HOW TO CREATE A SHOPIFY STORE IN 10 SIMPLE STEPS: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SETTING UP AN E-COMMERCE STORE

January 31, 2022
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Emmanuel Umukoro

Whether you’ve got this brilliant product idea to sell online but can’t spare enough funds for developers to help you build an online store, or you just want to build a test store to position yourself as a developer, you’re in luck because you don’t have to be an experienced web developer to create a Shopify store.

In this guide, we will cover the A-Z of building a Shopify store, so your store can be up and running in the next hour. We will also share a few product ideas so you know which products and services are prohibited. We will share a few app recommendations that can help automate your business processes, drive traffic to your store, and increase conversions and sales.


10 STEPS TO CREATING A SHOPIFY STORE

Building an online store has never been easier and here is how you can build your own in 10 simple steps:


STEP 1: SIGNUP FOR FREE ON SHOPIFY

Head to the Shopify.com home page, input your email address in the “Enter your email address” column as shown in the image below to sign up for a 14-day free trial.


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After signing up with your email and password, you will be prompted to enter some basic information. At this point, you will be given the option of creating a store name. It is important that you choose a name that corresponds to your business name because this is going to be your identity. If the name you've chosen has been taken by some other store, you'll be prompted to change the Shopify store name.


STEP 2: SUPPLY SHOPIFY MORE DETAILS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS


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You will be asked to fill in your contact details along with some basic information about your company's revenue, Shopify store goal, and billing information. It’s important to fill in this information correctly as it will serve as your default business address.


After filling out the above details, you will be redirected to your Shopify admin panel where you can setup your store and manage everything else. Your Admin panel will look like this image:


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You will be able to design your store layout and do a host of other things that we will discuss in detail.


STEP 3: CHOOSE A THEME

This part determines what your storefront would look like - it's important to make it reflect your brand and the product you are selling.


Click "Themes" to the left and browse through over a hundred free and premium Shopify themes to make your site look awesome.


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If you want a brilliant website but don't have funds to spare for themes because you are just getting started, Shopify has got you covered, they have got a plethora of free Shopify themes available online to help you create the perfect design. It makes no difference whether you are selling a single product, if you have a large inventory, or you're just getting started; you can choose from any of the free themes that best suit your needs and get a paid theme as your business grow.


STEP 4: CUSTOMIZE THE THEME TO REFLECT YOUR STORE AESTHETICS

Although basic CSS and HTML knowledge might be helpful when customizing your store, it is not required. Whether you know how to code or not, if you give it time, Shopify themes can be customized and personalized to fit your brand. However, if you can't find the time, Shopify has a network of web-design agencies known as "Shopify Experts" who can assist with your customization at a competitive price. Otherwise, you can write me!


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It is estimated that over 50% of website users today access sites via mobile. This means that over half your potential customers can be lost before they get a chance to shop if the theme you choose is not mobile optimized.  implying that your site must be mobile-friendly. Because mobile optimization is also an important factor in search engine optimization, you should pay close attention to it as a seller.


You can preview the themes before making a choice and check out their mobile layout. And if you are using a paid theme, I recommend that you read reviews from others who have used it.


Customization gives you the flexibility to define your store's appearance and most themes will allow you to edit the following and other elements:

  • Homepage carousel
  • Text overlays and font style
  • Color schemes
  • Footer
  • Logo
  • Menu
  • Link to social media pages
  • Items that will be listed on your pages


STEP 5: ADD PRODUCT TO YOUR STORE

To the left of your admin panel is a product bar labeled as "All Products." Click it, and you will find an option to add new products or edit existing ones.


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To the left of your admin page is a product bar labeled as "All Products." Click it, and you will find an option to add new products or edit existing ones. This option will enable you to do the following: 

  • Title or product name.
  • Product description - you can insert an image, video, or table here.
  • Media - this is where most merchants prefer to upload the product's image or download links/ URL if it is a digital product.
  • Price - you can indicate the cost price (don't worry, customers can only see your selling price. Some merchants, especially Dropshipper, like to separate the two just to help them keep track of profit. 
  • Product organization
  • Inventory - You can indicate the number of units available for sale or choose to keep it open for sale even when you are out of stock 
  • Shipment - it allows you to indicate weight (used to calculate shipment rate) and custom information used to calculate duties when shipping internationally.
  • Options - this allows you to categorize products by size, colors, material, size, and other option values.
  • Variants - this allows you to price products individually by size.


