can create collections for perfumes, deodorants, attars, and other categories to make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for.

Shopify collections offer several benefits to enhance your store’s organization and functionality:

  • Curated Product Displays: Showcase specific products on your homepage to highlight new arrivals, seasonal items, or staff picks.
  • Simplified Navigation: Create dedicated links in your site navigation for targeted product sets, making it easier for customers to find what they need.
  • Targeted Promotions: Run targeted promotions and discounts exclusively for products within a collection.
creating product collections in shopify

After accessing the collection editor, you can enter a title, description, collection image, and SEO information.

This process is similar to that of creating a product, as it ensures that your collection is optimized for search engines and easy to find and understand by customers.

Take special note of the “Collection type” box. This feature allows you to create collections either manually or automatically.

manual collection type in shopify

If you select the “manual” option, you can search for products from your catalog and add them to the collection individually.

If you choose the “Automated” option, you will need to create simple rules to create your collection.

automated collection type in shopify

In the above example, we are creating a perfume collection based on the product tag. Whenever a product is tagged with “Perfume”, it will be automatically added to that collection.

However, you are not limited to using product tags for these rules. You can also use other product attributes to create collections, such as product title, type, vendor, and price.

automated collections options in shopify

In my opinion, this “automated collection” is one of the best Shopify features. Automated collections can save you hours of time, especially if you have a large product inventory. Make sure to take full advantage of this feature!

5. Create Your Store Pages:

Now, the next step is to create your store’s pages. Creating new pages in Shopify is simple!

Just click on “Online Store > Pages > Add page” from your Shopify admin dashboard and craft a clear, descriptive title to grab attention in search results.

Utilize the rich text editor to format engaging content, including links, tables, images, and videos, to make your page more appealing to your customers!

creating new pages from the shopify admin dashboard

Build trust and engage your customers with these essential Shopify pages:

  • About Us: Tell your brand story, highlight your values, and connect with your target audience on a personal level.
  • FAQs: Address common customer questions about your products to streamline the customer’s buying journey.
  • Policy Pages: Provide transparency with clear website terms of service, cookie policy, privacy policy, shipping policy, and return policy.
  • Contact Us: Make it easy for customers to connect with a clear phone number, address, and a user-friendly contact form.
  • Blog: Share valuable content, industry news, or updates about your business to keep customers engaged.

Note: You will notice that the home page is not on this list. This is because it’s better to add a home page after choosing a theme, as it requires more design work with your theme’s home page customizer. We’ll cover this in more detail shortly.

adding a page to a shopify store

6. Choose the Best Shopify Theme:

At this stage, you’ve added products, organized them into collections, and created essential pages.

Now, it’s theme time! Visit the Shopify Theme Store, which offers a wide range of themes to perfectly match your brand’s vision.

shopify theme store for starting a shopify store

If you’re not sure which Shopify theme is best for your online business, check out our best Shopify themes for online store guide, where we’ve organized Shopify themes by industry to help you choose a theme quickly and easily.

Choosing the perfect Shopify theme requires considering key factors:

  • Prioritize Functionality Over Aesthetics: While fonts and colors are customizable, ensure the theme offers the features you need, like specific layouts or search bars.
  • Explore Theme Variations: Most paid themes come in multiple variants. Browse each version before making your final decision.
  • Test Paid Themes: Take advantage of free trials to see how paid themes look and function before you buy. Remember, these themes are one-time purchases, not monthly subscriptions.

7. Create Your Home Page:

Once you’ve chosen your Shopify theme, it’s time to create your store’s home page.

Ready to customize your homepage?

Head over to Online Store > Themes and click the “Customize” button. This will open a drag-and-drop editor for your home page.

While specific options may vary by theme, most Shopify themes offer a versatile drag-and-drop editor equipped with essential sections to customize your homepage.

These sections commonly include:

  • Hero Images: Make a captivating first impression with a bold hero image.
  • Slideshows: Showcase multiple products or promotions with dynamic slideshows.
  • Featured Collections: Highlight curated product collections to guide customers.
  • Engaging Text & Images: Combine compelling text with high-quality images to tell your brand story.
  • Newsletter Sign-Up Forms: Grow your audience by incorporating newsletter signup opportunities.
  • Featured Products: Put your star products front and center to drive sales.
creating the home page for your shopify store

When adding content to your home page, remember to keep things simple. Avoid overwhelming your visitors with too much information.

Highlight your best-seller products, avoid clutter, and make it easy for potential customers to find what they’re looking for.

8. Set up Your Shipping Rates:

Now your online store is visually appealing and has great products, it’s time to ensure a smooth customer experience with “shipping rates”.

Here are some key operational aspects to consider:

  • Fulfillment: Determine the method you’ll use to deliver your products to customers. Explore shipping options and consider offering clear delivery timelines.
  • Taxes: Set up the appropriate tax rates to be charged on your products. Ensure compliance with local and regional tax regulations.
  • Payments: Choose a reliable payment gateway to securely accept online payments. Provide a variety of popular payment options for customer convenience.

To access your shipping settings, go to Settings > Shipping and Delivery in your Shopify admin dashboard.

shipping and delivery setting in shopify dashboard

The different shipping rate options you described are:

1. Flat Rate Shipping: This is a fixed cost you set for shipping, regardless of the weight or destination of the order. It’s simple to understand for customers but may not be the most cost-effective option for heavier items or longer distances.

