We have heard the phrase change is coming more often today than ever before. And yes, change too comes more frequent. In the past, if we have products to sell, we would have to make our product or purchase from a supplier from abroad or out of town, to construct a building to house the store or renovate a space and pay for rent (if we do not own the place), and hire employees to man the store.
Today, with technology, we can easily open a store or a shop on the internet for a minimal fee, and can immediately start selling products to customers at the comforts of their home or offices, or even while they are travelling. Read more about eCommerce here.
I bet you are interested in learning how to set up your own online shop. So, let us start to with one of the best online platform – Shopify.
If you do not have one, here’s a simple ABCs of setting up your Shopify account in no time.
The ABCs of a Shopify account
“A” stands for Account set up, “B” for your Business online and “C” for your Customer experience.
Step 1: Choose a name of the online store and password
Look for the phrase “Enter your email address” and type your email address on top of the phrase. For example, if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, type “email@example.com” onto “Enter your email address” and then press the enter key. You will be prompted to another page below.
You are asked to come up with a password and your store name (on shopify). Try typing first your store name and check if the name is still available. For example, if you type “onlineshop” you will find a note shaded in red saying, “A store with that name already exists. If you are the owner you can log in here.”
If this happens, try another name until you find one suitable for your business that is not yet taken. For example, if we use abc_onlineshop and it is available, type your password, and immediately click “create your store.”
You will be informed that you have successfully established the store.
Step 2: Provide business and personal information
Afterwards, you will be asked to answer three questions below.
On the first question, you have four options. Chose the appropriate response and click on the answer. As you answer, different sets of questions may appear with different sets of answers to choose from. Choose the best answer that is close to your situation.
For purposes of this exercise, let us just assume the following: You are already selling some goods, but not online. You are also planning to continue selling in person and to start your online shop. Your current revenue is between $5,000 to $50,000.00 per month. You proceed to click on “Next.”
Next, you are requested to provide some information about yourself and your business.
After you have encoded the information and click “enter my store,” you have completed creating your Shopify Account “abc_onlineshop.”
Now, you can start to developing your ABC OnlineShop Business online.
Step 1: Choose a Plan
Your 14-day trial period just started, and you’re asked to choose a plan for your account on Shopify from the following choices.
Depending on the level of business transactions you have and the services you need, you may either want a simple plan with lesser service at lower price or need a more comprehensive service at a higher price. In general, you may choose one at the least cost based on your expected transactions and revenues, and projected expenses.
|Name of the Plan||Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify|
|Fixed Monthly Fee||$13.00||$54.00||$107.00|
|Variable Transaction fee||2.00%||1.00%||0.50%|
|General Features||Start selling your products online with your secure, beautiful store, and in person at events, fairs, or markets.||Add features like gift cards, retail hardware support, and professional reports to sell online or at a retail store.||Scale your business online and in person with advanced reporting, and third-party calculated shipping rates.|
|Staff accounts||2||5 + owner||15|
Let us say you choose the basic plan so that you can keep cost low, while you see how the online shop does. You will be prompted to the page below for you to fill up some financial information, particularly on the schedule of payment of the plan and your credit card details where you will charge and collect transaction fees and payments for your products.
Please take note that you are given a 14-day trial. This means that by the end of the trial period, Shopify will automatically charge your identified credit card account for the basic plan if you do not advice Shopify that you will no longer continue with the use of Shopify.
Step 2: Setting up the rules on your store
Most of the blogs on Shopify would immediately recommend you stack your online store with your products or with products from online suppliers. On the other hand, it would be better for you to focus first on setting up the rules you want to have on your store. With such rules, you will be able to set some sense of order to the multitude of variables such as product names, specifications, models, current inventories, suppliers, currency, etc.
You have to work on two types of settings: one for Oberlo and one for Shopify.
To do so, we should download the Oberlo application on the Shopify website first by clicking the word “Apps”.
After clicking “App,” you will be prompted to another page below. Click on the word “Oberlo”.
You will be given an overview of what Oberlo is and how much it would cost you. Take time to view the video and read description to gain better understanding on how to use the application.
Click on shaded green “Get”. You will be prompted to the page below. Ignore the 14-day trial. Look for the name of your Shopify account name and click “Log in”.
Then click on “Install app”.
After installing, you will find yourself on Oberlo’s Home Page.
On the left corner, you will some icons. Try clicking on them and checking their pages.