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STEP 6: PRODUCT COLLECTION  

Right below the product dropdown on your Admin page, you will see "Collection," a feature that allows you to further categorize your products.



This is particularly useful for those who sell a wide range of products. If you are into fashion, for instance, you might want to create a category for kids wear, Teen's wear, men's wear, and women's wear so it can help shoppers easily find what they are searching for - just as a good physical clothing store would segment each category.


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You can set the condition for product classification so that whenever you add products in the future that meets those conditions, they will be automatically added to the respective collections. Otherwise, you can add future products manually - this can take up a lot of your time though.


STEP 7: SETUP YOUR DOMAIN

It doesn’t really matter if you set up your domain name first or do it last, however, choosing a domain name that reflects your brand and product is what’s important in e-commerce.


Head to your admin panel and click Settings. You will find a range of dropdowns among which is "Domains." Click domains and you will find an image like the one below:


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You will have the choice to either transfer an existing domain here if you have one from a hosting website or simply purchase a domain name through Shopify.


If you are using an external domain, ensure you update the information on your Shopify store by clicking the "Add Domain" button to add it. You'll also need to modify the existing DNS records afterward. Getting your domain from Shopify might be USD2 to USD4 higher but it saves time.


STEP 8: SETUP YOUR PAYMENT PROCESSOR

To setup your payment method, head to the dropdown under the setting from your Admin panel. You will find “Payments” to the left along with an image like the one below


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Choosing the payment gateway that is right for your business is the most important decision you can make as it defines how your customers will be paying you and how you will be receiving payment. You don't have to overthink it because most of the payment processors listed by Shopify are great! But remember that the best gateway for you will be determined by a variety of factors, including:


  • Transaction fees: Most payment gateways will charge you a small fee or percentage each time your customers make payment on your store. Make sure you choose the gateway with the lowest possible charge.


  • Types of cards they accept: choose a payment gateway that accepts a wide range of card types and other payment methods, such as Authorize.net, Braintree, PayPal, and Stripe.


  • Offsite checkout: Some payment gateways will use a form to redirect the payment process away from your website and onto their own server. This payment gateway strategy is slightly more secure, but it might not be convenient for most customers.


If you want to accept credit card payments from your customers, you can use Shopify Payments or any of the 'third-party payment providers' that will be listed in the dropdown: 


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You can also set up online payment systems like Amazon Pay, Apple Pay,  PayPal, and Facebook Pay to enable you to accept payments from customers who wish to pay online without their credit card. This also works for accepting cryptocurrency but you will have to check out the Shopify payment help center to help you understand the conditions.


Additionally, I recommend you learn everything about Shopify shipping costs and taxes. If your selling price is inclusive of tax, I recommend that you mention it. But if customers are to pay for Shopify taxes and international shipping charges, you must mention it to ensure transparency.


STEP 9: TEST YOUR ORDER SYSTEM 

Do you see the first payment processor listed under the Third-party payment provider in the previous image - (for testing) Bogus Gateway?


Yes, that one!


Install it and use it as a test payment to ensure your order system is working just fine.


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After installing (for testing) Bogus Gateway, head to your online storefront and place an order with any credit card information, just like you would on any other e-commerce store. You can put real or fake credit card information, either way, you will not be charged.


However, if you already installed a functional payment gateway just to ensure your payment and ordering systems are working fine, proceed to purchase an item. You can always cancel the order well in advance to ensure your money is refunded.


STEP 10: GO LIVE!

Every new Shopify store is password-protected by default. This means your customers cannot view your store while you're busy developing it unless you share the password with them. But now that you are done designing your store, integrating payment gateway, adding products, and testing your order system, you can now go live!


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At this point, I assume you have picked a Shopify plan. Otherwise, you will be redirected to pick a plan when disabling password protection.


Also ensure you run a routine check at the back-end, especially if you are upgrading to another Shopify plan, changing domains, or making any changes.


Now that your store is up and running, it’s important to note that Shopify places restrictions on certain products. So, before you list your products, let me share with you a list of products that Shopify won’t permit you to sell on their platform.


