Shopify beginner guide for a 7 figure online store
On 22 December 2022 by Lukas Schmidt
The Shopify "boom" continues, with new online stores being created every day with the help of the e-commerce platform, generating millions in sales.
This also attracts many "professionals" who place ads on platforms like YouTube and Instagram promising easy money.
In this article, we want to take a sober look at the Shopify platform, explain the basics, and compare pros and cons.
We also have a free checklist for you to check if your Shopify store is ready for launch.
So after reading, you will know what Shopify is, how to create a Shopify store and how the platform works.
- 1 Shopify, what is it?
- 2 For whom is Shopify worthwhile?
- 3 Shopify costs
- 4 Shopify Partner - what is it?
- 5 Shopify comparison
- 6 How does Shopify work?
- 7 Shopify Checklist
- 8 Shopify Scale
Shopify, what is it?
Shopify was founded by Tobi Lütke in Canada in 2006. He originally wanted to create an online store for a snowboard store, but then realized that there didn't seem to be the right platform for such a store for small and medium-sized businesses.
Therefore, the founder himself decided to program a software for just these application purposes
Since its inception, 600,000 companies have already benefited from the Shopify e-commerce platform. Also the revenue has almost doubled annually since 2015, reaching and reached $4.6 million in 2021.
This makes Shopify arguably the largest e-commerce platform in the world, but what makes it so successful?
What does Shopify offer?
Shopify is a website builder that specializes in creating online stores. The concept is simple, creating an online store must be easy, but complex enough to ensure a professional web presence.
Unnecessarily complex operations, such as web hosting or domain names, can be obtained directly from Shopify, thus Shopify has earned the name all-inclusive store system.
The high technical standard of the platform ensures that failures are extremely rare. The platform can also handle high traffic volumes.
At the same time, the developers constantly provide automatic updates and backups without the users noticing anything. Should something not work properly, the support is available in all common languages.
Designing your own store is very simple. Almost all elements of the website can be moved to the right place via drag-and-drop. So no coding knowledge is necessary.
If you still want to include HTML or CSS, you can of course do so.
Also helpful, the collection of different Shopify Themeswhich are design templates created by professional designers. These can be easily adopted and customized according to personal taste.
Through the point of sale checkout system, even offline stores can be easily linked to Shopify to offer inventory online as well.
The Shopify POS system helps manage inventory centrally, providing greater clarity for traditional stores as well. In addition, with Stocky for Shopify inventories can also be carried out without any problems.
Of course, Shopify supports all common payment methods and shipping options.
Also for SEO, Shopify offers all the features it needs to optimize for search engines.
There are also over 2000 apps and tools available to customize Shopify to individual needs.
Of course, it is possible on the platform to categorize its products as well as collect reviews from customers and display them on the site.
Anyone who knows anything about e-commerce knows that statistics and data are the be-all and end-all, which is why all statistics can be viewed and downloaded from Shopify.
In a nutshell, Shopify allows merchants to quickly and easily sell their products on the Internet.
For whom is Shopify worthwhile?
Now that you know what Shopify has to offer, it's time to decide whether it's worth it for you to set up your online store with Shopify.
Basically, the platform is worthwhile for all small and medium-sized companies that want to sell a product online. It does not matter whether this product is digital or tangible.
But of course, there are alternatives to Shopify and even the biggest e-commerce platform has drawbacks.
The disadvantages of Shopify
Of course, the cost of running a webshop plays a role. Shopify is one of the more expensive options here. Unlike the competition, Shopify does not offer an open source option.
A monthly fee must be paid in order to use the platform; we will clarify exactly how high this is further down in the article.
In addition, there are fees that vary depending on the payment method.
The focus on user-friendliness and ease of use means that the backend is less flexible. This should be a real problem for very few, but if technically complex things are to be integrated into the store, Shopify quickly reaches its limits.
It's a similar story with Shopify's speed, although it's always at a good level, yet even experienced developers can't optimize anything further here to stand out from the competition.
The check out
For a smooth buying process, the check-out page is a very important component, if it does not meet the expectations of the buyers, precious customers will be lost.
That's why it's annoying that the checkout page in the Shopify store is not linked to the theme and even so has no customization option.
Therefore, the loss of customers and thus a deterioration of the conversion rate can occur here.
