There are all kinds of ways to create an online store nowadays, and the process can prove far easier than you might expect.
For those who are confident with coding and FTP, there are traditional eCommerce platforms like Zen Cart. People who need a little more hand-holding can choose WooCommerce, a feature packed plugin for WordPress. If you want to learn more about either of these platforms, just click the links above.
However, if you want a really easy way to build an online store that oozes quality, and are prepared to pay a very reasonable subscription cost, Shopify really needs to be on your shortlist. In this article, we explain why, and tell you how to get started.
If you’d like a really detailed tutorial on starting s Shopify store, we have one for you here.
Why use Shopify?
As we said above, there are plenty of eCommerce solutions out there, both hosted and self-hosted. So why choose Shopify?
- The solution includes everything you need. If you just want to get your store up and running, without learning about Web hosting, security and other technicalities, Shopify is the ideal choice – it’s a truly “all in one” solution.
- It costs nothing to get started. Shopify includes a no-risk 14-day trial, so you can check it meets your requirements before handing over any money at all.
- Shopify is very intuitive and easy to use. You won’t need to thumb through thick manuals or consult Web forums to understand Shopify – it’s been built for ease of use. You certainly don’t need to budget to employ a Web design company! Provided you’ve got photos and product descriptions to hand, you can do everything yourself in half a day, with no previous experience of Web design.
- Shopify includes a wide range of attractive site designs. All the themes (templates) for Shopify sites are well-designed and professional looking. Some are free and some cost a little money, but none appear amateurish.
- There are plenty of add-ons available. There are over 250 additional plugins available for Shopify, covering everything from email marketing to payment processing and social media integration.
- 24/7 support. Even on the inexpensive “starter” pricing plan, you get access to Shopify’s customer support service. You can reach them at any time of the day via phone, email or chat.
Signing up to Shopify is a piece of cake. We will now walk you through the whole process.
1. Go to the Shopify website using this link. The link will open in a new window so you can continue to follow these instructions.
2. On the screen that appears (shown below), enter a name for your Shopify store, your email address, and your chosen password. Then click the green “Try Shopify Free” button. As the website states, you can change the store name later if you wish.
3. On the next page that appears, you are asked to provide some more in-depth information. You will notice you can also set up Shopify for use with a physical shop environment by ticking the second box. Enter all the requested details, and then click “I’m done.”
4. You will then be taken to the main Shopify dashboard with Shopify’s default store template loaded. You will also notice that the dashboard shows how long you have remaining on your free demo.
Obviously you’ve yet to upload any products, but if you want to take a look at your site. just click on the name of your site in the top-left and then click “View your website.” The live site will open in a new browser tab:
5. Back at the Dashboard, click the “Select a Plan” button. This will show you all of Shopify’s subscription options, and what they include and entail. The basic plan at $29 per month is generous and includes all you will need to start most shops.
Of course there’s no need to sign up immediately. You still have a 14-day demo that you can use to play with the features of Shopify.
Uploading products and setting up your store is beyond the scope of this guide, but you should find the system quite self-explanatory. A more detailed tutorial can be found here. In the meantime, why not head on over to Shopify, and try it out for yourself?