Learn To Use Shopify in 9 Steps
Shopify is one of the best ecommerce platforms around. It has the broadest range of sales tools on the market, and it’s really simple to use.
People love Shopify for two things: its sales features and ease of use. Essentially, it’s made building a powerful and prosperous online store an absolute breeze, meaning any business owner can get online easily.
It’s not just us who think so, either – over 640,000 Shopify store owners would agree. Looking to join the crowd? Well, you’re in luck. We’re going to show you how to use Shopify in just 9 easy steps.
Covering everything from sign up to publish, we’ll show you how to streamline your website, offering some handy tips along the way.
So, after reading this article, you’ll not only learn how to use Shopify, but how to get the most out of your store. Excited to get started? So are we. Let’s go…
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is an ecommerce platform, meaning it’s designed to help you build your online store. You pay a monthly fee to use its templates and impressive sales tools, add products, and process online orders. There’s even a large app store for the rest of your selling needs. In short, Shopify makes running your business easier.
To get started, head to Shopify.com. The homepage has two blue ‘Get started’ buttons, so click on one, and you can start your 14-day free trial. You don’t need any payment details to get started – just an email!
Shopify then asks you for some details: your email, chosen password, and most importantly, your store name. The name of your store must be unique, so get creative!
Now you’re ready to ‘Create your store’.
Before we start, check out our Shopify review.
After filling in your details, you’re then taken to the Shopify admin page. There’s a clear navigation menu on the left, sales figures on the right, and it provides three handy construction tool shortcuts in the middle. You can’t miss them.
The shortcuts cover three really important steps: ‘Add product’, ‘Customize theme’, and ‘Add domain’.
Adding products with Shopify is really easy. You just need to name it, describe it, and upload an image. There are also some less exciting fields to fill in, like the barcode, weight, and size variants. Just scroll down for these.
Shopify knows building a website should be a journey – and a fun one at that! After you’ve completed a task, it moves with you and keeps you motivated. It’s like having a personal trainer for your online store.
In the image below, notice how the ‘Add product’ has been ticked, and the ‘Customize theme’ tab is now highlighted.
When customizing your store’s design, you have three options. You can stick with Shopify’s signature theme, ‘Debut’; choose one of 10 free themes; or pick one of the 50+ paid templates, costing $140 to $180.
For this guide, we’ll stick with Debut and show you how to customize it. Click the button in the top right, and get ready to let those creative juices flow – we’re about to take you through each step for designing your template.
For all your typeface needs, use the left hand side menu. From here, click on each page tab to update the header and overlay text, and to change the font size. You can even throw in a ‘Button label’ and link it to a URL, or another page on your site.
Repeat this step for each page, and your site will now say what you want it to. Want to add text to even more pages? No problem – simply hit ‘Add section’ and pick a section category.
Shopify lets you add every type of page, from blogs and galleries to maps and testimonials. It’s comprehensive in all departments.
To change the typeface color, click ‘Theme settings’ on the left hand side menu. You can also change label, form field, and link colors. The simple customizing tools and visual cues really let you personalize text without a fuss.
For images, Shopify has easily identifiable buttons wherever you go. Depending on your theme, each page tab on the navigation menu will have a blue ‘Select image’ button. It’s really easy – take a look at the image below.
To update the homepage background, hit that blue button to upload your own. Alternatively, you can ‘Explore free images’. From there you will have loads of free template images to choose from, covering many different industries.
As Shopify puts it, we are ‘moving along nicely’. We’ve gone through how to add products and customize themes – now, we’ll explain how to name your website.
At this point, you may be asking: ‘What’s the point in changing the URL?’ You may have heard people say ‘a website is a window into your business’ – well, we believe a domain is a window into your website.
Your domain is the first thing your customers will see, because it’s how they find you. So, it’s important to find the perfect URL for your online store, which will reflect and strengthen your brand.
As you can see from the image above, your website comes with a Shopify subdomain, ‘.myshopify.com’. Sure, it’s free so it keeps the costs down, but it doesn’t look too professional.
To jazz up your online store, you can either buy a new domain, or connect an existing one. If you want to purchase a new domain, Shopify has a search bar, and also suggests other extensions like ‘.net’ or ‘.shop’. Costs may vary, but usually start from $14 per year.
