Shopify & You introduction and first chapter


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Shopify & You introduction and first chapter

  1. 1. shopify & you the step-by-step guide to opening your online storeThomas Holmes
  2. 2. Shopify & You - the step-by-step guide to opening your online storeby Thomas HolmesPublished in 2012 by Thomas Holmes5 rue St. Côme, 34000 Montpellier, France.On the web: www.shopifyandyou.comCopyright © 2012 Thomas HolmesAll rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any formor by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any informationstorage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the author andpublisher assume no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from theuse of the information contained in it.
  3. 3. Shopify & YouThe step-by-step guide to opening your online store Thomas Holmes
  4. 4. Co ntents Table of contents - you are here!   iv Introduction   vi Acknowledgements   ix1 Setting up your first basic store   1 First steps   2 The Shopify Admin   5 Summary   222 The key features of an online store   23 Features of your store   24 The imposters demo store   25 Summary   433 Choosing a theme for your store   44 Introducing the theme store   45 Summary   634 Publishing your products   64 Product pages   65 Creating and editing products   67 Managing your products   92 Summary   1075 Installing and customizing your theme   108 Installing the theme of your choice   109 Managing your installed themes   110 Working with theme settings   114 The template editor   133 Summary   139
  5. 5. 6 Building your store navigation and collections   140 Creating and managing collections   141 Building your store’s navigation   155 Summary   1677 Creating pages and a blog   168 Introduction to pages   169 Working with pages   171 Introduction to blogs and blog articles   176 Working with blogs and blog articles   178 Summary   1888 Setting up your store preferences   189 Your store preferences   190 General settings   190 Regions & taxes   197 Checkout & payment   203 Shipping   224 Fulfillment services   233 Email & notifications   237 DNS & domains   247 Account   255 Summary   2569 Launching your store, managing orders and customers   257 Clicking the launch button   258 The admin homepage after you launch   259 Managing orders   262 Managing customer profiles   280 Summary   290 The End   291
  6. 6. Introduction I’ve always thought of running an online store as a little like playing a video game. Except this particular video game involves real people and money. Those first few sales are really thrilling. Sales come in during the day and even at night while you’re sleeping, and every time, “beep”, a sales notification comes in on your phone or email. I got my first taste for the excitement of running an ecommerce business when I created an online store to sell sporting equipment in France. We had just started building the store and we only had one product listed and the description was not yet translated into French. Then, out of the blue, my business partner got a call from a guy asking where on earth his order was! We hadn’t even checked for sales: the store wasn’t launched. It turned out that my partner had posted the store on a public bookmark site, Google had found the store and not one but two people had put through orders! I had been keeping an eye on Shopify for a couple of years before I had the chance to build a store on it. I loved how simple it was to use and how beautiful the stores created with it were. And then there were the interactions with the sales and support teams - such a positive bunch of people, everything was possible and above all “awesome”. It’s such an inspiration to see all these new stores launching and hear the stories behind them. Real people creating real businesses that work! What’s more there’s the “Build a Business” competition that Shopify runs each year: build an ecommerce business and compete for prizes. That’s just brilliant! For all these reasons, I really do believe that Shopify is the way to go if you want to develop an online store. And it was this enthusiasm that inspired me to write “Shopify & You.” I hope this book will make it easier for you to build your own business with Shopify. Good luck as you begin on this exciting adventure!vi Introduction
