What to expect in this article:
Why do you need a shopping cart? Do you need a website as well?
These are some of the questions I get often.
No, you don't need a website if you have a shopping platform like Shopify. Shopify is your shopping cart and website and even a blog!
What is the difference between a shopping platform and shopping cart?
Shopping cart software is a piece of e-commerce software on a web server that allows visitors to an Internet site to select items for eventual purchase.
“The software allows online shopping customers to accumulate a list of items for purchase. At the point of sale, the software typically calculates a total for the order, including freight transport, postage as well as packaging and labeling. The software computes associated taxes as applicable.”
“A shopping platform, or more accurately, an e-commerce platform is a piece of online subscription software that allows you to build an online business. It gives you all the tools to create and manage your site, including products and day-to-day operations.
Shopify is a subscription to a software service that offers you to create a website and use their shopping cart solution to sell, ship, and manage your products. Using their service, you can get access to easy to use admin panel where you can add products, process orders, and enter store data.
Shopify is a complete commerce platform that lets you start, grow, and manage a business. Create and customize an online store. Sell in multiple places, including web, mobile, social media, online marketplaces, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops. Manage products, inventory, payments, and shipping.”
The main elements that make Shopify an excellent platform:
- You can set up Shopify by yourself without expensive website designers or developers. They have fantastic free & paid themes.
- Shopify is a complete solution compared to other shopping platforms and integrates with several market places.
- Shopify is the most secure and hack-proof platform on the market. My favorite aspect is the knowledgeable customer support service.
- As a retail store, you can integrate with Shopify POS (point-of-sale system), and your whole system is on the same platform without costly apps.
- Shopify comes equipped with integrated payments - no fussing with merchant accounts or banks.
- Shopify now has a marketing section for Google and Facebook Ads.
- Shopify has email marketing as part of your store so you can send out newsletters without connecting to another email provider.
- Real-time shipping prices and labels in Shopify make it easy to fulfill orders.
- Drop-shipping your products without spending money on inventory with a variety of Drop Shippers.
It's so tempting to upload your products and then get back to all the less important work at hand. But before you start uploading, it is imperative that you follow my methodology for success - or else more headaches await in the future!
You'll want to set up your Shopify Theme right away, but I like to set the foundation of your store before we implement all the options in your theme, like collections, products, pages, etc. This is part of a series of articles how to set up your Shopify store. Shopify Theme right away.
Preparing in advance will make things easier on you. It'll give your business a better chance to compete with established businesses because they are using all their tools and resources whereas if you're scrambling at launch, it could be too late for them to catch up!
The list below contains everything you’ll need to get your online store off the ground. Read it, assemble the items, and prepare to work long hours.
2. Before You Set Up Your Shopify Store
Before you even start on your Shopify store, there are a few things that need to be done. These essential steps cannot and should not be ignored!
This will be the groundwork for a successful Shopify store and BRAND, exclusive to you.
Here’s what I recommend before getting started:
Answer the following questions:
- Does your e-commerce business have a mission? A mission statement is simply a short sentence or two that clearly defines what you do and why you do it.
- What is the problem your product solves? Does not have to be elaborate but will help define your USP (Unique Selling Proposition which is your unique product benefit)
- Why do you think people need your product?
- What will potential customers think of your business and your product?
- Who else is selling the same product?
- What standards do you want customers to associate with your business?
Write several answers to each of the questions. There are no right or wrong answers.
Why are we talking about this, when the book is all about setting up your Shopify store?
Once you have answered these questions, you will have a clearer picture of what your business is going to look like, and in fact, how you want to present your product to your potential customers.
A workbook is available online to keep notes - 'Workbook & Checklist For Shopify’ to keep track of your ideas and information.
Here is a free workbook for your Shopify store. DOWNLOAD!
Here is how you find a name for your store and make sure you own your name.
Then you can register your Shopify store.
You have two options:
- Register your domain in Shopify or
- register your domain name with another hosting company and then add your domain to Shopify.
First, some quick explanations about commonly used words in this chapter.
“A domain is a URL, or the website address, where your customers go to find your store online.” ~ from Shopify
Simplistically, a domain name is an address that you type into a website browser address bar, to get to a website.
For example, Google is https:/google.com
My domain name is: https://veronicajeans.com
A domain name is unique to your website, and cannot be shared between different websites.
A hosting company is simply a company you can use to register your domain name.
You register your domain name with one of the larger hosting companies like ‘GoDaddy.com’, ‘Name.com’, ‘Bluehost.com’, or with Shopify.
Registering your domain name with Shopify is the easiest, no-hassle option because you do not have to know how to change your DNS or other domain name registration information.
A top-level domain is the extension of your domain name, which is either .com, .net. .org. Country top-level domains consist of 2 letters for the country, which are for instance, .au for Australia.
