Selling on Shopify

The ultimate Shopify beginners guide of 2022

Selling on Shopify - The ultimate beginners guide

Seb Harris

9 minute read28 Mar 2022

In the past 25 years, e-commerce has democratised retail and no platform has played a bigger role in that than Shopify. Anyone, anywhere can establish their own business and sell products or services all around the world.

But building a brand and selling on Shopify isn’t straightforward. It’s a daunting prospect and we know that anyone making the leap into D2C can easily feel lost. Here we’ve compiled 10 easy steps for anyone that wants to begin their journey towards e-commerce success and start selling on Shopify.

What is Shopify?

In a sentence: Shopify is an SaaS e-commerce platform.

SaaS = Software as a service.

So Shopify offers an e-commerce software as a service. Shopify users build fast, flexible, dynamic and high performance e-commerce websites to sell either products or services anywhere around the world.

There are numerous e-commerce platform providers on the market but Shopify is without doubt the biggest and most successful. E-commerce business owners of all shapes and sizes, and of all experience levels, successfully use the platform to build Shopify stores in a vast number of different styles.

In fact no matter what your business model, you can build a successful Shopify store. We've worked with all kinds of clients, from subscription models to auctions for one-of-a-kind sneakers. All of them sell on Shopify. Their stores may look different on the front-end but behind the scenes it's the same software running the show.

This is the beauty of Shopify. It's both flexible and scalable, and nurtures any business at any level. Selling on Shopify really is possible for everyone.

For more detail on what Shopify is and what Shopify can do for your e-commerce business, read our articles below:

E-commerce has democratised retail and no platform has played a bigger role in that than Shopify.

What can you sell on Shopify?

E-commerce has democratised retail and no platform has played a bigger role in that than Shopify.

Pretty much anything. Products and services, if it's for sale you can sell it on Shopify.

All of the above and more sell products and services on Shopify.

How much does a Shopify store cost?

Shopify have 5 different plans. The cheapest is Lite, at $9 a month, and the most expensive is Shopify Plus, starting at $2000 a month.

However, how much your store costs is more intricate than simply which plan you're on. Every app you install and run will require monthly fees, your Shopify theme might demand a monthly fee and every plan has its own transaction fee level.

Your store cost is the combined total of these and whichever other costs you might incur in your set up. It's really impossible to say definitively how much a Shopify site costs, but it's important to note than the platform has a plan for every budget.

For a full overview of the Shopify pricing, .

How to sell on Shopify in 10 easy steps

The best Shopify store is the one built on the strongest foundations.

1. Make a plan

No business can succeed without a plan. And no Shopify store can succeed without one either. Before you even begin to think about Shopify themes, the app store or multiple payment and shipping options, take a step back.

Think along these lines: What are my values and beliefs? What is my brand identity?

These are the two most important questions to consider. E-commerce is a vast jungle of online stores and businesses and brands. There will be brands already selling what you sell. They'll most likely have been doing it for longer and already have an established customer base.

So how do you distinguish yourself? Through what you believe in. Through building a brand identity that is unique to you and your vision. The best Shopify store is not the one with the most artistic design or most hi-tech features. These help of course, but the best Shopify store is the one built on the strongest foundations.

Your brand values form this foundation. Get them right and everything else will follow.

Who are my target audience? How do they want to buy the product or service? On which marketing platforms do I want to be visible? Where can I source my product? How should I handle shipping and returns?

All of these questions (and many, many more) of course need consideration too, but can you see that they're all related to your values, beliefs and brand identity? Those three primary considerations will inform every other decision you make.

Your online store will be moulded in the image of your brand identity. So don't rush this step. It'll shape everything else you do as a business.

2. Market research

Again, this takes place way before you even think about a Shopify store or any other kind of e-commerce platform.

With your brand identity and your target audience in mind, analyse the industry. See what competition is out there and check out their online store. See how they're selling, who they're selling to, what you like about their business and what you think could or should be improved.

Reaching out to potential customers is never a bad idea. Find out what your target customer base want from an online store by building a simple landing page with a questionnaire. Offer these customers exclusivity when your brand first drops to encourage them to participate and there you go, you already have a bunch of emails you can use later for marketing purposes.

