This Shopify Tutorial for beginners will give you the absolute essentials for getting started. I will take you through the process of launching the store to launching your first campaign.
Over the past 5 years there have been a couple of companies that have blown me away. Teespring was the first, based on the low barrier to entry and stripping away the “hard work” of the backend. Shopify was the second.
Firstly… I was able to make over $2,500,000 with Teespring and a further $535,294 in 6 Months with Shopify. Never before has it been this easy to have a store go from concept to profit in such a short time. Never before has it been so accessible.
We live in an amazing world, one where we can now very easily flip the bird to the man and start a business with barely any money and little experience. Entrepreneurs in 3rd world countries are building huge teams, the stay at home mom next door is starting with barely an hour a day.
You don't need to be a Zuckerberg or Bezos to be successful, all you need is the will and motivation to have a better tomorrow.
I have seen hundreds of noobs launch their Shopify stores to incredible success within weeks by following the guidance of a mentor. The resourcefulness of beginners hasn't ceased to amaze me, those with no ad spend are finding influencers on insta to help push their products for initial success.
Now is your time to start selling online, whether it be your own products, POD or Dropshipping. But how are these news entrepreneurs getting started? Let's take a look at this Shopify tutorial and how the next success story can be yours.
Note: Before you get started – Hosting
There are multiple options out there available to you when looking at hosting. The biggest consideration should be speed and reliability. Both go hand in hand and if you can get an ultra reliable host that is exceptionally fast you go a long way towards keeping visitors on your site longer.
The 2018 Ultimate Shopify Tutorial
1Create your Shopify Account
Click the banner above to take you to the sign up page, enter the required details, email address, password & store name.
Try and keep your store name as generic to your niche as possible, if you limit it to “sneakers” or “apparel” it seems a little unprofessional when you start adding in other products that can't be associated with the store name.
Proceed through the questionnaire and enter all the required details. Don't be scared to select “I'm Just Playing Around” with “$0. I'm Just Getting Started”.
On the next page enter your contact details and click “Enter My Store”.
2Setting Up Your Store For Success
Once you've entered your store you will land on your dashboard. This is the screen you will use the most in your Shopify career. It is from here that you will start designing the look and feel of your store, launching your products and handling payments and shipping.
The more information you can fill in from here and get sorted the easier it will be as you start selling and focusing on other areas of your store that make the money.
Your new ground zero will take you through all the steps you need to do to get selling.
3Selecting a High Converting Theme
Shopify has an extensive collection of free and paid themes in their dedicated theme store. Take your time to browse and find a theme that suits the style of the product you'll be selling. Have a chat to anyone you know currently on the platform or post in one of the hundreds of groups on Facebook for recommendations.
My personal preference has always been Turbo. It's costly, but it's fast, reliable, clean and most importantly converts.
The benefit of buying a prebuilt theme is you don't need to know how to code. The premium themes generally come with a few more options. If you get stuck and need extra functionality contact one of the “Shopify Experts” that are available to help with customisation.
Here's how to find the right theme for your store;
1. Check out the Theme Store
The theme store showcases hundreds of free and paid themes and will allow you to filter by features, price, popularity/trending, free or paid.
On themeforest ensure you read as much of the detail as possible to be sure you are getting what you need. I have found creating sites on wordpress to be much more difficult than Shopify.
2. Read the Reviews and Features
Once you've found a theme you like the look of click into it to find the features and any other information pertaining to it. Scroll down further to check out the reviews.
3. Preview it Baby!
Take the theme for a test drive by clicking View Demo. It is the button to the left hand side of the image on the slider.
If there are different styles available for the theme you will be able to the select to view the various styles.
4. Love it? Get it!
If you found the theme for your store click “Start with this theme” that's the button directly opposite the “View demo”.
Shopify will ask you to log in to your store again and ask you on the next page if you want to “Add theme”.
Click to Install.
Once it's installed Shopify will take you to the Themes screen. From here click “Customize theme” in the green highlighted section.
5. Let's Get Pretty
Almost every theme you come across gives you a plethora of options to make your store unique. Simple changes can have dramatic effects from colours, fonts, imagery etc. The vast amount of options available will have your store as unique as if you'd had a web developer build one.
These 3 stores were created using the same theme.
To find the theme you just installed click “Online Store” on the left hand pane below “Sales Channels”. Take these steps Sales Channels > Online Store > Themes.
Below the published theme (displayed in the big window) will be the one you just installed click “Actions” and Publish. If you're not ready to publish it just yet you can still customize it.
Before you get started customizing, duplicate the theme so if you mess up you can just revert back to the saved. Once you're inside the customize section go through and fill in as much detail as you can. It'll be here that you upload your logos and imagery.
These are the things you'll want to complete;
- uploading logos
- uploading slides to homepage
- adding related item functionality to product pages
- colour schemes
- font choices
In here you'll also need to input all your social addresses.
4Time to Add Stuff to Sell
Use the next screen to add as much detail as possible about your products. Ensure you keep SEO in mind with your product name, description & URL. Make sure you include as much detail as possible about your variants to help your customers check out as fast as possible.
In here you'll also upload your product photos. Keep in mind your store branding and keep your main image as consistent as possible.
Product images are the key to good conversions so you will need detailed, high resolution photos to make the most of the zoom feature. Keep all images the same dimensions to avoid weird product stacking.
