Getting started with Shopify's other online channels
This guide provides the main steps you need to set up your online sales channels. You can use it as a starting point and as a reference to make sure that you don't forget any key tasks.
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:
- Complete the initial setup so that your store address, email address, and other store settings are up to date.
- Know where to manage your account and access your billing information.
- 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 social media channels, you need to set up your products in your Shopify admin first. When you have your products set up in your Shopify admin, you'll have a better idea of what your customers will see and how you want to set up your checkout process.
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 anything in your Shopify admin yet, then you can start with some of the basics:
Add your products to Shopify admin.
Configure the taxes for your products.
Add meta descriptions to your products to increase your website’s visibility in web searches done with search engines like Google and Bing.
If you're not sure where to start, you can find out more about Shopify’s features to improve your store’s SEO.
Create a collection to organize your products into categories and make them easier for your customers to find.
You can even find inventory apps in the Shopify App Store that can help you with this task.
Step 3: 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
If you need to adjust taxes manually, based on a region with unique tax restrictions or based on a specific collection of products, 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 may want to look at some accounting apps in the Shopify App Store.
Step 4: 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 be refunding customers for overcharging them, or emailing them and asking them to pay more because you didn’t charge enough to cover the shipping of their order.
Need some background on shipping? Have a look at this Shipping and Fulfillment guide.
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:
Add your shipping address to get accurate shipping rates based on your location.
Add shipping destinations to enable shipping to different regions, states, and countries by configuring shipping zones.
Configure your shipment dimensions if you're using carrier-calculated shipping rates. Many carriers use volumetric weights of your shipments (the height, weight, and depth of your package) to calculate their shipping rates.
Set up shipping rates for the shipping zones that you've created.
Look through fulfillment services and decide if you're going to ship the orders yourself or let someone else do it for you.
Step 5: Activate your online sales channels
You can use Shopify to reach your customers wherever you do business, whether it's in person, through your Shopify store, or elsewhere 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 to sell online:
Each sales channel has eligibility requirements that are based on your region, your product types, and sometimes on your Shopify plan.
Shopify Buy Buttons
The Buy Button sales channel lets you turn your website or blog into an ecommerce site by adding Buy Buttons that connect to your Shopify checkout.
The Facebook sales channel adds a Shop tab to your store's Facebook Page, where your customers can buy featured products from your Shopify store.
The Pinterest sales channel turns Pins of eligible products from your Shopify store into Buyable Pins for customers using the Pinterest iOS app. Customers using the app can buy your products directly on Pinterest, and their order details are synchronized with Shopify.
Messenger is one of the most popular messaging apps in North America. You can use the Messenger 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: Set up Google Analytics
Because your store will be located online, it's important to be able to track your customer traffic. If you see that one of your channels isn't bringing in as much traffic as you had hoped, you can review your marketing strategy and put in the effort into figuring out what's working and what isn't. If you are getting a lot of traffic from another channel, you might take the opportunity to start an ad campaign and track how your efforts affect your sales.
To add analytics to your store:
- Sign up for Google Analytics and complete the guided setup process.
- Set up Google Analytics in your Shopify admin so you can start seeing where you traffic is coming from.
If you are new to Google Analytics, you can start by reviewing some of the basics of using Google Analytics in your store.
Step 7: 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:
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.
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:
Add your store's policies so your customers are aware of them before they complete checkout.
Collect customer emails and use them to update customers about events and promotions.
Step 8: 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 products from your store. You can access all of the orders that customers place from the Orders page in your Shopify admin.
You can run test orders for a few different types of transaction:
- completing a successful and a failed transaction
- refunding and canceling an order
- fulfilling or partially fulfilling an order
- archiving a successful order.
As you create, refund, and fulfill orders, you will see the emails that your customers receive at each stage. You can edit the templates for these emails from the Notifications page in your Shopify admin.
Step 9: Promote your store
Ready to launch? Now that all of the setup is done, it's time to tell people about your store!
Whether you are selling in person or online, your store comes with some placeholder content on pages and blog posts that you can replace with your own content. There are a few differences between pages and blog posts:
- You can use pages for content that you won't be updating frequently such as an About us page or a Contact page.
- You can use blog posts for more interactive content, for example, regular updates about products, events, or promotions in your store.
If you're new to blogging, find out how to get started.
Don't forget to set up your navigation so that links to your pages and blog posts appear on your storefront.
As you build your business, you'll discover different ways to engage your customers and keep them coming back. The marketing and promotion guides on the Shopify blog are a great place to start:
- 50 ways to make your first sale
- A beginner's guide to content marketing
- Inspiring ecommerce examples of social media done right
You can also join the Shopify community to find great resources and connect with other Shopify merchants.