Shopify for Ecommerce: How Does Shopify Work?



Jacob Baadsgaard

May 22, 2018

You’ve got your products and your offers ready and you’re set to start selling online. And then you realize that the technical side of how to do this is a little murky.

Ecommerce software is the answer, and more than 600,000 ecommerce brands have turned to Shopify to manage their online stores. Shopify is the total solution that most commerce businesses are looking for (even if they don’t know that yet) and it acts more as an ecommerce platform than just helpful software.

So how does Shopify work exactly, and what makes it the ideal choice for so many ecommerce businesses?

In this post, we’ll answer those questions and show you how to set up your online storefront for success.

What is Shopify and Why Should I Pick It?

Shopify is a one-stop-shop for setting up an ecommerce site. Through Shopify’s simple dashboard, you’ll be able to create a fully customized site with themes and apps that are designed to make your customer’s experience—and your experience—exceptional.

If you were to host your own site, you’d need to install different ecommerce solutions, analytics, security, and more. Shopify offers fantastic security and endless customization options so that you’re able to create the storefront of your dreams relatively quickly and without any advanced coding experience.

how does Shopify work

Shopify also has tools that can help you sell more in different ways, including in store and on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. The sky really is the limits with this platform, and that will continue to be true as they keep developing new features.

How Does Shopify Work?

Forget spending thousands of dollars and waiting weeks for a designer to create your custom ecommerce site—you can actually create a fully-functional, high-performing Shopify store within several hours.

1. Sign Up

Signing up takes just a few minutes, and you can do it here. Shopify has a free 14-day trial that lets you check out the dashboard, set up your store and see if it’s a fit for you.

You’ll be asked to estimate revenue, name your store, enter in your information, and decide whether you want to sell in-store, online, or both. Fill out this information to the best of your ability—none of it is binding or truly permanent aside from your store’s name.

2. Choose a Theme

One of the first things you’ll want to do when you create your Shopify store is to choose the perfect theme. This will determine your site’s look, layout and general aesthetics. It can affect how customers move through your site, and it should align directly with your branding.

You can find your theme by clicking “Online Store” and then the “Themes” subcategory.

how Shopify works
All Shopify stores come with a default theme, which—like many other Shopify themes—can be customized to fit what you’re looking for. In order to set your store apart, though, go ahead and take a look at other themes that are available.

how does Shopify work

There are both free and paid themes available directly through Shopify, which you can purchase and install with one-click each.

Many themes even come with pseudo-customization built in, where you’ll have the option of two or more pre-made design schemes (with font, color scheme, and more) available for you to choose from.

3. Start Building Your Store

Remember, your store isn’t published yet. It’s all a big work in progress and you have to build it one step at a time. This includes creating different pages, like an About Page, a Contact Us Page, and setting up site navigation.

You can add new Pages under the “Online Store” option and then clicking to “Pages.”

The interface is intuitive, asking you to title the page and then entering in the necessary text that will show up on the main page itself.

Underneath the text box, you’ll see the option to optimize for SEO. Use this to your advantage to help your online store rank well in the SERPs.

how to set up Shopify store

At this stage, you’ll also want to get your domain name established. If you already have a domain name purchased, you can easily connect it. Shopify will walk you through the process of how to do this depending on your current web host.

If you need to buy a new domain, Shopify has you covered there. Enter in the domain you want to purchase, and they’ll show you the cost and allow you to purchase it right there.

4. Add Products to Shopify

No shop will do well—or get any repeat visitors—if you launch without having products or services clearly listed on your site. To add products, find the “Products” tab under the main drop down menu.

There’s two different options for adding new products to your store. You can import a list via a CSV file, or add them manually.

To import a list of products, you can download a CSV file that shows you how to organize product information, complete it, and upload it. This will import a large number of products quickly, and is ideal for businesses with large numbers of new products.

how to add products to Shopify

Only need to upload a few products, or prefer to do it all manually? The process is simple, and gives you ultimate control.

You’ll add a product title and description on an interface that looks similar to the Pages one. You can add images in text, but note that in order for them to show up as product images, you need to add them in the next box.

As you do this, you’ll notice on the right hand side that there’s an option to choose the product’s type (or category) and that you can also add it to collections. We’ll look at creating collections next, but for now, create distinct product types to make organization easier up front.

Next, you’ll set up pricing and inventory. Enter the current price, and you can also enter a “compare at” price in order to instill FOMO and remind users they’re getting the best price available.

Below this, add in internal inventory information like SKU and inventory number if you’re choosing to have Shopify track your inventory for you.

If you’re selling physical goods, make sure you also fill out the shipping information, including weight and any HS tariff code if you’re shipping internationally. There are some Shopify add-ons that automatically provide price per package weight, so don’t miss the potential savings by not adding this here.

Towards the bottom, you’ll see the ability to add different product options. Want to offer the shirt in blue, green and red? Do you have 10, 20, and 40 packs of gourmet frozen dog biscuits?

Make life simple and add them as variants, adjusting SKU, inventory for each and price.

Finally, go ahead and make sure that your SEO listing is ready to go, with target keywords for each product in place.

You can review your products at any time on the dashboard, which gives you a quick look at inventory.