To set the rules or parameters, click on the mechanical wheel icon which is second to the last before the pink shaded encircled AO. You will be taken to the page below.
The page shows a list of six areas to work on, namely:
- Store Settings
- Global Pricing Rules
To start with Store settings, we will have to choose the name of your store and to define the some items on taxes, shipping, product and inventory by answering the questions below by checking or clicking an option.
Set new products as published
Automatically publish products after pushing them to your store.
Set products as taxable
Specifies whether or not a tax is charged when the product variant is sold.
Set unit of measurement for product weight
Select the weight unit you’d like to use for your products.
Notify customers about the order fulfillment
Send a notification email to the customers when the order gets fulfilled or tracking number gets updated.
Custom shipping tracking URL
This link is the URL to track the fulfillment. It will be added to the fulfillment notification email to your customer.
When product is no longer available
Choose an action when one of your products is no longer available from supplier. Applies to all existing products.
When variant is no longer available
Choose an action when one of the product’s variants is no longer available from supplier.
When the cost changes
Choose an action when the cost of your product changes.
When inventory changes
Choose an action when the inventory level of a particular product changes.
Once you are done, click “Update settings” on the upper right corner of the page.
The next area is Global Pricing Rules. This option allows you to efficiently set pricing for your products with ease. For example, when you are purchasing a product in US dollars and sell in say AUD dollars, which is say US$1:AUS$1.39. It is important that the prices reflect in AUD dollar rather than US dollar so that you will not lose from the transaction. Second, you can incorporate your margin (for profit, taxes, shopify’s fixed and variable fees) by introducing a formula on this page.
Before we proceed, please take note that there are two types of price formula that is being asked from you. The first one is the actual price you are selling the product, while the other is the price in the market or competitor’s prices.
Now, the formula for the conversion is simply to multiply the price 1.39 times the profitability margin, cost of returns, and shipping cost. In most literature available on dropshipping pricing, they recommend a certain multiplier. In general, the lower the price of the product, the higher multiplier you can apply. You can do this by turning on the additional pricing rate, and you will be shown a different table for you to input your variables. Let us just assume that the variables below are what you prefer.
Armed with the table above, you carefully encoded on the page. A mistake may mean a financial loss. So, take time. When you are done, you will find the page below.
Let us move on to the third area, Suppliers, by clicking it, and you will come across the page below.
In this page, you will have to do the following:
- provide your credit card details when purchasing from Oberlo;
- download the Oberlo chrome extension to access AliExpress products
- decide on whether to set a default on shipping method
- provide a phone number
- provide a custom note to the suppliers on your specific instructions. One of which may be to inform them that you are dropshipping and not to include any marketing advertisements to your customers from the ABC OnlineShop.
Under the Suppliers, there’s “Reporting” you will have to choose which sales metrics you prefer to be reported to you and at what frequency. There are two options, namely Total Sales and Oberlo Item Sales.
With Oberlo, you can download on MS Excel (XLS) format the monthly list of payments, products and orders that you made from Oberlo suppliers just by accessing the fifth area “Billing”.
The last is “Other” where you will have to set the email address where your customers will send their feedback, inquiry and other communications, and the local time of your shop’s location.
When you are done introducing the rules, click “Save settings”. It is advisable to click “Save settings” every time you complete one area.
Before you move on to stack your online shop, go back to the saved settings and review each item and compare to your expectations. If something is not correct, edit and save settings again. Do this until you complete all areas. Only then, should you proceed with to the next step: stacking your online shop.
Click on the word “Settings” on the lower left corner of the screen, a list of categories are available to choose from.
Under the category of General, fill up the required information. You have to make sure that the store currency is set correctly. What currency do you intend to use in selling on your online shop. This should be clear, reviewed and verified.
For payment providers, you have to choose what payment method you will accept in your online shop. You may accept credit cards, PayPal or other payment methods during checkout. Payment authorization can be done manually or automatically.
When customers checks out your online shop, how are you going to host them. You can customize the style of your checkout. You can require guests to sign up using an email address or phone number, or only email address. You’d also request for additional information such as name, company and address. With the collected information, when guests checks out and buys, you can automatically fill up the forms using auto completion option. You can also add a note. You can also contact guests who left their carts without completing the purchase.
In addition, under Checkout, the language you choose and the policies (privacy, refund and terms of service) are defined. The site also have templates on the policies for you to review and edit to fit your online shop policies.
