Shopify for Beginners: What You Need to Know
The eCommerce industry has skyrocketed approximately 68% since the Coronavirus pandemic was declared in March 2020.
This unprecedented shift in the global economy and the searching for a “new normal” has brought more businesses online than ever before. Even traditionally “brick and mortar” industries like education and fitness have adapted to this new model. As people continue to look for ways to shop safely, eCommerce continues to grow.
While the eCommerce industry contains tons of options, there are a few which are particularly well suited to beginners. Whether you’re new to eCommerce or new to business altogether, starting a Shopify store is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to get started.
If you follow the right Shopify for beginners strategy, you can get your store up and running and start making cash in your first few months!
The only question is, what are the best strategies for opening up a successful Shopify store?
We get asked this question a lot, so we’ve created this complete Shopify for beginners tutorial. Keep on reading to learn everything you need to know about starting your own successful Shopify store!
Shopify for Beginners: Why Shopify?
Shopify is your one-stop-shop for creating everything to do with having your online shop! It includes everything from customizable themes and templates, to payments, marketing, shipping, and excellent customer service.
Shopify is also very user friendly, so you won’t have to worry about many technical issues or extensive complex coding. This means that you can spend more time and energy on focusing on the things you love, which is selling and bringing in the money!
One of Shopify’s most significant selling points, aside from its technical simplicity, is its scalability. Beloved by big businesses and Mom-and-Pop small retailers alike, Shopify can grow with your business. And if it ever becomes more than you care to handle, you can hire a Shopify web design specialist to help you.
1. Create a Shopify Account
To create a Shopify store, you need to create your account first. Simply go to Shopify.com, enter your information, and select “start a free trial.”
If you’re new to eCommerce or just unsure, select the 14-day free trial to see if the platform is right for you.
You will need to select a membership option before your free trial is over, so you’ll want to know your options before you sign up:
- Shopify Basic – $29 per month, with 2.9% credit card fee and 30¢ per transaction.
- Shopify Main plan – $79 per month, with 2.6% credit card fee and 30¢ per transaction.
- Shopify Advanced plan – $299 per month, with 2.4% credit card fee and 30¢ per transaction.
You can always change the type of plan you are on, so start small and work your way up as you sell more. Consider it a motivational goal to get to the advanced plan by a specific date!
After you start your free trial, you will need to enter your name, address, country of residence (tax information), and contact information. After that, you will be asked what you’re selling. If you are unsure about what type of products you want to sell yet, click on “I’m just playing around,” then “done.”
Choose a URL
If you don’t already have a website, you’ll need to choose a URL that aligns with your products. Choose a URL that is easy to type, catchy, and easy for your customers to remember.
Once you’ve set up your basic information, you can use your Shopify dashboard to customize your store, upload products, descriptions, and set up payment and shipping information.
2. Decide What to Sell
If you don’t have an existing business and want to start an online store from scratch, you’ll to choose a niche to focus your branding and product selection. If you’re not sure what niche or products to sell, here are some of the most lucrative niches:
Weight loss & fitness products
Women’s fashion and apparel
Remember to pick a niche that resonates with you, because when the going gets tough, you will need that passion to help you move forward.
3. Choose a Theme
Choosing your Shopify theme can feel like a daunting task; there are so many options that it can be hard to choose the right one.
Shopify does have several free themes, and some developers offer free themes as well. However, many free themes are overly-used, so you may just blend in when you need to stand out. Free themes are also typically quite limited and have minimal room for customization. You may find that a paid theme helps your business stand out, but if you’re just getting started, it’s wise to stick with a free theme until you know exactly what you want.
Once you have selected your theme, you can view a demo, then install the theme. Do not worry if you are not sure about your choice, since you can always change it later.
It is essential to have an attractive, industry-appropriate theme that relates to the tone of your brand. If you want to stand out from your competition, you may want to consider hiring a professional to design a customized theme for your store.
4. Add Your Products
With your account and theme set up, it’s time for the most important part – your products!
If you have just a few products, you can upload them manually by entering the product description, picture, type, etc.
If you have several products, you can upload them via a CSV file.
If your goal is to start a dropshipping business, you can connect Oberlo to your store and then easily drag and drop your products into your collections.