Once you've filled in all the details click “Save”.
If you're using a fulfilment app like Oberlo or Pillow Profits you will create product listings through their dashboards. They are typically intuitive and very easy to use. Due to each app being different we cannot give you the guide to creating products with them.
Create your collections
Collections group common products together for ease of use when customers are visiting your store. Common things people search for when shopping include;
- men's, women's or children's clothing
- clearance or products on sale
- size or colours
- seasonal products like hoodies or tees
- items of a similar type, seats, lights, mats
Items can appear in several different groups. Typically collections are on your homepage and in your menu on your navigation bar. Doing this makes it as easy as possible for your customers to find what they're looking for.
Going Auto Is The Only Way – Auto or Manual Collections
When you create collections you can select how products will be added. There are two options available;
- Automatic – You set up conditions to automatically include certain products into specific collections (recommended).
- Manual – You do it yourself every time you upload a new product
5Let's Get Paid! – Payment Gateways
Gateways allow you to be paid by credit card through your website. You need to do your own research into which payment gateway is the one for your business. Shopify have their own solution for people in the United States which is powered by Stripe. I have personally always used Stripe and have found no problems with it (except for expensive chargebacks).
With Shopify Payments (and PayPal) it pays to keep in mind that they can and will take a reserve on your account. This typically only happens when you are selling products from Aliexpress however still can happen with certain POD Vendors.
There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when choosing your gateway;
a. The Big One – TRANSACTION FEES.
I have no idea (and don't want to know) the 10's of 1000's of $'s I have spent on fees. Sometimes you can't help but pay them. Most gateways will charge one of two ways and sometimes both. Either a percentage of sale or flat fee. Project what your anticipated sales are to work out the fees you're likely to pay.
b. Card Types
I've always believed the more payment options the better when it comes to ecommerce. At the very least you need to have VISA and Mastercard available as payment options.
PayPal is also widely used.
c. Offsite Checkout
Some gateways allow you to process payments outside of Shopify. This method will work for those that stock inventory and want to cut down on fees. Shopify charges transaction fees on top of your Gateway however if you use Shopify Payments you will get a reduced rate.
Shopify Payments Rates as of 25/1/2018
If you live in the USA or UK your store will automatically use Shopify Payments. Setup your account by clicking “Complete Account Setup”
Having a clear Refund policy will help put your customers minds at ease. We also are required to adhere to certain regulations when we are selling online and these pages whilst not unique to your store does go a ways to covering you. You should keep in mind however, as they are generic you may need (and should look into it yourself) custom policies made for you by lawyers.
- Settings > Checkout
- Click Pages in the left hand pane
- Create a page for each of the policies
- Copy and paste policies into place.
- Click Save page and ensure you check them out to make sure they are correct.
Once you have created the policies make sure you add them in to your footer. They need to be accessibly by your visitors.
7Raise those Curtains!
Hang on now. There are a few more super important details that you need to enter about your business, your shipping and how you're paying/collecting tax.
Go to the Settings Page by going to the very bottom of the left hand panel from your dashboard.
Select general and fill out all the business information that is required.
Select the appropriate Tax Settings and Rates. If, in this window there are countries missing be sure to add them via the shipping settings.
Ensure all your products are marked to charge tax via the product screen under pricing.
The benefit of POD is you're charged a flat rate per item (in most cases). If you need to enter the dimensions of a product to calculate weights fill in those details on the product pages.
Once that's completed go to the shipping page and add your weight based rates and adjust it to your product specs.
Test Order your Store
We're getting closer to launch. Before we do, you need to test to make sure everything is working correctly. To make this easier and not to waste precious cashola on your own business unnecessarily you can use the Bogus Gateway for testing the system.
To use it;
- Admin>Settings>Payments>Payment Settings.
- If theres a gateway enable you'll need to deactivate it to continue.
- Click Change provider>Third party credit card provider.
- Scroll down the list to other and click “(for testing) Bogus Gateway”
- Click Activate
Go to your storefront and place an order.
Bogus gateway is meant for testing. Shopify will not charge you transaction fees on orders paid.
You can use the following codes in place of the credit card number when checking out:
- 1 – To Simulate an Approved Transaction
- 2 – To Simulate a Declined Transaction
- 3 – To Simulate a Gateway Failure
Any three numbers can be used as the “Card Security Code” and any expiry date in the future will work.
Once you've completed the checkout with the Bogus Gateway and everything is awesome it's time to move on to the main event and test a real live order. As soon as you've placed the order be sure to cancel it unless you want to get a sample (this of course won't be free).
8Buy the cow/domain name.
There are two ways to buy your domain name. Either through Shopify (incredibly convenient) or if you know how to setup DNS and what not, you can use a 3rd party provider.
The next step is removing any passwords you might have on your account and get set to raise those curtains! It's time to start selling!
Congratulations! You have now set up your store and you're ready to start selling. If you need help with selecting niches (check out The Top 5 Profitable Niches in Ecommerce) or adding apps (check out The Top 10 Best Apps on Shopify in 2018).
Once you've completed the setup of one store it becomes quite easy to set up any future stores. I can now get a store setup ready for selling in just a couple of hours. Less time spent on getting ready for market is more time spent on making sales!