How to Build an Online Store: Ultimate Shopify Guide

This Shopify guide will help you build an online store in less than 2 hours.

A brief introduction to Shopify

It is an e-commerce platform that helps to sell products, faster and better.

You can choose any design you want and the Shopify apps will make the work easier.

How to get started?

Step #1 Start your 14 days free trial

One of the good things about Shopify is that it gives you a 14 day free trial period. That allows you to get introduced to the platform.

When you click on starting your free trial, you will see a small registration form. You will put there your email address, the password, and your store name.

Finding the perfect name is hard and you can figure that out later.

After you click ‘Create your store’, in a few moments of processing it will lead you to other forms.

You will need to add more information like your personal information, country, address, etc.

After you click ‘Next’ you will be redirected to a few basic questions regarding your business.

Answer with the options that fit you.

After you click ‘Enter my store’, you will find yourself in the dashboard of your business.

Step #2 Choose the Theme

There are hundreds of themes on Shopify.

You can choose whichever you like and you don’t have to write any line of code.

The Premium themes come with more modifications, but you can achieve a good looking site with a free one.

Click “Customize theme” and then “Explore Free Themes”

Browse through them and choose the one that fits your store type.

Then click “Add to Theme Library”.

Customizing is very simple.

You can customize the header, the body of the web, and the footer in any type of design you want.

You can add a section and rename them related to what you are selling. For example, “Hot Deals”

You can drag and drop the sections in the order that you want.

On the sidebar, you have theme settings.

You can change the website colors, the font style, and price format; add/remove social media links, etc.

Step #3 Setting up payments.

In this step, you will learn to set up payment methods for your clients.

Go to settings –> Payment providers.

If you live in the US, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico you can use “Shopify Payments”.

It allows you to accept credit cards directly.

Click on ‘Complete Shopify Payments account setup’…

Fill out all the details of your business, personal and product information.

Continue filling out your bank, and personal details.

If you are not from one of the countries above, you can go to international payment gateways.

Click this link to find all the payment gateways available for your country.

The most famous ones are “Paypal Express”, “2pcheckout” and “Authorize.net”

If you find yourself struggling with any of the steps, you can contact Shopify support 24/7.

They have amazing support and they can walk you through any process you want without a problem.

Step #4 Shipping Settings (Shipping Rates)

Here I’ll show you the process of setting the shipping rates. The product and shipping prices are up to you. This is just an example.

Go to Settings –> Shipping.

There are two ways to set shipping rates:

  • Based on weight.
  • Based on the subtotal order.

First, delete the shipping rates that are already there.

Go to the ‘Add shipping rate’.

Shipping to the US

For retail shipping (Products over $0.01), choose ‘based on order price’.

In the next form, you have ‘Rate name’. (displayed at checkout)

Use the name Insured Shipping & Handling.

You can set the shipping rate based on the prices.

For Example: If a customer buys products from you at that price $0.01 to $29.99 he/she will get charged only $4.59

shipping rates 1

Go to the “add shipping” rate again. For products from $30-$99.99 the shipping rate is going to be $9.95

Now, we will set “FREE SHIPPING”

Condition: Based on the order’s price.

So you set the minimum price of $100.00 and you don’t set a maximum.

Any customer who purchased products with the cost of +$100, will get free shipping. It is a promotional method, which you too can use it.

International Shipping

Let’s add shipping rates for the rest of the world.

Since the shipping is international, the shipping rates are higher.

So click on the add shipping rate and set the zone “Rest of the world”.

Now, in the shipping name, put the name INTL Insured Shipping & Handling.

The minimum price $0.01 – $9.99 the shipping rate you can set it at $9.95.

It is logical since you are shipping it internationally.

Click ‘Add shipping rate’ again.

If you want to offer free shipping for orders over $100, here’s how to do it:

Choose the option of free shipping.

Set the minimum price to $100.00 and with no maximum price

Free + Shipping

It’s when the customer will get the product for free but he has to pay for the shipping.