Now that you have a fully stocked, awesome-looking online store, it’s time to start making money. Helpfully, Shopify is the only website builder to provide its own payment gateway: the aptly named ‘Shopify Payments’.
With Shopify Payments, there are no transaction fees. However, if you’d like to use other gateways – such as PayPal, Amazon Pay, or the 100+ other options – you will be charged per transaction.
To get to the payment page, click ‘Settings’ at the foot of the navigation menu, and then the ‘Payment providers’ icon. You will then see the image below (scroll down for the other payment methods).
Interested in Shopify payments? Read our detailed review.
Shopify makes it really easy to customize and streamline the shipping process. Just like the previous step, to get there, click ‘Settings’, and hit the shipping icon.
This page has everything you need for ship-shape shipping. You can add shipping zones, buy shipping labels, and decide how much you want to charge your customers.
Not only is Shopify a powerful platform to start with, but it lets you add some amazing apps. By doing this, you can make your site run smoother, become more visible, look nicer… you get the idea. In short, they help to manage and scale your business.
Select ‘Apps’ on the navigation menu, and make the most of the brilliant search function. There are 2,400+ apps available to choose from, covering all the ecommerce areas you’d need like shipping, accounting, social media, and more. You name it, it’s there.
One of the best things about the Shopify App Store is that you can pick other platforms to sell your products on. For example, you can list and sell products easily on Amazon, eBay, or Etsy, and create Instagram and Facebook ads, simply by adding apps to your store.
Don’t feel as if you’re cheating, though – over 80% of Shopify stores use apps.
However, it’s worth noting that adding Shopify’s own apps will require some coding snippets. All the other third party integrations can be added easily by clicking ‘Add app’.
Before publishing your Shopify store, it’s worth noting that you’ll have to pay to keep using the platform after 14 days. You will also need to upgrade to get your site live, which we will cover in the next step.
You can upgrade at any point during your trial by hitting the unmissable ‘Select a plan’ button at the foot of every page.
The Shopify price plans are as follows:
- Basic Shopify ($29 per month)
- Shopify ($79 per month)
- Advanced Shopify ($299 per month)
The Basic Shopify plan is best for new or small stores, and comes with all the features you could need to set a new store up for success. The Shopify plan is best for growing businesses – you unlock professional reports and greater shipping discounts. The Advanced Shopify plan is best for continuing to scale very large stores, and comes with third-party calculated shipping rates.
Need more information before deciding on a plan? Check out our Shopify pricing review.
When you’re happy with your Shopify store, you need to share it with the world. During your free trial, your site is password protected, so people can’t view it.
To get your site live, you’ll firstly need to upgrade to a paid plan. Then, from the Shopify admin page, go to ‘Online store’, go to ‘Preferences’, then uncheck ‘Enable password’ within the ‘Password protection’ area.
Now everyone can enjoy your Shopify masterpiece.
A handy tip? Before you publish, we recommend running some test orders to make sure everything’s running smoothly.
To do this, go to ‘Payment providers’ in ‘Settings’, then ‘Edit’ next to Shopify Payments. Check the ‘Use test mode’ button and click ‘Save’.
Shopify has really focussed on the user journey when creating an online store. In other words, it’s made the whole experience feel like a walk in the park. And, as you can see, a beautiful Shopify store can be yours in just 9 easy steps.
Let’s quickly recap those steps for using Shopify:
- Sign up – start your 14-day free trial with just an email.
- Add products – name, describe, and add images for your products.
- Customize your theme – edit text, add images, and choose a color scheme to make it your own.
- Add a domain – choose a custom domain for your store so that visitors can easily find you online.
- Enable payment gateways – choose from 100+ payment providers.
- Add shipping methods – set shipping costs, locations, and more so that products reach customers safely.
- Integrate apps – add extra functionality to your store with apps, such as multichannel selling.
- Choose a price plan – pick the right plan for your needs and budget.
- Publish – start gaining customers by publishing your store.
Why so easy, then? Like all successful brands, Shopify has thought about the customer. It has taken extra steps to ensure you know exactly where and when to click. Just look at the handy shortcuts when you start building your store (covered in steps 2, 3, and 4).
Not only is Shopify super easy to use, it gives you a really strong platform for selling products. The sales features are excellent, you have access to over 2,000 apps to make your online store even more seamless, and it’s good value for money, too.
With this combination of simplicity and strength, you can’t really go wrong with Shopify.