Essential Tips for Launching Your Shopify Startup
Starting a Shopify startup can be an exciting venture, but it can also be overwhelming if you're not prepared. To help you navigate this process, here are five essential tips for successfully launching your Shopify startup.
Shopify Store Settings Checklist
At this point, you should have completed the creation of your Shopify store and are prepared to make it live. In this section, we will review the critical settings of the store.
1. Review the information for your store.
Before stocking up your store with products, it is necessary to provide essential store details including your store name, description, and more.
The store details can be edited from the Settings → Store Details page.
Aside from setting up the store name, other important details to consider include the store's email, contact number, billing information, store currency, and other factors that contribute to the brand establishment.
2. Include your staff members.
Running a successful business requires a team, and Shopify offers the option for merchants to have staff accounts, allowing each user to have their own login.
To begin the process of adding staff accounts, go to the Settings → Users and permissions section in your Shopify admin.
To add a staff member, click on the 'Add staff' option. Enter their full name and email address, then assign the desired permissions. Finish by sending the invitation.
3. Configure Payment Settings
To process orders from your Shopify store, you will need a reliable payment processor that allows customers to complete their payments and deposits into your account.
Shopify is compatible with over 100 international and regional payment gateways worldwide. Users can select their preferred payment gateways and configure them to receive and process payments.
To set up payment options, go to the admin panel and select Settings → Payments. Choose your preferred payment providers.
Shopify allows users to add multiple payment methods, including manual options such as cash-on-delivery, money orders, and bank transfers. Users should take their time to add the payment methods that their customers might prefer.
4. Evaluate your checkout process.
After setting up your payment processor, it is important to ensure that your checkout process is effective and creates a seamless purchasing experience for customers.
You can access and modify your checkout settings, including your preferred method of collecting customer data, by navigating to the Settings → Checkout page in your Shopify admin.
Here are a few things you should double-check to ensure your checkout process functions properly.
- Showing shipping costs at the time of checkout.
- Discount codes can be applied and function properly in the cart.
- Customers have the ability to make changes to their shopping carts.
- Customers have access to familiar payment methods and can select their preferred option.
- The platform provides language and currency conversion options to accommodate international customers.
The ultimate goal is for customers to complete their checkout process, so it is important to optimize the process in the best possible way. You may also find our guide on checkout page optimization helpful for additional tips and best practices.
5. Cross-check Shipping Rates
Logistics is an important part of your business operations, and even a small mistake can lead to expensive costs. Therefore, it is crucial to include the configuration of Shopify's shipping options on your pre-launch eCommerce checklist.
Achieving precision in shipping rates requires completing the following tasks.
- Rates should be configured to take into account variables such as package dimensions, weight, delivery destination, and other relevant factors.
- Please verify that the correct shipping rate is correctly calculated and applied at checkout.
To adjust shipping rates, you need to go to the Settings → Shipping and Delivery page on your admin dashboard.
During the checkout process, you have the option to select free shipping, flat shipping rates, or calculated shipping rates. It may be helpful to know the following information if you decide to set up calculated shipping rates.
6. Verify Tax Settings
It is important to ensure that your tax settings align correctly with the products you are selling. The geographical location of your store has a significant impact on your Shopify sales tax.
If you have concerns or questions about taxation, it is recommended to seek advice from local tax authorities or a tax professional before implementing taxes in your store.
To adjust your tax rates, go to the Setting → Taxes and Duties page in your admin panel and follow these steps.
- Please select your country or region within the Manage Sales Tax Collection segment.
- Please select the option to collect sales tax.
- Please input your tax number in the specified field. If you have applied for a tax number but have not yet received it, you can leave this field empty and update it once you receive it.
- Please click "Collect Tax" to confirm the collection of tax.
- To incorporate additional regions and account numbers, consider collecting sales tax.
Shopify sales tax apps can be utilized to automate the process and ensure compliance with taxation and regulatory requirements. Additionally, these apps offer assistance with tax calculations, filings, and other related tasks.
