There’s a reason Shopify is a top name in the e-commerce website industry: it was built for people and businesses like you by people with businesses like yours. The first Shopify website was their own; when the company’s founders wanted to sell snowboards online. Not finding an e-commerce site that gave them everything they needed, they decided to create a platform. And that platform became Shopify. 

Shopify is a DIY platform, allowing business owners to “start, run, and grow a business.” Ten years after creating the site for themselves, almost 2 million businesses use Shopify around the world today! The platform handles everything from marketing and payments to checkout and shipping. It’s a one-stop-shop that makes it easy to keep track of everything in one place. No fussing with complicated integrations!

Great, so how do I get started?

  • First, sign-up! (Here’s a link to the free trial for you). Shopify will ask you for some basic information, like your personal info and what type of products you are or might be selling.
  • Set up your shop. After signing up, you can start right away on the fun stuff: customizing your store!
  • Choose a theme for your storefront. Shopify storefront themes are easily customizable and look great, so you don’t have to worry if you don’t know how to write code or develop websites. That’s the exact point. Personalize it by adding your business colours, logo, and fonts.
  • Add your products. Hit ‘Add a product’ at the top right corner of the screen and follow the prompts! Add photos, a description, and anything a customer would want to know about the product.

That’s it! After you’ve created your site, all that’s left to do is add your payment option (whether with PayPal, Amazon payments, or something else) and get ready to go live.

The Shopify Checklist

Of course, no matter how user-friendly the platform is or how great their customer support team is, creating and launching an online shop can quickly get overwhelming. Luckily, Shopify put together this Launch Checklist, which includes 13 steps you should go through before publishing your online store. There are many pieces here, but luckily Shopify has a great blog and customer support system to help you through each stage if needed.

  1. Choose and Add your sales channels 
  2. Add your custom domain
  3. Do a thorough review of your checkout experience and payment settings
  4. Prepare your standard website pages, like your Home, About, and Contact pages
  5. Review your email notification settings
  6. Do a content audit (or have someone else do it for you) to make sure there are no spelling errors or other grammatical mistakes. 
  7. Optimize all of your pages so people will easily find your website.
  8. Install an analytics tool, like Google Analytics, to track your results
  9. Create a pre-launch marketing plan
  10. Adjust tax and shipping rates as needed
  11. Make it easy for customers to contact you
  12. Remove any non-essential apps (or don’t install them) 
  13. Set up your billing information

Shopify plans are all month-to-month, so you can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel at any time. You’re never locked in, which can sometimes feel intimidating for business owners. And in the post-COVID era, this rings truer as we’ve all quickly discovered that anything could happen.

So, what kind of products can you sell on the e-commerce platform?

Almost anything! You can sell most physical products, manage a drop-shipping business, and sell digital products and services. There are some exceptions, but they are familiar to most e-commerce platforms: no pharmaceuticals or supplements, alcohol or marijuana, or gambling products.

Do you use Shopify? Here’s what we’ve done to help clients who use it. We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!