PROHIBITED PRODUCT TYPES


  1. Medical devices and accessories


  1. Surveillance equipment


  1. Tickets


  1. Weapons, ammunition, or explosives


  1. Age-restricted products such as alcohol, tobacco, or gambling


  1. Animals and livestock


  1. Automobiles, or automotive parts


  1. Cannabis products


  1. Drugs and drug-related products


  1. Financial or professional services


  1. Hazardous materials


  1. Human parts


  1. Mature content, services, or products that have nudity


  1. Means of payment (such as stamps, cash, tokens, or any other form of physical or digital currency)


Now that you know the products and services prohibited on Shopify, literally everything else not mentioned on that list can be sold. You can sell all other physical products including digital products, membership, consultation, workshop, donation, Livestream, and more!


PRODUCT IDEAS

If you are yet to decide what products to sell, especially if you are a Dropshipper, here are a few trending product ideas to inspire you:


  • Health and personal care

The first instinct would be to sell health and personal care-related products in a pandemic-driven world. These could also include facemask, jade roller, massage gun, acne patches, yoga mat, electronic toothbrush, sleep eye mask, and sleep gummy to mention a few.

  

  • Wardrobe and apparel

The global apparel market is projected to grow in value from 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars in 2020 to about 2.25 trillion dollars by 2025. This reflects an increase in demand for wardrobes and accessories across the world. Tracksuit, squat-proof leggings, balaclava, overshirts, slides, silk pajamas, backpack, and jeans are some of the best-selling wardrobe dropshipping products on Shopify. 


  • Kitchen and grocery

The global kitchen appliances market size was USD 159.29 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 210.80 billion by 2027 - at a CAGR of 3.7% during the forecast period. You can plug into that growth by selling common kitchen appliances like electric kettles, portable wine fridges, air fryers, portable blenders, and others. 


  • Home and bedroom

This can include boho pillows and orthopedic pillows, bedside lamps, duvet covers, air purifiers, blackout curtains, fan, pet bed, doormats, and everything bedroom!


  • Office products

Podcast microphone, adjustable laptop stand, monitors, mechanical keycaps, pencil cups, blue light glasses, and others like it.

  • Camera and cell phone accessories

Includes phone skin and pouch, camera and phone tripod, ring light, portable green screen, and everything related to camera and phone.


  • Tools and home improvement

This may include smart locks, smart lights, smart socket plugs, automatic soap dispensers.


  • Gaming

This can include gaming headsets, mousepads, ergonomic chairs, and monitors.


  • Car accessories

This may include portable power stations, socket wrenches, Ceramic coating, digital tire-pressure gauge, and more.


If you wouldn't limit yourself to the above categories of products listed above, the sky would be your limit. Projectors, kitchen towels, digital artwork, eyebrow enhancers, neon signs, tablet computers, water bottles, toys, shoes, pens, pencils, decorative bottles, drills, cutters, GPS navigation systems, bras, motor vehicle parts, office chairs are some of the best performing Shopify dropshipping products in the previous year and are projected to perform even better this year.

Running a successful store requires selling a viable product, and finding a viable product requires research and careful consideration.


KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR PRODUCT SELECTION

  1. Product size and shipping cost

Ecommerce merchants are constantly offering free shipping as perks and have made customer demand for free shipping increase. It's fine if the items you intend to sell are large, but the smaller your products, the cheaper it is for you to ship - hence you can easily compete in a world of free shipping. Heavy equipment on the other hand can be expensive to ship - the size and weight would make it almost impossible for you to offer free shipping and expensive for customers to ship your product too. 


  1. Low-priced product with a high-profit margin

Customers are much more sensitive to the price of expensive or larger items and less concerned with the price of small accessories. As an example,  you would most likely shop around for the best deal on an expensive $700-$1000 laptop. But are you going to shop around for the best deal on a $10 to $20 laptop stand? Most likely not, because even the price of the most expensive deal is significantly low.

This is why a store selling laptops may only make a 5% to 10% profit on each laptop, the same store can make 50% to 200% profit selling laptop stands since customers are less sensitive with low-priced items. Lower-priced items have significantly higher profit margins than higher-priced items, and this is why lower-priced items are generally the best products to sell in retail. 


  1. Local availability

Most people who require a garden rake or a sprinkler will simply go to their local hardware store. But where would you go to get a medieval knight's costume or falcon-training gear? You'd most likely go to Google and start searching to buy online. This is why finding a product that is scarce in a specific location is one of the best products to sell online. As long as you don't get too specific, selling a product that is hard to find locally will increase the chances of people depending on online shopping, and invariably your chances of success.


