eCommerce 101: How to Start Selling Online

eCommerce 101: How to Start Selling Online

in Social Commerce - Simplified! / by Rebecca Wardlow

You've made the BIG decision that you want to sell your products or services online. But now what? Which platform should you use to sell your products online? With choices like Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, Etsy and so many more... how can you possibly decide? I recommend that you take some time to research the various platforms to see which options is best for you and your business. 

For several years, I was a huge Magento supporter and then a client introduced me to Shopify and to put it simply I was AMAZED! The Shopify platform is easy to use for beginning users (probably someone just like you) to advanced users (like me). Let me show you the 5-steps to getting your Shopify store up and running quickly (within 15 minutes). 

Yes! There are more advanced options for your Shopify store, but we'll cover those in upcoming blog posts. For now, let's just focus on setting-up your Shopify store, adding products, customizing your theme, adding your domain name and selecting the Shopify plan that's right for your business.

Let's get started!

Step 1: Sign Up for Shopify

Simply visit and enter you email address and then click the 'Get Started' button. 

Sign Up For Shopify

After you click the 'Get started' button, a new screen will appear asking you to enter a password, give your store a name and finally click 'Create your store'. As you'll notice below Shopify offers a 14-day free trial so that you can set-up your store, check out the features and tools and see if it's a right fit for you.

Shopify - set up your store

Shopify will begin processing your store.

Shopify Store Processing

Next, Shopify has a short one-page survey they'd like you to fill out. Using the drop-down options, answer the questions for your business.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Upon clicking next, Shopify needs you to provide your name, business address, phone number and website URL (if you have one picked out). 

Shopify Address

After you've completed the contact information, click 'Enter my store' to be directed to the admin portion of your store.

Drum roll... You did it! Now you are inside the admin portion of your new store.

Shopify Admin

Step 2: Add a product to your store


Add a product to your Shopify Store

Shopify make it very easy to add your product(s) to your brand new online store. Simply take your time and fill in the blanks. Start by entering your product title, description, and uploading images.

Add Product to Shopify

Set product visibility. You may have products that are seasonal, out of stock, or that you simply no longer want to offer. Simply click the checkbox to show or hide a product.


Use the Organization section on the right side to keep your products organized. Simply type the information that fits your store inside the boxes, a drop-down will appear and you can click 'add' to add your specific option to the store.


I highly recommend creating collections (also known as categories) for your products. For example, a collection could be Men's or Women's.

Tags are extremely important. Don't skip this step! Tags are searchable keywords associated with your product. Tags help your customers find your product through the search option on your store. You can also create automated collections using tags.

When adding tags, think color, size, name of product, sku # or anything else your store visitor would enter in search to find this product.

Next, you'll want to set-up your pricing. You can just enter a price in the price field or if you want a product to be on sale. Enter the regular price in Compare at Price and the sale price in the price field.

If you are required to charge tax on your products, then leave this box checked. If not, simply un-check it.

Next up, Inventory! Enter your product SKU and Barcode (if you have one). Under Inventory policy you need to decide if you want Shopify to track inventory or not. If you'd like to keep track of inventory, use the drop-down menu and select 'Shopify tracks this product's inventory'.

Add Product - Step 2

In order to calculate shipping you'll need to enter a weight for the product. You have several options for the weigh type, simply click the drop down arrow next to 'lb' to see your options. If you plan to offer free shipping, sell a digital product or service, simply un-check the box next to 'This product requires shipping'. The Weight field will then disappear and the product will no longer use Shipping rates.

Fulfillment service default is 'Manual'. To learn more about Fulfillment services, please visit the Shopify help center.

Shopify Variants

Variants allow you to offer different versions of the product. For example, you may have a t-shirt available in red, blue and black and sizes small, medium and large. Click 'Add variant' link then you can create your product options, set individual prices, sku's and barcodes for each size and color combination. 

Shopify Product Variant

You're almost done! The last step is setting up how the product will display in search. Shopify gives you the option to edit the way your product listing appears. 

Shopify Search Engine Listing

Simply click 'Edit website SEO' to get started. 
Search Engine Listing Preview

The 'Page title' is the name of your product or service. Keep in mind there is a limit of 70 characters.

The 'Meta description' is a brief description of the product or service. Be sure to include keywords related to your product or service. There's a limit of 160 character, anything over that will not show in the search results.

To learn more about SEO, visit the Shopify Help Center.

Advanced User Tip: If you have lots of products or services, you may want to consider Importing your products using a .CSV file. For more information on importing and exporting products, please visit the Shopify Help Center.

Step 3: Customize your online store to match your brand

Customize your Online Store to match your brand

Let your creative juices flow! This is where you get to design your storefront (what your customer's will see). Currently, your store is using the Shopify default theme, Debut. The good news, you can easily change the theme by checking out the free themes or visiting the theme store to purchase a theme.

Select a Shopify Theme

Once you've decided on the theme you want to use, you can then begin to customize it to match your brand. 

Customize Theme

Each theme has their own unique sections that can be modified. Below you'll find the options for the default theme, Debut. All the items highlighted in red are options you can modify. Simply click each section to make the changes available.

Customize Theme Options

If you require custom changes to a theme, Highlands Marketing is available to assist you. Visit our contact page for information on how to reach us.

Tip: You can preview your store by entering your Shopify domain name into a browser Replace your-store-name with the name of your store. Be sure to include hyphens between words.

Step 4: Add your own domain name

Add Domain Name to Shopify Store

Connect or Buy a domain name for your Shopify store

If you currently do not have a domain name, click the 'Buy new domain' button to purchase a domain. A domain name is the URL, or website address, that customers enter to find your store online. If you purchase your domain name through Shopify, you won't need to configure your domain's A record and CNAME records (which can be a bit complicated if you've never done it before).

Add an existing domain name

If you currently have a domain name, click 'Connect existing domain' for instructions on how to connect your domain name to your Shopify store. You'll need to manual update your domain's records based on the instructions provided after you enter your domain name.

Step 5: Select a Plan

Shopify Plan

After you select the Shopify plan that best fits your business, you'll be asked to set-up Payment processing so your customer can purchase products and you can get paid. I would recommend that you use 'Shopify Payments powered by Stripe'. You also have option to use other payment processors like Paypal, Amazon Payments, Apple Pay and BitCoin.

There's a lot more you can do with Shopify, stay tuned for more blog posts on what to do after you launch your online store. Or feel free to visit the Shopify Help Center to learn more about the Shopify.

Highlands Marketing Shopify Services


We can help you set-up your store, customize your theme, add products, taxes, shipping, improve product listings in search, social media, ad campaigns, manage daily operations and much more. Tell us about your project! We'd love to see if we can assist you.


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