  7. 7. Who is this book for?This book is for people who are new to Shopify and want to learn the basics of thesoftware quickly. It’s also for people who already use Shopify and think a book couldhelp them get a better grasp of the software and serve as a handy reference forspecific tasks.In writing the book I assumed that the reader was already familiar with a web browserand web applications (such as Hotmail or Facebook). There’s no need for HTML, CSSor programming skills. They’re not necessary in order to create a beautiful store withShopify, so I felt they were beyond the scope of this book.How is this book structured?This book covers the basics of opening an online store with Shopify using the ClassicShopify Admin. To coincide with the launch of Shopify 2, an updated version will beavailable to all those who bought the original version of the book.The book is divided into the following chapters:1. Setting up your first basic store: This chapter covers creating a first basic store with Shopify and introduces the admin, where you’ll develop and run your store.2. The key features of an online store: The features that make up an online store and a sneak-peek at the “imposters” demonstration store that we follow the building of throughout the book.3. Choosing a theme for your store: We take a look at the important decision of how to choose the design theme that will give your store its look and feel.4. Publishing your products: Find out about effectively presenting your products online and then learn how to create and manage your products in the admin.5. Installing and customizing your theme: How to install and customize a design theme of your choice and give your store the look and feel you want. Introduction vii
  8. 8. 6. Building your store navigation and collections: Covers how to group products together into collections and build the navigation so that your store’s visitors can easily find their way around. 7. Creating pages and a blog: This chapter looks at how to create a blog to attract interest in your store and create pages to answer your visitors’ questions. 8. Setting up your store preferences: Here’s how to tell Shopify exactly how you want your store to run. 9. Launching your store, managing orders and customers: Learn about the statistics available after launch and how to manage orders and customer profiles. About the author I was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. After studying mathematics at university and working for Local Ireland, one of Ireland’s biggest web projects, I returned to college again, this time for a degree in fine art. Today I live in Montpellier in the South of France. So what qualifies me to write this book? For a start, donkey’s years playing and working on the Internet. I created my first website in the summer of 1994. A year later I established the Internet Society at my university in Dublin and, with a friend, created an online magazine featuring interviews and reviews of films, plays and gigs. I was hooked and I’ve been working with the web ever since. I have also created several businesses. In 2006 I set up my first business, an Internet marketing consultancy called logic+intuition. In 2007, with the help of two partners, I created my first online store. Over a period of four years, this second business generated nearly 1.5 million euros in sales. With this book, I launch my third Internet- related venture. I really love photography and they’re my photos that you see throughout the book.viii Introduction
  9. 9. AcknowledgementsI was fortunate to have a top team helping me put together this book. For initialinspiration, continual encouragement, proofreading, design, technical support andreading, I have a lot for which to be thankful.Special thanks go to Daniel Stanton and Camille Decitre. Dan proofread each of thechapters and was the first to come back and say that it was actually “quite good”!This book is much better for his many suggestions. Camille and I collaborated on thedesign of the book. Her patient, step-by-step approach made a complex project awhole lot simpler.Thanks to the folks at Shopify for all their help, support and encouragement. I’dparticularly like to acknowledge Mark Hayes, Tamara Solomon, Caroline Schnapp andLiz McDonald. I’d also like to thank those who wrote the existing Shopify documentationand the Shopify blog.Thanks also to Simon Banner and Brian Cameron. It’s great to float an idea and getsuch a huge ever-positive response. These two always delivered.For inspiring me into action, I’d like to give credit to Brett Kelly, Chris Guillebeauand Tim Ferriss. Brett Kelly wrote the excellent ebook “Evernote Essentials” on theEvernote software. Chris Guillebeau wrote about Brett in his inspirational book “The$100 Startup” and in an article on Tim Ferris’s blog. Tim Ferriss, of course, wrote the“The 4-Hour Workweek,” a book which I absolutely love.Respect to Pascal at “atelier 19” in Montpellier, France, who graciously gave mepermission to feature the store’s window display on the cover of the book.Thanks to Dolano for showing me the peace that helped me write this book.Thanks to Stella for her patience, love and ever-smiling presence. Acknowledgements ix
  10. 10. 1. Setting up your first basic store Now it’s time to get started! In this chapter you will see the simple steps involved in setting up your first basic store on Shopify. That then leads us into the admin, where you will develop and run your online store. We’ll do a tour of the admin, show you how to get around within it and introduce you to all the main sections.
