Working with thousands of Shopify stores, what I’ve learned from 90% of them is that they all started small from scratch, with little knowledge about how to build an online store without coding skills, or how to get the first buyers and how to optimize the so-called conversion rates in eCommerce.
Most of us when starting an eCommerce store, are not tech-savvy. Coding a beautiful online website which is responsive on mobile devices ? Oh no, I don’t think I can. But I do have my own store, and I am helping out online store owners to optimize their website and boost revenue every single day. Because selling online has never been easier, now, with well-rounded online store builders like Shopify. Believe it or not, you can get started and be a digital entrepreneur in a matter of minutes, just like hundreds of people all over the world.
That’s why I am writing this article, to walk you and many interested-to-become-entrepreneur people through the basic process of how to start an online store with Shopify, and help with a few simple, free tools to get your first sales.
Shopify at a glance
Before you learn how to sell on Shopify, let’s go over some quick basics so you can decide whether Shopify is the right choice for you.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an online store builder that provides you with anything from hosting, domain,… so that anyone can sell online. With Shopify, you won’t have to worry about server, security or any other technical issues. You just need to sign up an account to open a store, then take care of the content of your store. Currently there are over 250,000 stores using Shopify to sell online.
Who is Shopify for?
With that being said, Shopify is great for, but not limited to, small and medium business owners, especially who have little to no coding skills. Though, many coders/developers still come to Shopify as the best choice because they are free from technical issues and can invest all resources into products, marketing and selling.
What may bother you is Shopify pricing. Shopify is a premium service, which means there is no free plan, only a free trial for 14 days, and then you are bound to buy one of the packages. Also, for Basic Shopify stores, you are charged 2% for each transaction.
But wait, if you don’t have much coding background, are running store by yourself without a technician, pricing for all these available goodies shouldn’t mind you, should it? Believe me, Shopify is the way to go.
How to sell on Shopify
#1 Get your Shopify account
Now that you have decided Shopify is a good choice to start your business, let’s go over the basic steps from zero to a complete Shopify store ready to sell stuffs..
Get an account on www.shopify.com: Signing up takes literally seconds, and for starters you’ll only need a free trial account to play around before paying after 14-day free trial ends.
After your store is being created, you will be asked to choose the purpose of creating the store:
- Online Store: create a fully hosted website to sell anything (this article focus on this option).
- Retail Store or Pop up Shop: open a Point Of Sale using mobile devices, as an add-on to an existing retail website. Whether you made a sale online, in-store, or on your phone, your inventory is automatically updated in real time.
After choosing your option, you need to add your address to set up currencies and tax rates, then you’re done and redirected to your Shopify admin dashboardl like this:
#2 Set up domain address
In Shopify admin dashboard, choose Online Store >> Domains to set up a domain for your store.
If you have not already had a domain address, you can stick with the basic domain for Shopify Stores (www.yourstore.myshopify.com), or go to domain providers such as Bluehost or Godaddy to buy the address that you like, suits your business’ industry, or is good for SEO purpose.
#3 Choose a Shopify theme
The next thing is to choose a theme. On Shopify Admin Dashboard, choose Online Store >> Theme. Here you got 2 options:
- Customize your own theme (if you’re a confident designer and have a little coding skills).
- Choose a pre-designed template in Shopify Themes collection (which is more suggested if you want to give your store a professional look, save time, and have technical support from the theme developer team).
I may suggest these 02 popular themes that many of my customers use as they are light and mobile responsive:
#4 Add products
Next, you need to add products and start selling. This is probably the most time-consuming step that cost you much effort. No doubt, products should be the most important part in selling.
Find Add Products button on Shopify admin dashboard. You have 02 options to add products to your store:
- Manually add product, filling in all details: product name, product description, product images, type of product, the vendor, price, variants (size, color…).
- Bulk upload products by importing CSV file. You can have a look at Shopify’s Product Manual for more details on this method.
#5 Install suitable apps to support your business
You need apps to start selling effectively on Shopify, that’s for sure. There are hundreds of Shopify apps on Shopify Appstore, in different categories: Marketing, Sales, Customer Support, Shipping, Reporting, Inventory…
Most starters will go with the top free apps on each category, with a big number of reviews, to test on their store before being willing to paying for charged apps.
(Here we collect Top 10 Best FREE Shopify Apps most Shopify stores should install in 2016)
#6 Get your first customers
One of the head-scratchings for rookie online sellers is how to do marketing, promote Shopify stores and boost sales. There are a wide range of things you can do to sell online, however, the most popular and effective ways to get traffic in the begining are:
- Use email marketing (the best marketing channel ever!) to sell!
- Promote your business by running advertising services: Facebook Ads & Google Ads
- Leverage social media : use Pinterest for e-Commerce, optimize Instagram to grow sales, build perfect Facebook business page,…
- Run discount offers to welcome visitors on your site, and at the same time collecting email subscriptions or social followers in exchange for discount code, like this coupon pop up:
Are you ready to start your own business now?
This basic tutorial should be enough to help you get started, but you will probably have more questions while setting it up yourself. Don’t worry then, because you will always discover things yourself while seriously working on it, and find support in Beeketing Blog with tutorials, tips and tricks to boost sales on Shopify stores.