If you are interested in starting a small (or big) business, then you have probably thought about creating an online store to get orders from all around the world. It might seem complicated at first, with all the website creation and payment systems and whatnot. But this is exactly what Shopify is for - to easily create and manage your own digital storefront without much headache. Even if you think that you are not a technology guru, you can definitely manage the simple steps of Shopify, described in detail in this guide. Whether you're looking to sell custom designs with a print on demand partner or a vastly different business - these intro steps are universal!
Before we jump into the world of Shopify, let’s take a look at the good and not-so-good things about this platform, so you can understand whether it is for you.
What are the pros and cons of Shopify?
According to our team, Shopify’s biggest advantage is that it’s simple and easy to manage. You can follow the orders which are made by your customers, see the sales statistics, add useful apps to the shop & more. What’s amazing is that there is such a thing as Shopify marketing, so you can run advertising campaigns and your store can be linked with Facebook (which is where most people learn about different products and businesses).
Moreover, you can add as many products in your store as you want - you won’t have to pay for each listing. Last, but not least, multiple people can access the back-end of the website (if you give your permission, of course). It means that if you have some freelancers working for you, or have a business partner, they can access the account without any hassle. For example, if you work with a print on demand supplier, then you can give them access only to your “Orders” section.
The main downside, however, is the possibility of multiple expenses. You have to purchase a domain first, then you have to buy a theme for your website (there are also free themes available, but those may not be as fancy and neat as the paid ones), and, among all that, you will have to select a monthly Shopify plan. There are three of those (one for 24€ (29$), one for 69€ (79$) and the other for 289€ (299$)), with different features available. Also, speaking of expenses, Shopify will charge 2.4 to 2.9% from each transaction on your store, depending on plan, plus a hard extra fee (30 cents per transaction). However, if you’re doing good business, these costs will quickly become insignificant.
So that's it for the good & the bad. As an experienced print on demand company, we totally can recommend Shopify! If you have made your decision, then let’s go create your own online shop-website!
Create an online store with Shopify
First, you will have to click on start free trial and enter your email, password, store name. The name of your store has to be unique, or else you won’t be able to continue. If you already have your store or just a design account in some social media platforms, you can try the same name (if it is not already taken by someone else), thus your existing and potential customers will be able to easily find you on the web. When you are done with this step, click create your store.
After that you will have to tell a little bit about yourself and your future plans, meaning, that you have to inform Shopify if you already sell stuff somewhere else, are you a beginner, what is your current revenue etc. And after everything is done, you can click on the button next where you will be asked to enter your address. The registration process is now completed and you can take care of the whole website customization process. But before you do that, go on and verify your email address, that will help to keep your account safe.
Your home page is where all the store creation magic will happen. Here you can customize your store, add items that are for sale, create a logo and more.
One of the first things you can do is add a product (but beforehand prepare some high quality pictures of your products) in your online store. You will have to add a title (for example, if you plan to sell a poster, you can write something like “Urban design poster” or just the name of your product) and a description in which you can write useful information about your product, for example the size, colors, how the product should be used etc.
After that, you have to upload one or multiple images of your product, or, if you want, you can even add videos and 3D models. Cool, right? Just remember, the quality of your media will determine if the product sales go well. You too would think twice before purchasing something that has a questionable picture uploaded, right? If you have a chance, hire a professional photographer, who can capture your products from the best angles and afterwards edit some details with professional tools. If you work with a dropshipping company, they might provide mockups and other visual materials of their products.
Add pricing for your item, inventory details, quantity, shipping details, mention if the product has options (different sizes, colors, materials etc.), organize products by type, vendor or collection, and add tags to your product.
Next, you can choose your shop theme from the theme store. As mentioned above, there are free themes as well as premium (paid) ones. Pick the one you like best and after that you can customize your page. You will be able to change fonts, color schemes, logos, carousel slides, image opacity and other things. Add pages to your store, organize navigation and then you can move to the next step - adding domain.
To make things official and your website to look professional, you have to purchase a domain. At first it is yourstorename.myshopify.com but if you want a better looking name, you can buy a new domain (or, if you already have purchased one from somewhere else, you can add it to Shopify). After activation, you can go to that particular domain and see your website.
After that, you have to select one of the three Shopify plans, because at this point your site is available, but it is password protected, meaning, visitors will only see a holding page. This problem will be solved after you subscribe to one of the plans.
The bottom line
These are the vital steps that you have to go through in order to create your own amazing website. What is left for you to do now is to personalize it and improve it. But, overall, Shopify is really simple to use, even for beginners, that’s why so many people use it. Still, if you need someone who could help you get through these steps, don’t be shy to ask for a helping hand. Printseekers have worked with a bunch of custom design print shops based on Shopify, and given advice to many of them.
Also, if you’re looking into Etsy, we have a beginner’s guide for that as well!