Shopify is a great alternative to the old traditional methods of creating an online store. Shopify simplifies and speeds up the eCommerce website creation process, and contains everything you need to get started selling online.
And for those of you that are curious, Shopify gives you a free two week trial period where you can create an online store and see how you like it. You don’t need to enter a credit card or payment form either to try it out. However, if you actually want to start selling products, you’ll then have to add your credit card.
So let’s go ahead and sign up for an account.
And you only need to enter your email at this point. As I said, you get a 14 day free trial period. So, we’ll click the Get Started button here. And, we’ll make up a password, and here’s where you name your online store. We’ll just call it Easy Quick Website, and click Create Your Store. And, actually your site gets created very quickly here. Now, they’re going ask you for some info on your business here. We’ll just enter anything here just for our demo.
And, here’s where you enter your contact information. I’ll go ahead and enter that and I’m just going to skip ahead here to speed things up. So now we’re in our Shopify control panel here. Over on the left here, we’ll click on the Online Store link to work on our site. The first thing we want to do is select our website them. Now Shopify offers both free and paid themes you can use for your online store. Here are the free themes. They’re actually pretty good—in fact I use just the free themes myself.
We’ll take a look at the premium themes here. Generally, the premium themes give you more functionality and they do look a little nicer. So, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to pay to use them.
For our demo here, we’ll use a free theme. Let’s select the Minimal theme. This is one that I use myself. And, you can see some of the features you get here. You also have different style options. We’ll just go with the Modern style and click the Add button. And once your theme is added, you can go ahead and customize it. And right now since we have nothing in our store, we just see an outline with placeholders here. In fact, just to give you a better idea of how things look, I’m going to switch over here real quick to my own Shopify Store.
So here’s how I’ve set up my minimal theme. You can add you own store logo, which I recommend you do. And up top you have your menus. So, it’s just a nice simple look. Let’s click on one of the items. And, you can set up discount or sale pricing and your descriptions. And at the bottom, you can show some related products you have for sale. You have your add to cart button. And, let’s click on the Jewelry menu item. As you can see, you can separate out your products by category.
And like all good website builders, Shopify lets you preview how your online store will look on different devices. If you click on the icons at the top, you can preview how your site will look on a smartphone. And actually, with more and more people shopping with their phones these days, your mobile site is actually more important. So I definitely recommend that you concentrate first on how your online store looks as a mobile site—since that’s where a lot of your sales will come from.
Okay, let’s go back to our demo site.
If we click on Settings in the lower left corner here, this is where you customize your online store. For example, this is where you can set up your shipping rates. So, you can set up different rates for domestic and international shipping. You can do shipping labels.
And, this is also where you can set up your tax rates. We’ll come back to this in a bit.
Now, let’s look at adding your products to your store. So to do that, click on the Products link on the left here. And, if you want to manually enter your products, you can click on the Add Product button. And here’s where you can input the title of your product, the description, you can add a photo, and you can also enter pricing and inventory data here. So that’s pretty straight forward.
But in addition to that, another great feature with Shopify is that if you want to use drop shipping to sell products, for example from a site like Ali Express, you can use an app where you can then browse the Ali Express website and easily select products there to be added to your Shopify store.
So let’s talk about apps for a minute. Shopify has an app store where you can find all kinds of apps that add more functionality to your online store. We’ll click on Apps on the left. And here’s Oberlo. That’s the app I mentioned you can use for adding products. Now just like with themes, some of the apps are free to use, while others require a fee.
So, let’s take a look at the Shopify App Store. And as you can see there’s tons of stuff in here. Here’s some marketing apps, sales apps, here’s some for social media, shipping, here’s some for helping with inventory, accounting, customer service, reporting, some other tools here. So, there’s a lot of good stuff here. Just about anything you can think of for making your online selling easier, you can find here.
Now, another thing I wanted to show you in the Settings features is Notifications. With Shopify, you can set things up so your customers are notified when certain events occur, like when an order is confirmed or cancelled, or when there’s a refund. And, you can also have shipping confirmations sent out.
Now, one of the best things I like about Shopify is their payment processing. In the past, if you were building an eCommerce website, you needed to setup a merchant account and be concerned about accepting payments, and such. But with Shopify, you just need to go to the Settings area and click on Payment Providers. And, you can use their Shopify Payments to accept credit card payments. You can also accept PayPal payments. And there are a few other options as well. But I really like Shopify Payments. To set it up, you just click on the Complete Account Setup button, and enter your information here.
One more thing I wanted to go over here, before your site goes live, you really want to set up your own domain name for your online store. Having your own custom domain name gives your site a more professional look, and allows you to stand out more in the search engines. So to connect you own domain name, just go to your welcome page, and click the Add Domain button. Now you can buy a domain from here, but I recommend you purchase one from a domain registrar like GoDaddy or someplace like that. So then you can just click on the Connect Existing Domain link. And here’s where you’d enter your domain.
And finally, I wanted to talk about customer support. Sooner or later, you’re bound to need some help with something, and I’m amazed that some website builder providers don’t have adequate support coverage. Happily, I have to say that with Shopify, I’ve been very satisfied with the customer support I’ve received. To contact support, just click on your name in the upper right corner and select the Shopify Help Center. And, you can search the documentation, or better yet you can click on Contact Support. Then, click on Get Help. And as you can see, you have several options for receiving support. You can use live chat, you can send a tweet, an email, or make a phone call—definitely great to see all the avenues of support that are available to you at Shopify.