The advantages of Shopify
For the sake of completeness, we have summarized the most important advantages again briefly and succinctly.
One of the main arguments for the store system. The modular system makes it possible for anyone to set up a store. This simplicity allows even companies with a small budget to sell their products online in the shortest possible time.
Most interactions with the Internet nowadays take place on the smartphone. Stores set up with Shopify have a high user experience on both desktop and smartphone due to their Responsive Design.
Not everyone wants to have their web store permanently operated by an agency. Whether small adjustments or large structural changes, both can be easily implemented yourself after a short training period, if that's what you want.
The Shopify costs differ greatly depending on the subscription model you choose, with each package having different features. It is important to know what you really need so that you don't end up paying too much.
If you want to start fresh with Shopify, you first have 14 days to test the platform. During this time, the platform is free, but nothing can be sold yet.
The trial version is mainly intended to see if you can handle the interface of the store system and how your website will look like in the live version.
After that you have to choose one of 4 versions.
- Basic for $27 per month
- Shopify for $79 per month
- Advanced for $289 per month
- Shopify Plus for $2000 per month
Shopify has published its prices for each plan in a Shopify price list listed, and vividly illustrated their features.
Furthermore, there is the possibility to settle the fee annually or every two years, thus reducing the costs by 10% or by 20%, respectively.
So if the online store is to exist in the long term, it is financially worthwhile to pay in advance for the first two years. If you want to remain flexible, you have to accept the higher costs.
In addition, there are transaction fees, which range from 0.5% to 2%, as well as payment gateways and credit card fees.
Fortunately, these costs are only incurred as soon as you generate your first sales, but they still reduce your profit margins and must therefore be taken into account.
We have listed the Shopify costs in more detail in a separate article. There we also show you which package is the best for you and provide you with a free operating cost calculator to download.
Shopify Partner - what is it?
Maybe you've heard of Shopify Partners, but don't know exactly what they are all about. Here's a quick overview.
Shopify affiliate program is for people who are actively working with Shopify, there are four sections.
- Shopify Developers
- Shopify Designers
- Affiliate marketing
As a store owner, you can get help from a Shopify partner to optimize your store.
Shopify partners receive support from Shopify, as well as free resources for training.
Through the concept, Shopify achieves that everyone gets the help they need to be successful in the Shopify ecosystem.
Golden Web Age is also an Official Shopify Partner. So we can offer marketing strategies and web development specifically for Shopify stores.
If you are thinking of opening an e-commerce store, you should of course compare the available platforms to find out which provider best suits your needs.
We compared the Shopify, WooCommerce and Shopware platforms and defined their optimal use case.
To sum up, Shopify is the best platform for small and medium-sized businesses that want to get started in online commerce quickly and easily.
How does Shopify work?
Now that you know the pros and cons of Shopify, we'd like to succinctly explain the basic features that you can use to create a working store.
- The registration
The first step is to register on Shopify. By clicking on "Test for free", you can get started right away. If you have never used the platform before, you even get a 14-day free trial.
After that, Shopify will ask you a few questions to customize the interface for you. Once you've filled out everything correctly, you're ready for the second step.
- The dashboard
Now you'll find yourself in the Shopify dashboard. The dashboard is your development center, the user interface offers all the features to build your store.
On the left side you will find the menu, which you can use to navigate to the individual sub-items. Here you will find the items:
As well as their sub-items.
In the free trial version, all the functions to build your store are included, but you can not go live and sell with it yet. So the trial period is only for building the site and testing the user interface.
Of course, Shopify also has its own step-by-step guide to interactively show new users how to properly use Shopify.
- Shopify Theme Customize
In the theme library there is a large selection of free and paid themes for your store. Once you have found a suitable theme, you can add it to your theme library and customize it for your purposes.
The premium themes here usually cost between $50 and $150 and often come with additional features that the free themes don't offer.
The design of an online store is a very important point. If you have no experience with usability, you can leave the selected Shopify theme mostly unchanged.
However, what definitely needs to be customized is the color scheme. Add the colors of your brand identity to the theme. Surely you have a logo as well. You can add that as well.
- Add products
The menu will take you to the product page, where you can add new products. There you need to enter the appropriate information such as title, description and price.
What data is needed depends on the product category. However, not only the required information should be filled in, but everything that moves the customer to buy. Therefore, high-quality media must not be missing, of course.