Go to the ‘Add shipping rate’.

Choose ‘Based on item weight’.

Shipping service name: 1 FREE ITEM – SHIPPING.

Weight: 0.2 lb

For example, if they buy one item, I’ll charge them $11.97 for shipping.

If he buys two products, I’ll give a 2$ discount on the second one.

Then I’ll charge: 11.97 + 9.97 = 21.95

Of course, the shipping price is up to you.

This is just an example to show you how to set up shipping rates correctly.

So, for every order, we will add 9.97

If they buy three items, we will charge 21.95 + 9.97 = 31.92 (0.6 lb)

If they buy four items, we will charge 31.92 + 9.97 = 41.89  (0.8 lb)

5 items –> 41.89 + 9.97 = 51.86 (1 lb)

6 items –> 51.86 + 9.97 = 61.83 (1.2 lb)

You should do this until you reach 20-25 items. It doesn’t take too much time and it’s crucial to do it.

Remember, you decide the shipping rates.

Make calculations based on the number of products they will buy.

Just imagine what would happen if a customer would order that much, and Shopify would be confused with the shipping rates.

This is also extremely important to know. At your product page:

– All of your retail items their weight should be 0.0 lb, so they can be sold based on price.

– All of your free items with shipping rates need to have set the weight to 0.2 lb per item.

It is really important to test it. Go to the product, click ‘add to the cart’. Put the amount of the free items, for example, 5.

And check if the price was correct.

Step #5 Checkout settings

There are two things you should check.

You can use those emails for the promotions, which can help your business skyrocket!

Step #6 Add Products

Adding products to Shopify is extremely easy.

Title – It’s the name you’ll call a specific product. It should contain valuable keywords.

Description – It includes all the necessary details for the customer to make a decision. Make sure not to copy and paste from the vendor’s site because it will hurt your search engine rankings.

SKU – It’s short for stock keeping unit. Each product has a unique identifier in your store. If you are dropshipping then you can leave this empty.

Shipping options – We explained the shipping details above.

For retail items, the weight should be 0 lb because you are selling based on price.

For “Free + Shipping” items you have to set the weight to 0.2 lb per item because you are selling based on weight.

Variants – You need to offer and specify product variants.

In my example, the product has different colors.

And you should set the price for each variant.

It’s also very important to complete the details on the right side.

Step #7 Add a Domain Name

You should buy a domain name because it helps to create a memorable brand.

Click ‘Add Domain” Then “Buy New Domain”

Choose a name that is short, sweet and catchy.

A name that represents what you are trying to sell.

A name that gives you the opportunity to diversify your store. You shouldn’t get locked in one product.

Inspiration cases:

In the beginning, Jeff Bezos called his site “Cadabra” after the word “Abracadabra”.

He was talking about the name on the phone, and the lawyer misheard it as “Cadaver”?

Bezos realized that it was a terrible idea.

Then he tried to call it “Relentless” as a way of saying that they would be relentless in providing the best service.

In the end, they called it Amazon for two reasons:

1. Amazon river is the biggest river in the world and he planned to make his store the biggest bookstore in the world.

2. Since the name begins with “A” it meant that it would be at the top of an alphabetized list.

How did Jack Ma choose the name for its business?

Jack Ma was in San Francisco in a coffee shop and he was thinking Ali Baba is a good name.

Then he asked the waitress, “Do you know about Ali Baba” and she responded, “Open Sesame”.

He asked many people on the street, “Do you know Ali Baba?” People from India, Germany, Tokyo, China… they all knew about it.

Step #8 – Unlock your store

When you open the store, it is locked to the public. They can’t check in your store without the password.

But there is no problem. Before you unlock it, take the time to finish up the store – adding the products, the shipping rates, finishing the design, etc.

Go to the dashboard, and on the sidebar click “Online Store”.

You will see a message on yellow that tells you that your store is password-protected.

Click Disable Password.

It will redirect you to the password page.

