Setting up a Shopify store in under an hour


This is an updated version of a post written for the Promeate newsletter back in in 2012, aimed at overcoming the 3 biggest hurdle of starting an online shop - intimidation ("its too complex"), distraction ("I probably need to research this for a few weeks before getting started") and most of all - procrastination.

If followed to the letter without distraction, the below can comfortably be completed in under 60 minutes, giving you the technical backbone of a fully functional online store.

1. Create a new Trial Shopify store

A trial shopify store is a fully functional shopify store, free (no credit card req) for 14 days. 

  1. Go over to shopify's site and click "start your free trial"
  2. Fill in your email, password and store name (all can be changed later)
  3. On the next page fill out your name, address and phone no (or just make them up)
  4. Put whatever you want in the 2 survey questions and click "Enter my Store"
  5. You are now in your store's "dashboard homepage" - from here find the button which says "Create an online store" and click it.

Done! You now have a bare bones Shopify store. But definitely don't stop there, or get distracted by the pretty buttons...

Signup for Shopify

2. Add some products and page content

Add some products

Now we're going to add a product or 2 - these can either be your real products you want to sell (if you have them) or just make them up.

  1. Get your product info together. All you absolutely need is a product name and price, but I suggest having a description and photo as well.
  2. Click "Products" in the main menu on left (Tip - if you can't see this, you can see the main menu by hovering over the green shopping back in the top left hand corner)
  3. Click blue "Add product" button (top right hand corner)
  4. Type in product name, description and price. Add an image by clicking blue add images button (below description).
  5. Click blue "Save" button (top right hand corner) 
  6. Repeat 2-5 as desired.

Add a product

Add some page content

Just to show you how it's done, we're going to edit the pre-existing "about us" page that comes as default (for example only, you can have whatever pages you want, to be discussed in another article...).

  1. From the main menu, click "Online Store". From the online store menu, click "Pages". 
  2. Click the title of the "About Us" page
  3. You will see the existing content - highlight it all and click "delete".
  4. Type in a 1 paragraph summary of your business (can be edited later, make it snappy :) )
  5. Click save in the top right hand corner

And you're done! You can now preview your site by clicking the little "square and arrow" button in the top right hand corner of the left menu - it probably looks like a dogs breakfast without any real organisation or content, but that can be sorted later.

3. Configure Shipping, Taxes and Payment Options

Configure shipping

  1. Figure out what you want to charge for shipping (tip - to increase sales the simpler the better, free being ideal). For this demonstrations sake we will have 3 flat rates - $10 for standard australian shipping, and free for australian orders over $50, and $25 for international shipping.
  2. From the main dashboard menu click "settings", then from the settings menu choose "Shipping"
  3. Scroll down to the shipping zones section. You can do 2 main things here:
    1. Add / edit / delete shipping zones to modify the areas
    2. Add / edit / delete shipping rates (within zones) to modify shipping prices and how calculated within zones.
  4. I am already happy with the 2 zones (australia and "rest of world") so will just change the rates.
  5. Delete existing rates: Click each rate heading (eg "standard shipping"), and click "Delete Shipping Rate" button on next page. Repeat for each of the 3 rates.
  6. Next to domestic, click "add shipping rate".
  7. Standard Australian Shipping: On config pages choose "Based on order price", Name: "Standard Australian Shipping", Minimum price: "0", shipping cost "$10"
  8. Free Australian Shipping: Repeat 6,7 but choose"Free shipping", Name: "Free Australian Shipping", "Based on order's price", minimum price: "$50"
  9. International Shipping: Repeat 6,7 but choose "add shipping rate" button beside "Rest of World", and options "Based on order pirce", Name: "International Shipping", Minimum price: "0", Shipping cost: "$25"

Configure Shipping for Shopify Store

Configure Taxes

This will often be already done for you, but to make sure:

  1. From the main menu, click settings, then from settings menu choose "taxes"
  2. Scroll down to where tax rates displayed. If already satisfactory to you (eg 10% for australian GST, 0 for rest of world), then nothing further needs to be done.
  3. Otherwise rates can be edited by clicking on the region name, and regions are edited in the shipping settings as discussed earlier.

Configure Payment Options

To cover what I would regard as current best practice, we're going to setup both Shopify payments (as the main credit card gateway) and PayPal for people who like to use this.

Setup Shopify Payments

Shopify payments has only quite recently become available in australia, its inclusion making this whole process MUCH easier... 

  1. From the main menu click settings, from the settings menu click "Payments"
  2. Nowadays the top option should just default to Shopify Payments - just click the button 

Setup PayPal Express Checkout

  1. Navigate to settings > payments as above
  2. Below Shopify payments you will find PayPal express checkout - click "edit", scroll down, click "Deactivate" (we're going to set it up properly).
  3. Now in the PayPal section, from the dropdown menu choose "PayPal Express checkout"
  4. Scroll down and click the "Activate" button.
  5. Login to your PayPal business account (if you don't have one you can get one for free here)
  6. Authorise Shopify as directed, and you're done.

4. Choose a free Shopify theme

By far the simplest way to customise your site design is to find a Shopify theme you like.

  1. From the main menu (remember, the green Shopping bag top left), click "Online store". From the online store menu click "Themes".
  2. Click the subtle little "Visit Theme Store" button up the top right hand side, this will open a new browser tab with the Shopify theme store.
  3. Click "Free" up the top and have a look at the free themes available (Click on image of themes to have a look, and then "view demo" to see an actual demo site using the theme.
  4. Once you've found something that suits, click the green "Install theme" button on the theme page (as per usual can always be changed later)
  5. Choose "Publish as my shop's theme". Once theme downloaded and installed you can close this brower tab and go back to your dashboard.

Shopify theme store

5. Next Steps

And that covers the basics! There's plenty more to do, but its usually the above that tends to stump people for some reason. Eg you may wish to look at:

Or if you're too busy actually running your business to stuff around with this, or would just prefer to have a professional sort it out for you, please check out Promeate's services.

Thanks for reading.

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