How To Start A Shopify Store In Just 5 Simple Steps

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Have you ever wanted to start your own online business? Well, it's now easier than ever!

Thanks to a revolutionary platform called Shopify, anyone can start their online business with little to no investment.

In this article, we will teach you how to create a Shopify store step by step.

What you will need:

  • $500-1000 for starting capital
  • 10-20 hours of free time every week
  • Basic computer skills
  • Patience

1. What to sell and how to sell it

Deciding on what you are going to sell is the most important step of the whole process.

You should not sell something that there is no market for. Similarly, you should not try to break into a market that is oversaturated.

So how to find that perfect product to sell?

The best markets to enter are the ones that you personally are interested in. If you are interested in gaming accessories, then go for it!

You have most probably already made tons of purchases from other vendors and are familiar with what is high in demand.

Maybe you are a fan of dogs. That’s also great. You can sell dog-themed clothing, toys, and accessories.

When looking for products to sell, try to stay open-minded.

How to do market research?

You can use free tools like findniche or bigspy to find out what your competitors are selling.

Unfortunately, with said tools, you can only do a few free queries per day.

Another great free way to research what to sell on Shopify is to check out what your competitors are advertising.

How can you find products that sell well?

It’s really simple. Let’s say we are going to start in the clothing niche, more specifically we are going to be selling clothing with dogs and cats on them.

So first we are going to Google for “Shirts with dog logos” and find a relevant competitor.

Google search example of a potential e-commerce niche

The search should be done multiple times with different keywords.

If the Google search yields more than ~ 500,000,000 results, then you should either narrow down your niche or change the niche you are going to go for.

Now go ahead and make a new Google sheets sheet.

List all of your competitor's websites and their Facebook page names.

Potential ecommerce competitors listed in a spreadsheet with their store and Facebook URL

Try to get at least 5 competitors listed. The more competitors you can find the better.

Open up the Facebook ad libary and write in your competitors Facebook page names.

Facebook advertisements of potential e-commerce competitors

It becomes clear what competitors are selling and spending their ad budget on.

If the products were not selling well, then competitors would not be spending money on promoting said products.

You can implement the same strategy for any niche. The best part about it is that it is 100% free.

You don’t have to pay for anything to do market research. All you need is a bit of patience.

2. Designing a store

When it comes to designing your store you have 2 options:

  • Design the store yourself
  • Hire somebody to do it for you

Unless you have tons of free time, I recommend that you hire somebody to do it for you.

If you decide to give it a shot on your own, then you will have to learn the official Shopify programming language called Liquid.

Image of editing a Shopify theme in the liquid programming language

It will take some time to learn Shopify’s Liquid, but it’s not that hard. Especially if you already have some HTML experience.

If you are a very detail-oriented person then I recommend you learn Shopify Liquid and design the store yourself.

Why? Well because if you design the store yourself, you are in complete control over the store. If not, then you must rely on a 3rd party to make large technical changes to your store.

Relying on a 3rd party is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s less cost-effective.

If you do decide to let someone else design your store, then use upwork to hire a freelancer to do the job for you.

When hiring a Freelancer to set up a theme and design your store, make sure you are 100% decided on what kind of a store you want.

Here’s a Shopify store setup checklist you can use:

  • Brand colors - Choose 2-3 colors you will be using throughout the whole store
  • Store design - Find existing stores and use their design as inspiration for your store
  • Store pages - Decide what pages you want to have. E.g. blog, about us, contact us, etc
  • High-quality images and texts - Have images and text ready that will be used on for your Shopify landing page

Before you start designing your store, make sure you are aware of different e-commerce store optimization strategies.

It’s a lot easier to optimize your store before you launch it to the public.

There are agencies out there who design Shopify stores, but agencies can charge thousands of dollars for setting up a store.

When you go the agency route, you will also be paying A LOT for minor changes. Agencies have hourly rates and they charge anywhere between $50-200 for an hour of work.

