Shopify is one of the most popular sales channels for e-commerce business owners. It offers a great e-commerce platform for both online and in-person sales. Shopify simplifies the whole process with built-in tools and a step by step guide to help you not only create a successful e-commerce store, but also help manage your site, your operations, and market your business and products. Here is your quick step-by-step guide to setting up an online store with Shopify.
Starting Your Shopify Store
The first order of business when starting your Shopify store is outlining your goals with Shopify. Doing so will help you determine what plan you need as Shopify offers several different levels ranging from $9 per month to over $300 per month. Shopify actually offers a 14-day free trial, which can help you better determine your needs. Now, if you already have an online shop on another platform, you may want to consider migrating it over to Shopify.
Create a Shopify Account
Before you create your store, you will first need to create a Shopify account. This is pretty straightforward and involves entering your information such as your business name, billing information, shipping parameters, and setting up your domain name.
Build Your eCommerce Store
Once you have created an account with Shopify, you are ready to create your online shop. Shopify offers a lot of storefront tools to help with the creation of your site. Simply choose from one of the ready-made, customizable themes, and add your products. Shopify can help you with all aspects of setting up your website including designing your site, payment gateways, point of sale (if you are selling in-person as well), calculating shipping rates, and email marketing just to name a few.
In the beginning stages of setting up your website, you will need to name your store. The name of your store should be relevant to your business, easily marketable, and something that can be easy to recognize for your customers. Refrain from using store names that are too complicated or hard for customers to remember. Short and simple is best, but don’t be afraid to get creative.
Shopify offers hundreds of themes for your online store. When choosing a Shopify theme, consider the nature of your store, how many products you are selling, and what your budget is. Shopify offers free themes as well as more custom, paid themes. Paid themes range from around $100 to $180. If you decide to go with a paid custom design, it is important to make sure you communicate with your developer about what features you want on your site as well as your wants and needs for your brand.
Add a Product
Once your site has been built, you are ready to add your merchandise. This part may sound tedious, but it is actually fairly straightforward. You can add your products from your seller dashboard simply by going to products and clicking, add product. From there you will name the product and product details. When adding subsequent products, you can create a duplicate product listing. This allows you to copy images, SKUs, barcodes, and inventory numbers to your new listing. You also have the ability to update descriptions, alter prices, and even delete products from the same location on your seller dashboard.
When it comes to creating a successful online store, it is important to use high-quality images. Not only for the images on your website but also the images of your product(s). You have the option to upload your own images or choose from thousands of stock images that Shopify offers.
Take the time to describe your merchandise with colorful language. Use benefit-focused language. Remember AIDA copywriting formula: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. End all descriptions with strong CTAs.
You will want to be competitive with your pricing. Conduct a competitive analysis before you start. See how your competitors’ prices stack up to yours. By checking out the competition, you not only gain pricing insight but also how they display and market their merchandise.
Shipping is an inevitable part of selling products online. Unless you are a brick and mortar, the merchandise has no way of getting to its destination without being shipped. Shopify can help you work out the logistics of shipping your products to your customers by calculating shipping costs and automatically generating shipping labels with their print on demand feature. Even if you use an order fulfillment center, Shopify can help streamline the process.
Free Shipping: Yes or No?
To offer free shipping or to not, that is the question. Many online sellers find that offering shipping at no cost incentivizes customers to purchase from their store and/or spend more money. Some sellers find that offering a threshold helps them increase their sales and cover the shipping expense, while others may not have high enough margins to cover the cost. It is important to consider your own profit margins before hopping on the no-cost shipping bandwagon. Additionally, some sellers prefer to offer no-cost shipping as a promotional tool. This can help add momentum to your sales, but only if you offer it occasionally. This can be an effective marketing tool, so consider what your goals are with the promotion.
How to Choose a Shipping Provider for Your Store
Shopify works with multiple carriers, who all offer multiple class services. It is important to consider several things before selecting a shipping provider. Some things that can affect how you ship to your customers include:
- What is your budget
- What are you shipping?
- Where are you shipping to?
- Where are you shipping from?
- What is your shipping timeline?
- What type of packaging are you using?
Drop-shipping is a little bit more complicated, however, Shopify is an excellent platform to use if you are drop-shipping. When a seller drop-ships, they don’t physically store or ship their merchandise. Instead, third-party order fulfillment takes charge of storing the merchandise and shipping it when an order is placed. With drop shipping, online sellers purchase merchandise from a third party, usually a wholesaler or manufacturer. The wholesaler or manufacturer then fulfills the order. This can be a popular way for entrepreneurs to get started as it has low overhead, and allows you to test drive different merchandise. Drop-shipping is also easy to scale, flexible, and offers a wide selection of goods to sell.
Advertising and Marketing
Once your shop is set up, you need to promote it. There are various ways you can do this, however, remember the importance of considering your target audience before getting started. This allows you to market more effectively to your customer base. You should also consider your marketing budget. Now, when you are just getting started, you may not have a really high marketing budget, so you want to make sure you are getting the biggest ROI.
How to Promote Your New Shopify Store
Unfortunately, creating a beautiful website will not generate traffic on its own. You have to put in a little leg work to build your brand and then maintain your online presence. When promoting your website, it is a good idea to diversify your efforts, utilizing both organic and paid marketing tactics.
Organic versus Paid Marketing
Organic marketing is the type of marketing that generates traffic over time. Traffic generated naturally happens when people click on links in your blog posts or updates on your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram page. It is basically anything you can do yourself that doesn’t cost you anything other than your time. If ongoing, organic marketing can be a sustainable way to create brand awareness and build a loyal customer pool. Paid marketing involves ads designed to get people to click through to your website. These ads are highly targeted and will typically create a strong call to action and invoke a sense of urgency. These ads are very effective at generating traffic, however, they can get expensive over time as the traffic isn’t sustainable unless you keep the ads running.
Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are great places to expand your reach and generate some good quality links to your website. You should create profiles on all the major platforms where you can share your content, blogs, and even sell your merchandise.
One of the most important things you should consider before starting your Shopify store is how your online store will affect your taxes. Taxes are the inevitable part of generating an income. Even if you are running the store part-time, you will still be liable for various taxes, such as income tax and sales tax. Having a tax strategy from the beginning can save you money and stress as well as avoiding any unnecessary tax hiccups down the road. Fortunately, Shopify integrates with most tax and accounting software, which helps you streamline your accounting.
As an online seller shipping to multiple states, sales tax is a really important component to pay attention to. This is especially so because sales tax rates vary from state to state and city to city. Shopify can help calculate and collect sales tax from your customers, however, they won’t remit them for you. You may need to register with the local tax authorities in the areas you have nexus. Learn more about establishing where you have nexus and how to pay your sales taxes here.
Other Business Taxes
As an online seller, you may also be liable for estimated taxes (the method used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding). Since an employer isn’t withholding income taxes from your paycheck, you are now liable for these tax payments. Hence, quarterly taxes are due: April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15. If you expect to owe more than $1,000 in taxes, you will be liable for estimated taxes. You may also need to pay self-employed taxes, which make up your portion and the employer portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes. This tax rate is 15.3% and half of your self-employed tax will be considered tax-deductible.
Get eCommerce Accounting Help
Staying on top of your accounting is important not only for paying your taxes but for taking your store to the next level. Tax strategy is an integral part of your business’s financial plan. Get started schedule a strategy session, contact a My Tax Hack pro today. For more tax tips subscribe to our newsletter.