7. Add Inventory Locations
If your business has multiple warehouses, such as one in New Jersey and one in California, the stock for each location is displayed on various pages including the Inventory page, inventory bulk editor, inventory CSV, and product particulars page.
The number of locations you can have on Shopify is determined by your subscription level. For example, with a Shopify Starter plan, you can have up to two locations.
To add a new location to your Shopify setup, go to Settings and select Locations. From there, you can easily click on the "Add Location" option.
To include your inventory or warehouse locations, choose "Activate Inventory for online orders" to guarantee that all orders from your Shopify store are fulfilled from those specific locations.
8. Manage International Markets
Shopify allows merchants to efficiently manage international sales through its Markets feature. With Shopify Markets, you can regulate how your brand is represented by applying specific configurations to different countries and regions.
A market can include one country, region, or a group of countries or regions. For example, you can create a market called 'North America' that includes Canada, the United States, and Mexico, all following the same standards.
After registering with Shopify, you will have immediate access to Shopify Markets. You can find the pre-established markets in the Settings → Markets section.
- The primary market refers to the main country or region where sales are intended, often determined by the location of your store and the base currency.
- The International Market consists of a curated collection of countries or regions targeted by similar merchants.
- Customers who are located in unserved countries or regions are unable to make purchases from your store, as it is not available in those areas.
The international market is currently inactive, so customers in these regions are unable to complete transactions until it becomes active.
One option is to add a custom domain to enhance your website.
When you sign up for the Shopify free trial and create a store, you will be given a 'myshopify.com' URL for your store.
Using a custom domain for your store, such as 'yourbrandname.com', will enhance brand recognition among consumers, though you can technically use this URL to launch your store.
To add a custom domain to your website, you can navigate to the Settings → Domains section on your admin dashboard. From there, you have the option to choose one of several methods to connect your domain with your store.
- When purchasing a domain through Shopify, the setup process is streamlined. If this is your first domain added to Shopify, it will be automatically configured as the web address displayed to customers.
- To integrate your domain with Shopify, you can purchase a domain from a third-party registrar such as GoDaddy or Namecheap at a lower price and then connect it to your online store. Please note that some level of familiarity with configuring DNS records is necessary.
- You have the option to transfer your domain management to Shopify if you own a domain from another registrar and would like to handle all domain settings through your Shopify admin.
Individuals have the option to select the method that best suits their needs. Nonetheless, I suggest considering purchasing domains from alternative platforms as they tend to offer lower expenses, and more importantly, provide the flexibility to transition your store to different platforms if desired.
10. Customize Default Notifications
Email notifications play an important role in the operations of your store, including marketing efforts and customer interactions.
Shopify provides default notifications for customers during their purchase journey. It is recommended to customize these notifications according to your store branding. To make the changes, navigate to Settings → Notifications in your admin panel.
Shopify sends out the following email notifications to your customers by default.
- The order emails include: Confirmation, Edited, Canceled, Refunded, Draft Order Invoice, Email Cart from POS, Abandoned Checkout, POS Exchange Receipt, Gift Card Created, and Payment Error.
- The types of emails related to shipping include confirmation, update, out for delivery, and delivered.
- Email notifications for local pickup and delivery: Pickup ready, Pickup completed, Delivery in progress, Delivery completed, Delivery missed.
- The customer received emails with the subject lines Account Information, Account Welcome, Password Reset, and Contact Customer.
To customize the content of your emails according to your store's branding, click on the emails. In order to have more customized email notifications, you will require an email marketing app that integrates with Shopify.
Please take a moment to review the store policies.
In the realm of eCommerce, adherence to legal responsibilities, including clear store policies, is of great importance.
To modify your store policies, go to the Settings → Policies section in your admin dashboard.
You can structure the subsequent policies for your store here.
