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Guest post: Setting up your ecommerce business on Shopify

A woman using a laptop to set up her ecommerce business on Shopify.

When it comes to selling online, merchants across the world are turning to Shopify – and it’s easy to see why.

The platform is easy to use, there is no requirement for coding experience, it is competitively-priced, security and payment processing is taken care of, you benefit from a super helpful community and it’s scalable, meaning that as you grow you can take advantage of more advanced features.

The initial website design structure on Shopify is created through themes – some are free, some aren’t – which can be customised as much or as little as you want.

While themes provide you with the core functionality, the platform really comes into its own through the use of applications – or apps – and these are what you’ll want to use to improve the sales performance of your new website.

Initial website set-up

Before we get into the world of apps, let’s take a look at creating the core structure of your site.

Up first you’ll need to get yourself an account and install Shopify. Simply head to https://www.shopify.com/, provide your email address and get a 14-day free trial. Once in, you’ll need to provide a store name and password to create your account. Your store name at this point is your back-end Shopify URL. Your customer-facing domain can be changed at any time.

Follow the instructions and you’ll reach the admin section of your new store. You’ll see the main menu on the left-hand side:

Theme design

This is where you create the website your customers will visit. To edit your theme, click on the Online Store option to take you to this page:

Scroll down to access the area in which you can select a new theme:

As you can see from the screenshot you can take a look at Shopify’s free themes or visit the theme store to browse free and paid-for options. You can change your theme at any point so, when setting up, we recommend selecting one of the free versions so that you can begin getting to work on adding products.

You can change colours, typography and other elements by clicking the blue ‘Customize’ button on the right of the themes main page:

Sections is the area in which you’ll build your site. Click ‘Add Section’ and select from the available options:

You’ll be met with a range of sections from which to choose, including images, text, newsletter and sales banner, and you’ll want to spend a decent amount of time exploring and testing to see what works for you.

Here, you’ll build your homepage, product pages, collection pages and more:

Adding Products

Once you’re satisfied with your layouts, click on Products in the left-hand navigation on your store page and then hit the Add Product button. You’ll come here:

The layout is clean and easy-to-follow. Input the name of your product, give it a description, upload an image and set a price. All of this can be edited at any point.

There are a number of other fields within the product information and you’ll want to work through these. Categorise items by product type e.g. shirts, shorts, shoes and vendor. If you’re selling your own products this will be your brand name but if you’re a stockist then this will be the product’s brand name.

Tags help you to organise products and you can create collections if you so desire. 

SKUs (stock-keeping units) and barcodes are optional and turning on inventory policy will show a ‘sold out’ message once numbers hit zero. You can add shipping costs and variants if you are selling different sizes and/or colours.

The search engine listing preview section allows you to adjust meta titles and descriptions for search engines.

Setting your new site live

You can buy your domain name through Shopify or a third-party and connecting it is simple by going to the Online Store tab and clicking Domains.

In order to accept payments go to Settings and then Payments. Click ‘Activate Shopify Payments’ in order to accept credit cards and you can also opt to accept PayPal and Amazon Pay here.

Connecting apps

You’ve built your site structure, added products, registered your domain and hooked up payments – you’re ready to go.

However, the hard work really begins now: getting customers to your website and driving sales. You’ll want to build a marketing plan in order to reach your target customers and you’ll also want to take a look at the many apps on offer within Shopify.

Some of our favourite apps in the Quickfire Digital office:

  • Smart Search & Instant Search by Searchanise – for searching, filtering and cross- and upselling
  • Recart Facebook Messenger Marketing by Recart – target shopping cart abandoners through Facebook Messenger
  • Smart Wishlist by Webmarked – a simple, customer-friendly wishlist option
  • Klaviyo: Marketing Automation by Klaviyo – automated emails, SMS, notifications including cart abandonment and win-back emails
  • Selly – Promotion and Pricing by Treedify – provides the ability to run multiple discounts and bundles. You can only do one automated discount at a time in Shopify itself.


Shopify is fast becoming the go-to platform for online retailers; simple, but effective, and adaptable as your business grows. What are you waiting for?

Special thanks to our friends at Recart for their insights on this topic.
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