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March 29, 2022

How To Start a Shopify Store

How To Start a Shopify Store

Opening a Shopify store and getting into the ecommerce business is a surefire way to boost your revenue, but knowing how to create an online store can be confusing. 

This post will take you through all the necessary steps to create a Shopify account and set up an online store. It will also offer advice on what plans and preparation you need to do before getting started and run through all the tools you can use on Shopify. 

Why Should I Start a Shopify Store?

Shopify main homepage. 

First, you might wonder about the benefits of setting up a Shopify store for your business. Shopify is currently one of the most popular ecommerce platforms, and it's easy to see why. The platform integrates well with apps and provides businesses with a user-friendly, visually appealing platform. It's a useful ecommerce platform for selling physical products, and creating an online store only takes 30 minutes.

It's also completely secure and handles all the compliance issues involved when handling sensitive credit card information online. Shopify also puts the legwork in when it comes to calculating sales tax, setting up a payment gateway, and organizing how much shipping is going to cost. Plus, Shopify users have access to support 24/7 in case issues arise. 

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Shopify Store?

One of the first questions you'll be asking is how much it costs to start a Shopify store or if there is a way to set up an account with no money. If you are at the start of launching your business, you will likely be looking at low-cost options.

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, which means you can try it before paying. You don't need to input your credit card details to activate the trial. Using the trial period will allow you to go through the setup and determine if it's the right platform for your business. After 14 days, there are several pricing options available for organizations to use, and you can find the best tier for you. If you're looking to have a Shopify account long-term, you have to pay for it.

Shopify Pricing Tiers

Shopify pricing tiers. 

Deciding which price plan is right for you will come down to several factors. It's best to consider the size of your online business, the profitability, how many staff members require access to the Shopify store, and so much more. The pricing plan will likely scale up naturally as your business grows too. If you've got a small business, then the basic plan may be all you need right now, but for larger organizations, the advanced option could be the best one. 

Shopify Lite

Outside the three plans Shopify offers, there is also Shopify Lite. This option is for businesses who want to use the Shopify point of sale (POS) in their mortar store or add a buy button to their existing domain without setting up an entire Shopify store. 

Prices start from $7 a month and give access to features like issuing gift cards, allowing customers to split bills, and viewing basic financial reports. You will also have the option to provide custom discount codes, create customer profiles, and access Shopify's mobile POS software. 

Users who use Shopify Lite cannot set up an entire Shopify store without using one of the plans, but this can be a low-cost option for someone who already has a store set up and is just looking to access Shopify's POS for security and reliability. 

Basic Shopify Plan

The basic Shopify plan starts at $29 per month. It is aimed at small businesses that are just starting up. The basic plan features include your own Shopify store with a website and blog, unlimited product availability, access to 24/7 tech support from the Shopify team, and discount codes. 

Additionally, two staff members can have staff accounts on Shopify, and inventory can come from up to four locations. With this plan and competitive credit card and transaction fee rates, you will have access to discounted Shopify shipping of up to 77%. Transaction fees and credit card rates decrease with each plan banding, so it is worth checking these in more detail to ensure you choose the best option for your business. 

Standard Shopify Plan

The standard Shopify plan is priced at $79 per month and has all the standard features that the basic pricing tier offers. It offers up to five staff accounts and inventory locations for stock. There are also better rates for transactions and credit card fees available. 

Additionally, this plan includes up to 88% of Shopify shipping discounts, priority mail pricing with USPS, and a standard set of reports. 

Advanced Shopify Plan

The most comprehensive of plans for your Shopify store, this is for larger-scale businesses and offers an advanced set of reporting. It has the best offer available for transaction and credit card fees and many additional features. With the advanced pricing tier, you can access everything in the standard and basic plans and custom pricing by market. You will also be able to use better cost estimates for customers, with duties and import taxes being estimated automatically on the site. Shopify will also calculate third-party shipping rates for you. Additionally, you can have up to 15 staff accounts set up and up to 8 different inventory locations. 

Shopify Plus 

Shopify Plus is aimed at large-scale businesses and is priced at $2000 per month. The price can be variable based on how big the organization is. 