2. Price-Based or Weight-Based Rates: With these options, the shipping rates are determined by the product’s weight or total price of the order. This can be fairer to customers for heavier items or larger orders.

3. Calculated Shipping Rates: These rates are determined in real-time at checkout by the carrier based on the weight and dimensions of the package and the destination. This can be the most accurate way to charge for shipping, but it requires integration with third-party carrier systems.

4. Free Shipping: This is an incentive you can offer to entice customers to buy more. You absorb the shipping rates on your product pricing or offer it above a certain order value.

5. Local Pickup or Delivery: This allows customers to pick up their orders at your store or a designated location, or you can deliver them within a local area. This can be a good option for bulky items or customers who want to save on shipping costs.

The best option for you will be determined by the type of products you sell, your packaging costs, and the usual shipping addresses of your customers.

If you don’t get the shipping zones and rates right the first time, you can always go back and refine your shipping rules later.

If you want to test shipping rates that are best for your Shopify store, consider using the Shopify app Shipzip – Shipping & Delivery.

This Shopify app applies multiple conditions on shipping rules based on the product SKU, types, tags, and vendors.

Learn more about how to set up custom shipping rates in Shopify store

9. Set up Your Tax Rates:

Many merchants will need to charge sales tax or VAT (value-added tax) on their products. Since tax rules vary significantly by country, it’s advisable to consult a tax professional to ensure your store is configured correctly.

Shopify offers automatic tax calculation for specific jurisdictions, and it can even handle the EU’s complex rules on VAT for digital products through VAT MOSS. Utilizing this feature can expedite the tax setup process for many merchants.

Others will have to set tax rates more manually.

In the Shopify admin dashboard, you can find the tax settings by navigating to “Settings > Taxes and Duties”.

taxes and duties in shopify dashboard

In the tax settings section, you’ll have the option to create tax regions (rules for individual countries or areas) and specify how you want to handle taxation.

For example, you can determine whether product prices should be inclusive or exclusive of tax and whether tax should be applied to shipping rates, among other options.

As mentioned above, it is best to consult with a tax professional or accountant when setting up these rules. Furthermore, it is important to review Shopify’s official tax rate documentation.

10. Choose a Payment Gateway for Your Store:

To accept payments for your products, you must choose a payment gateway. This software is in charge of processing credit card purchases made through your store.

Shopify works with over 100 payment gateways, including its own, “Shopify Payments”. For many merchants, Shopify Payments provides the quickest setup.

However, Shopify Payments is only accessible in specific countries. If you reside in an unsupported location, you’ll need to utilize a third-party payment gateway.

To activate a payment gateway, simply navigate to “Settings > Payments” in your Shopify admin dashboard and follow the provided instructions.

payment gateway in shopify to start a shopify store

11. Connect Your Domain:

At this stage, you’ve completed all the crucial steps to launch your Shopify store. In fact, if you’d like, you could publish it immediately using the “myshopify” URL that was generated for you when you started your free trial.

However, it is generally preferable to use a custom domain for your store, such as yoursitename.com. Having your own domain improves your branding and builds trust in your store among site visitors.

You may have already registered a custom domain.

If not, there are two ways to purchase one:

  • Through a domain name provider like Namecheap, Godaddy, Bluehost, etc.
  • OR directly from the Shopify store.

If you go for the first option, aim to purchase a domain from a trusted registrar. It’s especially beneficial to select one that offers two-factor authentication.

This ensures the security of your domain, which is one of the most valuable assets in your online business!

Using Shopify to purchase a domain simplifies the process of connecting it to your store. Simply click on “Settings > Domain” in your Shopify admin dashboard.

Note: If you buy a domain through Shopify, you will also get customer support.

domain name selection to start a shopify store

The disadvantage of this method is that it consolidates all of your assets in one location, so your content management system (CMS), hosting, and domain are all linked to a single account.

This could become an issue if you lose access to it. As a result, some users choose to have separate accounts for their domain name.

12. Prepare Your Store for Launch:

Once your domain is connected, you can immediately launch and introduce your store to the world!

However, before launching your store, make sure that everything is in working order. This is where a Shopify launch checklist comes in.

Don’t forget to finalize your launch with a thorough pre-launch checklist! Here are key areas to ensure a seamless customer experience:

  • Functional Payments: Verify successful payment processing by placing a test order.
  • Accurate Taxes & Shipping: Confirm that sales taxes and shipping options are calculated correctly.
  • Complete Product Listings: Double-check all product data entries for accuracy.
  • Polished Content: Ensure your website copy is factually accurate, grammatically correct, and free of errors.
  • Broken Link Free: Eliminate any broken links that might disrupt the user experience.
  • Legal Compliance: Implement necessary legal notices, including GDPR/CCPA compliant cookie consent if applicable.
  • Functional Forms: Test your contact forms to ensure emails are delivered to the right address.
  • Customized Order Notifications: Personalize order notifications to align with your business processes.
  • Branded Favicon: Add a favicon to solidify your brand identity in browser tabs and search results.
  • Enhanced Security: Enable two-factor authentication for your Shopify account to bolster security.

That’s it! Your Shopify store is now live and ready to sell your products.

Ready to turn your passion into profit? We hope you’ve enjoyed our post on how to start a Shopify store for your eCommerce business.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below – our team is here to help you navigate your entrepreneurial journey. Thanks for reading!

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