Although Shopify is one of the easiest ecommerce platforms to get started on, creating an online store comes with a lot of steps and things to consider before pushing the ‘live’ button.
Here are the 10 steps to take to get started selling on Shopify;
1. Build your plan
Before you start building an online store, you need to first think through your overall business and marketing plan. Make sure you know the answers to questions like:
How will my marketing strategy support my online store’s growth?
How would I like to display and showcase my products online?
Who is my target audience?
How will I accept payments?
What’s my shipping strategy?
Will I sell internationally?
Your Shopify store will become the foundation that your branding and marketing strategy will be built upon and how you sell products to customers, so it’s important to think through your entire business strategy first before designing and developing your site.
2. Source your products
Before you build an online store, you need to source your products. One of the key ways to succeed in online selling is by finding an affordable and reliable manufacturer or supplier. There are several avenues you can take to source products from working with local stores or suppliers to wholesale distributor options. Another great option is to source from global marketplaces such as Alibaba and Indiamart, which both offer bulk goods at a low cost.
You can check out potential manufacturers by looking up their businesses online, and seeing what they have to offer. Some suppliers offer free trial periods for their services or free samples of their products. Store owners can use this to their advantage to determine whether a supplier is right for them before making an investment.
3. Conduct market research
Last year, Shopify reported 218 million buyers in total made a purchase on a Shopify store. Knowing your target audience and market inside and out will help you offer a product that stands out. You should take time conducting market research, which includes analyzing your industry, identifying gaps in the market, understanding your audience’s needs and pain points, competition and their pricing strategy, having users test your products, and more.
When it comes to building a Shopify website that is ideal for your target audience, you might want to pick a few potential customers and get their insights into what online stores they like and dislike. Ask them what they personally think makes a great online shopping experience and why, and be sure to implement their feedback as you build your online store.
4. Create your brand name and logo, and buy a domain name
Branding starts with a great name. Before you choose a domain name, you’ll want to take time in coming up with a name that holds the essence of what you sell and what your business values. There are a lot of tools online to help you with the naming process, including Shopify’s business name generator. Once you have a name, you’ll want to create a logo. You can hire a graphic designer or even try designing the first logo iteration on your own.
Shopify does offer a free URL that consists of [yourshopifystore.shopify.com], but having this type of URL will not help your site rank well. So purchasing a domain name and investing in proper website hosting is ideal if you want to build a powerful website that ranks well in search engines.
5. Start designing
If you're still hesitant about using Shopify to build out your online store, you can get a feel for Shopify through a 14-day free trial. To help you get the most out of your first Shopify store, Shopify has a handful of design and support guides you can access here that will help you navigate all your design options. You can try a few different themes, play around with the customization options, and create a few different product page layouts before choosing a consistent look and feel for your entire website.
6. Upload products to Shopify
You can access a product’s details from the ‘Product’ page located in the admin panel. From there, users can easily add products or update the information, such as its price or availability, of existing ones. If you have multiple products to upload, you can easily import all products at once using a CSV file. Be sure to have well-written product descriptions, product photos and / or videos, and customer reviews.
7. Determine how you will handle shipping
Before you launch your site, you’ll want to think through how you will fulfill and ship your orders. You have a few options here: You can fulfill orders yourself, dropship, or partner with a 3PL that takes care of the entire fulfillment and shipping process for you.
Once you decide on your shipping strategy, you can offer multiple shipping options based on where orders are coming in from and adjust shipping rates accordingly. Note: Be sure to post your shipping policy on your site so it’s easy for customers to find.
8. Set up Google Analytics
Before you launch your website, you’ll want to start tracking website performance from day one. Make sure you have Google Analytics set up so you can track website traffic and other online store metrics. You can set up Google Analytics under 'Settings.'
9. Run marketing ads and promotions
Promoting your ecommerce business is crucial for growth, and social media and online ads are still the best ways to promote your online store. You can start an ad campaign on Facebook or Instagram, or take advantage of Google Ads.
Unlike selling on a platform like Amazon, having your own store means people will need to be able to find you. It's worth looking into organic marketing techniques, such as producing SEO-rich content in the form of blog posts and using keyword tools such Ahrefs or Moz. Since Shopify has an SEO tool built in, creating pages that are SEO-friendly is simple.
10. Continuously improve
Once online orders start coming in, it's important to keep improving your site on a regular basis. Providing customers with new features and better ways to shop is essential for maintaining customer loyalty and growing your business. Consider adding a survey to your website asking for feedback from online shoppers. That way, you can gain insights on how to improve cart abandonment rates with valuable feedback from website visitors.
i Logistics USA is a tech-enabled 3PL that easily connects to your Shopify store so you can get started with outsourcing fulfillment in no time. Once an order is placed, it gets automatically sent to our fulfillment team, so our fulfillment experts are able to pick, pack, and ship orders quickly.