When adding a new product, it is important that the corresponding sales channel is activated. So that the product is displayed in the correct store in each case.
- Configure the store
Now it's time to configure your store. The modular system of Shopify makes this very easy. The arrangement of the individual sections can be changed via drag-and-drop in the left bar.
Clicking on a section opens its settings field. Here, each section can be adjusted separately.
Shopify comes with its own set of free images that can be used. Better, of course, are "unique" images, that is, unique images made specifically for your brand.
The basic framework of your store is ready and you finally want to launch it? Setting up a website can be complex, so to make sure you don't forget anything, we've got a checklist for you to make sure your Shopify store is ready for launch.
#1 Buy and connect domain
If you want to appear on the Internet, you need a domain. At least as important, the domain must inspire confidence. Because only with a neatly presented Internet address will customers be willing to leave their hard-earned money in your store.
There are 3 options here:
- Buy the domain directly from Shopify
- Transfer the domain of a third party provider
- The domain of a third-party provider, connect with Shopify
We especially recommend the latter method.
#2 Create required pages
Besides your homepage, your landing pages for Shopify and product pages you need, according to German law, other pages, these include:
Every website needs an imprint, this must be easily accessible and always reachable, the common method is to link all mandatory pages in the footer of your website. The imprint must provide the user with all important information about the company.
For users and legal matters, the imprint is the first point of contact with the website operator.
The T&Cs (General Business Terms) are not mandatory on the website, but it is still recommended to have T&Cs customized to your Shopify store.
If GTCs are not explicitly listed, the respective provisions of the BGB (German Civil Code) shall apply.
In all cases, you should have these texts prepared individually by a lawyer to guarantee full legal security. There are also other methods: tools that automatically create the desired texts for you. However, these are not legally watertight and we can therefore not recommend them.
#3 Integrate social media
Social media is an indispensable marketing chanel these days. So chances are, you too will want to use social media to raise awareness of your brand.
Then you should definitely link the corresponding social media channels with your website in order to profit from them optimally.
How you can do that? Simply go to the "Social Media" item in the theme settings.
#4 Set up Cookie Consent
In the EU, according to the law, it was decided that users of websites must first accept non-essential cookies before they can be applied.
Since tracking is essential in e-commerce, you also need a DSGVO-compliant cookie tool.
To set up a Shopify cookie banner for free we recommend the GDPR/CCPA + Cookie Management Tool from Consentmo.
However, the free version does not include an individual design.
#5 Title & Meta Description
An important step for Shopify SEO is the optimization of title and meta description of your store pages. Here you determine what Google displays in the search for your keywords.
These should be neither too short nor too long. Not too short, because otherwise you give away valuable display space, and not too long, because otherwise Google cannot display the entire text.
The snippet tool from Sistrix offers the best possibility when it comes to optimizing your meta data. Here you can see the exact length of your meta data, even in pixels. So you can create title and meta description in perfect length.
#6 Payment methods setup
Nowadays, an online store naturally also needs all common payment methods. If a customer does not find his desired payment method on the check-out page, he will probably cancel the purchase process. An annoying and avoidable process.
That's why Shopify Payments gives you an easy way to add a whole range of payment methods to your store.
The main payment methods in Germany are: Credit card payment, Klarna Sofort, Klarna invoice and PayPal.
This way you can guarantee that almost all customers will find their desired payment method in your store.
#7 Set up Google Analytics and GSC
As already mentioned, e-commerce is not possible without data. Only with the appropriate information can you decide whether a campaign will bring the necessary success or whether you will lose money.
Therefore, a professionally set up setup of Google Analytics and Google Search Console is a must.
Unfortunately, the data protection conditions make it increasingly difficult to set up the tools in a data protection-compliant manner. Google has responded to this and launched GA4 (Google Analytics 4).
Remove Powered by Shopify how to remove the nerdy lettering you will learn when you click on the link.
You can check off all the checkpoints on the list? Congratulations, your Shopify store is now ready for launch. Something didn't work out? Don't worry, we'll be happy to help you set up your Shopify online store in the best possible way and scale it as well.
Once the foundation is in place, you're ready to scale your store any way you want and grow sales.
As a Shopify agency, we specialize in increasing your sales through performance marketing. If you want to know how this works or have any other questions, feel free to book a no-obligation consultation with us.