How to Start a Successful Shopify Store in 2023
This step-by-step tutorial will walk you through the steps to start a Shopify online store from scratch.
Start a successful Shopify store: What to Do First
Before starting a successful Shopify store, there are several key steps you need to follow to ensure that your store is set up for success from the beginning.
Determine Your Target Audience
It’s important to identify your target audience before starting a successful Shopify store. By knowing who your target audience is, you can make informed decisions regarding the products you plan to sell, the design and layout of your Shopify store, and the marketing tactics you use.
Define Your Product Offering
Defining product offering is another crucial step to take before starting an online store using Shopify. There are several factors when considering your product offerings. They are as follows:
- Market demand: Ensure that there is a market for the products or services you plan to offer.
- Competitor analysis: Determine what products or services your competitors now offer on the market and how your offerings compare.
- Unique valued proposition: Determine what sets your products apart from others in your niche.
- Profitability: Ensure that the products or services you plan to offer are profitable to sell.
Decide on Your Store’s Name, Logo, and Domain
Before starting your Shopify store, It’s a good idea to determine your store’s name, logo, and domain. These elements form the base of your brand and will be used throughout your store and in all your future marketing strategies, so it’s important to choose them carefully.
There are some tips for deciding on your store’s name, logo, and domain, including:
- Your store’s name should be memorable, easy to spell, and relevant to your brand and products.
- Your logo should be visually appealing, clear, and recognizable, and it should represent your brand personality.
- Your domain should be easy to remember and indicative of your brand. Consider using a domain name that’s the same as or similar to your store name.
Outline Your Strategies
Before starting an e-commerce business, it’s important to outline your business goals, marketing plans, and challenges you need to overcome. You need to make sure that the type of business you put yourself and your money into is worth the investment.
Decide Your Budget
It’s important to decide how much you can afford to spend before starting out on an e-commerce journey. Consider constructing a spreadsheet to estimate the expenses that you might have to incur when starting your business.
You can finance your business with your own funds or with credit cards. If you choose to opt for the latter, you have to pay the debt on the credit cards and you have lost a chunk of your money if your business does not go as planned. Also, you can allow your friends and family to invest in your business or look for funds from business loans or grants.
Assuming that you have completed all the above steps, we are now ready to start a successful Shopify store.
How to Start an Online Store With Shopify?
Step 1: Start Your Shopify Free Trial
First thing first, sign up for a Shopify free trial, which lasts 3 days and allows you to try out the service at no cost. After a free trial, you only pay $1 monthly for your first three months of a Shopify subscription plan.
- Go to Shopify.com
- Click “Start your free trial”
- Enter your store name, and you are good to go.
You can skip the store naming process and let Shopify generate a URL for your Shopify online store. Of course, you can change it later, but you can only do this once.
It’s worth noting that if you name your store during your free trial, you won’t get the option to change it at a later stage.
Step 2: Decide Your Shopify Pricing Plan
Once your Shopify store is online, the next step is to decide on a Shopify subscription plan. There are five Shopify pricing plans to choose from.
As a new merchant, do not rush into committing to a Shopify plan. Make use of your free trial period to learn all the basic things about Shopify that help you sell efficiently on Shopify. After your free trial ends, consider paying $1 per month for the next three months and make a more informed decision about which plan to choose.
For an existing merchant with a physical store who is looking to expand your brand online, consider choosing a Shopify plan that offers the features and resources you need to promote your products.
Wonder which Shopify plan best fits your business? No worries; we have created a detailed Shopify pricing guide to help you make a better choice.
Step 3: Build Your successful Shopify Store
With your Shopify store ready, it’s time to spice it up. Here is how to do it.
Add Products to Your Shopify Store
- From your Shopify admin dashboard, click Products from your left sidebar.
- Click Add your Products to start adding your products.