If this is the plan you're looking for, it would be worth speaking to Shopify to see if it would suit you. It allows you to use the Shopify Pro POS at no extra cost and offers high customization and unlimited online stores. 

Shopify Plus is suitable for big brands but the basic, standard, and advanced plans cater to small to medium enterprises. 

How to Set Up Your Shopify Store

Luckily Shopify makes it simple to set up your store. Once you've organized your business plan and have decided it's time to open your account, you need to follow some simple steps to launch your Shopify store and start making money. 

Create an Account and Store

Firstly, you will need to create a Shopify account. You only need an email address and password to do this, and then you'll be prompted to name your Shopify store. This name has to be distinctive and unique to your business. Shopify will set up a custom domain based on the information you provide. If you're stumped on a name choice, the Shopify site has a business name generator that can help you decide. You won't be able to change the store name later, so it's vital to ensure the custom domain is the perfect fit for your ecommerce store. 

The website will prompt you with questions about your business, such as your current revenue, what industry your business is in, and if you're already selling products or if it's all brand new. This allows Shopify to make calculations on sales taxes and currency for you. 

Add Products to the Store

Next, you need to add the products you'll sell on the website. The process is simple. You need to go to the 'products' tab and select 'add product.' 

There are many options for listing your product on Shopify, and you can use various tags to highlight vendors, location, price, type, and availability. Adding this information allows customers to search through your products using the labels to find the correct item. You will also be required to use your own product photos, so ensure these are of high quality and enticing to the customer. Product images should always show the full item. The product title should clearly state your product and be based on your keyword research to make it easy to find on search engines.

It's best to add products before choosing your theme because once the products are in your store, you can base your theme around them. 

Once you've added your products, you can write the product descriptions. There is a knack for this, and it's worth doing some research to find out what works and what doesn't. Luckily Shopify has some tips and tricks to get you started. 

You'll also need to set a price for your products. At this point, it's best to do some market research to see what other brands are selling the same products and how much they charge. When setting a price, you should always consider the market value of that product and how much it costs you to make. Doing so will ensure you're making an overall profit on your items. 

Choose a Theme

Picking the theme can be the most exciting part of setting up your Shopify store for many users. There are many paid and free Shopify themes at your disposal. There are themes suitable for any shop or brand, so it's worth browsing through to find the suitable one for your online store. 

They also have themes organized by industry, so you can see what Shopify recommends based on the type of industry your Shopify store is. There are plenty of free themes, and paid themes can cost upwards of $200 on the Shopify theme store. 

Add Pages to the Site

Once you've added your products and chosen your theme, you will need to add different pages to the online store to give your customers information. These are essential pages for any website, such as your 'About Us' or your 'Contact Us' page. 

A contact page is essential for your Shopify store as it allows customers to contact you with any queries or questions they may have. Giving the option for customer contact lets you build relationships with potential customers before they buy from you.

You'll need to have several pages set up for the legal side, such as a Privacy Policy and Terms of Service page. Shopify has a helpful privacy policy generator that is completely free to help you with this. Having an FAQ page can also be beneficial, as it might prevent many customers from contacting you with the same question. Finally, an 'About Us' page lets you sell your story to your customer and build a better connection with them before they buy things. 

Set Up Shopify Payments

Shopify's themes and templates are highly customizable, which means you can tailor your payment gateway based on your business needs. You can make it an essential part of checking out to include an email (which will help you with email marketing), and you can use this to keep existing customers engaged in your online store.  

Having a streamlined and easy checkout process is essential when it comes to selling online. Shopify checkout keeps things simple for the customer while providing plenty of customizable options. Customers can also set up customer accounts on your website so they can check out quickly in the future.

Shopify Shipping

Another essential will be setting up shipping details on Shopify. Shipping is one of the more complicated areas of an online store because there are many different shipping options. Luckily, Shopify shipping makes this easier. The ecommerce platform allows you to enter weight details for items to calculate shipping costs and set up individual prices for each shipping zone. The Shopify platform has that option if you need to set up custom shipping for your customers or even offer free shipping when customers spend over a certain amount. 