- Return & refund policy
- Terms of Service
- Shipping Policy
- Legal Notice
- Subscription Policy
Shopify offers templates for each policy type to simplify the process. By clicking the "Create from template" button, a policy will be generated for you. It is important to consult with a legal expert to ensure the policy aligns with your regulatory policies and helps you avoid any penalties in the future.
Shopify Store Management Checklist
Now that the preliminary settings for your Shopify store have been addressed, it is time to consider various strategies that can help with the smooth management of your Shopify store.
1. Optimize Product Details
When starting a new business, there are many tasks to complete. It is important to proofread your store content, especially when it comes to product pages, in order to catch any spelling or grammatical errors.
Incorrect product descriptions or images may result in customer dissatisfaction, leading to refund requests and product returns. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your product details are accurate and optimized for SEO.
To review each product in your Shopify store, go to the Products section on your administrative dashboard.
Before the launch, it is important to carefully review each product page to ensure that all relevant information, including text, product visuals, pricing, tax and shipping configurations, and more, is accurate.
Additionally, it is important to ensure that the product pages are properly designed and optimized for conversions. Please refer to our guide for creating effective product pages for more guidance.
2. Manage Product Collections/Categories
Product categories are important for organizing your Shopify store, allowing customers to navigate and find products easily. By grouping similar items together, you create a smooth browsing experience that simplifies the shopping process.
In addition, product categories provide SEO benefits for your online store by improving search engine rankings, increasing visibility, and generating organic traffic.
Product categories can be created from the Products → Collections page. Two types of collections can be created there.
- The automated collection category uses selection criteria to include products that meet specific parameters. This category allows up to 60 selection conditions to be set, with options to require products to meet all or any of the conditions for inclusion.
- In a manual collection, products are chosen manually and the assortment remains constant unless intentionally modified.
After creating collection pages, ensure that their page designs are optimized for a seamless user experience. You can utilize page builder apps to enhance the pages' conversion rates.
3. Check the standard store pages.
Just like physical stores use signs and branding to be easily recognized, online stores depend on webpages that effectively communicate with visitors, especially those who are unfamiliar with your store.
To manage pages on your Shopify store, go to Online Store → Pages in your administrative dashboard. In this interface, you can add new pages or edit existing ones.
Here are the standard pages that are commonly included in a Shopify store -
- The homepage is an important page on your website that often serves as the first point of entry for visitors. It should have clear navigation to your store and other important static pages.
- Your contact page should provide various ways for customers to contact you. Consider adding a contact form to make it easier for them to send messages without having to leave your website.
- The About page provides information about your company and brand, which can help visitors gain a better understanding. This page can be a valuable sales tool when used strategically.
- Anticipating customer inquiries and studying competitor websites are important steps in creating an effective FAQ page during launch.
- The focal point of your eCommerce site is your actual store, which typically includes distinct homepage and store sections, often labeled as "shop" or "store" in the site's menu and navigation.
In addition to these pages, it may be worth considering the registration and login pages to ensure they align with your store branding.
4. Evaluate the reliability of your product suppliers.
One of the advantages of Shopify is its direct integration with popular product suppliers, as well as the option to use its APIs for custom integration.
After connecting your product suppliers to your store, it is recommended to place an order as a customer in order to test their product qualities and customer service.
For dropshipping or POD businesses on Shopify, it is possible to request product samples from suppliers. One option for print-on-demand products is Printful, which offers the opportunity to place sample orders at a reduced price.
5. Verify Inventory Availability
If you are in charge of a warehouse for your store's inventory, it is important to make sure that no products are out of stock before the launch or at any time. To avoid these situations, it is necessary to monitor your stock levels and replenish the products before running out.
To effectively manage product inventory and prevent excessive orders, it is recommended to enable the 'Track quantity' option for each individual product in your store.
Inventory order management apps can be used to connect your store with the warehouse management system, allowing for real-time synchronization of inventory data and notifications about declining stocks.
