If you’re looking to build or create an online store for your business, we’d recommend Shopify for your next venture. Shopify is an ultra-powerful eCommerce website builder that’s perfect for constructing an online store–they’ve got something for everybody, no matter what field you’re in.
But building a Shopify store involves moving a few pieces around and can be a little tricky If you haven’t yet built an online store for your business.
The upcoming step by step Shopify tutorial is easy to follow along, perfect for beginners and covers all bases on how to create a Shopify store.
But before jumping into the tutorial, let’s take a closer look at what Shopify is, how to use Shopify, and how it can bring in the dough for you (yes, yes, and yes).
Oh, and if you’re more of a visual/audio kinda brainiac, check out our super extensive video tutorial on setting up a Shopify store below!
What is Shopify?
Once again, Shopify is a cloud-based eCommerce model you can use to assemble an online store for your business. It’s one of the top products on the market these days because of how easily you can add products and manage your business from their hub.
Shopify offers complete control and flexibility, letting you manage all of your inventory, your products, and your shipping.
Want a gander at Shopify’s competition, with comparative stats to boot? If so, check out our list of the best eCommerce platforms available to date.
How does Shopify work?
Shopify is basically this shrewd intermediary between your dope online business and your customers. They’re like a thoughtful real estate agent who gives you all the ins and out on how to live comfortably, manage your space, and save money in the process.
As a foundation for your business, Shopify becomes your storefront; it allows you to interface with customers, accept payments and create financial transactions, organize and distribute your product inventory, and more.
What’s also cool about Shopify is that it allows you to make transactions both on and offline, using Shopify POS (Point of Sale). That way, you literally take your business to the streets and can make sales anywhere a paying customer is to be found!
In the case you don’t actually have any products to sell or don’t have the cash to invest in products, you can still use Shopify for dropshipping.
Dropshipping allows you to sell products that belong to a manufacturer through your online store. This manufacturer handles fulfillment and delivery of those products to your customers – you take a percentage of the sale.
Can you make money with Shopify?
Yes, you can make money with Shopify. In fact, there are quite a few ways to monetize with Shopify. The most common methods are to sell stuff directly from your eCommerce store, create a dropshipping business, become a Shopify affiliate, or monetize your social media.
Ultimately, how much money you’ll make on the platform depends on how much work you want to put into your store. If you play your cards right, you can easily rake in tens or hundreds of thousands per month!
The better you learn Shopify and all of its inclusive assets, the better you’ll know what Shopify can bring to the table (and how to get it there)!
How to Use Shopify Tutorial for Beginners: 7 Steps to Launch Your Online Store
In this Shopify tutorial for beginners, we sieve through each portion of how to set up a Shopify store, step by step, so you can get started with your eCommerce dallyings right away.
This tutorial is extensive, so grab your real-serious reading glasses and take your time. If you’re already somewhere along the process of building an eCommerce store with Shopify, find the step you left off at and start from there!
1. Signing up for Shopify
In order for us to get busy is to create an account with Shopify. Luckily, you won’t need to pay anything off the bat and can start building your eCommerce store immediately. First, we’ll need to sign up for a free trial on Shopify.
Follow the link to Shopify’s landing page, enter your email address, and choose to start your free trial. You’ll then be asked to enter a login password, as well as the name of your store (here’s a good time to think of a name if you haven’t done so already).
Finally, choose to Create your store.
Pro tip: Don’t worry about the preset domain name after this step since you can always purchase a more professional domain name for this website that Shopify will be hosting.
From there, answer a few questions to make the setup easier, or choose to skip this part for a later time. We’ll be going over each part of how to make a Shopify store later in this tutorial, so don’t worry about the Kickstarter checkboxes.
In the next step, you’ll fill out some personal information like your name and address (the usual biz). After that, click enter my store, and you’ll be brought into your now barebones Shopify dashboard.
To the far left, you’ll find a sleek sidebar. This sidebar is the main menu of your Shopify store from where you’ll be able to manage your orders and customers, create new products, improve your marketing, and more. We’ll get into all of that stuff later though.
2. Customize Your Shopify Store
The next step in our Shopify tutorial is where all the fun begins – customizing the Shopify store. Here’s where we’ll be designing the look and feel of our storefront, covering the most important components of building an online store.