  1. Frequently updated product

If the products you sell change often or say every year, maintaining your site will quickly become a mountain of work as you have to constantly update it. This is why I don't encourage merchants to sell items that are updated with new models every year. That way, the time and money you put into creating a fantastic website will last longer - you won't have to be updating your store every time the products are updated.


  1. Products that don’t require customer support

Most online shoppers are at ease placing a $100 order online without emailing or calling customer service, but what about a $1,000 item they've never seen before? Most people would want to speak with a sales representative or customer before making such a large purchase, both to ensure that the item is a good fit and to ensure that the store is legitimate. This is why I recommend selling simple products that customers can easily buy without the need to contact you. But if you intend to sell high-priced items, ensure that you can provide personalized phone support. You'll also want to make sure the margins are high enough to justify the pre-sale assistance you'll need to provide.


  1. Minimum advertised price

Some manufacturers will set a minimum advertised price (MAP) for their products and require all retailers to price their products within a price range.  This pricing rule prevents price wars from erupting among retailers.


It's a huge advantage if you can find a niche where manufacturers enforce MAP pricing, especially if you intend to build a high-value and information-rich site. With prices being the same across all competitors, you can compete solely on the strength of your website and avoid losing business to less-reputable and less-expensive competitors.


  1. Product research, Market acceptance, and competition

Before choosing a product, it's important that you do your homework on product research to understand the existing competition and how to beat it. Be certain the market has accepted the product and the competition shouldn't be impenetrable. You can come up with a few ways to promote your store, such as offering free shipping, affiliate bonus, writing blogs, giving away products, social media marketing, or reaching out to active online communities that use the products you're selling. In fact, product research is the most important element of your business. You can also lookup my article to learn How to Drive Free Traffic to your Store.


Most aspiring e-commerce entrepreneurs wish to be absolutely certain the product they wish to sell is the best. While the product ideas and selection guide in this list will significantly increase your chances and help you make an informed decision, there's no way to know for certain if you'll succeed in a market without diving in.


However, a few useful apps can make all the difference in your business. So, here is a list of Shopify apps organized by category that can help boost sales and overall business performance. They are also some of the highest-rated Shopify apps by businesses and experts. 


SHOPIFY APP RECOMMENDATION

  1. Product Finding Apps

Good product finding apps allow you to directly send products via your supplier without having to create an extensive inventory for yourself. Lulu Xpress, Dripshipper, Etsify, Oberlo, Blingy, Printful, Spreadr app, Shapeways, Spocket, and Creative Hub are some of the top apps for finding products. 


  1. Store Design Apps

Nothing is more aggravating than a cluttered or difficult-to-navigate online store. After having a great product inventory, customer experience is the next best thing, and it begins with your store layout. Shogun landing page builder, SEO Booster, Quick announcement bar, Loox ‑ Photo Reviews, Instafeed ‑ Instagram Feed, Reviews, Loyalty, Wishlist, and Kiwi Size Chart & Recommender are some of the top Shopify design store apps. 


  1. Inventory Management App

Inventory management may be easy when you are starting out with a few products, but it will get complicated as you grow and amass larger inventory. Inventory management apps can make it simple to keep track of and maintain a working inventory. Excelify, Etsy Marketplace Integration, Bulk Product Edit & CSV import, Omni Importer, Bulk Product Editor & Sync, Blingy: Jewelry Dropshipping, QuickBooks Desktop Sync, and Bundle Products are some of the most used Shopify inventory management apps. You can also choose a detailed Shopify tutorial to learn how these apps work.


  1. Finance Apps

Finance apps are especially useful for startups and small businesses that lack the manpower to hire an accountant or time to devote to accounting. Staffy, Exemptify, Crowdfunder, Invoice Printer Pro, QuickBooks Online, Freshbooks, Xero, and SimplyCost are a few of such finance apps. These apps do the majority of the important work for them, and all they have to do is review the reports on time.


  1. Productivity Apps

Smart Tags, Daily Deals: BFCM Flash Sales, Multi‑Label Barcodes, Post Studio, Excelify, Bulk Product Edit & CSV import, Stock Sync ‑ Inventory Update, and Product description writing are some of my favorite productivity apps on Shopify. You can use these apps to automate processes that can be automated, freeing up your time to focus on your store.


