Selling online doesn’t have to be complicated, and Shopify offers a simple platform that lets have your own online store. You can quickly create an online store, apply your branding and design, and list your products in an intuitive, simple-to-understand way.
Here’s how to sell on Shopify, even if you’ve never sold anything online before.
Erika Taught Me
- Shopify is easily customizable, which makes it easy for sellers to design it any way they want.
- There’s a three-day free trial, then there are several pricing plans but you get the first three months for $1
- You may also need to get a sales tax license from your home state.
- Once you know what you want to sell, you'll need some great pictures of your items and a name for your store.
- Set up your store on Shopify using their premade themes and then list your items.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is an eCommerce platform that lets you set up shop (digitally) and sell products online. It’s fully customizable, allowing you to design your storefront how you wish, and also has a library of pre-made templates if you don’t want to design it yourself.
Shopify offers three payment plans, depending on your shop's needs and scale. There’s also a point-of-sale system available for physical locations to accept payments.
The platform offers a three-day free trial to test it out before committing to a plan. This lets you get familiar with the tools available and add a few products before choosing which plan would work for your business. Then, you can get your first three months of any plan for just $1.
Steps before opening a Shopify store
Before opening your store, you need to do some research and work ahead of time.
Figure out what you want to sell
Before you try out Shopify, it’s best to know what you want to sell first. This may involve market research to determine what’s popular and what aligns with your interests. If you’re going to sell a physical product, you’ll need to research how to mass produce the item(s) and be able to ship them.
Hit your favorite social media platforms and poll your target customers to see what they might be interested in. This will also help create some buzz for your new business.
Choose a brand name
Once you’ve chosen what to sell, you’ll want to name your shop. Coming up with a memorable brand name that helps people know what you sell is an important part of your business. It’s also best to choose a name with an available domain you can purchase so you own the website name as well.
Take pictures of your products
You’ll need professional pictures for your online Shopify store. This may mean hiring a professional photographer or doing it yourself. If you’re selling digital products, creating sample images and mockups can help you display your products better. Doing this ahead of opening your store can make adding products much quicker.
Register for sales tax collection (if needed)
If you’re selling products in the U.S., you may need to register for a sales tax ID. You can typically do this through your state's revenue department. But if you’re unsure how to do this, it’s best to work with a licensed tax professional.
Related: Do I need an LLC?
How to sell on Shopify: 9 steps to your first sale
Here’s what you need to do to get your first sale on Shopify:
1. Sign up for a Shopify account
You can sign up online with your email address, Apple ID, Facebook ID, or Google ID, and there is a three-day free trial to get familiar with the platform. There are five Shopify plans to choose from, all offering a three-month trial for just $1.
2. Choose a sales channel
Once you’ve signed up, it’s time to choose where you want to sell it. You’ll need to follow the onboarding wizard to choose what sales channels you want.
You can choose from an online store, brick-and-mortar, an existing website or blog, social media sales, online marketplaces (such as Amazon), or “I’m not sure.” The wizard also helps you connect your social media accounts to share your online store directly.
3. Add your domain name
Now, you can add your store name. If you have an existing website, you can connect Shopify to it or buy a custom domain name from the platform to set it up directly.
It’s best to keep your store name short and easy to remember. And if possible, get the “.com” domain name, as most people automatically type that in when trying to access a website.
Note: You can use the stock domain setup, but it’ll make your domain look terrible and be hard to remember. For example: The brand “Awesome Store” would look like “awesome-store.myshopify.com.”
4. Choose a payment processor
Once you’ve chosen what type of shop you want to open, you need to connect to a payment processor to collect payments for your items. Shopify has its own built-in payment processor, or you can connect to a third-party payment processor like Stripe. When connected, you can accept payments such as credit cards, debit cards, Paypal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more.
5. Add your product(s)
Now for the fun stuff! You can start adding your products to your store. Under the “Products” tab, you can choose to “Add Product.” This lets you fill in the product details, add pictures, and set the price.
- Product title: This is the name customers will see.
- Product description: The detailed description of what the product is.
- Media: These are the pictures and videos of the product.
- Sales channels and apps: Where you’re selling the product (social media, storefront, and so on)
- Product organization: This lets you choose the product type and what collection it’s a part of, and you can add tags for easier searching on your store website.
- Pricing: Set the price for the product.
- Inventory: This should reflect your current inventory of the product.
There are many other details you can tweak for your products, but this will get you started so you can publish your products on your storefront.
6. Add products to collections
Collections are groups of products that fit a specific theme or category. If you have a lot of items to sell, it’s a good idea to create collections that help you organize your storefront and help customers find other items like the ones they’re shopping for.
As you add products to a collection, this automatically populates your collection page with more products.
7. Design your storefront
Now, you can choose a design to display your products and collections. There are free and paid Shopify themes you can choose from. This gives you a quick way to design your shop without knowing how to code or build web pages.
Here’s how it works:
- Choose a theme: If you don’t like Shopify’s default theme, you can pick a free or paid theme to apply to your store.
- Customize the theme: In your “Theme Settings” area, you can customize the theme to your liking. You can change fonts and colors and the layouts of specific pages.
- Add a logo: Add a logo to your whole site under the “Header” section. This helps with continuity and branding.
- Add menus: Adding menus can help customers quickly navigate your store and help them find what they’re looking for. Do this under the “Navigation” tab.
- Add pages: Add store pages, including collections pages, policy pages, and more.
- Edit your store footer: The bottom of every page in your online store is called the “footer.” Edit this to add your store name, copyright info, and links to policy pages.
You can continue tweaking your store over time and customize it to your heart’s content. But start with these few changes so you can publish your store sooner.
8. Publish your store
Now that you’ve added your products and images and have designed the storefront, it’s time to go LIVE. You can publish your store and start sharing it with the world. It’s a good idea to make a test purchase first to make sure everything is working as it should.
9. Market your products online
Once your store is live, you can share it online with your target audience. While you might start with your personal network through social media pages, you can also grow your online presence and the brand's presence. Advanced marketing techniques include social media advertising and even physical signs and billboards.
What can you sell on Shopify?
You can sell anything on Shopify, from digital and physical products to in-person selling, using a Shopify Retail plan. It’s an online platform that lets you set up shop for whatever you want to sell. Of course, it all needs to be legal in the country you are selling it in.
How much does it cost to sell on Shopify?
Shopify has several pricing plans, starting at $5/month and going up to $399/month or more. There is also a free trial available for three days that lets you open a store and start selling. Currently, Shopify is offering the first three months of any plan for $1.
What is required to sell on Shopify?
To sell on Shopify, you need to sign up for an account, design your storefront, add products, and publish. That’s it! You can get started for free for three days, then pick a plan that suits your business needs.
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