The perfect first step to take when customizing almost anything is to choose a theme, so that’s where we’ll start. Click on Online Store in the sidebar and the ‘Themes’ page should pop up. If it doesn’t, just click on Themes in the dropdown menu.
Then scroll down to the Theme Library where you can explore a bunch of free themes. There are also some sweet themes that you can purchase from Shopify’s theme store, but let’s stick to the basic stuff for now.
Since we want to build up our own theme from scratch (more or less), let’s click on the customize button aside the Debut theme section.
This takes us to our Shopify store which should be looking plain-bagel basic at the moment. So let’s spruce things up a bit – we’ll start with the header.
You’ll find the header tab in the left sidebar under sections. Click on that to open up the header customization tools. You’ll see where we can place a logo as a site header, which is always a good choice for making your page pop and branding your image.
If you’ve got a logo you can drop one in from your storage wherever it might be. If not, Logomakr is a great place to bang one out for free – it’s simple, easy, and requires no additional software.
Make sure to search for a logo that actually represents your business; think of a simple keyword and search for it with Logomakr’s search tool. Once you choose the one you like, you can edit the size, color, saturation, add text, and more.
Go ahead and save your logo using the save tool at the top-right of the screen. You’ll be asked to pay to download high-resolution files, but instead, just choose to download the low-resolution files for free – that’ll suffice for this task.
Pro Tip: After your logo has been edited to perfection, create an all-white duplicate of the logo. You’ll have to follow the same steps we just mentioned for downloading the new logo. This is going to come in handy later when building our online store.
Now that that’s down, we can head back over to our Shopify store and upload the new logo into our header. Just click on Select image and upload the standard (not the all-white) logo into the header.
You can customize the width of your logo from here (we’re going with the smaller, subtler logo, but the choice is completely yours). You should also click the show announcement box a little further down, which will enable you to post announcements at the very top of your landing page.
Depending on the announcement, you might want to link it to another page on your site, such as the collections page or blog post page. We’ll touch upon that a little further along.
After saving all of our header work thus far (don’t forget to save!), let’s move on to the main home screen image, or hero image.
Click on Image with text overlay under the header tab in the sidebar. Just like before, select an image to upload from your hard drive onto the site. Once your image is up, if it doesn’t look completely kosher, play with the parameters so that it fits like a glove.
You’ll see options to toggle image alignment, as well as the height of this section and the style of the overlaying text.
Pro Tip: Super large images will hunker down your site, increasing load times and lag. That’s no bueno. One way to help avoid this is to make sure that your hero images have a width of no more than 1300px (pixels) before uploading. Fotor is a dope website you can use to resize, crop, or edit images.
Of course, the overlaying text at this part will be the first “voice” of your brand that your visitors will encounter, so say something worthwhile. The typography/font can be edited for this text, too.
We can also create a button that links to any other page of our store by jotting in the button text, and choosing where to link it (like before).
To change the color of your primary buttons (including the one we just created), specific texts, and form filters, go up to the theme settings button in the sidebar. There you’ll see all the colors currently in place. Click on the color to change it.
Oh, and be sure to choose colors that stand out as well as complement each other! Especially your call-to-action buttons – you want to make them pop out and enticing for your clients!
Next up is social media. Back out to theme settings once more and find the social media tab, and click on it. If you scroll down you’ll see where you can add all of your social accounts, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. That much is pretty straightforward.
At the top of this column, you’ll see a space where you can add an image for your social media. Whenever you send something on social media, this image will tag along with your message.
We chose to add our logo (brand image) for this part. It’s a strong branding strategy, making recognizing your business a no-thinker, with enough time and exposure.
From there, let’s backtrack to edit our favicon (still in theme settings). A favicon, also called a shortcut icon or bookmark icon, is a file that has one or more tiny icons, representative of a business. Think of this as the individual icon in each of your tabs as you browse the internet.
Once again, it’s probably best to use your business’ logo for this.
After saving all your hard work thus far (save, save, save) let’s jump all the way back to sections and click on the image with text section. Here’s gonna be a good place to inject some sexy jargon about your business in the company of an equally sexy image.
You can also add a button that would link to, say, your collections page, just like we did before. Easy as pie.
Pro Tip: “A picture says a thousand words”; the expression could not hold more true than it does in our day and age. The seasoned know this, which is why the best website builders all leave plenty of room for big images that leave their mark.