  11. 11. Start the creation of your store on Shopify by filling in the simple form on the Shopify homepage ( First steps Let’s open up the Shopify website ( In the simple form on the homepage, fill in your store name, email address and the password you would like to use with Shopify. Make sure to use the store name you want - the address of your store will be based on it. It is literally the store name so you don’t need to put in“www”, “.com” or anything like that. Note down the password as you will need it again. Click the Create your store now button and Shopify will start putting in place your store. The screen will show you a number of steps taking place and then confirm that your store is ready to go. Click the Take me to my store button to continue. So you are now on the homepage of your new store. It’s quite basic but it looks good! In the next few chapters, we’re going to look at how you can get your store to look like you want it. Then we’ll look at how you publish your products, general information pages and articles for your blog.2 Setting up your first basic store
  12. 12. Your store will now look something like this - we’ll look at how to customize this to your needs in the next few chapters.At the top of the page, you’ll notice a dark bar with a button Go to store admin toquickly access the admin for your store. There’s a confirmation that your store ispassword protected so that no one else can see it yet plus it shows that you are logged Setting up your first basic store 3
  13. 13. on (or connected to Shopify) and you have the option to Log out. You can close this bar (by clicking on the x). If you check your email, you will also have a welcome email from Shopify with the address of your shop, the admin and some tutorials to get you started. We will look at the features of your store a little bit later. For the moment, let’s click the Go to store admin button at the top right of the page and take a look at your store admin. Before we get into the admin, Shopify needs a few more details to complete the setup of your account. Fill in your name, address and the other fields. Click the link if you would like to read the terms of service and click the I’m done button to move to the next step. Shopify requests some more details so that it complete the setup of your account.4 Setting up your first basic store
  14. 14. This is the homepage of your admin as it appears before your store is launched.The Shopify AdminWelcome to your store admin! It is from here that you will develop and run yourstore. Your free thirty day trial of Shopify has begun. Let’s take a look at the differentelements on this page.The upper navigation barRight at the top of the page, there is a darkened bar that we will call the uppernavigation bar. From this bar you can navigate to a number of important parts of yourstore. Starting at the left and working to the right:Shopify: Clicking on the shopify logo at the top left, will always bring you back to theadmin homepage. You are currently on the admin homepage so it will only refreshthe page if you click it now. We will try this again properly later.View your store: Clicking on this button will open the homepage of your store (orthe store homepage). Try it! You will recognise the store homepage from earlier. Youcan click back on your browser to bring you back to the admin homepage. Setting up your first basic store 5
  15. 15. Searching for a “goat” in your admin using the search box at the top of the upper navigation bar. Search shop: Moving over to the right-hand side, you can use the search box to search through and find things in your admin. For example, you might want to search for a product. It’s not going to give you any results yet as you don’t have any products. But try typing in something short into the search box and click enter or return on your keyboard to run the search. After you can always try clicking the shopify logo at the top left to bring you back to the admin homepage! Support: Focusing back on the upper navigation bar, clicking on the link Support on the right will open up a new window (or tab) with the Support Center. Here you can browse through hundreds of questions that you might have about Shopify and read the answers. You can search through the questions and answers. This page also provides you with various means to contact Shopify Support. If you click on the button Ask Shopify a question, you will be presented with a form to contact Shopify Support. Lastly on this page, you can see the latest tweets or public messages, from Shopify. The Support Center which provides a wealth of information on Shopify in the form of questions and answers.6 Setting up your first basic store
  16. 16. Clicking the link DOCS at the top of the page will open up the Shopify Documentationwhich provides a more technical overview of Shopify. Clicking the link FORUM willbring you to the forums, an excellent resource with discussions on many aspects ofecommerce as well as discussion on Shopify itself. It’s well worth a look. The linkSUPPORT at the top of the page will bring you back to the Support Center.Ok, now let’s go back to the admin homepage. Usually the support center will be openin a new window or tab. So if you close that window or tab, you should be able to seeyour admin homepage. And at the top you’ll see the now familiar upper navigation bar.Account: On the right-hand side of the upper navigation bar, you will see the linkAccount. Clicking on this will open a page that provides lots of details about yourShopify account. The “Account Stats” show how many SKU (or individual productsincluding variations) you have from the total allowed on your current plan plus howmuch storage space you are using from what is offered on your current plan. You cansee on the screenshot below, I have not used any SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) and Ican add up to 100 more to my account. I have 1 gigabyte (or 1GB) of storage spaceleft for storing product photos, etc.On the account page, you can also find the date of your next invoice, when you signedClicking on the Account link in the upper navigation bar will open up an overview of your Shopify account. Setting up your first basic store 7