3. Product research

If you're selling a service you can probably skip this one but if you plan to sell products in your Shopify store listen up.

Products need manufacturers and suppliers. There will be numerous options available, each with their own pros and cons. Budget is obviously a big consideration here but again your brand values, beliefs and identity will play a big role here in deciding who to go with.

Research where you can get your products and how you can get them to your customer. Get samples from potential suppliers. Use these samples in your market research above to try to gauge what your customers think of them.

Samples will never be right straight away so optimise them. Your product is ultimately what will make or break your brand so make sure it's the best you can possibly make it.

4. Brand name, logo and domain name

Brand name is a big one.

Shopify has a free on its website that helps you list different options related to your field. Tools like this are useful for getting ideas off the ground but ultimately the brand name should come from you. The best are those built on meaning and stories that form part of the business' history.

Have a think along these lines and try to come up with something that is meaningful to you.

Once your name is chosen the most important step is to get hold of the domain name. A strong domain can make or break your business and it's best to get one as close to as possible. If this isn't available we'd advise coming up with a new name if you can. Your online store will benefit in the long run.

At this point we don't think a logo is too important, and to be honest we see a lot of fledgling businesses getting too caught up on this early on. Yes you want a strong aesthetic and brand image, but when first starting out is this part of the absolute essentials necessary to get a business off the ground? We don't think so. We see a lot of brands get huge successes with the bare minimum - a name, Shopify store, great product and a strong set of values.

5. Design your Shopify store

With every previous step in place you're ready to begin working on Shopify.

The first step is design. If you don't have design ideas in mind and you want to do it yourself, the Shopify theme store is a great place to start. There are a limited number of free themes and huge library of more intricate designs available for as paid themes a range of different prices.

If you have the budget to invest a bit more in your Shopify store then you might want to consider collaborating with a third party design studio. You can explain your vision to them and they'll translate that into a design that matches.

6. Build your store and upload products

With the design in place you can build your store and upload your first products. The beauty of Shopify is anyone can build an e-commerce store, no matter their previous knowledge or skill. You can build a fully-functional store that performs at the highest level without writing a single line of code.

The Shopify app store has more integrations than you'll ever need, so you can customise your e-commerce platform into whatever figuration you wish.

Whether you're on Shopify's basic plan or Shopify Plus, you can add an unlimited number of products and product pages. And you can add descriptions, pricing, similar product suggestions and much more all through the Shopify admin.

7. Shipping

Before you start selling online you'll need to consider shipping options. Getting your product to your customer in the most time and cost efficient way is a massive party of successful e-commerce.

You'll need a shipping strategy. Think about how many shipping options you want to offer and, most importantly, why you want to offer them.

What do your target customers expect? Do they want free shipping or are they willing to pay for good service? And what about returns? All of these questions should have been considered in your market research phase but if they weren't, now is the time to do so.

8. Tracking

In 2022 data is your most important tool. To gather data, successful e-commerce platforms track as many different events as possible. Setting up your tracking early on will put you in a strong position to , which will be hugely beneficial in the long run.

To start off, use Google analytics to track your store data. This will do as an entry-level data stack but once your e-commerce store is up and running you'll want to look into external data team services to maximise the most value and squeeze out as much performance as possible.

9. Marketing tools

Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. Tik Tok. Google ads. SEO. Email flows.

With your online store designed and developed it's time to fire up the marketing strategy. Get your brand in front of the right people at the right time and you'll soon see the sales come streaming in.

Shopify has a handy SEO tool built in to help you put together pages that'll rank highly on Google. Search engines are the highstreets of the internet and positioning is everything. Do everything you can to get on the first page.

10. Optimisation

Follow the previous 9 steps to build a basic Shopify store . It'll be good enough to get early successes, but even if floods of sales come in don't make the mistake of thinking your work is done.

Because no matter if it's your first Shopify store or if you're a seasoned pro, there'll be numerous optimisation opportunities. E-commerce is shifting all the time with new trends and technologies taking things in new directions. The trick is to keep up. Store optimisation is the key to successful e-commerce.

