Building an Online Store in Shopify
Choose a Theme For Your Store
Shopify has its own official theme store. These themes are all guaranteed to have full support from the designers so you know your store is in good hands.
All themes come with a comprehensive list of modifications you can make without having to touch a line of code. The premium themes come with more modifications, but there’s not to say you can’t achieve a great looking site with a free one.
- Click “Online Store” on the menu item, it will open a secondary menu, from that click “Themes”.
- Then click “New Theme” or visit themes.shopify.com. Here you can filter through paid or free and industry specialized themes. You can preview themes by clicking “View Demo£ and then “Preview Theme in your Store”.
- Once you’ve found a theme you like, install the theme. Don’t worry if you’re not 100% sure if it’s the right theme for you. You can always change your mind later.
- After the theme is installed, go back the “Themes” page and you can choose to “Customize” your theme first or “Publish” it straight away and then begin editing.
Customizing Your Theme
Once you’ve chosen your store’s theme, you should begin tweaking some basic customizations straight away. The most common features will include:
- uploading your logo
- uploading your favicon
- choosing color schemes
- choosing fonts and sizes
- uploading slides to a homepage carousel
Once you’ve done these things, you’ve got the basics down. You can then click on your store’s individual pages to customize certain features. For instance, on your product page you’ll most likely be able to customize:
- how product images are displayed when clicked on (same size, zoom or lightbox)
- where production description is displayed (next to or beneath product images)
- how large the select boxes are (e.g. quantity, color etc)
- display a secondary tab or not (e.g. shipping & delivery information tab)
Each theme varies with the number of customizations you can do for each page/item. So be sure to have a good play around to see what your theme is capable of.
Creating New Pages On Your Shopify Store
When you create your store, you’re going to want to set up some basic pages such as:
- Terms & Conditions (Shopify’s free terms and conditions generator)
- Shipping & Returns (Shopify’s free return policy generator)
and so on. To create new pages for you store you simply:
1. Click “Online Store” on the menu item, it will open up a secondary menu, from that click “Pages”.
2. Click the “Add Page” button in the top right-hand corner.
3. The first thing to consider is the page template. If you keep the default “page” template suffix, then it will stick to default page template of your theme. Each theme offers different template suffix options which you can select, save and preview to see how it looks. If you’re wanting to create a specialized page, say a contact page, then select the “page.contact” template suffix to get a contact page template – which includes a contact form.
4. Once you’ve chosen the correct page template (don’t worry you can always select one and change it later), you’ll then want to give your page a title. Remember, this isn’t a blog post so we don’t want a lengthy title, it’s more of a label of what the page is about. Shopify gives you suggestions such as “Contact us” and so on.
5. Now that your page has a title. You can provide any text in the description box below. Use headings (h2, h3, h4) to break your text into bite-size, easy-to-read chunks.
6. Next up is editing the website SEO. Shopify will automatically pull through your page title and description but this often isn’t optimized enough for SEO. For instance, your “About Us” title can be optimized for SEO by adding your shop name e.g. “About Us – MyShopifyStore.com”. Your meta description is what people will see under your page title when looking up your page in search engines. Therefore, you want to make sure it’s concise, clearly tells the reader what the page is about and uses any keywords and phrases related to that page.
7. Lastly, you can choose to publish the page right away or keep it hidden. This allows you to keep working on the page if it’s not quite complete yet. Then make sure you save and voila! You’ve created a new page for your store.
Navigation: Editing Menus
Now that you’ve created your pages, you’ll want to add them to your main menu, so that they’re easily accessible for customers.
1. Click “Online Store” on the menu item, it will open up a secondary menu, from that click “Navigation”.
3. You can also create sub-menus. This store has two sub-menus “By Brand” and “By Size”. Sub-menus are menus within menus and in this case, these two correspond to the main menu under “Shop Our Range”. This means when customers hover over “Shop Our Range” they are then able to select from the two sub-menus. You can find out more about creating sub-menus with Shopify’s tutorial here.
4. Once you select the menu you wish to edit, you can then go about adding the appropriate pages by clicking “Add menu item”.
5. Once all pages have been added, you can then toggle the order of the pages you want to be displayed. You can create mini drop-downs by dragging the menu item slightly to the side of the menu item above it. For instance, “About Kigumo” has a drop-down to the “Contact Us” page.
6. Now you have your main menu and footer menu set up for your eCommerce store!
Adding Products to Your Store
There are two methods to adding products to your store depending on whether you’re creating a normal eCommerce store, and so will add products through Shopify itself OR if you are creating a dropshipping store and are importing products from Oberlo to Shopify. We’ll cover both methods.