  17. 17. up for Shopify (Member since), your Account status and your Current plan. Shopify offers a number of different plans which allow for different numbers of products, quantity of storage space and other features. If you click on the link Change your plan, you can see the different plans. The best plan for your store mainly depends on how many products you will offer and also how much revenue your store will make. Click back on your browser to return to “Your Account”. Further down the page you will see a list of staff accounts. You can edit your own account by clicking on the link edit beside your name. You can also invite another staff member to use the admin for your store. Lastly on the page, there is a list of issued invoices and a button to close your store. Don’t do this, unless you really mean it! Logout: Lastly on the right-hand side of the upper navigation bar, there is the link Logout. This word dates from the early days of computer software and it means the same as Disconnect, or Sign out. Clicking this, you will be signed out of your account, and you will need to type in your email address and password to get back into your store admin. To access your Shopify account, you will need to enter the email address and password with which you created your store.8 Setting up your first basic store
  18. 18. The main navigation barThis is the green bar at the top of the page, just under the upper navigation bar. Fromhere, you can access the most important parts of your admin. Let’s take a look aroundthe different parts of the admin.Home button  : To the far left of the main navigation bar, you will see a little graphicof a house. Wherever you are in the admin, clicking this will bring you back to theadmin homepage. You will notice that the home button is surrounded in white. Thisacts like a tab in a filing cabinet. The section marked in white is the one currently atthe front and in this case indicates which section of the admin you are in. You arecurrently on the admin homepage so the home button tab is the one at the front.When you move to a different section, this will change.Orders: If you click on Orders, you will be brought through to the orders section.You will notice how the home button is no longer the front tab. The “Orders” tab isnow at the front because you are now in the orders section!The “Orders” section is for managing the core of your online business - the orders. Setting up your first basic store 9
  19. 19. In the orders section, you can manage everything to do with orders. Given that you’re just starting out, you’re unlikely yet to have any orders. In this case, Shopify have kindly left us with a graphic that explains a little the main orders page. If you put your mouse over the different parts of the graphic, it will show you a description of that part of the main orders page. On this page, you can manage your orders, filter your orders by specific criteria (paid or unpaid for example) and apply various actions (like capturing payments) for a group of orders that you have selected. When your store is up and running, you’ll be able to manage your customers in this section. Customers: Next, let’s click on the Customers tab and take a look at the customers section. We don’t have any customers yet so this page will have a graphic that explains the page. Put the mouse over different parts of the graphic to read more.10 Setting up your first basic store
  20. 20. For each customer that makes a purchase in your store, a customer profile will beavailable in this section. Here you’ll be able to sort, search and filter through yourcustomers. For example, maybe you’ll want to see which customers spent the most orwhich customers passed the most number of orders. All this information and muchmore is contained in this section.Products: Of course, before you will have any orders or customers, you’re going toneed some products. And naturally, it’s in the products section that you will createand manage your products. Take a look at the graphic provided in this section, to seehow an individual product looks like in the admin.On this page, you will be able to add new products, export products and importIn the products section, you can prepare the presentation of the products that will be sold in your online store. Setting up your first basic store 11