- From the "Add product" page, you can add in the following key information:
- Product Title
- Product descriptions
- Shipping rate
- Search engine listing
- Product Status
- Product organization
Create Your Product Collections
Once you have added your first products to your Shopify store, it’s time to put them into collections for easy management and future marketing programs.
- Here is how to create a product collection in your Shopify store
- Go to Products from your Shopify admin dashboard
- Select Collections from the list > Create Collections
From the Collection editor, you can provide the following information:
- Collection Title
- Collection type
- Search engine listing
- Collection availability
- Collection image
When it comes to selecting a collection type, you have two options:
- Manual. You manually add products to the collection one by one. This option is suitable for store owners with a few products.
- Automated. Shopify automatically populates your products based on your specific conditions. This option is best for store owners with an extensive product inventory.
In the above example, we are creating a Baby Onesies collection based on the product tag. Every product tagged with “Baby Onesies” will automatically be added to that collection.
Create Key Pages for Your Shopify Store
Now that your product collections are set up, it’s time to create the key pages for your Shopify store.
From your Shopify admin dashboard, you can create the following store pages:
- About Us
- Contact Us
To create a Shopify page, you can follow the steps below:
- From your admin dashboard, click Online Store from the left-side menu.
- Select Pages from the drop-down menu.
- Click Add page.
- From the “Add page” window, you can enter page title, edit website SEO, and select its visibility.
- Make sure you set the “Theme template” option to “contact” when creating a Contact page for your Shopify store.
When it comes to creating a blog post, select Online Store from the left-side menu > Blog Posts > Create blog post.
Once you are in, complete the below steps to add a blog post to your successful Shopify store and hit Save.
- In the Title field, enter a title for your blog post.
- In the Content field, input content for your blog post.
- In the Excerpt field, add a summary of your blog post.
- In the search engine listing preview section, add search engine elements including Page Title and Description.
- Upload an image for your blog post.
- In the Organization section, select Create a new blog from the drop-down menu.
- In the Blog title field, enter a title for your blog.
To create your store’s homepage, you can follow the steps below.
- Select Online Store and click Themes from the pull-down menu.
- Click Customize, and you will enter a drag-and-drop editor for your store’s home page.
- From here, you have access to every tool to create a home page for your successful Shopify store, such as adding a banner image, slideshows, or editing featured products or collections.
Depending on which Shopify theme you choose, the default layout varies a bit from one theme to another.
Create Your Store’s Navigation Menus
With your products and key pages ready, it’s time to add navigation menus to your Shopify store. Here are the steps:
- Select Online Store from your admin dashboard.
- Select avigation from the drop-down menu.
- You can add two navigation menus, including a footer menu and a main menu.
We will be creating a main menu in the section below.
- Click on the main menu link. You can add your successful Shopify pages or the collection you created earlier there.
- Click Add menu item.
- Enter a name for the menu item you want to add to your main menu and select a link to it.
- Click Add to confirm
Step 4: Design Your successful Shopify Store
Add a Theme
With your products, collections, pages, and navigation menus all sorted, it’s time to add a Shopify theme to your online store.
To add a theme to your Shopify store, simply visit the Shopify theme store, where you will find over 100 free and paid-for themes.
Customize Your Brand
Now, it’s time to spice up your store’s brand. In fact, you can add a logo to your store and change typefaces and colors directly from your admin dashboard. Here is how to do it.
How to add a logo to your Shopify store
- Click on Online Store from your Shopify dashboard.
- Select Themes and click on Customize.
- From the drag-and-drop editor, click Header from the left-side menu.
- From the Header settings, click on Edit brand under the Logo image section.
How to customize typography and colors
- Select Online Store from the left-side menu.
- Click on Themes from the pull-down and select Customize.
- Click on Theme Settings.
From here, select Colors and Typography, and start customizing typefaces and colors to your liking.
You can change the color or adjust the font size scale to match your brand’s style.
Step 5: Decide On Shipping Rates
Now, you can add shipping rates to your Shopify store. You can create different types of shipping rates in Shopify, including:
- Flat shipping rates - a fixed amount of shipping cost for specific territories or orders whose weight or price fall in the range given.