That’s why we recommend you do the design work yourself or hire a freelancer from Upwork.

3. Have an email flow in place

Now that your store design is complete it’s time to focus on your future potential customers.

You should not have a store without having an email flow in place. You should definitely have at least an abandoned cart email flow in place.

What is an abandoned cart email?

Ever visited an online store, added items to your cart, and received email afterward about the products you never purchased?

Those are abandoned cart emails you received. Abandoned cart emails are a key way to communicate with your potential and existing customers.

It’s really easy to set up an abandoned cart email flow for your Shopify store. We suggest you use an external Shopify app for it.

The app is called Omnisend. You will have to register an account with them, but you can add tons of email automation on their platform.

Image of email automation software

With Omnisend you can set up abandoned cart emails, order follow-up emails, shipping confirmations, and much more.

If you have no clue how to design a good email flow, then here’s my go-to strategy for designing an email flow:

Find out who your competitors are. Then go to their store and add a bunch of items to your cart and abandon the cart.

If your competitor’s store is any good, they will start sending you abandoned cart emails.

Review their emails and implement a similar email flow.

We recommend you take it one step further and also make a purchase at one of your competitor's stores.

Once you make a purchase, you will see exactly what their follow-up email flow looks like and how you could implement a better email flow for your store.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just improve on whatever your competitors are already doing.

4. Collect emails for your newsletter

Continuing on the topic of emails, collecting emails from your potential customers is a step you do not want to miss.

Offer visitors a discount code or a voucher in return for their email address.

DO NOT create a large popup that will try to extort the visitor's email address. Have a newsletter form on your landing page.

This store is a great example of how to collect visitor emails:

Great email collection form example

The form is offering a $10 voucher in return for the visitor’s email address. It’s a great method you can use to connect with potential customers.

Once you are collecting emails, make sure you don’t start spamming people with newsletters. Send them by-weekly or monthly newsletters about new products and offers.

If you set up an email flow with Omnisend, then you can use their platform for sending out promotional emails.

5. Decide on a source of traffic

Figure out where your customers are going to come from.

Are you going to use Facebook ads? Instagram ads? YouTube ads? Will you focus on SEO? These are questions you have to answer before you launch your store.

If you are going to be acquiring customers from Facebook or Instagram ads, then you have to learn how to create an ecommerce ad campaign.

If you want to focus on SEO, then make sure your blog is optimized for SEO.

Have all the required meta tags in your blog posts and release relevant content on a regular basis.

We recommend that you focus on SEO, but don’t make it your main source of traffic when starting out.

That’s because SEO takes a long time to get right.

It’s easier and more effective to start promoting your products via Facebook ads or other social media channels.

Conclusion

As you can see, it's quite easy for you to create a store on Shopify.

But if you want to run it well, you should definitely follow the steps in this guide, but also look into different ecommerce optimization strategies for your store.

Just make sure you start selling something that already has a market. Competition is not your enemy. Your competitors are a great source of data.

Build a store by yourself or hire a freelancer to do it for you. Stay away from big Shopify agencies unless you have deep pockets.

Make sure when designing your store that you are up to date with the latest e-commerce conversion rate hacks.

Before you acquire any customers, design a killer email flow. This email flow will be your main method of communication with your existing and potential customers. Don’t underestimate the importance of having a newsletter. It may seem like a small detail, but people will forget about your store very quickly.

That’s why you should collect emails from your leads and send them updates about your store from time to time.

Know where you will be acquiring customers from. If you decide to work with ads, then make sure you learn how to create ads and who to target.

If focusing on SEO, then know that it will take quite a while for your store to start producing anything meaningful.

Once you have your store up and running you will need a source of social proof.

Lucky for you, that’s what we do! Social Oracle is a software that will help you drive up sales with the power of social influence.

You can add attractive sales notifications to your store and build trust with visitors for free!

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