Under Shipping section, the shipping origin is encoded for easy calculation on shipping rates. Shipping rates at checkout are also set. The site also takes into account that tax may have an impact on the shipping rates. Likewise, package sizes and weight, and the manner or method of shipping have an impact on the shipping cost. These you all have to consider. For a basic plan, third-party (such as FedEx, UPS and apps) calculated rates at checkout are not enabled on the system. If you are dropshipping, you might want to add dropshipping service if you use an external service to fulfill and ship your orders for you.
Under Taxes, if you check on the boxes saying “All taxes are included in my prices,” you will have to use the formula below based on whatever percentage of VAT is applicable in your country of operation:
“If selected, all taxes will be calculated using this formula:
tax = (tax rate * price) / (1 + tax rate).
For example: £1.00 at 20% VAT will be £0.17 (rounded).”
A list of tax rates per country is available under the Taxes section for you to review.
Under Notification, you can set up the notification on ordering, shipping and customer. You can also set up the system so that you will be notified when there is a new order. Unless you are experienced programmer or knowledgeable in coding, it is best that you do not modify any notification because they have been preprogrammed already.
Under Files, all files that you upload pertaining to your online shop will be recorded in this section.
Initially, you are setting up your online shop as a channel for distributing your products. Later on, you may add other channels available on Shopify.
Based on the plan you have enrolled on, your Account will show the Privileges and Responsibilities that come with it.
The Billing section covers transactions between you and Shopify, and you and your customers.
Before you launch your online shop, remember to test the system. A Step is dedicated on this later on. If after testing you determine some errors, go back to the setting and adjust to correct the errors.
Step 3: Stack your online shop
Now, you have reached the most exciting part of Shopify Tutorial: choosing products to sell on the online store. Click on the open envelope icon (Search Products), just below the graph icon (dashboard).
You can either input the generic name of a product on the space provided for, or you can click certain categories. Once you have identified a product, point your mouse cursor to the product. An option to “+Add to import list” will appear. Click “Add to import list”. This product will now be transferred to your Oberlo product list where you will be able to alter the details such as name, description, price, etc. to fit your online shop requirements.
It is important to note about suppliers. In choosing products, you are also advised to check on the suppliers’s ratings including how many of the same product did they sell, have they been verified by Oberlo, feedback from previous customers, etc. You have to remember that the your business relies on the suppliers to send to your customers the products. This is the reason why it is important to check on their record. Let us proceed with the products.
For example, assuming you chose to check on an anti-theft bag from a verified (check box before clicking search), you may find the following items. One supplier, American dropshipping, is offering two similar items, if not identical, but they carry different prices. Since both do not differ, let us assume you choose the lower priced one.
When you check on your import list, you will find that the product is now listed on the page below
Now, you can keep on choosing products until you fill your online store based on your budget.
However, if you have an account with Ali Express, you can also import products to your list on Oberlo. This can be done by launching the chrome extension for Oberlo. You can check on this to learn how: https://help.oberlo.com/other-faqs/how-to-use-the-oberlo-chrome-extension-oce
When you are signed in Ali Express, all you have to do is search for products and point on the products that you like and wait for the Oberlo sign to appear and click on it.
When you check again on the import list, you will find that the product has been added to your list.
For your existing products on other platforms, you can upload them using a template for Shopify to pick up and upload on its system. This topic is beyond this article’s coverage. You are recommended to read more on this at https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/products/import-export/import-products
After importing them on your list, take time to work on the details of the product based on your specifications and online store standards. Once you are done, you can now upload the product to your store by clicking on the green shaded “+ Import to store”.
You will find that the products will disappear from the import list in Oberlo, and will appear on the Product page of Shopify.
Step 4: Lay out the theme of your store
After choosing the products to sell online, you are ready to lay out the theme for your online shop.
Shopify offers some readymade themes for you to start with and develop to your specifications without the use to programing languages or coding. If you have an extra cash to spend on, you can get a professional website developer to make one for your site.
To help you discover the best theme for your online shop, you can:
- Go over the themes on the Shopify Theme Store
- Check the functionality of the theme
- Try to preview the theme
- Apply the theme
Go over the themes on Shopify Theme Store
Start by clicking on “Online Store.” You will see the Theme page, and a list of the following below will appear.
