Have you heard all of the excitement about Shopify, but not how/where to start?  Then you’ll love this Shopify Crash Course!

Yeah… it’s easy, people are making money – and wish someone would answer one simple question…  how the heck you get started?!?

Well, i’m gonna help there today with this easy to follow step-by-step guide to setting up your own online eCommerce shop with Shopify.

I’ll go over the basics of getting your store live as quickly as possible, so strap on your seatbelt and let’s dive in!

Your Straightforward, Shopify Crash Course With
Step By Step Setup To Selling Products On Shopify

Step 1:  Sign Up For An Account 

Shopify have kindly taken away the ‘ouch’ of setup by giving you a free 14 day trial, so you can get started without any huge risk or financial outlay.

=> Sign up for the 14 day free trial here

  • Add your regular details and then click ‘Create your store now’
  • You’ll need to add a few more things on the next page, like your name, address, phone number and country.
  • When it asks what kind of products you aim to sell you can just pick “I’m just playing around” for the “Do you have products?” dropdown – and “I’m not sure” in the “What will you sell” part.
  • When done there, click “I’m Done” and… that’s it – you’re done. For this part…

Once you’ve got your account set up, you’ll be sent to your store admin screen.  This is your central dashboard for all things Shopify – from setting up the look and feel of your store, to uploading products, shipping and your payment options.

It’s a fresh shopify store, so it will look a bit like this (just with YOUR name instead of mine.. haha)

Shopify Crash Course

Step 2:  Choose Your Store Design

Shopify has their own theme store.  To access it go to https://themes.shopify.com/login, login with your store name and start browsing.

Things to note about the Shopify theme store:

  • Themes in the store are supported by the designers
  • There are free and premium ones, the premium ones usually offer more modifications
  • Themes can be customised, if you can’t or don’t want to do it, you can hire what they call “Shopify Experts” who are familiar with the themes and can do full site customisations too

Have a look at the diversity of some of these themes!  You really can make yours stand out and look really professional, the options are up to you.

There are a lot of filtering options, so use them to sort between paid and free ones.

Once you’ve narrowed it down based on the look of the theme, click on the sample image and you’ll find some information about the theme.  Things like the extra features it has, whether it’s mobile responsive and other things it works with.

You’ll also see reviews too, take a few minutes to flick through and check that this is what you are looking for in a theme.

The next thing you’ll want to do look just under the green button that says “Preview Theme in your Store” and click View Demo.

Like it?  If you are ready to make it yours, click the green button.

Shopify will ask you to confirm that you want to install that theme, so click “Publish as my Shop’s Theme”

Don’t overthink it TOO much, you can always get a new theme later, so if you don’t totally fall in love with something just get SOMETHING for now and come back later for a new one.

Step 3:  Choose You Shopify Theme Settings

The beauty of Shopify is that you can make a change in your settings and you’ll see it show up on your site immediately – and with so many options, you really can make your store look completely unique… and not just a clone of thousands of stores out there.

So even when you get one of the themes from the theme store, with just a few switches your shop can be completely unique from anything else out there.

On your admin screen, click the Themes menu item in the menu on the left.

In here you should look for the button that says ‘Customize Theme’. Click that and then just have a bit of a play, you can customise a lot of the different look and feel of your store there including the colours, fonts, adding logos etc.

All themes will vary on the options you can change, so make sure you pick something that suits your needs, but some of the options can include the following:

  • add your own logo
  • adding images for your own carousel style homepage slider
  • adding related items to your product pages
  • picking how many products to display on your pages
  • various prebuilt colour schemes
  • font styles
  • adding social share buttons
  • location of the product images etc.

Step 4:  Adding Products Into Your Store

Now that you have the store set up, it’s time to fill it out with some products.

To do this, you go to the menu bar on the left again and click on “Products”

Then, you’ll see a blue button that says “Add a product” (it’s up in the top right hand corner)

You’ll see a page like this, so start adding in as much info about each product as you can. The more information you add here, the better chance you have of getting extra visitors who are finding you in the search results.

Make sure you add in some images too.  You can add them in any order, don’t be too fussy here ’cause you can rearrange them later – but DO add some in, so that people can see what they are buying.  Also, another tip is to keep them close to the same size – this will look a lot tidier in your store later on, once you start adding a lot more.

Once you’ve finished adding in all of the information don’t forget to click “Save Product” – you’ll find this button on the right (at the top AND the bottom).

Step 5:  Set Up Your Store Categories

In Shopify, categories as you might know them – are called “Collections” and these allow you to group products that are similar, so that you are able to recommend products to them in searches or even after they buy – as extra suggestions for purchases.

If you have a comic book store for example, you could make some categories as follows:

  • Marvel Characters
  • Comics For Kids
  • Items On Sale
  • Collectables
  • New Releases

These will show up as menu items, so it makes it easy for your customers to work their way around your store and find what they need quickly and efficiently.

If you want to save some time, there is also an option to ‘automatically’ create your collections. Choosing to do this automatic option lets you set requirements used to define the product choices and just sifts them in, based on your settings (i.e.  items that are blue)

Step 6:  Payment Gateways

Now you need to set up how it is you want your customers to pay for their purchases.  There are a few options with pro’s and cons to each, depending on the products you are selling, where you are living and the volume of sales you will be processing, so check out your options.  To get started faster, you can just process payments directly through Shopify, but you will be charged a (small) additional fee.

Step 7:  Company & Tax Settings

Nobody loves this part… but hey, death and taxes and all that… it’s unavoidable and needs to be done before your website can go live.

You’ll need to go and fill in information in the General page.  This is basic info about your business, but you can also add in your Google Analytics details in here which is VERY useful for later when you want to track where your sales are coming from.

Next up, you’ll need to set up Taxes details.  To do this you need to:

  • Click on the Products page (in your admin dashboard)
  • Go to the product you are setting up
  • Go down to “Inventory & variants”
  • Click edit, next to “Product Variant” and a window will pop up
  • Check the “Charge taxes” and “Requires shipping” checkboxes are marked (assuming you need to charge taxes and deliver the items)


Step 8:  Run An Order System Dummy Test

Shopify have a sandbox area they’ve called “Bogus Gateway” that allows you to test that everything is set up correctly.  This is a VERY important part of set up, so don’t skip it – because you could lose hundreds of sales before a person is frustrated enough at not being able to buy that they will contact you and ask for help.

To test your set up using the Bogus Gateway system do this:

  • Go to your admin dashboard, click Settings and then click Payments
  • Go to Accept credit cards section and click Select a Credit Card Gateway
  • In the dropdown menu go to Other and click on (for testing) Bogus Gateway
  • Click Activate
  • Go to your store, pretend you are a customer and use the credit card details given to you by Shopify to test it.

To test your set up with a REAL transaction: 

  • Enable your actual payment gateway as discussed earlier
  • Go to your store and make a purchase, using your own (real) credit card details
  • Cancel the order straight after you’ve checked it has worked and you can avoid paying transaction fees

You should be able to see the details of the sale and transaction in your admin dashboard if everything has gone nice and smoothly.

And that’s it for this little Shopify crash course for now.

Your Shopify store is up and running.  You’ve got a full 14 days to try it out before you will be charged for using the platform, so give it a good bash for 2 weeks and see what you think!

I haven’t been able to go into details about sourcing products, delivering them and ways that you can run eCom basically by being a middle-man of sorts, increasing your repeat customers and more, which I’ll cover in some other articles later.

If you’ve learned anything new in this Shopify crash course, or if you’re interested in learning more about more complex strategies with Shopify or have any extra feedback please leave your comments below!