Opening an online store can be a difficult process, but places like Shopify make it simpler. They give you all the tools you need to get started as long as you have products or services. In fact, you could be selling within fifteen minutes from start to finish.
First, set up an account. Have the name of your store in mind when you open it, even though you will most likely forward a domain to that address. It just makes it easier. All new accounts come with a 30 day free trial, so you have time to set it up and start selling to see if it will be worth paying the fees later.
Plans start at $30 and go up to $700 at this time. What level you buy depends on what features you would like to have. Of course, you can always upgrade your account if you find you have outgrown the level you are in now.
A basic plan gets you 100 skus (for tracking purposes), and about 100 mb storage space, which is a little small, so hopefully your site will not be heavy on the pictures since they can run up to 8 mb depending on how they were shot and uploaded.
Next you will pick out a template (look) for your store. They have lots of options, and with a little know how, you can customize the look. Later you may add apps (you knew they were coming) to your store. The apps do different things. Some of the apps are free and others are not. If you are trying to shoestring your store, get the free apps for now and add paid ones as your store becomes more profitable.
Your store is now all set up and live, but if a customer happened upon your store at this point they would only find a Shopify T-Shirt in the product area. You will now adjust your settings for payment, which is typically a PayPal account or Google Check-out account. They have other options as well. After finishing that, you can now start adding products.
Adding products is pretty straight forward. You name your product, give it a sku number, add a description and upload a picture. If there is a variety available such as size or color, you can also do this here. Shopify has made putting up products pretty easy, which is really good if you have a lot of products.
The most technical thing you will do for your store is in setting up a domain. They sell them as well, for around $25. The good part is it automatically integrates the domain name with the store. Otherwise you will need to follow their instructions on how to forward the domain, which although the instructions were simple enough, my domain provider did not make it easy.
As part of signing up for your Shopify store you receive some Google ad credits. Use them wisely. Look at other examples to find an example of a good ad. You need one which will not only pull people to your site, but cause them to buy.
The 30 day trial is a good time to really get set up and see if your products are going to sell. As an incentive, Shopify has contests to help you. They give you access to tutorials, success stories, and more . The contest is strictly based on sales.
Many renown agencies use Shopify as their platform. The Angry Birds inventors and Amnesty to name a few. You will be in good company with your Shopify store.