  21. 21. products. Once you have some products in place, in this section you will also be able to sort, edit and publish or hide your products. Collections: Your products can be grouped together into collections. So for example, if you were selling kitchen products, you might group all your coffee makers (including the one shown in the screenshot) into a coffee makers collection. If you then make this collection available in your store, your store’s visitors will be able to see all your coffee makers grouped together. So far, as you can see on the screenshot, there is only one collection called “Frontpage”. This is a collection of products that are displayed on your store’s front page. In the collections section, you can group products into collections of similar products. There are two different types of collections: custom collections and smart collections. In a custom collection, the products are grouped together manually by you. In a smart collection, the products in the collection are grouped together automatically according to a set of conditions (all coffee makers that cost less than $100 for example). Blogs & pages: Your store however, will be made up of more than just products and collections. You will also need to provide pages with information about your business.12 Setting up your first basic store
  22. 22. For example, most stores have a customer service page which describes how theirservice works. You might also need a page about you and your store, your terms andconditions, and many other things.With Shopify, you can also have a blog on your store. A blog is a section on yourstore, where you can publish up to date information. For example, an article about aspecial new product, or an article related more broadly to your industry. Providing justinformation about your products in your store is only of interest to so many people.But with a blog, you can talk about far wider topics that are of interest to your targetcustomer base. Plus a blog can be fun and inject a bit more personality into your store!From the “Blogs & Pages” section, you can publish pages and blog articles to your store.Navigation: Providing your store’s visitors with an easy and useful way to get aroundyour store is very important. Say someone is buying a coffee maker in your kitchenstore but they also want to buy a juicer. You want it to be really easy for them to find Setting up your first basic store 13
  23. 23. the juicers when they are finished in the coffee maker’s section. They will do this through the navigation. Of course, at the moment, we are working through the navigation of your admin for Shopify. Hopefully, you are already seeing how well laid out it is! So in the navigation section of your admin, you can control the navigation for your store. This is done through the editing or creation of link lists. These are, to put it simply, a list of links. On the web, a link is a way to move from one page to another. In your link lists, you can put in links to the front page of your store, specific collections, products, pages or the blog. To start your store off, there are two existing menus: the “Main Menu” and the “Footer”. These you will see in action when we look at the navigation on your store. Notice how the “Main Menu” link names below: “Home”, “Catalog”, “Blog” and “About Us” correspond directly to the navigation on the store, to the right of the store name, In the “Shop Navigation” section, you create the means for your store’s visitors to navigate around your store.14 Setting up your first basic store
  24. 24. “Imposters Poster Prints” in the screenshot.The navigation “Home”, “Catalog”, “Blog”, “About Us” comes directly from the “Main Menu” link list in the navigation section.If you are moving from an existing store on another platform, the URL Redirects, alsoavailable in this section are very useful. Using them you can redirect from your oldweb page addresses to the new addresses on your Shopify store.Promotions: The promotions section ties together a number of different marketingrelated features. If you sign up for a Shopify Professional Plan or higher then youwill be able to create discount codes to give a customer a special discount or freeshipping. You can also publish your products to Google Product Search and the ShopifyMarketplace. Plus you may be able to cash in some credits for ads on Facebook andGoogle.The “Promotions” section is the place for creating discount codes, publishing to Google Product Search and ShopifyMarketplace, and to redeem your Facebook and Google Adwords ad credits. Setting up your first basic store 15
  25. 25. Through the Apps menu you can add and manage apps for your store. Apps: On the right-hand side of the main navigation bar, there are three more sections. The first is “Apps” and you will notice when you click Apps, rather than changing page, it will open up a small menu that presents you with two choices: Manage Apps or Get More Apps. Apps is short for applications. There are hundreds of Shopify applications that can add useful features to your store. When you have apps installed, you can manage them through the “Manage Apps” section. To look at what apps are available, click on Get More Apps. In the App Store, you’ll find hundreds of great features, services and plugins that you can add to your store.16 Setting up your first basic store