The platform will also calculate your taxes at checkout using a worldwide sales tax bracket. Taxes can change internationally, so it's best to consult a tax professional to ensure you're paying the correct amount.

What to Consider When Opening a Shopify Store

Before opening your Shopify store, there are certain things you'll need to research and prepare. No matter how long you've been planning your business, you'll need to do a lot of groundwork before setting up your ecommerce business to ensure the best possible success. 

Preparation is critical when starting an ecommerce store. According to one UK study, 90% of ecommerce businesses fail in the first 120 days. The primary reasons for this were the lack of online visibility and online marketing. To ensure your business has the best success, you'll want to research and develop a plan.

Business Plan

Before starting any business (ecommerce or in-person), developing a business plan is vital. Having a business idea simply isn't enough. You need to decide what business model you are going to follow. Before setting up your online store, you should lay out your goals as an enterprise and develop a comprehensive plan for achieving those goals. This could involve: 

  • Conducting market research regarding the products you want to sell. Is it an oversaturated market, or is there a gap waiting for you to fill it?
  • Identifying who your standard customers are going to be and what they like.
  • Figuring out where your financial resources are going to come from. Will you need to get a loan?
  • Figuring out if you need to bring on other staff members.
  • Identifying where you want the business to be in one year. Five years? 
  • Identifying your primary competitors and what they are selling. How do they behave on social media? 

These are all important considerations if you're looking to set up an ecommerce business. Having a set business plan will also help you if you're applying for financial support like a loan or attempting to get investors involved. There are plenty of resources available to help you develop a thorough business plan. 

Target Audience

Considering your target audience is another crucial component of setting up your ecommerce store. Online audiences can work differently to promote your business to an in-person audience. Online, there's no opportunity to interact with customers before buying your product. You have to do your selling on the Shopify website via product descriptions. 

To decipher your target audience, you need to think about their personality, likes and dislikes, and routine. Sometimes the best way to learn is to find out how your competitors build relationships with their customers and follow suit - or do it better if you think you can. The more you know how your customer feels, the better you can market your product to them. 

Profitability

When starting any business, online or not, it is crucial to consider how profitable your Shopify store will be. New customers can generate more income, and retaining those customers to keep them coming back for more is key. You could also use customer lifetime value to analyze how much each customer could make you in profit. 

SEO

Before actually creating a Shopify store, it will be best to do some keyword research based on the products you sell. Doing so will allow you to see what already established ecommerce business owners are doing and how their products appear on search engines. You want your customers to be able to find you when they type your products into Google. 

Search engine optimization will be crucial to the success of your new Shopify store. Well-placed keywords can see thousands of hits from potential customers coming onto your Shopify store just from people searching for items via search engines. Some services provide keyword research for you and help you discover what phrases people search for when looking for your products online. This research will form the basis of your product descriptions and titles to make your Shopify store easily searchable. 

Managing Your Cash Flow

Once you've set up your Shopify store, one of your top priorities will be to monitor and track the profitability of your business. There are many ways to do this, but Artoh is a cash flow management tool that will organize everything for you. 

It tracks your data across sales and expenses and lets you see your profits in real-time. This means you can keep track of your income and allows you to organize your spending. It links in with your bank accounts and ad platforms to give you a fuller picture of your cash flow situation. 

Conclusion

Shopify is one of the primary ecommerce platforms for online stores. If you're looking to set up an online store, Shopify is the place to do it. However, it would be best to make lots of considerations before you set up your store. You need to ensure you have an extensive business plan and conduct market and keyword research before putting your products online. Using SEO when writing your product descriptions and meta descriptions will be essential to the success of your business. 

It is a simple platform for the entrepreneur and the consumer. It'll simplify your processes and doesn't take long to set up a Shopify account. It is also friendly to mobile and desktop users and will automatically adjust based on the device used to view your store. Following all the above tips and advice will be a surefire way to create a successful Shopify store.

All you need to do now is create an account and start selling. 

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