Once you have uploaded your products, you will need to categorize them into collections.
Collections help your customers to navigate your store according to their interests and can help drive sales by giving similar products more visibility.
These collections can be categorized in several different ways, such as:
- Items on sale
- Women’s or men’s
- Different ages of children’s clothing
- Specific colors, styles, or sizes
- Different types of home decor
The more collections you have, the easier your customers will find what they need.
5. Power Up With the Right Apps
Shopify apps are similar to WordPress plugins; they are easy to use and can make your store much more appealing to both you and your customers.
With over 2600 free and paid Shopify apps to choose from, you’re likely to find a few that can help your business, your customers, and you.
These apps help you do anything from SEO to sales, analytics, marketing, inventory management, and so much more. The most popular apps to use are:
- Countdown Cart
- Sales Pop and referrals
- SEO image optimizer
- Boost sales optimizer
- Referral Candy
- Opt-in Monster
- Trust Pulse
- Social Photos
- Messenger Channel
Choose an app that appeals to your needs, but make sure you do not choose too many apps as they could slow down your store’s speed. This affects your bounce rates and, ultimately, lowers your SEO rankings.
Choose Payment Options Wisely
A store isn’t going to be very successful if you don’t have the right payment gateway installed. To choose the right payment gateway, read the fine print carefully, and check out their reviews.
Shopify Payments is a popular choice since it’s native to the Shopify platform and charges lower fees. You want to make sure the transaction fees are low, which types of major credit cards are accepted, and which type of online payment (such as Paypal, Amazon Pay and Apple Pay, and even cryptocurrencies) can be incorporated.
6. Start Marketing
Now it is time for the fun part – getting to know your target audience and finding creative ways to reach them.
Before you begin, do some market research. Discover your competitors and find out who is currently purchasing their products. If you’re taking a brick and mortar store online, you’ll be up against your existing competitors, plus a new crop of online sellers.
You must understand who you are selling to before you begin to create ads.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What are your customer’s pain points and struggles?
- What are your customer’s aspirations and motivations?
- What will make your customer’s life better?
Once you have answered your questions, it is time to start playing with advertising!
Content Marketing & SEO
Content marketing is a great way to improve your SEO ranking and get noticed on search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing. It makes great fodder for your Social Media and Email marketing initiatives (more about that in a second) and helps educate the public about your products and brand.
It can build trust and a desire to purchase from you better than most paid initiatives. And the best part is that content marketing doesn’t have to cost you much, either.
Check out Collide’s Complete Guide to Content Marketing, or our Insights into Content Marketing to Grow Your Business for more. Regardless of how new (or old) your eCommerce goals are, content marketing has something for you.
Both Instagram and Facebook Ads are great places to get started with paid online marketing.
Facebook Ads allow you to determine your type of ad, budget, desired reach, and have a fantastic number of customizations to help you narrow in on your ideal customer. Plus, the more ads you create, the smarter the algorithm gets, which helps you sell more in the long run.
Instagram is a great space for you to post photos of your products, and pictures that reflect the image and lifestyle that your brand wants to project. But the best use of Instagram is to encourage followers to post photos of happy customers using your products. This type of user-generated content offers compelling social proof that real people like your products!
If you want to learn more about paid ads, check out Content or PPC? The Ultimate Comparative Guide.
You can grab your visitor’s contact information and add them to your email list by offering an enticing opt-in, like a big discount or a free download.
From there, you can send out regular emails that explain your mission, vision, the ‘why’ behind your brand and offer useful content that helps your clients lead better lives. Your mailing list is also a great way to notify people of changes within your store, sales, and launches of new products!
The more humanized your Shopify store is, and the more you demonstrate your authority and care for your customers, the more customers will trust you. And if they trust you, they’re more likely to buy from you.
Learn More About How to Start a Shopify Store That Sells
Congratulations! You are now one step closer to creating a successful Shopify store (well, six steps, technically…)
Whether it’s a passion project, online-only store, or you’re taking your existing store online, eCommerce doesn’t have to be difficult, even if you’re a beginner.
If you’re having trouble leveling up your eCommerce success, or still just aren’t quite sure where to begin, contact the team of friendly experts at Collide for affordable, professional help.