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Shopify Tutorial for Beginners: How to Start an Online Store With Shopify

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Hey There! R.J. Here. Today we have a guest post from Victoria Greene of the blog VictoriaEcommerce,

A quick backstory: as someone who sells physical products on Amazon, I had been trying to better understand Shopify to determine if it was a viable platform to help increase sales.  I’ve heard a lot of great things about Shopify. However, just wasn’t sure if it was the right fit.

In this post Victoria does an excellent job of giving you the 101 on Shopify. It turns out, there’s a lot more to Shopify then I thought.  It’s a powerful platform, which helps over 1.2 million people sell a variety of things online. 

If you’ve ever been interested in selling anything online from consultations, experiences, to physical products (even homemade or used) read on…

Starting an online business has never been easier: all you need now is a great idea and the will to create an online store – you don’t even need to have your own products if you use dropshipping.

You’ll be delighted to hear that Shopify makes the process of starting an online store as simple as pie and as satisfying as the homemade bread your grandma baked.

Read on, and by the end you’ll be well on your way to starting an online store with Shopify and making your first sale.

Shopify Tutorial for Beginners

First things first: you need a store before you can make a sale.

Stage 1: Decide What to Sell

It’s no good whatsoever to build your Shopify store if you don’t know what you’re going to sell on it. You have near limitless potential with what you can sell (almost anything you sell in a physical store could be sold online). To help you decide what to sell ask yourself now:

  • What are my interests?
  • What do I have skills in?
  • Where are there opportunities?

Bring these three things in line and you’ll have the item(s) you want to sell. After this it’s a matter of establishing what product lines you should stock. This guide has a list of the different product types you can sell. Included on that list are:

  • Services (Appointments)
  • Memberships
  • Consultations
  • Digital Downloads
  • Event Support
  • Experiences
  • Fitness Classes and Lessons
  • Rentals
  • Installations (and Quotes)
  • Donations
  • Event Tickets
  • Digital Gift Cards

Think about how you can balance long-term gains with profitability.

If you want more advice on how to find winning products to sell in your online store then watch the brilliant video below…

Stage 2: Sign up for a Shopify Account

Head over to Shopify and sign yourself up for an account with them. You’ll be asked to add in your email address, a password, and your store name, before you’re given the option of creating a bricks and mortar, or an online store. Select the online store.

You’ll then need to add some further details in:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Phone number

It’s important that you enter the correct details, as the information you input at this stage will be used to work out the tax rate and currency applicable to your online store.

Shopify will then ask you to tell them “a little about yourself.”

This covers:

  • Any products or services you are selling already
  • The expected annual revenue of your business
  • If you are setting the store up for yourself, or for a client

One of the benefits of setting your online store up with them is that you get a free 14-day trial period where you can decide on how expansive a store you need – your options are the Basic Shopify, Shopify, or Advanced Shopify account.

Stage 3: Set up Your Product Pages

You’ll have a hard time making your way as an online store if you’re not selling anything. Shopify makes it simple for you to add your product(s) to your store, as once you’ve set up your account you are promoted to start adding product pages to your store.

But not only that, the option to add in a product is well mapped out, with clear and easy to digest instructions. Once you’ve added in the details of your products, save and move on to the next stage.

Stage 4: Make Your Online Store Look the Part

One of the best features of Shopify is the sheer number of options for the theme of your online store. To give your store the theme you want, simply head over to your main dashboard and locate the button marked: Customize The Look of Your Site.

Once you’ve gone this far, you’ll be asked by Shopify a whole host of other details in order to make your store looks the part and, most importantly, to visit the Theme Store. This is where you’ll be able to access a library of options for your theme.

Select your theme carefully, as first impressions count for everything. If your store visitors see one that’s not befitting of the brand you want to convey, then they’ll leave before you can make a sale.

Stage 5: Get Your Domain Sorted

Pay another visit to your dashboard and here you’ll find an option titled: Add a Domain. You will have the option to either transfer a domain (this is where you have an existing online store setup that you are transferring over the Shopify platform), or register a new domain. Select the latter.

Once you’ve done this you’ll need to buy the domain name. This isn’t a problem, though, because, once again, Shopify guides you from start to finish. Once you’ve done this your online store will be visible on the web. This leaves just one more stage for you to complete…

Stage 6: Set up Your Payment Gateway

The penultimate stage sees you back on your main dashboard. Find the tab titled: Payments and then select it. You’ll have a list of available options for your online store, including:

  • Shopify
  • Stripe
  • PayPal
  • Worldpay
  • Sage Pay

And a whole host more…

Do your research and decide which one will work for you, as each has its nuances, and pros and cons. Once you’ve decided which payment gateway to go for, select it and then follow the step-by-step guidance from Shopify.

Stage 6: Launch Your Online Store

Hit the Launch Website button on your dashboard and there you are, you’ve started your very own online store with Shopify!

Don’t forget to take down the password protect page — it’s a rookie error, but it does still happen.

How to Make Your First Sale

You’ve got your store up and now it’s over to you to make a sale. Luckily, there are plenty of things to help you make those very crucial first sales.

Create SEO-Friendly Content

Your online store will be loaded with content: product descriptions, homepage copy, FAQs, blog etc.. What will help you make your first sale is to ensure that every piece of content is written with SEO in mind.

This is because a well-optimized online store has a better chance of ranking well on Google – the higher you rank on Google, the greater the chance of your online store being found by customers who will then buy from your business.

The video below gives you even more info on how you can create SEO friendly content…

There are loads of free Shopify apps to help you manage your store SEO, so get optimizing and tweaking your listings.

Get Involved in Marketing

Whether it’s influencer, content, social media, digital, or even direct, you HAVE to market your online store – you need to tell your potential customers that you exist and explain why your brand offers the product(s) that they need.

There’s so much that you can do with marketing, but this brilliant video will give you a great introduction to how you can use it to help make your first sale…

Seek Help From the Specialists

Each of the above point will be invaluable in helping you to make your first sale, but there can be no better advice than that available from the specialists. One of the great benefits of starting an online store on Shopify is that you get access to a library of resources.

As you would expect, within these resources is a detailed guide on how you can make your first sale from your Shopify store. It covers a range of things you can do with or without access to a large source of capital. Read it, digest it, and then put its teachings into practice.

And if you have questions on what else you can do to make your first sale, then head over to the Shopify University Discussion Forums. Here you can pose questions to Shopify employees who will offer their professional advice and guidance on how you can make your first sale.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There Before

There is so much useful advice available to help you make your first sale, but sometimes the most helpful thing is to hear from someone who has been in your shoes and walked tall.

From my own experience, I cannot recommend the value using your support network of family, friends, and colleagues strongly enough. Let the people you trust and care about know about your online store.

If nothing else, this should guarantee you your first sale. And as the people in your support network put the name of your store out there to their support network, you’ll be in a great position to make more and more sales.

There you have it, not only have you started an online store, you’ve now made your first sale. Ecommerce is a wonderfully easy business to get into and an extremely profitable one if you do things right. You’ve had the best grounding, now turn your online store into the next ecommerce titan.

Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on how new business owners can get their brand off the ground. She is passionate about using her experience to help fellow entrepreneurs succeed.

R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Ways To Wealth, a Certified Financial Planner™, husband and father of three. He's spent the last 10+ years writing about personal finance and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, MSN Money, and other publications.

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