- Calculated shipping rates - rates that are determined in real-time by a third-party shipping service depending on the order details during checkout.
- Free shipping rates - customers can receive free delivery on every order.
These shipping rate options appear at the checkout once your customers have entered their addresses.
To set up shipping rates in Shopify:
- Click Settings at the bottom left corner of your admin dashboard.
- Select Shipping and Delivery from the left-side menu.
- Here, you can add your custom rates or destination restrictions for a specific group of products or decide on your processing time.
Suppose you use Shopify Shipping, Shopify’s built-in tool for international shipping. In that case, you can access discounted rates with various shipping carriers like DHL, UPS, and Canada Post, and print labels within your admin. The discounts can go up to 85%, depending on your Shopify plan.
Click Calculate shipping rates to learn how much you will save when you buy discounted labels from Shopify Shipping.
Step 6: Set Tax Rates
With your products, content, storefront design, and shipping rates all in place, it’s time to decide if you should charge taxes on purchases of your products. Setting taxes involves signing up for a tax number at your local tax authorities.
Remember that the rates and rules for taxes vary by country. Therefore, it’s always better to consult a tax agency before setting up tax rates for your Shopify store.
Once you have obtained your VAT number, you can customize tax rates for specific collections or shipping destinations.
- Go to Settings > Taxes and duties
- Select the country you plan to sell in (we select the United States in this example)
- Select Start Collecting and enter your Sales tax ID
- Hit Collect sales tax
Step 7: Set up Your Payment Gateway
You need to choose your payment gateway to accept customer payments. You can set up a payment gateway from your admin dashboard. Here are the steps.
- Go to Settings at the bottom left corner.
- Select Payments from the left sidebar.
- From here, you can choose to enable Shopify Payments, Shopify’s in-house payment gateway, if you live in a supported country.
- If you live in an unsupported location or want to use a different payment provider, click See all other providers.
- From here, you have over 100 payment providers to choose from.
- Select your preferred payment provider and follow the on-screen instructions.
Step 8: Set up Your Domain
You can either use the default domain provided by Shopify during your free trial or create your custom domain.
Go to Settings > Domains.
Once you are in,
- Click Buy new domain if you buy a new domain via Shopify.
- Click Connect existing domain if you want to connect any purchased domain to Shopify.
Step 9: Launch Your Store
Once you have set up your domain, it’s time to get your Shopify store online. But it’s always better to run pre-launch tests to ensure everything is working correctly.
To publish your successful Shopify store,
- Click Online Store > Preferences.
- When you are in, add the Homepage title and meta description, set up social media, and enable password protection.
- Hit the Save button.
That’s it! Your successful Shopify store is now live and you can start selling.
How to Start a successful Shopify Online Store: 5 Tips for First Sales?
So, you have set up your Shopify store and got all the basics in place. The next step is to think about how to get sales on Shopify. Here are 5 tips to help you drive traffic and convert visitors to customers.
Identify Your Unique Selling Points
Regarding e-commerce sales, it’s crucial to identify and highlight your store’s unique selling points. In fact, solid and unique selling points give customers a detailed look at your products or services that could benefit their lives.
- Your unique selling points should be tangible and engaging to customers.
- Ensure that you create your unique selling points from your customer’s point of view.
- Identify which characteristics make your brand stand out from others.
Offer High-Quality Products
Product quality is essential in starting and running a successful online store on Shopify. Therefore, ensure that your products meet your customer’s expectations while maintaining a high level of product quality. Below are a few tips for ensuring product quality on your successful Shopify store.
- Choose a reliable supplier. Go for a trustworthy supplier that offers high-quality products that match your brand’s characteristics and target audience.
- Inspect products before listing. Before listing your products in your Shopify store, inspect them thoroughly to ensure they meet your expectations.