  26. 26. We will come back and look at apps in more detail later. Many of them are invaluableadd-ons to your store!The Themes menu gives you access to control your store’s theme or to put it another way, it’s look and feel.Themes: Let’s go back to your Shopify admin - you might have to click back in yourbrowser. When you click on Themes in the main navigation bar, another menu willopen up. Each store that uses Shopify is styled using a theme - it provides the store’slook and feel. There are hundreds of themes available, some are for free and some arepremium (costing upwards of $80). You can design your own theme if you have theskills, or if you prefer, you can pay a designer to develop a unique theme for your store.In the theme settings you can adjust the settings for the theme currently live on yourstorefront. When you first create your Shopify store, it will use one of the defaultthemes, either Radiance or New Standard. All the themes have different aspects thatyou can customize. On both the default themes for example, you can customize variouscolors and fonts used on the page, as well as choosing a background for your store.The template editor is for those experienced with HTML and CSS. If you have the skills,you can customize your store exactly how you want it. Don’t touch this area unless youreally know what you are doing as you could easily break your store!In the theme manager, you can manage the themes that you have already installed.You can change which theme is currently live on your store. You can also work on atheme or improve an existing theme without it being live on your store.If you click Find more themes, you will be brought to the theme store. Here you can Setting up your first basic store 17
  27. 27. browse, read about and view the more than one hundred themes available. When you have chosen one you like, you can then purchase it and have it installed on your store. The theme store provides you with more than one hundred themes to use to style the look and feel of your store.18 Setting up your first basic store
  28. 28. Read about mcommerce on the Shopify blog (’s worth noting that you can also have a second active theme: one that is designedfor mobile devices! Shopify estimates that for Christmas 2013, 43% of all purchasesin Shopify stores will be made using a mobile device. So it’s important to cater forthose that want to buy in this way.Preferences: Using the back button on your browser (several times if necessary),return to your admin. To the far right of the main navigation menu, is the Preferencesmenu. Clicking on it will open a menu with seven options. It is through this menu thatyou can control your preferences and settings for your store. Setting up your first basic store 19
  29. 29. The Preferences menu provides access to all the settings for your store - it’s essential to get these set up properly to have a smooth running store. We’ll look at the preferences in detail later but here is a quick overview of what is in each section: ● General Settings: Set your store name, description, email preferences, phone number and address. Adjust standards and formats for your store, like your timezone, units (metric or imperial), currency and language. You can also set up Google Analytics, a very useful statistics package for your store. Lastly you can set or remove a password for your store. If you’re still on a trial, you’ll have to sign up for a plan to remove the password. ● Regions & Taxes: On this page, you can set the tax rates that will be applied to customers coming from different countries. The tax rates will be based on your country of business. Shopify will pre-fill what it understands the tax rates to be based on the country you chose when you set up your Shopify account. You may need to check these with your accountant though. From this page, you can also choose whether or not to include taxes in your product prices20 Setting up your first basic store
  30. 30. and whether taxes are also applied to shipping rates.● Checkout & Payment: As an ecommerce store, you need to offer your visitors a means to pay you. You can offer well known options like Paypal or Google Checkout. If you have a merchant account and a payment gateway in place then you can take payment through these. If you are selling enough volume this can reduce the commissions you pay on accepting credit card payments. In this section you can also set a number of important settings relating to checkout and order processing.● Shipping: In the shipping section, you define how much shipping fees will be charged on each order. You can define shipping based on individual destination countries, weight based rates and price based rates. On the two more expensive Shopify plans, you can also have real-time shipping rates from the big transporters like UPS, FedEx and USPS.● Fulfillment Services: If you have an external service offering order fulfillment, real-time inventory and other shipping related services, then you can use this section. You can set up your store to work with Amazon Services, Shipwire or Webgistix. Or if you work with another service, you can set it up so that they are emailed orders.● Email & Notifications: Customers are sent an email from your store when they pass an order, an order is shipped or is cancelled. In this section, you can customize the design and text in these emails. You can also customize emails that are sent to you or your team when orders are passed.● DNS & Domains: In this section you can choose the address that visitors will use to access your store. You do this using what are called domain names or domains for short. Well known examples of domain names are:,, etc. In this part of the admin, you can register your own domain (for an annual fee) or set up your store with an existing domain that you already own. Setting up your first basic store 21
  31. 31. Summary In this chapter, we went through the simple steps to create your store with Shopify. We looked at the navigation of your store admin and we did a tour of all the different sections that make up your admin. You should feel pretty comfortable getting around the admin now. In the next chapter, we will look at the key features that make up an online store.22 Setting up your first basic store