  1. Trust and Security Apps

Like every other industry, an e-commerce store that has been certified as trusted sees an increase in traffic and sales. B2B Verify Customers, Automatic Backups, Aegis, Locksmith, Advanced Registration, Fraud Scanner, TrustedSite, and Photolock are some of the trust and security apps that help Shopify merchants build trust with their customers.


  1. Apps for Reporting

Reporting apps support merchants with concise reports on how their business is performing in terms of hard data so they can easily take the necessary steps to increase efficiency and close any gaps. Newsletters by Promo.ai, QuickBooks Bridge, Better Replay, Data Export ‑ Reports, Conversific ‑ Store Analytics, QuickBooks Desktop Sync, and Change Commerce ‑ Donation App are great for every business size. 


  1. Customer Service Apps

Virtual customer service requires as much caution as a physical service. As your store grows, you will need a top-notch customer support system, which will benefit you in the long run and save you money. Gobot ‑ Sales Boosting Chatbot, Survey + Poll, AfterShip ‑ Track & Notify, HelpCenter, Tidio Live Chat, Form Builder, AfterShip Returns Center, Route ‑ Shipping Insurance, and Loyalty - rewards & referrals will come handy when the need for customer service app arises.


  1. Social Media Apps

As online shopping continues to grow in popularity, selling on social media appears to be a growing trend as well.


According to studies, the number of people using "Buy" buttons on social media has increased by 5% in 2020, and 4% more people are now clicking on shoppable posts.


Shoppable Instagram & UGC (Instagram shopping), Powr.io (social media feed and icons), Oxi Social Login, Social Media Feed Widget by Tagembed,  Outfy, Social Media Stream, and Social Boost Giveaways Contest are but a few of many useful social media apps available for Shopify stores. 


  1. Unified Subscription App

The subscription economy is expanding. Literally any product can be sold as a subscription and nearly any service or software you can think of is now available as a subscription as well. The global subscription economy has increased by 100% every year in the last five years and is predicted to increase even more in the coming years. This growth has made the subscription model an attractive option for e-commerce merchants and an equal gain for their customers because of the convenience and other benefits it offers.


Subscription has a lot of potential and profit for forerunners and those considering subscription, and there's never been a better time than now to subscribe to subscription. If you are thinking of adopting the subscription model because you want to generate recurring revenue, increase conversion, or just to help you upsell among other benefits, I recommend that you choose a unified subscription management solution that can save you the cost of adopting multiple third-party apps. I recommend a unified subscription app like Chargezen.


Chargezen is a unified subscription management app that enables brands to sell recurring products, build custom subscription boxes, gain insights into their data, and more to create an incredible experience for their customers!


From CRMs, automation, accounting tools, invoicing to tax management; Chargezen integrates with all the apps you’re currently using and constantly adds support for more. And while merchants who add subscription products typically see a 25% increase in revenue, Chargezen customers also see a 45% decrease in churn, thanks to their churn bursting algorithm.


The best part is; not only does Chargezen have a free plan for you, their developers will also take care of the installation process for you so you don’t incur extra costs on app integration.


So, whether you are adopting a subscription app for the first time or looking for a comprehensive upgrade, switching to Chargezen will save you on average 50% in third-party apps spent on an overage charge. Your customers will also enjoy free SMS-self service with many other customer-friendly integrations to ease shopping, enable them to edit or cancel a subscription and receive various upsell features so you can spend less on marketing.


Using Chargezen not only guarantees you a comprehensive and secure subscription billing and management experience, it also offers you deep data insight, and industry expertise to drive personalization, amazing customer experiences, and ultimately the success of your business.


You can start selling your product or service as a subscription in minutes at https://www.chargezen.com/ or simply writing their customer success team at success@chargezen.com to help you get started.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Congratulations! That is how to create a Shopify store!


Your store has no traffic at this time, and you probably only have one order from your best friend. After you've created your Shopify store, you should now focus your efforts on increasing traffic, writing blog posts to describe your products or services so they can help you rank organically in search results (You can also lookup my article to learn How to Drive Free Traffic to your Store), analyzing your traffic, learning from your customers and competitors, optimizing your store with the app recommendations and use Chargezen to generate recurring revenue.


Let's see what you build!

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