There are several others, and new ones are being registered.
The most commonly searched for TLD is .com. TLDs help customers find your business easily online.
The easy option for creating your Shopify store is to try and register your store name with Shopify. Shopify will automatically let you know if somebody else owns the domain, and in that case, you will have to think of another name.
I recommend you do some research before you make a decision to name your store.
Here are 7 Steps to finding your unique store name and register your Shopify store.
Step 1. Check your preferred domain’s availability.
You can use ‘WhoIs.org’ to find out. Type in your chosen name and check if it is available.
As I have mentioned before, you can try this in Shopify as well.
TIP: Use preferably a .com extension for your domain name which is called a top-level domain.
Why? If you register a .net or any other domain name extension, you might miss out on some potential customers, because people tend to search for .com first before using another domain extension, like .net.
For example, I decided to try to register my Shopify store with the domain name ‘Alphabetangels’. Unfortunately, it was not available but not with the .com extension.
TIP: Do NOT be tempted to retain the name you choose with another extension if your domain name is not available.
Although if you are local to say, for instance, Australia, you might choose the .au extension. But .net or .whatever - if people remember your name and not your extension, the first expectation is to search for .com.
And, here is the kicker, you do not know who will own the .com extension in the future. It could affect your business adversely.
I decided to try Alphabetangelsco.com. It is available. Here are some questions to ask yourself when creating your name.
How do my customers remember my name?
Most store owners make a reasonable good living from eCommerce, but we will not hit the big time like Coke or Nike (and if you do, you are amazing). Create a name that is either memorable or tells your customers what you are selling.
Maybe you should think of what your store is selling and give it a more descriptive name. When you use a more descriptive name, the chances of popping up when people are searching, are higher than if you have a ‘cutesy’ name.
Step 2. Do some research before you decide on a name.
You want to make sure your competitor does not own the domain you really want because your customers will automatically assume you own the .com and voila, your competitor has new customers thanks to you.
Double-check the domain is not closely related to (or horrors owned by) an inappropriate adult site. This scenario has serious unwanted complications!
If somebody else already owns the domain name you have already chosen, do some research. Research to see who owns the domain name and what they are selling.
You might be able to buy the domain name for a fee. It might be worth it if it is exactly the name that you want.
Step 3. Choose several names!
There is no wrong or right method in choosing a domain name except for the few tips below.
Here are some tips for choosing a domain name:
- Choose .com as much as possible (even if you are local)
- Keep it as short as possible
- Buy other TLD’s - Top-level domain - (domain extensions)
- Buy the single and plural domain names you choose for your business.
- Avoid Hyphen or double letters (it is confusing, and nobody remembers the hyphen)
- Make it easy to spell
- Use domain generators to find different variations for your name - here are some:
- Avoid using the myshopify.com as your domain name.
- Check the domain and/or business name for trademarks. You don’t want to get into any legal issues.
There is a wealth of information online on how to choose and what to choose for your domain name. I encourage you to do as much research as possible.
Step 4. Register Your Shopify Store.
Now that you have a store name, you can register your Shopify store.
Start the registration process of your new store with this link:
Your NEW Shopify Store.- (this is a referral link)
Step 5. Add your email, a password (don’t save your password in your notes).
Add your new store name (your domain name) to the registration prompts. This name will become a permanent name for your store.
TIP: You can always change the domain name later if you want to or attach more than one domain name to your store.
Only your domain name (not your store name) is visible when you launch your store.
Shopify will let you know if your domain is not available.
Step 6. Wait for your store to be set up!
Step 7. Once your store is registered, you are ready to begin your Admin home page.
In the next article 'How to create your domain name, store name and email in Shopify' we will register your domain name so you can own it! Remember, until you register your domain name, anybody can own it.
Step 8. Use your own registered domain name.
When you’ve set up your domain in Shopify then you should stop using the ‘your-store-name.myshopify.com’ domain on your store. This URL is created when you set up your Shopify store and is only a sub-domain of Shopify.
The domain name, ‘your-store-name.myshopify.com’ belongs to Shopify. You do not own this domain name.
Buy your own domain name for your business.
You want YOUR brand name to stand out and not Shopify domain name.
What is Next?
In the next article, we will cover registering your domain in Shopify or with a third-party host, and how to set up your email accounts.
Get the complete book about how to set up your Shopify store:
FIND MORE HELPFUL ARTICLES - The helpful guide to starting your Shopify Store
Find my Shopify TOOLS PAGE for more information.
You can join our Facebook group to engage and learn more about Shopify and how to get more customers to your Shopify store. This is a free group.
Ecommerce Success Group - Search for Ecommerce Success Group on Facebook.