Adding Products with Shopify
- Click “Products” from the left-hand navigation menu. Then click ‘Add a product’.
- You will then be brought to the product page. You want to add a much detail as you can, as it not only helps your customer make an informed purchase but it also helps with your SEO.
- Add a product “Title” which is the name of your product and the product description. Consider describing your products functionality, appearance and provide such details as size, material, handling, and cleaning.
- You’ll then want to add the appropriate
Adding Products with Oberlo
- Go to the Oberlo app and click Export.
Setting Up Collections
Once you’ve added your products, you can then group them into collections. You can create collections for whatever you think is appropriate for your shop, some examples include:
- by item type e.g. mugs, kitchenware, hats, coats
- by gender
- by price e.g. gifts under $20
- by brand
- by season or event e.g. Valentine’s Day, Sale, Black Friday, Christmas, Winter
and so on.
To Create a Collection
1. To create collections you simply click Collection on the left-hand navigation menu.
2. When you Add a New Collection you can select how products should be added – manually or automatically. Manually lets you add and remove products from a collection individually, whereas automatic lets you set up selection conditions to automatically include products that meet certain criterias.
A payment gateway allows you to take payment from your customers from your eCommerce store. The price and commission rate is important because they are not all equal. It’s also important to see what features they offer. You need to consider what payment gateway works for you based on these factors:
When you take a payment, most gateways keep a small percentage of flat free for letting you use their service. Compare these based on what your anticipated sales are.
What types of card are accepted by your chosen payment gateways? All accept VISA and Mastercard, while most accept American Express. Are you mainly looking at worldwide customers or within the same country?
Installing Apps to Your Shopify Store
Installing apps are a great way to increase conversion, improve functionality and get more out of your Shopify store. Just like with themes, Shopify has it’s very own ‘app’ store, with hundreds of apps that are made specifically for Shopify.
There are many free apps with premium versions which we recommend you using. Read our lesson on Useful Shopify Apps to see our full list of recommended apps, what they do and why we recommend them.
To install apps to your store you:
- Select “Apps” from the main menu.
- Visit the Shopify App store and install any apps that you need for your store. Many Shopify apps are free, with a paid premium version.
- To check if your app has installed correctly, simply refresh this page and it should appear.
- You can adjust settings/use the app by clicking on the name e.g. “Aiva Overlays”. By clicking “view details” it will tell you about the company and the app’s permissions.
Polishing, Tweaking and Cleaning Up Your Store
1. Add a new domain to Shopify
When you create a store with Shopify you get a free Shopify domain with the structure www.storename.myshopify.com. Not only is this quite lengthy, but it doesn’t look very professional. That’s why we always say to get a personal domain for your eCommerce store. To add your purchased personal domain simply:
- In Shopify admin, from the left-hand navigation go to ‘Settings’ and then ‘Domains’.
- Add your domain name using the ‘Add an existing domain’ button.
- Login into your domain registar and make the following changes to your DNS records:
- Replace the ‘@’ or main A record with the following IP address: 126.96.36.199
- Add or replace the ‘www’ CNAME with storename.myshopify.com (i.e. your given Shopify store domain)
Shopify will tell you if the new domain has been added successfully.
How to Remove the “Powered By Shopify”
You can remove the “powered by Shopify” message at the bottom of your store if you want to. There are two methods for doing this, you can view both methods here. The easiest (and most common) method is as follows:
1. Click Online Store on the menu item, it will open up a secondary menu, from that click Themes. Next to the Customize button there is an Actions button. Select Edit Languages.
2. In the Filter Translations box, typed “Powered”.
3. In the “Powered by Shopify” box, type a single space. The faded placeholder text will disappear.
4. Click Save.
3. Optimize Your Store’s Checkout Experience
Placing a Test Order
By placing a test order you can make sure that your checkout process and settings are correct. You won’t be charged for a test order. Any order that has been canceled or refunded is not paid out or subject to transaction fees. There are two ways to place a test order:
- Use Shopify’s Bogus Gateway to stimulate a transaction.
- Use a real payment provider and then cancel and refund your order immediately.
To use Shopify’s Bogus Gateway:
- From your store admin, click “Settings” then to “Payments”.
- In the Shopify Payments section, click “Edit” then check “Use test mode”. You’ll have to deactivate test mode in order for customers to pay for their order using a credit card.