- Provide detailed product descriptions. Provide customers with detailed product information. Also, use high-quality images to describe your products.
- Offer product guarantees. Offer product guarantees and warranties to showcase your confidence in the quality of your products.
Focus on Marketing & SEO
Getting your Shopify store to rank among the first few results on search engines is vital to getting sales.
Use our tips below to boost your store’s organic traffic and increase sales on your Shopify store.
- Conduct keyword research and choose the right keywords for your store.
- Ensure your Shopify store loads quickly and is optimized for mobile.
- Ensure your website is properly organized and structured.
- Optimize product category pages and product pages.
- Include blog posts to increase your website’s search visibility and generate organic traffic.
- Build your links for your website.
Make Use of Shopify Apps
Shopify App Store offers thousands of apps and integrations that enhance your Shopify store. From dropshipping apps to marketing tools to social media platforms and POD services.
Promote your products on social platforms
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great ways to promote your brand or products. Starting with the Shopify Starter plan, you can add a Buy button to your social media pages and existing websites.
Set Up Your Affiliate Programs
Affiliate marketing is a great strategy that helps generate many sales. An affiliate program allows you to effectively market your products and increase your brand awareness while guaranteeing stable revenue growth.
Make Use of Email Marketing
When you have gained a user base, keep them up-to-date with your latest products, special promotions, or events via email.
Set Up Discounts and Promotions
Offering discounts and promotions in your Shopify store helps attract new customers or encourage your existing ones to make additional purchases. For new store owners, promotions and discounts also help spread the word about your brand and build customer loyalty over time.
How Much Does It Cost to Start an successful Online Store Using Shopify?
The cost of starting an online store with Shopify depends on your needs and business model. However, expect your startup costs of $250 to $600, including monthly subscription fees, domain, marketing, apps, and themes. There’s also a transaction fee of 2.0% to 2.9% plus 30 cents for each online sale made using Shopify Payments.
Start an successful Online Store with Shopify: 5 Common Mistakes and How to Avoid
Starting an online store on Shopify can come with potential pitfalls. Here’s a rundown of some common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Poor Product Selection
Failing to do keyword research and select products in demand can result in low traffic and a lack of online sales.
Solution: Ensure thorough market research to find the products that best meet the needs of your potential customers.
Poor Website Design
Choosing a theme with poor visual design can quickly create a negative impression, making customers feel unsure of your brand. This can damage your credibility and reduce the chance of customers returning for future purchases.
Solution: Go for a theme that’s easy to use, clean, and user-friendly. Consider switching to a paid-for theme when your business grows in size and profitability.
Lack of mobile optimization
A poorly optimized website for mobile devices can be slow, difficult to navigate and provide an overall negative experience, leading to increased bounce rates and decreased conversions.
Solution: Ensure to optimize your Shopify store for mobile. Some things you can do include making navigation menus accessible, adjusting visuals for mobile screens, selecting a fast Shopify theme, and adjusting font size for mobile visibility.
Unsatisfactory Customer Experience
Poor customer service can drive your customers away, causing them to seek your competitors who provide better support.
Solution: Ensure prompt and helpful customer service, which can help build customer trust and improve their overall experience, thus reducing the likelihood of negative reviews or lost sales.
Neglect of Payment and Shipping Configuration
Failing to establish your payment and shipping options will make it difficult for customers to complete their purchases, thus leading to a high cart abandonment rate.
Solution: Make sure you have set up your payment and shipping options before launching your Shopify store.
Lack of Marketing Strategies
Failing to have a comprehensive marketing plan in place can make it difficult for your Shopify store to reach its target audience, thus resulting in a lack of traffic and sales.
Solution: Ensure to develop your marketing strategies. An effective marketing strategy can help increase your brand awareness, drive traffic, and ultimately increase sales.
That’s how to start an online store with Shopify. Shopify offers a user-friendly e-commerce platform to start selling online and in-person. Hopefully, you found our post on how to create a successful Shopify store useful during your build.
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