Selling online with Shopify

You can use Shopify to sell your products online in an online store, on social media and online marketplaces, and using other online sales channels. Before you begin setting up individual sales channels, you need to add your products to Shopify and configure your account, payment, and shipping settings.

Follow the steps in this guide to make sure you don't forget any key tasks when setting up Shopify to start selling online.

Step 1: Configure your basic administrative settings

Before you start adding products and setting up your payments, there are a few administrative tasks that you should do:

  1. Complete the initial setup so that your store address, email address, and other store settings are up to date.
  2. Know where to manage your account and access your billing information.
  3. Add staff accounts so that each of your staff members has a personal login account and all sensitive account information remains secure.

Step 2: Add and organize your products

Now that you’ve completed your initial setup, you can add products to your Shopify admin.

Before you can see your products on your sales channels, you need to add your products to Shopify. Some sales channels, including the Online Store, will automatically display visible products and collections in the channel after they are added in the admin.


If you are selling digital products or services, make sure you are familiar with the differences between digital and physical goods.

If you don’t have any products in your Shopify admin yet, then you can start with some of the basics:

  1. Add your products to your Shopify admin.

  2. Add meta descriptions to your products to increase their visibility in search engines like Google and Bing.

  3. Create a collection to organize your products into categories and make them easier for your customers to find.

  4. Get familiar with product inventory and transfers since you'll want to keep track of the products that you have available. You can find apps in the Shopify App Store that can help manage your product inventory.

Step 3: Set up your shipping

It's very important to set up shipping rates and shipping methods correctly before you launch — you don’t want to have to refund customers for overcharging them, or to email customers asking them to pay more because you didn’t charge enough to cover the shipping of their order.

For more information about order shipping and fulfillment, click here.


If you are selling digital products or services, then you need to disable the shipping option because your customers won't be receiving any physical goods.

To set up your shipping:

  1. Add your shipping address to get accurate shipping rates based on your location.

  2. Create shipping zones to enable shipping to different regions, states, and countries.

  3. Configure your shipment dimensions if you're using carrier-calculated shipping rates. Many carriers use volumetric weight (the height, weight, and depth of a package) to calculate shipping rates.

  4. Set up shipping rates for the shipping zones that you've created.

  5. Pick a shipping strategy that works for your business. You might find it helpful to look through some options to see what meets your needs before making a decision.

  6. Look through fulfillment services and decide if you're going to ship orders yourself or if you'll let someone else handle order fulfillment for you.

Step 4: Configure your taxes

Charging sales tax is an important part of running your business. Depending on your location, there are different rules and regulations about sales tax that apply to your products. To make sure that your store meets those rules, take some time to understand Shopify’s tax setup process.


If your store ships to Europe, note that there are regulations that apply when selling digital products.

Charge taxes based on your shipping destinations

When you set up your shipping, you can apply shipping taxes to your products based on the customer's provincial, state, or regional tax regulations. These are calculated automatically by Shopify.

If you need to adjust taxes manually, based on a region with unique tax restrictions or based on a specific collection of products, then you can do so with a tax override.

Keep track of your taxes

When you configure the tax settings for your products, you should also think about how you are going to keep track of your taxes throughout the year.

If you’re not sure about what system you are going to use to keep track of your taxes, you might want to look at some accounting apps in the Shopify App Store.

Step 5: Add online sales channels

You can use Shopify to reach your customers wherever you are online. Each place where you sell your products appears in your Shopify admin as a separate sales channel.

There are several online channels that you can add to your Shopify admin, including:


You can manage all your products and orders in your Shopify admin by adding the sales channels you want to use. Each sales channel has eligibility requirements that are based on your region, your product types, and sometimes on your Shopify plan.

Online Store

The Online Store sales channel is an online home for your business. You can use it to create webpages, publish a blog, and sell your products with beautiful, responsive themes and a personalized domain name to help you brand and market your business online. Shopify Basic and up plans include the Online Store sales channel.

Buy Button

The Buy Button sales channel lets you turn your existing website or blog into an ecommerce site by embedding buyable products that connect to your Shopify checkout.

Buy button example


The Facebook sales channel adds a Shop tab so your customers can buy your products on your Facebook Page. It also syncs orders to your Shopify admin.

Facebook shop tab


The Pinterest sales channel transforms your eligible products into Buyable Pins on Pinterest, so customers can buy your products directly on Pinterest, and their order details are synced with Shopify.

Buyable pin example


Messenger is one of the most popular messaging apps in North America. You can use the Messenger sales channel in Shopify to connect with your customers and build your business in some great ways:

  • let your customers shop directly from conversations with you in Messenger
  • send automated notifications to your customers in Messenger about their orders and shipping updates
  • respond to your customers' questions quickly in a single message thread.


If you sell on both Amazon and Shopify, then you can use the Amazon sales channel to help keep track of your products and listings across both platforms. The Amazon sales channel lets you:

  • create new listings for new products
  • create and manage offers to sell existing products on Amazon
  • receive notifications in Shopify for your Amazon orders.

Step 6: Make sure customers can pay you

To make sure that customers can pay you, you need to set up a payment gateway. A payment gateway lets you accept credit card payments securely. Shopify offers its own payment gateway (Shopify Payments) as well as a variety of supported third-party payment gateways.

To set up a payment gateway:

  1. Select a payment gateway from Shopify or from a supported third-party.


    When you choose to use Shopify Payments, you can avoid paying additional transaction fees and you can view your payouts right from your Shopify admin.

  2. Enable Shopify Payments or a third-party payment gateway in your Shopify admin.

  3. Choose how you want to capture and authorize payments when customers buy something from your store.

Now that you've set up your payment gateways, you need to configure your checkout page so you can process customer orders.

To set up your checkout:

  1. Decide how you want to process customer orders so you have a strategy to fulfill the orders.

  2. Add your store's policies so your customers are aware of them before they complete checkout.

  3. Edit your checkout's customer information settings and decide if you want to collect email addresses to update customers about events and promotions.

Step 7: Place some test orders

Now that you've configured your payment settings, you should try out a few transactions to make sure that everything is working. Running a test order will help you understand the process your customers go through when they buy your products. You can access all the orders that customers place from the Orders page in your Shopify admin.

You can run test orders for a few different types of transactions:

As you create, refund, and fulfill orders, you will see the emails that your customers receive for each action. You can edit the templates for these emails from the Notifications page in your Shopify admin.

Step 8: Sell your products online

Each channel has unique features and best practices to help you sell your products. To get the most out of selling online with Shopify, read more about the online sales channels:

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