If you are still on the free trial period means the password hasn’t yet been removed.

There is a green message box that says: “To disable your password page, you need to pick a plan”.

Pick a plan. Don’t worry about it; you are not going to be charged until your free trial is over.

Shopify has 3 plans

The prices vary from $29 per month to $299 per month.

Each of the plans has its features and benefits.

It is important for you to understand that starting a business requires your full potential for it to succeed.

The amount of success you earn is in the amount of effort you put in.

Each one of these plans guarantees different sizes of potential.

Here are the main differences between them:

If you start with the basic Shopify plan ($29) compared to the Shopify plan ($79).

First, let’s see ‘what is not’ rather than ‘what is’.

You will miss out the gift cards, professional reports, advanced report builder, and discount codes.

The professional reports are vital for your business life –it will provide detailed information.

You will see where you are making most of the money.

You’ll know what you did right or wrong.

They even suggest other products, to recommend to your clients, based on the data that they accumulate.

These 3 benefits pay for themselves on the Shopify plan.

The Shopify plan ($79) compared to Advanced ($299).

The advanced plan has lower credit card fees compared to the other 2 plans, and much more important features.

Worth mentioning is the ‘Advanced Report Builder’.

It is huge for you to get a look at those reports.

It has the name advanced for a reason because it’s going to give statistical data, to increase your profit rates.

There are hundreds of amazing apps that can make your work a lot easier, and they only work on these reports.

I recommend going with the advanced plan. You can always downgrade or upgrade the next month.

But for starters, if you want to go slow, I wouldn’t suggest you go slow-slow.

The best option would be the Shopify Plan ($79).

Step #9 Best Shopify Apps

Click Apps on the dashboard, then visit the app store.

You will see all the apps that will supercharge your website.

Some of them are free, and some of them are not.

Loox – Photo Reviews

It’s a very useful app. We know that most of the customers look at product reviews before buying.

Loox imports the top reviews from AliExpress to your store. And it can be of great help especially if you are just starting out.

Price: $9.99/month 14-day free trial

VITALS 40+ apps into one

It helps to improve page speed.

When you install many apps, the loading speed increases. And consider these facts about how loading speed affects your profit:

– 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or fewer.

– 40% of people abandon a website that takes over 3 seconds to load

– A 1-second delay in page response can cause a 7% reduction in conversions

Abandonment Protector

Cart Abandoners are the clients that proceed to checkout but because of many reasons, they don’t continue.

You have probably done this before.  Went to the checkout, your phone ring, something urgent comes up and you leave it unfinished.

So what this app does?

-Re-engages customers that abandon the checkout

-Saves the items they had in their cart

-The average recovery rate of 2-3%

This app is a must-have if you have hundreds of customers visiting and buying in your store a day.

Price: $8/month, 30-day free trial

Ultimate sales boost

It has a lot of features packed in one. If you want to create scarcity, urgency, social proof, and upsells then you should include this app.

For example, here it shows a countdown timer which creates the feeling of urgency.

Or, you can include the “low inventory warning” to create scarcity.

Facebook Chat

It installs a live chat service to your store that is handled by Facebook Messenger.

Shopzie

Shopzie is very similar to Oberlo. The difference is that it gives you cash back every time you drop ship a product.

AliExpress has an affiliate program and shopzie connects to this program and gives you 6.5% of your money back per order.

Printful

You can create a good deal of custom clothing using Printful.

When a customer buys a product, the order is automatically sent to Printful, and they will ship it to them under your brand.

Price: Free

Plugin SEO

SEO it’s a great way to bring customers to your store for free. This app will scan your website and give you a report telling you what you are doing right or wrong.

Price: Free

SEO Image

This app will automatically optimize your images for search engines.

Price: Free

GDPR Cookie Compiler

This app displays a banner about the Cookie Policy.

Price: Free

We Recommend Reading:

The Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping and Shopify

Shopify Marketing: 7 Effective strategies to promote your store