- Blog posts
On this page, you have three options, namely Customize, Explore free themes and Visit theme store. Start with visiting themes store by clicking on it. You will be transferred to another website: https://themes.shopify.com/
Take time to shortlist and compare your options. Themes that come with a price gives you more and will later require lesser work. If you choose one that is free, you will have to do some more work on it. Another option would be to hire a freelancer from Freelancer. What is important is that the theme fits your online shop and that the budget does too.
Once you have identified the theme suited for your online shop, you can click on “Add theme”.
Assuming you choose “Supply” theme, click “Add theme”. Afterwards, you will be brought back to the Theme page. At this point, take note that while you develop your online shop, it is not yet visible to anyone unless you provide them with the password found under Preferences. This password can be modified by you.
To start working on your theme, click on “Customize”. You will find a Shopify editor which is a tool to help you place your photos, wordings and products. Exercise by testing the tools available. A little imagination would do the trick.
Start to go over the pages and check the details on the product. If you find something is not right, you might want to revisit the settings. For example, if the prices used on the online shop is US dollar instead of the AUD dollar, visit the Shopify setting under General. At the end of the page where store currency is found, you can change the setting. For product details, you can click on Product from the Shopify Home Page, and then click on the concerned product to review the details and correct any error.
If you can write a blog concerning the online shop or the products you carry. This can help gather more visitors to your online shop. With Shopify’s blog posts, you can create and it will be easily added to your online shop.
Under this section, you can add more information on your online shop. For example, instead of answer the same question all over again, you might want to include a page for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). This way you have more time focusing on marketing your services rather than answering the same inquiries from different visitors. In addition, this will help you standardize your process and response which will help project your online shop as a professional organization.
Aside from FAQ, you would also want to include a Page to show people how you can be contacted.
In coming up with a page, Shopify helps you optimize your page in relation to search engines. After coming up with the page, you can improve on the search-ability by clicking on “Edit website SEO”.
In general, you can set the way guests moves around your online shop using the Navigation settings on Shopify Theme Store. For a better understanding, log on
Under Domain, you will find the name of your site where guests will log on to visit your online shop. By default, when you use Shopify, the extension “myshopify.com” will appear on your online shop. If you are not comfortable with this, you can link with your existing domain, but if you do not have a domain yet, you can purchase a new domain name by clicking on the shaded blue “Buy new domain”.
By having your own domain, guests will identify more with you than any other organization.
On this section, you can work on the title and meta description of your online shop. This is also where you can connect with Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel. Both are critical in your marketing plan later on.
The last part of the section is the Password protection of your site. While you are working on the site, you would not want anyone to transact yet. To do so, you will have to limit entry by requiring password only the developers are aware of. You can also put a note for visitors who are curious of the site. An example would be “On this site will rise an online shop that will cater to distinguishing individuals who has a taste for quality products, but sensitive to market alternatives.
Step 5: Testing the set-up
Before considering launching, you should test the system by purchasing a product from your online shop. Trace back the transaction and review the process and documentation whether they live up to your expectations. If they fail to do so, check on where it has failed and make adjustments or improvements.
Step 6: Launching the online shop
Once you are ready to launch your site. All you have to do is take out the password protection.
Step 7: Marketing
Launching your online shop is just merely opening the doors of your online shop to online customers. The amount of sales and transactions will depend mainly on the customer’s experience and feedback.
So, prepare yourself in providing comprehensive timely response to the customer inquiries and requests. This was made possible with the Shopify settings we earlier set.
The next stage is bringing the experience to different level.
Marketing literature will always emphasize that it is cheaper to maintain an existing customer than to get one. Thus, it can not be overemphasized that you have to focus efforts on staying connected with your customer in different platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Messenger, etc. Depending on your customer profile, one of these may be a better platform than the other.
You can link your online shop with a Facebook page that will automatically input the details of the products and provide transaction details. To learn more, log on to: https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/sell-online/facebook-sales-channel
If you prefer Instagram, you can log on to: https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/sell-online/instagram
If you enabled your site to gather your customer’s email address or phone numbers, you can use these to send email to gather feedback or to promote new products you upload to your online shop.
Make sure you have included a “Contact Us” page on your online shop so that your customers can easily contact you.
If you need more information on setting up a Shopify account, you can always refer to the help menu of Shopify and input your inquiry.
You would later on realize that by doing it yourself and listening to your customers’ comments and feedbacks are the best teacher and input one can have.
If you have learn a thing or two from this article, please give us a thumbs up and share so that others may also gain. Thank you.