There are also tons of killer websites that provide free royalty free images for folks like us who need stellar shots to drive home the genius vision. Take a moment to find (or take, if that’s your flavor) some hi-fi images that speak for your business and would look smashing on your site.
The next section down the page of your storefront will be slideshow (you see now why we plugged you for the images, right?). So, we’re going to get new images into this section by clicking on the slideshow tab, and then scrolling down and choosing image slide.
Each image slide will be the sequential image of the slideshow (if that wasn’t obvious), so consider how you want your images to interact before selecting images for the slide show.
Adding an image is as easy as selecting and uploading one from your computer as we did before. Moreover, each image’s position, heading, subheading, and more, can be edited, just like with the hero image.
You can also add a different button for each image, in the case that each image relates to a different product offered on your site.
Finally, at the bottom of your slideshow you’ll notice a footer – we’re going to go ahead and edit that too. So first, jump back to sections and click footer down at the bottom.
A strong opening move is to click on the show payment icons box right at the top. That’ll show the icons off all the payment methods you accept at your store.
Furthermore, you can edit the 3 main sections of the footer, which start off as Quick links, Talk about your business, and newsletter, by clicking on the sections in the sidebar.
Maybe you want to change “newsletter” to something like “Join our mailing list!”, or, “subscribe for all our updates”. By the way, emails input into this section will be added to your customer list, so you can connect your fans with early promotions, sales, coupons, and all the good stuff.
The “talk about your business” section is pretty straightforward, but maybe you want to change this section altogether? We went with adding a contact prompt + contact email for easy customer support or general questions. Take a look at the example below:
The last section here, the “Quick links” section, has a menu function which we’ll get into a bit later. Basically, you can create a small menu with some links stacked on top of one another. For now, let’s move on.
It’s time to move around some of our general settings. Save your work and hit the back arrow at the top of the screen. Click on the “bag” icon at the top left of the screen, and then go down to Settings on the bottom left of the page. Finally, click on General Settings on the following page.
From there, you can change your store name (in case you changed your mind from before), your account email, which Shopify will use to contact you about your account, and the customer email, which customers can use to contact you.
These emails are a rather important component of your business, so make sure they’re error-free. and PS, customers won’t be able to access your account email for any reason.
Once you scroll further down the page, you’ll see the store address information before coming to a section titled Standards and Formats. This info is used to calculate the weight, cost, and order time for your products.
Near the bottom here you’ll see 2 boxes that read prefix and suffix. These areas are particularly useful for bookkeeping in case you’re managing your own orders and want to keep better track of how your products get moved about.
The reason being is that, if you have more than one store on Shopify, it can be hard to keep track of which orders come from where by gazing at random numbers dancing around your spreadsheet.
With, for example, an abbreviation of each specific store’s title in the prefix or suffix, you can easily deduce what’s coming from where.
At the very bottom, you can change the Store currency.
To set up your payment providers (a crucial step when setting up a Shopify store), go back to settings and find the section under the same name. Open that up to get to the payment providers page.
By default, Paypal will already be set up as a payment option using your email, provided that you have a Paypal account with that same email. You can also set up Amazon pay or any other third-party payment provider.
And, you can enable Shopify payments via Stripe if you complete the account setup. Find the big blue button at the top of this page to get that underway. They’ll ask you to choose your business type, address, personal details, and a description of your products and services.
You’ll also need to clarify your customer billing statement, which you can leave the same, and banking information if you want to get paid directly into your bank account. Read through the terms and conditions (if you dare) before finalizing everything. Sweet.
The next piece of our general settings to configure is our checkout section, so return to the General Settings page and click on Checkout.
The first bit concerns customer accounts. It starts off as being disabled, so customers won’t be able to create an account to buy multiple things from you. You can make this optional or even mandatory if you choose.
We say it’s cool to personalize the relationship between you (your business) and your customer, so personal accounts are a nice touch.
Down below under customer contact, you’d want to leave the first option check, allowing your biggest fans to check out using either their email or their phone.
We’d also recommend allowing customers to add a number to receive shipping updates, and getting both the first and last name when filling out forms since this helps with bookkeeping.
Skip down the rest of this page to the email marketing section and check the preselect the sign-up option box. By doing this, whenever your customers are checking out, it’ll already be selected that they want to sign up for your email list – more subscribers on the way!
Finally, save your stuff, and let’s go back to handle our shipping settings.