6. Review your billing information.
To continue using the Shopify platform after your free trial ends, it is necessary to select a pricing plan. If you have not yet made a decision, you can refer to our guide on Shopify pricing plans & fees to help you choose the most appropriate plan for your business.
After selecting a plan, input your payment details for the monthly or annual subscription fees. These payment details will be used for app subscription fees and other charges as well.
To ensure successful payment for the renewal of your Shopify plan and apps, please ensure that your payment details are valid and support automated recurring charges. You can review and update your billing information in the Settings→Billing section.
7. Launch Your Store
Now, it is time to press the launch button, signaling the start of your online business venture.
The final pre-launch task is to start the launch of your Shopify store. This includes removing the default password protection on new accounts, thoroughly reviewing for any errors, and announcing the official opening of your store. It is also recommended to remove the 'Powered by Shopify' branding from the footer of your store.
Shopify Sales & Marketing Checklist
Now that your store is ready to launch, the next step is to attract your target audience and drive traffic to your Shopify store in order to generate sales.
In this section, we will explore ways to optimize your store for sales and marketing.
1. Connect Sales Channels
Despite the exceptional online sales platform offered by Shopify, it is worth considering exploring various avenues instead of limiting yourself to just one.
By adopting a multi-channel retailing strategy, you can expand your customer reach and experience significant business growth.
Shopify offers direct integration with multiple sales channels.
Additionally, third-party applications can be utilized to establish connections between your store and major sales channels such as Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and others. These applications are designed to simplify the process of listing your products on multiple platforms, eliminating the need for manual input. Furthermore, they offer the crucial advantage of synchronizing product inventory to prevent the occurrence of overselling items that are out of stock.
2. Optimizing store content for SEO is necessary to increase visibility and improve search engine rankings.
Shopify is an eCommerce platform that is designed with SEO in mind. To improve your search engine rankings, it is important to optimize your store pages and content for SEO.
Shopify provides the option to optimize the SEO title and description for every product, category, page, or blog post, so it is recommended to utilize this feature effectively.
Additionally, Shopify SEO apps can be utilized to analyze your store's SEO and address any issues to improve performance. These apps provide assistance in updating SEO titles, meta descriptions, and image alt text for your store, all within one platform.
You may find it helpful to consult our Shopify SEO checklist in order to optimize your store for improved search engine rankings. Additionally, we have additional SEO guides available for your reference.
- Effective link-building strategies for eCommerce businesses.
- An approach on conducting keyword research for eCommerce sites
- Recommended SEO tools for eCommerce businesses.
3. Start Blogging
Blogging remains an effective marketing strategy for eCommerce businesses to reach a broader range of audience during the early stages of their purchasing journey. It is indeed a crucial element for an eCommerce conversion funnel.
A customer-centric blogging strategy can help establish trust with your target audience and provide assistance with their challenges and shopping ideas, potentially leading to increased sales.
Shopify has a built-in blogging system available for you to use in order to regularly publish blog posts and generate more sales. To begin blogging, navigate to Online Store → Blog Posts and select the 'Add Blog Post' button to publish your initial blog post.
When publishing the blog post, it is important to ensure it is optimized for SEO. Additionally, consider updating the default design of blog pages to enhance the overall user experience. Therefore, it is recommended to review and make any necessary changes.
4. Configure Analytics Tracking
Shopify includes an integrated analytics tool that offers a range of reports on sales, conversion rates, and website traffic.
The reports are helpful for analyzing store sales, but they do not collect data from other advertising and sales channels, which can make it difficult to track business expenses and performance.
To prevent such occurrences, 3rd-party analytics applications like TripleWhale can be utilized to monitor and gather data from all sales and marketing channels. This data can then be used to make informed business decisions for further growth.
5. Setup Marketing Automation
Communication is an essential aspect of any business, and tools like SMS, emails, and push notifications are commonly used for communicating with customers, leads, and prospects.
