Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these apps, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy one. Please do not spend any money on these apps unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
Join our newsletter and we'll send you our guide of how to create high-converting product pages.
June 27, 2022
You’ve signed up with Shopify and begun the process of creating your own store. Like many new ecommerce owners, you’re probably a little overwhelmed about what needs to be done to start selling your products.
Don’t worry! Shopify makes it all easy and straightforward. You just need to follow a few steps to set up your Shopify store. In this article, we explain five critical things you must do before you can start selling.
If you don’t have a domain set, the simplest solution is to buy a domain through Shopify. It will be automatically configured to be the web address of your store. Read Shopify’s guide on buying a domain.
If you purchased a domain from a third-party domain provider (like 1&1 IONOS, Namecheap, or Google Domains), you’ll need to connect it to your Shopify store. This will attach your domain to your ecommerce website so shoppers can visit your store.
After connecting your domain to Shopify, you will use your third-party domain provider to manage the domain, such as renewing it and adjusting settings.
To configure your domain, hit the Settings link at the bottom left of your Shopify dashboard.
On the Settings page, click the link for Domains in the sidebar.
You’ll be taken to the domain manager. Click Connect existing domain at the top and enter the domain you want to connect. Then click the Connect automatically button.
You’ll be taken to a sign in page for the platform that holds the domain. For instance, if you bought the domain through GoDaddy, you’ll have to sign into your GoDaddy account.
It may take up to 48 hours for your domain to be verified and listed in Shopify. After it’s verified, you’ll see it listed in the domain manager.
Next, you need to set the new domain as the primary domain. Click the Change primary domain button at the top right.
A window will pop up. Select the new domain that you just connected, then click Save.
If the automatic connection doesn’t work, you can connect your domain manually. This involves editing the DNS settings with the domain provider. The steps will vary depending on your provider, but here’s an overview of what you need to do:
Log in to the account you have with your domain provider, find your DNS settings, DNS configuration, or similar menu.
Edit your “A record” to point to Shopify's IP address: 126.96.36.199 and save it. Then find the CNAME record in your DNS settings and change your www CNAME to point to shops.myshopify.com. This will redirect your customers to your store when they enter “www” before your domain name. Save the CNAME record.
To select a theme, click the Themes link on the left side of your Shopify dashboard.
A default theme is already in place. You can add a theme in several ways.
In the Themes manager, click Explore free themes in the Free themes section. A window will appear with multiple free themes. Click any theme to read more about it and preview it. Click the Add button to add it to your Themes manager.
Before buying a paid theme, you can preview it in your Shopify admin. During the preview, you can use your theme editor to customize it by changing colors and adding products. Any changes that you make are saved when you purchase the theme.
To try a theme, visit the Shopify Theme Store, choose a theme, and click Try theme to add it to your store. In your Shopify admin, visit the Themes page, click Actions next to the theme you want to preview, and click Preview.
You can only publish themes that you purchased. So once you’re happy with a theme, visit the Themes page, click Actions next to the theme you want to purchase, and click Buy.
If you purchased a theme somewhere else and received a ZIP file, you can upload it to Shopify.
You can have multiple themes attached to your store at any time, but only one active. All of your themes will appear on the Themes page. You can switch to a new theme by clicking Publish in the Actions menu next to each theme. When you publish a new theme, your old theme is still available in the theme library.
Before setting up taxes and duties, it’s important to understand whether you should charge and how much. If you aren’t sure, consult with local tax authorities or a tax professional. You may also need to register with your region's tax authority.
To set up taxes and duties, click the Settings link in the bottom left. Then click Taxes and duties in the sidebar on the Settings page.
In the Countries/regions section, click your country or region. On the next page, under Sales tax, click Collect sales tax.
A popup will appear. Enter your state and sales tax ID number. If you have applied for a tax number, but don't have one yet, then leave this field blank. You can update it later. Click Collect tax when you’re finished.
If you need to collect in tax in multiple regions, you can use the Collect sales tax link again to add parameters for another region.
The next section on the page is Tax overrides. This section gives you the opportunity to set custom rates for taxes - or no taxes - based on certain products and shipping destinations. Click the Add shipping override or Add product override links to make adjustments if you have any.
Finally, visit each of your product listing pages. In the Pricing field, there is a checkbox to charge taxes which needs to be checked if you want the product to be run through the tax rules that were setup.
To set up your payments, open the Settings menu and select Payments from the left sidebar.
When you set up a Shopify store, you’re immediately enrolled in Shopify Payments. The rate you pay per transaction is based on your Shopify plan. On the basic plan, the credit card rate is 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction with a 0% transaction fee. You can change Shopify plans to get different rates whenever you want.
Businesses in the United States can accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and Diners Club debit and credit cards. Additionally, accepting Discover also lets you accept Elo, JCB, and UnionPay.
To complete the setup for Shopify Payments, click Complete account setup (if this is your first payment solution) or Activate Shopify payments (if you have other payment solutions currently enabled). Then enter the required business details and banking information details and click Save. If your store is in Europe, you will need to either provide a Value-Added Tax (VAT) number or indicate that you don't have one.
Below Shopify Payments, you’ll see some other payment options. Click Add payment methods to explore your options and set up new methods.
Once your payments are set up, be sure to make a test transaction on the front end of your site to ensure that everything works properly. Verify that the money actually arrives in your account.
The last step to set up your Shopify store is to add your first product. Once your product listing is active, your store is ready for customers.
Creating products is easy and straightforward, but it involves a number of steps. You’ll need to submit a lot of information for each product so Shopify can build a quality listing for you. However, you probably have most of this information on hand, so creating listings should be quick.
For a complete walkthrough of the product creation process, please see our full guide: How to Create a Product in Shopify.