Quick Tip: If you’re learning how to start a Shopify store for a dropshipping business, then you won’t really have to worry about your shipping settings since all the shipping gets handled for you. You should, however, delete all of the shipping rates in the section of your store.
If you are sending out your own stuff, let’s start by going to manage rates under shipping profiles.
From there, you get to alter the rates and conditions of your shipping; that includes the country/destination, price, and weight.
If you want to create free shipping on orders over a certain price, it’s as easy as going to add rate, choosing the title of your rate (free shipping in this case), cost of your rate ($0 in this case), and adding a condition of a $50 minimum order price.
For making free shipping on all orders, just set your standard minimum purchase price as $0 for all orders. Sweet.
Next up, let’s configure our account settings which you can find by returning to the general settings page. We’re jumping straight here because it’s important, and worth mentioning if you’re learning how to set up a Shopify store.
Namely, you can add a staff account from these settings, which you’ll need if someone else is helping to run or manage your online store. As you set up their account, you’ll also be able to choose how many permissions they have access to.
Luckily, Shopify makes it easy to get ahead on all this tricky business, so you won’t have to hire someone or spend hours trying to figure it out yourself. Let’s click on Create from template to have Shopify fill in a policy for us.
From the template, you can also go inside and edit things further however you see fit – and you can do this with every policy except shipping that’s offered by your business (all the standard stuff it takes to run an online store.) Thanks, Shopify!
Now, we need to create pages for all of these policies so that folks can actually read them because, at the moment, all of the policies are hidden.
To do this, let’s find Online Store in the sidebar and open it up in a new tab. On the new tab, go to Pages in the sidebar, and then click on the add page button.
We’ll be creating a page for every policy we have, so the title should correspond accordingly. For example, if adding the refund policy page first, write “Refund Policy” in the title section, before copying and pasting the policy itself into the content section.
Save your page when you’re finished, and do this for every page. It’s that simple. Oh, and to check the pages that we’ve created, just click on view page, or open it up in a new tab.
[contact page at 34 mins if needed]
Pro Tip: Take the time out to create an additional About Us page. This page should really be the sales page for your business, where you delineate your vision for the business, your values and morals, what goes into the products you offer to customers, etc. You’d also want to add images in between the text to make things easier to read.
Now that we have some strong pages for our site, we can create a main menu with these pages. Go over to navigation, and click on Main menu. Then you can just add menu items here that will bring you to the pages we just created.
You can also create dropdown menus for the main menu by dragging and dropping a menu item over another one. It cleans up the menu and makes navigation super simple.
To edit the footer menu, follow the same steps for the Footer menu instead of the main menu.
3. Create New Products
This step only goes for business owners who’ll be selling their own goods on their site. Dropshippers will probably be using a third-party app, which sets up the entire products section for you, so it’s off your hands.
To create a new product, let’s start by going over to products in the sidebar, and then clicking on add product on the pop-out page.
Here you’ll be able to add a title, description, and image for your product. This step is pretty straightforward, but make sure to get super thorough with each product description, including all the specs, aspects, utilities, and whatnot. The more in-depth, the better.
Then, we’ll need to do pricing. That includes the price for the item, the “compare at price”, or general price for the same item on other sites, and “cost per item”, which is how much you paid to make your item available.
Basically, the difference between the cost of your item and the comparative price will equate to what Shopify deems the “sale” price. So after being posted and publish to your online store, it’ll look something like this:
Adding the “cost per item” is optional, but you’ll definitely want to include the higher prices of the competition which gives your product and company the edge.
Afterward, let’s go on and give the product a SKU, which is perfect for bookkeeping and inventory tracking. Your SKU should just be the name of your product.
Below that is the shipping settings which you can fill out accordingly. Make sure the weight you input is accurate since the weight will influence shipping costs.
The next section is if you want to create variants of color, size, or style for your item. If you click on this option, you’ll then be able to edit the title, quantity, price, and size of each variant.
Finally, at the very bottom of this page, you’ll see the website SEO for this product as it will appear in a Google search. There’s a whole lot to say about efficient SEO practices of which we won’t go into detail here, but aim for something that’s catchy and represents your business.
4. Create New Collections
Just like with our products, we’re going to create new collections on Shopify by going to the sidebar and clicking on collections. The Home Page collection will be present by default, which will read as the Featured collection on your home page (under the hero image).