However, the repetitive nature of these tasks can be overwhelming when done manually. That's why tailored marketing automation is important.
Marketing automation enables the automatic sending of multi-channel communications (email, SMS, and push notifications) to customers. By connecting with customers across various platforms, engagement can be increased and conversions can be driven.
To access the marketing automation tool in Shopify, go to the Marketing → Automation section on the left sidebar of the admin.
The software offers various templates for different stages of the customer journey, including welcome and win-back automation as well as first-purchase upsell. These templates can be personalized to suit your requirements or you can create custom ones from the beginning.
However, these automations are limited to emails only. If you want to combine SMS and push notifications with email marketing for automation, you can use tools like Klaviyo or Omnisend, which provide additional control over personalization and automated communications.
6. Install Essential Apps
While Shopify offers built-in features and free apps to support your store building and management needs, you may find it beneficial to explore additional apps that can optimize the user experience for your customers and boost sales.
The Shopify App Store offers a wide selection of apps that can be easily added to your store. However, it's important to note that not all apps are necessary for a newly established store.
Before installing any apps, it is important to consider the following factors.
- When considering an app for your store, it is important to take into account the ratings and reviews it has received.
- Certain apps are designed specifically for certain themes, so it's important to make sure that the apps you choose for integration are compatible.
- Customizability is an important factor to consider when choosing an e-commerce platform. When app functionality can be tailored to meet the unique requirements of your online store, it can have a positive impact on your website's performance.
- Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to compare potential revenue impact with the specified app cost in order to determine its cost-effectiveness.
7. Identify Your Niche and Target Audience
Before you start building your Shopify store, it's crucial to identify your niche market and target audience. By focusing on a specific niche, you'll have a better understanding of your customers' needs and preferences, allowing you to tailor your products and marketing strategies accordingly. Conduct thorough market research to determine your target audience's demographics, interests, and pain points.
Here are 6 steps to help you find your niche.
- Assess your level of passion and skills.
- Identify several potential niches.
- Please determine if there is a market.
- Narrow down your niche
- Validate your niche
- Test your niche
8. Choose a High-Quality Theme
One of the key aspects of a successful Shopify store is a visually appealing and user-friendly design. Your theme should reflect your brand's identity and resonate with your target audience. Shopify offers a wide range of professionally designed themes, ensuring that you'll find one that suits your business. Choose a mobile-responsive theme, as an increasing number of customers are shopping on their mobile devices.
9. Optimize Your Product Descriptions and Images
Compelling product descriptions and high-quality images are essential for driving sales. Your product descriptions should highlight the unique selling points and benefits of each item, enticing customers to make a purchase. Use clear and concise language, and incorporate relevant keywords to improve your store's search engine optimization (SEO). Additionally, invest in professional product photography or edit your images to ensure they are visually appealing and showcase your products' features.
9. Implement Effective Marketing Strategies
To generate traffic and increase sales on your Shopify store, you'll need to develop effective marketing strategies. Utilize various digital marketing channels, such as social media, email marketing, influencer collaborations, and search engine optimization, to reach your target audience. Engage with your customers through engaging content, promotions, and personalized recommendations. Additionally, consider running paid advertising campaigns on platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads to boost your store's visibility.
10. Provide Outstanding Customer Service
Customer service plays a vital role in the success of any online business. Aim to provide exceptional customer service to build trust and loyalty. Respond promptly to customer inquiries and address any concerns or issues they may have. Implement a reliable system for order fulfillment and shipping, ensuring that customers receive their products promptly. Encourage customer feedback and reviews to showcase the positive experiences of previous buyers, which can further enhance your store's credibility.
Launching a Shopify startup requires careful planning and strategic execution. By following these five essential tips, you'll be well on your way to creating a successful and profitable online store that attracts and retains customers. Remember, continuous improvement, adaptability, and staying updated with the latest digital marketing trends are key to sustaining growth in the competitive e-commerce landscape.