Most importantly you must know know what feature(s) to optimise, when to optimise and how to do it. This is where a Shopify agency comes in. Whilst you can build a store yourself without prior experience, optimising for peak possible performance requires a lot of expertise. that'll take your store and your business to the next level.

The best Shopify store is the one built on the strongest foundations.

The Pros and Cons of selling on Shopify

Shopify is the world's favourite e-commerce platform. It's easy and intuitive to use, and even the very biggest and most successful businesses build their website on Shopify.

However, the platform is not without its own challenges. Here we'll take a look at the pros and cons.


1. Scalability

You can begin on basic Shopify and scale all the way up to Shopify Plus without a single difference in workflow. Everything on your backend remains the same. No maintenance or rebuilds are required. Y0ur store smoothly transitions up and down the plans as necessary.

And there's also the Shopify Lite plan for adding a buy button to social media pages. Even the very smallest businesses can benefit from Shopify.

2. Forward-thinking platform

Shopify is a forward-thinking e-commerce platform. It refuses to get comfortable with the way things are an is instead always pushing for updates that'll improve business for its merchants. Updates are frequent and are introduced seamlessly without any rebuilding or store downtime.

Shopify online store 2.0 was the platform's most recent (and biggest ever) update that has truly ushered in a new era for e-commerce. has cemented the platform as the world's leading tool for building online stores, and it's a privilege to work with it day in day out.

3. No hosting or maintenance

Shopify's SaaS model means you don't have to worry about most of the more technical side of setting up an online store. Domain hosting and regular maintenance check-ups are all part of the package.

This is a big plus and in fact feeds back into the scalability point above. On other e-commerce platforms, if your business begins to grow it's likely you'll need to upgrade your hosting which can result in structural rebuilds.

Shopify users have no such problem. Business growth should be a celebration, not a chore, and with Shopify there's no additional work for scaling up.

4. Shopify app store

The app store has everything necessary for building a world-class website. Searching for apps is simple and integrations are quick and straight forward.

However, a word of warning. We never recommend filling a Shopify store full of apps. Yes, there are apps you'll need. No doubt about it. But you should integrate sparingly. Every time you introduce a new app to your online store, you hamper it's overall performance. Apps inject extra Javascript into websites and this extra code weighs a site down.

The most successful e-commerce website is the one with the highest performance and that means . Use only the apps you absolutely cannot do without and you'll be well on your way to a super-fast store.


Shopify's only challenges come much later down the line. For newcomers it's the perfect platform but there are some difficulties for global businesses with very specific requirements.

Even the most advanced Shopify plan doesn't have multilingual capabilities as standard, so when businesses want to expand into multiple countries and offer stores in multiple languages they need to find a work around.

We use Shopify for every business, no matter what their requirements, with our custom workaround. Headless Shopify Plus stores take the best Shopify features and introduce additional industry-leading systems into the tech stack. We build high-performance, multilingual stores for larger businesses that want to scale around the world.

Tips to keep in mind

  • Always design, develop and test on mobile first. It's the most important e-commerce channel.
  • Use tool integrations over apps wherever you can.
  • Search engine optimisation is worth the time and effort. Don't skip it!
  • Shopify support is there whenever you need it. Make the most of it.
  • Focus on retaining existing customers rather than attracting new customers.
  • Get the basics in place and get your store online. Everything else can be a work in progress.
  • Go where your ideal customers are. Do your research and use the right sales channels.


Shopify is the perfect place for building your own e-commerce store. Anyone, with any level experience, can build a website for their business. That business can be of any size, from a fledgling start-up to a huge multinational.

Shopify store owners are supported by the most forward-thinking platform on the market, and they can start from anywhere safe in the knowledge that should their business grow, Shopify will grow with them.

Online selling is as straight-forward and enjoyable as possible with the Shopify platform. It's intuitive and code-free, so even the most inexperienced and technophobic can build a successful store.

All the tools are at your disposal, either straight out of the box in Shopify 2.0 or as an integration in the Shopify app store. E-commerce marketplaces are more competitive today than they've ever been, but Shopify merchants are in the best possible position to leverage growth regardless.

We build data-driven, scalable e-commerce websites for brands and businesses of all shapes and sizes. If you're feeling inspired to build your own business on Shopify and want to talk more about your ideas.

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