Let’s go ahead and edit that one–so click on home page under collections. Here you can rename the collection (we chose to name our “featured products”) and add a description if you like, but it’s not necessary.
The stars of the show here are the products, and we can add products to this (or any) collection a little further down under the section titled Products – just browse, select your product, and hit done.
Creating a separate collection will more or less follow the same pace, with a few minor differences, so let’s see how that’s done. Go back to the collections page and choose Create collection at the top right in blue.
This can be any specific collection for your online Shopify store, like “Men’s footwear”, or whatever. Create the title as you would, a description if you please, and then choose the collection type – either manual or automated.
We recommend using the automated collection because it saves you time from having to go back and manually add in every matching detail on your products. Creating tags for your products will help the AI organize your collections once new products are added in.
To create a tag, just go to any one of your products on your site and find the tags input section on the right of the page. Oh, and you can create more than one tag for any product.
You can also add an image to your collections which will appear as the header image atop the collection page. By now, your online store should be looking absolutely voluptuous!
5. Create Discount Codes
Discount codes are a great way to get the uncertain to hop off the fence and buy your product. I mean… who doesn’t love discounts, right? Head on over to our trusty dusty sidebar, click on discounts and then choose Create discount code.
Your discounts can be based on whatever you choose, so be creative and offer your customers something special. You can create discounts based on price, percentage, or include extra items in discounts too.
Here we’ve created a discount code titled WELCOME20 that offers 20% off all website newcomers for their first buy.
You can also add in the minimum requirements to be met for the discount to activate, and even choose which of your customers will be eligible for these awesome deals. Lastly, you can manage the usage limits of these discounts, as well as which dates it’ll remain active.
What’s really cool is that after you save your discount, Shopify will create a sharable link for you, so this way you can promote your business products on your social media or through email. That sure is a nice way to get the wheels turning!
6. Manage Orders, Analytics, and Apps
Logistics is just as important a part of building a Shopify store like any other. Managing all the backend bonanza comes with the turn of this business, so let’s check out the POIs one by one – starting with orders.
Go to the sidebar of your Shopify store and click orders. There should be nothing here at the moment if you’ve been building your site along with us, but here is where all your order information will show up once you make your store live and drive home some sales.
You’ll also find an abandoned checkouts section in the dropdown under orders, where you can view the misfortune folks who made it all the way to the checkout but never actually went through with a purchase.
Next up is analytics. You’ll find the analytics tab in the sidebar, wherein you can gaze upon all the helpful data about your store’s performance. That includes total sales, online conversion rates, returning customer rates, and much much more.
Last but not least, we’ve got apps. In case you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know, apps are third-party plugins that increase the functionality of one thing or another – in this case, your online store.
Click on apps in our favorite sidebar menu to peep which apps are at your behest for advancing your online store. Plus, a milieu more apps can always be purchased in the Shopify app store.
We’d recommend getting a product review app so that customers can easily share their experiences with your products and services. Reviews are a game-changer and a go-to these days as a reference for consumer value, so don’t forget that bit of your business.
Another clutch app you’d definitely wanna grab is an email opt-in app or a pop-in on your site that allows for customers to get onto your mailing list.
A good application for this is one that’s found for free on the Shopify app store called Privy.
Email marketing is a super important part of selling products since (a) most people check their email every day and before anything else, and (b) email communication adds a personal touch to your business which encourages customer engagement.
7. Select a Shopify Plan
In order to make your Shopify store go live and actually start selling your products, we need to select a Shopify plan. So if you’ve been using the trial so far and are ready to commit for the long run, click on select a plan somewhere at the bottom of your screen.
Unless you’re absolutely sure you’ll be pulling in a lot of money from your business per month, we recommend going with the cheapest plan, or Basic Shopify plan, for starters. Of course, the more expensive plans have better long-term rates, so you can always move up the ranks if and when the time comes.
Moreover, you can choose your billing rate, of which a greater commitment will save you upwards of $250 depending on your plan. Then, just put in your credit card/payment details before choosing to start your plan.
So that’s it! Our store is now up and running with all the major components handled and right where they need to be. Save your work and hit the eyeball icon to preview your newly designed Shopify store!And believe it or not, we’ve just scratched the surface in this step by step Shopify tutorial. Now that you’ve got the foundation built, why not start the heavy decorating!? Check out our even juicier post on how to build an online store for eCommerce.